Monday, May 27, 2013

Hallo, Leute!

I don't really know what to say about this one...
Rainy days
Hallo, Leute!
Wow, can I tell you how lame the weather has been this week? Cold (enough to wear a couple layers, mindestens) and rainy--the WHOLE week! And windy! I didn´t think my shoes would ever dry out. But I put them on the radiator through the night last night, and they are dry, as far as I can tell. :) Ohmeinegüte, I love this life. Oh, I will send a picture of my shoes and feet after a long day in the rain, eh? You don´t have to look at it if you don´t wish to. It is so much fun! But it is almost JUNE!!! And this weather makes no sense! Oh the picture of flowers is for Mom. Also, I have a picture there with Br_____ and her kids :) I will tell more about that appointment soon.
Anyway, I hope my email last week didn´t portray the bad mood I was in. If it did or if it didn´t, the reason will be explained. So our last pday was way lame, since everything was closed, and we had to use the church computer, which is only one computer. So I saw that Mom hadn´t been able to email me, so I emailed President, downloaded a few talks from Elder Holland, then gave the computer to Elder Allan. I put 4 chairs together and layed/laid down (<-- which is right? I don´t know anymore haha) and then fell asleep. So, I woke up, it is almost 3 o´clock, and the day is almost done, and we have done NOTHING! And yeah, back in the day I would spend some entire days sleeping and doing nothing useful. But I HATE it! It felt like such a waste of a day to me, especially when we had to spend 40 minutes walking home from the church. It got a bit better when we went back out to proselyte, but man, I was just sour. So sorry. Learning stuff like this is kinda just a bonus for parents sending their children on missions, eh? Aside from a deeper understanding of the gospel and strengthened testimonies and ministering with Christ, of course. Happy now? Haha.
So, let´s talk about investigators. Sadly none of our appointments with S_____ and Be_____ worked out this week :( but they were so willing to keep trying and they came to church too! And at church, one of the members brought us a whole bunch of stuff in French, like True to the Faith and the temple magazine. We didn't even ask! Then everyone was very friendly to them, even with the language barrier. So we are meeting on Wednesday. They are so cool! Whenever we call someone, like S_____ for example, he picks up and says,"Hello Gibson!" Another man, with whom we met this week (actually the guy we found at Bahnhof last transfer with the zone leaders, M_____) picks up and says, "Hello Herr Gibbons!" haha. I like it :) But whenever Elder Allan calls (which actually seems to be more often than I do) they still say that! Haha so he has to say that it is him. We laugh all the time. I want to give him the phone more so that they see that it is always different, who calls. Our appointment with M_____ was way cool, he is very open and we just had a great discussion about the gospel´s application to our lives, especially in the world we live in today. We are going to help him move into his new Wohnung tomorrow morning as well!
But the greatest one this week was our apointment with Br_____ (hence the picture)! We finally found a member to come with us, since everyone else was at the temple the whole week, and we got there and he was so involved and interested with the kids, and wanted to know what they liked and wanted to know all about the family, he was just a great example of love for them. I want to be like that! It was awesome. We really saw, during our appointment, just how stressed Br_____ is, having to take care of her 3 kids almost on her own. But at the end, the member, Julian Klemm, who is a photographer, wanted pictures of us all, and the kids loved that! Then he offered that he and his wife would come with us on Tuesday (so, tomorrow) and we would all eat together and then teach the children how to pray! And Br_____ loved that, and I love it, and THAT is how members and missionaries need to work together. I am so excited for tomorrow! Br_____ said that she was so happy! What a difference that was to the stress we saw before. She said she was happy that she could become more involved in a group of people like this member. It was perfect. Afterwards, we talked with Julian, and he told us the reasons for his enthusiasm and such. He said that the Baptist church, for example, has great success with African people beacuse they see people up there shouting Hallelujah and loving it! And then he said the hard thing with our church is just when they come and see someone standing at the pulpit, maybe crying, and talking to the people. Of course, shouting and such wouldn't be appropriate at Sacrament Meeting, but we are normal, excited, happy people! And he really showed that to them at the apopintment. It was fantastic. And he said he wants them to see a baptism, even if they have to get them to Munich, so they can just see the gospel in action. It was brilliant! We shall see how it goes :)
Anyway, gestern Elder Allan and I tied like 60 ties for a man, C_____, from Nigeria, with whom I met once with Elder Stokes an eternity ago. He knows that Bible! He said that we could ask him any story, and he would tell it to us. First he did Joseph of Egypt. Then we related it to Nephi, the Book of Mormon! I also compared Alma the younger and Saul. And then he took the Book of Mormon, which he didn't last time. That was cool. We helped Neuötting with an Ausstellung, so a booth thing, on Saturday, followed by helping a lady move in Simbach. I had an Austausch with Elder Abbott, who thinks that Justin (Gibbons) might know his uncle, because his uncle, Tim Kuehne, is a squadron commander of refuelers in England right now. Does Justin know him?
Um, I am doing great! Don´t worry about me! We have FHE at Pres. Auras´ tonight, so we are excited! And maybe I will buy lederhosen next week! What more could I ask for? I am alive, a little wet, yes, but surviving. It´s great! Hopefully summer decides to come somewhat soon.
To end, I just had a great experience in church yesterday. They talked about the temple a lot, for obvious reasons. And I just really missed the temple! I want to go there so badly. I sang the Primary song a lot in my head yesterday. Wish I had a guitar to learn it on... but I was just enjoying the Spirit as I pondered the importance of the temples, and I looked out the frosted glass door and saw how chaotic the weather was outside. I could see the trees going crazy in the wind. But all was peaceful and quiet in the chapel. The Spirit was there, He touched my heart, I was warm, and I was sitting next to S_____ and B_____, who are just trying to follow the Lord in a different land. It was great to think about the peace that the gospel brings. I know that peace can be found in this world, that light will always chase away darkness, and that all things are possible to us through the Atoning sacrifice of the Savior, Jesus Christ.
I hope you have a great week, enjoy school being over (crazy that I have been graduated for two years already!) and tell Nathan to drive safely, Kate to remember what she learns at EFY, etc. Just choose to be happy, ja? That is my goal, to make good choices like that. I choose to be happy, and I choose to work for my Savior. That should bring enough fulfillment in life, oder?
I love you all! Keep smiling!
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS. Some wisdom from Sister Pingree (a quote she sent me this week): "If you aren´t using your time to make someone else´s life better... you´re wasting it!"

