With Elder Stokes in their authentic trachten suits
Munich Zone, February 2013
Einen schönen wunderbaren guten Tag! Except for the rain here today, and the really cold weather last week, I am alive and well :) Oh, hallo everyone.
Well, the first news then would be transfer news, eh? That is right, today is technically the start of the new transfer, although all the transfers and such will happen on Thursday. Hmm, so where do I begin?... Sister Pingree (yes, Dad, she was the one I stacked wood with in Lavamünd, tall, dark hair) and Elder Stokes are going home, via Munich. The day is coming very quickly for them. So, as for the district, Elder Niedens will be headed to Wien to be DL, and Elder Jones, who was in Innsbruck, and whom I know from Salzburg Zone, will be joining Elder Nicoll down in Neuötting. That should be exciting. Sister Lin in staying in Passau, and a Sister Garrett is coming to join her. Sis. Garrett was in the MTC with Elder Nicoll, so they are both young. And Elder Jones is a couple younger than I am, so I am now the second oldest missionary in the district! When talking about age, of course, I am referring to time in the mission field. Just to clear that up... Sister Lin is only a transfer older than me, and I knew her in the MTC. So, cool. I am now older than most of the missionaries in the district. :/ that´s not how it is supposed to work, I was supposed to be the young one forever! Haha. Just kidding. And, some crazy, exciting news! Elder Orchard is coming to Munich, to be Zone Leader with Elder Eaker! I don't know what is up with all the people in Klagenfurt coming to Munich Zone, but that is how it has gone so far. So, that means that first, my first two companions in the field are now working together as Zone Leaders, and second, that Elder Curtis, who Elder Orchard trained for only one transfer, will finished being trained by Elder Orchard´s companion from the MTC, Elder Root. Pretty crazy, huh? That is already three Elders from my group in Klagenfurt for almost a year. I myself have no idea who my companion is, because right now he is sitting in the MTC packing, probably wondering about the craziness of the next few days. Yeah, so I am training someone brand new! Holy cow, I am so excited! I can't wait to pick things up and get things moving here in Landshut! This last transfer was just crazy. So, that is my honor for at least the next transfer, and I will let you know next week of course who my companion is :) SO, that is transfers!
Now, I have a few "Bitte´s" for you. Could you have the young men from the ward/stake, who are preparing to go on their missions, write me an email and tell me about how things are going for them? So I am talking about Tyler (so cool, that he is headed over to Tyson´s VISA wait area! He is gonna love being a missionary.) and Malcolm and everyone else. Hey, tell the girls too, Christina and Anna and Sydney and Danielle, I want to hear about their feelings and attitudes towards this huge, life-changing adventure they are about to embark on! Man, I love being a missionary :) except that I have the hardest time typing that word, "missionary"... anyway.
I have had some crazy, out of nowhere feelings this week while contemplating, and they were kinda another little wake up call. Well, to better explain, I had a dream last week, or maybe the week before, where I was home from the mission and it just seemed like a dream to me, all the things I had done and experienced. I believe I mentioned said dream last week. Maybe. Can't remember. But this week as we were driving on the Auto bahn with a member to go help someone move, I was just thinking about alll the thigs I have learned and who I have become, and it was just the most uncomfortable feeling ever, I just felt what it would be like to go home and have these whole two years just be like a dream I have had. Bwah, I don't know how to describe it, but I did not like it. So, I am doing my best to make everything my best effort and to really work work work until I am tired and exhausted, and then work some more. I don't want to feel that again, not ever. Make the most of everyday! Don't waste any time on trivial things! It´s not worth it.
Okay, this week was already a bit better than the last, in that we had lots of things going on. On Tuesday we went to Munich to have a zone training meeting with the ZLs, and that was really great. We started off by watching some Mormon Message from Elder Holland about staying in the lines, or in bounds, or something like that. He was talking about moral cleanliness, and he said that if you went on your mission and were not worthy to do so, the words you would try to speak would choke in your throat. Man, I love Elder Holland! It was from his talk in Priesthood from October 2011, where he singed our eyebrows a little bit, like a coach would :) He rocks. That reminds me of a quote from Pres. Monson, where he says that our best friend is a clean and clear conscience, and he says that nothing feels better than knowing that you stand in our appointed place worthy to do so. There is really nothing like it! And anyone who goes on a mission will feel that, and they will know either that they are doing what is right, or that they need to switch some things up.
Elder Eaker also had a really cool quote that he probably thought up, or got from something, but it is an excellent question to ask yourself when you are preparing to go on a mission. "Are you going on a mission to be a missionary? Or are you going on a mission to become an returned missionary?" Wise words. There is so much to learn and feel and experience on the mission, things indescribeable and sacred and humbling, and I have felt very strongly this week that I would not be the person I am if I had not come out here. It was a feeling that I felt and recognized very clearly while sitting at church gestern and pondering all the wonderful things I have seen and heard and taken part of. My mission has changed me in a way that nothing else could. Nothing. What an opportunity!
