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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, 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!