Monday, May 20, 2013

Hallo Everyone!

Hallo everyone, here I am again!
It was great to hear your story, Dad. I think you should be careful with your knee haha. How is the farm doing? It has been a long time since I have been there.

So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATE AND DAD! I hope they were fun, in some way or another. Strawberry pie sounds like the most delicious thing ón earth right now. I haven't eaten lunch yet, and we are at the church writing emails, because EVERYTHING is closed for one of their Catholic holidays. So there is really nothing to do. Depending on how much time we have, we may go play sports or something. With no one in particular, because the whole ward basically is at the temple this week. It will be a hard week to find members to teach with us, especially when we need a man there with us. We´re working on it.
So, the news! We have 4 baptismal dates now, set last week! P_____, Br_____, and S_____ and Be_____. All from Africa. All our lessons in English. But they are the ones we found, and they want to follow Jesus Christ. With S_____ and Be_____, we have to just teach out of the lesson pamphlets we have, we have them read and then we discuss things. It is working so far! We have really emphasized the blessing the gospel is to their families. They know that we can be tied to our families forever. And S_____ and Be_____ came to church yesterday, and we had a lesson the second hour with them, finishing the Plan of Salvation, and it was so great! We talked about the restoration, and how we will all receive perfected bodies, and I think S_____ loved that idea, because of his injuries. And he told us that he really wants to live with his family and with Heavenly Father in the celestial kingdom. So we asked him how he could do it, and he said he had to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ! It was such a great lesson, and the Spirit bore witness to me that God has a plan for us, and the way is given. We just have to follow it!
We read 2 Nephi 31 with Br_____, and talked about baptism more, and then set up a date to work towards. Hers is June 23rd. We are pushing to really meet more than once a week, because then the Spirit is in her life more and we can give her the encouragment she needs. With P_____ this week, we talked about repentance. We had him write down the things he wants to stop, and then he tore it up and threw it away, a sign that he left it behind. We got that idea from our zone training meeting with Elders Eaker and Orchard. They did a fantastic job preparing the meeting for the members of the Zone. At the end, they asked us to write down something that we wanted to just put on the altar and leave behind. So we did, and then we went and put it through the shredder. It actually felt very good, I felt lighter. Then they asked us to write down a new tool that we needed to pick up, something new to try out, and put it in our wallets. I got to spend some time with Elder Harris, and we discussed how the things we wrote down to shred were basically the same, and about how good it felt to know that those were just gone. It went well with something that Pres. Miles told us in his email last week. He said that there are 5 things that we as missionaries must sacrifice, leave on the altar. Those are: our disobedience, our personal limits, our comfort zones, our sins, and our homes. That was Tuesday, and then from Thursday to Sunday, we had 8 baptismal dates set in the Munich Zone! The Elders in Neuötting have one as well. We are very excited!
On Thursday we went to the Denggs' house and did a lot of garden work for Sis. Dengg, lots of digging and such. I got a pretty decent sunburn, but I took good care of it, lots of hydrating lotion (it really hurt, though) and I am much better now! But I like that kind of work. I just thought about how I hated having to go and weed at home, or do such things, but now I would love to do it. People change, eh? Then on Saturday, all of our appointments fell out, except one with S_____ and Be_____, and so we did lots of finding. And later in the evening we went to the wedding reception at the church for one of the sisters in the ward, who got married to Robert, another member of the ward from Uganda. They were really happy! And we got to talk to some people, too. There was really good food! And so much dessert! But we had to leave before 9 of course, and Br. Königbauer drove us home. He asked how the work was going (which I really don´t know how best to answer, whenever someone asks that haha) and we told him about all our friends from Africa. He asked why there were no Germans who had interest in the Gospel, and I didn't have an answer. We will find the ones who do, no doubt, but there are so many people, throughout the whole mission, too, who are not German who are the ones being baptized and such. Br. Königbauer said the immigrants are just humble already. So, we just have to keep working! It is sad that it is so, all of our friends who come to church need translation, because they don't speak much, if any, German. Things are definitely picking up, and we will find those who are ready. That is all I can say!
Um, yeah, things must be going okay at home! But I don't have much else to say today. The time is just running together, I will be back here in no time, writing about the next 7 days. The year mark wasn't anything special, although I did get some Dr. Pepper from Sis. Dengg. Wonder if Tyson did anything fun.
Well, we are busy, and when we are busy, there is no time to think about not being happy. I like it that way. I am still stretched in uncomfortable ways, but so it goes with the process of life and learning. That should all be on my altar of sacrifice anyway. A quote: "Je mehr du gibst, desto mehr Schätze wirst du in dir finden." So, the more you give, the more treasures you will find in yourself. That is what I am trying to do. And another from Bruce Lee: We can be shown the way, but we have to go it ourselves. (These are all from my calendar, ja?) Some of them are the wisdom of men, like the one that told me a few days ago that happiness is having all the things that you want. Yeah right! Haha. I just laugh.
I hope you have a good week, enjoy whatever weather you are having (mine changes from sunny and warm to pouring rain multiple times during the day, we can never tell) and that all goes well with finishing the schoolyear. Holy cow, when is graduation?
I love you, and I will talk to you next week! Smile, it´s contagious. ´:)
Elder Gibbons

Monday, May 13, 2013

Grüaß euch!

