elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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Off to Germany!

District in Classroom

The most fun District.

District at the Temple

The most fun District at the Temple.

District before Germany

All the Germany missionaries enter together and leave together 6 weeks later. This is the full group the day before they boarded the planes!

Caleb and Rio

Elder Greaves and Elder Rio Sterr (now headed to Fiji).  Rio and Caleb were friends and trek brothers in Arizona.

 

 

Hey guys! First of all, Thank you so much for the special-K bars! They are amazing. Now I just need to figure out how to get them to Germany. . .

I’m emailing today because I don’t have P-day on Wednesday anymore,obviously, so I’m getting it in now. Pretty nice week so far. The teachers transitioned into confidence building mode recently, so that ‘s been nice. We had our last lessons with them today. It was pretty awesome. I’ve come to appreciate them both so much.

We also had our last lessons with our investigators, which was possibly even more sad. First was Josef, the one with the amazing story from last week. We taught Josef, AKA Bruder H., Saturday night after 2 hours of class time. We went into that class, our last real one, with one goal: Make Bruder H. completely lose his concentration. It turned out to be pretty easy, because Elder A., bless his Montanan heart, doesn’t know the months in order. Bruder H. never misses an opportunity to mock anyone, so after Elder A. practice once or 8 times, we were all all laughing really hard.

Then there was a burning smell. I was afraid I’d dropped something through this grate into the AC, which is not only dangerous but, depending on what it was, probably sacrilegious. Then this MTC worker pokes his head in and tells us that because there has been a horrible sewage smell in our building since day 1, they were trying to find the source by burning tobacco. (???)

Long story short, I had been feeling down all day, but suddenly, things starting looking up. I felt better than I had in weeks. Everyone else got headaches. This worries me. Who knew that the first time I had a word of wisdom issue would be in the MTC?

Teaching Bruder H. after all that was pretty difficult because despite the fact that we are both 18 years old, we were in an – and there’s no other word for it – giggly mood. He was also struggling to keep a straight face. We briefly considered teaching the Word of Wisdom while our building was basically one big tobacco pipe, but didn’t think we could hold it in.

He accidentally got his investigator parts mixed up, and thought he was a different person. So when I asked what he had been up to, he said,

“Oh, just went to the park with my kids.”

To which I replied, “You went to the park with your 18 year old, estranged daughter?”

He almost lost it then, but then Elder L., who clearly hadn’t quite grasped the full situation, asked him what his favorite thing to do at the park was.

THEN it was over. We quickly bore our testimonies and left.

Then today, we were supposed to teach Bruder D. We planned on the same thing, just saying it was our last visit, giving him words of encouragement, and leaving. Smelling a sudden dip in anxiety, Bruder D. quickly responded by immediately asking us questions about tithing, something pretty difficult for his character Johannes. We replied that,

“We left our pamphlets in our car. . .” so that we could get the Tithing handout. It ended up being one of our best lessons yet, darn him.

A little blessing was that my Deutsch was actually acceptable today. That helped me.

I am no where near to being ready to leave this great place, even if it is for a better place, but I know that it is going to be amazing. Another adventure begins tomorrow, and I’ve got my didgeridoo, some special K bars, and plenty of “skinnified” DI ties. I’ll be great.

Aspen (and other Harry Potter maniacs): So some poor fool left a usually locked door open, and upon a late night exploration, it was FILLED WITH A TON OF LEFT OVER AND LOST STUFF. WE FOUND A GENUINE ROOM OF REQUIREMENT. I suggested we form the DA – after our teacher, Bruder D.. It really was a huge room filled with everything that could possibly be imagined.

Sawyer: I have had the strangest hankering for the PS2 game Sly Cooper these last few days. Play some for me. Also, I’ve been bragging about your origami and altoid-tin-using skills.

Also the saddest thing happened today. My ID card for the MTC has been through a lot. Elder A. and I attempt to ninja star our cards into the card readers every time we get to a door.

Shockingly, we have not yet succeeded.

Mine was almost completely destroyed, was about half the size it had been, and was approximately 80% tape. I called it “Frankencard,” although “Job” may have been more appropriate. It no longer worked for doors, but humbly allowed me entrance into the cafeteria day in and day out. It was my best friend, and a pretty awesome parable for enduring to the end to boot.

