elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

And the craziness continues!

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So this week, as you may have guessed from the pattern Elder Garrett and I have set, was insane. Again.

Upper left is Elder Greaves with his Hamburg District.  To his right is his companion, Elder Garrett.  They do look a bit alike!

Upper left is Elder Greaves with his Hamburg District. To his right is his companion, Elder Garrett. They do look a bit alike!

Of course, I’m running out of time, but here goes.

This week we did an exchange with the zone leaders. I went with Elder W. to Hamburg. I actually learned a lot from the exchange, but I really wasn’t with Elder W. that much. We got back to Hamburg, did a little street finding on the way back to the apartment, then had lunch, companionship study, etc. Then the other companionship, Elder G. and Elder H., had a basketball activity planned with some potential-ish investigators. Elder W. and I had planned to try this new dooring technique with the Plan of Salvation pamphlets, but Elder G. felt too sick for basketball, and Elder H. needed someone to play. Elder W. offered to let me play, but I was too excited to go finding in Hamburg (best finding in the world, and I really hate basketball anyway), so Elder G. and I went and did that until 9. OH MAN IT WAS SO FUN.

Those Hamburg Elders have it soft, people.

Both of us were new, and sometimes we couldn’t even understand people. For example, this one man spoke really fast with a really thick Italian accent, and he had to catch a train, so we just walked with him. Neither one of us had any idea what he was saying, but were still able to make him into a contact! That’s ridiculous. We made 7 or so contacts, since no one wanted to make appointments right then, but I think maybe a 4 of them could actually turn into investigators. So great! It was awesome to be with another Elder who spoke “new” German, because we had no choice but be absolutely fearless. It was a great learning experience, but I do wish I had time to at least teach a little with Elder W., because he seemed really awesome. Maybe next time. He’s a good example of someone that’s obedient and helps others be obedient and work harder without being overbearing. He shows that it’s possible to have a lot of fun on your mission if you stick to the standards and work as hard as you can. He’s a super cool guy. He was converted a year before his mission by his girlfriend, who later dear johned him. Welcome to Mormondom, Elder W.! 🙂

Dear John comic

In Schwarzenbek, we met with Franz, a man we found while buying chicken after we found no one in 4 hours of straight finding. He has read in the BOM we gave him and believes in the Restoration story. Its awesome, except that we were talking about all this in between customers at his chicken truck. So that was pretty crazy. We’ll get his address next week. Definitely a weird situation to be in, since he is making appointments and progressing, but we still don’t have his address. That’s not a problem we usually have, but we just felt pretty strongly it wasn’t the right time yet.

After that, we stopped by on a contact that Elder N. (Other zone leader, also my hero) made with Elder Garrett the day before. He was just a cool Italian man who said the classic “I’ve got no time now, maybe try tomorrow” line. He let us in and talked for the first half hour about how he wasn’t religious. We asked him if he ever prayed before. He said he never really had. Then we told him how we pray, and he was like,

“Oh. I do that all the time! I just get on my knees and talk to God like he’s my Father!”

So far so good!

Then I asked him if he had ever received an answer. He said no, which was pretty awkward, but we kept talking about how he could, what the Holy Ghost felt like, etc., at which point he said,

“Wait! The night before you knocked on my door, I had a dream that I was talking to two long-dead friends from Italy, who said they heard a knock. They asked me to go answer it, because there were two people there who only spoke German.”

He said he had stayed up all night thinking about it. “Now that I think about it, that was an answer from God.”

Wow. Talk about awesome.

In Lüneburg, We finally organized the area book of the sisters, and started going through all the contacts. We met Ama, who has read in the BOM and believes it is all true, and is really excited to be baptized by the Spirit. After he finishes his Master’s degree in 2 weeks, he’s headed back to Ethiopia to be a professor, so he won’t be baptized here, but I hope the missionaries there get in touch. We’ve passed along all of his info, and we have his email so we can stay in touch as well.

We also met with Kai, a Muslim. We need to find out about the whole moving back to Pakistan thing before we teach him to baptism, but he is super cool. He’s the first Muslim I ever really talked to about faith, and, in at least the branch of Islam he practices, he’s closer to the truth than most Christians. Every problem he had with Christianity, we don’t have.

He was like “Why all the crosses?”,”I think Christ is still alive and will come again”, “I believe in prophets after Christ” etc.

Just goes to show that Mohammad really was more of a reformer. He wasn’t a prophet, but he was kind of like Martin Luther. It was fascinating.

Then we were finally able to meet with Ross, a media referral that we received 8 weeks ago. All of his info was wrong, but then I found out you can also get their email address, so I just shot him a quick email. He answered and we met with him. He has read in the BOM online, believes it’s true, and knows the entire Restoration story, down to gold plates, angel Moroni, everything. He is so awesome, and so, so, so, nice. He works with handicapped people, and kind of reminds me of Daniel. He wasn’t able to go to church this week because his grandma was sick, but he is excited to come next week. I think he will be the next baptismal date we set, maybe even this week!

Saturday, we received a referral that lives south of Salzwedel, which is to say, 2 hours from any LDS church in Germany. He literally could not live in a worse place to receive the gospel, but dadgum it he wants a BOM and if he answers his email, we’ll give it to him! I think I have a magic touch for media referrals. Elder Garrett has recieved one his whole mission, except for this one. This is my sixth. *shrug*

Sunday, of course, was amazing. We had a baptism, which was very smooth. Our new WML might have scared her to death, telling her all these things she had to do (tuck your dress between your knees, put hands here, plug your nose, bend at the knees, THE KNEES!, hold your breath, breathe deeply, don’t lock your knees, don’t lift your feet, on and on, til we were practically all hyperventilating.) She did have to be baptized twice, because her hand was above water, but whatevs. She’s clean now! She was super happy and gave us big hugs, and the missionary that started it all was on Skype watching from home in America, (with President’s permission) so that was awesome. and the ward was surprised to find that we had taken care fo everything. Like, they had nothing to do. Dee was very happy, and I hope it will be the first of many here in these next few months. THEN, DRUM ROLLLLLLLL……………….

The Piano Guys came and visited.

the piano guys

Yup. Me and 30 other missionaries in the surrounding area got to talk to them and hear them play, and had a bumpin’ testimony meeting. It was sweet. So those pictures will be on the mission blog soon. Hope you can see me! They were all really great people, and were clearly well practiced at giving quick spiritual thoughts. All very very very different. I’m almost amazed they are actually friends. The piano player is very serious, and Steve, the cello guy, is very jokey and funny and talkey. The other 2 (started it together, film guy and piano store owner) were just as awesome.

Anyway, I’ve now sung backup for the Piano Guys and danced back up for Alex Boye, so just let me know if there are any other Mormon idols that I should perform with, and I’ll get right on it. 🙂

Love you guys so much. You all are awesome. Especially my family. Love and miss you!

Oh, real quick, we are going to celebrate thanksgiving next week (is it third thursday or second to last thursday?). Send us some quick recipes for pie crust or stuffing? No big deal either way.

Love, Elder Greaves

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