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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Harbinger- Weekly Letter

Liebe Familie,
 
Christmas is always the last major event before a new year begins. It was a wonderful Christmas for my companion and I. We were invited to quite a few members homes, including some of the best families of the ward, so it was a really fun time. They gave us so many gifts and treats. We all got some ties with the Hamburg crest on it and also some small, handcrafted nativity sets. I just ate my third chocolate Santa this morning, haha. I am going to be a marzipan ball myself once I am doing eating all of those things. And of course, we got to Skype with our families, which is always a highlight. This was easily one of the best Christmases that I have experienced. The German holiday spirit is a spectacular thing to live through.
But at the same time, Christmas is also that last hurrah before the new year sweeps in. It is the harbinger of a brand-new start, which is a wonderful opportunity. Now is an auspicious time to do things that I maybe haven't done yet, and to set some new goals for the things that I want to accomplish before the year is over. In scriptural terms, it is a time to repent. There are only a few days left in the year- take the time to do the same! Evaluate yourself and make some small, yet vital changes to come one step closer to who you want to become at the end of 2014.
We met with quite a few less-actives during the holiday season. The holidays are a perfect time when people open their hearts to us and are more excited for when we ask them to draw closer to their savior. This week, we were able to get into a home that has never let us in, and we were able to give them some Christmas goodies. I am thankful for the little miracles that happen everyday as a missionary- those little things that are explainable, yet still a wonderful and unexpected event. I have seen a lot of those this week, and it makes me very excited to start of this new year. I only have a few months left- now is the time to wear another pair of shoes out and to continue to share the gospel to the German people.
Have a wonderful new years (und einen guten Rutsch!- German term, which translates into "have a good slide") I love you all and hope that you are healthy and happy!
- Elder Eric Gibson
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, December 16, 2013

3rd Advent


Dear Family and Friends,

I can't believe that we are already half-way through the last months of the year. 2013 has gone by so fast! I still remember when new years came, and I was planning out what I wanted to do differently to become a better missionary. Now, the year is already over, and the next step (college and study) is staring me in the face. It is crazy!
This week was really great. We had our Christmas Zone Conference on wednesday, which was very spiritual. For the second half, they gave us our present- watching a movie! We saw 17 Miracles, which I haven't seen for a while now, and it was way good to see all of the miraculous things that happened with the pioneers in the Willie-Martin handcart companies.
It also happened to be my birthday, and so everyone sang to me during lunch. At the end of day, Elder Schmidt and I had a mini-party of cake and ice-cream. It was a really good birthday.
The work is also going well. We are working with a man named Ricardo, and he is progressing slowly, but well. He has read quite from the book of Mormon, and his prayers have changed drastically. We are going to work with him on quiting smoking, so it will be really good after that.
On Friday, a member invited us over for dinner. She surprised us with a birthday cake at the end. The members love the missionaries so much! I was very grateful for how thoughtful they were.
There was also a piano concert in the church on Friday. We went as an opportunity to talk with some people about the church. It was a man named Kevin Kenner and a string quintet. Once they started, I was blown away with how proffesional it all was. I then looked on the program and saw just how many awards that this player has received in Poland, Germany, Texas, and Utah, among other places. His playing was very advanced and completely flawless. I asked a member for a recording of it, so hopefully I can get a copy from him before I am transferred from this city, and then you can see just how awesome it is.
Thanks for all of your love and support. Stay strong and excited tor the christmas season. President Eyring gave us an awesome promise in this month's ensign. Take advantage of the season and try to share the gospel with someone that you know! If you don't know the gospel very well, then it is certainly time to check it out.

Have a great 3rd advent. I love all of you and wish you the best during this exciting Christmas season!

--

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

The second Advent - weekly letter


     Yesterday, the second advent calender was burning in our apartment. It made me so happy. It is a German tradition that I am definitely going to take with me. As far as all of the chocolates and candies go, I think that I will miss them, but it is probably for the best, since I eat them a little to happily.
     This week was really good for Elder Schmidt and I in Hamburg. I have quite a few highlights that I think that you will all enjoy. First, on Monday, we went to the Christmas market for the second week in a row. I am pretty sure that we will end up there once again today. It is really awesome. You just have to make sure to leave your wallet at home. The market has a magical way of transforming bills into random objects that may be awesome, but that you honestly don't need.
     We had a really cool miracle on Monday night. We had an appointment with an investigator, and we decided to make it a bit shorter to have some time to stop by on a contact. We did such, and when we were on the bus to go by on this person, we saw him sitting on the bus! We talked with him, and he said that he has moved to a different part of the town and that he got a new phone. He decided to go to his old home just one last time to pick something up from his neighbor. He was very surprised that we ran into each other again, but he was very excited for it. So in other words, the chances that we would run into this man were very, very low. God is so awesome! Now he will be able to meet with the missionaries again.
     Also, I was able to play a trumpet again. It has been so long since I have touched a real one, but the bishop asked me to play it for the Christmas party on Saturday. Of course, I was happy to oblige. I just forgot that the trumpet is in a totally different key than that of piano, so I had to spend an hour transposing the music so that it would be suitable. It sounded pretty good, except for the high notes- my lips cannot support them very well anymore. We had a great party, and tons of friends of the members came. They seemed to all enjoy it.

Have a wonderful week and 3rd Advent!

-Elder Eric Gibson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New missionary in a big city

Dear Family/Friends,
     This week was really good. We were extremely busy, since the apartment that we have been staying in was rennovated this last week. We were living out of an apartment of another group of Elders who live in a different part of the city, and due to that, we had about an hour train ride home every night. I didn't think that it would really take that much time away from us, but it sure makes our appointments tight! On Thursday, we were able to finally move in to a brand new apartment on thursday, complete with shoe racks, a new stove, new carpets, painted walls, desks that we helped build, new wardrobes, ect. I am very happy to be living in it.
     Elder Schmidt is enjoying the city. It is about twice the size of his last, so he is still trying to get used to just how many people are really here, and the fact that we are in charge of some of the most busy sections of the city makes him even more bewildered. He comes from Alpine, Utah, and he has been out on his mission for about 10 months. Right now, he is following me around because he is lost, but he will start getting the city down pretty soon.
     Our investigators are also doing really well. We were able to meet with quite a few of them, despite all of the craziness that we were experiencing with the apartment. Alex, who has been meeting with us for over 4 months now, has confirmned that he knows that the church is true, and so we are hoping that we can make out a baptismal appointment with him this week.
     Unfortunately, I don't have any crazy stories of this week. We had thanksgiving dinner with the mission couple in our city. They are very nice and love us so much! I am only grateful for the chance that I have to been serving here at this time for the Lord, and I know that He is with me in this work. I can't believe that this year is coming to an end. I am not looking forward to it because 2014 is the year that I will be having to go back home. I love you all and I pray for each of you. Continue doing that which is right and looking for opportunities to share the gospel with all those whom you work with and know.

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Homeless by the fireside - weekly letter


Dear Family and Friends,

This week was really awesome. We saw some really cool miracles happen to us, and the work is picking up pace.
For P-day last week, we went to the Hamburg zoo and checked out the aquarium which apparently famous. We quickly found out why. Upon walking in, one finds himself in a gigantic, artificial biosphere which is filled with the sounds of many tropical birds. They have, at the very beginning, the Lemurs, which they just let roam free and jump on the guests at will. Needless, to say, the lemurs were just the beginning- they also had turtles, alligators, snakes, bats, spiders, fish, and of course some sharks. I love the zoos here in Germany. They would be illegal in the states, but here they have the animals just running around without fences with signs that just have casual warnings, like: Do not go too near Alligators- they may bite.
The rest of the week was awesome. We have been seeing some real progress lately with the members. One inactive member has started coming to church and working with us. Her son is old enough to get the priesthood, and he asked us last Sunday "what do I need to do to pass the bread and water?" We are excited to see their progress in the gospel. Another less-active had a really spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon, and he is finally understanding a lot of the doctrines of the church and how he can add them into his life. The actives are also doing great with trying to slowly improve their mission-efforts.
We also were able to get in contact with one of our former investigators, and he decided that he is ready to start getting ready for baptism. We want to do it right around new-years. It is an exciting time for us.
On Saturday, we had a fireside for non-members. We have been passing out invitations and working on it for the last couple of weeks, so we were very excited to see how many people were going to show up. We had quite a few members there and tons of snacks, but no investigators!!! We did the lesson anyways, and showed the members how they can use the restoration when trying to speak with their non-member friends. It was a success and a miracle, because through this activity, a member for south Africa was able to finally find the church here in Hamburg. She said that she has been searching for almost a whole year. Such a miracle.
We also got kicked out of our apartment. The mission is going to renovate all of the floors and furniture and re-do the walls, so we will be working out of another area's apartment until it is finished. I will try to attach some pictures of the new apartment next week.
The last bit of news is that I am going to be staying here in Hamburg through Christmas. Elder Becar is heading off to the East, near Leipzig, and I will be receiving someone named Elder Schmidt. He is not a German, even though his name is. ;-)

Well, that's it for this week. Have a good one and I wish you all well!


