Monday, July 8, 2013

Elder Janis (back left) and Elder Orchard

Jalen with Elder Riser
Hey Familie und Freunde, da bin ich wieder da :)
I wish I could type in German. It would be good practice. But besides the point.... How are you all doing? The weather here is a bit warmer geworden this last week, and we were just all over the place. Mission leadership council was Thursday and Friday, and it was way fun. I saw lots of friends and made new friends. There were rootbeer floats, but I didn't have ice cream. I just drank a root beer and felt not very good. I don´t like drinking soda anymore. Well, sometimes I do, but I am trying to just stick with water.
Okay, I did some pictures, with Elder Riser and Robins and then of Elder Orchard, from the meeting in Munich. And to answer your questions about the sisters, we have certain sisters who ARE in leadership positions, called Sister Training Leaders. I thought it was a worldwide thing. But, they are basically just the people the Sisters go to when they have problems, so that we zone leaders don´t have to deal with all that stuff. They do exchanges with the Sisters and work with us in training the zone and such. It is actually way cool. It will totally change the future of leaders in Relief Society and Young Women and everything. Does anyone else´s mission do that? Our Sister Training leaders are Sister Stewart and Sister Jencks.
Hey, the world is way small! I am going to tell you a story. We were on the train to Munich on Thursday, and we were discussing favorite colors and stuff with the Sisters, and then we started talking about eyeballs. And eye color. So we asked Sister Jencks what color her eyes are and she said that it depended on her mood! We all thought that was way cool. (Dad, have you seen stuff like that? People´s eyes changing colors? That is so cool). Anyway, Elder Davies looks at me very perplexed and asks if that is even real? And I said yeah, it is pretty crazy, there was this girl once who stood up in my Book of Mormon class at BYU and said that her eyes changed colors depending on her mood. So Sister Jencks asks me who I had for Book of Mormon, and I said Bruder Parker, and then she said, "That was me!!!" Crazy world, huh? Then we established later that I had sat in the observation room watching a preschool class at the JSFB (for a paper in my Child Development class) and she was there helping out! The world is small, and when you are a missionary who went to BYU, it is even smaller, eh? That was a lot of fun. That is way cool that Tyson is training the grandson of his New Mexico Mission President and his wife. I love being a missionary. :)
This week, apart from being gone for a couple days, was okay. Our appointment fell out with K_____, and he isn't getting back from whatever trip he is on until tomorrow. We did get to meet with E_____ again, and are meeting him tomorrow again. Tomorrow is zone training meeting, and I am way excited. I had a great experience when just thinking about and preparing for this meeting, because in doing so and thinking about how we were going to uplift the zone and get everyone excited and ready to work even harder, I found so many answers for the things that have been bothering me in the last few weeks. And I think now that I get most of my answers in a combination of from other people or when I am thinking about others. What I could share with you was just the importance of putting your mind where your feet are, and focusing on what you are doing and what is going to bring you closer to your potential. In thinking about that, I thought of D&C 45:32, about standing in holy places. And then I just thought, "Elder Gibbons, look where you are. It doesn´t matter what you did in the past, what you feel you DIDN´T do, that doesn´t matter. Look at where you are standing, because THAT is where you belong." And then, just like always, all that weight and those burdens and doubts just left, lifted by a power far beyond my own. I know that the Savior will give us strength, and I know that He will have mercy on us, for He loves us. And what else do we need in life, other than to know and experience that freedom from guilt and sin? I am so grateful for the Atonement and its enabling power, because I feel born again and ready to help others feel it too.
I don´t know if I have told you yet, but Stuttgart really just feels like home. I don´t know how to explain it, but Elder Harris told Elder Davies that that is how it is-wherever you are zone leader is just your home. I just love being here and love working with these missionaries, and this is home. Funny enough, we have a CD with a song on it called "This is Home" by Switchfoot. And when we listen to it, all we think about is just being here. Listen to it and you can imagine how it just fits in perfectly with the things I have learned and felt this week.   
Um.... today is our zone Pday! I am excited. The Bensons are going to help us with our grilling, a mini Independence Day celebration for the rest of the missionaries haha. And Fußball. Can´t go wrong with that.
We got lots of potentials last week, and the coolest thing was that 12 of them came from the Wells family. We went to their house on Tuesday, like we do every week, and this time they wanted us to teach the first lesson, so they could know how to talk to their friends about it! (How awesome is that? It is the start of everything the broadcast was about, this is how it should be done!) And then they gave us 12 names to pray for specifically, and tomorrow we are going back and we are going to role-play how they could talk with these friends. But Sister Wells is an awesome missionary, she just orders Books of Mormon online in whatever language she needs and gives them to her neighbors. We are so thankful for them and know that they can be a great influence on these other families. It was the coolest thing ever to hear Sister Wells tell us about one of these families, her good friends. She said that ever since the first day she saw them, she just pictured them in white. Incredible. The oldest daughter also wants to talk to her friends at school, so hopefully she can do that too. It will be awesome. 
We didn't get ahold of the Portuguese family, but we are going by today because it is the son's birthday :) Hopefully we can get them to church. We have started to do a lot of less active work, trying to stop by and say hello and offer our help, and then we just do some finding on the way and in the area. This is seriously the quickest transfer I have ever had. It is week 5 already. So much to do and I wake up in the morning, mind buzzing about what we are going to do. It is great.
I emailed Justin back, just about some of the things that he could get me quickly. Otherwise, I think I would just have to get some shoes and some shorts and maybe pants on my own. I can definitely buy slacks and white shirts here, that is easy. I just have no Pday, sport type clothes. I think Justin may send me some, I don't know, you can talk to him. And I still love ties! I lost some of my favorite ties, like my sweet green one. But it is okay, I will get the luggage back someday. Just practicing patience. But yeah, I lost the first year of my journals, too. I wrote every day, for over a year. Well, I have my journal now, which started on March 13. So a little under a year. But I did it, and I know I did it. Sorry Mom :/ probably a pretty big hit. I have all my pictures though, like I said. We just move on. Elder Davies' dad told him last week that he could withdraw a couple hundred euro to buy me some stuff, but I can´t let him do that! Haha. I am grateful for the offer, though.
Okay, tomorrow I will withdraw some money and reimburse the Bensons, and maybe I will just take some more out next week to get some of the things I need. Otherwise, reallly, I am fine. And happy to be here :)
Hey, I love you all a lot. And the Lord loves you a lot. And I am exactly where I am supposed to be, as are you! So make something of everyday, enjoy life, all of God´s creations, and thank Him for the ways He helps you and blesses you throughout the day. You will be a happier person, and more pleasant to be around (not that you are unpleasant in any way ;) )
Have a great week and smile! :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons

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