There is a sunset, kind of, just the colors from our window
Our district: from left to right, me, Elder Abbott, Elder Jones,
 Elder Allan, Sister Regnier, and Sister Garrett
Check out how we magnify our tiny little speakers :) pretty clever, ge?
Hey, long time no see! Or write...or whatever you would say. It was too bad the internet connection kept going off over there. Elder Allan´s family had actually just bought a new router, and his picture was so clear and the playback was great. Of course, the first thing he thought was, "Why did you wait till I was gone?" haha. :) But I enjoyed it very much, even with Max´s obsession with dead horses... :o . Nay, ´s war halt lustig. :)
Anyway, what do I tell you now? Well, I told you a bit about our awesome week, well just one day, when we gave out all the Books of Mormon we had and had two awesome lessons. But I can still add on to that. Our lesson with the guys from Congo was really cool, we talked about the power of prayer, and the one who speaks more English told us about when he was in a bad accident in the past, and the doctors all said he would never walk again. But he told them that he would pray to his Jesus, and he would walk. And walk he does today! <-- did that make sense in English? We have made lots of jokes this week wondering how Yoda would speak in German, since the grammar is similar.... Anyway, that was a cool miracle in his life. And we were able to bear testimony and promise them more blessings through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I love it :) Then, our meeting with B_____, the woman from Ghana, was so cool! Pres. Reisinger was there with us and shared his testimony about eternal families and how to know if the Book of Mormon is true. We focused on the family, and always brought it back to how the family would be together forever, but only through the covenants and the authority in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. And she said she would pray about the Book of Mormon and that she would be baptized when she knows it is true! This week we will set a date for her to work towards, so that her family can be together forever. That would be worth a lifetime of work, oder? Not to mention a short two years as a missionary.
Something else I noticed this week was that I was much more straightforward and bold in talking to people. I told them what I knew, why I knew it, and what it meant for them and for me. We spoke very plainly about how the blessings of the gospel are obtained by obedience, and by making covenants through the authority of the Priesthood. And I feel more successful, at least happier with my work. It is all so simple and plain to me, why we need the Book of Mormon, why we go to church, why we try to live like Christ, and I just don't understand why some people don't get it, won't even try to ask. I am amazed by the influence that Satan has in the world. Like I said, it makes me sick. And what a "wretched man am I... because of the temptations and the sins which do so easily beset me." I read in Doctrine and Covenants this morning, section 49, about the Shakers and the things that they kinda didn't understand... I will not go off on my rant that I did this morning as we dicussed how ridiculous it was that people believed those things, but suffice it to say that it is wahnsinn how much hold Satan has on the hearts of the children of men. Get yourselves hence from the world, is the warning! Protect your fellowmen, yourself, your family. We have so much work to do, and we can only do it with the Lord.
The gospel is simple, so plain. If anyone doesn't know why we have the Book of Mormon, just read 1 Nephi 13 and 14, ja? The words written in those chapters, and in every chapter and book and verse of the Book of Mormon are true, I testify. Joseph Smith did NOT write the Book of Mormon. He translated it. He did not slip in details that would help him establish a church for any reason. He did all that he did as a servant called of the Lord, and anyone who denies that is distancing themselves from the Lord, and as Elder Holland puts it, is in for many long nights and empty nets. Trust in the Lord, trust in His chosen servants, and it will be well with you. You will not be exempt from afflictions or trials, that was never said to us. But we will be given the power to change our circumstances, change our perspective, and to grow.
"Hark all ye nations! hear heaven´s voice thru every land, that all may rejoice, angels of glory shout the refrain, truth is restored again!"
I love that song, I could listen to it over and over on Elder Allan´s ipod (I don't have it on mine :/). The truth is here, we know it, and we can and will give it to others. If no one I talk to will realize it, I have come to know it! So have many others, and we are in every land and among every people in the world, where the people have accepted us. There is something behind us, yes. So many people say that there must be something there, if two young men are over here in Germany and doing something that is so hard. And we say, "Yes there is something there! Don´t you want to find out?" So many have no desire. But God will lead us and has led us to those who are ready.
Those have been my thoughts through the last week, although they have come together much neater than how they came to me, ha. You got the refined version. The gospel is true, Jesus Christ is the only way to the Father, our Father, and He has revealed His truth in the last days through prophets, just as He did from the beginning of the world on. He is a God of miracles, He is a God of healing. Let yourself be healed through Him, and go forward with faith. What more can I say?
I love you all! I hope you have a great week, and just be happy, smile, and praise the Lord for His goodness, ge?
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hello! Wie geht´s euch?