P.S. I always begin my letters with some kind of catchy phrase that relates to an event of the week, but I have to admit that this one my be a bit of a stretch for those who are paying too much attention.  See if you can find the two points of the week that contributed to this week's letter. Last week's letter?


--

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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Plan of Salvation - weekly letter

     We, the Hamburg Elders in Wartenau, had a fairly good week. We are very busy with the consistent things that we are trying to get done and people that we are trying to work with. The work is moving somewhat slowly here at the moment. We still do not have a very large teaching pool, but this week we were able to see some progress. There a quite a few people who are interested, but just are willing to take the time out of their day to meet with us. We are working with quite a few of the ward members who are ready to do the work with us, and we have already seen some movement their.
     We found a new investigator this week, Andreas from Poland, but he did not come to church yesterday, like he said he was planning on. That has been are biggest trouble the last few weeks for us- we make out appointments, but then the people cannot make it or just don't come. I think that a big part of it is that they just don't have true interest, and we aren't going to drag anyone to the gospel. We just need to find the people that are ready to accept what we are trying to give to everyone. I know that they are out there just looking for this exact thing.
     We had a really good appointment with a less-active this last week. He is from Chicago, so he speaks English, and he asked us for some help learning German. Afterwards, we talked with him about God and what God has in plan for him and his life (the Plan of Salvation!). It really touched him, and by the end of the lesson he said that he had understood the Plan of Salvation for the first time in his life. It was awesome to see that his heart was open for it, and the spirit was really strong in the lesson.
    This week, I learned quite a bit about how faith has to be a very active role in our lives. Due to the faith that the Nephites had in the Lord, they were protected in many situations from the Lamanites and the attacks that they were doing against them. The 2000 stripling warriors, because of their unwavering faith, were able to leave all of their battles without any loss of life- all because they had faith that God would protect them. Faith is truly a force that can accomplish mighty things, even if others might not trace it as the source sometimes.
     I know that this is the Lord's work. He has given His children so many opportunities and tools for us to be able to return to live with Him. The more time that I spend praying, studying the scriptures, and teaching the gospel to other, the deeper my appreciation for these gifts grows. I have felt His spirit and His love, and I have gotten very real answers to my prayers. I am so grateful for the short time that I have as a full-time witness of my Savior.
I love you all and wish the best for you once again. Until next week!

--

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hamburg, du bist doch schoen- Weely Letter

     So about my first week here in Hamburg, my companion and I were on the bus and we saw a good-looking Californian restraunt. We decided that we would go there some P-day and try it. A few weeks later, we took the same bus through that same part of town, but we couldn't find it! We figured that we had just missed it, but upon further inspection (that is, keeping a look out for it the next few weeks) we had to just assume that it had either completely disappeared or that we were just crazy. A few weeks ago, we were doing street contacting on the street, and we learned that the store had gone out of business the same week that we had decided that we wanted to try it, hahaha. I guess that it wasn't really very good anyways.
     We had a really good week. We decided to work very close with the members and to try to make them more excited for the work here. We met with quite a few families, and we were able to see quite a bit of excitement both for missionary work and to be able to talk about the gospel. This ward has some really great members- they just aren't sure how to go about doing the work. I really do appreciate them though- they are so busy and are yet so willing to try to improve themselves by meeting with us and doing the things that we ask them to start trying.
     Hamburg is so beautiful. We are watching the leaves turn into the amazing gold and burgundy colors, and the city has become even more amazing than it was in the summer. It is getting colder, though, which means that less people are on the streets and that more people are at home and going to bed earlier since it is now darker.
     Our investigators are struggling at the moment. All of the people we have been working with either lived in another area, or are not able to meet with us right now, so we are doing a lot with the contacts that we have. We have a few appointments set up for this week, but our big push is for getting a lot of the people who just "know the church" to actually meeting with us and investigating the restored gospel.
     I love the blessing that I have to be able to share the gospel here in Deutschland. My testimony of the restored gospel continues to grow, and I am learning every day how to become more christlike. Please continue to pray for the missionary work and especially that you will be able to take part in it yourselves!
     Have an amazing week and I love you all.

-Rom. 6:12–14

-Helaman 3:35

--

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elder Patrick Kearon - Weekly letter

     Well, this week was one of the best ones that I have had here in Hamburg. Our program is really picking up some pace, and we are finding quite a few people to teach the gospel to. We experienced quite a few miracles and we were able to have some amazing lessons with a few of our investigators. Alex, whom I have been mentioning in and out the last few months (he is the one who checked out all of the anti-stuff and then stopped investigating for a while), met with us this week for the first time in over a month, and we had one of the best lessons of my mission. We taught him about the Atonement and really focused in to how all of this "baptism" stuff and all of the things that we have been teaching him is really pertinant and applicable to HIM, and how we aren't doing it to get more people into the church, but because he needs to be cleansed from sin and be baptized so that he can actually start on the path to salvation. He finally started to understand it a bit more, and since then his interactions with us have gone back to what it was before he looked at all of these things. He still has a long way to go, but he is doing so much better!
     We also had a Special Zone Conference for our mission, in which we had two 70 members come and teach to us. The main one was Elder Kearon, who is a member of the 1st Quorum of the 70. He taught us so well, and he explained so many wonderful aspects of the church and how we can do better as missionaries. I learned so much from him! If you want to learn anything about him, here is the site: http://www.lds.org/church/leader/patrick-kearon?lang=eng .
     I wish that I had time to share some of the other miracles that we saw this week, but I really do not have very much time, so I will just have to end the week here. In short, we had a few lessons on the street and even had a walk-in appointment with an English teacher who was very skeptical about all of our beliefs, but is very open to what we teach and how he can find the truth for himself.
     Keep praying for us and being the type of members and people that the Lord asks us to be. "What manner of men ought ye to be? Even as I am" - Jesus Christ
     Have a great week!
--

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

Monday, October 28, 2013

Living in crescendo!

     This week, I decided to depart from my usual style and to discuss a topic that has really been on my mind. It may partially be due to that fact that I have a new bugle that I purchased for only 40 Euro two weeks ago, but it is of a topic that our mission president introduced to us and really comes from some of the earlier prophets of this dispensation. That is of Crescendo, which means: "an increase of intensity."
     What that entails for us missionaries is that we try to always push how we teach, how we find, and how we study; we try to become better missionaries. In a more general sense, it means that we try to push ourselves beyond what we normally achieve. In other words, reach a new potential that you have not yet lived. Of course, such a thing will take some work, but that is exactly what it means to "arise from the dust" and to "put on the whole armour of God." That is what it means to live in Crescendo- not to change who we are, rather to change ourselves into who we should be. That is my challenge for you, family and friends, is to be the person that you hopefully dream of being but have not yet been.
     That is what I have been trying to do for the last year, and just the mind-set has helped me to improve myself. It has been a wonderful experience, and I hope that you take a bit of your time to ponder the idea. Are you a better person than you were last year? Last month, even? Try to increase your intensity this week to become a better 'you'.
     I would leave it there, but I know that you also want to hear how the week went. Things are looking really well in Hamburg. We have been working hard with people and have been seeing some changes through it. Last week, we focused a lot on how to find new people. The results: we tripled the number of new investigators last week in comparison to the week before. It was really cool to see our new focus and the miracles that followed. We also had a lady that referred herself through the mission office. She has met with the missionaries in Hamburg before, and she decided that she wants to meet with us once again. She seems really honest about it. We are meeting with her today, so we will see how it goes.

Thanks for your support and your prayers. Please don't stop, they really help the work here. Have an awesome week and make sure that you are living in crescendo!
   

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sound the Bugle- Weekly Letter

 We had a really solid week of missionary work. My companion and I, Elder Becar, are running our engines on full again; all of his foot problems are completely behind him. This last week, we tore it up, and we did so much finding. The saddest part of the week was on Tuesday. We found out that our baptismal date moved far enough away to be in a different ward. I bet that such things happen often in the states with the smaller ward boundaries, but the first time that I have ever really experienced it was once I started working in the big cities. We introduced him to the other Elders that should be working with him now, but it was not the smoothest trade off. We had to move the appointment a couple times, so we ended up just having him shake hands with them, exchanging numbers, and then taking off. It will work out fine though- the other Elders seem like capable, efficacious teachers that will ensure that he makes it to baptism.
     The rest of the week was really good. We spent quite a bit of time in our area book calling a lot of people that have had contact with us or the church. We had the bright idea of taking the book to the church and keeping the doors wide open for any people that wanted to come in and ask some questions or who had interest. [Note: If you don't know what our building looks like, it is worth checking out. The address is: Wartenau 20 22089, Hamburg. It is a beautiful building made from red brick.] We were able to get in contact with a plethora of people, many of whom were very excited to hear from us.
     Yesterday was also really awesome with church. The bishopric based the talks around "impressions from General Conference," and it was a very successful meeting. All 3 of the talks were really good, which was great because we had 10 people who were there for the first time. They all felt the spirit, and many of them said that they were planning on coming again next week. Score!
     Have an awesome week, read from the scriptures, and keep praying for the missionaries so we can continue to bring people to salvation!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Meetings and Councils- Weekly Letter

 This last week was really amazing for us as missionaries in Hamburg, but we were left with very little time for the work. We had so many meetings (Zone Training Meeting, Leadership Training, and 2 sessions of Stake Conference) that I felt like I did more sitting than walking, which is certainly not the regular. But I enjoyed all of these meetings so much that on Saturday night I made a compilation of all the thing that I wanting to do better and made a personal "repentance sheet" for myself. It is a good list of things that I feel could be improved, and I am really excited that I can use the Atonement as a means to change who I am as a missionary. I am grateful that I can become a more Christlike missionary than I have been up to this point on my mission. It is amazing, because I know that I am and will be closer to the Spirit and more ready to respond to spiritual impressions.
     There have been many times where I can say that I have had an impression from the Lord, and it gives me confidence that I am doing the work His way. One of the other missionaries that I am living with said: "if you can feel the Spirit when you are working, then you are doing exactly what He wants you to do; if you can't, then stop and pray for the revelation on what you should do." I feel like that also has a fairly auspicious role in all the aspects of life- if you can feel the spirit, then you are a the straight and narrow path.
     One of the really fun experiences that I had this week was during the leadership training. The assistants to the president gave a lesson on how we can improve our district councils by doing a role-play of the War Council found in Alma 52:19. One of the Assistants was dressed as captain Moroni, complete with a shield and plastic sword. We all gave an accounting of our armies and then made a decision of how we hoped to get an upper-hand in the war. They then applied it to our own districts and how we could use the same principles to make our councils more effective. It was fun to act as a Captain.
     As far as transfer calls went, there will not be any changes. I am going to stay in Hamburg and with Elder Becar. It is pretty awesome that I get to stay with a Colorado man for another six weeks XD
     Please continue to keep praying for us. We really need your faith and prayers in our behalf. The work of the Lord is moving forward here in Germany, but it still has too much potential that is not yet being reached. I love you all and wish you the best for the week!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Being grounded - Weekly letter

     Well, my companion and I had a pretty slow week. Elder Becar, after weeks of trying to get it out himself, finally had to go to the doctor for an ingrown toenail last Monday after we did E-mails, and so he could not walk for the entire week. We stayed in the apartment the whole week, save for when we would go to the doctor's to get a new bandage for him. They started out really big, and now we got it down to just a band-aid. It felt we were being grounded for not doing something wrong, haha. All I know is that I am certainly one that likes to be active (at appointments, finding, anything but sitting around twiddling my thumbs!), and that staying inside all week was not at all relaxing nor exciting. I was very happy on Saturday, when the Zone Leaders finally found some time to go on an exchange with me and let me run around a bit. I felt like a 3-year-old in a candy store because I was finally able to be outside doing something again.
     We did see a miracle or two though. On Thursday, we got a call from the investigator who I have been mentioning over the past few weeks. He came for conference on Sunday (exclamation point!), and I feel like it really has turned him back into investigating the Church from a spiritual perspective again. He wants to meet with us again, and I think that his questions will be question from the soul rather than that anti-mormon junk. Our other investigators are doing fine. We have a man who seems to be really set for the 19th of this month for his baptism. He has made some great progress and his faith is so awesome to watch and experience.
      I loved conference. There were some amazing talks given, and the spirit was really strong, especially the song that was played just before President Monson gave his talk on Sunday night (Sunday morning session for all of you in North America). We have such powerful teachers in the church, and they are all able to teach so clearly and effectively! I was also able to get answers to almost all of my questions that I had for conference, so it was pretty awesome to get some really clear answers from the servants of the Lord.
     Well, this week should be a bit better for us. We went to the doctor's office today, and he said that he should be able to walk again, but that he needs to "take it easy", whatever that means. TO THE STREETS!!!

Have a great week and I love you all! I know that this work is true and that this church lead by inspiration from the Almighty God. He lives and he loves us. Always remember that, and you will have the humility and power to overcome all trials that will ever befall you.



--

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

Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly letter

I love how the scriptures mention so often that the Lord's people will be delivered. It made me think a bit as to what I feel it means to be considered one worthy to entire Zion, or to become grafted into the tribe of Israel. This week, I was reading a lot of the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi, and when reading them in German, it makes certain things stand out that one might skip over incidentally when reading in English. For me, there was a specific phrase that really stood out that appears fairly often (2 Nephi 15:25 20:4): "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." I thought about what it could mean, and I was able to find a pretty cool answer... Instead of the word "anger", think "judgment", and instead of the word "hand", think "mercy".(“For all this his [judgment] is not turned away, but his [mercy] is stretched out still.”) It was a pretty fun thing to find and notice how through Christ we are able to fulfill both of those aspects and demands- justice and mercy.
This week was a lot better for us than the last. We still have not made any contact with the man who was looking into the church, but we are trying to work through his girlfriend to see if we can find a way to make contact again. But I am sure that things will work out fine and that God will ensure that what is best for him will happen.
We were able to get one of our main investigators, Gilbert, on a baptismal date for the 19th of October. His only problem was that he was not able to come to church on Sundays due to his work. We all fasted and prayed for him, and then 2 weeks later he was able to find a job that had better hours and that doesn't require him to work on Sundays. I know that the Lord answer questions and that he love us! He is excited for his date. We would do it sooner since he is totally ready, but we have General Conference followed by Stake Conference, so we will not be able to confirm him for another 3 weeks.
The work is moving forward in the Ward here. We are working a lot with the members and exhorting them to open their mouths and to Preach the Gospel to those that they know. The ward is moving forward a bit, and so we are hoping to see a bigger love for the work very soon here. The ward just saw three baptisms and are going to be seeing one more in a few weeks, so now is our perfect time to make sure that the are on board. The members are really great here.
Remember to write down questions and for General Conference. I know that if you do, you will be able to find answers to any concern that you have for the Lord as you are listening to His prophets speak. This week, we asked a nonmember on the street what he would ask a prophet if he could speak with one. Think about that same question yourself, and listen to General Conference this weekend with that question in mind.
I love you all and wish you the best for this week!

