elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Wow! 6 months!

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I forgot to tell you guys that Thursday of last week was my 6 month mark, but I guess you figured it out!

I probably don’t even have to say this anymore, but I don’t have much time, because today’s not even technically P-day. We are just supposed to write our families and President today. Which is usually like all I do anyway. I’m just not writing Elder Garrett and Hanna today.

Speaking of writing, I want Glendene Wilson’s email. This Sunday I was translating for John, and I was focusing on other things, trying to figure out what to do for the Christmas devotional broadcast we were watching in German for Sacrament, the names of members around me, etc., and just distracted and thinking a lot. And without even thinking about it, I was able to tell John the Sacrament prayers in English without thinking about it.  I didn’t think about the significance of that til a few minutes later when I realized that although it wasn’t his first time at church, it was his first time taking the Sacrament, and it was a big deal for him. And I remembered Sister Wilson telling me how she knew that me saying the prayers for here every week would somehow serve me later in life. I just wanted to let her know.

I’ll talk more about him later.

So those German postal workers told me my package should arrive before or on Christmas Eve, and they better because I sent some good stuff and I want them to be there for Christmas. But make sure Sawyer has checked his email; I left special instructions for him.

I’ll Skype at 5 o’clock PM on Christmas day at a member’s house. I think that should be 9 AM for you. Just a forewarning, President Kosak made a rule that Skype calls have to be 30-40 minutes, which makes me pretty darn sad.

So, about this miracle named John. I’ll list some cool things that happened with him, and I’ll tell the rest during Skype.

  • Invited himself to be baptized 5 minutes into the first lesson.
  • Came to the church for a church tour before Sunday. He got a call, and his friend asked where he was. He replied – and we had never said anything about this – “Oh hey, I’m in the House of the Lord.”
  • When he prays, he usually says something along the lines of – and remember, he’s from Africa – “Oh God, Lord uh Lords, King uh Kings, bless this day, bless this hour, I need your strength Lord, your almighty strength. We worship you” and then starts talking about how he’s so grateful to know God better now and Elder Pilling and I just open our eyes and mouth “wow”.

He’s a stud, we love him. Elder Pilling might actually romantically love him, I’m not sure yet. (haha!)

But now to… this week…. meh…

This week was just absolutely no fun at all. I didn’t like it.The first two weeks, I felt like I gave it my all, and I was constantly exhausted and constantly happy and we were constantly successful. Bernburg exploded. It was exciting. But we were sooo tired. And this week, we worked as usual, talking to everyone, not wasting time anywhere, but we found only 1 person. (As opposed to the 18 of the last 2 weeks). I was not at all happy with that, but we knew we hadn’t wasted any time. In fact, the only thing that really changed is we learned how to teach together better. But I also noticed I wasn’t as tired. I think what happened was I saw that I had 4 weeks still in the transfer, and I looked at how tired I was, I thought there was no way I was ever going to make it. So minutely, imperceptibly, and ever-so-faintly, I slowed down. Just a bit. Just to make sure I would finish the race, so to speak. Most missionaries have the goal of giving 100% their entire missions. And for me, I think I was afraid that if I gave 110% for too long, I wouldn’t even be able to give 100% later on. But that, that is completely faithless – presumptuously prideful. To think even for a second that the Lord would let me drop, let the work slow, because I was working TOO hard? Absolutely ridiculous. To consider even for a moment that it was my efforts making ANYTHING happen, that were putting prepared people in our path, that were causing investigators to know the Book of Mormon was true, that were leading Elder Pilling and me to say what needed to be said, to think that was directly because I was working hard is to completely ignore the hand of Lord.

So the hand of the Lord needed to slap me across the face.

Proverbially, because that would be pretty brutal literally.

So I can now give my testimony that it is when you give everything you have, regardless of whether you’re skills are measured by the teaspoon or a tonne (metric), that the Lord fills you to overflowing with blessings. I mean, statistically, for how hard we worked, and for how many people we talked to, and for how much success we had had with similar efforts, we should have done a lot better this week. But it has nothing to do with me, or Elder Pilling, or any missionary. It is really how worthy we are of divine deliverance.

And I know the Lord will send all you can handle your way, when you are humble enough and heartfelt enough to receive it.

Elder Greaves

See ya Thursday!

THE FOLLOWING IS A CHRISTMAS LETTER FROM PRESIDENT AND SISTER KOSAK

2014 Christmas President and Sister Kosak

Merry Christmas to Missionaries in the field, waiting in MTC, and still back home. Merry Christmas to all parents and grandparents!

Dear Missionaries,

What is Christmas about? There have been many great and wonderful people, even religious teachers who have taught men how to live, but there has been but ONE Messiah, ONE Christ, the ONE Annointed, even Jesus Christ.
I testify of Him, Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the only begotten of the Father in the flesh. He is the Savior, the Messiah. He made the Atonement for our sins and opened the Resurrection.

This is what Christmas is about.

Those of us who know the plan of happiness, know what Christmas really is all about!
When we were children we were more “Believing is Seeing”. Then, unfortunately, we leave often the Christmas of childhood disillusioned. It is easy thereafter to feel that “Seeing is believing.”
When we’re fixed on that, we do not have the hope of ever again finding Christmas as it once was and as it ought to be, because it works the other way around: “Believing is seeing.”
See in Moroni 7:41-48.

President Boyd K. Packer taught, “If you would see what you get in exchange for giving up the childish illusion of Christmas, you could look forward to the greatest of all discoveries. No matter what your age, you can find and can keep that “little-kid” feeling about Christmas.”

(Hence, we don’t need toys in the mission field – we’re disciples and find joy in helping others to come unto Christ and in sports and in Germany chocolate :))

Therefore I would like to suggest that we all read the Christmas story in the second chapter of Luke EVERY DAY this WEEK. It will take a minute and a half to read. It might take a minute more to ponder on it – but FIND YOURSELF IN THE STORY as Angels who proclaim, as Shepherds who take care, as Wise Men who seek after the true meaning of happiness, as Sheep who follow the Master, as … FIND YOURSELF.

The Christmas story does not end there. It is only the beginning. With Christmas and because of it we have Easter. When we, as adults, accept a new status as children of our God, our Father, we may humble ourselves and believe again and in so doing begin to see that in exchange for the fanciful poetry of The Night Before Christmas comes the miracle of the first Christmas that grows in every season.

The whole account—from Bethlehem to Calvary—is the Christmas story, and it takes simple, childlike faith to find that out.
Missionaries, use your time wisely. Show it to investigators and members whose errand you’re.
If there is no finding time, WATCH the “Work of Salvation” DVD you have in your apartment, PREPARE your “My Family” pamphlet for further usage in finding and teaching, MASTER scriptures we want in the mission, etc.
This is a time of preparation, this is a time of listening and teaching, this is a time in CRESCENDO.

We love you and wish you a Merry Christmas!! He is the Gift!

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