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Monday, February 25, 2013

 Dear Family, Friends, and enemies

     The work is picking up a bit here in Prenzlau. I have noticed a kind of light cycle in which we have a few busy weeks, followed by a few slower weeks. We were able to have a few appointments with a new investigator, a lady that has not met with the missionaries for quite some time. She says that she does not really have a desire to join a church and that she is not religious, but she has a very deep understanding of the Plan of Salvation that really blew me away. We asked her to study 2 Nephi 2, and when we met the next time she explained it as well as a member of the church could. She has a fear of praying though, so we are sure that when we are able to get her to just try that, she might be able to develop a testimony of what she already understands. Our other investigators are going just about as well.
    This week, I took a look back at the growth and the changes that I have had while on my mission. I have had some amazing experiences that have refined my character and beaten a few of the bad habits out of me. My testimony of the hand of God in our lives is one of the things that I have learned and now hold on to very strongly. And of course, I have also learned to speak a whole new language. In the time of being a trainer, I have realized just how much German I have learned while being here, especially when he turns to me and says, "what did he even say right there?" It is pretty cool. (P.S. Elder Gerberding is doing such an amazing job of learning German, but here in Prenzlau there is a very distint dialect that is a difficult mix of Berlin-German and some Polish, making is particularly difficult).
     I love the chance that I have to be out here and to be serving for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives, that He hears and answers our prayers (dass er hört und erhört unsere Gebete), and that His work is picking up. We have 58 new missions being created becuase of the number of people that are answering His call- so amazing!
     Have an awesome week!

P.S. Just a heads up to those that are interested, this tranfer is going to be a bit shorter, and transfer day in on the 19th of March. That means that I will be reaching my 1-year mark in only my second area, haha!

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

Monday, February 18, 2013

Hey Family and Friends,      We had a fairly difficult week. The number of lessons that we are able to give to others seems to have dropped significantly over the last month. I am not sure the specific reason for it, but most of our investigators just are not able to meet with us. I feel like I can change the scripture in Amos 8 to apply pretty well: Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of [teaching investigators]: And [the missionaries] shall wander from [the north sea] to [Poland], and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek [more investigators], and shall not find it. We have had a few potentials, but most of our regulars, like last week, are not available at the moment. We spent most of the week doing finding in the various towns in our area. We have seen some success in each of these cities, but most people are really afraid to set up a time to meet.      Elder Gerberding and I are getting along very well. He is a hard worker and a really obedient guy, and so I really respect him.       I really have enjoyed the reading of the Book of Mormon that our mission president has assigned to each of us. I would highly recommend reading it. It is an amazing book that has an indescribable power in it. The main highlight of this week occured yesterday, in which we had District Conference in Neubrandenburg, the central city in our District. We wanted to get there for chior practice at 9, so we had to leave the apartment to catch a train at 6. All went well until we had to catch our connection in a fairly small town named Pasewalk, pretty close to the Polish border. We had about an hour and a half layover, and so we just stayed in the waiting room doing studying. Suddenly, about 40 minutes before our train was to come, the German police came in and asked us to show them all of our identification. We were pretty surprised by their forcefulness, but showed them our cards and mission papers. Elder Gerberding, since he is still very new and the mission office still had his passport, almost got taken away by them, but fortunately we were able to get out the situation without any issues and caught our train to District Conference. It was a really good conference, and we are now going to have a brand new District President for the area here. It was certainly an interesting way to start the morning though. So that was our highlight of the week- almost getting taken by the German's version of border patrol. I hope that everyone is doing really well. Thanks for your letters and your love! Just as a reminder, you can check out more about the Germany Berlin Mission at it is a really good sight and shows quite a bit about our mission. Enjoy! --   - Elder Eric Gibson   Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, February 11, 2013

