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Monday, September 30, 2013

Weekly letter

I love how the scriptures mention so often that the Lord's people will be delivered. It made me think a bit as to what I feel it means to be considered one worthy to entire Zion, or to become grafted into the tribe of Israel. This week, I was reading a lot of the Isaiah chapters in 2nd Nephi, and when reading them in German, it makes certain things stand out that one might skip over incidentally when reading in English. For me, there was a specific phrase that really stood out that appears fairly often (2 Nephi 15:25 20:4): "For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still." I thought about what it could mean, and I was able to find a pretty cool answer... Instead of the word "anger", think "judgment", and instead of the word "hand", think "mercy".(“For all this his [judgment] is not turned away, but his [mercy] is stretched out still.”) It was a pretty fun thing to find and notice how through Christ we are able to fulfill both of those aspects and demands- justice and mercy.
This week was a lot better for us than the last. We still have not made any contact with the man who was looking into the church, but we are trying to work through his girlfriend to see if we can find a way to make contact again. But I am sure that things will work out fine and that God will ensure that what is best for him will happen.
We were able to get one of our main investigators, Gilbert, on a baptismal date for the 19th of October. His only problem was that he was not able to come to church on Sundays due to his work. We all fasted and prayed for him, and then 2 weeks later he was able to find a job that had better hours and that doesn't require him to work on Sundays. I know that the Lord answer questions and that he love us! He is excited for his date. We would do it sooner since he is totally ready, but we have General Conference followed by Stake Conference, so we will not be able to confirm him for another 3 weeks.
The work is moving forward in the Ward here. We are working a lot with the members and exhorting them to open their mouths and to Preach the Gospel to those that they know. The ward is moving forward a bit, and so we are hoping to see a bigger love for the work very soon here. The ward just saw three baptisms and are going to be seeing one more in a few weeks, so now is our perfect time to make sure that the are on board. The members are really great here.
Remember to write down questions and for General Conference. I know that if you do, you will be able to find answers to any concern that you have for the Lord as you are listening to His prophets speak. This week, we asked a nonmember on the street what he would ask a prophet if he could speak with one. Think about that same question yourself, and listen to General Conference this weekend with that question in mind.
I love you all and wish you the best for this week!

--

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

What doesn't kill you... - Weekly Letter

Dear Family and Friends,
This week was really hard for us. We had our main investigators drop us due to things that they had read on-line about the church, and they have now blocked us from calling them. They were both progressing really well, so it is heart-breaking that they were like the seeds mentioned in Matthew that were strangled in their growth by the thorns. We have asked the members to try to get contact and to see exactly what happened, but it seems pretty clear to us that they are no longer wanting to join the church.
We have a man that is really excited to be baptized, but he is not able to come to church, so we are not going to let him get baptized until we know that he will get the Holy Ghost and be an active member.
We also had a member drop us, which I have never experienced. He had called off his appointment 2 weeks ago, so we went by this week, and when he saw us at the door, he told us that he does not want to meet with us anymore. I felt like he was an investigator, and I guess that our commitment of him teaching a section of the 2nd lesson to us was too difficult for him, and so he doesn't want us to come anymore.
We have also really been struggling with finding the last few weeks, so there have not been any new investigators coming in to our pool, so we have been doing a lot of walking on the streets of Hamburg and talking. It was not going very well until Saturday, in which we were able to find 2 people and get out a Book of Mormon. Sunday was the same, in which he had 3 great conversations in about 2 hours and got out 2 Book of Mormons. Sometimes I wonder what God is trying to teach me, but then if I think about it hard enough, I am usually able to realize thatsomething about my testimony almost always has grown through that particular trial. Plus, I always seem to find the perfect scripture that is a direct answer to my question of why he makes us go through these trials- it is actually a really good thing, because it makes me stronger. All I can say is that my testimony is stronger today than it was 3 weeks ago, and that I am living my mission in Crescendo.
This week, I studied a lot in the Book of Mormon with the Atonement, and it is so amazing to realize that the Book of Mormon contains such a thorough explanation of Jesus Christ and His role as our Savior. I especially love 1 Nephi 19:9-15 (Here's the link:)http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/1-ne/19?lang=eng
Have a great week and make sure to keep the missionaries in your hearts and in your prayers!

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

May I have some bread - weekly letter

Wow, I can hardly believe that it is already Monday again. The weeks are going be so quickly, and it won't slow down for anything. This week was both really good, and really disappointing for us.
First of all, the disappointments: We have a couple that we have been working with, Alex and Claudia, and they were progressing really well until about last week on Friday. He started looking up some anti-mormon sites, and it really made him take a back-step on a lot of the progress that he has been making towards baptism, plus has been keeping his girlfriend from meeting with us. It was really heartbreaking to us, because his questions went from awesome ones, like "how can I repent?" to "why does the Book of Mormon say..." and "why did Joseph Smith say [this] about [that]?" And every time that we would resolve one concern, he came up with another one of the ones that he had read online. All of the light that he had shined with a few weeks ago was sucked away, and he was somewhat rude when we tried to focus on the commitments that would actually help him to get answers. The next disappointment is in an African member, who is totally ready for baptism, but just hasn't been able to make it to church in over 2 months, and so we are going to have to push his date back until we he start to come, because we don't want to baptize a less-active member.
Now, for the awesome stuff. Firstly, the man said that as he read the anti-material, that he was unable to sleep and that he had felt like he was not very happy. He said that he wants to focus on the members and that they all live relatively happy lives. We also have a really awesome joint-teach that will be there for our meeting on Wednesday, and so it should be a really good thing for us.
Second, we saw some really cool miracles this week, like some people who are totally ready for the gospel. Just yesterday, we had a couple stop us on the street and ask us who we were. We explained it to them, and they both seemed really interested in us. They even asked us how they could meet with us and for our number. It was pretty cool. There was also a fun experience that happened to us on Friday. We were sitting at a stop for one of the Underground Trains eating some Brötchen, when a guy comes up to me and asks me if he can have one. I had bought 4, so I complied and gave it to him. He said thanks, and then handed it back to me and said, "you have Jesus Christ on your name tag, and I just wanted to see if you actually lived what you preach." It taught me about how we really are an example of the believers here in Germany, and that we must always act as such.
Well, that is an up-date about what is happening here in Hamburg. I you have any interest, we are going to be reading the Book of Mormon as a mission again, but this time with a focus on the Atonement and how we can use it in our's and investigator's lives. We will be finishing on Christmas Day, and so if you would like you are invited to join me in my study. If not, then you at least need to read 1 Nephi 10 looking for how the Atonement can help us. It is a really amazing chapter.
I wish you all the best for this week!

--

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

Monday, September 9, 2013

Quick but sweet

Sorry that this letter is really short, but I had quite a few letters to respond to today and we also had to take a survey for some seventies that are going to be coming into the mission soon, so I don't have too much time. This week was really good. We have been able to contact tons of people, our investigators are all really excited to meet with us and to be learning new things about the gospel. The only problem is that none of them are coming to church, so that is our big focus for this next week- getting the investigators to come and worship with us. Other than that, things are going well. Fall is finally arriving, and with it everyone is getting really excited to do missionary work. Don't believe me? Just go to lds.org and you will see how big the push is. That is the same focus for our mission: we are getting the members excited to share the Gospel. Have you caught the wave yet? There is still time. Well, that's all the time I have for this week. Thanks for supporting the missionaries, and have an awesome week! --   - Elder Eric Gibson   Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dear Family and Friends, Our week was not very exciting for us, but it ended really well . We had very few appointments, so we were busy doing mostly finding the entire week. Very few people were willing to stop or listen, so we were not able to find any new investigators the entire week. We are trying to be effective and work on our finding skills, but so far, we have been unable to make any progress with getting new apps made out on the streets, and every time we do doors, people always threathen to call the police on us or come down personally and kick us out. Sunday was a great day for us though, because we had 3 random people coming into our meetings and then had the baptism of a man named Chris in the evening. Our main investigators are doing really well. We have been working with a couple for a few weeks now, and they are both ready to make out a baptismal date. Just yesterday, we met with the man, and he has now read through all of 1 and 2 Nephi, and he came to us with questions about what he had read and what he had learned. It was so wonderful! We told them to pray for a date before this next Tuesday, and we are shooting for the 29th of this month. Our other investigators are not quite as strong as those 2, and do not have the same level of interest in the church. Two of them are busy on Sundays with either family or their own church, and so they are hesitant to come to church or to be baptized. We had a good lesson with one of them, and the other seems like we might have to drop, which I always hate to do. We did not have very many other super exciting events this week, but it is really wierd to see that my brother is supposedly home from his mission. I am not sure if I believe it- I think that I will need to see some pictures as evidence for that before I will accept it. ;) Have a great week and I love you all! I know that this is the church of God, and I have received a personal witness of God that this work is lead by him. -- - Elder Eric Gibson Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage