Monday, February 17, 2014

Okay :)

First, I will send some pictures of the Zentral Friedhof here in Wien. We went jogging there this morning, because it is Elder Jones´ last pday here in Wien (I will tell you about transfers later). 
 Johann Strauss :)  Cool!
Beethoven (not actually buried there, just a memorial)
Mozart, also not buried there, he is actually buried in a
different smaller cemetery in Wien,  not too far from us.
But here is the memorial. 
4th: Brahms :)  Yeah, I have been there!
Well, it is cool to be in Wien. :)

So, first off, transfer news!  I am staying here with Elder Weston!!! But now the craziness comes in: Elder Botcherby is also staying, and getting a new companion, his third companion here as Zone Leader in Wien. Elder Curtis, who was half trained by Elder Orchard in Klagenfurt when I left Klagenfurt. He is cool :) and Elder Jones is going back to Munich! We have been worried about losing Elder Jones because of visa problems, he still hasn't received his Austrian visa. We were afraid they would have to take him away before he got detained and such for staying here illegaly haha. Well, the Lord had plans for him, because Elder Jones got called to serve with Elder Orchard as the new assistant! Should have seen his face when President Miles told him that hahaha. It was a total surprise because Elder Jones has only been zone leader here for 2, and normally they stay for 4. But we are excited for him :) He and Elder Orchard were trained by the same elder, too. So they are mission "brothers." They are going to do lots of good :) Man, when you get doing this for as long as I have been doing it, you get really excited for changes. It will be different, and it will be good. 

Anyway, last week was way fun in the catacombs! We weren't allowed to take pictures, so you will just have to come do it yourselves. I will take you up on the Vienna/Klagenfurt tour. Although, you also have to see everywhere else I have been.... I have to see it again someday. Someone from Mountain Home has to be called to this mission, so I can tell them all about it. I will probably cry when I hear about their call. Someone has to come see what I have seen. If you want to smell what I smell, just go stand in the smoker box at the airport. Nothing too special about that... haha. Anyway, back to the topic. The beginning of the tour was okay, we saw some coffins of dead archbishops, made of copper and airtight, some copper urns that have the entrails of some famous people preserved in alcohol (you could smell the alcohol, it was pretty gross thinking about it). Then there were some statues and broken stuff from WWII bombings, and the 1 ton bell clapper from Austria´s most famous bell, which hangs in Stefansdom. The bell also fell in the bombings and got destroyed, so they made a new one. Anyway, this was all cool and interesting, but all 7 of us 19-25 year old guys were thinking; "Come on, where are the bones?!!" Haha, and then we got them :) We saw some of the masss graves, where they have like 12.000 bodies that were just thrown in, yeah? There were lots of bones, and they had a couple decaying skeletons laid out on display for us. And then there was another mass grave, and these people all died of the bubonic plague. Sick! (Literally...) That was cool. History. And then there was a little room where they used to send criminals down to stack the bones like firewood. Looked very nice. Yes, we young Mormon missionaries were satisfied :) hahahaha. It was cool. 

We didn't get to meet with that guy who texted me, he cancelled on Monday and then never answered us again. We met with A_____ again finally, he kinda just disappeared for weeks. We talked about Jesus Christ and what He does for us, because A_____ just doesn't understand why any of this matters, I don´t think. But we finally found a point where he understood what we meant about sinning, doing things wrong, making mistakes, and we just told him that Christ takes the guilt and pain from us when we repent. Yeah, I basically thought some more yesterday about the fact that I love learning and teaching, but I narrowed it down a bit, thinking that I just enjoy answering questions, whether they be from me or from others. So when my investigators aren´t asking questions, what is the point? They have to use their agency to want to learn anything, and we just introduce the Restoration or God´s plan for us, and they have to ask questions about it, otherwise I feel like I am just trying to throw a sales pitch. And I don´t like that feeling of not-getting-anywhere. So I am looking for those with questions, because I have answers, and if I don´t, I will find them, and show them how to find their own through the scriptures and prayer and so on. 

I have two transfers left on the mission. 11 weeks. I don´t have time to speak English anymore!! One of my goals is to forget English (it won´t ever go away, I just won´t use it except as needed), or rather, speak only German. I also just want to change and get out of the slumps that I have been in. Yeah, like you said, there are good days and bad, but my overlying attitude and feelings were not much on the happy side. But I am changing, I decided last night to just change. Maybe that is what I am supposed to have learned from all this anyway. So I am just going with it. Wish me luck. Thanks for your prayers and love which have been constant through it all.  

This last week I had some thoughts about the phrase "Return with Honor." We learn in D&C 29:36 that honor is God´s power. Like I discussed last week, the coach´s honor for the rules of the game gives him repect and honor from those under him and around him. As I thought about this phrase that they throw out at us missionaries, return with honor, I realized what that could mean. God´s power is His honor, or His obedience. So when we want to return with Honor, we must learn now on our missions to be 100% obedient, so that we can do so for the rest of our lives and eternity as well. And then I thought back on all the hard times I have had so far on the mission, and I realized that I probably wouldnt still be here if I had not kept the rules and regulations of the mission, even when I just didn't understand sometimes. Sometimes, I looked at my situation and wondered why in the world I was even trying, why I was even here, but I did NOT ever just give up and become disobedient. Yeah, maybe sometimes I was keeping the rules out of duty, just so I wouldn´t feel bad putting on the nametag every morning, but I am trying to make obedience my quest, so that I may return with honor. That is why I am still here. 

I will begin a study this week about wisdom, understanding, and knowledge. I am excited. Some of the scriptures I found that sparked this idea were Job 28:28 (although that whole chapter is good), Ecclesiastes 1:18 (this one intrigued me, because who wants sorrow and grief? I will figure out the puzzle :) ), Ecclesiastes 7:12, usw. Basically, I looked at proverbs and ecclesiastes and it talks a ton about wisdom and knowledge and stuff. I will see what I come up with. Feel free to study along, let me know what ideas you have. Game on. :)
I love you all, hope you have a great week! Thanks for being awesome :)

Elder Jalen Gibbons

PS Someone sent this quote thing to Elder Botcherby. I like it :)

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