--

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

What doesn't kill you... - Weekly Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was really hard for us. We had our main investigators drop us due to things that they had read on-line about the church, and they have now blocked us from calling them. They were both progressing really well, so it is heart-breaking that they were like the seeds mentioned in Matthew that were strangled in their growth by the thorns. We have asked the members to try to get contact and to see exactly what happened, but it seems pretty clear to us that they are no longer wanting to join the church.
We have a man that is really excited to be baptized, but he is not able to come to church, so we are not going to let him get baptized until we know that he will get the Holy Ghost and be an active member.
We also had a member drop us, which I have never experienced. He had called off his appointment 2 weeks ago, so we went by this week, and when he saw us at the door, he told us that he does not want to meet with us anymore. I felt like he was an investigator, and I guess that our commitment of him teaching a section of the 2nd lesson to us was too difficult for him, and so he doesn't want us to come anymore.
We have also really been struggling with finding the last few weeks, so there have not been any new investigators coming in to our pool, so we have been doing a lot of walking on the streets of Hamburg and talking. It was not going very well until Saturday, in which we were able to find 2 people and get out a Book of Mormon. Sunday was the same, in which he had 3 great conversations in about 2 hours and got out 2 Book of Mormons. Sometimes I wonder what God is trying to teach me, but then if I think about it hard enough, I am usually able to realize thatsomething about my testimony almost always has grown through that particular trial. Plus, I always seem to find the perfect scripture that is a direct answer to my question of why he makes us go through these trials- it is actually a really good thing, because it makes me stronger. All I can say is that my testimony is stronger today than it was 3 weeks ago, and that I am living my mission in Crescendo.
This week, I studied a lot in the Book of Mormon with the Atonement, and it is so amazing to realize that the Book of Mormon contains such a thorough explanation of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior. I especially love 1 Nephi 19:9-15 (Here's the link:)http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/19?lang=eng
Have a great week and make sure to keep the missionaries in your hearts and in your prayers!

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

May I have some bread - weekly letter

Wow, I can hardly believe that it is already Monday again. The weeks are going be so quickly, and it won't slow down for anything. This week was both really good, and really disappointing for us.
First of all, the disappointments: We have a couple that we have been working with, Alex and Claudia, and they were progressing really well until about last week on Friday. He started looking up some anti-mormon sites, and it really made him take a back-step on a lot of the progress that he has been making towards baptism, plus has been keeping his girlfriend from meeting with us. It was really heartbreaking to us, because his questions went from awesome ones, like "how can I repent?" to "why does the Book of Mormon say..." and "why did Joseph Smith say [this] about [that]?" And every time that we would resolve one concern, he came up with another one of the ones that he had read online. All of the light that he had shined with a few weeks ago was sucked away, and he was somewhat rude when we tried to focus on the commitments that would actually help him to get answers. The next disappointment is in an African member, who is totally ready for baptism, but just hasn't been able to make it to church in over 2 months, and so we are going to have to push his date back until we he start to come, because we don't want to baptize a less-active member.
Now, for the awesome stuff. Firstly, the man said that as he read the anti-material, that he was unable to sleep and that he had felt like he was not very happy. He said that he wants to focus on the members and that they all live relatively happy lives. We also have a really awesome joint-teach that will be there for our meeting on Wednesday, and so it should be a really good thing for us.
Second, we saw some really cool miracles this week, like some people who are totally ready for the gospel. Just yesterday, we had a couple stop us on the street and ask us who we were. We explained it to them, and they both seemed really interested in us. They even asked us how they could meet with us and for our number. It was pretty cool. There was also a fun experience that happened to us on Friday. We were sitting at a stop for one of the Underground Trains eating some Brötchen, when a guy comes up to me and asks me if he can have one. I had bought 4, so I complied and gave it to him. He said thanks, and then handed it back to me and said, "you have Jesus Christ on your name tag, and I just wanted to see if you actually lived what you preach." It taught me about how we really are an example of the believers here in Germany, and that we must always act as such.
Well, that is an up-date about what is happening here in Hamburg. I you have any interest, we are going to be reading the Book of Mormon as a mission again, but this time with a focus on the Atonement and how we can use it in our's and investigator's lives. We will be finishing on Christmas Day, and so if you would like you are invited to join me in my study. If not, then you at least need to read 1 Nephi 10 looking for how the Atonement can help us. It is a really amazing chapter.
I wish you all the best for this week!

--

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Quick but sweet

Sorry that this letter is really short, but I had quite a few letters to respond to today and we also had to take a survey for some seventies that are going to be coming into the mission soon, so I don't have too much time. This week was really good. We have been able to contact tons of people, our investigators are all really excited to meet with us and to be learning new things about the gospel. The only problem is that none of them are coming to church, so that is our big focus for this next week- getting the investigators to come and worship with us. Other than that, things are going well. Fall is finally arriving, and with it everyone is getting really excited to do missionary work. Don't believe me? Just go to lds.org and you will see how big the push is. That is the same focus for our mission: we are getting the members excited to share the Gospel. Have you caught the wave yet? There is still time. Well, that's all the time I have for this week. Thanks for supporting the missionaries, and have an awesome week! --   - Elder Eric Gibson   Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear Family and Friends, Our week was not very exciting for us, but it ended really well . We had very few appointments, so we were busy doing mostly finding the entire week. Very few people were willing to stop or listen, so we were not able to find any new investigators the entire week. We are trying to be effective and work on our finding skills, but so far, we have been unable to make any progress with getting new apps made out on the streets, and every time we do doors, people always threathen to call the police on us or come down personally and kick us out. Sunday was a great day for us though, because we had 3 random people coming into our meetings and then had the baptism of a man named Chris in the evening. Our main investigators are doing really well. We have been working with a couple for a few weeks now, and they are both ready to make out a baptismal date. Just yesterday, we met with the man, and he has now read through all of 1 and 2 Nephi, and he came to us with questions about what he had read and what he had learned. It was so wonderful! We told them to pray for a date before this next Tuesday, and we are shooting for the 29th of this month. Our other investigators are not quite as strong as those 2, and do not have the same level of interest in the church. Two of them are busy on Sundays with either family or their own church, and so they are hesitant to come to church or to be baptized. We had a good lesson with one of them, and the other seems like we might have to drop, which I always hate to do. We did not have very many other super exciting events this week, but it is really wierd to see that my brother is supposedly home from his mission. I am not sure if I believe it- I think that I will need to see some pictures as evidence for that before I will accept it. ;) Have a great week and I love you all! I know that this is the church of God, and I have received a personal witness of God that this work is lead by him. -- - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, August 26, 2013

A year of growth - weekly letter


  This week was really good for us here in Hamburg. We have been working with some people who are making progress towards the gospel, and so we are happy as missionaries for that. We are still working with this couple. One of them is Spanish and has trouble understanding everything, but through the awesomeness of modern technology (Google translator on her boyfriend's phone), we have been able to make sure that she is following along. We typed in "do you know how to repent?" And she got really excited and started going off in Spanish. She finally spoke into the phone, and it popped out "you get baptized." We were both beaming at her. We then said "yeah, and before that?" She spoke into the phone, and the phone told us "you pray to Father in Heaven for forgiveness." It was a really powerful lesson, and they are both really close to making this wonderful covenant with God. Her boyfriend is also a really solid guy. He celebrated his birthday with us in the church, and he brought a friend who he had told about the church. We were able to talk to his friend about the gospel, and we should be able to meet with him next week- he seems to be a pretty awesome guy.
     A lot of the other people we are working with are not quite as exhilarated by the Gospel, but are still making some progress. There are quite a few people that are interested, but not quite prepared to make the changes, so we are working with them on developing the seeds of a testimony. It takes some work, but those are also sometimes the members that stay for a long time and have a very deep conversion.
     This week, I went on a split with the Zone Leaders. They live in our apartment, so we already know each other pretty well. I was with Elder Lüning, who is in my group, and has been out on his mission just as long as I have. We started our missions in the same district, and so we were able to have a split almost a year after the last time that we did a split together. It was crazy to see the difference that one year has made!! We can both speak the language and teach the Gospel- something that was a bit harder for us last year. We have also grown in our knowledge of the Gospel. The mission experience is one that I would never give up.
     Anyways, I love you all and wish you the best for this next week. Remember to brush your teeth, eat peas, and look both ways before cross the street!
-- 
 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

