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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Of Fallen Appointments and Women

As the days to Christmas draw closer, so does the busy-ness of most people. We had quite a few of our appointments fall through, and none of the people that we were hoping would become investigators did so. The rest, our investigators that should be progressing, were all unavailable. The good news, or the auspicious, little light at the end of my tunnel, is they have been excited to meet us whenever we call them. Now, all we need to do is actually get a time to get together and do it. X_X Due to all of these appointments that did not go through, we spent much of our time on the streets of Prenzlau and the other cities in the immediate area. We have been travelling often to these other cities to try to find investigators that have not yet heard of our message. We have met some really promising people, but we have not as yet been able to teach many of them. But! They are out there, and we are going to try to find the prepared ones. The highlight of the week took place yesterday with church. We received a phone about two hours before services and were told that both President Leonhardt, the Branch President, and Elder Böhm, his second-councilor, were both sick, and that they would not be able to make it to church. In other words, Elder Primas and I ran the entire program for church yesterday. Yep, we were the only two Priesthood in the building. It was us and about 13 women. Fortunately, Elder Primas was already assigned to give the talk in Sacrament, so all I had to do was give a testimony at the end. But for Sunday School, I gave the lesson in our combined meeting. It turned out pretty well for me only having about 40 minutes to prepare it before church. I have a testimony of what my companion said: "Sometimes it is better if you do not have any time. If you get a week, the Lord expects you to prepare that week and then he'll do the rest; but if you only get 10 minutes, the Lord will do everything for you!" Additionally, I have a testimony of the power and spirit of revelation, for I felt it and experienced it as I was preparing the lesson. I also have a testimony that the organization of the church is one of the modern miracles; for, now I know and can testify that it still functions, even if on the shoulders of two 20-year-olds. I hope that everyone has a good week, and my heart goes out to all of you as we start the Christmas Season. Perhaps, for those who are interested, I can quickly explain how the Germans celebrate. First of all, each Sunday, they have what they call an Advent. There are 4 candles of varying heights. On the first advent (the first Sunday of December), one burns a candle until it is equal in size with the next one. As the candle burns, one thinks of Christ and his sacrifice and what Christmas truly symbolizes. The next week, the two candles are burned until they are even with the 3rd. On the 4th week, all four candles are lit until they go out. On the 6th of December is when St. Nicolas (Santa) comes, but instead of toys and stockings, he fills the children's shoes with candy and other sweets. The 24th is called Heilige Abend (the holy evening), and the 25th-26th are their two Christmas days. They also are big fans of stars and real Christmas trees, which I never really experienced growing up, and so I am pretty excited for a real one. Have an awesome week and keep mission work in your prayers!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hey Everyone! It was a great week and end to the transfer. On Saturday, we had transfer calls, and I will be staying in Prenzlau for another one at least, which means that I will be here for Christmas. (Don't worry, I've already been looking for a cheap Christmas tree- I found a good one for only 40€.) As far as this last week went, we spent quite a bit of time doing finding, including trying to get a variety of doors, street contacting, and calling people. Many people, unfortunately, are unable to meet with us due to the coming holiday season. I am very grateful, although, for technology and that we can still help our investigators even if they do not have enough time to meet with us as much as we would like. Our two ladies from Kenya, who we are hoping to set out baptismal dates with soon, could not meet with us on Saturday, but we were able to set up a date and time for them to start their fast, and so we are hoping to hear their answer sometime this week about if they believe the Book of Mormon is true. Our other progressing investigator was also unavailable because she is on vacation, and so we are going to meet with her in a few weeks. Other than that, we are meeting with some investigators that are having trouble progressing, as well as some less-active members. The best thing is that we have many first appointments that we have made out, and so hopefully some of them will go through and we can get Prenzlau pretty busy. Ever since I have gotten here, Elder Primas and I have been working hard and we are seeing the work start to pick up, so it is really exciting. I am really happy to stay with Elder Primas for another six weeks. He has really helped me with learning German as well as how to have fun doing missionary work. He has a sense of humor very similar to mine, and so we just laugh a lot. I am trying to learn the scriptures as well as he knows and understands them, and we have had some really amazing gospel discussions. This week, we are supposed to go to a member's house for Thanksgiving, but she was feeling sick on Sunday, so we will see if it works out. If not, then I will put together random things and we will call it our feast anyways. We are going to be having our mission Christmas devotional on November 28th, so if anyone wants to try to send anything, make sure to send it straight to the address in Prenzlau (found below); not to the mission office. But I hope that everyone is doing well and that they have a great Thanksgiving. Thank you for your prayers and support! Elder Eric Gibson Wittenhofer Strasse 1 Prenzlau 17291 Germany - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, November 12, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, Prenzlau is doing pretty well. This week was a bit slower than the last couple weeks as far a work goes, but I don't have any complaints. We had our Zone Finding Day on Wednesday in our city, which means that we got all of the missionaries in our Zone (about 14 of us in all) and spread them out within three other towns in our area. We saw quite a bit of success, and have quite a few new appointments set up for this week. We did not manage to meet with very many of our investigators this week, but one of them, Herr Fertig (which is a funny name since it translates into "Mr. Finish") showed up to church this week, which was a wonderful surprise, especially for the members. He has not been to church for years! They all greeted him with smiles and talked quite a bit with him, which is always a really good thing to see a ward do. It really helps because it makes it much easier to invite him to church again the next week. We had a wonderful Branch Conference, in which the theme was the light of the gospel and making sure that we have this light in our lives. I think that it really touched him. Our other investigators from Kenya could not make it this Sunday because they decided to visit another church. We are hoping that they are still interested in our message, but we will have to see this coming week if they still want to continue meeting. Another highlight of the week was when we went to another town on Saturday to do a service project in the Zoo. It was really fun, and we raked up about 15 truck-loads of dead, fallen leaves. Afterwards, they let us roam around the Zoo for free. We decided to go to their Darwin-Museum, which pretty much just takes one through the stages of evolution. As the main attraction, they had some gigantic apes and other species of monkeys within a geodesic dome that seemed like a rain forest from the inside. They had it set up really well, and so it was really fun to go through. Unfortunately, it was a 3 hour train ride there and another 3 hours back, so it used up most of the day. It is crazy to think that I have already been in this town for almost a transfer- going on the sixth week. Time really flies out here! Included in this E-mail is a picture of my no-longer-brand-new companion, Elder Primas. An interesting side note: his mother is a twin, just like my mom. He said a pretty funny quote yesterday: "I've gotta go to the restroom... and think about Japanese vocabulary." We are having a good time together. Anyways, we are going to head down to Berlin today with a few other missionaries to see some of the sites. I hope that everyone is doing really well and that they are staying warm now that winter is finally settling in. Tschüß! - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage
Elder Primas and Elder Gibson

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Eric eating his first Doner We made a salad! Festival in Gorletz Frankfurt Temple Train station

Monday, November 5, 2012

Elder Primas and I had a good week this week. We have been teaching some very promising people that each have wonderful spirits about them. We have also been having investigators come to church, which has not happened for quite a while here. Some of the days are fairly difficult because we are doing quite a bit of finding, but the Lord is blessing us with people that are sincerely interested in our message. One of the most amazing investigators that we have is Frau Köster, who has read quite a bit from the Book of Mormon and told us in our last appointment that she knows that it is true. She also showed up for church yesterday, and said that she really enjoyed it. The members were excited to see a new face, and so they also did a great job of making her feel welcome. Our two ladies from Kenya are also doing really well, and they are planning on doing a fast this week to find out if the Book of Mormon is true or not. They say that sometimes people in Kenya fast for weeks or months (one of her friends followed Christ's example and did a 40-day fast!!!), so we are hoping that they do not try to go for too long. I can barely make a day, let alone longer! Elder Primas and I have also been doing really well. We have been doing well with speaking German with each other- I have learned a lot over the last few weeks- and our teaching unity is getting progressively better. It is really fun to be with him because of the cultural diffrences. He wants to have curry with everything, and he loves foods that I have simply never tried before and I would not have with an american companion. Halloween was pretty fun here. Not as many children as in the states go trick-or-treating (here they call it "susses oder saures," which means "sweet or sour," but they had some good costumes on. Right as we were about to leave our apartment, two boys rang on the doorbell, and Elder Primas in his gormlessness let them in. We were able to find some chocolate bars that we were planning on giving a member for his birthday. Those two sure were spoiled! That night, we trick-or-treated the missionary couple that lives here. They did not answer because they thought that we were little kids wanting candy, and they did not have anything because they had just arrived from being at the temple. I also managed to come up with a good quote of the week. That is: It's always easier to count what's going wrong that what's going right, but the latter is well worth the effort. It is something that I have had to apply sometimes on my mission, but when one counts the blessings rather than the mishaps, one can lead a much happier life. Well, all in all I got to say that this week was a great week here in Prenzlau. I hope everyone is doing great and that this week is a really good one, especially for my mom because she has a birthday this week. I love her and am so greatful for everything that she does. Tschüß!