elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Can’t think of a title . . .

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One baptism down, the rest of Germany to go! (Including her husband . . . :)

One baptism down, the rest of Germany to go! (Including her husband . . . 🙂

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Hey guys!

This week was… hard, but still great. We have been making tons of progress, and this week we still did, it was just a few less tons than we wanted. Not really anyone’s fault, it’s just this week Elder Garrett (district leader) had to focus on the other area a little. The sisters were home all week sick, and the elders are just having a rough time. But we were still able to find some great people.

This transfer has just flown by because it’s been so crazy (I swear it’s the area. Elder Garrett says he’s never been so tired, and we went on exchanges, and Elder L. (going home in 2 transfers) says it’s the craziest one he’s ever been out on.) Next Saturday (and by that I mean this Saturday, DAD!) I find out if I’m being transferred or not.

Two days ago, I was okay with either way. I trust Elder Garrett to do everything the same way I would anyway, so he could stay. 😉 He, on the other hand, has been trying to figure out ways to convince President Kosak to leave me here for another transfer (“If he’s smart and wants baptisms…” says Elder Garrett). But now, I think I can learn more here! We have been trying to figure out how to consistently get referrals from the ward, since we have practiced and learned how to find, how to teach, and everything else, but no one we ever asked had any idea how to consistently get referrals. But I think this is the best place to figure it out! Anyway. Hope I stay, okay if I go.

The crazy situation I will share this week is we got a call on Saturday WAIT PAUSE ELDER GARRETT JUST REMINDED ME OF CRAZY SITUATION NUMBER TWO. Two crazy situations.

Impossibly difficult situation number 1:

On Saturday, we got a call from the Bergedorf Elders. There was a call on their church answering machine that said a lady named A.S. really wanted to come to church really, really bad. They were so excited! Until they learned she lived in Lauenburg. Then they were kinda angry. 🙂 But we got a referral from them, so we stopped by that day. This old lady had a very confusing conversation with us at the door, in which we were trying to tell her she called us about coming to church, and she was telling us that couldn’t be right. Turns out, she couldn’t understand Elder Garrett at ALL (Suuuper thick accent), and she could only understand me of I spoke reeeeaaalllllyyyy slowly and rolled my r’s. Seriously. One time, we tried saying the German word for God, which is “Gott”, pronounced like, you guessed it, “God”. She had no idea what we were talking about. She was like, I’ve never heard that word before. After repeating ourselves for about 2 minutes, she finally said, “OH, GOTT!” So yeah. It was rough. but anyway. She was an inactive member of some church for 50 years, and she wanted to come back, but couldn’t find one. Important piece of info: She lived in East Germany when she went inactive, so she had never seen our church as it is now. The church there, then, did not have the fullness of the Gospel, and was very much persecuted.

Facts she told us about this church that could mean it was a different church:
– It was called (in German of course) The office of apostles of Jesus Christ.
– She had a hymnbook with this church name on it that was her mother’s.
– This hymnbook had a cross on the cover.
– She did not recognize us as missionaries (but East Germany never had missionaries)
– She had never heard of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
– No other German who we have asked has heard of this church.
– She had a badly translated (from English) modern letter from this “Apostlesamt Jesu Christi”.
– She is not on any records we could find.

Facts that made it seem like it had to be our church, right?
– This church had 12 apostles.
– It was restored in 1830.
– It is around the world.
– She said “really, all churches are offshoots of us”
– When she thought we were a different church, she tried converting us (MORMON STYLE)
– She believed the church should bear the name of Christ.
– She thought all wards usually meet in small rooms and houses (True in East Germany, and still true today in many places here)

So we have no idea if we are lying to this lady about this being her church or not. Funnily enough, she came to our church with her little letter and hymnbook a week ago, and members were like “No, this isn’t your church.” HA. They will be teased for that if this 70-year-old widow is a member. But like, if the church has no records of her, do we still baptize her? WHAT DO WE DO? We told our members, other missionaries, and even our mission president, and everyone is just like, hmmm. Sure hope you figure that one out. So we are on the hunt.

Strange and miraculous experience number 2:

A week or so ago, we received ANOTHER media referral (that makes 6 or 7 for me, which I think is like a super power or something because I’ve never even heard of anyone else recieving them here, not in my area, not outside.) We have the largest area in the mission (takes me two and a half hours driving at GERMAN SPEEDS to get to the bottom), and our biggest fear came true when this guy was from a little tiny dorf south of Salzwedel. So he is 2.5 hours away. So I shot him an email (Missionaries don’t email investigators enough. Tell your friends. Tell everyone. Everyone should email investigators. They are so comfortable writing testimonies to you and asking questions.). And sadly, he is SO AWESOME. He loves the Mormon culture, families, and the COMMANDMENTS. No joke. He’s like,

“I looked up all your commandments. I’m already keeping most of them. I want to keep all of them. Also, I’m taking vacation time to drive to church in 2 weeks. So, like, teach me there. And everything.”

Except he sounded a little bit more refined and less like me.

And it was in German.

So we told the ward, and everyone is freaking out. They are so excited. Some asked if they could take pictures, since no one has ever even heard of someone coming out that far. But anyway, we had ward mission conference this week, which was so much fun, because then it was just us sharing all the crazy miracles (having investigators kinda count as miracles, honestly) and we just blew their minds. It was like a magic show.

I love you all so much, thanks for how awesome you are. Mom, thank you so much for putting me in contact with the branch president [from Ethiopia!] Thank her for me! Also, I’m trying to send my Christmas package but it is not done yet. I didn’t forget, it is just taking a long time. If it is late, I’m so sorry.

Thanks for all you do! Have a great Thanksgiving.

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