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Monday, March 25, 2013

A tall guy in a big city- Weekly Letter


    This has certainly been a crazy week, and the stark contrast between Prenzlau and Berlin has been more dramatic than I had assumed. Our apartment in is a conspicuous little alcove, but once you walk through the courtyard and out the door, we are on one of the busiest streets in Berlin. Every morning, I forget how huge this city is, and so every time we walk out of this door I feel another wave of surprise. I am really enjoying it though, and it is really nice to be able to have sooooo many people to talk to and to share the gospel with. This week, we had quite a few really good street lessons- even a few return appointments and contact info! This is a really auspicious area, and so we are really excited to get the missionary work here going strong. Neukölln is pretty much the melting pot of the city, and so we end up teaching people in English about as much as we do in German. A large percent of the people are Muslim, and so we also have quite a few conversations about how different our religions are. I love the people here, and there are some really, really religious people.
     The second thing that made me crazy was the size of the ward here. In Prenzlau, we only had about 15 people in church each week, and of those 100% were adults. This ward pulls in about 100-150 people each week, and it has a full primary, ym/yw programs, and non-imported priesthood holders. It was really awesome to see so many people and to see how strong so many of them are in the gospel. I had no idea what to do with so many people though, and they all introduced themselves like I would remember their names next week. I hope not, or they are going to be sorely disappointed. It is definitely a ward though, and so it is a huge difference between the branches that I have served in so far.
     My companion's name is Elder Hansen. He comes from Utah, of course. He has a totally different personality from my last companion, and interesting enough, they were companions in the MTC. He has been in Germany for about 3 months, and I am really grateful for him, because it is way easy to get lost in such a huge city. Every 30 minutes or so I keep realizing that I have absolutely NO idea where I am, and so I am happy just to follow him around for another week or so until I am able to figure out the crazy network of S-bahns, U-bahns, Straßen-bahns, trains, and buses, all of which run 24-7. He likes to sing (he has been classically trained) and loves cars just about as much as a few of my other companions. He has a really good heart, and so I am excited to be able to work with him. 
     I am also doing pretty well. The people are really nice, the ward is great, and I have now reached the year-mark of having a name tag on. It is amazing how quickly time passes out here, and so I intend to efficaciously use every minute of it. I know that this work is ordained of God, and that he provides a way for each of his children to come back to him. I love you all and wish you all the best for this next week. I am so excited for General Conference coming up. And finally, Happy Easter!

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

Monday, March 18, 2013

     Well, we received our Transfer calls yesterday, but first, I might as well tell you about our week. You see, Elder Gerberding and I, after 11 weeks of working together, have gotten really organized with who does what when, and so we had a really great week of finding and teaching. The apex of our week was a lesson we had with one of our main investigators. She works in Berlin and so we are only able to meet with her every few weeks, but she understands the principals behind what we teach really, really well. We had a series of events that led up to a pretty cool miracle with her. 
     On Wednesday, the A.P.'s called and invited me to go to a training meeting for District Leaders and Zone Leaders. It was kind of weird, since I am neither of those, and so it just made me even more antsy for the transfer calls the following Saturday. Anyways, this meeting was on Friday in Berlin, and so we went. The miracle was on our way back, in which the meeting ended about 15 minutes before we had to catch our train, and so we headed over to the north side of town to see if we could catch it at a later station. By the time we got to that station, we had missed the train, and so we just chilled out in North Berlin for about an hour for the next one. After about 40 minutes of waiting, the loudspeakers notified us that the next train was going to be about 20 minutes late, and so we had to wait even longer. But then who walked down the stairs? Our investigator! It was a really crazy thing of events, but the Lord made sure to use our time effectively and put us right in the spot that we needed to be. We had a really good conversation with her- one that carried over into the lesson that we taught on Saturday. It was such a miracle!
     Well, her is the news. I am going to be transferred to NeuKölln, Berlin as a District Leader (hence me being invited to this random meeting on Friday). I am really going to miss the closeness of the ward in Prenzlau, and I have no idea what I am going to do in a big city. It will be the first time that I have done it my entire life. I think that I will just try to chase a few cars and look at everyone weird. But there is one thing that is going to be different, and that is that I can no longer talk to everyone that I see. My new companion's name is Elder Hansen, and he is the Elder that was companions with the Elder that I just finished training when they were both in the MTC.
     I will give everyone more info on Berlin, my new address, and some info on my new companion next week. I love you all and wish you all the best!

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

Monday, March 11, 2013


Hey Everyone!

     Well, we had a pretty nice week here in the heart of what used to be East Germany. For some reason, all of the older people here really like to remind us of this fact, and that none of the things in life are like what it used to be before the iron curtain fell. We had a lady that we meet doing doors that had this mind-set. She mentioned how amazing the new sciences and technologies are, but in the same breath said that it would be so nice to go back to the GDR days (damals), where everything was easier.
     We had another pretty exciting event on Friday, in which we were doing doors. Right when we were about done, a guy came up and seemed very frustrated with the fact that we were ringing his doorbell when he was not home, and as a citizen he had a right not to be contacted by anyone of us. We asked him if what we were doing was illegal. He said no, but that it just wasn't right to come up and talk with people. My brother Steven told me that one of the easiest ways to get out of these kind of situations was to start to preach the gospel, and I have to say that I was somewhat surprised with how effective it was. I started to tell him exactly what it was that made us want to come interrupt his life, and he then backed off. It is usually pretty rare to see a grown man throw a fit like that, and afterwards my companion and I just laughed about it. The only bad thing is that one of our contacts live in the exact apartment that this guy lives in, and so I am afraid that our relationship with that family might be injured due to his cinematic actions. I guess it just proves that Satan has an affect on the hearts of the people just like the Spirit, and it is just a fight between which side we want to take.
     Elder Gerberding and I are doing great. He is done with all of the need training and is ready to take on Germany.  I am really glad that I have been able to serve with him for the last few months. I miss being able to not have to worry about my cooking. For a while my biggest fear was killing him by accidentally adding milk to my pancakes or eating something with nuts that he ends up accidentally eating. But fortunately, he is not dead yet, at least that is what the ER doctors were telling me last night (Joke!).
      I am very happy that I have the ability to be serving as a missionary for this church. I know that the church is led by a modern day prophet through revelation. I know that the Book of Mormon contains answers to life's questions that cannot be found anywhere but in the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
     I hope that you all have an awesome week. We are having transfer calls this week, so I will let you know where I am heading (or not heading) next week. Thanks for your love and support!
-- 
 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

     First of all, let me quickly apologize that this letter is a day late. Fortunately, E-mail is free, so I do not have to worry about being a dollar short. Yesterday, we were helping the Missionary Couple, the Böhms, move to their new appartment, and it took up literally the entire day to do. Because of it, we are doing our P-day pretty broken up between all of the other days that we are also trying to do work on, which should be pretty exciting, haha.
    This week was good. We are currently working with a woman who is progressing very well in the gospel. She understands the principals like a member, and so all she needs is to get a desire to know if it is true or not. We have had some really good lessons with her though. The work is picking up a bit here in Prenzlau, which is always really nice and makes it very exciting for us. This week, we had a pretty awesome miracle that occured on Friday:
     Usually, Friday is the day that we go to a town in our area called Schwedt. We have a few inactive members and contacts there, and so we go at least once a week to get our work done. This week was the week of Fast Sunday, and so we usually give the members there the sacrament. Unfortunately, we did not have any Sacramental cups in the apartment, and so we had to run to the church to get some more, which meant that we missed our train. Of course, we had to change our plans a bit due to this obstacle. Instead, we took a bus 20 minutes later. We had to catch a transfer bus in a very small town named Gramzow, and we totally missed that bus too. The next bus was not going to come for another hour or so, and so Elder Gerberding and I did an improved Weekly Planning and then made a plan C for our work in Schwedt because now we would only have 2 hours to get all of the things done that we had planned to get done in 4. We prayed that we could be effective with our time and get the most important things done there. Once we got into the town, we ran straight to our first inactive member and gave him the sacrament. We had a very spiritual lesson, and then we headed straight out to the next. Right outside of his building, we were able to get a lesson on the street. Later, on the way to her house, the inactive member that we were heading to found us on the street. She said that she had been wanting and looking for a way to contact us, but that she could not find our number. She had been in the hospital the entire week and she was just then running home before she went back to the hospital. The fact that she caught us was a total miracle, and if we had gotten there earlier, like we had initially planned, we would have missed her completely. Due to that, it also gave us enough time to stop by on the other inactive members there and to also give them the sacrament before running for our train. In the end, we were able to accomplish all of our goals in less than half the time. And of course, we were able to be in just the right spot for this member. It was just another testimony to me that God uses us to help his children, and that he will provide means to help others through us. He loves each and every one of us, and knows us like a shepard knows and loves his sheep.
     Well, those were the big events of this week. I hope that everyone has an awesome week. Remember, the Lord is hastening his work- make sure that you are taking part in it. Share the Gospel and do not be afraid to rise up to the potential that Heavenly Father has for you. Alles gute!

-- 

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