elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Subject line. (haha)

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Hey guys! This week has been great! Bernburg is back up and running! We knew we needed to put the rubber to the road and pedal to the metal, really burn rubber and change gears. We knew were drifting out a little, but we are steered in the right direction. I’m out of puns for now. I’ve watched too much Top Gear, and words such as “oversteer” and “downdraft” are the only things coming to mind.

Top Gear

Really, there isn’t a ton of exciting things to talk about this week. I mean, it was fantastic week, but all pretty straightforward. Biggest things: Elder Pilling left. I miss him, and the ward misses him more. He had a lot of energy. Elder Riddle came! Before you even ask, yes, his brother is actually named Tom. No joke.

tom riddle

He is really great. We get along really well. He is 16 months out on his mission, so he is super old. 🙂 I’m excited to work with him. He likes ballroom dance, (He has a very good chance of making it on the tour team of BYU, the best team hands down in the world, when he gets back.) He is lots of fun to talk to, and loves to work hard! And he loves his email time! He almost throttled me when we took a wrong turn to get here! Other than that though, he’s great.

For some reason, there is just nothing to talk about this week. It was a great week, but just pretty straightforward. We talked to everyone, and some of them were interested.

There was one cool thing that happened today. We had an appointment with someone named Prinshu. We found him a few days ago. He clearly barely spoke any German or English, but immediately gave us his address and set up an appointment. We have no idea why. We actually didn’t even count him as a new investigator since we thought for sure the appointment would fall out. When we came there, Sure enough, a few ladies answered. He was in the shower, but they let us in this small apartment complex (very cheap) to wait. We got to know his wife a little, who told us that she recently converted to Christianity. She was so awesome! She is in Germany for asylum, because she married her husband, an orphan, in a very strict Caste system in India. And broke off an arranged marriage. Her family was not at all pleased. She speaks 12 languages! We taught them a little about the Book of Mormon, but then we had to go. They asked for a very specific return app, this Thursday at 3, because it is the only time all of their Indian friends in this house are free. So we kinda got like 15 referrals maybe. We may have to start a Hindi branch soon! 🙂

They also asked us to pray for a sick baby of her sister, and we actually gave him a blessing of healing. He had heart problems, and was going to the doctor. I did the blessing (After Elder Riddle and I were like “no you do it. No YOU do it” because SCARY!). I blessed him to be healed and grow up happy and strong. Just like that. Not normally how blessing for the sick go, but that’s what happened. I know priesthood is real, and God is real, and he wants to bless us.

I’ll copy what I sent to Rhonda below. And her email so you know what is going on. I love you all!

From Rhonda to me:

I probably missed your email day, but my SundaySchool lesson is about helping others know who the Godhead is. And, I would really like to be able to share with the class some of the beliefs of people around the world. If you get this and have some time, can you please share with me any experiences with teaching about who Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are?

Thanks so much!

From Me to Rhonda:

I’ll do my best! Today actually, we had a lesson with a woman from India. She was Hindu, but recently converted to Christianity. We taught her about prayer, and she said it was still strange for her to imagine talking to God, because that is super against Hindu belief. But she really liked the idea that God is our Father, and was excited to talk with him and share what was in her heart.

About 2 weeks ago, we taught a girl from China (athiest), and she said what I think was her first ever prayer with us. She told us she “didn’t believe in God – yet!” But she said her prayer and asked for hope and peace and got a good feeling. She wanted to know if there was really a creator out there.

Then I’ve taught a lot of Muslims. They will tell you over and over that we all believe in the same God, which is true. The Jews split with Jesus to become Christians, and Christians split with Muhammad to become Muslims. (Of course, most traditional Muslims were converted from tribalism and paganism in North Africa). But we all believe in God, and to some extent, we all believe in Christ.

With the few Jews I met, they all agreed that Christ was a good person. Of course a central tenant of Christianity is that he was literally the Son of God. And Muslims will say this exact phrase a lot: “If a Muslim were to tell you they didn’t believe in Christ, they would not be Muslim!” They believe that God is all powerful, all knowing, and impossible for a mortal to imagine. Without boundaries or end or form, just kinda… godcloud. Or something. But they believe Christ to be a prophet who will come again and save them from the Apocalypse. They say he didn’t die, but that one of the soldiers (or Judas, depending on the branch of Islam) was transformed to look like Jesus and was crucified, and God took Jesus into Heaven.

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe, of course, that Heavenly Father is Jehovah, and that Christ comes again to lead the way for God. They’re weird. Sadly, we see a lot in Germany that people are either Athiest or not a part of any church but at least believe in a God, or maybe worst of all, are “religious” but have no idea what they believe about Christ.

We ask people who say they are Lutheran or Catholic especially, what they believe about Christ, and they almost always say they are baptized, or they go to church every Sunday, or they have read the Bible before. So we ask them again, “But what do you believe about Christ? Who is He for you?” And they have no idea what to say. Some of them say something about how he is the Son of God, or how he was resurrected, but not one has ever talked about the Atonement in any way, shape, or form. It is sad to see a complete misunderstanding, even ignorance, of what Joseph Smith would say is the most important doctrine we have.

The biggest points we emphasize with everyone are that God is literally our Father, and as such, he loves us and wants us to be like him (exalted, a perfect body), and assigned Christ, our brother who volunteered, to suffer and die for us to be able to just that. And of course, we try to get people to recognize the Holy Ghost, because his main job is testify of God and the Savior. We can do all that thorugh the Book of Mormon, which was written and given to us not only as a testiment of the Restoration, but more importantly, of Christ as our Savior and Redeemer. (See intro to Book of Mormon, last paragraph). Hope that helped!

Love you all!

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