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