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

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