Wednesday we had district meeting, and then I did an Austausch with Elder Young, Elder Eaker´s companion, and that was a lot of fun. I bought him some gelato, and some for me too, of course. It is so good, that place down the street from us! I love melon flavour. Thursday we ended the Austausch and then did a finding day in Landshut. We had lunch and then went to work, and then a miracle happened! We all went our separate ways, and Elder Stokes and I went by on the newest family in the Ward, the Hopfs, and asked them to pray for us since we had 6 missionaries working in Landshut at that time. Then we could report back to them what happened. So, after that Elder Stokes and I walked for about 40 minutes, and only saw 4 people :( so I was kinda downhearted, because I didnt know what we could report from our side. Thank goodness for the Sisters and Elders, because they did a lot of good work! The Sisters are just incredible and had a guy take a BoM for his girlfriend, who he thought would be interested in the church. Then, as we all got to bahnhof again, Sister Pingree just said hallo to a lady, and the lady stopped her and said "Ich brauche deine Kirche. " or, "I need your church." WHAT?! That is awesome! When does that happen? Not on a day-to-day basis haha. Not yet, since we obviously aren't faithful enough ;) The lady knew the church from Congo, and she speaks ok German, but French is better. We hope to bring her a French BoM in the next few days, and then see what we can do for her. We were telling that story in church, and I saw some of the members making jokes together, rubbing their fingers together like all she really wanted was money from us. Come on people, don´t make such a mockery of the hand of the Lord! That´s what I wanted to say. Doesn't it talk about in the BoM all the people who deny that the Lord still works wonders? I hate how people take such wonderful experiences and can treat them so lightly, even members. The adversary has many ways to deceive us, and the only thing that will keep us straight is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. He still works in the lives of His people today. He does, I have seen it! In my own life and in the lives of others. But that was the cool experience from Thursday. Otherwise, we spent the weekend trying to find a washing machine (we do have a washing machine now, hooray!) and moving people into homes, and our numbers this week were almost as bad as last week :( there was just no time.Even though what we are here for is to help people, the helping we did was not the helping I had hoped for more time for (if that sentence made any sense at all...). Once again, I am just super excited for this next transfer!
Well, look how boring I am, I have nothing else to tell you really... So, I will answer your questions! So, Elder and Sister Anderson were not at Zone Konferenz because he was still sick, so sorry Mom, they weren't in the photo. And Dad remarked that my trachten suit has no collar, which is correct. That is the traditional Austrian style, you see! And I have received a multitude of compliments on my suit, even more when I wore it gestern to church, since Elder Stokes wanted to wear them his last Sunday. As for my hair, I suppose that came from me cutting my own hair. (I commented that his hair isn't as spiked up in front as it used to be.) I cut it all to the same length, and then Elder Eaker trimmed the sides for me. But I am getting my hair cut today by the branch president´s wife. Thank goodness! It is getting long again. Got to look presentable for my new companion! And the email change is worldwide as far as I heard. Pretty cool.
Um, I have some advice for Nathan: Dad can do anything (sports-wise) he wants to, and he does it well! Figured you would have seen that by now haha :) There is no reason to be surprised at how well he can play anything, because he just can. Makes lots of sense, eh? (Jeff and Nathan played some tennis together Saturday, and Nathan's comment was "I had no idea Dad could play tennis that well!") Make use of his skills! I am sure he enjoys it too.
And I have not received all the stuff from Klagenfurt yet, Elder Orchard gave it all to the APs. I hope I can pick it all up on Thursday, including my Derek Ryan jersey and such :) I emailed him last week to ask about all that stuff, and he emailed me back this week and said that he should have just brought it all personally since he is joining us in Munich! Haha, too late. I should get it soon enough. Oh, I got your package mailed off! Hope it makes it okay. As for my birthday, it is the last day of this transfer! So if you were to send stuff so it got to me on time, it would probably work fine. Hey, do you have the abilitly to send another thing of Milkduds? :) I am still rationing out the box from Christmas. That would be cool :)
Ach so, ich müß jetzt gehen. I hope Nathan has fun with drivers ed, and Kate with soccer. And you with all the stuff you are doing, work, piano, at home, whatever. Remember what the gospel has done for you, and how it will help us find peace and happiness in life, no matter what comes. Remember also, "Wir dürfen mehr sein als wir jetzt sind." " We may be more than we are now." It is possible through righteous living and through trust in the Savior.
I love you all and wish you all the best! Keep on being awesome and smile! :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
P.S. Levan (Elder Smith rather) knows how to take a bath, eh? haha :) (Their friend arrived in Korea for his mission a month or so ago, and on his first day there, all the new Elders were introduced to the Korean public bathhouse experience. His description was detailed and amusing.)