elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

We had a ton of fun this week!

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All the fun things:

1.  We had burritos (my first in 14 months)

2.  Went on a forest hike with Uwe our adventure pal (and had an awesome lesson) (pictures about this below)

Silk Road 1

This nondescript little road through the forest IS NONE OTHER THAN THE FREAKING SILK ROAD! This thing was the largest connecting road between Europe and Asia back in the day. As in, Napoleon the Great, who was truly dynamite, [HAHA] actually walked on this road, right here, according to Uwe, who is a hard core traveler and worked in this forest as a guide for like 15 years!

Silk Road 2

3. Talked to a violent Nazi, who’s a big fan (more on that later).

4.  We went to a second hand store in Poland, which is approximately 1.7 billion times cheaper than Germany. 6 very cool ties, an 80’s windbreaker, and 3 sweaters, one of which is cashmere that when worn, basically feels like being hugged by capitalism, for a whopping 23 Euro. In contrast, I bought a pack of socks in Germany today for 8 Euro.

5.  And all that other spiritual stuff.

We met more with Jacob, the guy from Chad. He rocks. But he talks a lot. 🙂 We invited him to pray about he Book of Mormon, and he did, and he believes it’s the word of God!

I know the Lord works in mysterious ways, because we were were talking to a guy on the street when this guy I will nickname Gigantor stepped out of his car, all 6 feet 6 inches of him, and bellowed,

“Ya wanna talk about God, ya do it with me!”

The guy we were talking to hurriedly left, and Gigantor earthquaked over to us, which is when we recognized him as the violent Nazi we talked to a month ago.

Promising.

(When someone says they are a Nazi these days, they are veeeeeeerrrrryyy radical. Like, Germany has no national pride or culture because of fear of becoming too nationalistic. They no longer sing their national anthem or fly their flag. But a Nazi is someone who is very about white pride and hates immigrants. (Which we also are, but whatever).  I tried listening to what he was saying, but I was really distracted by the gigantic scar across his face. Could he be more stereotypical?

He talked to us for a long time about how he loves God and all, but there are so many Muslims coming to Europe, we have to get “militant” back or we will never survive. He proudly told us he was “militant”, and I shudder to think what that means. We just spent the whole time being really neutral.

“Don’t you think your church should get violent?”

Mmm.

“Don’t you think Muslims worship satan?”

Mmm.

“Isn’t the Aryan race wonderful?”

MmmMMm.

Apparently everyone knows this guy, and he’s surreally friendly. At one point he grabbed a lady’s baby and said,

“Yeees! This is the future of Germany! Blue hair and blond eyes!”

But the point is, this is when things got weird. He called this guy over, who is this history wizard, and knew everything about Mormons. Turns out he’s a real-life, true-blue, I-even-poked-him-to-make-sure FREEMASON.

There’s a Freemason TEMPLE in Frankfurt Oder I’ve walked past a bajillion times and never even knew it. And he’s down to meet with us.

Cool.

I’m gonna wrap this up with what I learned in personal study this week, which is, and this is only my opinion, but what I think is the relationship between faith and doubt. I think sometimes we assume that we need to smother all doubt to make room for faith.

But I consider questioning our faith a crucial part of testimony building.

Unfortunately, I talk to people every day that have never asked themselves any question with any real seriousness. We always ask questions such as

“What brings you joy?”

Or

“What is your purpose in life?”

And it is always the saddest thing when the answer is

“I’ve never even thought about that”.

Or as another example, so many people consider the existence of a God as an opinion. I really cannot understand that. Either He’s there or He’s not. There’s not really any room for bias.

I sincerely hope that no Latter Day Saint ever just “goes with the flow”.

I hope we are constantly questioning, testing, and doing our best to find answers to life’s biggest questions.

One of my old companions and I talked about this, and we discussed how it actually takes faith to allow yourself to it knowledge the doubt you do have, and thereby look for answers.

I give my testimony that I know any question in life can be answered through the Scriptures, the words of the prophets, or by personal revelation. Finding these answers can only make us stronger. I actually wrote a poem about this, which is kind of embarrassing, but it was also kind of fun. Don’t judge it too harshly!

paddleboatIt’s an infinite battle
For the soul
Day and night
Light and dark
Pushing shoving squeezing
Faith in, doubt out
Right?
Wrong.
All aboard PaddleboatBelief
Gracing UncertainPond
Always trundling on
Keeping you dry
But it’s no perfect craft
Riddled with cracks, seams, and holes
QuestionWater seeps in
So you mend, seal, and patch
And bail with your AnswerBucket
That’s hard work
But no flaws could be found
Laying lazily on land
Not in denial but by the voyage
Is the vessel perfected.

Anyway, I love all of you guys very much. Thanks so much for everything. Special things to Grandma Ann and Grandpa What’s-His-Name for sending me a letter. It helped me. Also, I’ve never said this, but I want to thank you, mom, for the letter you sent me a few weeks ago. It is really special to me and it really really helped me a lot. I think about the words you wrote a lot. Have an awesome week!

Elder Greaves

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