But today, not 24 hours before it could finally have rest, it was, as I can only assume, translated.

Somewhere on the volleyball courts, Frankencard gazed upon the Pearly White Gates, and was lifted up into eternal rest.

I’m kinda ticked.

I’m gonna miss hearing “Wait- what the heck is wrong with your card?” every time I handed it to a lunch lady. Seriously. I wanted pictures with it.

Despite that tragedy, I’m still going strong.

I love you guys. A scripture that has really meant a lot to me this week is Romans 8:16. It talks about how God gave even Jesus Christ, his son, trials, so that he would learn obedience. Just knowing that God gives trials to even the person he loves most has given me strength.

Also, I’m really sad that I won’t be going to the Temple nearly as often anymore, because it has been a huge help. I learn so much there. I was thinking the other day about how awesome it is that even when you leave the temple, you don’t feel sad or even miss it. You may want to go back, but you don’t feel bad for leaving.  I love that.

Have a great week, I love you all so much, and see ya next Montag! (Monday)

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Miracles

miracles

So this week has been one of my favorites so far. There were a few days when everyone got a little grumpy all at once, but everyone has pushed through that and we are all in a good place now.

On Sunday, our devotional speaker was the cinematographer for 17 Miracles, Ephraim’s Rescue, The Testaments, etc. He was pretty awesome. One thing he talked about was writing in journals. If you’ve seen 17 Miracles, you’ll remember the handicapped man named Albert. The speaker said that apparently, in the Willie or Martin Handcart Company, they made a band of handicapped people, and had them all together. Then they had a 76-year-old man lead them. So every morning, he would get up, gather them, and help them along. The speaker said,

“Now THAT is a movie. But I will never make one. Because not a single person kept a journal about it, we have no idea what miracles happened or how many made the journey.”

That was good to hear, because I am already so bad about it.

Last night, our devotional was the 9 children of a Quorum of the Seventy member bearing their testimonies on their mission. It was really nice.

We got our travel itineraries, so everyone is getting really excited to get to Germany.

 

GOOD FOR THEM.

 

I’m still nervous. Some people say “Oh yeah, I’m nowhere near ready” with a grin.

 

I say “I AM NO WHERE NEAR READY” while running around and periodically squawking.

Instead of studying.

 

So I’ve witnessed or heard about some miracles here. First and definitely most impressive, trust me, is when Elder B. was snoring ridiculously loud and Elder L. and I couldn’t fall asleep. I went to the bathroom, and when I came back, Elder L. whispered,

“I have witnessed a miracle this day.”

“What?”

“I just prayed that Elder B. would sleep better and stop snoring, and when I said ‘Amen’, he just stopped.”

“What the -? Hallelujah! Praises and blessings! We have witnessed the impossible!”

 

Secondly, One of Elder L. and my investigators is named Josef, played by Bruder H. Very, very, very, strict. Not particularly friendly. Bruder H. was out of town, and then we had to go to the doctor, so we have only taught him like four times, and weren’t making a ton of progress.

But then we came in Monday, feeling nervous as usual, since we usually got yelled out and maybe beaten with a switch afterwards. We asked him if he had read any of the Book of Mormon.

“Oh, ein bission” he answered, which means “a little”.

So then we asked him what he had read.

All of 1st Nephi. That was a big surprise.

 

In a particularly risky, dashing move on our part, we went in ready to teach him anything. So we asked him what big questions he had, what he really really wanted to know, and hoped to heaven that he didn’t ask for a subject we didn’t have the vocab for yet. He asked about what happens after death. I actually knew a scripture for that one, so we shared with him Alma 40:11-13, which talks about the Spirit World being split into paradise and prison.

He then asked for a moment. Without much emotion, he stared at the verses for a solid 60 seconds of silence, then closed the book.

“The church is true. This book is true. What must I do now?”

Then it was Elder L.’s and my turn to stare at each other for a few seconds. We knew how to deal with catastrophe, with tough questions, with rudeness. When teaching Bruder H., we were completely unprepared to actually have something go right. I managed to choke out a very grammatically incorrect and probably offensive version of a baptismal invitation, to which he replied,

“Yes. Today? Tomorrow?”

We explained we had to teach him more. He said he knew that it was all true. Everything we would say was true. We kind of just said a closing prayer and left, completely in shock.

