elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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This week almost killed me.

Hey guys!

This week almost killed me. It was full of good things, with the emphasis on full. That’s a good problem to have, don’t get me wrong – but yeah, I almost died.

By the end of the week, my tongue was too tired to testify, and my eyes were better glazed than any 6th grade pottery project.

But maybe the best way to describe how tired I was would be to describe the recovery.

This morning, I told my companion in grunts that I was going to take a nap, and it would be for as long as I wanted, and if he woke me up, I would kill him on the spot and go back to sleep. Or something to that effect.

I left my whimpering companion in the corner and belly flopped onto the bed, already asleep midair. And I dreamed. All the normal dream stuff started happening, upside-down stairs, giving people Books of Mormon (gotta stay in practice), and watching a silverfish turn into a trashcan when I sprayed it with water. The yoosh.

But then, only a few minutes into my dream, I started feeling sleepy. And I fell asleep. In my dream. So I experienced literal inception. Then in that dream, I felt sleepy, and went to bed. This continued, on and on, down the ever-spiraling dream well, until my companion WOKE ME UP. I’m not sure if I killed him, but I was so tired, when I tried to open my eyes, the inside of my eyelids stuck to my eyeballs and I was blind. After squirting them with contact solution, I realized the fact that I wasn’t really panicking about this meant it was a dream, and I woke up. I got up, walked around, and noticed the stairs were upside down, and woke up again. Eventually, I had to wake up FIVE TIMES before I triumphantly burst through all those dream layers.

Who knows? Maybe I’m still dreaming. But I think it’s great that even in my dreams my brain was like, “Yeah, let’s use this time to sleep extra.” For all I know, if you add up all my sleep in that 2 hour nap, I maybe actually slept like 15 hours. Pretty nifty, brain.

A couple highlights of this week – We are teaching this Chinese girl named M. She’s dating a Chinese member named G. A couple of weeks ago, we focused on her more, because she said she didn’t believe in God yet. She’s met with the missionaries (only ever with G, and throughout his whole conversion) for about 8 months. We asked her what she knew about baptism. Chagrined, she admitted she had actually never listened to what the missionaries were saying… sigh. Classic. But the more she started paying attention, the more intensely she’s been looking into the church. This last week we talked about the Plan of Salvation. She loved it. We asked her at the end to summarize what she now thought the Plan of Salvation was, and she said all primly “To follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized and repent so we can go the celestial kingdom.”

That is. What. I. Am. Talking about!

Plus, we had this sister missionary there helping us who can speak Chinese, so told us later all the times than M was making fun of us in Chinese. I’ve never in met another sarcastic Asian person, but she’s hilarious. We have a lot of fun together, and she volunteered to be my big sister a couple weeks ago. 🙂

A, the 18 year old, is also seriously considering getting baptized, which is awesome. Everyone wants to baptize a kid who can go on a mission (it’ll happen).

I also wanted to show you guys a text I sent out to the zone. Every week, missionaries do weekly planning, in which they discuss all of their friends and how they can help them. They also set goals. We asked them to specifically pray about who to invite to baptism in the upcoming week. We send out a weekly reminder, and in our ongoing crusade against blah, and because missionaries should stop feeling guilty and assuming that everything that is fun is also disobedient, we always have a punny theme.

This is really tiring, honestly, but everyone loves it. Some classics we had was a Pokemon one (cake), a star wars one, which I didn’t think was that good, but everyone loved it because my companion at the time was named Weber – pronounced Vayber in German, and we signed it Darth Weber and General Grevious.

Ha.

This time we did a pretty extensive one – Princess Bride. I’d like to dedicate it to my cousins, who have watched this movie a lot more than I have. (A few explanations would be helpful: The first word is Errettung, which is German for salvation. The word tauschbag refers to the bag you use to go on exchanges overnight. Using a suitcase and overpacking is a total noob move, and usually only happens your first one. Totally did it myself. 🙂 DDR stands for Deutsche Demoktratische Repubublik – so East Germany behind the iron curtain. And, Elder Wiersdorf is my companion’s name. Okay, that should cover all the gaps.)

 

Here it is:

PB1

Ewwettung. Ewwettung is what bwings us togever tooday. And wuv, twue
wuv, nevew faiwif, and suffeweth wong, and is kind.

pb2

If you haven’t prayed yet about who to put on baptismal date this
week, you’ve just fell for one of the classic missionary blunders!
First is never use a suitcase as a tauschbag. The second, only
slightly less known, is never forget to seek for inspiration when
salvation is on the line! AHA! AHAHAHA! *dies*.

pb4

You may think that is “disrespectful” to invite people quickly to
baptism. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you
think it means. What could be more respectful than recognizing the
divine potential in your investigator, and then helping them see
the first step? Why wait?

There are prepared people! As we traverse the DDR swamp I ask you
about the R.O.U.S.’s.

pb5
Don’t say, “The Righteous Of Unusual Spirituality? I don’t think they
exist.” Or they’ll end up biting you in the shoulder and you’ll get
burned. Metaphorically of course. Usually.

Listen up Buttercup: it’s time to tell God “as you wish” and start
bringing Miracles to the Max!

pb6

Some of your investigators are not yet
completely converted, they’re only mostly converted. For All-bI-know, we
just need to give a little more, stop fighting with our left hand, and
make the forces of evil fear the name of the dread Elder/Sister YOU!
Believe in miracles! Set ridiculous goals, then go out and get them!
Be unreasonable, unstoppable, unwavering! Be INCONCEIVABLE! pb3
There’s no room for fear!
remember why you are here!
Missionaries! Are the baptisms ahead?
Yes – if we work until we’re dead!
You’re here for more than to just nab ties!
Anybody wanna baptize?!

Elder Wiersley and the Dread Pirate Greaves
P.S. Don’t dream of large women

pb7 pb8

Another cool thing that happened this week is the first BYU exchange students just arrived! That’s gonna be fun. There’s a BYU exchange program with the Uni here. These ones will all be back in school when I go, and some of them I’ll beat back to America. Yuck.

I’ll email later about Sunday Skype. When do you have church?

Have a great week!

Elder Greaves

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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.

juice

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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Fantastic!

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


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Hey guys!

This week has been really good. We got a lot done!

We received a special assignment to do an MTC to study our additional language.  More about that just to family . . .

This week probably the most exciting investigator is M. He is a scientist, and just sent his 3rd book on the science of Arabic poetry to the publishers. “It’s only a hobby,” he says. 🙂

He’s a very smart man. It’s a lot of fun teaching him, but a challenge to keep the Spirit there. Not that the lessons aren’t spiritual, but he just asks super logical questions, and we want to answer them, and then it’s never focused on getting the Spirit there. But we are going to change that. He’s super engaged, though, so it’s super fun.

Please pray for him that he will search for and embrace the truth, wherever he finds it.

This week we have a lot going on. We are going to Berlin again, and then we have to plan another Zone Training Meeting.

I am loving my mission!

Have a great week!

Elder Greaves


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Package arrived!

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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This last week was awesome, though a little strange.

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