2 new brothers-- weekly letter


This week was awesome. The weather was beautiful, the people were happy, and Elder Becar and I got some serious work done. This week was especially exciting for me, because I was able to hold interviews with two people that are wanting to get baptized into the ward here. They are both so prepared, and we were able to have a very spiritual service for them after church on Sunday. The members welcomed them enthusiastically, and so it was just a great week all around for us.
Our investigators are not progressing the quickest, but we gave a few of them some very vital commitments, and so we are hoping that we will see some greater progress in them coming up. We do have one couple that is doing really well though, and they said after the baptism yesterday that it is not a matter of "if" they will get baptized, but "when" they feel they are ready for it. With the way that the woman was crying, we are hoping that it will be very soon for them.
This week, we had some really special district meetings. We had interviews with President Kosakduring the meeting, and so it was pretty awesome because we each got to get a much more personal experience with him. This mission is so big that we only see him every few months, so it was cool to be able to hear what he is wanting from us and how he wants the mission to progress. I was able to have a good interview with him, and he was surprised to hear that I only have 6 months left- he thought that I had a bit longer. I wish that he was right, because I love being a missionary.
Have an awesome week! I love you all and wish you the best for your righteous endeavours.


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

Monday, August 12, 2013

When you don't have anything to say ----- weekly letter

Well, this is probably going to be a fairly short letter. There was really not too many things that happened this week. It is not like it was a lousy week. I mean, the work is going really well here. We have 2 people that are wanting to be baptized next week. But as far as something that would be of interest to family and friends, I am unfortunately lacking in events. We just had the usual things that I usually obviate in my letters because that would just lead to a redundancy from week to week. But I will explain the one awesome story that I have in scripture form:

 1.Wherefore, the things which I have written sufficeth me, save it be a few words which I must speak concerning the [ward grill on Saturday]. Wherefore, I shall speak unto you plainly, according to the plainness of my [Emails].
 2. For my soul delighteth in [Emails]; for after this manner doth the Lord God work among the children of men. For the Lord God giveth [technology] unto the [missionaries]; for [they] speaketh unto men according to their language, unto their understanding. (You should be grateful here that I don't do my letters in German)
 3. Wherefore, I would that ye should remember that I have spoken unto you concerning that [Grill Party] which [was held]... (Taken from 2 Nephi 31:2-4)
 4. Yea, behold, we did hold this party on the 10th day of the 8th month, according to our reckoning, and behold, a large number of investigators did come.
 5.And my soul did rejoice, for behold, many members had invited their friends, and family, and all other manner of people. And we did rejoice from the hours of 5 until 7.
 6. Yea, and we did give church tours, and we were filled with the power and the spirit of God, yea, and also, all those that were with us did fill the spirit of God.
 7. And thus we see that when members invite their friends, that the Lord will bless them in their work, for behold, so is the way that the missionaries require at you hands, yea, that you should only ask in His name whom ye should invite, and behold, he will answer your prayers. Amen.

Hope that you enjoyed it. Have a good week.

--

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

Monday, August 5, 2013

com`o est`as-- weekly letter

Elder Becar and I were both very excited for this week because our schedule was pretty full of some really great appointments, but we were in for a wake-up call, because 12/15 of the appointments we had fell out. We spent a lot of time waiting on people to show up, and then calling them and not getting an answer. It was heartbreaking- I wish people would just tell us if they do not want to meet any more rather than just wasting our time. We have so little of it!
But the week ended on a really good note. Yesterday was one of the best Sunday services that I have ever had! All three hours were so edifying, I can understand German with almost no problems these days, and so I just got to feel the spirit of what the people were saying. In the last hour, Fast and Testimony meeting, we had talk after talk about the love of God and how the Church is so awesome because we believe in Eternal Families. Near the end, there was even one Sister who is a new convert to the church. She was on an austausch (exchange?) program in the States, and she was baptized. But once she came back home to Germany, her family disowned her and forced her to move out, but she gave testimony of how she knows that even though it is a really hard time, she is glad to know that she is never alone- God is always there to support her. It was a very powerful story, and it left a deep impact on me.
After church, we had a late lunch at a family, and they invited one of our investigators couples over. They have been helping us to teach them because the wife of the couple does not understand German very well, so we teach the husband and then the members translate for the woman that speaks Spanish. We watched "the Restoration" film in Spanish, and then had the members bare testimony. It was a very good lesson, and both of our investigators bore their own testimonies that they know that the church is true. We are hoping that they will commit to baptism soon. It is so cool!
The only other highlight I have is from today. I finished reading the New Testament this morning! Now is have read through every book of scripture except the Old Testament, which I am going to wait to do until I get home and have a study guide in front of me, so I can get all of the symbolic stuff. The scriptures are so amazing. They contain the word of God to His prophets, and I know that they contain the keys to obtaining Eternal life. I have never read them or studied from them like I do now, and I have developed such a deep love for them. I know that they are true, because they "persuade men to do good" (Moroni 7). I love you all and hope that you have an efficacious week, especially those who are going to be unpacking boxes for most of it (Mom/Dad cough-cough).

Until next week!


--

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

Monday, July 29, 2013

Are you a Hamburger?- Weekly Letter

It is my first week in Hamburg, and it is so exciting to be here! I have already gained a love for the people, the members, the missionaries, and my new companion. So far, the city has been a great place to work, and we have quite a few investigators that we are working with, a few of which either have a baptismal date or are dreadfully close. First things first, my new companion, despite the odds, comes from Colorado Springs!!! I totally saw him a few times when at Stake activities, and I even played him in church youth basketball. We have spent the last week using terms like "black forest, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, and President Muirhead," which I have not even thought of using for over 2 years. He is in his third transfer, so still fairly new, but he is a really solid guy. Another crazy thing is that a brand new Sister missionary comes from the exact same ward that my family is going to be moving into in Centerville, Utah.  Our week missionary-wise was good. We have a person from Ghana on a baptismal date, a few other ones on the way, and quite a few people that we are going to be meeting with this week. It is a really exciting time to be in Hamburg, Germany. I can tell that the town is a bit smaller, but it is still one of the biggest cities in Germany, so the feel is not too different. I love the fact that I can ask people if they are Hamburgers, which is just how one forms it for if they come from the town. Of course, it makes total sense to them, but right after I asked someone, I just chuckled to myself, because it means something totally different in English. The town is beautiful though, and it is crowded with such a wide variety of people. The ward seems to be really awesome, the building here is HUGE, so it is sad that the chapel is fairly empty on Sunday, even though it makes sense, because it is a stake center for the Hamburg stake. Well, that is all the time I have for this week. I love you all, and here is my brand-new address for Hamburg. I will be here for at least 6 weeks, and I hope to receive letters and packages from you all, haha.  Elder Eric Gibson Poßmoorweg 21b 22301 Hamburg Germany  Have a great week and I love you all! --    - Elder Eric Gibson   Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage  

Monday, July 22, 2013

Going to Hamburg


     This one will be nice and sweet-
     Well, I don't really have much time since I need to pack and such, plus this week was really slow for the missionary work here, so there is not really much to report on anyways. We had transfer calls last Friday, and I will be going to one of the other gigantic cities in Germany, but this time the true west. I have never been there before, so we will see just what kind of surprises I will find. I have always had to deal with inconspicuous dialects of German, so it will be nice to hear proper high German, like it is meant to be spoken. I will post the address of the apartment next week, so if you have any letters, make sure to address them to the mission office or just wait out on it. I love you all and will send more information on my new companion and the city in the coming weeks.
     I love you all and I know that God is watching over us. I love being able to serve here as a servant of our Lord. Have a great week!

--

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

Monday, July 15, 2013

This week in Berlin


  This week went by really fast for us. We were always doing something different for every day of the week, and so there was not really any down time. Elder Myrabo and I are both enjoying our time here in the German capital. The main things that happened this week consisted of my companion and I teaching large groups of people. On Wednesday, we taught a lesson in a Zone Training Meeting on structuring all of the lessons that we teach on a solid commitment for the investigator. It turned out well, and the Zone Leaders said that we hit the nail exactly on the head with it. But then on Saturday, I got a call from the first councilor in the ward here, and he wanted me to give a 15 minute talk in church on Sunday. I am glad that he has faith that I can come up with something in German in so little time. The talk also went well, and my appreciation for the rhetoric courses in college increased dramatically through it. After my talk and the talks from one of the missionary couples in Berlin-Tiergarten ward, the ward members started asking all of the missionaries for Book of Mormons that they could give to their friends in the coming week. It was so exciting to see the spirit working in them and that they have a desire to share the gospel. The ward has exploded about missionary work the past few weeks, and we have seen some awesome miracles through it.
     I've decided that I love soccer. I played it for my first time with the Europeans here, and I learned just how awesome the sport really is. We are doing it with the ward every week now, and we have seen some really great missionary success through it as well. The Europeans love this particular sport, and I figured, "I'm here, so I might as well do it." I have been wrong about it for years- It was so much fun!
     Our investigators are also doing well. There was a man that we have been working with the last few months, and just this last week we had a really good lesson that showed us exactly where he is on the gospel path. He still has some concerns about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration, but he has a sincere desire to find out if it is true, so we are going to start focusing on those two things with him. We are also meeting with some families that have some really great potential, so hopefully we can see some progress with them in the next few weeks.

Have a great summer!
     
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, July 8, 2013

Toil and Moil- Weekly Letter


This week was fairly slow. We had quite a few appointments that dropped, and so we were left trying to call people and organize new times to meet and how to have them progressing again. I feel like it did not work out too well- plus we have quite a few investigators who are going to the hospital for various reasons. It is weird that they are all doing this simultaneously, and so all of our investiagtors are going to lose contact with us for a few weeks (I think that we make many of the people we meet with sick haha) BUT, we were also able to see some really awesome things, including finding some new people that we are hoping that we can teach in the coming week. One of them is the brother of a person that we have been meeting with for a few weeks already. He has been really nice to us, and last time we were over there, she was gone, so we went ahead and asked him if he wanted to meet with us on his own and he said yes. He seems like a great guy. We have also prepared a list of all of the less-actives members to go by on so that we can get them coming back to church. After the broadcast a few weeks ago, we have all been really excited at getting the members involved a lot more into our work, and we have seen some really amazing stuff from it. It is cool to see the little changes that are taking place in the ward now that we have 3 sets of missionaries who are all wanting to stop by and teach them. They are starting to become a bit more excited about our work and are wanting to involve themselves more within it.
I love being able to serve here in Germany among the world-renowned "stubborn people"- I fit in really well with them :-)
I know that what we have to share with them is the truth, and that those who allow the gospel to affect their lives will find an increase of happiness and peace in a turmoil-filled world. We just toil and moil to get them to realize that.
Have a great week!
-- 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Monday, July 1, 2013

5,000 blue name tags - weekly letter


Oh, what a week! I have had so many interesting experiences this week that I can't think of any way to structure it except to go through the days individually:

Monday- Elder Myrabo and I wanted to check out a museum on Wednesday, so we did not take our usual P-day. Instead, we did regular missionary work, which was pretty good. I have been studying from the new testament, and so I had an awesome study in Ephesians.
Tuesday- In the morning, Elder Myrabo and I used our work-out time and went running to an investiagtor's home. Half-way there, and due to the light rain that was coming down, I tripped and hit the cobblestone pretty hard. Of course, we wanted to get the letter sent in, so instead of turning around, we kept going. I started to bleed pretty bad on my right knee and hands. But due to a few band-aids and ibuprofen, I am doing fine now.
Wednesday- My companion and I went to the Pergamon museum- one of the highest renown museums in Berlin and even in the world. Inside, they have complete replicas of many greek and babylonian gates. Also, they have a special exebition of the epic of Gilgamesh which we were also able to check out. It was so interesting! I loved going to it and seeing all of the gates and walls, especially the pergamon, which is a greek alter that fills up a room the size of a soccor field. We learned that the pergamon is also mention in the bible in Revelations 2:12-13, in which John desribes it as the seat of Satan. It is a museum that is certainly worth going to and checking out.
Thursday- We had a regular missionary day, in which we went by a few contacts and then stopped by a member to wish her happy birthday. While we were there, we gave a spiritual thought and one of her family members was really interested in our beliefs of the pre-eath life. We even were able to make out a return appointment with her and she is now meeting with the missionaries!
Friday- Certainly one of the more interesting days of the week. One of our investigators has family that are Jehovah's Witness, and so we were invited to visit their conference that they hold once a year. It was really interesting, because it was covered with people that were wearing blue nametags that said "Gottes Wort ist Weisheit!" (God's word is truth) with their names and home congegation on it. We caused a bit of a tumult because we were wearing black nametags that said a few other things, but in general, they were very friendly to us. They had quite a few questions about our doctrine, and so it was a good way of teaching them some of the truths that we hold dear. We were able to stay for a few of the talks that were given, and they seemed very similar to our save that they do not end in the name of Jesus Christ nor do they say amen. Rather, they all clap for the person that spoke, which seemed very foreign to me. Our investigator decided to go with us when we left- he seems like he is very unsure because he feels torn between two religions. He is starting to get a testimony of the Book of Mormon, and so we are planning to have much more regular contact with him to help him find which church he feels is best for him.
Saturday- We held a street display in one of the busiest plazas in Berlin, which is auspiciously situated right next to an Underground station. It was awesome, and we were able to contact hundreds of people, hand out quite a few copies of the Book of Mormon, and handed out thousands of cards. It is wonderful to see what eight missionaries can do in two hours when we are put in the right spot.

Well, I have used up most of my time. I hope that you all enjoyed the report of this relatively full week. Have an awesome summer vacation and make sure to catch the wave of excitement that is coming from the first presidency regarding missionary work. The Lord is wanting us to kick it up a notch.

Love you all!

-Elder Eric Gibson

Monday, June 24, 2013

It's (another) boy! - Weekly Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
The missionary work in Neukölln is doing pretty well. This week, we spent quite a bit of time planning out exactly what our plan for both our district and for our companionship are, so it was not quite as much time on the streets as the rest of the transfer. Also, having Zone Conference does the same thing. I am hoping that our new vision and renewed spirits from Zone Conference will give us a more sure direction, and that we will be able to contact even more of the children of God. We split up all of our members in our ward, and so now we are going to start going by on all of the less-actives that we can. It seems auspicious, although we still have to still go over how we want to work with the active ward members.
Our investigators are also doing well and progressing in the gospel. This week, the problem seemed to be time. We had quite a few appointments that fell through, and all of the return appointments did as well. People are pretty busy during this season, so plans change constantly. But that is why I am so thankful for technology and especially for our cell phone, because we are still able to keep in contact even when they decide to go somewhere.
I really enjoyed our Zone Meeting. I was able to see my great-grandson, or in non-mission jargon, it was the person (Elder Stringham) who was trained by the person (Elder Nelson) who was trained by the person (Elder Gerberding) that I (you know me already) trained. They all happen to be boys! Now you can see why I would rather just call him my great-grandson, hehe. It was a really great conference, and I especially loved the thoughts that we recieved from our mission president and his wife. We focused quite a bit on teaching and how how we can better use the scriptures in our work.
I love being able to serve here in Germany. The members are truly wonderful people, and it is truly a pleasure to be able to serve with them all. I am really excited to watch the new broadcast- I have already heard a bit about it, but we are not going to be able to watch it until the 30th rebroadcast, when it will be available during a daytime hour here. I love you all and wish you the best!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Back problems

