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Monday, January 7, 2013

Well, on Thursday I went down by train to Berlin and picked up a brand new missionary straight out of American soil. I am excited to be able to train Elder Gerberding, from Midvale, Utah. He is doing a good job so far, and each day he is becoming more and more comfortable with the work and with the schedule. On his first full day, Friday of this last week, he was certainly tired, and each day he has been able to keep up more easily. The only concern: he is allergic to a large number of foods, including all dairy, chicken, turkey, and every kind of nut (How will he survive being a missionary? I am not sure if I even know yet, but he certainly is blessed in the area since we do not have very many member eating appointments.) I can honestly say that I did not expect that to be the hardest part of training, but it is a fun obstacle that we should be able to master in a few weeks. We spent much of our day today in the store checking food labels. I feel a bit overwhelmed at times since he is still unsure about how missionary work is, but I have been given the strength I need to get all of our work done for this area with him. I am also very impressed with his German. He was fast tracked, and so he was only in the MTC for three weeks. He is able to speak better than I think I could when I was a new missionary. I have to confess an awesome prank that I performed on him his first night here though. We have a missionary couple who lives here, and so I decided to use them to make sure his mission started off right, hehe. We tracked into their home and Elder Böhm answered as a grumpy old German man. Elder Gerberding had been practicing his intro statement, and so after he said it, Elder Böhm said. "Sure, you can come in, for 10 Euro..." I totally accepted, raising the price to 20 Euro, and so we went up the stairs and into their apartment. Sister Böhm does not have the best German, and so she acted like she was sick and could not talk very well. They told us to sit and started talking about a New Years party that they had just a few days earlier. They poured us a drink (just some Johanesbeerne juice) from what looked like a wine bottle, and offered it to us. My new companion nudged me and asked me what it was. I told him I didn't know, and so I asked the Böhms. Elder Böhms said it was only 20 percent alcoholic, and then insisted that we drink it. Elder Gerberding looked at me to say "no," but when I just looked at him blankly he started trying to explain the Word of Wisdom to them. Finally, I broke down, and to my new companion's horror, took a large gulp. Right after I took the drink, Elder Böhm broke character told him who they were and that it did not really have any alcohol. I have to admit that it was a great prank. But back to the nice stuff... I am also happy that the holidays are finally over. It was fun and all, but no one wants to be meeting with us during it. We will be able to start meeting with more of our investigators again, and so the work is picking up slightly. We are spending quite a bit of our time in two nearby cities, one is called Schwedt and the other Angermünde, and so far we have seen success in both of them. Many of our investigators are choosing to meet with us more out of interest in us rather than a genuine interest in the gospel, so we are having to try to teach in a way that will get them to make and keep commitments rather than just asking us tons of questions about Mormon intricacies. Our main investigator also had a bit of a setback resulting from a misunderstanding of our doctrine (she thinks that due to us seperating Priesthood and Relief society that we are being sexist), and so I think once she understands it better she will start to make progress once again. We were also able to make out a larger number of new appointments than most weeks, which is really nice because it was really slow over the Christmas season. I wish to also extend an invitation to anyone who has interest. We will be reading the Book of Mormon as a mission from this week until April General Conference, and so if anyone would like to join us then feel free to. It is about 7 pages a day, and it will bless your life. Have an awesome week and thank you everyone who sent a letter or package. I wish you once again the best! -- - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

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