elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Buckle your seat belts, I’m feelin’ peppy

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Hey guys! Sorry this is getting to you so late. We just ran out of Pday.

This week has been pretty…. Adventurous.

It was actually a very good week in terms of appointments. We met with a ton of people and saw a ton of cool things happen. Highlights include:

M: we taught him more of the Plan of Salvation using a ton of a scriptures.
D: She is often very stressed, and this was one of those times. We tried to help her relax a little by sharing some scriptures from the Book of Mormon.
H: a returning member. we shared Nephi’s Psalm with him. Another day, he called and asked if we had time for a move. So we went and helped one of his friends, and he set up an appointment with her husband, her, and us, so we got some referrals!
G: another returning member, who wants to pray but feels she can’t.
And several more.

But that wasn’t the adventurous part.

I’m gonna preface that by saying that everything is fine, and there is no danger.

Worried yet? 🙂

After we had helped move couches, refrigerators, and washers down 5 flights of stairs, we got changed and were walking home. We stopped your average college guy on the street, and he offered to walk with us, since he needed to go somewhere.

The way he said it, I was pretty sure he was about to get real angry.

When I told Elder Allen that later, he thought I was the biggest idiot for not just walking away, but I was pretty curious to see how it was going to turn out.

He asked if we were Christians. We said yes, of course, and he said he was also Christian – Lutheran, specifically. We asked if he was converted to that, or born, or what. He started talking about Lutherstadt and the 95 theses and nails on doors and you know, basically the start of the Lutheran church. Apparently his family have been members for 500 years. He said we were dirtying his faith. I won’t cover all of the material, but here are a few of the choicest highlights:
– he would wipe the smile off my face
– he would break my nose
– he would stab us with a knife (repeated often)

You’ll notice that some of these were directed at me specifically.

You guys might know that I don’t often lose my cool, and nothing hugely bothers me, except for one thing, and that is when someone gets all up in my grill and is irrationally angry at me. And you might also know that I don’t express anger by throwing things or getting violent or yelling, but by extreme sarcasm and withering looks.

Maybe not the smartest decision at such a moment, but that is basically what happened.

I will now tell the story from the point of view of extremely peace-loving, non confrontational, wide-eyed Elder Allen, who is still pretty new and can’t understand everything, especially when he’s stressed. And all he knew is he heard the word for knife being repeated over and over, and this German was approximately 6 inches from Elder Greaves (2 inches at one point.) but then he looks at Elder Greaves, who has this huge, goofy grin on his face (I’ve always wanted a death threat!) and keeps giggling at this guy as if it were all a big joke, which is really getting the German wound up ( I didn’t even know I was laughing – Elder Allen told me later). So he can’t tell if this is serious or just a joke, or if he maybe misjudged what is going on, but he is hugely stressed.

At one point (in response to the German saying:

“I’m a good Christian, so I won’t stab you, but if it was nighttime I would”)

Elder Greaves gives a massive thumbs up and says with extreme perkiness,

“What a GREAT Christian!”

Which was when the 6 inches of nose distance became 2 inches. It wasn’t nearly as romantic as it sounds. (I honestly briefly thought about just giving him a little peck and running like the dickens, but there’s really no decent way to communicate that to your companion in hand signals).

But yeah, I don’t think he liked that. Elder Allen said later he just about choked at that point.

Turns out, this isn’t the first time this has happened. He threatened other missionaries with the same stuff a few months ago, and so I recognized it was the same guy. Those missionaries had done y’know, the right thing, and just walked away from him, and it actually shut down the work here for a while actually.

So if one good thing came out of my childishness, it’ s that he actually lost self-confidence pretty quick, and by the end he was actually kinda nervous. That’s when he told us just to never talk to someone on the street again (or he’d stab us), to which we said

“Hey we’re gonna go talk to people. We gotta go.”

And turned away. He then shouted after us,

“There are no missionaries in the Bible!”

So I wouldn’t exactly classify him as a scriptorian. But don’t worry, the mission president knows, the ward knows, it’s all taken care of. I was just really pumped because I told Elder Casperson all the time that I really wanted to meet that guy, and I was so jealous, and why can’t I get a death threat? I can be annoying enough.

So all in all, it was an adventure, despite and because of my idiotic response to it.

But on to happier things. H brought D to church (basically everyone we teach is friends with everyone else). We taught Gospel Doctrine class, which turned out really well. We taught about being a light in the world, and how we can do that, and tried to just turn it into a big discussion. D said she felt absolutely amazing afterwards.

This week, L (a Ph.D student in German, and a German teacher) has been tutoring us in German, so that’s been fun. They started telling us their conversion story, which takes several hours because it’s so AWESOME! They are just amazing.

So this week, due to some medicinal changes, I found myself feeling strangely creative, which unfortunately for me doesn’t manifest itself through the medium of sculpture or oil painting or somber black-and-white photography, but rather the galant and winsome pun.

So I made a poem! Which I guess turned out to be about bullying, which is not really a subject I feel strongly about, but that is where the puns led, so I did what I could.

The big cheese
By Elder Greaves

Saunter, point, velveeta purrfunny-cheese-grater-cheesy
“Ewww”
Made ’em feel bleu
Mighta havarti felt crumbly
Feta-p with it
“You Stink”
Ya shredded ’em
You think your so grated, so sharp
But you forgot
Gouda been your swisster
People, like puns
Are pretty cool
When they’re yours

Tada.

Tada

 

 

 

 

 

This week, Elder Allen and I have been talking a lot about charity.

I Corinthians 13 is pretty clear:
1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Sometimes as a missionary, I definitely feel like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. This often happens when I’m hustling down missionary boulevard, chasing the hows and the whats and the whens, and the whos and the whys are left in my dust a few turns behind.

I’m not here to catch trains, or ride buses, or schedule appointments, or even to be obedient – although all those things are very important.

I’m here to represent Jesus Christ, the very personification of love. (The real trick is to do both!)

So I set a goal to spiritually hug these people ’til their spiritual eyes bulge out.

I want to pray for everyone, because prayer brings miracles. I want to get on the same page with Heavenly Father, who – and I am convinced of this – doesn’t let anything happen to us unless it is for our good. I want to make sure that I only aspire to make people happy, in the very best way I know how. For some people, that’s a compliment. For some, it’s a smile. For others, it’s a listening ear. For everyone, it’s the Gospel.

I’m grateful for you guys, and I love you. You have an awesome week!

Elder Greaves

from Emeka July 2015 edited copy

Received from a convert in a previous  area. Elder Greaves sent it on with the title, “Oh sure, make me cry why don’t ya”.

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