elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

(Two emails for the price of one!)

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This week was a blessing in some ways. We started finding again, basically right after I figured out why it stopped. I really have been confused for the last few weeks because I had no idea why it had all of a sudden gotten difficult to find. It was incredibly frustrating to deal with such a problem of working hard with skill and faith and not finding anyone right as soon as I started training. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

I am strongly convinced that as long as you are using the right techniques and are obedient and diligent and faithful, it is literally impossible not to find. The Lord naturally wants us to succeed, so we will. That is what has made these last few weeks so irritating.

But I have figured it out.

I think the Lord needed to test me a little more. I realized that basically all of my faith was based on the fact that I knew I would have success. And that is true, but you have to trust in the Lord, even when things aren’t going right.

Not only that, but I pray almost every night to find out what I can do better, and I was starting to run out of big things to improve on – I was getting comfortable. So the Lord needed to mix things up. He needed to keep me on my toes, keep me antsy and uncomfortable. And it totally worked.

During this time, I really rededicated myself to the work. I grew. I learned. I was frustrated and had to re-trust in the Lord.

I’ve always said that I’ve learned the most from trials, and here is just another. Now this is not to say that when someone isn’t having success it’s just a trial and they need to be patient. Quite the opposite. If success isn’t happening, there is a reason, because the Lord can do all things.

So it’s a trial, or you aren’t doing enough.

If you aren’t getting better, trying new things, getting more faith and figuring out what is wrong, then it’s you.

And I think as soon as you realize this is a trial to endure, and keep moving forward, the Lord can bless you again, because you have learned your lesson. Your resolve has deepened, your humility has been cleansed. You know without a doubt that, as it says in Job, the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, and you really have nothing to do with the success, no matter how great you are, or how good looking you may be. (Side note, just got a haircut. Coincidence? I think NOT.)

So the next crucible is the fallen-out-appointments gauntlet we have been running through lately. Hopefully that will be over with soon, and we can just get back to work. I’ve been panicking lately because this transfer has been going so quickly, and I feel like not enough work has been done this transfer to set us up for a baptizing second transfer. And then I remember that this one is only 5 weeks and I calm down.  I’ve never done this before, but I would LOVE to stay here another transfer after training Elder Allen. He doesn’t need that, but I would be so grateful. I pray for it all the time, as long as it is the will of God, of course, but I really want to harvest here, and I am not even close to done. Anyway.

Since being on a mission and being cut off from all forms of studying and learning and Google, all of my procrastination and lameness and boredom has been completely swept away. I can’t WAIT to start learning again.

I’m gonna read every classic book, watch every classic movie, and play every classic game. I will memorize Wikipedia and treat Google like the holy shrine of knowledge it has the potential to be. I’m gonna paint and sculpt and invent and make my own equations and write my own books. I want to bring myself to such a level of activity that those around me don’t see anything but a tornado, a kind of smudge moving along the landscape, radiating with awesomeness.

Oh my gosh, I miss learning so much, I can’t stand it.

On the other hand, you obviously have a ridiculously long time to study the scriptures, and I have been so excited to discover that Yes, the Gospel is true, and Yes, I don’t know everything about it.

Like, deep doctrine is terrible. As far as I’m concerned, there is no reason to study Kolob or its appendages, excluding boredom.

But did you know, the Bible is actually a thing? Believe it or not, there is some real doctrine in that first half of my quad. Blew my mind.

Nobutseriously, I’ve been amazed and the breadth of doctrine contained in the Bible. Without critiquing or in any way losing respect for the Book of Mormon, it has been so exciting to see such awesome amounts of support this restored Gospel has in the first book of our canon. Things like apostasy, restoration, degrees of glory, exaltation and deification, temple work, priesthood authority, the original organization of the church, and more – it’s all in there. And it would be IMPOSSIBLE to put all together by myself. By studying the Bible through the lens of the Restoration, muddled, confusing, ambiguous scriptures Bible scholars have dubbed outliers for centuries suddenly unfold into clear, simple doctrine. It is evident that the Bible is not in its purest form, but that God really did preserve this record to bear testimony of Christ and his Church.

Last time we taught J, we were able to clarify that it’s not that Joseph Smith just pulled together all of the scriptures from the weirdest parts of the Bible to make some conspiracy theory, but that a simple, unlearned boy was tutored by angels, saints and the Christ himself, and only through the link of direct revelation can we truly be connected with our Father in Heaven. The scriptures are printed proof of revelation, answers to thousands of prayers. They are not, and should never be, the narrow wedge of our human understanding, in which we stuff God, his works and creations, and all possible truth.

To say such a thing is to deny the infinite wisdom of God, to put limits or boundaries im what he would give his children! He will give when we ask, and He will answer when we knock. I know it, I know it, I know it!

scriptures meme

Elder Allen is doing very well. I already see him getting more serious and focusing more, (not that he had a problem before! It’s just part of sinking into it), which I think is an important aspect of the first 2 transfers. Now that he has a feel for the mission, I think we will start setting some super awesome goals to help him grow into his best self. I’m excited for him. I have no idea what normal German for this long out is, so I don’t know what level he is at, but we will focus on that in the coming weeks. We have a lot of plans to help our numbers improve, and this month is invitation month for the ward, so we are pumped.

Thanks for all of your help with everything. You rock. And that package was the coolest package ever. Thanks so much, even if those dumb shirt thingies broke within hours…. 🙂

EMAIL 2:

Happy birthday to Dad, Aspen, Hayley, Grandma Cathy, Daniel, and Dave.  And a happy Father’s Day! Phew. Pretend that was at the beginning of my first email. 🙂

happy birthdayHappy Father's Day

Elder Greaves

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