elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Baptism!

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First off, tell the ward thanks for all the awesome Christmas cards! Thank them for thinking of me! I saved them all.

So this last month here in Bernburg has been AN ABSOLUTE TRAIN WRECK.

And by that I mean we actually literally got in a train wreck a few weeks ago, but other than that, I mean John got baptized, we are finding a ton of people, and a lot of investigators are progressing. The train wreck hasn’t affected us, other than that they DID have to amputate my foot. And my right arm. I hated that thing anyway, though.train wreckThe parts about the train wreck and the baptism and the finding? Those were all true.

So I finally figured out how to use this newfangled technology, and I put 2 pictures and a few videos in the box of dropping. [Dropbox :)] The videos were taken right after John’s baptism. He is so awesome, and so is the ward. All the little old ladies came up afterwards and gave him little gifts and big hugs and talked to him in German even though he can’t understand a lick of what they were saying.

Short summary: Took him there. I had to translate the first talk on baptism for him, which was really stressful because all the English speaking Germans were watching me very closely, and the speaker would stop if I fell behind. But it was definitely the best translating I have ever done. I was able to communicate basically everything, which was cool for John. But I was absolutely pooped. Then he was baptized, smooth as butter, by Elder P. He is very reserved, so you don’t hear him talk much, but he came out of the water and was like “WOW” It was funny. Then we took the videos while Bruder Schütze told the ward about how awesome the church is in Nigeria (actually better than in Germany), which was good because I guess most of the ward had no idea that the church was even in Africa at all. Then we had the second talk in English, and then we had the closing song.
John took the time to say a silent prayer of thanks, and we followed suit. This big tough man who grew up on the streets, who begged for money for 3 years in Morocco to get to Germany, started to cry a little bit. I wasn’t sure if he was, because man was he trying to hide it, but then he turned to me and sheepishly asked if I had a tissue. So cool. Then we took a ton of pictures. John hates pictures. Well he doesn’t mind them, but he can’t smile for long periods of time. Really weird, but that’s why he isn’t smiling in some of them. Then we went to the G. family’s house for a little dinner, and they asked John to tell us a little about him. So he told his entire life story in 10 minutes. It was so silent in that room.
He is a twin. The second twin. His mom couldn’t afford that, so they decided to sell him (I have no idea to what.) Last second, they decided he was a gift from God, and that is what he was named. (His African name means Gift of God, Son of a King). And they kept him.
Kind of. They still couldn’t afford him, so he was forced to live on the streets. No food, no money, no school. He decided to go to Europe to help his family, which means going through Morocco. There, it’s just a huge mess. Drugs and prostitution are rampant. He spent three years begging there, and finally he got on a boat to Spain, where he had to decide between going to Switzerland, where he could make easy money selling drugs, or to Germany. He fasted and prayed for 2 days, and decided he needed to come to Germany, and that he wanted nothing to do with drugs. And then we met him 1-2 months later. His family is 5 minutes from a branch in Nigeria, and he said he saw missionaries all the time, but was never interested in talking with them. By the end of this story, a few were in tears. They honestly love him now. They’ve felt his desire to come closer to God, and have seen that he is a very serious, responsible person. I’m so grateful for him, and for this ward.

The rest of the week has been really great, too. We found a ton of people, almost all Germans, which is great. One of them was actually a pretty amazing story. We had almost walked past him without talking to him, because we were on train tracks, but last second we turned and talked a little about the Book of Mormon. He got really happy, and after a few minutes, he said we were sent to him from God. Turns out, this Iranian guy came here from Switzerland, where he spent 6 months going to our church and being taught by the missionaries. He even had a baptismal date. He moved here because he just ran out of time on his papers. Multiple people told him there was no Mormon church in Germany. He started meeting with some people from the Evangelisch church, determined to still be baptized. One day they saw his Book of Mormon on the table in his apartment. Sie haben ausgeflippt. (They flipped out). They took it and even tried to exorcise the devil from him, because of the Book of Mormon.

And then he found us!
Pretty crazy, but we committed him to baptism on the street. Then we found out that he lives 3 doors down from John! We got to take John on a joint teach (not really, he wasn’t yet a member) the next day. It went well. He has an extremely strong love for Jesus Christ. We set a baptismal date with him.The plan was for him to come to church the next day with John, and then to John’s baptism that evening. He was really excited. The next day, John came to church alone. Sam apparently was not yet ready. We were a little bummed, but we thought he would still come to the baptism. He didn’t. John told us that Sam said he read in the Book of Mormon that 1 woman can have 5 husbands. Yes, absolutely nothing in that sentence is true. We hope we can clarify that, and it seems that things may not be as smooth as we hoped, but only time will tell.

Alot of our investigators come into town this week, so we are excited for that. Elder P. is starting to get nervous about transfer calls on Saturday, because this place is rockin’ now. 🙂  At the beginning of this transfer we had a teaching pool of 4.  Now it is 24.  This area is on fire, along with the rest of the district.

We also have mission tour, so we get to see President Kosak on Friday. That’s always great. With such a huge mission, we don’t have much of a chance to talk to him.

This week, something I have learned is the power of obedience. There is a special power that comes into your life when you can say you are giving 100% obedience everything you’ve got. Especially on a mission. The Spirit is with you all day long. I know it is the uncool thing to just obey right away, but when it comes to the Gospel, I think the best mentality is “Obey first, ask questions later”.

I can tell you that it has brought new confidence and new miracles in my life.
I wasn’t disobedient. But sometimes, it is good to just rededicate yourself.

I love you guys a lot. Thanks for being awesome. Your prayers really help me. Have a greeaat week!John pic 1 John pic 2

Elder Greaves

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