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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

Monday, April 22, 2013

Running with Germans- weekly letter

     This week was a bit more difficult for Elder Hansen and I. We had some really cool lessons set up, but quite a few of our appointments ended up falling through for various reasons, and so we had to spend quite a bit of time doing our back-up plan and trying to contact more people that we can teach. I am really liking that the temperatures are heating up, and so are most of the people here. Our investigators are doing well, and we are seeing progress in quite a few of them, so it has been a pretty nice week.
     My main tale of this week comes from a new type of finding idea that we had. You see, we have been looking for new ways to get the name of the church out to the people of Germany and, more specifically, Berlin. So, we decided to take part in a run that was happening in the middle of town. We got some shirts made with our names and scriptures, and the rest of us wore theMormon Helping Hands vest that has become so well known around the world. If you don't know them, they are bright yellow and really hard to miss. It was interesting trying to run since we still had to follow the mission rules of being in sight and sound of your companion, but we had quite a few people ask us who we were and what we were doing. I did the race with an Elder who was also pretty fit, and so he and I did the 4.5 mile race in about 30 minutes. It was the first time I've ever tried to do anything like that, and my quads are still sore! We made it in a good time, and we did it without ever having to walk. There should be some pictures on the mission blog ( coming up this next week sometime. Certainly not something I ever pictured doing to get our name out there, but it was pretty successful!
     Other than that, mission life is going forward well. Berlin is really fun and there is always something going down. But I have also heard that it is pretty busy in the states right now as well with the bombs in Boston and the threats from Korea? We are all the way at the end of the grapevine, but we still manage to hear a few significant events, lol. I hope that everyone is safe and doing well otherwise. I hope that you are all enjoying Spring like we are here in Berlin.
     Just a reminder, it is transfer calls this next week for us. I am most likely staying, but go ahead and send letters this next week to the mission office just in case. If you do not know what that address is or just feel like sending me a letter out of the blue (highly recommended by the author), the address is:
Elder Eric Gibson
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Have a great week!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Spring is here! - Weekly Letter

     First of all, and as you have obviously seen in the title of this particular letter- spring is finally here! It took the entire winter to come, but the weather is finally mild and we can go without coats for the first time in months. Today is the first days since October that it as been above 20° Celsius. I am pretty excited for it, and it also means that a lot more people will be out on the streets, which is great for missionary work.
     Our investigators are doing pretty well. They are progressing. One of them in a totally weird direction that my companion, Elder Hansen, and I do not really understand yet. He is a crazy old man, and it has been really fun to meet with him. Our other investigator family is also doing better. The aunt, who is the one that we are really focusing on and wants to get baptized, has been in and out of the hospital the past few weeks from a stroke. She is getting tested, and so we should be able to see just where she is at health-wise in the next week or so. We visited her in the hospital, which she really enjoyed, and shared with her a spiritual thought. In other words, the work is going pretty well. We are also meeting with a less-active member who has been inactive for the last 20 years or so. He has been reading almost every day in the Book of Mormon with his brother, and he has noticed a wonderful change in his personality and his life because of it. We are really excited to help him become active again, and so are his brother and father. It was kind of a miracle how we even got his contact info and set out an appointment. The Lord is hastening his work- that is certainly the quote of the year (have you found its origin in D&C yet?) 
     This week, we had a training meeting for our zone, and we decided to invite all of the members that we could to do some role plays. It turned out really well, and it showed the members what it feels like to be an investigator in the middle of a lesson. What was really awesome was that one of the companionships did not invite a member, but invited an investigator. She did a great job at playing herself, and at the end she bore a wonderful testimony of what she had learned and the difference that the gospel has made in her life. It was awesome to see how she is preparing herself to join the kingdom of God. 
     This week, I and all of the other missionaries in my district are going to be participating in a marathon as a finding idea. We are going to get shirts with our mission logo as well as the churches website. It is going to be fun. I will let you all know how it was next week. 
     I love you all and wish you all the best. Have a great week and make sure to look for new ways to share the Gospel.

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

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Conference Weekend- Weekly Letter

     I really enjoyed Conference Weekend. I loved the opportunity that we had to listen to the words of the prophets and apostles and the words which they gave to us. I especially enjoyed the talks from President Uchtdorf in Priesthood session, and the one about obedience from President Monson. What were your favorite talks? It is always really interesting to thing of the time difference, and how when the 6 o'clock session in Germany starts, it is still 10 over in America; when we go to bed at 10:30, everyone on the other side of the world is a quarter of the way through the afternoon session. 
     Our week was fairly successful here in Berlin. We had some really nice appointments with some pretty cool people. One of them is a lady from Bulgaria. Her German is not the best, but she has a sincere desire to come closer to Christ, which is one of the only things that I can really ask for as a missionary. There is also another man that we are working with who is an older, homeless man who is trying to switch from the Jehovah's Witness church to ours (we are still not sure exactly what his motives are- when we have asked him, he says "because you asked me to"). It's a simple and honest answer, but not really a reason to join a church. Our main focus is going to be on developing his testimony.
    The other really interesting thing that happened this week was that we got a referral It ended up being from a lady who just moved from the states to here. She is a convert who is still struggling with her testimony, but she really wants to start coming to church and to work out the concerns that she has. We had a really good discussion with her about a few of the more disputed topics in the church. We told her that it might be a good idea to watch conference coming up, and of course, many of those topics were discussed or addressed in just the 4 sessions that I have seen so far. Like I said earlier, the 2 o'clocksession starts at 10 P.M. here, so we can't really see it until later. In summary, the work here is moving forward really well, and I am really enjoying Berlin (save for our apartment from the 80's, but that is another story.)
     I hope that everyone had a really good conference weekend and that they were filled spiritually. I love the council that the prophets gave to us, and we need to make sure that we actually apply the principles given and discussed. A good idea stays that way unless we make a plan and follow through with it. Have a great week, and I love you all!
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I`m dreaming of a white........Easter?

      Liebe Familie,
First of all, let me apologize that this letter is a day behind the regular schedule. The internet place was open yesterday, but it was so crowded that we were unable to get it done.We have some really amazing things happening in our area right now though. We have some investigators and members that are making good progress, and so it has been pretty nice to see people making and keeping covenants that bring them closer to our Savior. Just today, we had a member with whom we are doing Genealogy work, and he said: "I really want to do these names in the temple, but first I need to talk with the bishop and get a temple recommend." It made me so happy to hear his desire to help his family accept the Gospel.
      Berlin is awesome. Just yesterday, we went and saw the Berlin wall. I remember about 4 years ago in my German class in which we talked about the wall, and how I thought that there was absolutely no chance that I would ever see it. Also, we went and saw the Berlin needle and of course, we are planning on going to check-point Charley in the next few week. Like I said, Berlin is awesome, save that we are stuck right in the most ghetto part of town (Note for Mom/Grandparents: skip to next paragraph). Every once in a while we see some drug deals in the Underground Train station, and so lately we have also been seeing the police in the same area. But of course, we do not have to worry on the streets- most of the people are very nice to us and Muslims have very strict traditions against violence. Plus, no one has a gun in Germany.
     It has been really snowy the last few weeks, and it will continue to be so for the next week to come. We heard that it was the coldest March in Berlin for over 130 years, which is just crazy, especially while it is not that cold if you ask me. But I guess it is because in Colorado our first blizzard is always at the beginning of April, and so maybe I've just become content with the snow and cold.
     Easter was really nice. We had a good Sunday program, we received some really good food from some members, and in the evening we had an activity with a family that I thought you would all like to hear. It is a Croatian thing in which you get all of the painted, hard-boiled Easter Eggs and then play a quick game with them. Each person chooses one egg (mine was an awesome tye-dye looking one), and what you have to do it hit it against another egg without yours cracking. If you win, then you go to the next person. The first round, it is with the peak of the eggs; the second round is with the back. Whoever has the strongest egg is the winner, and then everyone eats their eggs together. It was very simple, but kinda fun.
     I am really excited to be serving as a missionary for the Lord. I love him, and I am so grateful that we as members have the opportunity to read the Book of Mormon- a book that very few other religions accept as true and from our Heavenly Father. I (as well as all of the other missionaries in this mission) will be finishing it this week before conference, and all I can say is that I know that it is true! I have learned so many great and marvelous things from its pages and my testimony of it has increased over these last few months.
     Have a great week and an awesome conference. I will be watching the Saturday Morning Session and the Sunday Morning Sessions live with you, and so I will think about everyone when it starts. Last time, we heard the amazing announcement that is already starting to change the world (18 year-olds!), so who knows what is coming up this time? I love you all and wish you the best!!

-Elder Eric Gibson