elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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I feel kinda sleepy right now

February 2015 Mission Map

Before I forget, I meant to say it last week, but please wish Grandpa Gerald a happy birthday for me. And I can’t remember if Kyle’s is this week or next week. I think next week. But if it is this week, please
tell him happy birthday too.

A miracle happened this week. Mom and Dad, you were praying for it, maybe even fasted a little, and it finally happened . . .

I bought a camera. True story. Bought it at a pawn shop for 50 Euro.

Booyah.

This week has been really cool. Every Monday, we do service at an retirement home. It is way, way fun. So normally, that means we sweep and mop and clean windows. All the German ladies that work there were a little freaked out about us at first, but now they absolutely love us. They found out we are doing it on our day off, and they freaked out. Now every week, we sweep and mop for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, and then they feed us cake and tell us how great we are. It’s pretty great service. And this old lady saw us washing windows and asked if we would wash her windows in exchange for breakfast. Heck yeah!

The internet connection is super horrible right now, and another computer crashed already, so sorry this is so short.

Friday was a “fun” day. We woke up and took John to the hospital because he is getting surgery on his hand for this weird bump thing we call “Little John”. It was just a prep meeting, but we were there for hours. We got to see the solar eclipse through an x-ray sheet, so that was cool. Then we went home and had lunch. After that, we helped Schw. Mann with her move – with John. Then we walked back to the church and made popcorn and watched The Testaments with John, to celebrate him finishing the Book of Mormon. And we both made fun of Elder Riddle
getting trunky and wanting a wife during the romance parts.  So that was John-filled day.

Sunday, I came down from 2nd hour to go to Priesthood, and there was a nonmember in the chapel. Turns out, he was looking for the email info of the missionary that BAPTIZED him! He was baptized 13 years ago, but was never confirmed, which at this point probably means he would have to be re-baptized. He’s had a really hard life. He’s 32,
and already two of his children died. He said for years, he just hated God and everything else. Then one day, he woke up, and said “I can’t really describe it, but it was like Love, or Hope, or Joy, and it was weird but I didn’t hate anymore, I was just filled with love.” That was 2-3 months ago. he told God he would come to church on this day,
and he did. I’m excited to work with him. He looks pretty rough, and it sounds like he’s fallen really far, but I’ve already felt the Spirit confirm to me that he is honestly looking to come back, and he wants to change. We meet with him on Tuesday.

So I love you guys. I have no more time!

I love my mission!

Elder Greaves

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Harumpf

Hey that pergola thing sounds really cool! Your story about your bad joint teaches made me laugh, dad. I read the emails you write the same week. I’m just slow at responding! I kinda like getting emails, but letters are awesome too. Whatever you feel like. As for P-days, we have some time to go sight seeing, but I’ve seen about every square inch of Bernburg now. So today, all our free time was taken for Elder Riddle registering for classes at BYU. We still work for 2 hours on P-days, (normally after 6, but that’s when we do emails at a member’s house, so we work during the day) so we go and do work at a older person’s home for 2 hours. At first, they were all a little iffy about 2 JW’s cleaning the place, but now they feed us cake and tell us we are wonderful, so it’s a pretty cushy “service”. 🙂

This week has been… pretty yucky. But it got better. Sorry to spoil the ending, but keep that in mind.

Tuesday we didn’t find anyone, which always puts me in a bad mood. We had a lesson with Herr Mark, and taught him tithing.

He was really freaked out.

In fact, when we told him about it, he started to stand up, and said

“Well, that’s a shame. I really loved being here, learning more, but I can’t do that.”

That lesson was the most intense lesson of my mission. It was very spiritually charged. The whole time, we were working really hard to follow the Spirit exactly. At one point, we interrupted explaining tithing and its connection with faith to give him a Priesthood blessing. He said immediately afterwards:

“Ahh. I feel much more peaceful.”

He told us during that lesson that he knew it was all true. He recognized the Spirit and promised to pray about it. Next lesson, we reviewed the Plan of Salvation. He was still praying about tithing, but didn’t think he could afford it. On Saturday, we called him, and he told us he didn’t want to meet anymore, and he wouldn’t be coming to church. I haven’t ever heard from any missionary about someone that fell away so fast so close to baptism. It was really sad. 😦 Really hard. We hadn’t found anyone all week either, which was both unusual and unfortunate, because there was no one for us to be excited about.

Wednesday, I had a really bad headache and threw up, but I’m healed!

The Petro’s are moving back to Serbia. So I was a little grouchy come Saturday.

I was on exchange in Magdeburg, which was way fun. There are a ton of people there, and it was so much fun to serve in a big city for a day. While I was away, Elder Riddle and one of my good friends Elder Gallacher found a really cool 23-year-old. They taught him the next day and invited him to be baptized. He sounds awesome and I’m excited to meet him! Then on Sunday, by far the worst finding day of the week. We found two investigators. One is a petrolchemical engineer from India. The other is a 19-year-old from Albania who has lived here for 10 years. I’m super excited to meet with him too. I know that for those people, meeting with us is a life-changer. but in a small way, it was a blessing for us too. I really needed a little hope, a little growth. And it helped me. This week, I’ve really felt the blessing of prayer. Just in general, I’m amazed at the range of spiritual blessings the Lord will bless you with.

Something that has meant a lot to me is a personal plan I’ve made during my favorite hour of the day, personal study. A big focus in my mission is consecration, which means making yourself a better, more Christ-like missionary. But that is a mountain! I made a plan, and found this scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5.

16 Rejoice evermore.

17 Pray without ceasing.

18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

19 Quench not the Spirit.

20 Despise not prophesyings.

21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;

It’s a pretty simple plan. But it has brought a lot of ideas. This week, I’m really focusing on meekness. I think my two favorite parts of my mission is seeing growth and conversion in myself, and in others.

I love you guys so much. I love being a missionary. It is so fulfilling, and I’m excited to apply what I’ve learned here at home too. Have a good week!

Elder Greaves


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Pretty good week

15-03 ZTM L March 2015

Hey guys!

Last week was kind of a cliff hanger with the Petro’s. This week, we kinda found out what happened. We called again Tuesday, and again they didn’t answer, which meant Elder Riddle and I ran around the apartment covered in blankets moaning

“Theeyyy HHHHAHAAAAATTTTTEEEE usssss….. THEY HATE US! GRR!”

So we went by Wednesday, realllly scared.

And we rang, and they let us in.

Simple.

But they were kinda closed off. We have a great relationship with this family. They feed us lunch, we play with their kids and make funny faces at them when the parents aren’t looking. But they were kinda quiet. Pretty soon, it came out that his brother is a hardcore Jehovah’s Witness, and may have fed him a few half truths (in sincerity, but still). So we were able to answer a few questions.

Then they gave me heart attack, because they showed us these papers that said Bo Petro had to be deported. But then I was resuscitated when they explained that there was paperwork confusion when their newborn, Bo Jr., was born, and he was in Hamburg all weekend figuring that out.

Phew.

Then, right when we tried to set baptismal date: The sequel, they told us that they did have to go back to Serbia on March 17. BUMMER. I’ve just been trying to figure out if I should pray for them to stay or not. I believe they could stay if we told them to pray for it. But I don’t know if that is best for them. So anyway, we are at the very least trying to prepare them for an easy hand off. They can still get baptized.

Another exciting thing that happened is that we taught the lesson of chastity to 79 year old Herr Mark.

And brought a female joint teach.

Really STUPID decision.dumb

 

As a missionary, it’s pretty straightforward. I never have been embarrassed teaching this lesson. It’s all true. But you have to be specific. You gotta give them the details, draw the lines. So usually a lesson on chastity looks like this. Try not to blush, but it needs to be talked about!

The Lord gives us commandments to keep us happy.

The law of chastity:
1. Sex is for a man and a woman in the bonds of marriage. The rest of these are ways to respect that sacred relationship.
2. No adultery.
3. No homosexual relationships.
4. No pornography.
5. No masturbation.
6. Have clean thoughts.

Do that, and you will feel the Spirit more and have a stronger family. If you have problems, that’s why we have the Atonement.

Will you follow the law of Chastity?

Any questions?

It’s really not that bad. But man. I felt bad for the joint teach.

Anyway. We’ll fix that. He’ll still get baptized. 🙂

An Elder T. who served here 2.5 years ago came back to visit and followed us around for 6 hours. He might miss his mission a little. But I learned a lot from him. He is a really great guy. I was thinking about how much I’ve changed on my mission. I used to be so terrified of being alone with anyone, with having to make conversation by myself. But I talked to this guy I’ve never met before and didn’t know was coming for 6 hours and it was way fun. It was actually enjoyable. I didn’t think about being stressed until later. I realized that part of me that found it hard to talk to people is gone, at least for now. I really enjoy talking to people.

On Sunday, we had what I like to call SUUUUPER SUNDAY. We had 5 investigators at church! That was like 20% of the ward!

It was a real bummer though, because the 3 investigators who most needed to come to church didn’t. The Petro’s weren’t there

GGGRGRRRRRRGRGRGRGRGRGRRRRRRRRR. WHY DO THEY LIVE SO FAR AWAY????!!!

And also this african woman named Olee.  John gets people excited about baptisms, because he just so cool. Olee is really cool too, so we’ll be following up.

But at church, we had this Albanian family. I was in charge of helping their children, ages 4 and 2.

Oh man. I am scared to be a dad.

I did figure out that I could do the whole “don’t you dare be quiet and still. I would hate that.” And then crazy 4 year old Dav would do the opposite.

But the ward of course just loved the kids, even if they were wiggly. They were getting candy and toys and hugs and anything to keep them quiet. This older lady gave them super sour candy, which was the funniest thing ever. The mom and I were both in tears laughing as they would eat one, pucker up and get real quiet, and then reach for another one in hopes that that one was real candy this time. So cute.

But I was tired. I don’t know how the mom felt, and I can’t really imagine.

To finish off, I just want to let you know how much I LOVE missionary work. I love being on a mission, but I love the actual work part of it too. It’s like a hobby now. When I get home, I’m going to be a terror for the missionaries in my ward. I’ll be all up in their grills all the time. (WHAT’S YOUR TEACHING POOL? WHY HAVEN’T THEY COME TO CHURCH YET? HAVE YOU INVITED THEM TO BE BAPTIZED???? WHY AREN’T YOU FINDING MORE? LET’S GO STREET CONTACTING. I’M GOING TO EVERY JOINT TEACH. EVERY ONE. NO I DIDN’T ASK YOU WHAT YOU WANTED.) And on and on. But I really love it. The actual finding, the teaching, the awkward moments, the funny times, the strange people, it is all so great. I love serving the Lord, I love improving myself, and above all, I love seeing the change start happening in people, where they start to realize it’s all true, when they find it easier and easier to come to church, when they read their scriptures every day and understand more and more. I love it all. I’m so grateful for what my mission has done for me so far, and for what I’ve been able to see the Lord do through my companion and I for others. I love it.

Thank you for being so awesome.

Elder Greaves


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First Week of the Transfer

March 2015 Brother Schutze

Brd. and Schw. S. got called on an emergency mission to Finland, because he is like the only Sealer in the world who speaks fluent Russian, and because of Ukraine Russia conflict, Russian members are now going to the Helsinki Temple. He’s gone for 6 months. 😦

March 2015 Brother Markgraf

Brd. “Mark”, who is in the middle, and who is ancient, looks even ancienter than he really is in this picture. In the back is our Plan of Salvation drawing. On the right is Brd. Tee, our joint teach. Germans haven’t figured out that we can smile in pictures now because they don’t take 10 minutes to take anymore like in the 1800’s. Gotta love ’em.This is probably the only time I’ve ever seen Brd. Mark NOT smiling or saying “Yayayayayayayayaya.”

This week has been really really decent. Brd. Mark is really solid. He told some members on Sunday,

“I may be 79, but I know this is this place for me!”

He’s almost definitely going to make his baptismal date on March 21st. Plus I think he’s been flirting it up with the ladies at church, so that’s good.

The “Petro’s had a bad week. On Wednesdays they are the best family ever and I just love them. On the weekends, they’re flakier than the croissant I had for breakfast this morning. That is to say, very flaky. For the second time, a lesson fell out that we had brought a joint teach to. We called, and they said

“Oh! We’ll be there in 10.”

Twenty minutes later, we called and they said the same thing. Twenty minutes later, we went home. It just makes my stomach church thinking about it. They are so great. At least Bo knows this Gospel is true. They both accepted the Word of Wisdom no problem. We taught them the whole alcohol, tabacco, coffee, tea thing, and later he was talking about his friend, who he thinks is a bad influence. He said

“He smokes, he drinks, he gambles… he even drinks coffee. He just doesn’t know about this stuff.”

Never had someone accept coffee so easily. But then! The weekends!

Plus, they love us. We got Serbian food on Wednesday.

But the WEEKENDS.

We’ll have to push back their baptismal date, so we fasted for them Sunday, and when I pray about or anything, I feel really good about them, like there was some sort of misunderstanding, but at all other times, I’m pulling out clumps of hair. Pray for them, and I’ll get a picture of them Wednesday.

A few days ago, we found another family with 2 cute kids, again from a strange, (in my mind) unpopulated country. But this time, the father doesn’t speak English.

We just found a family from Albania, here on Asylum because the father got in trouble with the Mafia. They are pretty cool, and he even came to church, but we have no common language. It will be interesting to say the least.

This morning, I read a talk by Elder Bednar called “Becoming a Preach My Gospel” Missionary. One thing really hit me, and I’m going to work on it.

He said, any time we try to manipulate an investigator or anyone into accepting the message, we are taking away their agency, and we need to repent. I haven’t tried to trick anyone or anything, but I think at times, I’ve lost sight of the fact that the real teacher is the Spirit, and my job is just to get the Spirit there.

Sometimes, I feel like I try to hard to artfully word a concept or something to make it more pretty or palatable (never changing doctrine, but still). But we read in the Book of Mormon that we should preach nothing but faith and repentance, and sometimes I’m afraid to preach the repentance part. It can be a little harsh. But that is exactly why I’m here. I say every day that we want to bring people closer to Christ, and that is only through repentance. In fact, that is the definition of repentance. So look for an update next week about how that is going. It’s kind of like being bolder, but more like getting out of the way to let the Atonement and the Spirit do the work.

Anyway, I love you guys. I hope you have a great week!

Elder Greaves