elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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Hey guys!

This week was decent. We found a lot of people.

This week was transfer week which is always exciting. And a lot of
things changed in our district! Elder Allen and I are both staying in Neumünster still, but every other companionship changed. Elder
Bretzieng, a good friend to the MTC, and one of the elders in our
district last transfer, got transferred to the other area in our
district! He’s super excited to not be zone leader anymore. He and
sister Cady are training. Another elder from my MTC group is coming to
be the new zone leader. Obviously the Flensburg sisters got
transferred to America, where one of them already knows who her new
companion is going to be ;-).

Two new trainees and one district though! That’s going to be way too
much fun. It will be good too, because this was just about the oldest
district ever. And all anyone ever talks about is going home, not
necessarily that they’re excited for that, sometimes like “I hate that
I only have this long left”, but still talked about all the time.

We still weren’t able to meet with O this week, because she had work. Grr.
We went on exchanges this week, and I was with Elder Bretzieng. We had
way too much to talk about, so I was really tired after that one. But
Elder Allen and the other Elder found a family for us! I’m excited to
meet with them this Wednesday.

Gosh guys I’m really tired and I can’t think of anything to write about.

Elder Ballard challenged us to start talking to people in buses and
grocery stores and stuff. At first of course you’re a little nervous
about that, but I’ve actually learned to really enjoy it. It’s
surprisingly easy to start conversations. This doesn’t always lead to
the gospel, but the other person always comes away thinking they were
happy to talk to us, and I think that makes a difference too.

Also, Dad I think that’s so awesome that you invited someone to the
nativity play. I’ll bet that’s really hard. One idea for you is just
to let the missionaries know that you’re bringing him. Maybe
afterwards, with all the cookies and stuff, they can just strike up a
conversation with him. Doesn’t have to be anything huge. But I think
that’s awesome, that’s a good example to me for when I come back from
my mission.

It’s funny what you said about “being an example” and how
we need to move beyond that. This week we got permission to use the
last hour of church as a “missionary class”.

We separated everyone into groups and have them discuss how they
personally could do missionary work better. Of course as expected,
lots of people just talked about being a good example.

Don’t get me wrong actually lots of people talked about how they could just open  their mouths, just invite people, etc. but a lot of it was about being  a good example. We knew that was going to happen, but it’s still kind of frustrating. I’m not really sure when the phrase “being a good
example” became a synonym for NOT DOING ANYTHING. That’s a terrible
example!

If we talk about football or soccer or a cake recipe, and say
it’s “the greatest thing ever”, and never talk about where we spend a
massive chunk of our time, namely the church, what is that saying to
others about we think about our church? To me being a good example
means showing them what these things mean to you. Sure that’s way
easier said than done, but we don’t have to go in blind.

There’s a pretty simple formula for anyone that wants to do some heavy duty missionary work. We accidentally tricked our members into agreeing to do it with us. 🙂

Pray for inspiration, then set a goal for when you want to have someone prepared to be taught by the missionaries, or someone to bring to church, etc. then, if you’re really feeling bold, share the date with the missionaries. Ask them to also pray for you that you’ll be able to find someone by that time, and then pray yourself. Allow the gospel to come up naturally in conversation. Don’t force it, don’t ram it down peoples throats, but lead conversations towards the deep end, if you know what I mean. Instead of just talking about the weather, talk about how awesome it is to be together with your family during Christmas. Ask what they love about Christmas. If someone is a close friend, share a hard time you went through/are going through, ask them how they would deal with something like that, and then explain how the Gospels help to you. The Lord will open up paths to you if you have a goal in mind and you were praying for it.

As for why someone would be scared to talk about the gospel, they
don’t want to get rejected. If you believe this gospel is true, then
your testimony is one of your most precious possessions. Having
someone you care about, or someone you have to see every day, reject
something so near and dear to your heart is painful and embarrassing.
But in my opinion, as I’ve said before, I really don’t think you have
to teach your friends the restoration or something like that. You just
say hey, this thing that I’ve learned is helped me. If you’re looking
for answers, come to church. So for me, I think a big part of not
feeling awkward about it, is just to make it a natural part of your
life. Everyone HATES talking to people on the street when they are a
new missionary. But eventually, you can actually learn to love it.
Everybody knows that running sucks. But ask someone who’s gone running every day for six months to skip running one day, and he won’t do it because he likes the feeling it gives him. That’s how it is with most
of the good, difficult things. You just have to keep doing them until
you have a testimony they make you happy, and then it’s easy.

I love you guys!

Have a good week!

Elder Greaves

P.S. Hey Mom! I just wanted to write you a quick note and tell you I love you. You’re just awesome. I read your blog post today, [thatwhichbringsjoy.com] and it is my favorite so far. It made me laugh. That’s right, I literally lol’ed. I brag about you like I’m a grandpa. I think you’re example more than anything else has taught me what it means to be a woman of God. I’ve always been so impressed with the equality in your marriage. I love that you are just as smart and capable as Dad, and just as hardworking. I just think that’s something very unique and special about you that really sets a high bar for my future marriage! I love you, and I’m thinking about you. I hope you have an awesome birthday. I’m sending pictures too.  (hover on a picture and the caption appears).

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