Vienna Zone Christmas Party
Helping in the kitchen
Elders Spencer, Herzog, and Gibbons
Playing Christmas songs on the pipes
Up on the roof on News Year's Eve: Elders Orchard, Botcherby, and Bailey (top)
and Gibbons, Jones, and Weston (bottom)
Happy new year :) and happy birthday, Nathan. Late. Sorry. You can come over to Wien and hit me, if you want. :) But it was good, we had a good raclette dinner with the Assistants, and then went to the roof to watch the fireworks :) It was way awesome. And then Elder Orchard played us to sleep on the guitar. I remembered exactly what inspired me to learn in the first place haha. So much fun.
I want to tell a story about Saturday. We had a plan to go by on lots of people, but the first person we went by on was a member, Br. Zornig. We wanted to ask about some of his friends he had told us about. But then we were there for an hour and a half because he was talking all about geneaology, and then we pulled out PMG and looked at what it said in there. And then he went online to the ward directory and pulled off a bunch of names for us to go by on, many of which have family members who are not members, he said. Well, I like that :) Then he drove us to go by then on one of the sisters. We parked on the street, but we couldn't find the right house (addresses in Austria are ridiculous sometimes. You don´t understand. Even the Austrians don´t understand them all the time). We walked up and down the street, and Br. Zornig was ready to give up, but Elder Weston and I went and knocked on a door with the right number, it was just confusing because it was on a corner and looked like it belonged to a different street. We knock, a woman answers the door, and is kinda surprised (she has been less active, that is why we went by) and then she started to cry and said it was such a gift that we came right then, because her husband just passed away before the holidays and she was still trying to figure out the details for the funeral. So we got her number and gave it to the bishopric so they could talk to her about that. She didn't have time for us to meet right then, but we will follow up and go back. It was a gift from Heavenly Father that we as the missionaries got to experience that, too! Heavenly Father watches over us. As we drove with Br. Zornig, he kept pointing out where different members live and also where some nonmember acquaintances live, and he wants to take us by on them, too! I was just thinking the whole time, wow, this is the kind of courage we need from members here! And everywhere. I am excited to see what happens from that. Tender mercies.
Oh yeah, the Simic family were confirmed gestern at church :) It was great. The missionaries did the confirmations. I did it for Michi, the oldest son. Now they are members of the ward, they are so wonderful! We went and played Fußball with the boys last week, that was good for me. And Elder Horlacher sent me my fußball that I forgot in Stuttgart, he gave it to Elder Botcherby at MLC. Now I have a ball again!
I like to learn. I like putting pieces of puzzles together (yeah, not jigsaw puzzles like Tyson, I am talking mental puzzles here). I think a lot. I don´t even know if I stop thinking, it´s not possible. Sometimes I feel like I think too much. So I started a journal, my book of revelations is what I call it haha. It is not my study journal, it is just a separate book I have to write down ideas that I work out in my head, things that make sense finally. Or even half-baked thoughts and theories, I can go back and finish them later. I just have to write them down, it also helps in getting my thoughts straight. So I was sitting in church yesterday, and trying to just enjoy the spirit and learn what I needed to, because I was kinda tired and hungry from fasting and at the begninning of church didn't feel very good. But then I had lots of great ideas come to mind (concepts, thoughts, I don't know what to call them) in Priesthood meeting. And then as I kept just thinking about things, I realized that because I know these things are true, they make sense to me. And I thought about it the other way around, too, that when things make sense to me, I could know that they are true. And as I pondered the immensity of God´s plan for us, the difficulties He tests us with, the fire with which He refines His children, I thought back on tough times and the feelings of inadequacy and guilt and pain and also of hope and of faith and perseverance. And it all just makes sense. Sometimes we feel just down spiritually or physically, I certainly have, but I believe that just the fact that it all makes sense to me will keep me pushing on through when the going gets tough, even when we feel alone. Just because the plan makes sense, I know that I am not really alone when I feel like that. Jesus Christ was certainly very alone during His suffering, and sometimes Heavenly Father sees fit to test us in a similar way--but we are never alone, just because the Atonement was performed. Lucky us, eh? :) I look forward to more enlightenment as I continue to ponder and consider, and then for the opportunity to share those things with others. What a wonderful time to be in the refiner´s fire, to grow and learn as never before. The crucible, as Dad so correctly states. It makes sense, oder? Want to learn life´s lessons? Go on a mission :)
Gehet tapfer vorwärts im Werk unseres Herrn! Have a great week! I love you all, have fun at school. :) Be happy.
Elder Jalen Gibbons