elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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So sorry, I thought I thanked Grandma Cathy and Grandma and Grandpa Gerald already!  I was super grateful for both things. Grandma Cathy’s card was really meaningful, she actually wrote we a somewhat long note – and I’m going to use Grandma and Grandpa’s money to finally buy a suit, so I can stop looking like a hobo. (just kidding, it’s not that bad.)
This week was a whirlwind! Just about nothing was normal.

The saddest part happened on Monday evening. I got a call from the AP’s, and they had some bad news. My new trainee wasn’t coming to Germany after all, so I’m not training. That really stunk. I was/am pretty bummed by that. So my new companion is named Elder Allen (again), only this time he’s from Utah. He’s been out since February. He’s been on his mission as long as I was when I got to Frankfurt Oder. He’s great – I really like him.

So after that call, Elder Weaver finished packing, I tried to finish cleaning, and we went to bed. Tuesday, we rode a train to Hamburg, where I finally bought a coat. It’s long, an overcoat, and it’s navy blue. I like it. Then I waited for a really long time with the zone leaders. My new companion couldn’t come until Wednesday because it was an emergency transfer, so I was spending the next couple days with the zone leaders. But it was fun because I got to see if you missionaries. I saw Elder Germann, my last district leader, and I also got to see Elder Allen, (from Frankfurt Oder). It was so great to see him, and to talk about Lauenburg.

Finally the zone leaders and I headed back to Kiel. The next day, they set goals for the zone, and we went finding. We found two really old ladies, which are some of my favorite people. That night we picked up Elder Allen, and then we headed back to Neumünster. So we didn’t actually get to start working until Thursday.

Friday we had district meeting. It was good, but teensy bit boring. It was kind of a filler district meeting, because I thought it would be best to wait till the second week to talk about member missionary work, so that the new missionaries had time to adjust and get to know the area and members.

At the end, after the other companionships had given some presentations, I gave a short little “pump up” spiritual thought about giving it all you’ve got. I talked about it a long time ago, the story of Elijah wanting to give up and eating the cake and water, and then going 40 days straight without food. The Flensburg sisters were freaking out because they had exactly 40 days left! They are funny.

One thing I’m getting really excited about is that we are going to start working with the primary kids. President Fingerle had a really good idea when he told us that children are the best missionaries. Lucky for us we have an upcoming primary program at the end of November! Everything just seems to be falling in place. We just ordered these super awesome bracelets and stickers that say future missionary on them. It actually says them in English, but that’s what the kids call hip here, so it works out.

It starts with these black-and-white invitations that say “children’s choir” at the top, with the picture of Jesus and children at the bottom. It’s purposefully left colorless so that so that the children can color them and give them to their friends. But here’s the kicker: we just ordered little rubber black bracelets and black stickers that say future missionary on them.

future missionary

All I know is, if some missionaries had given me a bracelet when I was eight and told me to get all my friends to church, I’d sure as heck do it. The primary president agrees. She thought the invitations were pretty cool, but when we told her about the bracelets, she squealed and said,

“That is the cutest thing!”

Perfect.?  And I really think it will work.

Lately I’ve become really really comfortable talking in German. I mean I could always speak German but now I actually enjoy it almost as much as English. 🙂

So I’ve been trying to talk to all the little kids. On Sunday, they all ran out of primary program practice, and I was just sitting down on the couch. Before I could object, I had about 8 little ruffians climbing all over me. I let them wear my name tag and tickled their feet and talk to them about their favorite primary songs. I can honestly say, it will be one of the happiest memories of my mission.

I’m starting to think that the ward is waking up a little bit. There at least starting to talk the talk! With our focus on home teaching and helping them do it, the focus of the lesson in priesthood and Sunday school for the past three weeks or so, I was just about always turned to home teaching, as well as working as hard as you can and doing missionary work. Hopefully that gets into someone’s heart!

I think one of the coolest things about a mission is being able to see how you change. And I really have changed a lot. Just a few weeks ago, I was on exchanges with one of the zone leaders, Elder Bretzieng. We were in the MTC together.

At the time, we were actually lamenting the fact that the mission field is not much different from regular life, and that there are still rumors and gossip and sometimes a lack of acceptance. It’s an unfortunate truth that sometimes when someone becomes a “big leader”, People start trying to tear them down and talk about what they’ve done wrong.

Elder Bretzieng just offhandedly said,

“The only thing I’ve heard about you is that you were very different from who you were in the MTC. In a good way.”

My first reaction was,

“What the heck was wrong with me in the MTC?!”

But the more I thought about it, the more I was OK with that.

The funny thing about growing up is it doesn’t mean who you were before was bad. I just means that the person you were was good enough to become the person you are now.

Another funny thing is, it’s fun and exciting and scary and terrible all the same time trying to imagine who I’m going to be in the future. I feel like I’m changing and growing and learning so fast on my mission, that I can hardly predict that. All I can do is do my best now to keep headed in the right direction.

I love you guys, and I hope you have an awesome week.

Elder Greaves

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