Hey, sorry about last week! I looked at my email this morning and saw that my email didn't go through. So, I forwarded it back to you. I DID indeed write last week, promise!
Well, hello again :) Wasn't general conference so awesome!? Yes, I still haven't seen the Sunday morning session, just like the last two conferences, but I will see it sometime. All of your quotes gave me little sneak peaks about the talks I missed! I was sitting in the Sunday morning session (AKA Sunday evening session in Germany haha) and I showed Sister Green and Sister Motto my General Conference notebook. I said that it was a whole mission worth of General Conference so far. So I showed them the very first page, where I wrote about the age changes! And they both said, quote: "You were on your mission for that?" Made me feel old. Haha. Funny story, I also wrote, last Oktober conference, that Becky could totally go on a mission at that time. So I updated it this go around and said, "too late, she is married!" haha. Tell Becky hello from Sister Powell! I saw Sister Powell at the mission leadership council, and she said that she was supposed to give me greetings from Becky. And I thought, "No way!" They were roommates, Sister Powell and Becky, so I have seen Sister Powell before in my life, a few Marches ago or so. Craziness. I also talked to Sister Drury on the train to Munich, because she is from Eagle, ID! She asked if I was going home in April, because then we could have a party on the plane ride home to Boise, but it is not so. Sister Smith in Munich has a friend in Mountain Home, but I don´t remember the name. I got to see Elder Root this time around! He is way cool, we talked a bit about Klagenfurt. I also got to talk to ELDER BOTCHERBY on the phone for a minute! I haven't seen or heard him in 11 transfers. Almost a year and a half. But he was ordering tickets from the office and I saw Elder Jones write down a ticket for him from Bruck to Graz, and I flipped out haha. He is doing well! He asked how Tyson was doing, too! What a nice adopted brother :)
The leadership council was great! Talked about lots of things we are doing, but mostly about our new plans for visiting the members and developing their own mission plans with them! We have been working on that almost this whole year, and it was so awesome to see how far we have come in this process, and how General Conference basically just confirmed all the things we are trying to do! We CANNOT do this without the members! Someone talked about family mission councils, and I hope you are all ready for that when Tyson and I get home! We have lots of work to do :) But I liked how they talked about the confusion about the definition of missionary work. Missionary work is living the gospel and inviting others to do so as well, because we are happy and we know that God has restored His church upon the earth. That is the good news we are sharing!
Some highlights from my notes:
Elder Hales- "Our only safety is in heeding the words of the prophets." "We gather to hear the word of the Lord, we then go home and live them."
Sister Stephens- "Our Heavenly Father is generous with His power."
Edward Dube- basically everything. haha. Great quotes from Elder Holland.
Elder Bednar- comparison of tithing to the stripling warriors in the Book of Mormon. They did not receive more troops or more weapons, rather assurance, peace, faith, and hope.
Pres. Uchtdorf- Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith.
Gerald Causse- "There are no strangers or outcasts in the church. There are only brothers and sisters."
Randy D. Funk: "Even though the circumstances are tough, I am determined."
Pres. Uchtdorf wieder: "Du kannst es JETZT tun!" "We mortals cannot become champions without effort and determination--and without making mistakes." "Rise up and become men of God!" "When we feel we can´t go on: trust in the Lord and His Atonement. Stand tall and walk in the light of the restored gospel. We are more capable than we know."
Pres. Monson- from Abe Lincoln? "If you want to win someone to your cause, first convince them that you are their sincere friend." "It is our privilege to enlighten, to touch, and to save those who have been entrusted in our care."
Pres. Packer- "Scriptures are key to personal protection." "Stay the course!"
Elder Christofferson- thought about you Mom! "Nothing exceeds the worth of the home and family."
S. Gifford Nielsen- all of it! Contagious excitement! "This work will NOT move forward in the Lord´s way without the members." Remember his 3 points, and do them! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) I am also asking myself, "When I come home, would they bronze MY missionary shoes?"
Timothy J. Dyches- "Opposition in ALL things is no flaw." We must first put down our own weapons of rebellion before we become our own agents.
Elder Holland- "We chose to live in this fallen world." And might I add, ONLY because we knew there would be a Savior. "Square your shoulders and think positively!" "if the bitter cup does not pass, drink it, and be strong. Trust in a brighter future." "Live by faith, hold fast to hope, and have compassion."
Elder Ballard- "It is impossible to fail when we do our best." "You don't have to be outgoing or an eloquent teacher--just open your mouth and the Spirit will guide." "When each of us reaches out to 1 person before Christmas this year, MILLIONS will be touched by the love of Christ."
Pres. Eyring- "I gave him to you because you could and would love him, no matter what he did." Thought a lot about my investigators, and how I can better show my love.
Elder Oaks- "What is our ultimate priority?"
Richard Maynes- "Dedication, perseverance, and self discipline." "Become the rock the river cannot wash away." "The gospel gives us not immunity from death, but victory over it." "Let us run the race we have before us with patience." I look forward to living this talk in the coming weeks.
