Monday, April 29, 2013

Hallo :)

Bayern flag
Jalen's neighborhood
Jalen's new WdR ring
Hallo :)
What a surprise, I am sitting back at this computer. Well, it is actually a different computer than normal. And a bit later than normal. We came in the morning and it wasn't open, but we found a potential and gave him a Book of Mormon instead :) cool how the Lord works. On Saturday we were walking around and then we talked to these two Russian guys about the Book of Mormon, and they both just said okay, that they would take it and read it. We didn't even say that much. Now they have the Book of Mormon! Then later Saturday evening we got to eat some Turkish food at the S_____'. It was good. Kinda a tomato soup with beans and then rice and a carrot salad and a pepper/tomato salad. Good stuff, vegetarian too. That was a lot of fun, they loved looking at my pictures of the family and friends. And they showed us their family and stuff too, in their album. It really just felt good, feeling that feeling of trust and respect for each other. We tried to talk about eternal families, and although we had a great discussion about the deterioration of the family in the world today, they aren't really interested in learning more about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We will keep in contact and see how things go.
Oh, thanks for the package! The Andersons made dinner last night, spaghetti and a Schwarzwald Kirsche kuchen (Black forest cherry cake! :) ) and then let me open my package. I got to watch my video on their computer again, but then it still doesn't work on my little DvD player at home. Oh well. It was still great! Lots of Milk Duds and such. And the ring is awesome! It makes me want to punch the face of evil and imprint WdR on its forehead. (WdR is the German version of CTR--Choose the Right.) Haha. Don´t worry, I am still me. I am not violent geworden. Haha, that was bad... But I do hate evil things. It makes me sick, all the darkness in the world.
Anyway, it was fun to see everyone at stake conference, afterwards they cornered me and Sister Lin told all the missionaries it was my birthday, and I tried to run away but Elder Eaker grabbed me. It is okay. Elder Eaker said he had a gift for me, but he had forgotten that yesterday was my birthday. No big deal :)
So, I have a picture that Elder Allan took as I opened my ring. The rest of the time he was taking ridiculous pictures of himself making crazy faces haha. Don't trust people with your camera. :) And the other picture is the Freistadt Bayern flag I bought last week :) with some left over personal money from our zone pday last transfer. And the other one is just a sunset I caught through two buildings not too far from our apartment. You can look at the far left at the red stoplight, there we would turn right and then walk to the ugly salmon colored church, then turn right and we are home. Puts you a bit closer to my home, eh? Temporary home, that is.
Also! Transfers! I totally forgot to tell you that calls were this last week. Nothing crazy going on here, Elder Allan and I stay together. But! Elder Nicoll is leaving his training zone, going to open a NEW AREA in Tübingen, and TRAINING in his 4th transfer! Haha and Elder Jones stays in Neuötting and trains!!! And Sister Garrett is staying in Passau and training!! And Sister Lin is going to Wien! We will miss them. Do you know what that means? I am now the oldest missionary in the district :/ That is not right! I will never get old! Krass, ge?
OH MY GOSH, Eric is going to Paris!!! 3 of us across the pond, I am so happy :) I have been in that mission home, like Dad said haha. How crazy. Man, back then I think Eric would have been in like Kindergarten. And what the heck?! No one told me Malcolm was going to TONGA!!!! (Yes we did!) I learned that from Chris´email that you sent me last week! That is so cool! Perfect for him. Tell him I am also currently living on an island, ja? Just not as pretty as his will be. And tell him to watch out for the Samoans, they like fire... What if he worked at the PCC after his mission? Haha. Sorry, random thoughts. He should email me.
Hey, did I ever tell you about the keyboard I got from the church? I just can't remember if I did. But I have practiced a bit, and Mia Auras gave me the music to a song that I love (River Flows in You), and I can at least make it sound okay :) I can play the first measure right AND left hand together, with only a couple warm up rounds :) Aren´t you proud of me Mom? Haha. You should send me my sheet music for 100 Years, ja? That would be cool :)
We had lots of stuff planned for this last week, lots of opportunities to meet with potentials and get new investigators and help people come closer to Christ. And most of them fell out. :/ But we will just keep going, and it is bound to happen. We did get a good lesson in with the family C_____, a family from Romania that Elder Stokes and I found ages ago. And right when we went inside, it started POURING rain and hailing and thunder and lightning! We talked about eternal families with them too. They said the coolest thing, that they don't believe in chance and they told us that they knew there was a reason they met us! How awesome is that? So I bore testimony to them that Heavenly Father wanted them to come to recognize His plan for them, and the potential they have to be together forever, through the gospel of Jesus Christ. They still didn't know when they would be home for a set appointment, but I narrowed it down to the weekends :) and they gave me a brand new umbrella when we left, even more incentive to go back :) They also enjoyed how huge my family is, they looked through my pictures :) Family is the most important thing on earth! And in Heaven! Of all time! Love them and cherish them. The Savior does.
Oh my goodness, I have to tell you about something awesome! I was on austausch with Elder Nicoll and we were standing at a busstop and a guy walks by with his friend and says "Tell my friend something about Christianity." The guy speaking told us he himself was Muslim, and the friend we were supposed to talk with was Catholic. So we talked about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration! That was cool. He wouldn't give us his info or take a book though, but his girlfriend came up and was pretty interested that they could visit a meeting on Sunday. Schau ma moi. Then after that, we were headed to the A_____' house for dinner, and I look out the window not even halfway to their house and saw Herr S_____, who we met a few weeks ago and who wanted a Romanian Book of Mormon, and wanted to come to Jesus Christ. I saw him and thought, cool. Then, like a slap in the face, I thought "Hey Elder Gibbons, there is a Romanian Book of Mormon in your backpack." So we got out of the bus at the last second, and we gave it to him. The reason I had the book was because we tried to go by on the Romanian lady on Sunday, but she wasn't there, and we tried again before our appointment with the A_____s. So I gave the book to Herr S_____ and he said he was having surgery in a couple weeks and that this book came at exactly the right time. Wow. He held the book up to our faces and said, this book is the truth! And then he showed it off to a guy sitting at the busstop :) Incredible. The Lord´s work is marvelous.
I have wenig Zeit, but I wanted to share something I read today. I read Ether 12:37, one of my favorites in connection with 12:27. It says, it doesn't matter if the others have charity or not, as long as I am true. I am made fun of on a daily basis by people who see us, and there are people who are very rude for no reason, and people look at us as if we aren't even people. And it bugs me a lot of the time. There are very nice people too, of course. But I read that scripture this morning and was comforted. It doesn't matter if they aren't so charitable. As long as I stay true. And I intend to do so. I love 12:27 as well.
Well, I know the Lord has been there before, and that His light will shine into the darkest of places and save even those who feel so far down beyond hope. But His light is hope, and the world needs hope. Share it with others. You will be happy :)
Thanks again for the birthday wishes! All the best to everyone. Being a missionary is the BEST! And being on God´s side is so rewarding.
I love you all, wish you success! Keep Smiling. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 22, 2013

Danke, vom ganzen Herzen!

Elder Allan
Too tired to walk down the road to the river...
Hallo alle, wo vergeht die Zeit? Ich hab nur eine einzige Woche um mein 19. Jahr zu genießen. Wahnsinn. But hey, I have stake conference here on Sunday (by here I mean across the pond, not in Landshut) and that will be cool to have everyone there to see. Even if I'm not the reason for getting together, of course haha. Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! And to everyone from the film, thank you with all of my heart! I DID get your package, dearest Mother, and I gave it to the Andersons because everyone was getting mad that I didn't want to wait... :p <--- I don't think I have made that face in an email before... So no worries, it is here! But, I couldn't resist the link to the film. That video just made my whole year! If you want to make a missionary cry, you either send them a video like that, or write them a Dear John, I guess. Haha. For now, only the first option applies to me, eh? ;) I have no doubt in the wise words of Br. Noyce, that I would treasure this for the rest of my mission. Thank you so much. I will wait till Sunday to watch it again, from my package. That wasn't very fair to use that song in the background. That was just like straight back to high school. But well done Kelly, well done. Thanks. Again.
Well, life is way busy. I like it that way. There were so many people at church yesterday, and we were trying to set up appointments with members and they were all running amok (spelling?...) and I was chasing people down. And there is so much I have to get figured out for the week and such for the district, and how we get to stake conference, all sorts of stuff. I love it. I finally got to talk to the Ferraz-Leite family, or the mom, whose husband I have the picture of with Jason, from the Fresno mission. I told her I wanted to give him that picture, so I will call on Wednesday and set up an appointment. Cool :)
The weather was so nice, we moved on to short sleeve shirts, and then the next day went back to sweaters and such. Stupid weather. We have basically just been walking places now, we have walked almost all the way across town, and we get to talk to people and such unterwegs. It is still better than winter.
We got to play Fußball with the kids from the ward, and lots of their friends too! It was so much fun. There was a cute little boy who came up to me and asked, "Are you good?" and I said, "Not as good as you!" and he said, "Das stimmt gar nicht, ich bin schelcht." Haha. (Oh, translation. So he said, "That is not true, I am really bad.) He basically ran around chasing after the ball, and throwing grass on me. We are good friends now :)
Nothing much happened the first half of the week, I went on Austausch with Elder Eaker in Munich, stayed at the mission office, and Elder Eaker made some Chinese food, just like old times. I read a book called "The Book of Mormon on Trial" by Jack West, it was adapted to a comic style book from some lectures done by a professor at BYU or something. It was awesome. We didn't have much time to do much either, we had some meetings we had to go to. But we got to meet with Pres. Auras, and the first question he asked us was "What is separating the members from the missionaries? What is it in between them? And how do we overcome that?" I love this guy, he is truly inspired of God. Those questions are questions I have also thought about now and then, but this time it hit me hard. I don't know what it is, exactly. In reality, it shouldn't be anything but the fact that we wear nametags and white shirts and ties around all day everyday. We are all together in the work of the Lord. So, if you see anything separating you from the missionaries, or just some obstacle between them and the members, do something to fix it! We don't have time for that.
When we tauscht back, though, Elder Allan and Elders Eaker and Orchard and I all ate at Bahnhof here in Landshut, and we were getting ready to leave and some guy came and started talking to us, said he has one friend who is LDS and served a mission a long time ago, and that he really admires what we do! We switched telefon numbers and we had an appointment set up with him today, but he called and said he is just too busy to meet yet, he is looking for apartments. So we are praying he finds one. Because he was so nice. But the crazy thing was, Elder Orchard had just been telling me about how he and Elder Allan had been contacted by so many people the day before and that morning, like people stopping their bikes to ask who we were! That never happens! Haha. Well, it does, somewhere, sometimes. But then this guy comes to talk to us in Hbf and Elder Orchard turns to look at me and just kinda motions "See? I told you" haha. And we met one more lady later that day that contacted us. We also talked to another guy who wanted a BoM in French. The thing was, out of the 4 people we found that day, 3 of them already had some prior contact to the church. Crazy, right? We found some more people the next day, and planned the week and such, and then had a finding day in Neuötting. It went well, found a few people, Elder Nicoll and I got contacted by four drunk guys, and we talked for a few minutes. There was one guy who was asking me very pointed questions as if trying to get me to slip up, or find some way to prove me wrong. But, the Lord keeps His word :) I didn't have any problems, I just told him how it was. It was great to just stand there and say what I know. No one can be offended by that. He also told me that he admired what we did, they thought it was so cool that we were from America. We left that conversation best friends with all of them haha.
We had similar experiences gestern too, a man who was a 7th Day Adventist was talking about how the BoM contradicts the Bible, and I asked him how, but he said he wasn't prepared, he couldn't remember. I read him the commandments out of Mosiah, and also about prophets from Jacob. And we could tell he was trying to use his wisdom of the Bible to outsmart us into slipping up, but we actually just ended up having a good conversation about the gospel, and we got to bear our testimonies, and he could only agree with them. He invited us to his sacrament service on Saturday. Probably won't be able to. It´s technically allowed, but they are doing their sacrament this week, with the bread and wine. And we don't drink wine. May as well just avoid that awkward situation altogether, oder?
We had two appointments fall out yesterday and spent some time walking around talking to people. We gave a very nice lady a BoM, but she wouldn't agree to give us her number or anything. Argh. But it is good that she has that! I can't complain. Oh yeah, I have to tell you about P_____! We taught him the Word of Wisdom on Thursday, because that is what he needed, he smokes. It turned out really well, too! He said he smokes because of stress, and he doesn't even want to, neither do his friends, or at least one of his close friends. So we told him that he just needs to keep praying, and he can call us if he needs to, and we would pray for him often too. I think it is going well. On Sunday he came to chuch with us, and Elder Allan got to translate for him in Sacrament Meeting :) He did a good job! Elder Allan is great. Always makes me laugh. And he waves and says hello to everyone he sees! I wish I could count the smiles that we see :) Making other people smile is great. Even the people who are laughing at us, I can still take credit for that, oder?
What should I say now? Hmm... well, we did some woodwork for the Zacherls on Tuesday, so I was a witness to Elder Allan´s first time chopping and stacking wood. I will send some pictures for you :) you love that. There is Elder Allan with his ax. Then some ducks I saw gestern. The river was just down the road, but I guess they got tired haha.
Meine geliebte Familie und Freunde, Jesus Christus lebt. I have felt His guiding hand in the things I do and say and think. I have had happiness I cannot describe, a joy that pierces all fear, and a light that illuminates all darkness. That is only possible through Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of all mankind. What does His love mean to you? How has it touched you in your life? We are meant to be so much more than we are now, and it just requires our faith and our work. Don't settle for less. Don't settle for false happiness, joy that lasts but a second. It is not worth it. Choose this day whom you will serve. And stay true to the Lord. He leads His church, the church which he restored through Joseph Smith. Welch Trost mir die Erkenntnis gibt, daß er lebt! (What joy this sentence gives, the knowledge that He lives.)
I love you more than you know. Thanks for your roles in making me everything I am, every one of you. Soon I will be 1/5 of a century old. I will still be me, no doubt. But my love for my friends and family will continue to grow, and my love for the gospel of Jesus Christ shall be the catalyst dafür. Keep on smiling :)
Alles gute
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 15, 2013

Hallo :)

Oreo cake
Chocolate on jello?
The Hug klingel (doorbell)
Hallo :)
To first explain the pictures, ge? So...I already can't remember which ones I did. Darn it. I hit the 2000 picture mark this week! Well, I think I am at 2001 to be exact. That is my whole mission so far. Crazy. Anyway... oh yeah, that is an oreo cake that I made :) then we froze it and it was way good. Yes, it came from a box, so I am not THAT skilled at cooking. (By the way, Elder Allan can make some good fried eggs!) And then there is also some jello, not made by me, rather Sis. Anderson, and it was peach with peaches and whipped cream, and I topped it off with Halbbitter Rittersport :) But Elder Allan doesn't like that kind of chocolate. Too bad haha. And the picture in the middle.... oh yeah, we saw a klingel named Hug :) thought that was nice. Too bad it was way windy and half raining. I really felt like a hug.
Also, that is pretty cool that now we have a seemingly big connection between our family and Elder Allan´s. As we logged on to email today, he told me that he had heard from his mom that his aunt used to live in Mountain Home. And I said, "What??!! You didn't tell me that! Who is it?" Elise Johnson. Sadly I don't remember them....wait, now I do! Oh yeah! That is cool. Then you told me the same thing in your email! Hope all is now cleared up, eh? That is crazy! By the way, you´ll have to tell Sis. Johnson that Elder Allan is training me, not the other way around. Then we have the full Wahrheit. :)
This week has been interesting! This last week, I mean. The weekend finally warmed up, but the weather on Saturday, when we did our finding day here in Landshut, was sunny and warm, then suddenly rainy and cold. Bleh. Speaking of the finding day, I had a great time! We talked to so many people, like more than I have ever before in a day. There was a big carnival thing that Elder Jones and I walked by to contact, and that is why there were lots of people. We saw lots of poeple in their Dirndls and Lederhosen. Some young guy, totally drunk out of his mind, stopped us at Bahnhof and told us to go to the big party and have lots of beer and see lots of pretty girls. He was 18. What kind of life is that?! Other than all the teenagers drinking beer, it was cool to see all the traditional clothing. Kinda unreal haha. I need lederhosen. That is my mission area, nowhere else in the world. Anyone willing to donate to a "Buy Elder Gibbons Lederhosen fund?" Haha.
But yeah, we didn't find a single potential that day. No one did! I think back in the day, that would have made me very sad and depressed. But I have a better attitude now. We really gave all we had. I am sure the Savior has been there before, days where there was just no one willing to listen to him. I get to do the same thing, then! We found some cool people yesterday, so we are still always having something to do! And today we are hopefully playing sports with some of the youth in the ward, and hopefully they bring their friends!! And we did get to play Fußball last week, finally! It was fun! Some Italian guy came and played with us (an older guy) and the Sisters with us weren't too thrilled when he just changed his clothes right there on the field. Then he started telling us how to do everything haha. It was funny :) But they have his information now, the Munich elders! A potential gefunden, that is why we played Fußball. Also, these two guys walked up to us, turned out to be Americans and they started talking to us. They said, "hey, sorry, but we are baptized already." One of the sisters thought they were just joking and having fun with us Mormon missionaries. But they really were members haha. They wanted to play with us, but we were done with Pday. Too bad. Small world.
As for the Bayerisch breakfast, they just use their normal style Bavarian soft pretzels. It is a Bavarian thing, the pretzel is. And it is just normal with salt. Nothing too crazy. But delicious :) I have frozen pretzels at home, and I am going to try making some cinammon sugar ones sometime, or maybe try some other cool things. They also have a thing they sell at bakeries called the Butter Bretzel. And that is what it is--just a pretzel cut in half with butter. The Sisters intoduced those to us. I have had my one for the year. Haha.
I don't know what to tell you about this week. We have met multiple times with P_____ this week, but he just doesn't understand things. He just says yes, even after we try to make sure he doesn't have any questions. Yesterday he told us that the Jehovah's Witnesses believe that Jesus Christ will come again, and he told us that he knew that Jesus wasn't coming again. Yeah. So we explained to him that He will come again, and then we will be happy in His presence, if we do what we need to do here. We also committed him to a baptismal date, because we wanted to have a goal for him, but he said he would think about it. So we also know more about how motivated he is/isn't to do the things we ask him. If he doesn't get things straight, we don't have time to meet with him as often. He is a nice guy,and very friendly. He does love Jesus Christ. So I hope that he can find his way back to Him, either with our help or with future missionaries. There is also the family from Turkey, who are Muslim, but not super strict Muslim. We aren't very sure what they are wanting out of our visits either. So we will be establishing those expectations next time.
What more can I say? The work goes on, and I am happy. Really. I come home feeling tired, but a good tired, like Dad talked about. I love trying to help people come closer to Christ. Elder Allan and I have so much fun working. Why wouldn't I be happy? It comes from the gospel, that is the truth. I am happy even though I meet rude people everyday, even though my shoulders may hurt or it is uncomfortably warm or cold. Ich bin zufrieden. Und so ist es.
I finished Alma this week, and I love reading about the sons of Helaman and Captain Moroni and Lehi and Teancum and all those awesome people. Now I am in Helaman and I read today about Nephi and Lehi, sons of Helaman, son of Helaman (fun stuff, eh?) ;) they were awesome! I hope I can follow their examples.
I am so grateful to be called to serve the Lord Jesus Christ with all of my heart, might, mind, and strength. I am so grateful for all that I have learned, for who I have become. I know that the Savior lives, and that He leads His church on the earth today. The Prophets and Apostels are men of God, and one can trust fully in the things they counsel us to do. Happiness comes only in and through living the way the Lord has asked us to. There is peace in this troubled world.
I wish you all the best, and thank you for your wishes and prayes and thoughts. The Lord will watch over you and bless you. You´ll be in my heart!
Keep Smiling :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 8, 2013


Jalen and Elder Orchard--true Derek Ryan fans!
Klagenfurt/Graz, Austria reunion:
Elders Orchard, Eaker, Riser, Stapleton, and Gibbons
There's nothing like good old American root beer!
