elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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Week 2: Coping by Joking



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.]