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Monday, June 11, 2012

German Word of the Week: der Grund (GROOND) - Reason

     Going to Berlin last Monday was really fun. We played soccer and basketball for about 5 hours straight, but then we had a nice 3 hour ride back in which we just sat in the train and got super stiff. We were both hurting Tuesday morning, haha. It was also a week of firsts for me. On Wednesday, my companion and I gave a Thema (a mix between a lesson and a discussion, there's not really a direct translation for it) in District Meeting, which is basically a weekly correlation meeting between all the missionaries in the area. We have 6 Elders and 2 Sisters, so a nice sized group. It was over how to help to reactivate less active members and making sure that recent converts are cared for and receive callings and such. It turned out really well. Also, yesterday I gave my first lesson to one of the ward families after dinner. It was a spiritual thought relating how the defense that Captain Moroni set up in the city of Noah can be related to us defending our homes from our spiritual ''Lamanites.'' It was the first time that I have created the lesson completely by myself and led the whole discussion. I am pretty sure that my German was pretty bad, but they were able to get the message, so I guess it wasn't horrible.
      Other than that, we are having a blast doing God's work. We continue to find all of the polish people walking around town, and when we try to go up and talk to them we quickly find out that they have no idea what we are saying. We give them a card to our internet site and tell them it is in Polish as well. My companion is awesome, and I guess him family is going to move, so it kind of made me think of whenever Steven was out on his mission and we moved on him and sent him a picture of a shack and told him that it was our new abode. It was pretty funny. We are working our tails off trying to get some investigators that are actually progressing towards finding the happiness of the gospel. We have about 2 that have been meeting with the missionaries for years, so we are trying to find interesting ways to push them enough to make the decision to go with it or not. We met with a part-member family on Friday, and the husband was actually the one that initially started investigating the church, but his wife ended up getting baptized and he decided it wasn't for him. But as we were talking he really opened up again, so hopefully we will see if we can get him to commit to investigating the church again. Also, we were able to contact a brother of one of the Sister in the branch. He says that he has been wanting to come into church for a while now but that she is really busy. We will be meeting with him on Friday and we even invited her to help us teach!
     I hope you guys have a wonderful next seven days, and happy fathers day to all the grandparents and fathers that are keeping up with my e-mails. Until next week!


 - Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, June 4, 2012

German Word of the Week: zählen (ts-ALE-ehn) to count

     I just wanted to start off by saying how amazingly happy I am that my brother is going to be able to go back out on his mission! It has been a very long and difficult journey for him, and now he can put back on the armor of the servants of God and go back into the field. I am honored to be able to serve with him.
     I am still in Görlitz, and chances are that I will be for another transfer after this one because my trainer has already been here for three so I'm most likely going to be the one training the area in about 6 weeks. I am happy that my trainer got to stay though- I think that it is easier to be able to keep the same person rather than having to get a new one that wants to do it differently. We had some pretty cool events this week, and on Wednesday we were able to find a man named Walter for our "Espirit De Corps Wie Niemals Bevor." He said that he wouldn't be available until this Saturday, so we will see if we can count him as one of the Golden investigators that goes all the way to baptism.
     On Friday, it was pretty much the day of miracles for us. My companion was feeling a little sick, and every time we were up walking around it would just get worse, so we decided to do our weekly planning and let him rest. We did that, and he was feeling a bit better but didn't want to rush it, so we stayed inside and called some contacts to invite them to church (it is the month of June, which the Area Presidency has designated as "invitation to church month"). One of the first guys we called said that he was really excited to meet with us again, wanted to get baptized still, but before that wanted us to finish teaching him our message of the restored gospel (miracle 1). Then, when my companion was feeling better, we went out to teach our lesson. On the way there, we decided to do some doors in one of the Wohnungs, and we saw the name of a less-active that the Branch President mentioned to us only 2 days before, and she was home, which was a crazy occurrence (miracle 2).  But then, we did some more searching for older contacts, and we were able to set up an appointment with someone who has never been home for over 6 weeks (miracle 3). He was also very excited to learn from us again. And finally, on the way home, Elder James was feeling a little hungry, so we decided to stop by the Düner Ladens and talk with the owner to see if he had read any of the Book of Mormon yet. But when we got there, we met a struggling member (her daughter has a very progressive stage of cancer) and were able to check up on her and make sure that she's doing alright (miracle 4). This was all in one day, mind you, so we could basically see the heavens open up and God placing us exactly where we needed to be right when we needed to be there.
     We were also able to go to the temple on Saturday in Freiberg, and I did the session auf Deutsch, which was pretty cool. I love being to see how the church is pretty much the exact same even all the way across the world. It also continues to surprise me with how many Germans can speak English.
     On Sunday, we had the baptism of one of the members, and so we had over 8 investigators go to church to see the service, which they do right after regular church here. We were able to even talk with some of them, and they said that something seemed different about this church, and that they might even come back again some time. After the service, we had a huge potluck lunch, and then the children decided to start stealing the Missionaries Nametags and running away. I got mine back, but then was tackled by 9 kids. One was biting my leg, 3 more were holding my legs down, 2 were trying to push me over, one jumped on my back, another had a thing of bamboo that he was hitting me with, and then one of the young women had a branch of Stinging Nettle that she was hitting my face with (For those of you who are not aware of what that is, it is a plant that feels like tons of tiny needles going into your skin, and can irritate where it touches for hours afterwards). In the end, I was able to get them all off of me and back into what I thought was the safety of the church. I was wrong.
     The working is going really well in Germany. Once again, have an awesome week and make sure to count the miracles in your life. A quote that I picked up this week that I thought everyone might enjoy is from Gordon Brown, and it reads:

"It is better to face fear once then to live in its shadow." Until next week!

- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage