Monday, September 30, 2013

Schönen Guten Tag!

Hey, sorry about last week (the 6-minute e-mail from 9/23/13)! It was just pretty crazy. But lots of fun! This week was also pretty cool, but I wasn't even here for half the week! I was in Munich on Tuesday and and came back Wednesday morning. I had a tausch with Elder Bailey, who is incredible! I learned so much from him. We drove around Munich to go by on people, met with a new convert, and I saw the Garmisch mountains on the horizon! I miss mountains haha. Then, came back to Stuttgart, and took off again on Thursday morning to go to Ludwigsburg, where I had a tausch with Elder Morrill! He is also awesome! :) He plays the guitar really well. One day I may be like him. Haha. OH guess what? I don't need to buy a coat anymore. I just decided to tough it out... haha yeah right, I got a nice coat for FREE! From the Ludwigsburg apartment! AND!!! I sewed two whole buttons on it to fix it :) Aren´t you proud of me? I am pretty impressed. So I will survive now, and I didn't have to pay a cent!
Other than last week, not much new stuff going on. We found almost double the potential investigators this week as a zone! That is awesome. But, on our side, it is just ridiculous how we lose contact so quickly! It drives us nuts! I sent K_____ a text last night, and still haven't heard a thing from him. We stopped by his mom's house to see if she knew anything, and she was rather rude for no reason. And nothing else from any of the others. R_____#2 cancelled AGAIN. So all of our lessons this week were with R_____#1! She is doing well, except we tell her EVERY time that she doesn't need to cook or bake anything, but she does it. It always tastes good, but it takes so much time! We are really just working on understanding how much she is understanding what we teach. We watched the Restoration with her and it was so great, I know Joseph Smith was a prophet, it is witnessed every time I see the film or think about all the things he did. But we need to make sure she is really listening, and understanding. But we will meet pretty often this week, hopefully. We are going to Munich again, crazy how it is time again already! I only have two more of these mission leadership council meetings. I really enjoy them.
Thanks for all your advice and your suggestions and such about success. As you can tell, it has been getting me down the last who-knows-how-long. BUT! This week it changed. I was happier, felt lighter, and my goal for this week is to just avoid stress! Hakuna matata haha. We want to enjoy our time as zone leaders, not look back and think about how stressful it was. So it should be a good week. 
Look, I balanced two 50 cent coins on top of each other! I wanted to send that picture last week but couldn't.
Thanks for the pictures of everyone, they all look happy, like we should be as missionaries! It is the best thing ever! What an adventure.
Didn't get to see R_____#3 this last week, had other appointments fall out, but that is the norm. We got to do service for a less active brother in the ward, and we want to meet his nonmember daughter and his mother! Those are the people who actually last as investigators, when it comes from members! That is the best way, that is the Lord´s way. invite the missionaries over, you don't have to feed them, just have them teach you the lessons! There is a feast of spiritual knowledge that the world needs, and they need it much more than we need real food. Help them out!
Sorry, there isn't much more to report on, next week will be better. It wil be a good, stress free week :)  Until then, take care! I love you all, and I love my Father in Heaven for the plan He has for us. Thank Him in all that you do.
Keep smiling!
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Short One

Hey family!
Sorry, I literally have 6 minutes to write you an email! This week it will be short. But that is okay, last week was pretty rough on me, just doing lots of stuff but not seeing the success we wanted. But we fasted gestern that everything would just pick and go better, and it didn't even wait until this week! Because we met with a potential named R_____#3 and his friend was there, and they are now both new investigators!!!! We are so stoked! R_____#1 is doing great, too! She came to church and took part in our lesson. Sadly, we saw the Chinese girl where we said we were going to meet her, but she said she had to run and meet her friend and give her a key, so she said she would be back in 5 minutes. So we waited. For 45 minutes. Never came back :( too bad. And R_____#2 cancelled on us again this week :( we were so bummed. And L_____ wasn't at home either, when we went by. But we finally met his wife! And have his home phone number. That should work for the future. 
WOW, we have a snow cone shack! I am pretty stoked. I love messing around and experimenting with flavors! Nathan and Kate are having a blast, eh? So awesome that Eric is also in the MTC!  (I know that seems disjointed--we bought a snowcone shack from Eric's parents, who have no one to run it now that Eric is in the MTC headed to the France, Paris mission!)
Hey, I am going to send you some pictures. To make up for lack of words. I know, I know, I disappointed everyone reading this right now... yes, I am talking about you, the reader! Hello :) But this week is going to be AWESOME!!!!! So you will hear about it next week :)
Wait, I can't send pictures. Darn it. Sorry. Next week, I promise. And I promise I love you all!
