elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

This week was really great!

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Hey guys!

We met with K, the nonmember husband, on Monday. It was a somewhat difficult lesson, since he had a ton of questions about all of the commandments. Having lived with a Mormon for 30 years, he’s experienced all the inconvenience and has felt none of the blessings of all of those “rules”. I can totally understand that. From the outside looking in, it just seems to be problems. And the only way you can find out if something actually blesses you or not is just to do it.

Then Wednesday, we were supposed to meet with our miracle Frau, O, but she was sick. That was super disappointing, but she agreed to come to church.

Thursday we had zone conference. That’s always fun, but most people that I know are home already. All the sisters I know from the MTC, Elder Weaver, and Elder Garrett are all going home next week. A year ago, going to zone conference was this big exciting chance to talk to people about crazy stories and stuff, but eventually, you’ve collected so many crazy stories and everyone else you know has too, that when all the little whippersnappers are jabbering on about all those things you’ve lived through about 4 times already, you see a friend across the room and just kind of give grim nod and move on.

Then, we made the TERRIBLE mistake of agreeing to ride with the 4 sisters in our district on the way back, because group tickets are way cheaper, and also because we are buds, but I swear, we were literally the last missionaries out of the church. I stood at the door with my scarf and gloves on for about 20 minutes, begging, pleading, cajoling, praying, and singing at one point, and all the while they just blissfully floated from group to group, squealing like they’ve never even seen another sister before, and moving their mouths remarkably fast, probably chattering about makeup or purses or chocolate, or whatever it is sisters talk about these days.

So we missed our train. “And the voice of one crying in the wilderness…”

Then, like champs, we planned alternatively. So the Kiel sisters got out with us in Neumünster, and then we thought they would wait a few minutes and then get another train, only when we showed up, their train was already there, and they hadn’t bought a ticket yet. So as they hysterically tried to figure out which ticket to buy, then panicked because they didn’t have small bills, then, freaked out getting change at McDonald’s, I thought idly to myself that this is what they are probably like ever single transfer day. Then, ironically, the only time they relaxed and slowed down was after they bought the ticket, assuming they had already missed the train anyway.

But they didn’t.

So Elder Allen grabs literally 6 bags himself and throws them in the train, with me making that windmilling motion baseball coaches do on 3rd base, and they slide in right as the doors close.

Safe!

I’ve been teasing them about that all week.

This week will be the Flensburg sisters’ last week. I’m sure going to miss them. They are the perfect examples of having been changed by their missions. I asked them both what the the single most important thing was that they learned on their missions. Their answers just blew me away.

Sister Hahn didn’t even have to think about it. Her answer was that she learned how to be a Mormon. She learned what it meant to fulfill a calling by learning from both good and bad examples. She knew what she expected from the members here and now sees what the missions would want from her in Utah. She learned what it meant to live her faith.

Then Sister Demke, who personifies the phrase “still waters run deep”, said she has learned and gained a testimony of the perfection of the Plan of Salvation. She knows God has made a perfect plan for her and everyone else, and the more she learns about all the parts, the more impressed she is by the flawlessness of it.

Both very different answers, but proof that they both spent their missions becoming true disciples.

But the coolest thing that happened last week was in the culmination of what we affectionately dubbed “D-day”. As a missionary, you get excited for activities, because if it is a “special” Sunday, it helps investigators make time.

This Sunday was a Primary program (gold), and a child’s baptism, with a ward potluck afterwards. We have been working hard with the little German munchkins to get them to bring friends. The zone leaders did this thing where they asked every companionship to pick a day this month when the rest of the zone could pray for you. They’ve been getting on my case about picking a day, but we kept putting them off, because we wanted to save it for a special day. We asked everyone to pray for us on Sunday, the last work day of the month, that our investigators would come, and ward would bring friends.

As church started, we were disappointed to see that there were no visitors there. Our investigator was coming for the last hour, but 2 others had cancelled on us. But as the lady hour and the primary program started, we were amazed to count about 9 nonmembers and 5 less active members there, only one of which was our O “the Wonderwoman”. The rest were from members. I saw at least one full family with 3 kids and a mom. The little buggers brouhgt down the house with a rousing – and more than a little brainwashy – 9 verses of “follow  the prophet”. That song gives me the heebie jeebies. But the rest was great. We didn’t have time to talk to everyone, but we did talk to one couple named B and S. They are from Canada actually. They were super friendly. The girlfriend is inactive, and the boyfriend is a nonmember.

But the cool part is, we are meeting with them this week!

Booyah.

Then, those two and O stayed for the baptism. It was super awesome.
N (the 8 year old) it’s just about the cutest little button ever.  Then her 10 year old sister, V, sang some baptism song, and man, I almost cried. O told us right after the baptism that she wanted to get baptized and become Christian someday too.

We told her we think we could help with that. That day was really cool, because then we felt like not only was our faith strengthened, but the other missionaries in our zone were hopefully strengthened as well!

To answer some other questions, yes, I have bought a coat, and I look
pretty stellar, and no, I still have not gotten anything about my birthday package. As for the Christmas package, did you send it to Berlin? I have no idea what the game plan there is, but no, I won’t be going to Berlin to get it. They could just ship it if they need to.

I love you guys a lot!

I wanted to tell you, Dad, that I thought your talk was awesome.

I brag about you guys as if you were my grandkids.

Also, what you said a few weeks ago about set ridiculously high goals and then working to achieve them anyway totally inspired me, and really helped me these last few weeks. I’ve thought about it often.

Elder Greaves

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