Monday, March 31, 2014


Our album cover shot, from our morning jog
with Elders Orchard and Jones 

So, transfer calls!!! I will be staying in Wien 2, and so are Elder Botcherby and Elder Curtis! Elder Weston will be leaving on Thursday to Dornbirn, definitely one of the prettiest areas in our mission. Far west of Austria, on the border of Switzerland. And the German they speak there is..... a different language haha. Elder Weston is excited to start learning German all over again! (Really, he said it.) We listened to a little clip about the dialect, a member showed it to us yesterday, and it was pretty fun to listen to :) hardly got anything out of it. I will miss him tremendously, and the Spirit he has. Sometimes I wonder if I have learned everything here in Wien at an accelerated rate, due to his incredible ability to invite and discern the Holy Ghost. I have learned much from him. As for the cooking, we are trying not to think about what will happen. Hopefully I don´t lose weight due to malnutrition these next few weeks ;) haha. Don´t worry about us.

This last week was.... yeah, really fast haha. We had an appointment with Br. Caletka fall out, I was on tausch from Wednesday to Thursday, and we cleaned the church on Saturday morning with Sister Simic and Bobi and another new convert . That was fun :)  But yeah, we had that concert on Tuesday from M_____, the Russian investigator. He sang us a few songs. The first song he sang was "Ye Elders of Israel." Pretty cool. Sister Motto played "If You Could Hie to Kolob" on the piano, also really good. Elder Curtis played guitar and harmonica, "I Need Thee Every Hour" and Elder Seamons played "More Holiness Give Me" on violin. It was really fun :)  Bobi came with us. And Michi. And then, Br. Mauch showed up :)  All the Klagenfurt elders ran and gave him hugs haha. He was really surprised to see Elder Orchard there, too, since the assistants were here on tausch. Sadly, our appointment with C_____ was cancelled about two hours before, so we kinda just talked a bit with him. Then Br. Mauch drove me, Elder Orchard, and Michi and Bobi home. He liked those two a lot :)  They are good boys. And it was way weird sitting in the Mauchmobil again with Br. Mauch and Elder Orchard haha. But a really nice time. Until we said goodbye and Bruder Mauch told us to keep working hard the last __ weeks. That one cut deep. Haha. I love Bruder Mauch.
There are quite a few changes in the zone (going quickly back to transfers), but you don´t know anyone, I don´t think. But they are closing down the international ward sisters´ area, which is new. The reason I mention that is because they told us Saturday night that they were bringing one of their investigators to our ward, so we could meet her, and then this week they will hand her off to us! Yay, that makes me happy. She is a woman from Mongolia, who wants to be baptized. Her friend is a member of the Wien 1 ward, and is currently on a mission. Her friend told the sisters to baptize her friend when she left! Sadly, she didn't show up to our ward, we think it was probably the time change, but we will hopefully meet her later. Oh yeah, my new companion is Elder Sessions, he is working in Landshut right now! I am so excited to ask him about Landshut. He is in the same group as Elder Jones, so he goes home in August. He will probably be here until the end, as well. I have heard lots of good things about him. 

Oh hey, Michelle Sumegi got baptized yesterday after church! This is the family that the zone leaders are teaching, with the really cute kids who just love the missionaries. She just turned 8! 

We handed W_____ off to the Wien 5 elders yesterday as well. I hope everything goes well for him! He is really so cool, we hope that when he gets settled back into home things will be a bit easier.
Ah, I am running out of time, so I will stop here! Just realize that the Savior has the power to free us from anything that weighs us down, any trial or mistake or struggle can and will be overcome through His power, if you seek Him. He has given me strength and comfort to help me keep going over and over again, this morning even. 

I hope you have a great week, thanks for doing all that stuff with BYU classes. You´re the best :)

Love you!

Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, March 24, 2014

Vienna Pictures

We went to the familie Meissner last night spontaneously,
and they had to get pictures of us with their
cool Kaiser-era helmets and beer stein things :)
The Stadtsoper; they have the City Opera Ball every year, it was a
couple weeks ago. I saw all the red carpets and stuff. I am sure there were a
number of famous people there. But also notice the sweet white
Lamborghini Aventador that drove by (to the left of the bus). I was actually
just trying to get the Lambo, but it worked out both ways, eh? ;)
 The car was going too fast haha.
The Austrian National library
 The Holy Trinity statue/pillar thing, not too far from Stefansdom.
Just in the inner city
The Kaisermühlen island, the seat of the United Nations in Vienna.
Pretty cool looking place.
Hofburg, home of lots of different art exhibits and such.
And the Spanish Riding School. And the treasury.
That, my friends, is a giant green egg with a ship in the middle.
Made completely of Marzipan. Look at the woman´s head to proportionately see
how big it is. Lots of interesting stuff in Wien :)
Hallo Familie!

Sorry about the short email last week! So ist es. I will get a couple pictures of our trip around Wien. It was a lot of fun. F_____ is really cool. A great guy. 

 2nd picture is. 3rd is  4th is

I will send another email with more pictures, don´t worry.

Anyway, a quick report on M_____ and W_____! M_____ took off on Thursday to Kur, so like a rehab kind of thing. He will be gone for a few weeks, I may not ever see him again. But we talked about scripture study, how it brings us peace and helps us have strength to get through our lives. I hope M_____ reads while he is gone. W_____ was kinda sleepy the last couple times we went, but we also introduced him to the Wien 5 elders, because when he gets back from his rehab, which should be in April, he will be back in Wien 5 area. Now that M_____ is gone, we will probably hand him over to the other elders. He is great. I hope he continues to learn more. 

We still haven't gotten ahold of M_____ (different M_____). :/ We´ll see when she is ready again. 

BUT! There was a cool miracle that happened. Of course there were also many little ones throughout the week, but it would take too long to tell you all. It is in my journal (by the way, I finished my 5th journal of the mission; unfortunately my set is still incomplete, as I don´t have numbers 1-3). Anyway, Kevin Mauch asked us last week, or two weeks ago, to try and get an appointment on Tuesday night, the 25th, at 8 o´clock, so his father can come with us, since he will be in Wien again :) But the thing is, we don´t have any consistent investigators, so we had NO IDEA who this appointment would be with, or whether anyone would even have time at 8 on Tuesday night. So we texted a few people, but no one was certain. So I sent a text to C_____, the man we met with who didn't want to make out an appointment, the same man who texted us asking if we had to be Mormon to make it to heaven. And he texted us back a day later and said that normally weekdays don´t work for him, but he could do it on Tuesday night. Way cool :) Plus, Tuesday night, M_____ (another different M_____), the zone leaders' Russian investigator, is doing a concert for all the missionaries in Wien. And the assistants, Elders Orchard and Jones, are also there for a tausch. So if Bruder Mauch Sr. is there with us, then me, Elder Orchard, Elder Curtis, and Elder Mohn (who have all served in Klagenfurt) are going to have a great time :) I am excited. 

This last week we started a 40 day fast, Elder Weston and I, where we did a fast from food for a day and used that time to listen to the spirit and write down every attitude or behavior or practice in our lives that drives away the Spirit. And then for 40 days we get on our knees every morning and promise the Lord that we will fast from those things on our list. So we did so, and I have felt much more confident, much happier, and more at peace with how things go. For the longest time I have been weighted down by negative thoughts, in the most part about myself and my many weaknesses. I didn't realize how incredibly powerful that negative influence was until I started fasting and set my resolve to stop it. It is a huge weight off of me. I feel much more in control of things when I wake up every morning and just pray and promise the Lord I will fix my mistakes from yesterday and do better today on those points on my list. So I will be doing so until the 29th of April, the day after my birthday :) 

Transfer calls are on Saturday! No idea what will happen. I´ll just wait. Anything is possible at this point. It will just decide where I am for the last transfer. You´ll hear from me next week! 

By the way, all the apartments DO have CO monitors and smoke detectors and such, they have to. These emission levels were measured from the big "exhaust pipe" that goes from the contained water boiler to wherever those gasses go. Yeah, still dangerous enough, but they just told us not to use it. And we´ve been enjoying warm water again. 

Crazy that almost the whole family can drive now. Have you fixed up the Sentra yet? I miss it. Stick-shift. I don´t like the green car, it has an attitude. Tyson can keep it. Or Nathan. Oh yeah, like I said, I tried printing off the driver's license extension thing again, but it wouldn't work. And the other one I wrote in blue ink before I read the "write in black ink." Whoops haha. You may have to send it again.

Thanks for dealing with all the BYU stuff, I really don´t have time to figure all that stuff out haha. I used my email time last week for classes, and I am done! Hopefully. 

Well, I hope you have a great week, that you get the chance to make someone else smile, and that you feel love and forgiveness from the Lord when you need it. I´ve been reading a lot in the Spencer W. Kimball handbook for Priesthood and Relief Society classes, and I really like how he thinks. I remember Dad saying he really liked Pres. Kimball, if I am wrong, then it was Pres. Benson. But anyway, Pres. Kimball and I think a lot alike. Or at least all of the things I have realized and learned about agency and such are outlined everywhere in his teachings in this book. Haha. Should have just read it sooner! But then it wouldn't have been such an adventure. It is a lot of fun :) lifelong learning.
I love you all! Have a good one. Or seven good ones. Whatever floats your boat!

Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, March 17, 2014


Sorry, I have been trying to figure out BYU stuff, looking at classes and stuff, so I don´t have very much time. We spent the day with Franz, who gave us a little tour of Wien :) It was actually his birthday, too! We went out to eat afterwards, it was a lot of fun! :) He is a great guy. I have lots of pictures of different things in Wien. But you will have to see them another time. 

Anyway, last week was good! The biggest adventure is still ongoing... we haven't had hot water since Tuesday last week. We have been cut down to birdie bathing in the sink with boiled water. The shower is FREEZING COLD! So I haven't showered. But I did get two warm showers when I was on tausch in Wien 3 last week :) That was nice. So ist es, I can´t complain. They are coming tomorrow to put in a new water boiler. I spent a couple hours last week talking to people in Geman about our water boiler and the problems we were having. They didn't teach me that stuff in the MTC haha. It turned out okay. One guy measured the gas exhaust coming from the boiler, and our CO levels were at 2083 mgm, when the legal limit is 80 mgm. Haha. Whoops. Darn missionary apartments. Lots of missionary apartments here in Wien have been having problems. Tomorrow we shall shower again :)

W_____ and M_____ are doing well! They still haven't read, so we read a bit with them. But the favorite part of my week was going to visit them on Sunday and seeing the Book of Mormon we left for B_____ gone. We had been there Wednesday and I wrote her a note and left it on the book on the table. And then it was gone Sunday, and W_____ said she got it :) Cool! Just waiting to see if she calls. That was fun! 

We got to play soccer on Saturday with Bobi and some other missionaries and Alex Zeilinger. Hat spaß gemacht. 

We had a good zone training meeting as well, one of the best I have ever attended :) We sang a song at a wedding party for a new convert, we met some new members from the ward list, and had lots of fun. Don´t worry about us!

Sorry that it is so short this week. Hope I helped a bit with the BYU stuff. Still don´t know how the real world works, but I still have time not to worry about that, thank goodness :) 

Wow, I am excited to have Dad as my bishop :) Haha that is so awesome since everyone loves Dad anyway. I always knew it was coming ;) Welcome to the next learn-phase of your life! The Lord sees that you are ready to move forward with faith. Und so wird es auch sein! 

I read Pres. Monson´s talk from last conference this morning, "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee." You should read it again, it is definitely for everyone, since we all have difficult times and need some consolation or somewhere we can go, someone to turn to. And we can always turn to our Father in Heaven. :) I love you all, have a good week!

Elder Jalen Gibbons 

Monday, March 10, 2014


The ice cream is back :) finally opening again!
Ja hallo! :)

What a week, eh? Last Monday our FHE with Family Simic fell out again, because they are sick :( It is so sad! But we went by still, and Bobi wanted to come out with us for a bit. So we took him with us as we went by on some people :) He is great. We were actually at their place again Thursday with the home teachers, and we gave the whole family blessings. That was great. Alex Zeilinger is their home teacher, and he really is excited for it :) (Alex is the chef that loves having us over, he is so cool!) We are going to go kick a Fußball around on Saturday with the boys and hopefully the home teachers. The other home teacher is Br. Handler, who brought a good friend of his from Chile to church yesterday. We want to make some food together, this Chilean man, I_____, and Elder Weston, and hopefully he is willing to meet with missionaries again :) He has actually been in and out of church for a few years, used to come regularly as well. He was way nice! 

Sadly, we haven't been able to meet with anyone from the finding day yet. We have made out multiple appointments, but many of them have expressed their disinterest and the others just won´t give us a specific time, just want us to call and see what happens. Working on it. We also got a call from F_____, who was one of the people the elders before us were meeting with regularly, I think, but he wouldn't ever make an appointment with us. He called us and we met on Friday! It was literally a "it´s not you, it is me" meeting hahaha. He explained why it was hard for him right now, and how he doesn't have time to meet with us or busy himself with it all. But he still reads in the Book of Mormon everyday, and he loves the elders a lot. He is going to take us on a walking tour of Wien next week, hopefully. That will be awesome. So we still have contact with him. Elder Weston gave him Ether 12:27 to read right at the end of the appointment, and he called back on Sunday during Sacrament Meeting to say "they were the right words at the right moment." Cool :)

M_____ and W_____ are doing great! They haven't given the Book or Mormon to B_____ yet, and they hadn't read it either, but we gave them the Restoration pamphlets last time, so it isn't so much to read and they get what we are trying to say. But the last termin was great, it was only 20 minutes, to the point, and they both gave really good answers and insights. We talked about the first 3 points of the Restoration, about God and Families and Prophets. M_____ is probably taking off to rehab soon, but we will keep visiting W_____. They are always so happy when we come visit them. 

Gestern we met another former investigator, T_____, from Nigeria. We met shortly with her and her brother and her niece, who was an adorable two-year-old. I took some pictures with her haha. We gave her info to the International Ward sisters, because she speaks primarily English and she is a doesn't always have a third man there for us. So ist es. After that we went by on a family on the ward list, who are from America. They weren´t aware that they were on the list haha. They haven't been to church forever, and said they won´t in the future. Their choice. But I mentioned how excited I was for General Conference, and the man said, "Do you know Jeff Holland?" I thought yeah, of course, he is one of my favorite speakers! And he said that Jeff Holland was his counselor in the Deacons Quorum way back when, when this man was the president. Crazy huh? :) 

Today so far we had an appointment with a less active, or inactive, I guess, and he didn't show. So we went by on some people and then went to help the zone leaders' investigator, M_____, from Russia, with English. :) He is hilarious. And way cool. He should be getting baptized in April or May. So, two missionaries in Vienna, Austria, from America, sitting at a university and helping a Russian man practice his English for a test later today. Doesn´t get better than that :) That is why we are writing emails so late. 

Probably my favorite quote from this last week came from the priesthood class yesterday. "Immer in Bewegung bleiben." Or, "Keep yourself on the move," or "keep on moving," roughly translated. I suppose it is like Dory´s "just keep swimming" which Mom has quoted a few times in emails. But what  the man said in church was that it is not so much about how fast or how slow you are going, rather that you just keep going. So ist es! I looked through my quote calendar from last year this morning, picking out my favorite ones, and recognizing which ones are true wisdom and which ones are the wisdom of men, and therefor falsch. They are all about Glück. Happiness. My favorite there was probably "Dont spend all your time looking for obstacles--maybe there are none there!" Just keep going! 

Zum Schluss, there was a really cool quote in the Joseph Fielding Smith handbook, Teachings of the Presidents of the Church, at the end of the opening section in chapter 5, Faith and Repentance. It talks about counsel that Joseph Fielding Smith received in a blessing, or something like that. Maybe he gave the blessing to someone, doesn't matter. But it is the last sentence. Something like, "When you make a wrong judgement, then make sure it is always in favor of love and mercy."

Like I said last week, doing something on your own does certainly does not mean doing it alone. You are all in my prayers! I love you all!
Have a great week :)

Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hello :)

The Belvedere, a palace in Vienna

Grounds at the Belvedere, playing with shadows
Faschingfest--a Primary kids' activity

Elders Weston and Gibbons doing a heavy-lifting service project

Hello Familie! How are you?

Where to begin last week.... we got some pictures on Monday from the Belvedere, where we go running when we go in the morning. But this time in daylight. It is very pretty. That is the first picture. And the second was also there, we had fun with shadows. Sorry Kate and Papa and Jacci,  I am not a professional. The third is the  Primary Faschingsfest we went to, it was way fun :) We did like a cakewalk thing, having the kids walk around the path of tape and stopping them and calling out a random number to see if anyone won. I think 5 of the kids at the end declared the Elders' station as being their favorite :) Score! Haha. It was pretty stressful sometimes, trying to rig the game so all the kids got candy... so ist es.

Last Tuesday we had a great time with President and Sister Miles and Br. Caletka :) They are so awesome. I got about five minutes to talk with Pres. and Sister Miles by myself as Elder Weston was helping Br. Caletka in the kitchen. They are incredible. They really enjoyed their stay in Wien, working with a lot of the missionaries. They drove us home after the appointment, and Elder Weston was asking Pres. Miles all sorts of questions about his work. Then I took the chance to ask them how they met :) That is a fun question. Sister Miles said that they were set up by a friend of hers. So I said, "Aha, so it was a member referral?" hahaha. They both agreed. I will miss them a lot in the future. 

Oh, we went to the Familie Husz last Monday as well, he is the GML (ward mission leader) and his family is so great. Their youngest son had chicken pox, but was as lively as ever! We found out our favorite Fußballer is Lionel Messi :) We are basically best friends haha. We got to know them, they looked at our family pictures and we feel much closer to them. I feel like I know the ward much better now, and feel at home. 

Oh yeah, we also had a service project on Tuesday, and we moved tons of bags of dirt and rocks and stuff from the kellar of a place and stacked them outside and upstairs. It was probably one of my favorite service projects, just straight hard lifting for two hours. My hands were dead haha. I will send a picture of that, too. 

We went to family Simic on Thursday. We played Simon Says and connected it to prophets, and how we need to do what they say. And if we don´t, we have to repent. The kids got a kick out of it. 

We also had a finding day on Saturday, in our area. As we planned this, Elder Weston and I, we had a lot of fun. We wrote out "Mission Alpha" and "Mission Omega" and the like on notecards, and said that the mission would be activated at the church when we prayed to start the finding day. And the mission would terminate at 15 Uhr. We had different targeted sectors (the different districts in our area) along with primary objectives (for example: Find.Teach.Baptize.Repeat.) and secondary objectives, such as: contacts wearing American sports memorabilia, with bonus points for anything other than Yankees or Chicago Bulls, because everyone wears that. It was way fun. I worked with Elder Aurich from Wien 5 for the 3 hours. We had fun and found some really cool people. I am excited for this week. 

Now the best part. I called all the people labeled as investigators in our phone, trying to set something up with them (the problem is, I don´t know any of them) and we got a call back from one who said he would love a visit in the hospital. His name is M_____ and we went to visit him on Friday. We got to know him a bit, and talked about how the Savior is there to help us. Also about building a firm foundation on Christ, that will get us through anything. He suffers from MS, so he is pretty weak, but he is just trying to make the best of his situtation. I admire that. We went back to visit him on Sunday, yesterday, and the older man in his room, W_____, joined us in our conversation. We talked about the people of Alma, how the Lord made their burdens light. And then we talked about Alma the younger´s conversion story, and the light that it brought into his life. When we mentioned light, W_____ stopped us and said he had a story to tell us, a story he doesn't tell very often. He proceeded to tell us that as he was 9, he got in an accident. And he almost died. He felt like he was being squeezed through a pipe, and at the end was a light. And this light was the most beautiful light he had ever seen, and he felt so good, he didn't want to go back to his crying parents in the hospital. It was something he hasn't ever experienced since then. And we told him that that light was from the Savior, and we can feel that light and love when we follow Him. And Willie agreed. He said he would give anything to find that light again, and we bore testimony that the gospel was the way for him to do it. 

This was a very special experience for me, considering the things I have gone through in the last bit of time. It was another experience where the Spirit was there and guided everything I said. I know it, because my German was the best German I have ever spoken in my life. I don´t know if I can say it was perfect, but it was the best I have ever spoken. It flowed, it was not just me speaking. My mind doesn't think that quickly or clearly. I will never forget that moment, sitting in a quiet hospital room in Vienna, Austria, with two men who didn't choose these circumstances in their lives, but who are doing their best to believe and be healed, to think positively. And the Spirit was there. 

And then their nurse walked in. She seemed to be a very nice daughter of God. Really, I am not being sarcastic. She opened the door and walked in the room and I am certain she was hit in the face by the Spirit. She certainly wasn't expecting that, or the two handsome young men sitting in the room there. (If I say so myself...hahaha). :) M_____ and W_____ asked if she wanted to stay and sit with us for 10 minutes, but she had to work. But it is okay, at the end, I left a Book of Mormon for M_____ and W_____, and I left another and told them that they had to give it to the nurse, B_____. We´ll see if they do it! That is how you get new investigators, you invite the Spirit so strong and then invite them immediately to share it with others :) Score! I feel like M_____ and W_____ are my best friends. We are going back Wednesday. 

And that is the story about how everything turned around for us. We have two awesome new investigators, lots of potential invesitgators to contact this week to try and meet, and we are just so grateful to have been blessed with it all. 

God lives, and He is leading this work. All the circusmstances that have led to me calling those people in the phone on that day, when he was in the hospital, have led us here. Man, He knows what He is doing. If I had called even a couple weeks ago, M_____ probably would still have been in Costa Rica on vacation, but he had a stroke and then got shipped back here so we could meet with him, and meet W_____, and so the nurse, B_____, could feel that Spirit when she opened the door. So ist es. 
I leave you all with a quote: "Doing something yourself does not necessarily mean doing it alone." I came up with that this morning.

I love you all, have a great week! :)

Elder Gibbons