Hello again family! We come together at the beginning of another week. How crazy is that? Krass. Ich weiß aber wirklcih nicht, was ich sagen will. It was a rather strange week, just because of transfers and such. Elder Davies trying to say goodbye to everyone in the ward in the midst of trying to set up last appointments so he could say goodbye to our investigators. It was pretty stressful. But assume safely that there will be similar situations later in my life. I am kinda just on a windback from all the stress, and knowing that there is just so much that we would like to accomplish, and not having any idea where to start! For example, we have a goal in this mission that every companionship has a baptism this transfer. It is already week 2! And our goal for baptisms this year is 290 (that number came from the bottom up, namely from ward councils to the stake presidents, to the Area presidency and mission presidency, etc.) I don´t even know where we are at, as a mission! I don´t even think we are halfway. And we have only 5 months left. I feel a great burden of urgency. This is very similar to the situtation I was in about a year ago, as I arrived in Klagenfurt. I heard the goal for the year was 300+, and we were at about 100. Well, I was new, I had no idea how this work went, and I figured I would have to rely on the older more experienced missionaries to be finding those elect people who were ready to accept the restored gospel. (Yeah, I know I had a pretty bad thought process back then haha. I am a bit different now.) Guess where I am now? I am that "more experienced" missionary. And truly, I know that we can make miracles happen, that we can really reach this goal. It is going to take everything that I have and will require the same of everyone. Elder Horlacher and I just are temporarily stuck on what we can do to get everyone else in the zone closer to reaching this goal. With 15 companionships, we have only about half as many baptismal dates. Can´t have baptisms without baptismal dates.
I am going to stop there. Kinda sounded like I was going off about numbers, but that is not true, because the numbers aren´t important. I know that the companionships in this zone are working hard and doing what they do. My only wish is to figure out how we can make that work more effective and more enjoyable, to start a change to make us all more faithful. That is where we currently are. And all we can think of is that WE have to do it zuerst, and the others will follow. So we are doing it!
Well, now that I kinda just typed out all that stress, I feel a bit better. Sorry to plague you all with it. This is the business of change we are involved in, and it requires a lot of work.
By the way, transfers all went smoothly, and Elder Horlacher and I have had so much fun and done good work so far! Kai Weiß came to church again, which is great. We started teaching him about the plan of happiness on Saturday. I love that guy. He wore a new orleans saints t shirt to church, and when Elder Horlacher told him that that was his team (he comes from Louisiana, Elder Horlacher does) Kai left, changed his shirt, and gave it to Elder Horlacher. Sad part was, he just disappeared right when sacrament meeting started, so he missed the sacrament :/ but he came back and came up front to sit with me, and he was so happy that he was able to make Elder Horlacher happy and give him that shirt. I told Kai that Elder Horlacher would definitely be happy about it, and Kai said he was just happy that he could help someone, do something nice for someone. I really saw his heart. In the middle of his troubles, he takes the opportunities to serve others. And that may be the only thing that makes him feel good about himself. He does so much to try and help his other friends who have problems, and it just really puts him in a lot of stress. But he is a good man, and those are hard to find these days, oder?
We had a great lesson with the other Kai this week too, where we figured out that he has nothing against being baptized, but he just does not like church. He didn't come this week either :( We told him, though, that he couldn't make a decision about church until he actually came to it, and he admitted that was true. He just has to come. That is the next step he needs. After that appointment, which we had up the street in a nice park, it started pouring rain. We got soaked, it felt so good! Because it has been so hot!!! We don´t live in the "kettle" that Mom talked about, I don´t think, but it is still way too warm. Our apartment is constantly 80-85 degrees. Then it poured again last night, and things are cooler now. I hope that it is still going a little bit. This morning was sprinkling, aber really cool and nice. When it rains here, it rains!
Last Monday was lots of fun! Went to the base with a couple families (one of them being the Johnson family, who lived in Mountain Home a little while ago! They were in 2nd ward, and therefore know the Drapers and Johnsons and Rileys and Sessions and everyone else! And they are moving back there in December, they said. So I will see them when I get home. Cool, huh?). Taco Bell was okay, good taste of home I guess. I don´t eat much anymore, because I don´t run and play soccer. Then we had an adventure at the Rittersport factory. I didn't even buy any chocolate though. Don´t hate me, I just didn't feel like it. I have eaten much chocolate and sugar and the like on my mission, and I have cut it down a lot. The day was really warm and chocolate wasn't too appealing. But it was a cool place anyway. I would send pictures, but it isn't working today.
The coolest thing about Monday was that Elder Davies' friend from Singen came up to spend the day with us :) Julian, who is going to go on a mission soon! He was less active when Elder Davies was there, and Elder Davies loved to see how he has changed now. Elder Davies is the reason he is going on a mission. We walked around the main shopping street, got ice cream, and then we went to C&A and I bought a new suit :) It was €70, and now I don´t have to wear the same one every week. So now I have a European suit and an American suit. Pretty big difference. But hanging out with him was cool. And then our GML bought us Pizza Hutt for dinner :) He is also awesome.
OH! Guess who I met from the Military ward this week? Too bad I can´t send the picture. Lisa Berente, a good friend of Janet´s, and basically the Gibbons family. She is here, not too far from Stuttgart. She saw me, came up to me and said "Hello Elder GIbbons, I knew you when you were little in Mountain Home." Cool, eh? She wants to invite us to dinner sometime, so we can speak German with her neighbors :) Can´t wait. The world is small.
We are playing Fußball today with the district, I am excited. We also need to head out. I hope you all have a great week, it was great to hear about all the stuff going on. Thanks for being informative. Sorry if my info is lacking haha. Lots to do. I love you all, and know that Heavenly Father is watching over you. When times get tough, we have lots to learn :)
Keep smiling! :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS Liebe Grüße con Elder Horlacher :)