This week was not quite as busy. My companion's back was really hurting him earlier in the week, so we had to take things a bit slower than usual. He finally decided to call the mission president's wife on Thursday, so I knew that it had to be pretty bad. He is not one to call unless it is really, really bad. Later that night, we got a call from a retired doctor that ís serving in Görlitz with his wife, and he told him what he needed to do and how to make sure that it won't get worse.
We witnessed some miracles this week though. One of our investigators, Bernd, decided that he was ready to be baptized. Right after we committed him, he said the prayer, in which he expressed his thanks that he could change his life and become a new person through what we are teaching him. It was actually really powerful. The other fun event was that the investigator we have who is already on a baptismal date came in a suit and tie for the first time. I was so proud of him! He is finally starting to mingle and fit in with the ward here, so it was a great sunday for us. 
I guess that Obama is going to be coming to Berlin this week. It is funny, because it will be the closest that I have been to him since he was put into office, and it will be in a foreign country. The Germans are really excited about him though, and he will be giving a speech at Brandenburger Gate. But other than that, it was a pretty slow week for us. The transfer just started, so it should pick up soon (once my companion's back is feeling better). I wish you all a great week, and HAPPY FATHER'S DAY DAD!!
 
With much love,
--

Monday, June 10, 2013

Drip, drip, drop, big June showers



The forecast in the news this last week was rain, and lots of it. For the first time, the meteorologists and nature actually delivered what they were both planning on, and we got buckets of rain coming down on us for most of the week. On Wednesday, we were eating a lunch together in the mission office when the Mission President walked in and said that over half of the cities near rivers were flooded over. Luckily, none of the missionaries had any issues (all of the apartments were fortunately high enough from the banks of the water), and Berlin had no problems whatsoever, so I was not in any danger zones.
I honestly did not see much of the weather though. Wednesday night, my companion threw up a few times, so we spent all of Thursday and half of Friday in the apartment. I was able to get all of the deep-cleaning chores that I have been wanting to do, but after that I just read from the scriptures and prepared a few lessons for the coming district meetings. We had transfer calls this week, and the news is: I am staying here in Neukölln! President wants to keep me right next door so he can make sure that I am not causing any problems- you all know how I am :-)
Our investigators did not really make any progress this week since we were in the apartment for a lot of our work time. But now all of our records are up to date and we made out some calling sheets, so the work will progress this week. We even made out a really cool app. with a lady yesterday who is really interested in eternal families.
This week, I studied quite a bit in Romans about Jesus Christ and how he is viewed by Paul. I realized that this is really important scripture because it is from the prospective of a missionary who is preaching the gospel only a few years after the death of Christ. He had personal connections with the apostles and had even seen Christ himself in a vision. He bares a powerful testimony of the necessity of Jesus as the Christ. I particularly love Chapter 11, in which he list all of the gifts of grace- I would recommend taking a look at it when you have free time.
I am doing well. Summer is always a great time for missionary work, and despite the weather, we have seen some really awesome stuff happening. The Lord puts us where we need to be, as long as we live worthy of it and make sure to ask Him in prayer for what to do and where to go.
Have an auspicious week!

--

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





Monday, June 3, 2013

Now I understand- Weekly Letter


Dear Family and Friends,
This week was really good, right up until the very end... I will start off with talking about our main investigator. He has been progressing very well, but yesterday we had a really bad lesson with him. He now refuses to follow the Word of Wisdom, and with his attempt to explain why, he put himself into a paradox that he does not plan on getting out of, which included him saying that he is the not-yet-glorified Christ, and therefore he would have the authority to change the commandment. Obviously, this was a huge disappointment for Elder Myrabo and me, because we know that he knows that he is not Christ, be he is using it as an argument so that he can not commit to following this particular commandment. It just leaves a pit in my stomach to think about the hole that he has jumped into, and hopefully we can see him figure it out this next week. We learned from this lesson that we need to make sure to clearly teach revelation, prophets, and especially, the Word of Wisdom to him this next week.
Our other investigators, on the other hand, are doing much better. We had one man who is now wanting to get a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He used to be in another church with is very strict to the bible, so his main concern was that we believe on another book and claim that it is from God. We explained the story behind the book, which he has never really heard because he has just read the Book of Mormon before in chapters. He felt the spirit of its story, as well as why we believe that it is vital to the world today. After we did that, he became very somber and said "Wow, this is a very sad, but very powerful story. Now I understand." I just have to mention, it is a missionary's dream to have an investigator say those three words. So cool! 
We also met with a few other people who seem to have interest. One of them is a lady who we have been meeting with for a while. She has a boyfriend who is really friendly to our beliefs, and so now we are going to start including him a lot more into our lessons.
Well, it was a pretty crazy week for us, but as always, a lot of fun. This last week, I started writing in a new journal book. I am now on number 4! I am now able to look back at all of the experiences that I have had so far and see how much I have grown- all of the experiences that have shaped me into the missionary that I now am. It has been really fun to look back at what I did and learned in my first area (as well as all of the people that I have grown to love so much!). I know that this church was restored through a prophet of our Lord. I love being able to be out here with a name badge on. With His name on my heart everyday.
Have an awesome week! 
-- 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Monday, May 27, 2013

Lions, Tigers, and Schnitzel- Weekly Letter


Liebe Familie,
 
     It was a really fun week for us here in Berlin. On Monday, we went to the Berlin Zoo, which was really fun. We saw quite a few of the exotic animals that one would see when going to a Zoo, but we were able to time it really well so that we got to watch the animals as they were eating. My favorite one to watch was the hippo, since they had it trained to open its mouth when it was hungry, and it would catch the fish that they tossed over the edge. It was like looking into a giant black hole when the hippo would open its mouth, but it was not really the best at catching the cavalcade of fish that they sent to it. Many of the fish hit its tongue and then bounced right back out. It was a well spent P-day though, and of course it is always nice to see the sights here in the capital of Germany going to and from things.
    Our investigators are doing well. We have one guy that we have been working with for over 2 months now, and he will be ready to be baptized hopefully either this week or the next. We have also seen quite a bit of progress with all of our other investigators, including finding a few new ones this week who seem like they will be pretty fun to work with. One of them is a black family that referred themselves onmormon.org, so they were very open to us coming into their home. When we walked in the mother said, "Look, it is the Latter-day Saints! We are very grateful for what you are doing in Ghana." It was surprising to us- mostly because we have grown accustomed to what most people say about us, which unfortunately is in juxtaposition to what they said of us.
     On Wednesday, one of the Zone Leaders had a birthday, so after we had our weekly missionary meeting (District Meeting for those who know the jargon), we went to a restraunt and ordered Schnitzel. A few missionaries decided that they wanted to test their men-status, and ordered an entire Kilogram of Schnitzel. By the end, one of them felt like he needed to throw up, and the rest had already given up hope. Only one person ended up finishing his entire plate- potatoes and all (He had to call in sick the next day though.)
     I love the ability which I have to be serving the Lord at this time in my life. I have learned so much about the gospel and how it can change people into saints. I have been spending the last few months studying the New Testament, and all I can say is that it has strengthened my testimony of the mission and role of Jesus Christ, as well as the purpose of the chruch and prophets. I love how our church is set up- it just works so well!
     I hope that everyone has a great week. Bis nächste Woche!
    
-- 
 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Monday, May 20, 2013

We need money- Weekly letter



Liebe Familie,
     This week, we had some really unusual things happen to us. It was a really good week, but certainly one of the craziest of my mission. First of all, we have our main investigator right now. He is a man who we were hoping was going to get baptized in the coming week. His name is Reiner, and he is pretty insane (but in a good way?? I mean, if you listen to his life story, it is just too insane that it seems like he just made it all up. We are hoping that he CAN get baptized, but we'll see.
     The next few people are ones that we unfortunately met back-to-back on the same day. They are both living in very hard circumstances, and they were both wanting us to give them money. The first claimed that his father was dying and that he needed money for a ticket since his employer would not give him an advance. We told him that we could not give him money. Just a few days later, he sent us a text saying that it was all our fault that he could not go down to see his father before he died. It was really sad since we could not really help him, but also kind of frustrating since we were just trying to help him. The treasure that we give to people, unfortunately for this man, is not one that has a worldly price. The second man is homeless and is not able to get any money from the government's social system. We told him, just like the other one, that we are not able to give him money, but we were able to get a list of all the local soup-kitchens and provide him with a way to at least get some food. He seems to like the church and has some interest on the Gospel, but his main concern right now is surviving. Once again, a really sad condition and not very many ways that we can specifically help him. It seems like everyone is wanting us to fix their financial status for them, which is not really the role of our church. Like I said, it was a fairly crazy week.
Our other investigators, on the other hand, are doing well. One of them, the cousin of a member, made quite a bit of progress this week. He has shown up for church the last few weeks, and even came to the FHE activity that we run on Mondays. He really likes the members, and so he might be ready to have a baptismal date soon. We also have a lady who we are introducing to the ward here, and she is really excited to meet people who she feels like she can click with.
     Other than those interesting events of the week, we are seeing are regular miracles. We have had quite a few people come up and talk to us on the streets, and we have made out some really auspicious contacts. But other than that, I am doing fine here in the capital city of Germany. Have an awesome week!

-Elder Eric Gibson


Monday, May 13, 2013

Mother's day in Berlin- Weekly Letter


We had a really good week. Our investigators are progressing fairly well. Our main one, Reiner, now has a baptismal date for the 26th, and I thinks that he will be able to make it without any huge issues. We have already taught him all of the big commandments, and he is completely willing to follow all of them. My only worry is that some of them he is only following them because he knows he needs to as a member, not because he has a testimony that they are from our Heavenly Father. The other family that we are meeting with is proving to be a bigger problem than we had hoped. They are usually unavailable for one of the following reasons: 1) the aunt must go into the hospital to get checked- she has a brain tumor, or 2) they are going to Czech to visit their homeland, or 3) they have too many appointment throughout the week. They were thinking about coming to church this week, but then they canceled an hour before we were going to pick them up. They are such a sweet family, so hopefully we can get them to meet with us more often! 
We did have a pretty cool thing happen yesterday at church. Right before the second hour was starting up, this lady with a baby carriage just walked in and wanted to know if she could worship with us. We took her into the new member/investigator class and taught her about the restoration. She seemed to enjoy it, but she fell asleep on me as I was translating for her. It was pretty funny. 
I felt that we had a really good training meeting on Thursday. There were some really good ideas brought up, and so we were able to be edified by the impressions and ideas of the other missionaries. The Zone Leaders, Elders Turney and Taylor, did a great job setting it up, and so the pace was perfect. They are both really good teachers. It was also President's Interviews, and I was kinda disappointed with how quickly mine went. He took a look at our planners, and did not really say anything about mine. He just said, "It looks good. Thanks for what you are doing, Elder Gibson." Then he stood up, gave me a quick hug, and it was over. I guess it is a good thing that there are not any problems, but still, I bet that my interview with him was shorter than the time it would take to toast a piece of bread.
Elder Myrabo and I are also doing well.  He is a really great person, and so I am having a lot of fun serving with him.
On saturday, we went to one of the missionary couples homes to Skype with the family. I really liked it, but I am sorely disappointed that in the fall, when people ask where my family is, I will have to say "Utah." I am very proud of my non-Utah heritage, and so I will have to make sure to over-exaggerate the fact that I amfrom Colorado, even if my family has all moved out of the state! The good news though: both sides of the family live in Utah, so they will be much closer.
That is the big news of this week. I hope that everyone had a good Mother's day!
-- 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

An awesome miracle- Weekly Letter


Liebe Familie, 
     This week was great- especially for the first week into a new transfer with a new companion. We have seen some really nice progress in our investigators this week, and so it has been a wonderful experience to see the change that the gospel can make in some people, especially myself. Elder Myrabo and I are getting along well. I really like him and I think that he is one of my funniest companions. He is from Michigan (not Utah), so that is already a plus. He is exactly as old as I am on the mission, and I knew him while we were in the MTC. The other really ironic part is that he just served with the same companion that I had in the MTC.
     The big miracles this week are as follows. The first is with a Czech family that we are working with. The aunt, the main one that we are working with, is a very melioristic person, and she wants to be baptized. We are going to go through the stop smoking program of the church with her, and so hopefully she will be ready to join the church in a few weeks. She wants to bring the whole family with her. The other huge miracle has actually been happening over the last few weeks, and came to realization just yesterday. There is a less active member who we have been working with. Yesterday, we were eating with a member of the high council, and as we were discussing all of the people we are working with, he stopped us and told us the miracle that we have been a part of. His name is Kai. His brother is a member of the Bishopric, and he has been making some really good progress spiritually. But I guess (unknown to me when I first called Kia to set up and appointment) his brother, when being set apart as a councilor, was told that if he was worthy and tried to help his brother that he would come back from inactivity. The next week, I came into this ward and got his number from his father. Now we have been meeting with him for over a month. Little did we know, we are helping in the fulfilment of a promise that the Lord gave to one of his children. It was truly an amazing thing to learn that we are instruments in the hands of a loving Father in Heaven. He knows and counts his sheep.
     This week, the number of sister missionaries in our mission almost doubled. We now have a sizable army of Sisters, and it is really awesome to see the new energy that is coming to the work here. Unfortunately for our mission president, that also means that his hands are full. But the mission is now extremely young- I am only half way through my mission, and I am already out in the top 10% of the bell curve, which is ridiculous.
     Well, that's everything for this week. Have a great one!
.

Monday, April 29, 2013


 This week in Neukölln was one of the best that I have had since being here. We have had a huge increase in the number of progressing investigators, and each of them are very solid people that are progressing well. This week, we had a few miracles happen to us:
     The first was on Tuesday, in which we had about half an hour before an appointment with a less-active member. We had some time, so we decided to do doors nearby. On the second floor down from the top of the building, we had a walk-in with an inactive member of another ward. He showed up to General Conference a few weeks ago, and has since had quite a few questions regarding repentance and how he can come back to full-activity in the ward. He had almost given up looking for the answers to his questions, and that is when we knocked on his friend's door while he was there for a visit. We had a good lesson, and were still able to make it out in time to go to are planned appointment, which also was a great lesson. 
     The next miracle was with one of our investigators. We have been trying to call her for the past couple of weeks without any answer, and so we decided just to go down and make a visit. She is from the Czech, but she has been working really hard to read the Book of Mormon in German. Of course, we offered to give her one in her native tongue, but she has been trying to learn German, so she wanted to keep the one that we gave her. She has already read 60 pages, and not only that, she says that the increase of faith that she has received from reading the book helped her to get a job this last week. She bore to us a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and she says that she knows that it is a book from God.
     We also had transfer calls on Saturday. Elder Hansen and I are not going to be staying together. I will stay in Neukölln, and he will be going to a city named "Leer" (for those of you who do not speak German, it means "empty," haha). He has taught me quite a bit, and so it will be sad to be separated after only 1 transfer. I had a really good pattern established throughout my mission in which I have been with everyone of my companions for 2 transfers and every city for 4, but President Kosak decided to end it. That's what records are for though- so you can be sad when someone else comes and breaks them.
I am loving the chance I have to serve in Berlin, and for all of the miracles that happen to us every single day. The Lord is truly leading this work, and I know that this is the church that he has set apart to lead the saints directly to the throne of God. We can use the atonement to empower us to perform these miracles, and faith is the means whereby it gets accomplished. Do everything you can to increase your faith everyday, and when God needs a mountain moved you will be the one that is ready to do it for him.  
     Have an awesome week and I hope to hear from all of you soon! 
 
 -- 
 
- Elder Eric Gibson