Monday, April 28, 2014


I really liked the birthday slideshow, but it didn't work with the music, not on this computer, at least. But I enjoyed looking through the pictures, trying to see which one I was. I don´t know why I ever let my hair get so long, I look dumb haha. That was really fun, thanks so much Mom :) I will hopefully hear the music sometime. 

I got a call from Renate today, she wanted to wish me happy birthday :) But I got a card from Sis. Eagley first, and then Sister Hall. Thank them for me! Renate really wants to try and come to Munich to see us off, but I am not sure how that will happen haha. She is great. Otherwise, I don´t have any plans for my birthday. Yesterday was already great with Familie Husz, they sang to me and then I got to talk about Harry Potter with their oldest son, Elias, who is on the 3rd book but has heard tons of stuff from his friends. It was hard talking about fairy tale stuff in German haha. Saubergetränke= potions. Who knew? But then we went on a walk to a little lake by their house (manmade, but really pretty at this time of year, where the water is still clear). I like them a lot :) They gave me a book about Wien, things to see and do, and I told them Mom would be very happy. But it is auf Deutsch, sorry. 

The Salzburg zone is coming later today. We still have to get groceries and then we are going to C&A to see if Elder Sessions can find some new pants, since all of his are ripped and self repaired multiple times. He needs some new ones haha. That will be my birthday. I just realized that this is my 2nd birthday in a row where I am with Elder Allan. Funny haha. In preparation for our conference tomorrow, I read Elder Dyches' talk from October conference, it is really good. I am excited to see what we discuss tomorrow. 

Last week we finally met with that lady, Z_____, and it was really good! But we met at a member´s apartment, Br. Ferraz came with us, and we had a great discussion. I got a taste of what it must be like for Tyson, we walk into a very brightly decorated apartment with Spanish songs playing. And they all liked to talk a lot. Auf Spanish. The member, M_____, from Colombia I think, had her niece there as well, who should be a Mormon already, she thought very much like what we believe. They just really like to talk, so we didn´t get to talk much about the stuff we planned, and then three of the niece's friends came over, which resulted in more Spanish, and at this point I was really wishing I could communicate with Tyson and figure out what was going on. So we sat there with poor Z_____, with hardly any idea what was going on. But Z_____ and M_____ came to church again yesterday, and we will meet hopefully just with them on the coming Friday. Z_____ is so nice and really interested. She is good friends with M_____, and M_____ told her about how the church had helped her get through rough times and such, and Z_____ expressed her interest to learn more. That is how it should be done! :) 

This week we also have a ward outing on Thursday, a holiday, and we are going to go hiking somewhere just outside of Wien. Elder Sessions and I are debating about wearing our lederhosen or not. It could be way hot. Schau ma mal. haha.
There are actually lots of good things happening for us and for the zone leaders, and Br. Husz was really excited yesterday in our meeting. We are gonna keep things going! 

Have a good week, thanks for the birthday wishes! 


Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter!

Hey Familie!

How was Easter? We didn't do anything special. We did get a little bit of chocolate, though. Elder Sessions and I went yesterday to eat lunch with Br. M_____. He is the one we did service for a few weeks ago, carrying tons of bags of dirt upstairs from the kellar. He isn´t doing too well, healthwise or job-wise, but as we were planning what we wanted to discuss with him, what we thought he might need, the quote from PMG chapter 6, the section on Hope, came into my mind. Let us reach to lift hands which hang hopelessly down. And then when we started talking with him, that was exactly what it turned into. He wants a wife and a family, but it hasn't worked out yet. He is often sick and has no good work, which makes it hard to find someone and start a family overall, and he just works himself to death renovating, at his own cost, an old Lokal, cafe place (which is where we helped him move dirt). He said it was just too much. But I remember just sitting there, listening to him talk about how he still trusted in God, that was all he had left. And I just had, as a representative of the Savior Jesus Christ, the irrepresible feeling that I just wanted him to have peace, that it would be okay. We offered to give him a blessing, and he agreed, and I hope and believe that the Savior will give him peace, and continue to guide him as he learns more about God´s will. 

Sadly this week that appoointment with the referral lady fell out, but we made another appointment out for this coming Friday. Thank goodness it is through members, because otherwise we usually lose contact with people we met ourselves. Once again, members are so important! 

Today we are headed to the Easter lunch that the Ehepaar Strong are putting on for us, we are excited. Then we may be going with the Bishop and his family to their garden place out on the other side of the city. But we still aren´t sure, because they haven't answered our phone calls yet. 

Otherwise, this last week we helped a member move on Saturday. He is way funny and his family is way nice. We moved stuff from their old apartment to the new one, so that the wife´s sister could move her stuff into the old apartment. And we were just all over helping this family move. The wife is the only member in her family, but we met almost all her sisters and her brother and they were very grateful for the help. No one ever looked better at a move than wearing white shirts and ties :) haha. They gave us one of the huge pizzas they bought for dinner for us to bring home, and we had two people talk to us shortly just because the pizza was massive! If we carried pizzas around all day, more people might actually come to us and talk hahaha. But in reality, we have something of much greater worth than a huge pizza, and that is what we are trying to get across. 