We had a pretty busy week this week, and so it seemed to pass by fairly quickly for me. We had a few exchanges with the District Leader and Zone Leaders, and so the week seemed to go buy in a flash because it felt like I was behind by a few days. But it was really nice to wake up on what felt was just a Thursday morning and to get ready for church. The good news first- I am going to be staying here in Prenzlau with Elder Gerberding for another transfer, which means that I can finish up his training with him. The bad news- I don't have anything for those pessimistic people who like to hear bad news. Our investigators, unfortunately, have not changed much. They are harder to get hold of then a soap bar with wet hands, and so we keep thinking that we have solid contact and then they just fly away again into the sink. But the good news is that amongst all of this craziness we are still finding new people, and so I am really excited to see the work when it starts to pick up here. I am pretty happy to be able to stay though. This has been a pretty hard area for me, but I feel like I have been able to grow here more than any other thing I have ever done, and so now that I have grown I hope that I can start to make a bigger affect on the people here. The main highlights of this week are that we had some pretty awesome success with a member here that we are trying to get ready and worthy for the priesthood. He has already been a member for a few years, and with each lesson he is asking us what he needs to do, and so it is awesome to see his change of attitude. The other one is that we had the District President here yesterday, and he is a very kind and loving man. We are going to be having District Conference next week, and so I am excited to be able to see him again. Other than that, there were not really any big things that happened this week. Due to all of the companionship exchanges, it was quite a bit of travel time on trains, and so also a bit of time for reflection and goal-setting, which was fairly nice to have. I hope everyone has an awesome week and Valentine's day. Also, a very happy birthday to my Daddy! He is turning what the Germans like to call stone-old. Have a great one! -- - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, February 4, 2013

Breakfast with the Boehms

We had such a great week here in Prenzlau! Our investigators are finally starting to come out of their winter hibernation, and so hopefully the work will start to pick up here soon. We had quite a bit of the same, but we also had some really fun events this week that I wanted to report on: One of our investigators (the Catholic one) has been doing pretty well. He said that he doesn't want to join our church, but in the same breath he also says how amazing our Plan of Salvation is and how well we know what we are teaching him. He is really nice, but it is oh, so hard to keep in focused on any given topic for more than 2 minutes. We have been working on how to teaching principles of the gospel in about a minute and a half. Our other major investigator has also been doing amazingly well. She has a testimony of the Book of Mormon and knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet, and so she is just a few concerns and questions away from joining the church. The only major concern that we have with her is that she just lost her job, and so she is really going to need some strength and support from the gospel, which she is still relatively new in. But she has a strong testimony of prayer and the reality and power of God, and so I think that she will be able to pull through. On Thursday, Elder Gerberding and I decided to visit another town all the way at the bottom corner of our area. The name of the town is Templin, and it is worth taking a look at on Google maps sometime. It has to be the second most pulchritudinous town that I have seen in Deutchland, and it has as complete of a city was as possible in this century. The people were also fairly nice, as far as the German's street culture of completely ignoring all other human being goes. It is funny sometimes to say good morning to someone and get a response that seems like you may have hit them with a stick. It is a wonderful blend of confusion, yet cordiality. This morning, we had lunch at the Missionary Couple's house in which all of the members of the group brought recipes for a breakfast item. My companion and I decided to do Breakfast Doeners, a creation that Elder Primas and I finally mastered at the end of our last transfer. It is really delicious, and the ingredients can all be found in America, so I will be able to make it when I come home as well! It is basically a breakfast burrito with a baked pita break shell rather than the traditional tortilla. Sister Boehm then showed us how to make her style of desert crepes, and the other elders did not end up having enough time, but they were planning on making omelets. The last thing, and one of the highlights of the transfer, was that we had 3 member appointments yesterday. When we woke up in the morning, we were only planning on having one, but it quickly changed at church in which one of the members wanted us to come over and eat and then the next wanted us to stop by because her family was in town and she wanted to show us her granddaughter, a girl who has been investigating the church for quite some time now and we are hoping will start formally taking the lessons soon. She normally lives in Berlin, so the member jumped on the chance for us to come over and say hi. The last appointment was with a less-active family that we visit very regularly. He is a priesthood holder, and so we are working really hard on getting him back to church. Well, that about sums up the events of this week. We are going to be having transfer calls on Saturday, so hold on to any letters for a week or so until I have it confirmed that I am going to stay or go. I still have another transfer of training with Elder Gerberding, so I hope that I can stay, but with all of the new missionaries that are going to be coming in over the next few months there is not any surety. All the best for this week! -- - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage