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Monday, November 25, 2013

Homeless by the fireside - weekly letter


Dear Family and Friends,

This week was really awesome. We saw some really cool miracles happen to us, and the work is picking up pace.
For P-day last week, we went to the Hamburg zoo and checked out the aquarium which apparently famous. We quickly found out why. Upon walking in, one finds himself in a gigantic, artificial biosphere which is filled with the sounds of many tropical birds. They have, at the very beginning, the Lemurs, which they just let roam free and jump on the guests at will. Needless, to say, the lemurs were just the beginning- they also had turtles, alligators, snakes, bats, spiders, fish, and of course some sharks. I love the zoos here in Germany. They would be illegal in the states, but here they have the animals just running around without fences with signs that just have casual warnings, like: Do not go too near Alligators- they may bite.
The rest of the week was awesome. We have been seeing some real progress lately with the members. One inactive member has started coming to church and working with us. Her son is old enough to get the priesthood, and he asked us last Sunday "what do I need to do to pass the bread and water?" We are excited to see their progress in the gospel. Another less-active had a really spiritual experience with the Book of Mormon, and he is finally understanding a lot of the doctrines of the church and how he can add them into his life. The actives are also doing great with trying to slowly improve their mission-efforts.
We also were able to get in contact with one of our former investigators, and he decided that he is ready to start getting ready for baptism. We want to do it right around new-years. It is an exciting time for us.
On Saturday, we had a fireside for non-members. We have been passing out invitations and working on it for the last couple of weeks, so we were very excited to see how many people were going to show up. We had quite a few members there and tons of snacks, but no investigators!!! We did the lesson anyways, and showed the members how they can use the restoration when trying to speak with their non-member friends. It was a success and a miracle, because through this activity, a member for south Africa was able to finally find the church here in Hamburg. She said that she has been searching for almost a whole year. Such a miracle.
We also got kicked out of our apartment. The mission is going to renovate all of the floors and furniture and re-do the walls, so we will be working out of another area's apartment until it is finished. I will try to attach some pictures of the new apartment next week.
The last bit of news is that I am going to be staying here in Hamburg through Christmas. Elder Becar is heading off to the East, near Leipzig, and I will be receiving someone named Elder Schmidt. He is not a German, even though his name is. ;-)

Well, that's it for this week. Have a good one and I wish you all well!


P.S. I always begin my letters with some kind of catchy phrase that relates to an event of the week, but I have to admit that this one my be a bit of a stretch for those who are paying too much attention.  See if you can find the two points of the week that contributed to this week's letter. Last week's letter?


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

Monday, November 18, 2013

Plan of Salvation - weekly letter

     We, the Hamburg Elders in Wartenau, had a fairly good week. We are very busy with the consistent things that we are trying to get done and people that we are trying to work with. The work is moving somewhat slowly here at the moment. We still do not have a very large teaching pool, but this week we were able to see some progress. There a quite a few people who are interested, but just are willing to take the time out of their day to meet with us. We are working with quite a few of the ward members who are ready to do the work with us, and we have already seen some movement their.
     We found a new investigator this week, Andreas from Poland, but he did not come to church yesterday, like he said he was planning on. That has been are biggest trouble the last few weeks for us- we make out appointments, but then the people cannot make it or just don't come. I think that a big part of it is that they just don't have true interest, and we aren't going to drag anyone to the gospel. We just need to find the people that are ready to accept what we are trying to give to everyone. I know that they are out there just looking for this exact thing.
     We had a really good appointment with a less-active this last week. He is from Chicago, so he speaks English, and he asked us for some help learning German. Afterwards, we talked with him about God and what God has in plan for him and his life (the Plan of Salvation!). It really touched him, and by the end of the lesson he said that he had understood the Plan of Salvation for the first time in his life. It was awesome to see that his heart was open for it, and the spirit was really strong in the lesson.
    This week, I learned quite a bit about how faith has to be a very active role in our lives. Due to the faith that the Nephites had in the Lord, they were protected in many situations from the Lamanites and the attacks that they were doing against them. The 2000 stripling warriors, because of their unwavering faith, were able to leave all of their battles without any loss of life- all because they had faith that God would protect them. Faith is truly a force that can accomplish mighty things, even if others might not trace it as the source sometimes.
     I know that this is the Lord's work. He has given His children so many opportunities and tools for us to be able to return to live with Him. The more time that I spend praying, studying the scriptures, and teaching the gospel to other, the deeper my appreciation for these gifts grows. I have felt His spirit and His love, and I have gotten very real answers to my prayers. I am so grateful for the short time that I have as a full-time witness of my Savior.
I love you all and wish the best for you once again. Until next week!

