elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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NO TIME NO TIME NO TIME!

I ONLY HAVE 12 MINUTES TO RESPOND!

I’m so sorry. The problem is I’m sending you guys letters, so I spent too much time responding to others. And those letters should be there in 10ish days.

Also, to send letters or packages to me, send it to
 
Elder Caleb Greaves
Glüsinger Weg 3
21481
Lauenburg, Germany
 
DON’T WRITE “GIFT” ON THE PACKAGE. Elder Draper’s mom did that. It means “poison” auf Deustch, [in German] so that took forever to get through customs. 🙂  I have to wait six weeks to get it otherwise, if you send it to the mission home.
 
Gift poison
 

Anywho.

I love you guys a lot. Really a lot. I’ve just been thinking about how grateful I am that my parents are so awesome and my siblings are so funny.

So a few really important things. Elder Bednar is coming to visit our mission in 3 weeks. Did I forget to mention that?

  
Also, we get iPads soon. That is going to rock for so many reasons. I’ll expound later.
 
In preparation for Elder Bednar, our zone is doing a fast chain, where for a like five weeks, at least one companionship is fasting. IT HAS BLESSED US SO MUCH! Our zone leaders may get the oppurtunity to teach the Restoration to 2000 Afrikaans at once, and they are already like,
 
“YEAH! JEEESSUUUSSSSS!!”
(Pronounced J-AY-EE-Z-UH-S. Now wave your arms above your head. Noodle arms. There you go.)
 
So they will probably have like 500 investigators. Not even an exaggeration.
 

Then we have had the best week ever!

We have had a miracle a day.

Monday: An inactive member that we meet with every Monday said he felt the Spirit for the first time in a long time when we watched a Mormon Message with him. We are trying to get the Bishop involved, but I think by next month we can have him going to church again. He loves the ward.He hasn’t made any progress for 3 years, and then 2 elders that can’t speak German help him? PSSH. Miracle.

Tuesday: We recontacted an older man that moved back into our area. He lost his wife in December, and when Elder Draper contacted him a few months ago, he was having a really hard time of it. He told them he was ready to just die. They gave him a Book of Mormon, but he wouldn’t accept their number or give them his. After a little bit of prodding, this 90-year-old man named Erwin told us that he has read 70 pages of the Book of Mormon, and that he reads it every time he gets sad. We read Alma 40 with him, and then he saw the chapter heading for Alma 41. He said that he’s been having dreams of his family that have passed away, and that what he dreams is in the Book of Mormon. We couldn’t talk much more, because he’s starting to lose his memory, but we are hoping to get our family involved. At the very least, we know that we have helped someone. In Alma 40, there are 3 or so verses about good people in the spirit world, and then 2 about bad people and gnashing and wailing and whatevs. We asked him to read the happy stuff out loud, but he read the angry stuff too. So I was laughing a little really quietly, and then he looks at us and just softly said “Oh…” like all old and stuff. I almost lost it. He was hard of hearing, THANK GOODNESS. I was laughing so hard into my hand while Elder drape drapes covered for me. That’s 2 miracles in one day.

 [Mom sidenote.  I have no idea what he is talking about.  If someone else does, explain it to me.  Maybe he’s getting that German sense of humor he wrote about recently.]                         confusionWednesday: On Wednesday and Thursday, I was on Tausch [exchanges] with Elder Shaal, my district leader. We played soccer, my first ever European soccer with adults and everything. It was raining, and I was all,

“Darn time to go,”

and they were like,

“NUH UH SOCCER IS LIFE!”

and it was GREAT.

Then I couldn’t walk for 3 days, I was so sore. You’re thinking this is a fluffy miracle. Nope. This is real life Hallelujah miracle.

Thursday: The very first lady we talked to when we went finding was ridiculously prepared for us. We walked up to her, she read our name tags, and sadi, “I love Jesus!” Elder Shaal bore a powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon, and she said she would go home and talk to her daughter to try and find when they could both be taught. Really? “I love Jesus?” Miracle.

Friday: Caught a bus that should have left without us. Okay, that one was weak. But what makes up for it is . . .
 
Saturday: in what can only be described as a Hail Mary (football, not the Catholic prayer), and also a plea for sister mishies in our ward again, we baked brownies and tried to contact one of the investigators of the sisters that were here before I came. With her, 3 appointments had fallen out, and she started hanging up when we called. But she was there, and we gave her the brownies and a testimony, and while she’s busy right now, I think we started a good relationship. SHE’LL HAVE A HARD TIME HANGING UP ON US NOW!!! AHAHAH MIRACLE!!!

Sunday: Sunday was the best day by far! An inactive member that had refused to come to church for 4 months showed up without being invited, and the ward was super friendly. We were able to go give a blessing to another less active member we were struggling to contact. A very shy lady in our ward that we visited last Sunday asked for a pass-along card for an old friend, so we also gave her our number if they were interested. A man from Singapore visited and said he will have 3 referrals for us from co-workers here.

Phew! Awesome week.
 
SEND MORE RECIPES.                                        
begging
 
I love you guys so so much, but I’ll shower you with love and affection in my letters. So be patient. I’m super over time like I am every week, but I know the Gospel is true and fasting and prayer work. Please keep praying that I will have the Gift of Tongues! It’s working!
 
Elder Greaves

Now I really have to go or my companion might just kill m - asgrlki afh grerer! 
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Explosion of Thoughts

I’m typing this as fast as I can because I always run out of time and never say all that I want to and it’s usually the spiritual stuff that gets left out and that’s not good because I’m missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Lauenburg, Germany with lots of awesome people.

Phwoosh.

Things from the list:
1. There’s a lady with an Adam’s apple in our apartment complex if you catch my drift.That’s all I’m saying. You can’t drag it out of me, no sir, or ma’am, I’m not sure which.

2. A few interesting door experiences:
     A) knocked on someone’s door, they pulled into garage in car, told us they “had nothing to steal” and to just leave. We would have to be the preppiest, most unprepared, WORST thieves in the world if we were knocking on their front door in shirts and ties.
     B) I stumbled on a few words, so I apologized and said that my German wasn’t very good, to which he replied, “Yes, I can hear that.” Typical German.
     C)This one guy alternated between yelling at us and making small talk.

“So where are you from?” ” Arizona.”

“QUIT TRYING TO CHANGE PEOPLE!” Then he told my companion that we had no life-experience, and to come back when we were sea captains. What? Because that’s where he became a Rabbi?

3. I met our GML, or ward mission leader (Gemeinde Mission Leiter). His name is Gordon, and speaks perfect English (count your blessings), and knows a ton about German grammar. He’s 22, and speaks more slang than we do, because He went on his mission to South Korea, and served with a ton of American elders. He’s awesome, full of energy, and just a really fun person to be around, since he’s so close to our age. Lots of jokes, and he asked us what Napoleon Dynamite was like, because he was going to watch it.

4. Sister Baumgartel. She’s a ward missionary, 50-60, went on her mission to England (count your blessings), and is super funny in a subtle way. Also, she gives us chocolate and feeds us. We worked on her garden for like 3 hours, which consisted of me hitting everything in sight with a hoe. My arms are still sore.

5. Dark chocolate. highest I’ve had so far is 73% kokao. They have maybe the best chocolate ever here, of which Sister Kosak has commanded us to partake weekly. No seriously. Someone will call her and tell her they are sad, to which she will very seriously reply, “Do you have any chocolate?”

6. Along the same lines, Kinder (Kinder eggs, etc., German for children), makes these things called Happy Hippos. HOLE. EE. FRIJOLES. A wafer tube shaped like a hippo, with a colored on face so it really does look and is ihappy hippon the exact shape of a hippo. Inside is chocolate hazelnut creme and milk creme, and the first bite is the best thing that has ever happened to you, followed by the second, and then the last is the worst, most crushing disappointment you have ever felt. Germans do chocolate right. No one else likes them as much as me.

7. Döners. That is what everyone is obsessed with here. Basically Turkish gyros. Really good, sold like tacos here.

8. I’m reading Jesus the Christ, which has got to be the most amaying book ever. My companion occasionally just hears me go, “Whoa! No way!” during study time. He just ignores me.

9. I NEED RECIPES OF ALL KINDS. I HAVE TIME TO COOK. ALL OF THEM. I WANT THEM ALL.

10. I still haven’t gotten to play soccer, because we have to bring a less active member to play with our DL in Bergedorf. And he keeps skipping out on us! He played professionally in Greece, which according to my German DL, means he stinks. More next week, along with talking about my Tausch and how awesome Pres. Kosak is.

Tell Russ that it was spastically barking, so I tried to calm it down, but apparantly it worked a little TOO well. They were my favorite shoes too. I was just like ‘hmm, why is he – what is that soun – He peed! he peed on me! These are my favorite shoes! You are the devil you stupid beast of burden! When this family is all like, “why didn’t you knock on my door?” In the spirit world, I’ll just point to YOU! STUPID dog. IDIOT. These were my favorite shoes. I’ll see you in Heaven, MUTT.’ and etc.

dog laughing

Tell Grandpa that his German is better than mine, and that they don’t have any pickups here, but lots and lots of tractors that somehow think they should drive on the road. And that is now below 20 C, whatever that means, but it’s nice and cool.

