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Monday, January 27, 2014

It's already February?! - Weekly Letter

     I fully realize that today is the 27th of January, but I know that in a few short days, I will wake up and look at the clock I have on my desk and I will say those exact words, namely: "What? It's already February?!" It will be one of those palpable shocks, mostly because it is a harbinger of another month behind me. They are becoming very valuable nowadays.
     This week was one of the most fulfilling ones of my mission. I didn't feel like it at first, but at the end of the week, my companion and I were discussing some of the changes that have taken place the last 3 weeks, and we were both very happy with how many appointments we have and the kind of progress that we are making in how we do the work here. Now, we just need to get the investigators on board.
     We had an awesome week, in which we were able to add 3 new investigators to our teaching pool. It was awesome, and it resulted in a walk-in appointment yesterday. It was the 4th one of my mission, and it was Elder Pearson's first. That is what happens when we are obedient and diligent- the Lord will bless us with people to teach and ways of serving the members.
     This week is also looking pretty good. We have quite a few appointments set up with people, so we are both really excited.
     Yesterday, I started to actually do some more of my calling's responsibilities. I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting yesterday, which I feel turned out really good. I focused it on the families who only have 1 member who is active, and how they can make sure to be an example to their families.
      I am now in charge of working with the primary auxiliary, which I think is ironic since I have no idea how that works within the church. We also set a young man apart as a priest. I had to also tell the new Primary President about her calling, as well as assign her to find a councilor. Next week, I will be leading sacrament meeting. The tasks just keep piling up... It is just my 3rd week- the branch president assured me that there will be more to do soon. He is a really amazing President though, and the branch really needs him right now.
     Well, that's about it for this week. I love you all so much, and I pray for each of you. May God be with you as you try to reach out and bless the lives of others.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Sitting on the stand - weekly letter

     This week was really good. We are seeing some intensity coming into the area, and I think that the branch is also at the point to where they can brake some old habits. Unfortunately, there are a few things that are keeping the ward back here in Rendsburg and I think that if they start to try some new things, they can have more spiritual experiences in the church. I am very grateful for President Wenke, the new imported branch president here. He works really hard even though he has to drive an hour and a half just to get here. He is very experienced and very realistic about things, and I think that he is really going to help the branch out. Yesterday, I had to do the responsibilities of my calling for the first time (a.k.a. I had to sit up on the stand next to the branch president, followed by giving the lesson in the second hour). It has been a "choice learning experience" that I technically signed up for, even though I didn't know the consequences of such an action.
     I feel that it is the same way with the program here as with the ward- we are going to try some new things and see if we can have some more spiritual (teaching) experiences with investigators and less-actives. The whole mission is focusing on increasing our teaching pools and making sure that we have some great people who we are teaching who are interested in our message.
     The city itself is great. I love how friendly people are to strangers and how open they are to having conversations on the streets and at their doors. We have been able to have quite a few awesome conversations with the people here, and many of them know the church because it is a fairly small town.
     My companion, Elder Pearson, is from Lehi, Utah. He is the youngest like me (so in other words we both know how it is to be spoiled). He loves to study the gospel and has been out for over a year. He has already been in the area for a while, so I might have to take over in a few weeks (if not, then he will have the pleasure of being my last companion). He is really fun to be with and also really likes the city, so we are seeing some pretty awesome stuff happen to us. Just a few nights ago, this guy stopped us while ridding past on his bike and told us that he really wants to meet with us. His name is Ralph. All I can say is that the missionary saying is true: we will find people or the people will find us.
     Have an awesome week and I wish the best for all of you!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Change is the only constant- Weekly Letter

     Hey! So last week I did Emails and I was able to somehow get done with them in half the time that I usually do. Upon leaving the church and entering the crowded subways of Hamburg, I realized why. Sorry that I did not write my usual weekly letter last week.
Much has indeed transpired in the two weeks since I last reported. New Years was of course great. We were able to go to a family and celebrate a bit with them, and then on New Years Day, we celebrated again with the Grandparents of Elder Lüning, who is serving in Hamburg right now.
     I received a call last Saturday that I will be transferred to my last city of my mission. I was released as district leader, so I thought that I was going into retirement (a bit more about that later). It is a cute, yet fairly small town named Redsburg. It is one of the most picturesque cities of my mission- second only to Görlitz- and the best part is that it is located around a major canal, so there are tons of shipping boats driving through it. We will be just walking down the road and there is a massive cargo ship just chugging along the horizon. It is fun to see.
     My companion's name is Elder Pearson. He is pretty awesome, but we still don't know each other all that well. He is the youngest, like me, so we are both the spoiled ones of our families. I am once again in a branch. The members here are really cool though. There are about 2 active families, and 3-4 part-member families that come, so the usual attendance is anywhere from 15-25. There is tons of potential with all of these part-member families, and we have already started to try to set up appointments with them.
     Yesterday was my first day in church, and the second councilor of the Stake Presidency happened to be there. He greeted everyone, but then he came up to me and he asked if he could meet me in the Branch President's office. We sat down, and he asked how I was doing. At this point, I was very confused, because it seemed like he was doing an interview for me. He then asked if I had heard anything about transfer calls. I said, "no, it was just a regular transfer call, why?" He then told me that many other things had been happening in the background and that I was actually sent on special assignment. He then offered me my calling and told me how to do it all. I am now the first councilor to the Branch President in this little branch here. It is the most frightening thing that I have ever done in my life. So now here I am in this little branch and I am still trying to get to know everyone. It will certainly be an interesting learning experience. Pray for me please!
     I am doing well. I am happy that this calling has ensured that I will be staying here until April. The last thing that I wanted was to only stay in this place for only 6 weeks and then go to some other city for another 6. Now my goal is to work hard for the next 3 months to make sure that this branch is growing well. I love you all and wish you a wonderful week. 
- Elder Eric Gibson
  Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage 
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