Last week, right before I finished doing my E-mails, we got a call from an unknown number. Usually, as missionaries, we are very excited when this happens, because it lets us guess who it could be and if it is someone new who wants to meet with us. I answered the phone with high hopes.
I said who we were, and the answer was: "Hello Elder Gibson! Here is Brother 'so and so,' the secretary to the Stake President for Neumünster." My next thoughts were 1) He is going to ask me some question about the branch that I of course don't have an answer to; 2) He is going to assign one of us to speak in stake conference; or 3) He just wanted to give us news of something that the missionaries is the stake should be aware of.
Of course, with my luck, it was option number 2. The members here in Germany really just want to abuse me (or they are punishing me for extending and not getting out of Germany earlier).Now, on top of my other duties, I also have to give a talk in front of the whole stake on the 22nd about Wie die Mitglieder mir auf meiner Mission geholfen haben, ein guter Missionar zu sein (how the members have helped me on my mission to be a good missionary). I am not super ecstatic about it, but at least the topic is nice.
Our week was great though. We had some wonderful experiences working with the members and less-actives. We meet with the grand-daughter of one of the members about every two weeks, and she has decided to go to the EFY conference coming up in the summer. We are totally jumping on the chance to get her excited for it, because this could be the event that brings her into activity into the church. The only reason that she doesn't come is because of her mother, who dislikes the church for the all-to-common women's rights argument. I feel like people just like to look for misunderstandings and confrontations anywhere they can find it. We want to start working with the mother, but she is really closed off to the missionaries, so it is something that the members are going to have to do through home teaching and other activities.
We also found a new couple to teach. We were dooring, and when the man answered he caught our accent and started talking to us in English. We had a great conversations, and asked if we could come back and talked about faith. They said they would love it if we came, and then they gave us a referral to go to another family in the neighborhood. It was such a miracle.
We are working hard to get this branch running better. This last Sunday, we had ward conference, which was awesome and had an amazing spirit. The stake introduced to the members how to do genealogy work, and so we are adding a bit of excitement to the members here. I have already seen a change in the mood of the members since I came 5 weeks ago. Continue praying for the missionary work so that we can also add a family or two into the branch in the coming months!
I love you all and wish you a wonderful week. Make sure that you look for small and simple ways to share the gospel to those you know.
-- - Elder Eric Gibson
Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzen Tage