Elder Davies--very cool apron!
Hey, thanks for the email with Pres. Auras´ post, that made my day :) I love them all too! He has a wonderful family. And Derek Ryan emailed me and told me the big news for this coming Saturday :) so I am just way happy right now!
Well, there seemed to be one permeating message in all of your emails, so I will address that now. I do not have my bags, but we are working on it! Elder Davies has been a trooper and lent me some clothes and such when I need them, and I have a pair of beat up tennis shoes from Elder Hansen, so I am just fine :) Although, I got a call from President Miles the other day, and he is really worrying about my luggage, and he told me I need to be proactive and use my phone and call people until I can locate my luggage. Well, I told him I would, but I have no numbers to call.... so I need to go to bahnhof and just ask, I guess. But yeah, I have moments where I want to go grab things from my bags, and then realize I don't have that at the moment... haha. Just makes it an adventure. But I am fine, you can stop worrying! The person I have become and the things I have seen and felt and heard in the last year are worth more than anything in those bags. They´ll find their way to me eventually. But I will still be proactive, yes.
Well, another week gone! We did get to play some Fußball this last week, but it was SOOO HOT!! We played in a little street basketball/soccer court, and even though it was just caged in, we felt like we were in an oven. So we played 4 v. 4 for like 40 minutes, then spent the rest of the time in the huge grocery store next to it, dreaming about lying down in the ice cream freezers. But today, I am sitting next to Sister Holmstead at this moment, and after emails we will go and play Fußball again with lots of the missionaries from the zone :) Yay! She says hello. (<-- she authorizes that). I am excited. I am actually wearing the black Germany jersey that I have, but this one is Elder Davies', because I don't have mine at the moment. Last Monday we also had the chance to go to FHE with E_____, one of our investigators. He is really cool, and he liked the time to meet people and the spiritual part of it. He is very open and has good questions. Plus, one of the people there at the FHE activity was a girl from Graz, Austria! I told her I love Graz, and she asked if I knew the Lex family. I said I did, and I even ate with them on austausch with Elder Smith in Graz in my first transfer! Almost a year ago! And then we realized that I had eaten dinner with her parents and her two younger sisters, probably like my 3rd or 4th week in the mission field! So we took a picture so I could send it to her family. But I forgot their email addresses today....
Tuesday we had district meeting, and that was a lot of fun. Our district is Elder Davies and I, in the German ward, then two elders in the International ward (Elders Hansen and Tauche) and then 3 Sisters, in a drit, Sisters Stewart and Jencks and Green. Sister Green is a golden, and being trained by the other two. Sister Stewart goes home this transfer though, so then Sister Jencks will probably finish off the training. We have lots of fun together, and we all love being here. And then the Bensons, the Ehepaar, are there as well :) I love them too.
On Wednesday we went to Ulm to go to their district meeting, and then do an austausch. We had some difficulties, however, getting on the train. We ended up on the wrong one, had to get out at the next stop and then wait an hour until the next one came. We were kinda frustrated, and Elder Davies called Elder Kinghorn to tell him we would be late, and really, before he even hung up, a man walked up to us and asked what we were doing. So we told him who we were, and gave him a BoM and he said he just wanted to get away from alcohol. We promised he could, and then set up an appointment for Saturday (sadly, we couldn't find him, he gave us a bad address :/) but we knew immediately what we were doing in Bad Cannstatt, rather than on the train to Ulm. Elder Kinghorn and I came back to Stuttgart, which was fun because we were in the MTC together, and we went to a place called Böblingen. We talked with 3 people and made 3 appointments and gave a BoM away in like 20 minutes' time, and about 50 meters. We were excited :) All those appoointments fell out, too :( but we keep going.
On Thursday, after a very uncomfortably warm night, we switched back our companions, and then later that night we went and played soccer with some of the young men from the ward. The leaders are really pushing them to go on missions, and sadly I don´t think there is much excitement at the moment. So we want to get to know them better and change that :) They said we were the first elders that were actually good at soccer, so that was nice. That night there was a crazy rainstorm and lightning and thunder. We actuallly went out for a couple minutes in the rain. It was literally like buckets of water falling from the sky, we got soaked immediately (we were wearing the clothes we played soccer in anyway, so it felt good). That was crazy. We played some more soccer at a BBQ we were invited to on Saturday night, and we got the whole district so excited about soccer too :) I love it when that happens. Sister Jencks did a perfect rainbow after like 4 tries, and learned to head the ball right. And Sister Green was excited to try more at home, so she said they have to go buy a soccer ball :) Music to my ears, those words. It is the greatest game ever.
Sunday was also great, there was a talk about gratitude, which really touched me. I need to be more grateful to Heavenly Father. But I was in a much better mood after that than I was that morning. I was just tired and my brain was going really slowly. I sat with the Wells family kids. They are Americans, but the husband is an author, Dan Wells, and they moved here to Stuttgart, and they have us and the sisters over every Tuesday for dinner :) I love their kids. So I sat with them. Bruder Wells came on a joint teach with us Tuesday. He speaks Spanish, and he had a fun time trying to talk to a man who speaks Portuguese. But it went very well, and we were very grateful for his help. It was very cool to know the Lord was just helping this man understand. We have another appointment with him, A_____, on Tuesday, with someone who speaks Portuguese :) yay.
We are way excited for this coming week, and I am excited to see the changes that come in the missionaries in the zone as we set up our own zone vision for what we want to become. We have interviews this week with President Miles, and we will probably discuss it more until we can write our own spiritual constitution as a zone, things that will change us into the best missionaries we can be. And I get to start with myself. The missionaries in this zone aren´t going to do it if I don´t.
It sounds like you had a very fun week! Sorry for Malcolm, I didn't think the knock-out-your-teeth club was THAT cool, cool enough that he wanted to join haha. Hope all goes well with him. I can´t believe Logan comes home tomorrow! O my goodness! Tell him Hi :)
Um, I will send some pictures this time, we are at a different place today. But I am almost out of time. There is Elder Davies, nice apron, and there is a picture of a sunset over Stuttgart, not too far from our place. Then, a picture with S_____ and Be_____ (respectively left and right).
Hey, I love you all :) and I love where I am, and what I am doing. I know it is the Lord´s work, and I have never been happier :) Sometimes we don´t know if we make a difference, but then you get emails like Pres. Auras´ or the email from Derek, and you know that you have done something right :) It is all worth it. Heavenly Father loves us all so much.
Have a great week! Be happy, and smile :) Fare thee well.
Elder Jalen Gibbons