I have to say, I am really enjoying brainstorming about "becoming." This morning I just had a ton of thoughts and during my personal study I spent my time writing them down and finding scriptures that went along. That is how I like to learn. If I don´t have any questions or any direction I want to go, I end up just reading the Book of Mormon and waiting for the Spirit to point something out to me. But the first situation is much better :) trust me. Ask questions, get answers, LEARN! That is what you are here to do. Take advantage of it. 
Well, I am running out of time, so I wish you all farewell until next week! I love you :)

Elder Jalen Gibbons

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grüß oink!

Hey :) servus. Hope you all had a good week? I got an email from Jenn today, that was great :)

Is everyone excited for Easter?  I don´t even know what we are going to do to celebrate it. Well, I will think of Morgan on her birthday this week. Happy birthday Morgan! And anyone else who has a birthday. We are going to celebrate Elder Botcherby´s birthday tomorrow, because tomorrow is Maxim's and Sister Strong´s birthday! (Sister Strong is from the couple who run the YSA center). And Elder Botcherby´s birthday is Wednesday. That will be fun.

Maxim got baptized yesterday! It was way cool. He was so happy. He asked me to give a talk about the Holy Ghost. I hope it went well and that he understood. I focused more on the importance of the decisions he will make in life, and how the Holy Ghost will help him make the right choices. He is such a great guy. He stuck his arms up in the air triumphantly after he came back up out of the water :) and he is way excited to post his status or whatever as Mormon, and see what his friends think!  :)

We met with S_____ this last Tuesday, but sadly she didn't show to our other two appointments :( She doesn't have a phone, but she also won´t answer my emails. I hope we don´t lose her!  But at church yesterday a member brought a friend of his and we have an appointment to teach this lady and her son, and hopefully also the son of another member lady on Friday. That was a way cool experience. I was just standing there after the second hour class waiting to introduce myself to these new faces, and then the member starts talking to Br. Husz (the ward mission leader) about setting up an appointment with the elders. So he grabbed me, Br. Husz did, and set me up with them. Later Br. Husz came up to me  grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "There is the family we were praying for!" Like 7 weeks ago, when Elder Weston and I were at the Familie Husz, they asked what I wanted to do in my last ten weeks, and I said I just wanted to find a family, and asked them to pray with us! So we both got to see this come true :) That was actually a suggestion from Br. Ehlen, so thanks Bruder Ehlen! I am excited to see where it goes. 

I am grateful for miracles like this, because we work hard to find interested people, but we just haven't gotten anything out of it--this is the story of my entire time in Wien. But this is so much easier and more effective, having the members do the inviting (of course we still invite, too) because there is already a connection there. So thank you Heavenly Father for inspiring members to share their joy with their friends. May we all do the same! 

I am doing great, Elder Sessions is doing great, we have a lot of fun together. Dad asked how Elder Allan was doing, he is doing good I believe! He is still in his second area, which puts him at five transfers in each area he has served in (Landshut and Haag am Hausbruck). He is actually working now with my mission "brother" Elder Hancey, also trained by Elder Eaker. I will get to see them one more time before I leave, actually on my birthday, because all of Salzburg zone is coming to Wien for a mission conference with Elder Timothy J. Dyches on the 29th. But they are coming on the 28th. Happy Birthday me :) haha. And Elder Weston is doing well, as far as I know! 

Have a great week! I love you all. Thanks for your prayers and love.

Elder Jalen Gibbons


With Elder Weston at Schonbrunn
Funny story about this picture! Those girls in the background were from Ireland, and they photobombed me pretty well! They were kinda following us around, the whole group, seeing there were like 8 well-dressed guys in white shirts and ties walking around a palace in Vienna, Austria. But Elder Weston and I ran into that same group of them the next night at the bahn station across the street. I walked past the group and they all started talking to each other saying I looked like someone they knew. So I stopped and asked, in English, where they were from. From Ireland! I asked if they knew where Idaho was, and a few of them said yes. They thought I was German. But then I asked if they had been at the Schönbrunn Palace Monday, and they said yes, so I said that some of them had photobombed me. The girls who did it kinda freaked out, so I showed them this picture, and they wanted to take pictures of this picture and also another picture with me. I gave my camera to one of their friends so I could remember the crazy story as well, but it didn't turn out well.  (See the next picture, that was them). Too bad. But, I told them we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, but they only knew who we were when I said "Mormons." (Sorry Elder Ballard). Well, I did use the real name. So I am good. So now the next time they see missionaries walking around, they will remember that one time in Vienna, Austria and one day will learn more about the church. Hurray! :)
With the Irish photobombing friends
Goodbye to Elder Weston!
Hello to Elder Sessions!
Nah servus, wir sind wieder da! Today is Elder Sessions´ birthday! And Sister Green, too! But we don´t know what we are going to do yet. We had to go spend 2 hours in the VISA office so Elder Sessions could renew his Visa. As I was there, I wept inside at the rudeness and indifference of humankind. Of course, it is not everyone, thank goodness, but there were some people who must have been having just rotten days. I cry inside to see how little people understand, they don´t see that losing twenty seconds while letting someone else copy something quickly DOESN`T MATTER! There are enough people who look for the bad in everything, we need people who love and forgive, just like we learned at General Conference this last weekend. My favorite story was from Pres. Monson about the flight from Anchorage (or somewhere in Alaska) to Seattle. The flight was redirected to a remote town to pick up a young boy who was severely injured. They determined that the boy wouldn´t live till Seattle, so the flight was detoured another 200 miles or so to the nearest hospital. Finally, hours behind, the flight made it to Seattle, where passengers had surely missed appointments or other connecting flights, whatever it may have been.  But not a single passenger on that plane complained. Rather, they cheered with joy as they heard news that the little boy was going to live. 