 

He then walked into our room and said,

 

“Why in the world would you not ask Josef WHY HE FELT THAT WAY?” STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! What the heck? That’s not hard!”

Anyway, we were told rather ominously that we had to ask him, and that it would change everything. So we thought it was something awful, like he completely misunderstood the scripture.

 

Real quick pause here, these investigators are people that our teachers baptized on their missions. Their stories are real, and their mannerisms are as close as our teachers can get.

 

So the next day, we walk in with no little trepidation. We basically skipped all the small talk, and straight out asked him,

“What did you feel when you read that scripture passage?”

“It wasn’t really a feeling.”

Um, what? “So why do you say the Book of Mormon is true?”

“Because what it said is correct.”

“How do you know that?”

 

Then we just sit back and listen to the greatest miracle I’ve ever heard of for 15 minutes of German. We knew that Josef was divorced, and rarely saw his daughter. He calmly told us that this was because he was a heroin addict for years. After his wife left him, he got so depressed, he determined to quit heroin cold turkey. This is extremely dangerous, as your supposed to take pills – methadone, I think – or else you are in danger of death from withdrawals. He quit without those.

Two days later, he died. My eyes were about as big as softballs at this point. The ambulance came, and took him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead. No brain activity, no pumping heart. He was placed in the morgue. He felt his spirit lift out of his body. He traveled to a place where no one had a body. Everyone around him was angry, or crying, or sad. He himself felt an awful weight of guilt. But just across the way, he could see other spirits with huge smiles on their faces, constantly happy. For the first time in forever, he prayed. He asked God to be able to be happy. He wanted a second chance. No sooner had he said that prayer, that he went back into his body, unzipped the body bag, and knocked on the door to the morgue. He had been dead, no brain activity, for 5 hours. Even doctors could call it nothing but a miracle. On top of that, for a true tender mercy, his addiction was completely gone, something that shouldn’t be possible with heroin either.

He spent the next few years traveling from church to church, Catholic, Baptist, Evangelical, Lutheran, Muslim, Buddhist, trying to find one that matched what he knew to be true. And the Book of Mormon did just that. It is an incredible story, but thanks to the power of the Spirit, I never doubted it for a moment. Elder L. shared the story of Alma the Younger falling as if dead, and we left, but not before committing him to repenting through Christ’s Atonement. Bruder H. is going to tell us how he responded on Monday.

 

I know this Gospel is true. I also know that sometimes it can sound strange or even crazy. The world wants us to believe that miracles don’t happen.

But they do, every day.

And even though it does sound crazy, I know it’s true. I know because the Holy Ghost has whispered to me that it was. I know because I can see the Gospel make people happier every day. And I know because I can feel Christ’s love for me, and more importantly, for everyone around me. And that may be the biggest miracle of all.


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Week 4ish

 Ether 12 27

Hey guys! It’s awesome to hear from you. Thanks for all your service. Elder P loved his package. He keeps saying “Elder Greaves! I love your mother!” Apparently he is one of the last missionaries in his large family, and the newness has worn off for his parents. They are awesome people, but they DID forget to write him last week, so he had no mail from his family. That package really made his week. And mine! Thanks for the envelopes (that was a subtle hint). I have a funny post card that I’m going to send to Sawyer.

As for the Adam and Eve question, I’ve been thinking a lot about that. We know that it was necessary that they not live in the Garden of Eden, but why send them there in the first place? Why not skip all of the Garden stuff and just put them on Earth? Why make the whole Plan contingent on a sin? Why give the Catch-22 situation between having kids and eating the fruit? The answer I have come up with is that God, as a perfect being, couldn’t make an imperfect man. He couldn’t make a fallen man. So he made man perfect in his image, and allowed him to become imperfect through his own actions so that the punishment of leaving His presence would be a just one. Thanks for your insightful answers!

As I’m typing this, I can already feel my English grammar and vocab beginning to slip.

This week has been both hard and awesome, as usual. A few days ago, Elders P., A., L. and I prayed together to be shown our weaknesses as it talks about in Ether 12:27.

BIG MISTAKE.

No, just kidding, but what followed was a really difficult day, at least for me. We had to teach Bruder H. (playing the part of Josef, a person he baptized). We usually teach our investigators every 2 days, but through a strange set of circumstances, we hadn’t taught him in over a week. This was only our second lesson with him. The first wasn’t so great, and Bruder H. (a really really harsh teacher that’s fun because he can both dish and take extremely large doses of sarcasm, which I am more than happy to supply) told us that the only reason we got invited back was because we somehow peaked his interest in the BOM. Elders B. and P2. were not invited back and had to start over. Just know, this is not typical investigator behavior. We’ve told other missionaries in our zone that and they are just amazed.

But we went back and taught him – nervously, because we had gotten chastised for two hours last time – and it went just okay. We weren’t personable enough this time, but we taught the first lesson much better. My German was all over the place because I was so nervous. That’s annoying, because that’s usually my strong suit. So we only got chastised for one hour after this lesson. I call that improvement.

So the investigators (our teachers) try to let us know when we are being too boring, or not asking enough questions or whatever, by doing a few things. Bruder D. falls asleep (he may actually be asleep, we don’t know), and Bruder H. pulls out his phone.

So yesterday, they were teaching us how to do a planning session by doing a role play (common). OVER AN HOUR LATER, they finished, having really imaginarily (it’s a word) planned out an entire day and 3 lessons. I tried letting them know they were dragging on by purposely – maybe not purposely – falling asleep and also turning my chair away from them towards the window. I don’t think they got the message. Oh well. Their teaching will improve if I keep helping them.

On the flip side, Elder L. and I taught an awesome lesson to Johannes, who is a 50 year old man who used to be Catholic but left with the whole priest/child thing, and also because he doesn’t like all the riches. The first time we taught him, the other group had taken too much time, so we said a prayer and left. The second time, he kicked us out (remember, not the usual) because “we didn’t have all of our scriptures marked”.

It’s really hard to find things in the German Bible, because it is not LDS. The verses are all smooshed together, no spaces or indents, and the names of books aren’t easily translated. James, for example is Jacobus in this Bible. Also, there are like 5 books that we don’t have in KJV. After that, we got better, and we taught him a really powerful lesson on how he could live with his deceased wife again if he is baptized, and how she is getting taught the same things as he is while in the Spirit World. He finally read the Book of Mormon chapters we assigned after that (Alma 40-42), but his biggest problem is he feels strange praying our way. So he never did it. Even after that lesson, he refused to prayer about the BOM, saying he felt kind of scared. At this point, we had been over prayer like three times, prayed for him as an example, had him pray with us, gave him a pamphlet with info on how we pray, but nothing.

So I just asked him how we could help him, and he asked if there was a pattern. We explained the whole “address, thank, ask, Amen” thing, but then said it was a loose pattern. We talked about how that was good, because then we could really talk with God. We explained that every prayer was personal. We then talked about the Word of Wisdom, and did our best to explain why coffee and tea were on the list. We only challenged him to pray about it, because he seemed kind of iffy about it all, but then we came back and he had given up coffee already! Well, he said he tried to, but could tell he was addicted, so we helped him and told him we could give him a Priesthood blessing. He also prayed about the BOM and got a feeling “that it is good”. Awesome!

One of the devotionals was about charity, and the speaker shared this scripture:

1 Cor. 13: 1-3 1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

How powerful is that? I have been praying for charity lately, as it is the only way to teach by the Spirit.

 

My testimony is stronger every day here, and I am learning so much. I can feel the help I am getting from Heaven. 
 
Dad: We may not have rolling trashcans [to race on], but yesterday I invented “curling iron” which is simply trying to slide the iron across the floor and have it stop in a square. Tonight I think I will experiment with “iron skating”. So the legacy lives on.
 
I love you guys!
 
Elder Greaves
 
PS Hey! Send my didgeridoo! The MTC said that we can have instruments! 
 


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It’s A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood!

mister-rogers-neighborhood

Hey Mom and Dad [and everybody!],

I’m loving it here as usual. People are starting to come around as homesickness wears off. I’m now released as district leader (half way point). I didn’t really do much besides getting the mail and feeling guilty. This week has been… interesting. Good and bad, as most weeks are. Spiritual and then not so much, as will happen.

On the fourth of July, we watched 17 Miracles, then had ice cream and watched the fireworks from the stadium of fire (Elder P almost squealed when we heard the last 3 notes of Carrie Underwood). For some reason, the movies they show here (one every Sunday, and then this one) have just hit me really hard. I think I told you that the first Sunday was perhaps the most of the Spirit I have ever felt. It’s interesting, because that’s how it was for a lot of people. It just goes to show that the Spirit is real, not automatic.

Bad: There has been lots of contention in our zone, which is hard. I think that the newness of this place has worn off, and people are starting to get cranky, me included. Lots of people here are fresh out of high school, and you can pick some of them out pretty easily. They’re the ones flirting with the Sisters. 🙂 A lot of sisters are struggling (not with getting flirted with. They may not initiate, but they certainly don’t seem to mind receiving it). [Also, one of the Sister companionships is feuding.] Also big on the list is one of the Elders in my District and me. I can’t tell if he 1) loves arguing, 2) hates me, or 3) is actually the polar opposite from me in every way possible ever. But it’s one of those three. We’ll all just be in bed talking, and before I know it, an innocent statement like “I love Mr. Rogers!” turns into a 45 minute debate on the role of TV in children’s upbringing. I didn’t even know I had an opinion on that subject, let alone a controversial one.

On an unrelated note, 🙂 I have personally seen a direct correlation between not learning how to be a good neighbor when you are young, and being politically more conservative than Grandpa Gerald. (Love you Grandpa!) Little tangent, but this Elder has never seen Reading Rainbow, Wishbone, Arthur, Cyberchase, Dragon Tails, Sesame Street, Barney, the Teletubbies, Calliou, Zabumafoo, or any other show that makes you into a decent person. Elder L. and I, however, started a rendition of “Having fun / isn’t hard / When you’ve got / A LIBRARY CARD!” Ask the children. Great song. So, I guess I’m gonna complain for a little bit, then let go of it. Ok I’m done.

So all that makes it sound awful here, but I am so, so happy. I was telling some people that compared to BYU, this place is a piece of cake. Every day, my testimony grows stronger.

Brother H. got mad at us for teaching the 1st lesson wrong, and when he showed us how we should teach it, I have to agree with him. It was better. I’ll summarize it, because it made me understand the Gospel and how to teach it in a whole new way.

In the Old Testament, we see this repeating pattern of the Lord calling a prophet to bring a new dispensation. Prophets are like Moses, Adam, and Noah. They are men of God, called to teach the people what God wants, which they learn by speaking with him. When the people listen to the Prophet, they are blessed. When they ignore or kill the prophet, things get harder.

The prophet is only a prophet if he has authority and power from God. This is called the Priesthood. He brings the Priesthood to the Earth. I’ll talk more about that later. We know that God loves us, and he wants us to return to him. However, we can’ t be with him if we aren’t perfect. And we can’t be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes and sins. So he sent us his Son, Jesus Christ.

While on the Earth, Christ organized his church. He brought the Priesthood and gave it to men he called to help him, called the Apostles. Instead of accepting his message, we crucified him. He could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen, because that was how he made what is called the Atonement.

The Atonement has 3 parts. 1) Forgiveness of sins, 2) Help with trials and burdens, and 3) Resurrection. Resurrection is what happened when Christ lived again after he died. Because he did that, we can all live again. This blessing is automatic. No matter what you do, you will live forever. the first and second points, though, require some work on our part. All you have to do is ask for help with burdens, and you will be helped. No matter what the problem is, whether emotional, physical, or intellectual, you will receive help.

Forgiveness comes through repentance, then baptism, then the Sacrament. Repentance is being sorry and promising God that we will try not to make the same mistake again. We cannot be fully clean or fully repented until we are baptized. Baptism is the first of what we call “covenants and ordinances” which are promises with God. When we make these promises, are sins are washed away. But we will sin again.

So every week at church, we take the Sacrament, which is a renewal of our baptismal promises. But none of this can happen, none of it, without the Priesthood power from God. Without a prophet, there is no Priesthood, there is no repentance, and we cannot return to God. So when Christ and all of his Apostles were killed, and the Priesthood was gone, no one could be fully clean. This is called the Apostasy.

Heavenly Father didn’t allow this for long, however. One day, a young boy named Joseph Smith read James 1:5. He had went and prayed and saw God and Jesus Christ. Heavenly Father called him as a prophet and gave him the Priesthood so that he could give it to righteous members of the Church of Jesus Christ and help everyone repent.

He was also given the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ, like the Bible. He translated the ancient script into the book I have a copy of today. I promise you that if you read this book and pray about it like it says in Moroni 10: 3-5, you can know that this book is true. And if it is true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet, and we have the Priesthood, and Christ’s church is again on the Earth. This means we can repent and be baptized.

I invite you to read the Book of Mormon and know for yourselves that the Gospel is true. I promise you that if you do this, if you read the Book Of Mormon to find out for yourself, and pray sincerely to know that it is true, you will feel a feeling that you have never felt before, not this strongly. That is called the Holy Ghost. He is telling you that all of it, ALL OF IT, is true. Talk to some missionaries. Get a BOM. It is the most true book on Earth.

I bear my testimony that I know with everything I have that this Book is true. I know that Joseph Smith was prophet, that we can receive answers for ourselves by praying to Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ loves you. That through His Atonement, you can have your sins taken away. You will be forgiven, and maybe most importantly, you can forgive yourself.

[To anyone reading this that isn’t sure of what I am saying], I am not telling anyone this for any other reason but love. I love you, and I can feel Heavenly Father’s love for you too. He wants you to test it out for yourself. That is why I wanted to send this to you. I promise you that you will be amazed at how simple the truth really is when you study it out in your mind, when you focus your time on it.

When you do this, read and pray, you will be happier than you can imagine. And this is lasting happiness. When you do this, any problem you have, and trial, even addiction, can be taken from you with hard work and the literal power of God on the Earth today, the priesthood power. Completely gone. I ask you to listen to that feeling in your heart that I think you are feeling as you read this, that’s telling you to listen and read and pray and follow. That is the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, speaking to you.

I love, I really do, and I’m excited to hear any questions you have. If you are looking for where to begin reading, try the Title Page of the BOM ( explains what it is, and how you can know), The book of Enos (Talks about prayer and repentance), and 3 Nephi 11 (Talks about Christ visiting the Americas after he was resurrected.)

This started out as just wanting to tell you what I learned, but by the end, I was only thinking about [sharing this message with real people].

Question for the family that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Why did Heavenly Father make the whole plan contingent on Adam and Eve sinning and falling from Grace? This seems out of character, but I think I have an answer. Think about it, and I’ll tell you what I think next week.

I love you all so very much. Thanks for your help and your prayers. I can feel them lift me up throughout the day. I love you guys, and have an awesome week!

[You can send questions about what you’ve read to nataliegreaveslaw@gmail.com, or http://www.dearelder.com/index/ , Caleb Greaves at Unit 63, Provo MTC. Thanks for reading!]


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Week 2: Coping by Joking

Nein

 

Hey! It’s awesome hearing from you. By the way, packages and letters are for some reason taking about a week to get here. So I got the package with my watch like Friday, and Mom’s letter on Monday. No one else has this problem. On the address, try taking out the date JUL 30, or whatever. They crossed it out. [address updated on the Contact Me page]

I was having a hard time this week. I don’t know if it’s set up this way on purpose or if they just have really high expectations here, but you wake up at 6:30, study for 1 hour, get dressed into church clothes for breakfast, and then come home and change back into your shorts for gym time. (I’ve gotten my district obsessed wit

h volleyball). Then you come back, shower, and show up 10 minutes late to the class you are supposed to be 10 minutes early for (which would force you to engage in time travel in the shower). Then they yell German at us for 3 hours, and we understand every 4th word, which is usually enough to get the gist, but sometimes we all just kind of dreamily smile at our teacher until he says “you have no idea what I just said, do you?” And then we teach an investigator. Our first investigator was easy, but this time, our teacher is it, and he’s acting out a really grumpy, arrogant old guy that he baptized and actually kicked us out the door when I couldn’t find the scripture I was looking for. So then we plan for that 10 minute lesson for like 2 hours. After that, we go to lunch, then study for an hour, then another 3 hour German class, then we go to dinner, then we study for 3 HOURS. Nope. It’s really hard being motivated to do that. Honestly though, I love it here. I’m basically the only one. It’s the cool thing to hate it here because you want to go on your mission faster, but it’s just awesome. The gift of tongues is real (and usually only works to the degree of seriousness I take my morning studying.)

And you’re right; I have had times where I’m feeling pretty sad. I feel a lot of responsibility to help my district stay on task, but sometimes I’m the worst for that. I just feel like I’m never doing my best, and I could always work harder.

Unfortunately, since being here I have not been at a loss for a comeback, much to my district’s amusement. I have initiated quite a few pranks against our “rivals” district A.

We play volleyball against them a lot. We stole their classroom’s German flag, and said they could have it back if they ever actually won against us in volleyball. They said they had won, to which I replied,

“Really? Because my shoulder is killing me from serve after serve after serve after ace after ace after ace…”

Then later, one of the sisters in the district said,

“‘I hope you sleep well, Elder Greaves” in a really ominous, bitter tone,

and so I said,

“Oh I will. And I’ll probably use the flag as a blanket!”

Another time, right before they check our classroom for cleanliness, we switched out our dirty trashcan for their empty one, making them get a point off. They had no idea. Later that day, they were walking past us and said some snide remark, so without turning around, I said,

“Hey, get any points off the room check this morning?” and just kept on walking.

I also have come to really enjoy having Brüder Davis as my teacher. He tries really hard to be serious, because he’s so close to our age and all. I’ve made it my personal goal to get him to laugh, especially when he’s drinking water. I almost killed him with what has to be the dumbest joke ever, but you have to laugh at the MTC or else you cry. He often interrupts any requests we have by saying “NEIN!”

“Brüder Davis, can I—”

“NEIN!” [No!]

And whenever I ask about why a certain grammar thing happens, he always waves his hand and says,

“Später.” [Later]

So first I said:

“What’s Brüder Davis’s favorite food?

Später tots.”

Then I got him with: “Why is 6 afraid of Brüder Davis?

Because 7, 8, NEIN.”

Almost caused him to stop breathing. Now you can really see the level of humor we operate on here. Another time, I was playing with my CTR ring, so he semi-jokingly took it.

“Now you’ve done it. That was the only thing holding me back.” He laughed, but also gave my ring back.

I’m struggling to to type on this keyboard that I have set to German. All the punctuation is in a different place, and the Z and Y is switched. Also, I’m already forgetting how to spell. So I’ll just say this. I love you Mom. And I love you Dad. And I love you Aspen and Sawyer. I miss you guys and my friends and other family every day. Here’s my testimony in German.

Ich darf nicht so gut Deutsch sprechen, und Ich weiß nicht die Worten zu wie Ich fühl sagen, aber Ich mache wissen dass Gott ist unser lieber Himmlischer Vater. Ich weiß dass Jesus Christus liebt, und dass er ist mein, und ihr, und unser Erlöser, unser Erretter. Durch sein Sühnopfer, wir können zu Gott zurückkehren. Ich weiß dass das Buch Mormon ist die Wort Gottes. Jeden Wort ist Wahr. Durch es, wir können Gottes Liebe Fühlen. Die Kirche Jesu Christi ist am die Erde Weider, mit Apostel, Offenbarung, und beste, ein Prophet wer liebt. I weiß dass wenn Sie das Buch Mormon lesen, Sie können die Wahrheit wissen. Ich sage diese Dinge im Nehmen Jesu Christi, Amen.

[Google translation says:

I can not speak German, and I do not know the words to say how I feel, but I do know that God is our dear Heavenly Father. I know that Jesus Christ loves you and that he is mine, and you, and our Redeemer, our Savior. Through His Atonement, we can return to God. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Every word is true. Through it, we can feel God’s love. The Church of Jesus Christ is on the earth Weider, with apostles, revelation, and best, a prophet who loves. I know that if you read the Book of Mormon, you can know the truth. I say these things in the company of Jesus Christ, amen.]

That’s basically all the words I know. 🙂 I love you guys, and I promise my next letter will be more spiritual.

P.S. Could you do me a big favor? Elder P in my district hasn’t gotten any mail from his family, and probably won’t, since he’s from a long ways away. On the other hand, Elder P.2 gets a package EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. That’s hard. Could you maybe send some treats or something to him? It is the same address as mine, only replace my name with his. Thanks again, and it will mean a lot to him if you have the time. [If any readers want to send something to this Elder, contact me at nataliegreaveslaw@gmail.com and I will give you the information.]