elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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Change is hard.

April 2016 zone

Hey Guys!

This week was pretty good. Elder Weber left, which broke my heart. This transfer was strangely difficult for me to handle. One of the greatest things about a mission is that it allows you to reinvent yourself about every three months, so I’ve felt completely different in every single one of my areas. But I think I’m getting to the point now where I’m starting to get a little frustrated with this pattern – I think that’s probably just healthy though.

Elder Wiersdorf came Wednesday night, he unpacked, and then early Thursday we left for District Meeting. After that we got on a train to Jena – but we didn’t get off. A new convert and his girlfriend (investigator) hopped on, though, and we went to Freiberg to see the temple, do a tour, and say goodbye to Elder Peterson. Elder Weber replaced him here, so our friends knew him. The temple tour was super awesome, and super helpful for the girlfriend, named M. Then, we stayed the night there after taking part in the “finishers” meeting, in which all the missionaries going home bear their testimonies. It was really nice. A lot of my friends were going home. I was especially happy to see Elder Peterson of course, and also Elder Draper, my trainer. I got to meet his family, of whom I’d heard so much about, since we were young missionaries and that’s what we talked about. 🙂 They were really great. I can see where he gets it from.

We woke up extra early to catch a train back to meet with another girlfriend of a member (are you sensing a pattern yet? There’s a reason missionaries were recently asked to focus beyond baptism to the temple 😉 )

She’s awesome. Hard to get in contact with, honestly, but she is super nice. She’s already read the Book of Mormon twice. We talked about reading the Book of Mormon like scripture instead of like a novel, and that really helped her a lot. She is so great. Plus, she wears just about the coolest pair of green suede boots with little ducks on them.

One investigator this week told us he didn’t like the idea of eternal families.

My flabber was beyond ghasted.

I’d like to think I’m mostly prepared for concerns on just about every topic, but I was pretty much blindsided by that one.

Later, though, we had a great lesson with him about the Restoration, and clarified that some more. He is very much prepared, in my opinion. Religion is his passion, and all he really wants to do is to get to know Christ better. He talks all the time about how he dislikes that there are so many churches – why isn’t there just one? He also believes in authority, but looking at the Catholic church, he thinks they’ve lost it. I’m excited to keep teaching him, and he committed to praying about the Book of Mormon before and after reading every day.

He was “disappointed with his progress” when it came to reading. When I hear an investigator say “I can’t believe how slowly I’ve read in the Book of Mormon,” I usually get pumped, because that means they’ve read a lot.

And sure enough, he’s read up to Mosiah 18.

There was also a big ol hullabaloo about a program here. President suggested that they work part of the time in Jena, since there is so much potential there, and now everyone is all stressed. I think it’s a great idea, and they just need to count their blessings. But yeah. Sisters are panicking, District leaders are ticked, Sister leaders are upset, but it’s when the ward finds out then the bacon’ll hit the pan, so to speak.

What? It’s a phrase. But I’m trying to untangle that mess right now. Fun fun fun.

Life’s good. I’m happy. Have a great week!


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Hey guys

This week was really good, despite the fact that we were running around all over the place all week.

The first chunk of the week was spent preparing for zone training meeting, which went well. We asked some sisters to teach a lesson on baptism, a senior couple to teach about the Restoration, and then we taught a lesson about how our main goal should be getting the Spirit in our lessons, not what we are teaching.

We illustrated this by asking one of my favorite missionaries, Elder Halbleib, to come up front. As we talked, he had to eat as many tortilla chips as he could. He had to do pushups while we looked up scriptures, and jumping jacks while others answered questions.


So then (at least the idea was) he was super thirsty. We started a roleplay in which we pretended our goal was to get Elder Halbleib to try some “Juice” for himself. We extolled it’s virtues, then handed him an empty glass, and asked him to drink from it that night. He said he would, but then we came back and he hadn’t. So we gave him a different glass.

We would pause the roleplay and go do “weekly planning” and plan a lesson for him, in which we decided on which glass to give him. Eventually, we decided to give him the juice. Then, of course, he could drink it.

The analogy was that we as missionaries sometimes really struggle to figure out that perfect lesson plan. We just throw doctrine at them and hope something sticks. And we do need to teach the doctrine – after all, it holds the juice. But we have to focus on giving them a taste of what the Spirit is like before they can learn to feel it on their own. And something that Elder Weber and I have really hit on is the that the biggest secret to having the Spirit there is wanting it there; if we are constantly trying to get it there, we get ourselves out of the way.

Then we gave them a pump up speech (my favorite). We used a picture of one of our favorite quotes from conference: “Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be”.

The idea was pretty simple, but I think it’s pretty special too.

We introduced this formula: if there is something in your life you don’t like doing, consider whether or not this is a good thing to do. Obviously, stop doing it if it is not. If it’s good, and you are sure of it, do it in a different way to make you love it. If it comes to the point that you just have to square your shoulders and do it, and you can’t do it any differently, and you’re supposed to do it, and you are still unhappy with it, then the only thing left to change is your attitude.

Example: You don’t want to go Mutual, because it’s boring and your friends aren’t there. You know you are supposed to go to Mutual. Instead of griping about it every Tuesday, suggest activities you actually want to do, and bring. your. friends.