I learned two lessons from Conference, you could say, overall. First, that complaining and whining and anything of the like are for natural men. Are you a natural man or woman? Or are you a child of God? Just like was said in Conference, the people we are now (sadly, natural men and women) are NOT who we CAN be. We are sons and daughters of the Almighty God, what does complaining do for us? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Do you not see who we can become? Just a glimpse of who we really are (just like the talk from Randall Ridd) would change any one of us. To see the glory we are capable of inheriting, the world would change! I quote Pres. Kimball (who was actually also quoted a lot in Conference, I liked it :)): " If you could only see the vision I have!" As I watched Conference, especially the Priesthood session, I was so caught up in the spirit of hope and love at seeing just a little glimpse of the people we can be. People who don´t complain, who don´t belittle, people without guile or bigotry, people who love, people who serve, who think of others first, people who forgive. People like Christ. 
That ties in with the second thing I learned. Now I quote Lord of the Rings, Sam, to be exact, who is one of the best examples of a true, loyal friend. "There is good in this world ____, and it is worth fighting for." Put your own name in that line, and tell yourself that everytime you feel ready to just give up on the integrity and honesty of people. There is good out there, even if it seems to be just you. 

General Conference was great! Want to know something really cool? We were going by on some people from the ward with Bobi on Saturday afternoon, and then some guy stopped us and started being very rude and cussing us out. Told us we were "Mormon crap" and to "get lost," go try in some Middle East country to teach people, get out of Austria and out of his sight. That frustrated me, and I just walked off after a minute. Yeah, I told Bobi, "I wanted to hit that guy, but Jesus wouldn´t do that." And Elder Sessions was just light-years ahead of me and told Bobi, "We just have to forgive him, he may have had a bad day. Forgive and forget." Good thing Elder Sessions is here haha. But Bobi took it really hard. He said he just hated that guy, couldn´t believe how arrogant he was. Couldn´t stop thinking about it. (It´s not the first time it has happened to me, so I forgot it pretty quickly). But then we go to Conference, and Elder Holland speaks first. And what was his first story? Yeah, the mashed potato story. Poor sisters. But that was really comforting to me, knowing that I am in an elite group who get to be persecuted and mocked and rejected for my Savior. And later that night Bobi called and said he wanted to pray with us for forgiveness for this man. (He is 13!!!) So we knelt down and Bobi said a prayer over the phone. What a cool experience. Haha he was still upset about it all on Sunday, but he will get over it. What a stud. 

So yeah, things are going well! I picked up Elder Sessions on Thursday, sent off a lot of friends at Bahnhof earlier that morning, including Elder Weston. This transfer day was probably the hardest one I have had. I was really good friends with all the people who left (who I knew), but it was really sad because I am not going to see them again on the mission. I felt like I just had a hole in my heart the whole day. It is better now. Oh, the woes of getting old! Elder Sessions is way cool, though! We talk a lot about Landshut, since he was just there. He told me hello from everyone in the ward :) and guess what?!! Sympla and Bendito have been to the temple, and they will be getting the Melchizedek Priesthood in July! That is so awesome :) They are doing so well! I will send them a letter today with a picture of me and Elder Sessions. Aha, I will send you it, too. 

So there is a picture of Elder Weston and I, and the first one is Elder Sessions and I, and the last one was from Schönbrunn last week, which is a big palace with huge garden grounds, plus a zoo. It was way pretty. I have lots of pictures. 
Well, I bought my new suit, too! My birthday present to myself. :) You´ll see it when I get home. :P As for you sending a package, I wouldn´t worry about it, Mom. I can wait 5 weeks. I don´t know what I would want anyway. Or what I want at all for my birthday. Surprise me! :) Although ties are always cool. But I probably won´t be wearing ties anymore everyday. Whatever. 

Well, I hope you all look back at the things you learned from General Conference. The Lord has spoken through His servants, and what they have said will happen! If anything stuck out to you in the form of "Do this" or "DON`T do this" then follow their counsel! All we have to do here and now in this life is prove to God that we will do what He tells us to do. Obedient in all things. And that will help us tremendously in our strivings to become the people we can be. But first remember, a better world starts with yourself, eh? The Lord will always help you on your way. I promise. 

Have a great week, I love you all!

Elder Jalen Gibbons