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hamburg, du bist doch schoen- Weely Letter

     So about my first week here in Hamburg, my companion and I were on the bus and we saw a good-looking Californian restraunt. We decided that we would go there some P-day and try it. A few weeks later, we took the same bus through that same part of town, but we couldn't find it! We figured that we had just missed it, but upon further inspection (that is, keeping a look out for it the next few weeks) we had to just assume that it had either completely disappeared or that we were just crazy. A few weeks ago, we were doing street contacting on the street, and we learned that the store had gone out of business the same week that we had decided that we wanted to try it, hahaha. I guess that it wasn't really very good anyways.
     We had a really good week. We decided to work very close with the members and to try to make them more excited for the work here. We met with quite a few families, and we were able to see quite a bit of excitement both for missionary work and to be able to talk about the gospel. This ward has some really great members- they just aren't sure how to go about doing the work. I really do appreciate them though- they are so busy and are yet so willing to try to improve themselves by meeting with us and doing the things that we ask them to start trying.
     Hamburg is so beautiful. We are watching the leaves turn into the amazing gold and burgundy colors, and the city has become even more amazing than it was in the summer. It is getting colder, though, which means that less people are on the streets and that more people are at home and going to bed earlier since it is now darker.
     Our investigators are struggling at the moment. All of the people we have been working with either lived in another area, or are not able to meet with us right now, so we are doing a lot with the contacts that we have. We have a few appointments set up for this week, but our big push is for getting a lot of the people who just "know the church" to actually meeting with us and investigating the restored gospel.
     I love the blessing that I have to be able to share the gospel here in Deutschland. My testimony of the restored gospel continues to grow, and I am learning every day how to become more christlike. Please continue to pray for the missionary work and especially that you will be able to take part in it yourselves!
     Have an amazing week and I love you all.

-Rom. 6:12–14

-Helaman 3:35

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

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elder Patrick Kearon - Weekly letter

     Well, this week was one of the best ones that I have had here in Hamburg. Our program is really picking up some pace, and we are finding quite a few people to teach the gospel to. We experienced quite a few miracles and we were able to have some amazing lessons with a few of our investigators. Alex, whom I have been mentioning in and out the last few months (he is the one who checked out all of the anti-stuff and then stopped investigating for a while), met with us this week for the first time in over a month, and we had one of the best lessons of my mission. We taught him about the Atonement and really focused in to how all of this "baptism" stuff and all of the things that we have been teaching him is really pertinant and applicable to HIM, and how we aren't doing it to get more people into the church, but because he needs to be cleansed from sin and be baptized so that he can actually start on the path to salvation. He finally started to understand it a bit more, and since then his interactions with us have gone back to what it was before he looked at all of these things. He still has a long way to go, but he is doing so much better!
     We also had a Special Zone Conference for our mission, in which we had two 70 members come and teach to us. The main one was Elder Kearon, who is a member of the 1st Quorum of the 70. He taught us so well, and he explained so many wonderful aspects of the church and how we can do better as missionaries. I learned so much from him! If you want to learn anything about him, here is the site: http://www.lds.org/church/leader/patrick-kearon?lang=eng .
     I wish that I had time to share some of the other miracles that we saw this week, but I really do not have very much time, so I will just have to end the week here. In short, we had a few lessons on the street and even had a walk-in appointment with an English teacher who was very skeptical about all of our beliefs, but is very open to what we teach and how he can find the truth for himself.
     Keep praying for us and being the type of members and people that the Lord asks us to be. "What manner of men ought ye to be? Even as I am" - Jesus Christ
     Have a great week!
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- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage