elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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Literally only have 10 minutes

So it got cold all of a sudden, and I have to buy a coat today, so I only have 10 minutes today.

But hey.You should be used to that by now!

Next week, I’ll have my letters planned out so all I have to do is transcribe. But anyway, a sehr schnell [very fast] low down.

Elder Draper is getting transferred to literally the farthest area away from this area possible, in the southernmost, smallest area, smallest branch area that speaks Bayrisch, a completely different dialect that he won’t be able to understand at all.

And, he is training. You don’t usually train without already being in an area, but they must have seen how awesome I turned out.

Anyway, this last week has been awesome with Elder Draper. He is seriously one of my best friends, and I am sure going to miss him a lot. I’m staying here, which is darn good. I want to to be here until the end of the year, but I don’t get much say! My new companion’s name is Elder Garrett, he’s been put for a little less than a year, he just finished training someone in my MTC class, and he will be a district leader here. Don’t know anything else about him, but I’ll meet him tomorrow!

I’ve been wanting to tell you about my investigators and such for a very long time, so I will just quickly talk about a few. Or one. Most everyone on our list that is extra-prepared came through referrals. Not from the ward, but from media referrals. That’s really cool, since we received 5 total, which is exactly 5 more than have been received here in like 3 years. Seriously. Just goes to show that the Lord takes care of you, especially when you are both new and have no idea what you’re doing! 🙂

Nadine: 20 years old, called the mission office and said, quote “I want to meet with the missionaries. Send them to me.”

Now that’s cool.

It is really fun to be able to meet with someone so young and excited, since that is basically the exact opposite of the general population. We have taught her the restoration and the first half of Plan of Salvation.

I don’t think I’ve told you, but Lauenburg, or “Town of Lauens”, has a very special meaning. Lauen means lukewarm. I’m serving my mission in Lukewarm town, Duetschland. Ouch.

Anyway, 30 seconds left. I love you guys so much, thanks for everything, I had an awesome birthday, I loved the book so so much and have already used it.

Elder Greaves

10-14 ZTM Hamburg

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The Final Countdown

So I have pictures to send, but I don’t have time this week. It was the pictures or me, and I chose me for you.

You’re welcome.

Mom:

I think I gave you the wrong address. It is Glüsinger Weg 31, not 3. They all reached me, as far as I know. One got stuck in customs, not sure why, but it may have been the one I was supposed to wait for… Sorry! It was the law! Anyway, it was the Recipe/Memory/Picture book, which may be my favorite present of all time, except for, of course, when I was 5 or so, with my orange Charizard watch that hooks on your belt and said “Wake up sleepy head” in Ash Ketchum’s voice as the alarm. That thing was sweet.

 

charizard

So,I never ever ever have enough time for anything, and I was planning on writing about each one of my investigators, since I still haven’t done that, but I only have 5 minutes. So I’ll just go really really fast.

This week, we had quarterly interviews with President Kosak. He is super awesome, and I always learn a lot. We had told him about how we were struggling to work with the ward, so he went into a stake-wide meeting 10 minutes later and told all the Bishops up front to stop treating missionaries like babies. He’s so cool.

Anyway, he talked to me for a lot longer than usual (30 min. vs. Elder Draper’s 10) and then ended with an ominous “And who knows what will happen to you this next transfer in a week!”

Absolutely no idea what that meant, but, on a sidenote, I haven’t slept in 3 days.   No seriously, I’m a little nervous.

I’m staying in Lauenburg, HALLELUJAH, this next transfer and Elder Draper is leaving. That’s all I know.

I’m super happy to stay here because I need to baptize these people, darn it. We have really struggled these past couple weeks to have appointments. People in our area just don’t answer the phone! So we have to spend all day trying to set up appointments. We finally have solid investigators, more solid than this area has had in years, and they are all on vacation or busy or never home! GRR.

I will find them. I will make them feel guilty. And also the Spirit. That’s good too. 🙂

Really no time this week, but I find out Saturday about new companion stuff. So that will be interesting! We saw a few really cool things happen these last few weeks. We have received 5 referrals, staggering, really, and while not many have been from the ward, we will get there. This ward is so awesome. They just need to know that we are.

I love you guys so much. I know this Gospel is true, and I have felt such an increase in the Spirit this week, as Elder Draper and I have tried our best to improve ourselves. I’ll say more next week!

Sawyer:
That’s awesome – Nathan Pancake. Drop and give me 20 – Pancake. Private Pancake. Major Pancake. General Pancake. The pun possibilities are endless. Anyway. Read your scriptures more than you are. 🙂 Read them when you get home from school, not right before bed as something to check off. I’ll follow up, too. 🙂

Aspen:
That is exciting that Grandma and Grandpa are moving there. Don’t worry about drowning. It does end. In like 5 weeks when you have Christmas break, actually. 🙂 Read your scriptures more. Study a topic. One Book of Mormon, one topic. Pick a date to finish by, not how much you will read in one day. You’ll do better that way. You’re awesome.

Love ya!

Elder Greaves


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Still got it!

That phrase – still got it – reminds me of something I don’t think I told you guys before. My first experience with Europeans was on our flight over here. Every flight, my seat got moved away from all the other missionaries for various reasons. One of them, these Dutch girls wanted to sit by their friends, so they asked if I would switch. I said yes, so they offered to kiss me. Gross, girls! So apparently I got it, whatever it is, on my mission.

Anyway.

no-kiss-zone-hi

Elder Draper and I make a pizza every week, and Elder Draper always does the dough, because he thinks he’s a pro and because I’m lazy. He thinks recipes are for the weak, so they always taste weird. This last week it was basically pie crust. But we eat really well. Too well! Too much money! 🙂

Members generally feed us well. In Germany, the host can essentially say “You must eat it all” to scraping-plate levels. I hate that. Makes me so mad. This one guy in our ward, who said I was skinny, skinny like asparagus, and that my eyes were far apart like a fish (thanks for that confidence boost), made only me do that at this Greek restaurant that gives you no water and no bread, just a huge salty mass of gyro meat. I was so mad, I just ate everything almost before Elder Draper started.

We had gemienderat [ward council] this week and it went so much better. We decided to talk about every single one of our investigators, so they can see we are actually doing a good job. It helped so much. My German is coming along great. I am on track to finish the German textbook they give all the missionaries before I’m done being trained! Not sure if there’s like an award for that or something, like fastest or something… ehherm. Also, I’ll be done with the missionary library within this week. Do you know of any awesome huge thick really complicated Atonement books? We can read things other than scriptures during free time. I’ve got nothing left to study!

An inactive Greek family came to church for the first time in months. They are so fun to teach. They are the exact opposite of Germans. Stavros, the dad, was professional soccer player in Greece, which basically means he’s about as good as the 13 yo’s in Germany.

But he looks like a member of the Mafia.

You share a scripture, and he basically starts shouting halellujas. He and his wife asked if we had ever had visions – they are big on visions. We shared the scripture story of Alma, who saw an angel, but said later the reason he had a testimony was because of fasting and prayer. So the Spirit is more powerful than visions.

They were freaking out. “HOLY GEE WOW BETTER THAN VISIONS THEY SAID. THE SPIRIT’S THE BEST THEY SAID. PRAISE THE LORD! SCRIPTURES!”

And their kids are just amazing. Really good kids. so that is super awesome. I hope they keep coming back.

About the temple here it is so far away, and Germans have so much vacation time, that they will go to the temple for a week at a time. Do like 20 sessions. Talk about a spiritual boost! This week has been really good, as per yoosh, I had a fairly steep dip into grumpy town this week, but it only lasted a day and I feel better than ever. Thanks for your letters, and I wish I had more time to clarify all of my feelings, but it takes so long through writing!

Just a few clarifications:

1. I love this area. I can honestly say that. I really like it here even though it is hard and slow.
2. I love this ward. They work really hard, they love everyone a lot, and they always want to talk to anyone that is new. I feel the Spirit so strongly when I am with them.
3. I love my companion. Elder Draper is so incredible to me. I’m so grateful for this chance I have had to work and grow with him, and I’m going to miss him a lot in a few weeks.
4. I love my mission. I love how it is making a me a better person already, even though I make a ton of mistakes.
5. I love Jesus Christ. I’m trying to remember every day that I am working in His name, and that He died for me and for the people of this area.
6. Finally, I love you, my family. Thank you for all the wonderful examples I have. Thank you for the love I feel. Thank you for the prayers. Thank you for the birthday package!

I know this Gospel is true, and I’m sorry that sometimes I get distracted and don’t focus on that. I’ll do better next week.

Love you all, see ya next week, bye.

Elder Greaves


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I don’t know how I feel about this week.

Mom:
Message received about the birthday gifts.  And as for me and Elder Draper, we are getting along very very very well. It took longer to crack him than it ever usually takes for me, but we got there. And he has really really opened up, with just being more relaxed and also wanting to talk about things that matter to him. I love you so much, and I was glad to be able to watch at least some of General Conference at the same time as you guys. Most of it was during the middle of the night, so we watched it the next morning, but Sunday morning was live at 18.00 Uhr here.  Interesting, because right before it started, Elder Draper and I were talking about how our families were still probably waking up and watching it at the same time. Anyway. I love ya.
Dad:
I really liked Lynn G. Robbins. I laughed when he said, “When the church changes its policies with the world – That’s apostasy.” I think I might hang a picture on my ceiling. He had a stare like no other. If his kids came home after curfew, they probably started punishing themselves.
Lynn G. Robbins

“BAD DOBBY! BAD!”

Look at that face. Freaks me out, man.

Yes. I love that J-dub story [from your mission]! (That’s they are called here.) Most missionaries try to avoid them, but not me.

UHUH NO WAY NO HOW.

They teach very contentiously (in my admittedly limited experience) and they make it really hard for us to talk to or even serve anyone, because they are more established here and have basically knocked on every door already. One missionary got a couple thrown in jail overnight for proselyting without legal permission – which we actually have.

I think that is really awful.

They aren’t allowed to talk to people here, but they try to talk to the missionaries because we will probably talk to them. I’m totally cool with that, because I’m gonna convert one of those guys. A few missionaries have said not to try, becuase there’s no point, and they are just trying to Bible bash.

I think the fear of Bible bashing has crippled missionary work. Scriptures are not and should never be used as a weapon against sincere belief and faith in Jesus Christ, however unfounded. The Jehovah’s Witnesses I’ve met with do that. But they should be recognized as one of the cornerstones of our religion, because they are the revelations of ancient prophets, many of which our written for our day.

I think of the story of Zeezrom – his whole goal was to undermine and ruin the missionary work of Alma and Amulek. But they taught by the Spirit, and as a result, Zeezrom was converted. That’s awesome. And that’s why I think you did exactly right in just sharing your testimony. That’s all you need, because it brings the Spirit. But if they try to say, as one did to me, that we do not follow or believe in the Bible, or more exactly their misguided translation, shoot. They’re asking for it. 🙂

So look up this talk by Jeffrey R. Holland, his first, written in 1983, about fathers and sons.

One of my personal favorites, because it reminds me of you. Oh and that tube [of your missionary posters]? I’ve hung that picture up in my room for years to always remember I’m going on a mission like you, took to college, took it on my mission, so I haven’t seen that tube in a while.

Anyway. I don’t have any time left, and I love you guys so much. Have an awesome week, and you should know that I basically attacked a 4 foot tall grass-and-vine patch with a little lawnmower and scissors this week – I call it service finding. Haha we’ll see if it works. I love you guys, sorry I had no time today for some reason.

Elder Greaves

To write to Elder Greaves, you can either send him an email at caleb.greaves@myldsmail.net or send him a letter to his current address listed on the “Contact Me” page. Emails are great because they get there right away. He only has an hour each week to be on the computer though. In that time, he needs to write an update to his mission president, read all the emails, and try to write back, so it’s very limited. Snail mail letters can be received by him every day through the mail and sometimes seem to give him needed support and encouragement. However you are comfortable and able to contact him is appreciated! Thanks for reading his blog!