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