Elder Scott- "When the Lord looks upon weakness, it is always with mercy." "The Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance--because He knows what it takes to become like Him." "Fill your life with service for others, and Satan´s temptations will lose power in your life."
Pres. Monson- "Shall I falter, or shall I finish?"
This was the quickest General Conference of my life! They used to be eternally long, at least I thought. But they mean so much now. I feel like every single speaker prepared something for me! And I bet you feel the same way. Remember what you felt, and how much those speakers prepared and practiced and worried and prayed, for you. And NOW is the time to live it! I am so excited.
We met with R_____#3 twice last week! We went by on Monday, and then again on Wednesday. I was with Elder Kastendieck on austausch on Wednesday. It was so awesome! We started at the basics: what do you believe about God? He said he didn't really know. But we kept in tune with the Spirit in bearing testimony, and shortly thereafter he voiced his real concern, that he loved people in his life who had passed away, and he didn´t understand why. We read Alma 32:28 with him, and promised him that if he had just one question, he just wanted to know if God was there, he could plant this seed and it would grow. And he liked that. At the end we asked if he would pray. He said he couldn't. So we reviewed how we taught him Monday, and he did really well remembering! Then he said he just couldn't do it. So we told him just to say a small one. And he started, and it was probably the most sincere prayer I have ever heard from an investigator! The whole time I was just thinking, "Okay Heavenly Father, we got him this far-- you´re up!" And after the prayer he looked and me, and I told him he could do that any time he needed or wanted. And then he hugged me! And stood up and hugged Elder Kastendieck! So, something went well :) It was so awesome, a perfect way to end an awesome day! Sadly, he wasn't at home yesterday when we went to pick him up at the arranged time :/ so he wasn't at Conference. But R_____#1 was! She loved it. Oh, a cool miracle about R_____#3. We got to his house on Wednesday and I told him I had tried to call M_____ (his friend), but hadn't heard anything. So I say the opening prayer, and during the prayer someone calls and then hangs up after the first ring. After the prayer I kinda joked about that being M_____. So I pull the phone out of my pocket and it was M_____!! So I call back and he and R_____#3 get to talk, M_____ said he had tried to get ahold of R_____#3 but couldn't, and then he said he would also come Sunday to Conference. But they weren't there. Schade. We met twice with R_____#1 as well! Man she loved talking with the missionaries at conference! She keeps saying she is going to get baptized, it is on her to do list, so we are going to keep teaching and make sure she understands everything. It will be exciting!
Wednesday was just a great day last week. On tausch with Elder Kastendieck, I wanted to learn how he showed his love for people. And then, I made a new goal when I got out on the street, that I just wanted to serve everyone. So I asked so many people if we could help carry things, and we had great conversations with people on the street, and we were going by on less actives and such. It just felt way good. I think Elder Horlacher and I are always rushing to appointments and never have time to just go a bit slower and enjoy talking with all the people who rush by. I was just happy. What Elder Scott said is true! Fill your life with service.
Otherwise, we don't have anyone new. We are always working on that. Hopefully we can work with the members and find those friends who have interest. Then we have a huge advantage because they know the members already! So much easier, for real!
Oh, on Tuesday we went by on a former investigator, and didn't find him, but rather his sister-in-law and her husband (his brother). We talked with the Frau and we made an appointment for Wednesday. So Elder Kastendieck and I went there too before R_____#3. That was also a cool experience. They believe in the Bible. The Bible is the word of God. Yeah, I know! Haha. As I looked back on the appointment, we talked about truths of the gospel, and they shared wonderful things from the Bible, and I got to introduce the Book of Mormon, which doesn't contain a different gospel by the way, it is the same Jesus Christ and the same way. When I would bear my testimony about the Restoration, they would always just fall back on their "but the Bible says that." And looking back, once again, I saw that they didn't realize that I was agreeing with the things they said. Yeah, the Bible is the word of God. Yeah, we need to be good people. They were trying to argue the truth of the Bible with me, even though I WASN'T arguing at all. It made me laugh haha. I basically just said that either the Book of Mormon is true, or it isn't, so I told them to put it to the test! So they finally accepted to keep the Book of Mormon, and we just bore testimony again. That is all we could do. We will go by again in a week or so, give them some time, but they aren't new investigators according to Preach My Gospel. Still a good experience.
So, now you have my last two weeks to catch up on! Sorry again about last time. Hopefully it works. But I want to leave my testimony that I know the Lord restored His church, that the Book of Mormon is true, and that God has a plan for each and every one of us to return to Him, just like Pres. Eyring said. His love is simply always there, whether you feel you deserve it or not (Elder Holland). God leads us through wonderful men, prophets and seers and revelators, from whom we just heard. Do what they say, and you will be happy.
Have a great week! I love you all! Make a new snow cone flavor for me!
Keep smiling :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons