Monday, December 30, 2013

Schönen guten Rutsch!!!

LDS Missionaries as Midnight Mass (with permission!)

Elder Jones and Elder Gibbons realizing the next train
doesn't come until 4 AM

Stockings on Christmas morning
The Familie Simic at their baptism!

With the missionaries

The Simic boys with the ward Young Men
Hey Familie :)

THE SIMIC FAMILY GOT BAPTIZED!!!!! I will forward an email from the bishop with pictures. He is a professional photographer, and his pictures are insanely beautiful. It was probably the biggest baptismal service I have ever been to. We were at the church from 1 to 8 yesterday. Pretty crazy. It was so awesome. I gave the talk on the Holy Ghost and I feel that it went well. The greatest thing is that I will get to keep working with this family for a while, most likely. Transfer calls are this Saturday, I can't believe the transfer is already basically done! What in the world. But I will most likely get a tap through the wall in the apartment from the zone leaders telling me that we are staying as we are. And I am okay with that :)

Well, it was great talking to you all on Tuesday. It is always weird, sorry. It is just like when I do my emails, part of me feels uncomfortable talking to the outside world. And for real, I think about so much I want to talk about, but when we are on skype, it all just disappears. So I never know what to talk about. But I did still enjoy it. I have one question about the conversation. Was Yeager trying to tell me to date some Austrian girl? Because I was kinda confused, and then Logan yelled at me to stay focused and told Yeager to be quiet haha. But that just confused me even more. I thought Yeager just wanted me to find and teach some girl he knew. I am not that unfocused, okay? Hahahaha.

Wow, 2013 is almost done. I can´t believe it. I only have one more quote in my cool happiness quote calendar. Schade. But we went out with a bang, and there will be many more fireworks to add on to that tomorrow night. I am so excited. Cool thing is, it doesn't change anything, we are still here doing the same work :) We got two new investigators this week, one guy we found on the bus/bahn, and the other was a former. We have been trying forever to find these new investigators, and we got them! Last week was a great week. Looking back at the end of the week last night, we met many of the goals we set, even with the Christmas craziness! That makes me happy.

The midnight mass was pretty cool haha. I will send a picture of the missionary crew who went. We snuck into the line right at the front gates haha, the missionaries were the people right up front. Elder Weston was so tired, I think talking to his family drained him a bit as well. But it was great. Incense isn't my favorite smell in the world, but it is WAY better than cigarette smoke. I liked the singing a lot. I took the program with me, of course. Probably the only time I will ever be at a midmight mass in Stefansdom in Vienna, Austria. Legit. And then, at like 1.30 in the morning, we jumped on the train to get home, and then we had to jump off and switch trains, but we looked at the plan and the next train didn't come until 4 in the morning. And the train station was totally empty. I will send some pictures of that adventure, too. We had to walk home. Thankfully it wasn't too far. We actually met some Americans after the mass, on the bahn. One lady knew we were Mormons because of the way we acted, our aura. But she was upset and told us that the one thing she doesn't understand is why other people can't go into our temples, but we can go into theirs.... Elder Botcherby just told her that we do sacred ordinances in the temple, and one has to make themselves ready and live how God has commanded His children to live. Not saying that other people don´t live so, because many do; you just have to be a baptized member of the church.

We had a real Finnish Christmas meal as well, it was pretty good! Different. When I first saw the food, like fish sitting in water and some beet salad (which is good, I have just tried some nasty ones before) I was kinda worried. But I did fine :) The week went really fast. It was a good Christmas, we all opened our packages on Christmas morning.  Elders Botcherby and Jones wore their lederhosen to open presents. I was jealous. But thanks for everything! Haha even some requests from last year made it this year. We are loving the Goldfish crackers. And the t-shirts are awesome. And the CD has saved our lives! I love that CD.

I hope you had a good one, and that your new year is incredible! Just think of the adventures over here in Wien :) and you´ll have to check and see how cold Wien is tomorrow night. Today is actually pretty nice. We wanted to go to the big cemetery today and find Beethoven´s grave, but I don't think we will get to today. But I will send pictures when we do. I think Strauß is also buried there. And probably a lot of others. Pretty cool, huh?

I finished my one remaining journal yesterday. Now I need a new one. That one lasted from the 13th of March this year until yesterday. But I hardly wrote in Stuttgart. I kinda gave up. I wrote the things that really meant a lot to me, at least. I am working on picking it up again. I just can´t figure out a good way to really capture the changes the mission has made on me. I think it is just something you would have to see in me, it would involve time with me. Some changes I probably am not even aware of, others I have worked really hard on. But, you can all wait till later to spend time with me, I am sticking around here. I know that the gospel changes lives. It has changed mine. And continues to do so. When I say change, I mean that we can overcome the natural man inside, and become a saint through the atonement of Christ, the Son of God. The atonement is the solution to ANY problem on earth and in heaven. I know it. And I loved a quote from a talk from President Monson that I read today in the Ensign you sent me (by the way, THANKS for sending me the General Conference Ensign, the mission is still waiting on them, and all the other missionaries want it really badly haha). Anyway, the atonement was the best manifestation of the love that God has for us. In Pres. Monson´s talk in the General Women´s Meeting, he said, "That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God´s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there." It is true, take advantage of it and you can become the person you can become. The gospel is a gospel of change. Life is a business of change, adaptation, and improvisation, and it is beautiful. Come on, 2014. 
I love you all, keep on smiling till the end. Talk to you next year :)

Elder Jalen Gibbons 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Merry Christmas :)

Hallo Familie :)
Okay, first things first. I will be on skype around 20 uhr here, oder 8pm. That puts you at noon, your time. And 4pm Tyson's time. So, I have 40 minutes with you, and then 20 with Tyson. I don't know how you want to do it, whether I talk to you, then to Tyson, or vice versa, but I just know it would be impossible to talk to you all at the same time. But Tyson knows, hopefully. I sent him an email as well, so he should get that in time.
So, be on skype maybe a bit before noon. I will let Elder Weston go first. We are skyping at a member's house, familie Barosch. I don´t really know them yet. But I will :) It will be great. I am excited!
Oh, Happy Birthday to Joseph Smith :) And Justin, ge? Hope they have great ones. How old is Joseph Smith now, 208? Not bad. We are going to a member family tonight, Elder Botcherby and I, and we will talk about Joseph Smith. So I got to read some of his teachings this morning in study. He was an incredible man. And a prophet of God. We need more people like him in the world. And of course, that is just a step on the way to becoming like our Savior, whose birth we are celebrating :) Frohe Weihnachten!
This week was fun, and cold. Some cool things happened, though. Ich erzähle euch mal...So, on Wednesday Elder Botcherby got a call from a Hungarian woman who was traveling through Wien and needed help getting from the train station to the international bus terminal across the city. So, we volunteered, because we had the time. So, we show up at the bahnhof, and who is it? Sister Feher, the Sister we met in the MTC, who learned English AND Finnish in her 12 weeks there (of course not perfectly) and with whom we talked very often when we saw her and her companions around the MTC. Sister Feher´s MTC companion was Sister Ehlen, Bro. Ehlen´s sister. So when I saw her, as soon as she turned around I said, "Sister Feher, I knew you in the MTC!" and she looked at my nametag and then we both commenced in remarking how crazy it was that we met up again in Vienna, Austria! That was so cool. Elder Botcherby flipped when I showed him the picture that night of Sister Feher and I. We accompanied her and talked the whole time in English! And in the MTC she was finding English rather difficult. She was traveling up to Frankfurt to visit her friend, and about 18 months later we met up again. Craziness :) I will send a picture of us.
Next up, we had an awesome Christmas conference! We did a white elephant which was really fun, and we played the chimes. There was one song with harmony, and it was way cool. At the end, Sister Miles bore her testimony about how we have the light of Christ in our eyes, and she showed us a slideshow she had made, with pictures of Christ mixed in with missionaries from the mission. That was really cool. Then President Miles bore his testimony about the Savior. The conference really helped invite the Spirit of Christmas. After that we went to Rathaus to carol, and we got a little crowd who loved us. Then some moms came over and were angry with us because we had been singing so long and their group of kids wanted to sing. Geez, Merry Christmas people, we had no idea haha. All of you, don´t be Mister/Misses Scrooge, okay? Danke schön. I will send you a picture of our time at the rathaus Christmas markt last Monday. I bought a sweet little lederhosen dude ornament, where you pull the string and his arms and legs fly up. I was looking for something that just said Austria, and that was it :) Now I just have to find my own lederhosen again...
Guess what? Familie S_____ is going to be baptized on Sunday :) We went to teach Maria on Tuesday last week, with Arnulf Schaunig, and she is doing so good. But she still smoked 10 cigarettes a day :( But we went back on Saturday, she had made it down to 2. And our joint teach, Kilian, who used to smoke, was able to help her a lot and encourage her to just stop. Elder Botcherby and I talked really quickly as they were talking, and we both had a good feeling that if Maria stopped smoking then and there, she could be baptized with her family next week. So we will hope and pray that she makes it, I know she can. And then those 4 will be baptized next week. We are so excited. :)
Guess who I got to talk to on Saturday evening? Sister Schaunig :) Elder Botcherby and I did a tausch for the day so that we could accomplish all the things we needed to. Martin, the man taught by Elders Jones and Abbot, was baptized and confirmed and then received the priesthood on Sunday, it was great! (He had special permission to do it so, so we did it!) Martin had invited Elder Jones and Botcherby to an opera that night to celebrate, but we also had a few appointments between the four of us. So Elder Weston went with Elder Jones, Elder Botcherby and I hit up the appointments and then got to go play fußball with some members and their friends. :) Oh my goodness, I will send another email with pictures from the new family I met on Saturday, the Su____ family, being taught by Elders Jones and Botcherby. Their two kids, 6 and 7 years old, are so awesome. I kept them busy on one end of the couch so that Elder Botcherby could have a good conversation with the parents. The dad was baptized not too long ago, and they are still teaching the wife. They are so nice :) Anyway, I love them. The kids gave me the biggest hug when I left, I knelt down so the 7 year old daughter, M_____, could put my scarf on for me (she liked it a lot and wore it the whole time, as you will see in the pictures) and then she asked if I would come to them on Christmas, and if she would see me again, and she gave me the biggest hug. She stole my heart. And then the son, R_____, joined in the hug and told me he loved me. Sometimes you just have to be loved perfectly by a child to let all the stress and the like melt away. That is what happened for me! So we went from that awesome family over to the S_____ family, two incredible families in like 2 hours. We are very blessed here in this area :)
Back to the beginning story, we were playing fußball, but we got to the place and the door was locked, so we called Arnulf, who is in Klagenfurt visiting his mother, to ask who we should talk to. And I asked if his mom was there. So I talked to her for a few minutes, it was great. I also got an email from the Casellas today, and they want me to come stay my last week with them in Klagenfurt :) haha. They said not to worry about permission, they are going to speak with the mission boss.....Heavenly Father. Good enough, I guess haha. Their kids are playing hockey now, he sent me pictures. I miss them so much. Man, I miss everyone. Oh, that reminds me, I have to wish Familie Auras a Merry Christmas :) I wish I had the emails from Sympla and Bendito, I will have to ask Elder Allan. Mensch, Renate sent me a package for Christmas! How nice of her. I kinda already opened it, because I didn't know what it was, but I will reopen it on Wednesday. :) Still like Christmas! We are also going to do a Bayerisch Frühstück on Christmas morning, with pretzels and weißwurst and sweet mustard. Gonna be great.
Anyway, I am going to see you tomorrow, so I will talk more then, of course. Now I will hör auf bis dann. But I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and I will wish you a Happy New Year next week. Enjoy what is left of 2013, ge? Meine Güte, where did it go....
I love you all, remember that the Savior does, too. Really, His love you can feel, you can find peace and joy. Don´t just talk about it or listen to others do so, make sure you take some time to think and to FEEL. I know He is there, He was born for us, and ebenso He died for us. The greatest gift of all. :)

Frohe Wiehnachten!

Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hallo :)

Wow, I just watched the video that Dad told me about. I love it! I, too, have been doing my best but not always succeeding in feeling the Christmas Spirit. It is sad that that is the world today, just business and stress. But there is always time to serve. Like Pres. Monson said in the Christmas devotional, it is the Spirit of Christ when we but drop the last syllable. What could the world be if everyone felt this Spirit? Fröhliche Weihnachtszeit to all :)  Well, that video helped me out a lot. Thanks so much Dad. I recommend it to everyone. On, "What shall we give?" Such videos always remind me of who I want to be, and give me the will and the strength to work for it. And that is indeed the Spirit of Christ, the ability and strength that comes to us when we seem to be at our limit. It pushes us to be better. And it brings a peace absent in the world. I know Jesus Christ was born for us. He is truly the Prince of Peace, bringing relief and hope to the lost and the forgotten. But we cannot forget that we are ofttimes the means by which He helps those who are lost and alone. Think about those people this Christmas time, and figure out how you can help. 
This last week went by SO FAST!!! I just emailed you all yesterday. It is crazy. Christmas is almost upon us! So, we are going to be skyping on the 24th, it will be evening for us, and Tyson said he is pretty sure he will get permission to do it then, too. I would guess around 20 here, that is about 2 PM by you. Mmm, maybe let´s say about 19 here. Ah, I will talk more with the family we are with, maybe they only have like 1 computer. I will let you know next week. Wait that will be pretty short notice for Tyson. We will make it work. 
I want to share something that we learned in our ward mission correlation meeting yesterday. The assistant ward mission leader was there, Arnulf Schaunig (his mom in Sister Schaunig from Klagenfurt, who I love :) ). He had invited a friend to church gestern, and she came with! But even though she liked what was being talked about in the Sacrament Meeting, she had one question: why doesn't everyone pay attention, why are there so many people just messing around with their phones? Arnulf told us he was ashamed, because we know the truth and don't even appreciate it as we should. I remember Dad not letting us bring our phones to church back home-- thanks Dad! He also didn't want us just bringing our iPods, even though they had the scriptures on them. I will ALWAYS bring my hard copy of the scriptures to church, unless I am on vacation or something. We don´t often think that much about what people see when they visit our wards. Sometimes, sadly, people pay more attention to what they see, rather than what they may feel. I want to challenge you all to think about that too. Maybe you have self control and don´t play games during church, but prevention is the best medicine. We have to realize what we have, and be excited about it, and share it with others.  That is what Arnulf talked to us about yesterday. He also said many other inspiring things about the authority we have as missionaries. We are eating lunch with him before he goes home for Christmas, and I will send him with a note to his mom.
Anyway, church was great yesterday, and we got to watch the Christmas devotional. And the ward party was also really fun. We helped out a lot in the kitchen. And sang Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Oh, guess who I met yesterday, from the Wien 1st ward? Haha you don´t know him, but chances are sometime you will, he is going to the Idaho Twin Falls mission! Last I heard, Mountain Home is in that mission now, oder? I will come back, find him, and speak German with him. And teach someone in German with him. He is Michael Schmid. He has your information. He is flying to Provo today. That was so awesome, I wanted to meet someone from here who would go to Idaho!
Okay, where did you get that idea Dad? Because that would be SOOOOOOO AWESOME!!!!!!!! (Jalen and Tyson have been asking whether we were coming to pick them up from their missions, and Jeff proposed an alternate idea--since Jalen is being released from his mission 11 days before Tyson, maybe Jalen could fly to Argentina and serve with Tyson those last few days, and they could come home together.  Don't know if it's possible yet.)  I would do it in a heartbeat. It may be rather complicated, though, with permission to proselyte in Argentina or whatever legal issues, but I would totally do it. As long as they don´t ship me through Africa and steal my luggage again or something haha. Anyway, if you find anything more about that, let me know :)
The S_____ family are doing good! The boys always talk about their missions, being missionaries :) even if they want to be Elder Botcherby haha. Sadly, there was some more trouble with the father this week, and they sent him away again. And our appointments got cancelled, except for one, so it could be that at least the mom won´t make the date for the 29th. But she said in the beginning, we tell her when she is ready, and she is there. So we will see what happens this week. We just have too little time to teach everything since appointments didn't happen. And as for the father being gone again, the miracle still happened! He just let the influences of the world work on him again, and he is gone. God is still a God of miracles, and we still all have that wonderful gift of agency.
We are still trying to find the elect, those who will actually take time to meet with us. People are just way busy this time of year. We have one new investigator from Nigeria, but we will be giving him to the international elders this week. Oh, this weekend there is a baptism here in Wien, a man who was taught by Elders Jones and Abbott, while they were in Neuötting and I in Landshut, is coming down to Wien to be baptized :) I am going to witness. I met him a few times, his has been a long journey. I am so happy for him :) This work ist einfach wahr! Read 1 Nephi 13, I wish people would just understand how simple it is, the reason we have the Book of Mormon. But people stop at the sight of new scripture. Well, God still speaks to man, through His chosen servants. I bear my witness to that, that Thomas S. Monson is the Lord´s prophet on earth today. And Joseph Smith was the Lord´s servant in restoring the Church of Jesus Christ. The gospel blesses anyone willing to follow it, and Jesus Christ, our Savior, born for us, and who died for us, is always there waiting for us to come to Him. 
I wish you a blessed week, with much hope and love and peace. "Picture a Christmas in Vienna! Picture an Elder Gibbons here." (To the tune of the Primary song-- I may or may not finish writing the lyrics. Those were from the top of my head :) )
Keep smiling and serving!
Ich hab euch alle lieb!
Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, December 9, 2013

Frohe Wiehnachten!

Saying goodbye to Elder Eaker
Delicious schnitzel with the Eakers
Tie-tying party
We have been singing Christmas hymns for the last couple weeks, but the sad thing is that the German hymnbook only has a small portion. So we pulled out the two English books we have and sang "The First Noel" and "It came upon a Midnight Clear" and "I heard the Bells" and loved it :) We are so excited for Christmas! The ward Christmas party is this weekend, Saturday. :) So stoked! We didn't get around to checking out the Christmas markets last week, and today it is raining, so we will see.
Anyway, everything is going so great! So Dad was confused about whitewashing, that just means that both missionaries get transfered out of an area at the same time, and two more come in, who have never been there before. So my adventure is doing that, plus training a new missionary. I am having so much fun. The elders who were here were teaching family S____, and they are so AWESOME!!!! Their new date is the 29th of Dezember, but I think they could even do it sooner, if the circumstances allow. We have a schedule schon for when we will meet, and we have planned out the next appointments with what we still need to teach. I will send a picture of the last appointment we had. We had a tie-tying party at the end :) We all fit in that little room!!! Haha. Man, they are so ready, the mom said that as soon as she met the missionaries, she saw the light we had. And she knows she is now on the right path. She looked through lots of different churches, but now she had found it, and she is such a good example for her kids and her younger sister who has been living with them for a month. She will probably also be baptized, next year. M____ is the nicest lady ever, and the sons love us and text us almost everyday. And they have so many friends in the ward already. It is basically the PERFECT situation, and we are just blessed to be here and keep it moving forward.
We saw a HUGE miracle on Saturday, that was the appointment in the picture. When we got here to Wien and read the records for the family, and also heard from the other missionaries a bit about them, we read about the kids´ father. He didn't want them to go to church, he wouldn't let them, and was basically against all of it. But then the father moved out one day, and the family´s progress took flight! Now they are where they are. After our first appointment on Tuesday, we were just flabbergasted by how ready this family is. The only thing missing was the father--they aren't a complete family. And we want families to be eternal. That was basically the only thing not right in this picture. Then, we get to our appointment Saturday, and the dad is there. The other missionaries didn't like the father, because he had pushed so much against them and the family. But then the mom told me that he had showed up at their house on Saturday morning and said that he wanted to come to church and learn with them. WHAT???!!!! The mom then said that he had seen how the kids had changed, what good it had done in their lives, and in the family life, and he wanted to be part. So the ENTIRE family came to church yesterday, and all of the boys, and the dad, had nice shirts and ties on, the ties we had showed them how to tie yesterday. We are so blessed to be here and take part, because we really haven't done anything for this. The other Elders were just doing their best, trying to fulfill their responsibilities, and now there are so many people involved and so many lives have been touched, both missionaries and member and investigators. Wow.  So that is Familie S____, I love them so much. One day the sons will go on missions and bring their light to everyone else in their missions. Meine Güte. So cool!!!!!!
Another cool miracle from last week. On Monday, the guy sitting at the computer across from me got up to leave and couldn't find his wallet. That was too bad. But then we are sitting on the Bahn on Wednesday, and Elder Weston points him out and says "Hey look, it is the guy from Monday." As soon as I saw him, I knew he was going to get out where we were getting out, and we were going to talk to him. He actually jumped out one before, but we were standning by the door, so I checked my watch, and then we jumped out and asked him if he had found his wallet. He hadn't, but we gave him something with much more worth ;) he took the Book of Mormon and we are going to call him this week to see how he likes Alma 34. What are the chances of seeing the same person again in Vienna, a city of 2.5 Million people??!! We had to do it :) That was way cool.
I got to see Elder Eaker later on Wednesday too :) His parents picked him up over here, and he was in Wien, and he called me. We met him and his parents in the city, and then they took us to go eat. It was great talking to him again, and Elder Weston got to see his trainer´s trainer. I had a schnitzel filled with ham and mushrooms, it was so huge and was delicious. Man, it is crazy how much we change on missions. I love Elder Eaker and have so much respect for all that he taught me and for the man he is. I hope he has a great time at home and that he keeps himself busy haha.
Okay, really quick, about the skype in two weeks. You have to send me my info again, I lost it. And I have of course 40 minutes with the family, but I also have permission to talk to Tyson for 20 minutes! So the hardest thing is the timing haha. Just had to throw that in before I forget.
Man, Elder Weston is so awesome! We have been eating so good this last week, eating like four kings for €70! I have had meatloaf, beef alfredo, tortelonni, bbq chicken wings, and last night we ate scones. Fresh scones. With homemade honey butter. All compliments of Elder Weston. Yeah, we go running a couple days a week, in the morning. And our frühsport is pretty good! I am excited for this week, because Elders Jones and Botcherby were at mission leadership council this last week, and they bartered with the German elders for a few packages of maultaschen, like schwäbish (Stuttgart area) ravioli, except special and so delicious. They don´t have it here. Naja, don´t have to worry about food. We are working together on German, we have to start from the basics. But he will get it with practice and more practice. It is way crazy how we are almost the same person, but totally different as well. We have some great conversations about the things we have learned and how we learned them and why we are here, etc. Meaningful conversations. I am grateful to have him. He is so ready to share with everyone, and he listens and does his best just to serve. He will do great.
Well, we are excited about this week. Lots going on, and lots to do. I am just doing my best to love everyone like the Savior would (and does). Makes everything so much better, more meaningful, more enjoyable, and more memorable. The Lord does so much for us, just like Dad told me, He is there to calm our troubled hearts and silence our fears. I know it, too. And there is no better time to feel His love and devotion than this Christmas time! Enjoy it, love it, and spread the joy around.
Have a good week, give your best, and smile. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS I just noticed that my nametag is not on my coat in my picture with Elder Eaker. It was still on my sweater, sorry. I do always wear it :)

Monday, December 2, 2013

Happy Dezember

Renate's baptism
Missionaries with Finotto Family in Stuttgart

International Bazaar

With Elder Weston

Wow, goodbye November. What in the world? It´s okay, we still have ONE MONTH left in this year. I have been all over the place in just this year alone.

Greetings from Vienna! Apparently one of the most desired destinations in the world. I love it a lot :) The last few days have been pretty crazy, trying to figure out what is going on in an area we have both never been in. We stopped in Munich on the way to Wien, and I picked up my golden on Wednesday night. The trainers were all supposed to tell them something about their area, and then about an investigator, and then President would say who worked with who :) But when it came to me, I just said I had no idea haha. But that was okay, because like 4 or 5 of the other missionaries there had either just come from Wien 2 or had already served there. And they all love it :) and I do too. We met the ward yesterday, and they are so awesome! Plus, there is a family here who is going to get baptized, and we are meeting with them tomorrow. It is a mom and her three sons, but she also has a 4 year old daughter, she just can´t get baptized yet. I met them at church for the first time, but I love them so much! I sat with them in Sacrament Meeting, and the kids were all asking when we were comnig this week:) They are Serbian, I think, but have been in Germany for a long time. 
So, Elder Jones actually came with us with transfers, so we aren't doing a crazy drit thing, but it has been way fun so far. Hahaha, I suppose I should tell you about my golden! He is Elder Weston, from American Fork, UT! Just like my other "son" :) Oh, and guess what, really quick? Elder Allan is ALSO training for the second time, so I saw him again on Wednesday :) I now have two "grandsons" on the mission. Hahaha. Funny family history. Elder Weston is so great, his blows people out of the water with his testimony. We have had lots of fun just talking to people. Church was a bit much yesterday, as it is for every golden, and he was pretty shell schocked. But it was good :) He is so excited and grateful to be here, and ready to do whatever we need to do. AND...... he loves to cook!!!!! We have eaten very well the last few days, and shopping today will be exciting. We are all blessed, Elders Botcherby and Jones and I. Oh, Elder Botcherby says hello :) We keep looking at each other and we are surprised that we are back together, in the same place at least haha. So much fun. We are going to check out some Weihnachtmarkts tonight, we are so excited. 
Saying goodbye to Stuttgart was.... okay. I learned a lot there. It was really hard on me, but on Wednesday, the day I left, I finally got my answer.  For so long I was just so confused and wondering what I had done wrong, why things were so hard. But then Chris´ email, from like the end of November, was kinda the Lord´s icing on the cake, the seal on the letter. Chris shared a quote from Pres. Monson. "Never let a problem to be solved become more impotant than a person to be loved." Looks kinda like my thoughts from my email about testimony, oder? At least I was on the right track.
Well, I don't have much time left. I forwarded some pictures of Renate´s baptism, hope you got it. I will send a couple more. Also, a picture of Elder Weston and I, in front of the India exhibit at the International Bazaar. We went and did service setting everything up. It was so cool :) You see all the bottles of jam on the Great Britain table? Yeah, I moved it there :)
Anyway, have a great week! Love one another! It makes you happy. And remember, the Lord´s ways are not ours. He knows what He is doing, so trust Him. I love you all :) Hopefully the bitter winter freezes a smile on your face :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS. Sorry that Dad is falling apart. I told him to be careful ;) Hope he gets better soon! Love you Dad!
PPS. I tried to get you into my mission experience, but you didn't have to go lose your luggage! Well, I know how you feel. Really. But it is okay, clothes can be replaced.