I love you all so very much. I miss you a lot, but I’mm being helped. Pray for me that I will have the gift of tongues. Prayer is so powerful. I ran out of TIME AGAIN DANG IT I PROMISE I AM HAVING SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES ON MY MISSION HAVE A GOOD WEEK I LOVE YOU ALL HOW IS GRANDMA DOING AND ALSO SEND ME RECIPES AND GERMAN BREAD IS REALLY GOOD AND ELDER DRAPER IS REALLY AWESOME AND I PROMISE I WILL TYPE FASTER NEXT WEEK I LOVE YOU BYE


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First full week, actually lasted a month and a half . . .

Hamburg District 8 2014

Hamburg District 8-2014


 

 

Sorry I haven’t been able to write in last 4 months.

That’s how long this week has felt. Not necessarily because this week has been hard. I mean, it really was awful but also because I felt so many emotions and learned so many things. This is probably how the sister missionaries feel ALL THE TIME.

Also, I am eating enough. Also, okay I’ve lost weight. Also, it was weight I gained on MTC food, so I just … levelled out. Below averagely. Also, I look GOOD, so it’s all good.

Also, this week has been 9 3/4 months of the best, worst, and weirdest stuff ever, which I hope is how every week is, minus the bad stuff, because I’m not about that life.

Excuse my typing errors. I’m typing this in an internet cafe owned by a clearly un-American owner, and that isn’t even an exaggeration. No really, I’m telling the truth this time.

A literal quote that he told us, translated by my trainer after we left last week, was:

“Palestine has killed 1000’s of children. Israel? It just has a few bombs! A few grenades! Big deal! They blew up like 4 cars. Tops. Right? I mean, America should mind it’s own business right?”

To which my trainer vigorously and sweatily agreed, and I did my signature, “Ja, ja”, head bob, and turn to trainer for confirmation. He is talking loudly.   Help me.

Anyway. A summary of the past 3 years of my life, beginning with this last Monday.

To say people get offended when two smiling, handsome young men knock on their doors and ask if they believe in eternal families is the UNDERSTATEMENT OF THIS DISPENSATION.

Basically, for the past 8 years, I’ve said,

“Hey do believe in Jesus Christ?”Nein grumpy cat

NEIN.

“Hey do you believe in eternal families?”

NEIN.

“Hey do you love your family?”

NEIN.

“Hey how about we help you garden?”

NEIN.

“HERE, GOSH DANG IT TAKE THIS FREE MONEY JUST LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN!”

NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN NEIN.

I see a red banner dragged behind a cartoon devil figure that just says NEIN all across it every time I close my eyes. Also, some “Kein Intresse” and “I’m already baptized” slogans sprinkled in.

A few decades ago, when I got here, I had heard the whole “you’ll get a lot of doors slammed in your face” or “you’re looking for the one” things all the time. But no really. They aren’t lying. Germans have a phrase that translates to what is essentially,

“What I don’t know isn’t important”. WOW.

However.

If the past 4 centuries have taught me anything, it’s that you can really love the people anyway. I love the lack of humor here. It’s humorous. Here’s a German joke, a real zinger. They have to rhyme, apparently. This was told to my trainer at an eating appointment, and all the German’s cracked up.

“Alle gucken auf den brendenden Haus ausser Klaus, er guckt raus.”

It means: Everybody looked at the burning house except for Klaus. He looked outward.

Then the Germans died. Well not really, they just laughed. Klaus died though. They thought my companion didn’t understand because he didn’t laugh. That’s not the reason.

You don't say!

 

Anyway, a few highlights from the week since I’m running out of time.

The funnest thing I’ve done since being here is met with Jehovah’s Witnesses for 2 hours. They got really mad when I shared Amos 3:7. They basically started yelling at us that our religion is wrong and we don’t believe in the Bible. They refused to let us speak. literally, they just talked louder when we tried to answer their scriptures. They would share with us one and then say “OOPS!” because they thought it completely destroyed our faith. Luckily, it wasn’t even hard to answer their scriptures with scriptures of our own, let alone with testimonies. We ended up just sharing those and leaving.

Let’s see… highlights…

1. A naked man at the door. Didn’t even get to bare my testimony. Ha. Pun.
2. A 70 year old woman with a cigarette at the door wearing a tshirt and panties. And that’s it.
3. Being at a member eating appointment on Sunday for 4 hours, not understanding a word. They are the most talkative, poorest, sweetest people I have ever met. Tiny house and dog. Watched Bruder S. play with his dog for 2 hours before we ate, part of which play included pulling the dog around and wrestling it, touching every part of its body. Then he served us our food. And I ate it all, which trust me is an accomplishment just portion-wise and germ-wise, but also it was the grossest thing I’ve ever ate. Tofu and this spicy liverwurst sausage stuff. And I’m grateful for it.

I had a ridiculously hard day Saturday, but lots of prayer and study that morning really helped me. I’m loving reading Jesus the Christ, because it’s as close as I can get to entertainment. 🙂 I love it here, even though it’s hard. I’m completely out of time, but a few things that have helped me is the pictures I have of you guys, my ring that reminds of a much harder time and a special talk with my mom, and how good I look with these brown shoes.

Love you guys, more spiritual stuff next week.

Elder Greaves

 

 


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Hallo aus Deutschland!

07-14 Elders Draper-Greaves
Elder Draper and Elder Greaves with Sister and President Kosak
07-14 learning
Receiving training upon arriving in Germany

People randomly emailed me this week!

Also, this German keyboard is making me tired.

First off, all the strange things about Germany. You hold the button down as long as you want a toilet to flush in Germany. I’m not some kind of potty wizard! I have no idea how long to do it!

Seltzer or carbonated water. Is gross.

Moving on.

About 95% of cars here are hatchbacks.

Also, everyone speaks German.
Really though, the first day, I kept walking around trying to figure out where all these foreigners had come from.

There’s no such thing as Walmart. let me repeat that. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS WALMART. You have to go to TWO!!! stores if you want notebooks AND food.

Last but CERTAINLY not least: no AC. I actually think I just heard two thumps as Grandpa Gerald and Dad both fainted. So it gets blistering hot in houses with all the humidity. That’s not even close to the worst part though. We have to sleep with all of our windows open or else we literally die. But then all these bugs get in and EAT US. I really really really hate bugs for a multitude of reasons, and there’s now a gang of mosquitoes in our bathroom (probably the Bloods if I had to guess). I fear our bathroom. But every morning I wake up with bites behind the ears, on my face, my arms… Those jerks. Attacking a man in his own home.

There are good things too. One of them is my companion, Elder Draper. He’s super nice, really humble. He’s been out for 3 months, but took a ton of German in high school. He understands all the grammar rules, but just needs a little bit more vocab before he’s really “fluent”. I, on the other hand, can’t understand anyone.

Oh! I guess I should probably say where I’ve been called. Lauenburg.
Lauenburg.8

I am in one of two companionships with a car. Elder P2 from the MTC is in the other one. Perhaps the two new missionaries that enjoy walking and riding bikes the most. (We went on walks all the time in the MTC. It’s an Opel Corsa if you’re interested. It fits in here, which is to say it’s a little ugly. That means we have a huge area, and can’t take the train. It’s okay, and I’m glad that I can see it both ways, but I wish I could ride bikes or something. Well, probably in 3 months, when it’s nice and cool, I can!

A personal little miracle that I saw on Saturday when out tracting helped me. We talked to a lady about families and how we can live with them again in Heaven. I didn’t know what she was saying, but all of a sudden she was crying and saying she didn’t want to talk about that right now.

She was really very nice, but didn’t want to talk. My companion told me as we were walking away that she had said her husband had died only 4 weeks ago, and she couldn’t talk about this now. I started having a really almost sick feeling as we continued on, as if we were doing something wrong, but went on knocking on people’s doors. Then Elder Draper admitted he felt the same.

We decided that we had to go back and say more, even though we were understandably nervous to bother her again. But we did, and we bore testimony that she specifically could see and live with her husband again if she followed Jesus Christ, and we could tell her how. She thanked us again, and we gave her a card and left, but not before asking her to call us in a few weeks when she felt ready. We aren’t sure if anything will come of it, but after that experience of following the Spirit, I was able to understand just a little bit more and speak just a little bit better. I know that it is only through the Spirit that I will be able to help people.

Most of our investigators are out of town on the 6 weeks of vacation they get here, so we’ll see them in September. That means lots of finding! Or, I should say, searching. It’s not exactly the easiest to get people to open their doors, but kein Problem! I really believe there are prepared people out there for me to find and bring to Christ.

Also a dog peed on my shoes.

Elder Greaves