elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

This week was pretty speedy.

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Hey guys!

We were super busy being dragged all over Thüringen (the state we are in). On Tuesday, we had a long service project at Berndt’s, a friend of the missionaries. The missionaries have helped in his garden for years.

So far, no progress has been detected.

As far as we can tell, the the stuff we do probably just undoes (that’s a super weird word, by the way) everything that the previous missionaries have done. We mostly just seem to build random structures using the parts of old structures we broke down last time.

So we kind of just redistribute this solid layer of stuff.

Then Wednesday we went to Erfurt for a district meeting.

Thursday we went to Gera to help another branch do a move.

Friday we had our street display. So here’s the rundown: We had a big green tent, like a soccer shade tent thing. A table, with like 10 different languages from the Book of Mormon. Two 15 foot tall flags for Familysearch. A giant pin board with maps of Germany, Europe, and the world, and the phrase “Where are you from?” written in 4 languages: English, German (Wo kommen Sie her?) Arabic (min ayna anta?) and Chinese (No idea).

The board was a Jena-original designed and prototyped by Greaves and Weber Incorporated.

It was definitely the star of the show – it was super easy to talk to people about families and family history as we invited them to tell us where they were from. We had a lot of other missionaries helping us. By the end, we had 9 new appointments for the upcoming week and about 15 numbers to call. It was awesome.

Then Saturday we went to Gera to help the missionaries there with a street display.

We are super excited for this upcoming transfer. We are maybe going to set a goal for the zone that we have a zone WunderWoche ™.  (See post from two weeks ago).

The other language learning is going okay. I’m kind of annoyed with how slow we are taking, but I’m told it’s actually fast.

This week has been really good for me personally. I was thinking a lot about what I need to work on. I want to make sure I don’t leave the mission with any regrets. I was really surprised actually of the answer I came to for how to do that – I needed to change my attitude about myself.

I’ve come to see on my mission that the Gospel is one of moderation. I think as humans, we find it much easier to call things black or white than to recognize how gray something is. We like dealing with extremes. But that’s not usually the right answer. We shouldn’t be lax on obedience, but we shouldn’t put “obedience” above helping others. We shouldn’t be prideful, but we also shouldn’t look down on ourselves.

I realized that I had been going to the extreme with self improvement. I was so disgusted with the idea of complacency that I forfeited satisfaction. It wasn’t actually that I was being too hard on myself. I’m still convinced that being honest with ourselves about strengths and weaknesses is the fastest way to grow. But being happy with not being perfect – that’s a tough balancing act.

So I started praying to feel happy with my efforts at the end of the day. I prayed I would have satisfaction in the work, joy in myself, without losing the desire to improve. I noticed a huge change in my attitude. I went to bed tired and happy and excited for the next day. Even when it was the kind of week I would be annoyed with before. Not only did I feel happier, I also felt like, by releasing my anxieties about not giving it all I had, I was actually able to work harder, because it was more enjoyable.

I think this ranks up there with one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my mission.
I love you guys, have a great week!#
Elder Greaves

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