The Lord is our shepherd, and He will reach out to those of us who are lost in any way. So don´t deny Him! He can heal anything. Just have to be willing. Show Him you love back as well :) Live the gospel, it will make you happy!
Have a great week, keep smiling!
:) Elder Jalen Gibbons 

Monday, September 16, 2013


Greuzi miteinand!
I love that quote that Mom sent, President Miles actually sent that in his email to us like two weeks ago. And Dad´s was great, too! I love quotes! I saw a cool quote yesterday in a calendar: "It is not what you are called, but what you answer to." -African Proverb. Goes well with responsibility and accountability.
This week was pretty different! Since we can't get ahold of any of our normal investigators, and because our appointment with R_____ fell out (he got stuck at work and rescheduled for this Friday), we brought our ward list with us and went by on lots of people who are less active and/or we don't know. And we find menschen unterwegs. <-- Whoa, sorry about that. We talked with a lady who was a Jehovah´s Witness, and we gave her a Book of Mormon! That is a first for me. They are great people, but many don´t give any room for conversation. She was very nice and had never heard about our message before! We found a cool pumpkin stand, totally honor code (see picture), in the same place, which was a little dorf in the middle of nowhere. And turns out most of our addresses for members there were falsch.
But yeah, we met with R_____ (different from above--a woman this time), the woman Elder Hansen brought to church! And a couple from the ward was there, and it was so awesome! She fed us great food, but then I had the chance to just sit back and watch as this member bore his testimony and taught. I thought, "This is incredible! This is how it is supposed to be. And this is where it starts!" So we are excited :) We had a joint teach for R_____ (the man), too, but it fell out. So we visited a less active with the joint teach instead. He is the stake president's son, an RM of a couple years, and he is cool. He was actually on school break and wanted to come help us. I want to be that member when I get home! I want my family to be the family from the "Hastening the Work" broadcast, where they just go and live missionary work, and serve! I love that clip. Anyway, we have another appointment with R_____ (the woman) on Thursday! And she came to stake conference and loved it!
Okay, I am going to tell you about gestern, because there were so many miracles! It was awesome! So we start the day waking up late, because the alarms on our phones did not go off. :/ We had promised to pick up a less active sister, who lived kinda out of the way. And we woke up five minutes before our bahn left the station! Great start, eh? So we still got out there, and the first miracle was that she was still there waiting for us! She had left her phone at home, and because we were late and couldn't get ahold of her, she thought we weren't coming anymore. But she decided to wait for one more bahn, and then there we were :) Thanks Heavenly Father! So we get to stake conference 15 minutes late, not too bad, and then we get a call from a referral from a member. This guy called a member, who was listed under the church´s information in the phone book, and wanted to come to church! Turns out, when they finally showed up, it was this man and his friend, both from Pakistan. One of them can speak German, the other not so much. And their English is a bit difficult. But they came! Afterwards, I left Elder Horlacher to talk with them as I went on the search for other people. I came back, and Elder Horlacher says that they wanted someone to sponsor them to go to Salt Lake City. Well, I thought, "Great, they just want money." But they talked some more with the Bensons, and we figured out that they just wanted to join the church! Because they have a friend who is a member and he said they should join the Mormon church. And they just thought they had to go to Salt Lake for that! So, no idea where they came from or why they are here, but they want to join the church! Miracle 2. We will meet with them and figure things out. After the meeting, a family invited us to lunch, and invited the less active lady we had brought with us as well! Which is great, because the lady we picked up usually leaves very quickly when she comes to sacrament meeting! But she loved talking with the members, and she was SOOOOO happy that it was such an awesome day, that we had picked her up (with our train cards we can take one person with us on weekends, that is what I mean by picking up) and that the members had invited her! AND! She wants to come do missionary work with us :) and learn English! She is so cool :) She also has a daughter who isn't a member, who came to church when she was young, but not anymore. And her husband isn't very happy about her being in the church. We are going to try and get a good relationship going with the family and just serve how we can :) Anyway, we continue the story. We drop the sister off, and she says, "Hey, just stay on this bahn, it will go to the end station and then head back this way." So we did, instead of getting off. And what do you know?! The next station further, who do we see? L_____ :) our investigator. He was so happy to see us! He gave us his home address and HE made the appointment out with us for next Saturay, at his home! We have wanted that forever! Meeting at his work is too stressful for him and for us. Miracle 3. :) So, then we go to Charlotten platz, where we have to switch bahns, and I stop to help a man from Shanghai, who needs to get to his hotel. We helped him buy a ticket and then we rode with him to where he needed to go, along with his 3 friends/family members. He was so nice, kept saying we didn't have to come with him. He then gave me his number and name and said he would show me around Shanghai the next time I am there :) I call that miracle 4, the Lord has something in mind. Maybe one day I will end up on a trip to Shanghai, and I will call him up and he will accept the restored gospel. Who knows, haha. Then, we finally get out at Bopser, heading home. There was a young Chinese woman I noticed out of the corner of my eye. I thought maybe she needed help finding something, but then our crosswalk light turned green, and she walked in the other direction. But then, at the end of the crosswalk, I noticed her behind us again. So I stopped and asked if she needed help getting somewhere. So we helped her, and gave her our number in case she needed help again, and then we started telling her what we do, that we were missionaries. We asked why she was here, and she said she was just on vacation. Then, out of nowhere, she opened up and just said that something didn't feel right in her life, and she decided to take a break, and go and find herself. Well, I know exactly why she was there! We both bore testimony about how the BoM helped us find ourselves, and we are going to give her a BoM in Chinese tonight, because she goes back home to China in like a day. But hey, however the Lord needs her to get in contact with the missionaries and get a Book of Mormon, I will be there to do it!  Miracle 5 :) And there are always lots of awesome things that happen, little miracles. Life is wonderful! I got to send a little note to Klagenfurt with the son of Bruder Trippel, from Villach :) The son lives in my stake, in Tübingen! That is a tender mercy.
That was yesterday, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here! And to be part of this work! You don´t have to have a namebadge to see the wonders of everyday life. Look around and open your eyes and watch how you can see the Plan of Happiness in action. People have agency, and they use it, for good or bad. People go through hard times, or are incredibly blessed, and they learn and grow. You´ve done it, too! You are still doing it. Don´t ever stop!
The Lord lives and speaks to us through our prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. Obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel brings blessings. "In this there is safety and peace." Renew your committment today, right now, to be obedient with exactness, like I have. When we do so, the Lord will remove the clouds of darkness from our lives and help us to see clearly. The power of the Atonement is real. Repent, let Christ in, and move forward in faith. That is the wonderful news of the Gospel, for every single person. I know it is real, and it is true. 
Gottes Segen auf euch für die kommende Woche! Ich hab euch alle el lieb! Lächeln! :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS Deutschland is so green! Pretty!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Missionsarbeit!!! Servus!

Picture explanation: here is the "run-off crew," who ran down the gleis
as the people on trains left :) The advantage of a train station!
Schönen guten Tag miteinand! 
So, Dad asked if I had ever received Justin´s package, and the answer is yes. That was like 8 weeks ago, and I swear I sent an email to Justin saying thanks. If it didn´t get to him, tell him sorry for me. :/ Crazy that they only have one more month in England! How will I ever get there?...
Anyway, I will let you know what is going on with our investigators. We met with D_____ and L_____ again for the first time in 2 weeks, and bascially D_____ just prached to us the whole time. We agreed with what he said of course, and tried to show him something cool called the Book of Mormon, which also contains the word of God, but he just wouldn't stop talking. So we are not going to keep going, unless we can meet with L_____ alone or unless they have a big eye-opening moment and realize that the Book of Mormon teaches the same gospel as the Bible. Read 2 Nephi 3:12, people! Haha. M_____ texted us and told us she had no time this week to meet with us. Except we ran into her at a subway stop with some friends... She also didn't come to church. K_____ texted us last Monday and said he was just too overwhelmed and everyone expected him to do everything right, and so we didn't see him this week either. And he skipped out on church again. Still haven't heard anything from D_____ (not same as "D" above) for weeks. We gave quite a few people to the International ward elders, like I said. Saturday night we called basically everyone and tried to remind them about church, and no one answered. Therefore no one came. Except, Elder Hansen from International gave a card to an older lady on the Bahn who later called him, and they brought her to our ward. She was way nice, and we have an appointment on Wednesday, but then she called Elder Hansen and asked if he was going to be at the appointment, and she said if he wasn't then she was going to cancel our appointment and find out when Elder Hansen could do it. So now we have to try and figure out how to teach someone who may or may not just like a missionary who is there. Tis frustrating work. As well with all the potentials that we found last transfer, we call them pretty often and try to set things up, but no one answers their phones. Doof. 
BUT!!!! Let me tell you a cool story now :) Opposition in all things, ge? On Wednesday we were on an sbahn and headed somewhere, and there was a guy that sat down next to Elder Horlacher. He was reading a magazine with a guitar on the front, and I thought, "I would totally ask him about guitars." But he was too far away from me to start a "normal" conversation (or any conversation at all). Then Elder Horlacher asked the same question, do you play the guitar? And we started talking. We walked with him up some stairs and talked about what we do--and then who do we see but N_____, the nice mom who helped us out a couple weeks ago and invited us for dinner! So we stopped her, and Elder Horlacher talked to her and I continued talking to R_____ (this man) and then we made out an appointment for Friday and he said thanks, took a BoM and left. So, we went by on Friday and had a great discussion with him! He had an awesome picture depicting the battle between good and evil, with the forces of bad in the waves of a storm-tossed sea and the forces of good in the heavens. HE thinks it is awesome, and I do too. :) He knows so much truth, he is a son of God! He just needs the restored gospel! He was raised athiest, but has long been on the search because he knows there is more there. He is actually a tattoo artist on the side, and he told us some stories behind some of his tattoos, which mostly symbolized God and His allseeing eye and also his light, in the form of a lighthouse. He even told us that yeah, the body is a temple, and he knows he has partially destroyed his already. First step, recognizing :) He is so cool. At the end we said a prayer. And after the prayer, he told us, " I want you guys to know that you are a sign for me. I´ve prayed on a few different occasions in my life for guidance from God in finding the right path. I also prayed again a couple weeks ago, and now you are here!" So Elder Horlacher and I look at each other and are amazed! We talked so much about that afterward, about how that has never happened to us before. Normally we hear someone´s story about how they came to their faith, and then we know the story about how he missionaries met them or found them, and WE know that God had His hand in it, but the person doesn''t. But this time, this man was telling us that! I like it :) We are meeting again this week. Cool thing, he is married with small daughter! Familie! :) Yay. We were very happy. And even though the weather literally rained on our parade, and we got soaked all the way through, we were happy :) Being happy is fun. 
We said goodbye to all the departing missionaries on Thursday. It was a weird feeling, sending some of what I look at as my "flock" away. Hope to see them again. I spent the entire day on Thursday on Banhhof, sending out pick-up parties and making sure that everyone got on their trains. And the best part was, I woke up that morning with tons of phlegm in my throat. My voice got deeper and deeper as the day went on haha. So all the goldens show up at Hbf and find one of their zone leaders who sounds like a weirdo. It´s okay, they were totally out of it. Guess what? 3 of the 5 new goldens in Stuttgart zone are from Canada. That means that all of the Canadians in the mission are in Stuttgart zone. As far as I know. Pretty cool, eh? ;) But they are all awesome. 
So this week, we are really looking to start getting the members involved in our work. We have tried many different things in the last few weeks to try and get the work going even faster, but we can´t do it without the members. We have been pretty slow the last few weeks, and we are tired of it. So the only way to go is up! 
Hey, today I want to go buy a shoulder bag, just a smaller one, because they are encouraging those now more than ever with the new dress code. Elder Nelson doesn´t like the backpack look, Sister Miles has told us. We look like students, I guess, haha. But I wanted to let you know, so you know it is me. 
Hey, ich hab jetzt, uh, I have a request for you! Could you send me pictures of all my friends who are on missions, so I can download them onto my thumbdrive? It is so cool to see them all wearing the same badge :) Maybe one day I will make a collage out of it. Just came to my mind. 
Anyway, what more can I say today? The work is true. Faith is a real power. Jesus Christ is the only sure foundation. Life is wonderful, even when it isn´t always rainbows and butterflies. Can´t buy happiness. Happiness is found in living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of that I testify. 
Thanks for writing me so loyally every week! :) It gives me strength and I feel your love. Mine is coming right back at you! Thanks for all you do, and forgive me when I don´t express my gratitude and feelings as well as I should/would/could. I love you all, though! Have a great week! Keep smiling :)
Elder "Brother of Tyson" Gibbons ;)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Liebe grüße!

Remember last year, when I quoted that Green Day song, "Wake me up when September ends"? How in the world has it been a year already? I got an email from Matt Webber today, and he has only been in Korea for 3 months! And then when he wrote that I have been in Germany over a year, I got weirded out. Das verstehe ich halt überhaupt nicht! Wahnsinn. Hey, but Stuttgart geht´s gut!