Another: You hate going home/visiting teaching. It’s awkward. It’s boring. Your families see it as a much of a chore as you do. Step 1: You must do your home teaching. You promise in your temple recommend interviews that you fulfill your callings, after all. Step 2: Try planning lessons in a way that is engaging for you and the family. Plan specifically for each family. Look for chances to serve. Step 3: You still aren’t enjoying it. Ask yourself, “Why am I asked to do this?” Gain a testimony of home teaching. Study about, pray for, and develop charity for your families. Take interest in their lives. Eventually, I promise that the Lord will help you actually enjoy it. We can be like the people of Nephi in the time of Moroni, surrounded by war on every side, arguably one of the most difficult times in their history. In Alma 50:23, it says that there “never was a happier time among the people of Nephi”. This is the blessing that comes to those that are “truly humble seekers of happiness”, as was Ammon.

Saturday was eventful. They asked us and the other zone leaders up north to come to a stake training day. We were there to answer questions about missionary rules and policies which was not fun because the members don’t like some of the policies. You know what’s great though? The Spirit. The Spirit is great.

In other news, Elder Weber is getting transferred, which is super lame. We didn’t see it coming at all – actually, president told us we would stay together. I’m really sad. I enjoyed serving with him a lot, and we were really hitting our groove.

But it was a good time with him. This new companion is named Elder Wiersdorf – he’ll probably be my last one.

Sorry, I didn’t talk about people all that much this week, but they are all doing great.

Have a great week!

Elder Greaves

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April 2016

Hey guys!

This last week was fantastic! We actually had very little time for the normal missionary stuff, though. Monday was “Easter Monday”, which has about us much to most Germans as Labor day to us. Many have no idea what it is about, so it’s just a day off of work. Have I mentioned before about how crazy Germans are about not working? It’s their favorite thing. It’s not really that they are lazy, it’s just they think there’s this terrifying bubonic disease called “burnout”, ravaging the poor helpless people that actually work a full 5 days a week occasionally, and leaving them incapable of ever being happy again.

No really.

I think most German members’ favorite scripture is “thou shall not run faster than thou hast strength.”

But anyway, that meant everything was closed. So we had to do all our shopping and stuff on Tuesday. We also contacted a media referral we got. He lived in Pocatello, thought Mormons were great, and wanted a Book of Mormon.

We stopped by on G – i actually just realized I haven’t said anything about G before! He is so awesome! He’s a newish convert, and probably one of the best people ever.

He’s from Columbia, and he is insane.

He moved here in the 80’s to experience what communism was like. He wears a bright blue fedora everywhere. He hangs out mostly with 14-16 year olds – which I guess makes sense because he’s only 12. He just wants to hang out with the big kids, you know? (He was born on leap day).

He has this little book that he carries everywhere and writes down literally all of his thoughts.

Typical escapade: There’s a speed camera in town that gets anyone going over about 15 miles per hour. Super lame, so G taped a picture over it one day, wearing a cape and a hat and a giant styrofoam battle axe. the cops saw him and started chasing him (they know him well) and he had to run, so he hopped on his bike and rode away, battle axe in hand, yelling at the cops the whole way.

Anyway, he was in the hospital, which come to find out, was because he was climbing a tree (he usually yells “freedom” in trees), and he made the roomie mistake of not nicely greeting the tree before beginning. apparently, he usually gives the tree a hug and whispers a poem to it, and then climbs. But he forgot this time, so the tree threw him out.

And he broke his tailbone.

Just a day in the life, I think.

Tuesday we met with A, the 18 yo we found last WunderWoche®. He is so awesome. He started praying on his own, and has noticed a huge difference.

We visited a part member family to teach the wife again. She is doing really well. Her husband is way too forceful, but it’s just because he’s scared for her. She agreed to try praying out loud.

Then we met with M*. He’s doing a million times better. We started helping him make his own personal plan, and it’s changing him. He set a goal of praying every day, and he’s doing it. He said as soon as he
set the goal, it was like he couldn’t forget. He would lie down in bed and have to get back up and pray.

Then we were in Berlin again for MLC. It was good. It was April Fool’s day, so we did a couple things. We told all the zone leaders to bring a water melon to give to President, but most didn’t, because they didn’t believe us. For those who did though, it was awesome. I love this picture with all my heart:

It wouldn't have been the first of April without a good-natured April Fools-Day prank! Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit;  and how great shall be their reward! -Alma 29:15

From the mission website:  “It wouldn’t have been the first of April without a good-natured April Fools-Day prank!
Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward!                  -Alma 29:15

Saturday and Sunday was, of course, General Conference. I really loved it. Among my favorites were Pres. Eyring’s Saturday morning one, Bonnie L Oscarson’s, Elder Holland’s, Elder Renlund’s, and basically everything in the Priesthood session, especially Elder Nelson’s. I think his talk will he known as one of the most important talks given in any General Conference for a long time to come.  [Want to see General Conference?  Go here!]

My favorite lesson of the week was with M on Sunday. We were pretty spiritually fed after 3 sessions, and we had an awesome lesson plan. We talked about finding answers for ourselves, and he LOVED it. A was there through Skype as a joint teach, and it was just amazing. M was almost child-like this time. He has so much potential.

So this week, we weren’t able to meet with a ton of people, but our investigators are making huge bounds of progress, and I’m really excited for them.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf (quoting Lincoln) “Most folks are just about as happy as they choose to be.” This is definitely true. We have the power to base our happiness on nothing but wanting to be happy. We shouldn’t connect it to success, recognition, or things going the way we imagined.

I hope you all have a great week!

Elder Greaves