Guten Morgen, liebe Geschwister. Liebe Freunde. Liebe Leute (that reminds me of Danny in Klagenfurt haha. Man I miss that guy :) )
Also, servus, wie geht´s euch? Hoffentlich geht´s schon. Isn't life great? And conference was fantastic! Although Mom ruined the Sunday afternon session for me, because that is the only one I haven't seen. I saw all the others and loved them. This morning I wrote out all of the promises that stuck out to me in the talks, and also all of the little nuggets of truth and super-ness that I liked. Because, like I said last week, I was taking the things I learned to heart, about Alma 5:58 and such. And I noticed it too, that as I was watching conference I was so excited to hear the promises given us from the servants of the Lord. And I am so excited to try them out and see how they work, because the Lord has spoken it, and it will happen :) Wish I had done that my whole life, not just here. Ah, life goes on.
Thanks for the pictures of my trainee haha, and also Chris at the San Diego temple!!!! I have a picture of that in the apartment. It is so beautiful. I also got an email from Becky this morning, that was a nice surprise! Ihr geht´s guat--gel, Becky? Haha.
Ah man, I am so excited for our Zone pday today in Munich!!! I will finally hopefully get to play soccer for the 3rd time on my mission! Yay!! We shall see. Oh by the way, I finally got the package from you :) Thanks for the awesome tie! No idea why it took forever to find me, but no worries.. Plus, blueberry tootsie pops?!!! That blew my mind! Keep me current on those, eh? ;)
Hey, I love you guys. Just so you know :)
Anyway, this week was pretty cool! Nah, it was great! Sadly we have not gotten ahold of many of the potentials we found, even though we tried to invite them all to conference. We also called all the people in our area book and we had a few people say they were coming! But they didn't :( Although one of the potentials we found last week turned out to be a former investigator who has basically been taught everything by missionaries, so we just have to go for real understanding this go around.
On Thursday and Friday I spent much of my time in München at Zone leader/district leader council. I got a huge group hug from Elders Orchard and Eaker and Stapleton and Riser, all former members of the wonderful Klagenfurt/Graz district. :) It was great seeing them. I met lots of new people, and also saw Elder Niedens again, and Elder McClellan and Elder Harris, and lots of people from the MTC who were behind me. It was awesome. Elder Stapleton and I slept in the living room of the mission home, where we did all the things the first night, when we met the trainers, with the map and everything. We talked for a long time. Haha. President came down in the morning and told everyone that Elder Stapleton and I had stayed up too late haha. But so did everyone else, they just couldn't hear them. :) It was great. I love those guys. Being a missionary is awesome, people! Do it sometime :) (under the right guidance of the Spirit, I should add ;) ) There is nothing better.
Also, we had a real Bayerisch weiswurst breakfast with pretzels on Sunday morning, and it was so good! They also made us try their Malz drink, which I think must be a kind of alcohol free beer. I don't know though. They call it their German root beer. They really love American root beer though. Haha. I will try and bring one home for you to try, you know, in like 3 years when I come home..... :O we will not discuss that point any further.
Everything is going well! Hopefully we have more time and opportunities to find more people and start actually teaching people. Dad asked if we were consistently teaching anyone, and the answer is no. We are trying really hard, but we just need something else. We have the Lord already, this is His work, and we try and have faith and confidence, but we are also getting to learn patient perseverance, eh? What we need, like so many mentioned in conference, is the MEMBERS!!! I was thinking that, thinking about all the stuff that President has asked us to do in order to get members more involved (which by the way, is basically everything that the prophets and apostles repeated this weekend--an inspired man) and I basically just summed it up so: if this mission, in this part of the world, wants to have success, an accelerated rate of success, we need the members. So, we are working on that too. What was really cool is that Pres. Auras, the stake president, took some time to meet with all the members of our district gestern before the Sunday morning session, and it was awesome to see how much he cared about the work here. He shared an experience with missionary work that he had, and we know we have his support. We all need to work together to make things happen. That will definitely be our focus in coming weeks. Until it works, actually. So, please pray for us and for the missionaries in general. We need to call down the powers of heaven, for we cannot do it alone. This is not our work, it is the Lord´s work. Thanks for your caring support and prayers already. The Lord will bless you.