The house looks pretty darn awesome! I will stare at it more later. Now I get to look at the Stuttgart skyline. Kind of. Depending on which U bahn I am on... It is a pretty place. Weather was pretty great this morning, a bit chilly, but okay. We went to the Rittersport factory again today :) I bought a few bars this time. There are some that can only be bought there at the factory, maybe I told you last time, but I bought one which is a bourbon vanille one. I am excited. There is no alcohol, I inspected it. Then I bought a whole almond and cocao mousse, which is one of my favorites. BUT!!!! Taco Bell was closed for labor day, the members forgot. But we went to a different base instead, and went to the food court in the BX. We ate Charly´s, which was way good. And we had like two members come up to us who had just barely moved to Germany, and they just saw us elders and said hello :) Let's just say that that doesn't happen just out on the street in Germany! We took like 5 minutes just to walk through the BX, for Elder Horlacher and I to indulge our nostalgia :) It was bizarre, being around so many Americans again. Hey, Elder Horlacher and I finished our first transfer together, where we only spoke German to einander! That is pretty cool. 
Oh hey! Transfers! I shall let you know:  We went to Munich again last week for Mission leadership council. And Thursday morning, we all go into the living room of the mission home and President Miles announces all the transfer calls of the zone leaders and sister training leaders. We then received a paper at the end of the day with all the info about who is staying in the zone and who is training and who is whitewashing. We had a couple surprises there! Both Sisters in Pforzheim, the Sisters who are our sister training leaders, are leaving! They are whitewashing their area with elders! And they were totally rocking things up, the sisters were. That threw the sisters for a big loop, they cried even though President told us all not to. :/ pretty rough. But it will be good, they are tough haha. That is how the Lord works, His hand is in everything in the mission world. I am staying, no worries. But Elder Orchard is done being Munich zone leader and he is coming to our zone, whitewashing Heilbronn and training! :) In Munich I slept in the same room as Elder Orchard and we just talked about Klagenfurt for hours haha. I am excited to have him in the zone. He was my zone leader, now I am his. It is a really big change, all that is happening this transfer, and it will be strange. That is how change is. But we go with it and do the best we can. That we can always do. 
We had basically NO time this last week. Always going somewhere, and with Munich for two days, our schedule was just shot. But K_____ is finally out! We met with him last week! But then he didn't come to church :(  We are trying to meet with him today! He is doing pretty well.  Otherwise, not much happened last week, except travel and fallen out appointments. Lots of appointments that didn't go through. M_____ came to church for the 3rd time in a row, but we haven't been able to meet anytime other than that to actually discuss the things we do. Frustrating, but it happens. 
Hey, a story from today. We were headed back from the base in a member's Honda Odyssey (in Germany, you know they have to be Americans, the ones who drive them, and I would guess that most of the Odyssey army belongs to the International Ward haha) and we saw a beautiful Ferrari 458 Italia as we were on the highway. Afterwards we were just talking about  how beautiful the car was, and Brother Garlock says, "I am just glad I passed him up in my Honda Odyssey!" haha. I miss the nice spacious Odyssey. Mission cars are so small here. Opel Corse, look it up. And they aren't the nice new ones either. I don't have a car, but the Ehepaars do. 
Well, I haven´t much time (wanted to speak like a German would), but you know I love you! I am loving the work and the things I get to experience. Last week was actually a pretty rough one for me, just because of stress and not being very happy or excited, but that is done now! One of those lowest lows that they talk about. It really is our decision to be happy and excited, we choose how we see the things that happen around us. I did not choose too wisely last week. 
But now it is a new week :) I hope your week goes well, with no more crazy dust hail windstorms mixed with soccer games. Oh speaking of soccer games, we played again Thursday morning with everyone in Munich. We were impressively quiet this time, and Elder Horlacher and Elder Orchard had a pretty good play. It involved Elder Orchard being goalie and trying to get the ball out of the box, and then Elder Horlacher trying to use his head to get the ball in the goal. I looked back and saw Elder Orchard lying on the ground, and then blood pouring out of my companion´s broken nose. Elder Orchard is okay haha. But I will send a picture of Elder Horlacher :) if he allows it. Needless to say, we won't be doing that anymore :( We thought it was only going to be like 6 of us, but then everyone else came along too. The Sisters started playing with us too. There is a Sister from Scotland who plays really well. I guess now the Elders don´t have to get beat by her haha. 
Have fun at school and play and work and home and whatever it is you non-missionary people do ;) Hope the reunion went well! Tell people hello from me!
Keep smiling :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS Kacy Carr had a birthday last week, so I have to wish verspätet happy birthday!