elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

This last week was awesome, though a little strange.

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March 2016

                  Mission Leadership Council

Hey guys!

Monday through Thursday, we were super busy just planning for Zone Training Meeting, which is kind of comparable to a stake conference. We had to plan all the different lessons and activities, set goals, etc., etc. The problem is, Elder Weber and are a little nuts, and a little too old – we’ve had approximately a shmillion ztm’s, and we’ve seen it all. They all run together. You show up, opening song, prayer, 3 hours of missionaries talking at you, and then closing prayer. So we did something very different.

They all run together. You show up, opening song, prayer, 3 hours of missionaries talking at you, and then closing prayer. So we did something very different.

You show up, opening song, prayer, 3 hours of missionaries talking at you, and then closing prayer. So we did something very different.

First off, we abandoned the traditional lesson thing for something much cooler: competitions! We had everyone get into teams and compete to see who could use the most scriptures, who could ask the best questions. Names such as Mocab Golf, Scripture Tennis, Question Baseball, were used. Fun was had.

We introduced our zone goals, which usually don’t matter to anyone, so we basically just challenged the whole zone to make and do a WunderWoche®. So we are doing that all together this week! We are super excited – because the other missionaries are super excited. They have a lot of great ideas.

Then we shared with them probably one of my favorite scripture stories EVER. I have no idea how I haven’t shared with you this story yet. It’s actually about a guy named Caleb!

His story starts in Numbers: Moses and the 12 tribes of Israel escape Egypt. They are taken straight to the promise land – they arrive in 40 days. Only, when they get there, they are surprised to find that there are already tribes living there- the Canaanites, for example. They need to go figure out what to do, so each tribe sends a spy – Joshua (who took over for Moses later) and Caleb among them. The 12 spies come back and make their report: The first 10 all say the same thing:

“The land is beautiful, the soil rich, but those guys are HUUGE! There is NO WAY we’re getting this promised land!”

The people start to get angry and scared.

30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it. (Numbers 13).

And Joshua and Caleb bear testimony that they can do it with the Lord’s help. But, as we know, the House of Israel was pretty bad most of the time, and they are so afraid, they try to stone Joshua and Caleb.

In response, the Lord promises that they will wander the desert for 40 years. They would not enter the promised land until every single adult died, and their children were the only ones left – that is, except for Caleb and and Joshua. They are the only ones who would get to see it. Also, Caleb was promised a choice piece of land when the time came.

Fast forward to 40 years later, and the Israelites have indeed taken the promised land. Now they are divvying it all up. Forward comes old Caleb:

7 Forty years old was I when Moses the servant of the Lord sent me from Kadesh-barnea to espy out the land; and I brought him word again as it was in mine heart.

8 Nevertheless my brethren that went up with me made the heart of the people melt: but I wholly followed the Lord my God.

9 And Moses sware on that day, saying, Surely the land whereon thy feet have trodden (a mountain called Hebron) shall be thine inheritance, and thy children’s for ever, because thou hast wholly followed the Lord my God.

10 And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. (That’s right, 85 years old) (Joshua 14).

And now we see Caleb’s attitude towards hardship:

11 As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

12 Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said.

I just love that: Give me this mountain! The man was 85 years old, and the piece of land he was supposed to get was crawling with infidels. It wasn’t safe! But he was given a promise from the Lord that he would get this mountain, this trial, and he would get through it. He didn’t want an easier spot, he didn’t want someone to do the hard work for him, he wanted his mountain, and he trusted in his God.

I think this is a special attitude towards trials, and something everyone can learn from. Sometimes, we try so hard to avoid anything painful, anything difficult, anything trying, that we forget that’s exactly why we are here.

As missionaries (and this is what we talked about) if we try to limit the amount of times someone gets angry at us, there’s a really effective way to do that. It’s a solution a few missionaries turn to – namely, just not talking to anyone. This isn’t because they have less ability, or they are weaker, they were called because they could do it. But they have the wrong perspective. Why do we go to college if it’s hard? Why do we go running if we don’t want to? Why do people climb mountains, if the only thing you really get is sore legs? Because it’s good. Simple – It’s good. We learn. We grow. We gain new knowledge.

Elder Ballard said once,

“When you come to recognize the hand of the Lord in the work, you can look out the window, see the cold, wet rain, and think “YES! I get to be persecuted ALL DAY!”

And that’s what it takes. Elder Eyring gave a talk once on the power of praying for trials. I can’t even tell you how many companions I’ve freaked out by telling them I think that’s a good idea, but it’s true! We get stretched and pulled out of measure, and we come back stronger!

That’s what we told the missionaries, and then we actually climbed a legitimate mountain, which was definitely something no one has ever done in a meeting here before, as far as I’m aware.

It was awesome.

This week is going to be great!

Have fun!

Elder Greaves

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