Well, one of my favorite things I heard at conference was something that Elder Robert D Hales said. He said, "The Savior was despised and rejected of men. It is our privilege to stand with Him." Mensch, das war echt inspirierend! I would invite you all to ponder the promises you heard, the words that touched your heart. Then, with full faith, do what they say, and watch as the promised blessings come. I echo the call of Pres. Uchtdorf to those who feel entrapped by darkness. We need not dwell there, for the Lord has promised to illuminate our path out of it. He has done so for each and every one of us, and I know what it feels like to walk in the light. Isn't that song one of Dad´s favorites? Please, do not despair in the thought of hopelessness, because the Savior is there. So have the Prophets of the Lord spoken it, and so soll es geschehen. We can be completely confident in the Lord. We can rise up and become the people we are meant to become. It is possible. So start now, from wherever you feel you are. You do not walk the path alone.
I love you all, and I do realize my emails seem to be decreasing in length. Sorry, but I get the chance to talk to my friends as well :) That is a wonderful opportunity to get more people involved in my work as a missionary! As an Elder at the ZL/DL meeting said, the time spent on emails is not a time for us to go home, rather a time for me to bring all you readers here :) Hope I succeed in some small way in that. If not, tell me so.
Keep on smiling. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 1, 2013


A German Easter tradition
Happy Easter everyone! Hope yours may have been much warmer than mine was. It snowed half the day, as it did off and on this week. So much for spring weather :/ just some cruel April Fool´s joke, like the sun that was out this morning, which disappeared as soon as we went outside! Haha. Mensch, those things you just can't control. Do you know what is not an April Fool´s joke? Answer: the awesome things we experienced this week :) The gospel is still true!
So, last Monday we went and bought companionship ties, and then I bought Elder Allan his first Döner, which he loved, and then we kinda just sat around in the apartment for about an hour. I may have forgotten in my email last week, but that is so exciting for Sydney and Justin getting their calls! And I got an email from Anna Martin, which was great! I wrote her back already. Emailed, rather.
Our first district meeting went well, although Neuötting had a rough day haha. They missed their first train, and then trying to go home they missed their bus. Poor guys. Then I think they had to ride their bikes home in the snow, and they had some difficulties going around the round about right by their apartment haha. But they are alive, and they wll be staying the night with us this weekend for General Conference, which should be an adventure. Don't know yet where they will sleep... The Sisters are also doing great, as always! I love being more a part of the goings-on of the other missionaires in the district. I get to talk to them about things that are happening and how they are doing.
Wednesday we got Elder Allan anmelded (registered) and then helped for a long time at a familie´s house, packing up their moving truck. That was fun, good work. After that, we had not as much time as we had thought we would, so we went by on a couple potentials, and they weren't there :/ so, we did some doors that I had pictured in my mind during planning the night before, as our plan in case of them not being there. So we rang the first two klingels, and then someone buzzed us in. So we walked all the way to the top of the stairs, and that is always fun because we are breathing heavily and trying to talk to whoever is up there. But this time, we got up there, knocked on both doors, and no one answered. So, at this time I am thinking, "Uh, okay, someone let us in here. So Heavenly Father, you got us in here, who are we supposed to find?" So, we worked our way downwards, and the doors after that were not-too-nice and wanted nothing from us. So we do the next door, and a lady opens it up. We talk to her about the Book of Mormon, and prayer, and we offer her a copy of the Book of Mormon, and she refuses to take it, because she is convinced that she will get a receipt in a couple weeks that she will have to pay. I told her multiple times that the book is completely free, we just want her to read in it. But she kept saying no. I was starting to get impatient, and I was about to just hand her a card and just move on. But I said one more time, that the Book of Mormon is free, it is from God, and there is no need to pay for the truth. And then she finally changed, and agreed to take it. So we wanted to show her 3 Nephi 11, because she told us she liked the New Testament a lot, and we had proof that Jesus Christ really is risen and that he loves all of us. But then she invited us inside! So we went in, and she had some guy over there, a friend of hers, and we sat on the couch and we started talking. We explained a little about the Book of Mormon, and especially all the things that happen during Christ´s visit to the Americas. I can honestly say that if I have ever just once been led by the Spirit in what I was saying and teaching, this was it. I read with her the words of Christ, inviting the people to come unto Him, and she told us then that she never lets anyone inside, because everyone just wants to sell her things. But she said that when we talked about Jesus Christ and this book, her heart just felt warm. She was loving what she was seeing in the Book of Mormon, and she was feeling it too. We told her that that good feeling was the Holy Ghost, that He gives us these feelings when something is good. And we promised her that if she read that book, she would continue to feel that way. And she said she would. We also had a good discussion about patience (kind of a tangent when talking about trying to be good people, more like Christ) when she told me about a friend she had had who was very defensive and took everything personally. We talked also about how prayer would help her have patience and strength from the Lord. Much of what she said is exacly how we see things too, so her opinions and beliefs are already close to ours. It was an incredible experience, and the Spirit of God testified to me and to her as well that the Book of Mormon was true, and that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world. I left feeling much happier than I had been for a little while, because of the lack of success in the last few weeks in finding people who were prepared and wanted to learn. We tried to go by on here again on Saturday, but the Easter holidays are just crazy over here, and there is no way to know is someone is home and there is no one on the street. but that day we still found 6 people! Now we will have things to do, and it lifts a weight off of my shoulders. Elder Allan is doing great, he is way further than I was as far as confidence in talking to people and contacting people goes. I don't know what this training stuff means, I am just there to answer questions and smile :) haha. Not entirely, of course, I still have the responsibility to be an example to those I serve. I like it :)
I had the chance to speak in church gestern, when I was called at about 5 on Saturday night and told that the speaker had fallen out, and they asked me to do it. Well, I had maybe an hour total of preparation time between planning and studying and such, but I hope it went okay. We were invited to the Familie Hopf for dinner gestern, and that was a lot of fun. I will send you a picture of one of their traditions, which is so: the eggs are hollowed out shells, they blew the insides out, and the mom put little quotes and activities inside for them to do as a family. She let us join in :) it was very cool. So, you get to smash the egg shells with your hands and then read whatever is in there. Then we had cake and such, the food was really good beforehand too. We also got to spend time with the Auras family, the stake president's family, they came over. The Hopf and Auras kids basically make up the youth in the ward haha.
I am very happy that this email place is open today, even on Easter Monday. Everything else is closed. The city is basically dead on such holidays, and the weather makes it even worse.
I enjoyed all the pictures from England, I am sorry that it was so cold, but you can always remember the time you spend with family, no matter how hectic it is. It is ridiculous to me still to see how grown up Nathan and Kate look. They should take Pres. Uchtdorf´s advice from last April´s conference, and "Stop it!" :) get it? got it? good.
Well, may I share something that was really cool to me as I have been studying this week? I realized today that the Spirit has totally just been preparing me for General Conference. Es lautet so: I was reading in Alma these last few days, and I came across, or rather, the scripture that stuck out to me is Alma 7:8 (and then earlier today I found that Alma 5:58 is the same concept). It says there that the word of the Lord has a power to fulfill itself. And I was reading further in Alma, and I just thought about how the Lord actually speaks, the language that He uses. Everytime He speaks through one of His servants He speaks almost 3rd person, saying "Behold the Lord says: keep the commandments" (just an example). And I realized just how powerful the words of the Lord are. We know that we can have 100% confidence in promises of the Lord. And when the Lord says something, it WILL HAPPEN! For example, I like Alma 17:10 this morning. The Lord visited the sons of Mosiah and said "be comforted." And guess what? They were! So, when we hear from our Prophets and Apostles and leaders of the church this weekend, remember that they have been worrying and praying their hearts out to know what they should say, pleading for the abilitly to have the Spirit with them as they speak. And what they speak will be the words of the Lord. Listen to them, know that they will come to pass, and put yourself in harmony with God´s will. Do what they say, believe what is taught, and let that bring you hope in a darkening world. What an opportunity.
I now make an end, for I have not more time. We are excited for a great week and weekend, and I hope you all feel the Spirit in your lives! The Lord lives, He is risen, and He lives for you. Let us also then live for Him.
I love you all, keep on smiling :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons