elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

Package arrived!

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March 2016 Jena Zone Hike 2

The Zone Conference hike from last week. Elder Oliphant “sustaining” Elder Greaves [in this mom’s favorite picture ever].

Hey guys!

Before I forget, I got the package! It was awesome! I ate all the Reese’s [from Grandma and Grandpa] in a week. You guys are not appreciative enough of Reese’s.

Also, the 2 ties are like my two favorites.  Thank you!

This week has been pretty great! I think I told you last Monday this week was a zone-wide WunderWoche®. We prayed a lot that everyone would have a really inspiring week, a kick-start of sorts. And it was just that!

A lot of missionaries had some great ideas. Some studied on hard chairs and made sure all the dishes are done every day, some gave up cola, some prayed only on their knees, and one program gave up meat!

We did lots of crazy things – we have up cereal and the couch, and we swallowed a raw egg every day. That was the worst thing ever. I remember trying to do it once with Dad, and I remembered it was hard to swallow, but apparently I spit it out too fast to even notice the taste.

Well the report is in:

it’s the worst thing I’ve ever had in my mouth.

I’m sure you can pretty easily I imagine the texture. Now add to that the taste of bile and floor. That was a daily crucible.

What did we as a zone get out of it?

1. Right off the bat, a program that had been having a really difficult time finding new people to work with texted us. In the first 10 minutes of the day, they walked to the church and found 3 new investigators! This was on Pday!

2. Another program found 5 investigators in one day.

3. On Wednesday, we were trying to get back to Jena after visiting a district meeting, only to learn that there was an electric problem and all of the trains for the next 5 hours were cancelled. So we rode to a nearby city where we could hopefully get a better connection. We had an extra hour, so we went on a power split with the Zwickau Elders. I was with Elder Giles (side note: we talked about yu-gi-oh the whole time, since he played too.) We were talking to people, and we couldn’t even seem to get a conversation. Then, we only had time to talk to one more person. We stopped him, and got talking. He’s from Iran, and is now a Christian. He loves religion, and was super excited to get a Book Of Mormon. He was almost a new investigator (when a person has been taught a few gospel principles and set a return appointment) but we could only grab contact info and run to catch our train, which wemissed by a mile. So we had to wait even longer. All in all, we had left home at 8 and got back at 8, a trip that was about 6 hours longer than usual. So our whole day was shot to pieces. But then, latest in the week, the Elders went by and taught the Iranian man and all of his friends, and got 4 new investigators out if it!

4. Normally in this zone, finding numbers are an average of 7-8 per week, all together. Recently, we started setting a weekly goal with the zone, which means a good week is now 9-10, and 12 is an amazing week. We set a goal of 17 this week. And we found 20. It was awesome to see some missionaries gain some confidence.

One cool little blessing we saw happened Sunday night. We had been focusing more on others’ weeks, so we hadn’t really seen a ton of stuff personally. We prayed to have a blessing Sunday. The problem is, we had absolutely zero time to teach or find. We had to plan for the next week, and then we had a 3 hour language class.

Learning the other language is going okay. Of course, it takes a lot longer to learn than German, since it’s a tough language for an English speaker to learn, and we can’t devote 6 hours a day for six weeks to it like we did in the MTC. I really, really like it as a language. We can hold basic small talk conversations, read, say simple prayers, and bear short testimonies. One cool thing is, because it’s our 3rd language, or brains already know the drill when it comes to listening to someone speaking. It’s super easy to pick out words we know. With German, that was the hardest part for me – it was just a stream of noise whenever anyone talked, even if I already knew the words they were saying. But it’s super interesting to see how often we can use it.

After that language class, or brains were absolutely fried. We kind of stumbled on home, but I was praying in my heart that in the 2 minute walk home we would get to talk to someone at least. We talked to the only guy on the street, an 18 year old college student studying law. We asked if he’d heard of the Book of Mormon – he said yes, he’d heard about Joseph Smith from South Park. 🙂

We told him what we do, we’d love to give him a Book of Mormon, etc., and he said yes. We met with him yesterday. He’s super awesome! He knows about our church since he researched us Sunday night, and there are some things he disagrees with, but he thinks it’s interesting, and he is looking for the right way right now. He was literally the only person we had time to talk to that day.

I love you guys! Have a good week!
Elder Greaves

March 2016 Jena Zone Hike

March 2016 Jena Zone Hike

Elder Oliphant-Elder Greaves getting shoes from the double decker parking garage

The joys of the double decker parking garage!

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