At the Denggs' home making apfelstrudel
Ward hike
Beautiful yard!
Jalen knows I love tulips!
Hello! Wie geht´s euch?
Okay, so that I don't forget, let´s establish the skype stuff, eh? :) So we will plan to do it at 8 o´clock my time, so noon there. We are going to the Family Hopf :) I have to remember now what my information is, I will look back at my planner from Christmas haha. That is how that will work, ge? Noon, be there ;)
Well, today has been great so far :) We went to pick up Elder Allan's visa this morning, and we were headed home again when two African guys stopped us. The problem was, they were speaking French. So we had some awkward seconds, where they were looking at my nametag, and then they asked if we spoke English! Of course we do, last time I checked. We told them again in English what we were doing, and we told them about the Book of Mormon. Then Elder Allan pulled a French Book of Mormon out of his bag :) and the guys said they were so happy to meet us, and asked when they could see us again :) So we got their numbers. It is going to be a good week, because we already have 2 potentials, which is the number we got for the whole last week! Awesome :) I was really happy after that. I love those experiences. We had another one like that on Wednesday, where we hadn't found anyone willing to listen to us, and then we talked to a Romanian guy and his mother, and Elder Allan pulled a Romanian BofM out of his backpack. Way to be prepared, Elder Allan! I decided to start carrying at least one non-German language with me. Maybe Polish. We talked to a nice Polish couple last night, in English. They taught me how to say "how are you" in Polish. But they didn't want to listen to the gospel. Darn it. And I probably can't even pronounce the Polish correctly. I guess I didn't learn too well. We also gave two younger men, maybe our age, Books of Mormon gestern. One asked if we were Christian, and he showed us his tattoo of Christ on his arm. Well, now he has a Book of Mormon to add to his faith. Haha. And there was another younger man on Saturday who was very interested in the Book of Mormon, and was so excited to take one. Too bad none of these people wanted to give us their information to meet with them again. But, we gave out a Book of Mormon every single day last week. That is one of our mission goals, so obviously we were blessed for that this morning. We shall keep it going! :)
Otherwise, the week was pretty rough on me, in all honestly. On Thursday we talked to so many people who just didn't want to hear it. There was some younger woman we talked to about the purpose of life, and I asked if she was interested in learning more and she said yes! So I asked if we could get her information to try and set up an appointment, and she said no. I was just so confused. Rough. Then the guy we talked to after that, we asked what brought him happiness in life, and he smiled, kept walking and said,"absolutely nothing, tschüß!" and the words going through my head, which I did not say, were along the lines of, "Don´t you understand that that is what we are trying to give you? Just take a freaking second and listen, eh?" (You can see why I refrained, and later had to repent...) Yeah, it was rough. But then we talked to some very nice people, which made me feel better. So geht es, aber. The life of a missionary is really the most rewarding thing. All these experiences were just precursors to the comfort and peace I was able to find later through prayer and when I had time just to think. I learned a lot.
Hey, transfers are past! We have the two new missionaries in the district, Sister Regnier from California, and Elder Abbott from Orem, Utah. That is all I know about them haha. I will meet them tomorrow. But I am excited to work with both of them!
We had our ward trip this week, it was so much fun! I will send some pictures, yeah? First we did a hike, then ate lunch, played on the cool playground (it is all so much better in Europe, weißt?) and then we went and did an alpine coaster thing, like we did in Park City! It wasn't as big or as good, but still fun. Even Elder Anderson had fun on it, no braking haha. It was a good day.
Oh, we also had an awesome appointment with a woman from Ghana with Elder Anderson, she was one of the ones who talked to US after our exchange with the zone leaders last transfer. We finally got to meet her, and it was so great! We just bore tesimony about the Book of Mormon, gave her one in English, and she said she would do her best to read at least 5 minutes every day, because she is pretty stressed most of the time. But we talked about the power of prayer, and she told us that even though she is always stressed during the day, when the day comes to an end, she told us everything turns out alright. And she knows that comes from God. She thinks it is really cool that we have prophets, she likes that. And then we told her we would love for her to come to church, because the family is really emphasized there. Hopefully she can soon. She asked us a few questions about our standards, basically, because she said that she didn't drink alcohol, she likes modesty, etc. So we smiled and said that she would fit right in, haha. It was so cool :) We are calling her today, to see when we can meet again this week. It was just a cool experience for me because I really felt that we were good friends, and I knew that what we had could bring her so much happiness. I guess you would call it love. You can find it, even in the world today, of that I testify.
We got to meet a less active sister this week, we went to dinner with the Andersons and Sis. Zacherl. She is from Brazil, and she served a mission there too. When we were leaving, we had committed her to coming to church, and she just said that she knew she should, but no yes or no. Sis. Zacherl asked me how someone could forget after serving a mission. Beats me! But she was so nice, and it was good food. She had a very nice house, too. For two of them. Her husband isn't a member. That is also a problem. But he wasn't there.
I also learned to make real Austrian Apfelstrudel this week. I rolled out the dough and stretched it out. I will send some pictures of that too. That was with the Denggs.
Well, lots happened this last week. But it was really the quickest week of my life, I swear! I am just happy when I go out, work, come home tired, sleep, wake up, study, go work, and so on. It is great. And I know that as long as I do all I can, the Lord will touch people and prepare them to receive Him. Maybe not for me. Maybe not for years. But I will do what I can now so that they get that chance. And there are people ready now, and we are working hard to find them. But the Lord knows who they are, what they do, and we will just find our way to meet them through the Spirit. It really is a different perspective when I am on the streets and think about how that person walking towards me ended up doing so right when we were walking that way. Mind-blowing, wirklich. It helps me keep talking, and the blessings always come. Obedience. It is the key to happiness. The Lord will do His part, you´ve heard it all before. But when you actually do something, and you see that the Lord really does do His part, your understanding and gratitude for the gospel of Jesus Christ will be deeper and more meaningful. I can promise you all that.
Well, I already emailed Logan and Kelly and Ben for their birthdays, but I hope everyone else with a birthday this week has a great one too :) I am excited to talk to you again on Sunday, it will come so fast. But until then, I will be here, doing the greatest work in the world. Don´t worry about me :)
I love you all and pray everyday for you. I hope you are happy and healthy and enjoying the wonders of life.
Keep smiling :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS- so the pictures... my cool CHEF apron at the Denggs, and my balancing act was about 15 feet off the ground (so it wasn't super easy!) and the other one...what was it? Oh yeah, Bavarian forrest. And a member has a very beautiful front lawn! Got some pictures for you, Mom. Pretty cool :) ciao!