elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

This week was… eh. Not terrible.

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Hey Guys! I hope everyone is doing well, including Ginger!

This week was… eh. Not terrible. Actually, good things happened, but just not enough to be satisfied.

I’ve talked before about how we are working really hard to collaborate our efforts with the Neumünster ward.

We’ve started meeting with this awesome retired guy named K, who is the husband of a member. He’s been married to her for 30 years. It’s so interesting to see how he learns. His wife is super awesome, and is not afraid to talk about the church, but I think the phrase “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” applies here. 🙂

We met him during an eating appointment, where our ability to talk soccer and 60’s music came in handy.

(Sidenote, one of the best things you can do to prepare for your mission, after you have read your scriptures, is learn how to talk to people and develop your interests. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I knew more about music or movies or professional soccer so that I could have a good conversation with someone.)

interests

We gave a “quick” spiritual thought, which lasted about an hour, because he started asking a ton of questions. He was super frustrated because he hasn’t been able to understand anything his wife has been saying about the church for the last 30 years. But as we explained it, it clicked, and he got really excited. He said he didn’t want the lessons, but we asked later at church if we could come by for another spiritual thought, thinking we were being sneaky, but the member wife just said,

“Hmm. Sure. You might be able to help him.”

Busted.

But we came over, had a super awesome talk, and then offered to build some Ikea furniture for them on Saturday. Then we had another spiritual thought. You get the drift. He’s so great. He’s this super German crotchety old man that likes his soccer, but he has a best friend and when his wife is out of the house, they put on records, blast he music, and start jumping around playing air guitar. O love that image. 🙂

He’s super happy whenever something makes sense to him. We shared Alma 32 with him, where it talks about faith being like a seed and not being a perfect knowledge, which he didn’t get.

So we compared it to love. You can’t see love, but you can feel it. No one can prove that you love someone, but you know it just the same, and it really can’t be explained away as merely chemicals in your body causing you to feel that way.

Another good teaching moment is when we were with this less active couple. He used to be in he Bishopric, but eventually fell away. He makes lots of excuses, but it basically just comes down to pride and laziness.

That sounds really harsh, but what I mean is, it could happen to anyone. He missed one week, then two, then before you know it, he was gone.

They brought up this time how they could come back to church, but then it is just one meeting after another and before you know it you are drowning. That is legitimate. I think we can all agree we are strangely addicted to meetings in this church, considering no one likes them anyway. We empathized and asked how difficult it must have been when they had 4 kids at home. The wife spoke up for the first time, and for the next 20 minutes they detailed their schedules, how they were always tired, how she had had to run kids everywhere and it was all too much, it was super stressful, on and on, all real feelings they had. Then, when they finished, we just asked,

“But was it worth it?”

It got quiet. They slowly nodded their heads. We moved on.

This church asks a lot of its members. In the form of showing faith and obedience, that is a very good thing. In the form of keeping families apart, it is a necessary but potentially dangerous trait. Apostles and prophets have warned us about this. One said we needed to remember not to ask for too much time. Another reminded us that it wasn’t about Mutual, or campouts, scouts or Relief Society activities. It’s about Christ. The rest is just an appendage, a tool to help us come closer and stay near to Him. Let’s not forget the order of things.

David A. Bednar asked us missionaries when he was here, how we would respond if the church started building church buildings without a gym, without pews, if it got rid of the youth program, Primary, etc. It’s weird to think about it, and I don’t think it will ever happen, considering that they are too useful, but if it were to happen, the church would still be true.

Let’s not forget that.

All in all, I’m a little disappointed so far with the progress of Neumünster. It’s going better than it has in a long time, but I honestly expect more. I can see the Lord helping us, I just hope I’m not somehow slowing Him down. I feel mostly good, but I want to feel all the way good. Neumünster is a good area with a bad reputation, so we need to see a lllooot of success so that missionaries stop knowing it as a hard area. That’s actually a problem in our whole zone, which the zone leaders are working on. It’s fun working together with them, and I really like them both a lot. It’s fun taking them on exchanges and trying to kill them with work. 🙂 I think Elder Bretzieng had to walk about 10 miles with me on Thursday, not exaggerating (at a very missionary-like pace, of course). Not something that happens in big cities, or so I heard through the snail mail we just got from the pony express out here in BOONIES. 🙂

I love you guys.

Mom, that’s so cool about your law firm. I hope everything goes well.

Love you!

Elder Greaves

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