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Monday, December 30, 2013

The Harbinger- Weekly Letter

Liebe Familie,
Christmas is always the last major event before a new year begins. It was a wonderful Christmas for my companion and I. We were invited to quite a few members homes, including some of the best families of the ward, so it was a really fun time. They gave us so many gifts and treats. We all got some ties with the Hamburg crest on it and also some small, handcrafted nativity sets. I just ate my third chocolate Santa this morning, haha. I am going to be a marzipan ball myself once I am doing eating all of those things. And of course, we got to Skype with our families, which is always a highlight. This was easily one of the best Christmases that I have experienced. The German holiday spirit is a spectacular thing to live through.
But at the same time, Christmas is also that last hurrah before the new year sweeps in. It is the harbinger of a brand-new start, which is a wonderful opportunity. Now is an auspicious time to do things that I maybe haven't done yet, and to set some new goals for the things that I want to accomplish before the year is over. In scriptural terms, it is a time to repent. There are only a few days left in the year- take the time to do the same! Evaluate yourself and make some small, yet vital changes to come one step closer to who you want to become at the end of 2014.
We met with quite a few less-actives during the holiday season. The holidays are a perfect time when people open their hearts to us and are more excited for when we ask them to draw closer to their savior. This week, we were able to get into a home that has never let us in, and we were able to give them some Christmas goodies. I am thankful for the little miracles that happen everyday as a missionary- those little things that are explainable, yet still a wonderful and unexpected event. I have seen a lot of those this week, and it makes me very excited to start of this new year. I only have a few months left- now is the time to wear another pair of shoes out and to continue to share the gospel to the German people.
Have a wonderful new years (und einen guten Rutsch!- German term, which translates into "have a good slide") I love you all and hope that you are healthy and happy!
- Elder Eric Gibson
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage

Monday, December 16, 2013

3rd Advent

Dear Family and Friends,

I can't believe that we are already half-way through the last months of the year. 2013 has gone by so fast! I still remember when new years came, and I was planning out what I wanted to do differently to become a better missionary. Now, the year is already over, and the next step (college and study) is staring me in the face. It is crazy!
This week was really great. We had our Christmas Zone Conference on wednesday, which was very spiritual. For the second half, they gave us our present- watching a movie! We saw 17 Miracles, which I haven't seen for a while now, and it was way good to see all of the miraculous things that happened with the pioneers in the Willie-Martin handcart companies.
It also happened to be my birthday, and so everyone sang to me during lunch. At the end of day, Elder Schmidt and I had a mini-party of cake and ice-cream. It was a really good birthday.
The work is also going well. We are working with a man named Ricardo, and he is progressing slowly, but well. He has read quite from the book of Mormon, and his prayers have changed drastically. We are going to work with him on quiting smoking, so it will be really good after that.
On Friday, a member invited us over for dinner. She surprised us with a birthday cake at the end. The members love the missionaries so much! I was very grateful for how thoughtful they were.
There was also a piano concert in the church on Friday. We went as an opportunity to talk with some people about the church. It was a man named Kevin Kenner and a string quintet. Once they started, I was blown away with how proffesional it all was. I then looked on the program and saw just how many awards that this player has received in Poland, Germany, Texas, and Utah, among other places. His playing was very advanced and completely flawless. I asked a member for a recording of it, so hopefully I can get a copy from him before I am transferred from this city, and then you can see just how awesome it is.
Thanks for all of your love and support. Stay strong and excited tor the christmas season. President Eyring gave us an awesome promise in this month's ensign. Take advantage of the season and try to share the gospel with someone that you know! If you don't know the gospel very well, then it is certainly time to check it out.

Have a great 3rd advent. I love all of you and wish you the best during this exciting Christmas season!


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

Monday, December 9, 2013

The second Advent - weekly letter

     Yesterday, the second advent calender was burning in our apartment. It made me so happy. It is a German tradition that I am definitely going to take with me. As far as all of the chocolates and candies go, I think that I will miss them, but it is probably for the best, since I eat them a little to happily.
     This week was really good for Elder Schmidt and I in Hamburg. I have quite a few highlights that I think that you will all enjoy. First, on Monday, we went to the Christmas market for the second week in a row. I am pretty sure that we will end up there once again today. It is really awesome. You just have to make sure to leave your wallet at home. The market has a magical way of transforming bills into random objects that may be awesome, but that you honestly don't need.
     We had a really cool miracle on Monday night. We had an appointment with an investigator, and we decided to make it a bit shorter to have some time to stop by on a contact. We did such, and when we were on the bus to go by on this person, we saw him sitting on the bus! We talked with him, and he said that he has moved to a different part of the town and that he got a new phone. He decided to go to his old home just one last time to pick something up from his neighbor. He was very surprised that we ran into each other again, but he was very excited for it. So in other words, the chances that we would run into this man were very, very low. God is so awesome! Now he will be able to meet with the missionaries again.
     Also, I was able to play a trumpet again. It has been so long since I have touched a real one, but the bishop asked me to play it for the Christmas party on Saturday. Of course, I was happy to oblige. I just forgot that the trumpet is in a totally different key than that of piano, so I had to spend an hour transposing the music so that it would be suitable. It sounded pretty good, except for the high notes- my lips cannot support them very well anymore. We had a great party, and tons of friends of the members came. They seemed to all enjoy it.

Have a wonderful week and 3rd Advent!

-Elder Eric Gibson

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

New missionary in a big city

Dear Family/Friends,
     This week was really good. We were extremely busy, since the apartment that we have been staying in was rennovated this last week. We were living out of an apartment of another group of Elders who live in a different part of the city, and due to that, we had about an hour train ride home every night. I didn't think that it would really take that much time away from us, but it sure makes our appointments tight! On Thursday, we were able to finally move in to a brand new apartment on thursday, complete with shoe racks, a new stove, new carpets, painted walls, desks that we helped build, new wardrobes, ect. I am very happy to be living in it.
     Elder Schmidt is enjoying the city. It is about twice the size of his last, so he is still trying to get used to just how many people are really here, and the fact that we are in charge of some of the most busy sections of the city makes him even more bewildered. He comes from Alpine, Utah, and he has been out on his mission for about 10 months. Right now, he is following me around because he is lost, but he will start getting the city down pretty soon.
     Our investigators are also doing really well. We were able to meet with quite a few of them, despite all of the craziness that we were experiencing with the apartment. Alex, who has been meeting with us for over 4 months now, has confirmned that he knows that the church is true, and so we are hoping that we can make out a baptismal appointment with him this week.
     Unfortunately, I don't have any crazy stories of this week. We had thanksgiving dinner with the mission couple in our city. They are very nice and love us so much! I am only grateful for the chance that I have to been serving here at this time for the Lord, and I know that He is with me in this work. I can't believe that this year is coming to an end. I am not looking forward to it because 2014 is the year that I will be having to go back home. I love you all and I pray for each of you. Continue doing that which is right and looking for opportunities to share the gospel with all those whom you work with and know.

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