elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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I hope you had a great week!

Hey guys!  I’m so glad my package finally arrived. The Pyramide should also come soon. This week was OK.  I’m still learning the ropes of being a Zone Leader.

I’ll try to describe what it’s like. Once a month, you go to Berlin. President tells you what he wants to tell the missionaries. You hold a zone training meeting where you pass on that info. Being a district leader is like being a bishop. You plan weekly district meetings, which are like the sacrament meeting. Being a zone leader is like being a stake president.  You work with the district leaders mostly. Zone training meeting is like stake conference. As a district leader, you work mostly with missionaries directly. A zone leader has less opportunity to do that, and does a lot of paperwork and a bunch of other tiny little things. Usually a companionship has one phone to share, but because we make and receive so many calls, we each have our own. We set some goals once a month, which everyone ignores 🙂

It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. There’s always just a bunch of inconsequential little things or emails or forms or planning sessions that you have to do that just makes every day super short.


I finally got to meet the ward. Like I said, they are all young college students, mostly getting masters or Ph.D’s. We have an investigator from Zambia getting his Ph.D in photonics, which is just about the craziest witchcraft I’ve ever heard of.

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting photons, which are particles of light. Photonics underpins technologies of daily life from smartphones to laptops to the Internet to medical instruments to lighting technology. Who knew?

Photonics is the science and technology of generating, controlling, and detecting photons, which are particles of light. Photonics underpins technologies of daily life from smartphones to laptops to the Internet to medical instruments to lighting technology. Who knew?

For example, computers read binary. LED lights constantly blink, faster than our eyes can see. Apparently, they are working on being able to get wifi just by having your computer read binary from a lightbulb.


No idea how that works. But anyway, he was on baptismal date, but wasn’t ready at all and kinda freaked out and wasn’t answering his phone, so we decided to do like annoyingly persistent missionaries do and stop by. He was home, and it soon came out that I was studying Physics. He flipped out and got African-excited (it’s a thing) and almost shouted

“I found a brotheh!”

And we talked for the next twenty minutes about all that jazz. Pretty sweet. Hopefully we’ll be meeting with him again now.

On Sunday, I led our Gospel principles class. There were a few nonmember visitors that I wasn’t planning on (they’ve never had contact to the church before) so I had to basically change the whole lesson plan in the bathroom 5 minutes before  (I guess you could say I was stalling HA).

Then of course over excited, over intelligent members brought it immediately to “we can become Gods”, so that had to be controlled and made more normal. But it was super fun.

Tomorrow we have zone training meeting, which is zone leader game day.

I’m excited for this week – we finally will have some time to work, though I’ll be on exchanges in Erfurt for 3 days straight.

Love you guys!

Elder Greaves

P.S. About the classes, don’t worry about it. Elder Weber and I are going home at the same time, and it’s expected that you get permission and then register for classes yourself. We are both going to BYU too, so it will be all good in the hood. 🙂

He's in there! Just hard to see.  This was taken at Mission Leadership Council for December.

He’s in there! Just hard to see. This was taken at Mission Leadership Council for December.


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Hey Guys!

This week was a good one. I liked it. And of course, it finished off with General Conference, which I really liked.

One of my favorite things that happened this week is we met with an older lady in our ward named Schwester G, and with her nonmember husband. Of course, we wanted to talk about the Gospel with him, but we also knew that missionaries can sometimes get a little nervous or awkward or overeager in such situations, so we just wanted to make sure he liked the missionaries at the end of the day.

As we talked, the conversation just naturally turned to the Gospel. We ended up having an awesome lesson! He’s an awesome guy who’s just been frustrated because he can’t seem to recognize the Holy Ghost. But we were able to explain it to him a little better, and he really liked that. Hopefully something comes of that!

We also met with this less active guy who used to be a part of the bishopric. That was also a good lesson. He still believes the Book of Mormon is true, so we read in it together and try to get as much out of it as we could. It turned out really well. It’s pretty enjoyable because he just has this attitude

“GRR. I hate that this book is true!”

One thing I’m really excited about is our member missionary work plan. It’s a fact that the best way to do missionary work is through members. The actuality of our calling is that we are supposed to be full-time teachers, and the members full-time finders. I’ve never even heard of anyone getting anywhere close, but I’m pumped to try here!

We spent a chunk of our day planning everything we possibly could to really jump start the ward. Here’s part of our plans:

Operation Shirtless: This one was actually thanks to Sawyer! We made origami ties modeled after the one he sent me a while ago, and then put a thank you note inside. Then we give them to the members after eating appointments, etc. That’s really cool! I’d never thought I’d do something so cutesy, but Germans are suckers for homemade gifts. Really. Like in America, you’s be like

“Aw. That’s really cool!”

But here they like melt and hang it up framed on the wall.

So we are trying to take advantage of that little cultural chink in their armor. 🙂

Class:  We are holding a missionary class in December to explain actually how they can help.

Through the kids:  The Primary Program is coming up, so we ordered these “Future missionary” bracelets and we are going to help them invite friends. This is a proven tactic. And please, when I was 6, if the missionaries gave me a bracelet and told me to invite friends, heck, I’d invite everyone.

Plan:  We are helping our Ward Mission Leader make a ward mission plan before December.

Family History:  We are now going weekly to the family history center to meet members and nonmembers alike.

Temple:  The stake is paying for all new or returning members to go up to the Copenhagen temple once a month. That’s awesome!

Service:  This one I need your help on. We are going to have service project activities, because this ward has a terrible problem of not coming to activities. But it’s way easier to say you are too busy for soccer than it is to say you are too busy for premature babies. That is kind of sneaky, yes, but in a good way. Could you guys send me a few ideas of things that wouldn’t take too much work to set up, but have a good emotional story behind it?

I don’t have time for much else, and I’ll talk about GC next week more, but I really liked it. I dug the pottery analogy, and I loved Elder Nelson’s and Elder Renlund’s talks.

To answer those questions: The 500 dollar thing: I have been racking my brains to figure out where it’s all gone. I honestly have no idea. I went out a to eat way too much in Frankfurt Oder at the end, which is how I train to gain an appetite, by just eating right when I’m hungry and keep doing it, but I definitely stopped that. I’m really sorry. Truly. I can’t really explain it. I feel really bad.

We watch session 1 Saturday night, Priesthood Saturday morning, then S2 and S3. S4 we watch on our own, or sometimes next Sunday during the last 2 hours.

District leader is fun. I think I have it under control. One thing DL’s do here is call every companionship every single night, which is sometimes not what I want to be doing, but also it’s a ton of fun to talk to them. District meetings have been really fun to plan, and I’ve been getting some pretty positive feedback, so that’s good. Last week, the subject was helping investigators progress, but I try to say different or unique things, since most obvious stuff has been said. That seems to be working. This week, I’m going to be mixing it up by doing more of a spiritually-focused meeting. Every other district meeting I’ve ever been to has been about how to be a better missionary, but I just asked several missionaries to talk about a certain characteristic of Christ, so it will be a little different but cool.

Hey! To end on a happier note, I don’t know if you’ve read any bios of the new apostles, but Elder Renlund’s wife sounds like a powerhouse! She owned her own law firm and was in several committees, but gave it all up when he was called to Africa. Anyone that’s a mormon mom and a lawyer is cool in my book! 🙂

Anyway, I’m gonna go now. I can totally tell that my English is sounding very German today. I have weird sentence structure going on right now. Also, in German, I-e and e-i in words (like weird) makes the opposite sound as in English, which has completely fried my brain. It’s to dyslexic levels on those. I literally have no idea anymore. For example, fried. Fried would be said freed in German. To say fried, you’d spell it freid. Sigh. College will be fun.

I love you guys!

Elder Greaves

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This week was really cool!

Hey guys!

First off, I missed Frankfurt Oder sooooooo bad it was ridiculous. It was physically painful leaving. But I’m mostly over that now.

Neumünster is really cool! Most missionaries say it’s super ugly, but I kinda dig it.

It’s like an overstuffed flowery grandma couch that looks terrible but you keep it anyway.

ugly couch

The ward is going to be interesting. I really like them. They’ve had a string of a lack of missionary work but things have been getting better recently. I kind of like hearing things like that, because it’s like you know that there are all these blessings that have been put on hold until someone willing to work hard gets there! And we are ready to work!

This last week I met this member named F, who is a 19 year old orphan, baptized into the church a few years ago. Then he was isolated from the church for a while do to his home circumstances, so on his own he read the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Preach my Gospel. He really took the last one to heart. He has referred 2 of his friends in the last 2 weeks. Both came to church on Sunday, and we are meeting with one tonight!

We’ve just been doing our best to find people, but it’s no secret that the secret is member missionary work.

One cool thing I found out about this ward is 25 years ago, Elder Hales was here (not yet as an Apostle) and he got up in the middle of a meeting and said he felt that this ward would someday be an example to the whole stake about how member missionary work should be done, and this stake will be an example to all of Germany. That’s really cool!


I did my best to be really energetic on Sunday to get them pumped for when I work them over for the next 6 months 😉 It seemed to work, and I got to give a little talk on charity.

As for being district leader, it’s not hard. It’s exactly as I expected. Just to clarify, I know sisters can be awesome, but I also know if they aren’t awesome, I can’t help them as easily as Elders. That was the frustration. One companionship actually ROCKS. They were both in the MTC with me. They are doing really well. One of them I didn’t know very well, but it sounds like she is just ridiculously bold, which I think is funny.

But I’m doing well. I’m sorry for the recent influx in spending. All of my clothes kind of got to the breaking point all at once, so I had to buy a few pairs of pants and sweaters (all super cheap though), but then I also had to buy the 100 dollar ticket to get here as well has about 100 dollars in tickets this week alone just to get around (I get that money back eventually) I’m trying harder to budget and at least know where the money is going though. Just so you know.

So everything is going well!

Love you!

Elder Greaves

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NO time!

Hey guys! I’ll do my best to write as much as I can, but I really have almost no time for emails today. We have people to say goodbye too, and I’ll probably be up til the wee hours cleaning and packing.

Oh. So I got transferred.

I’m going to Neumünster, which is a somewhat small City (but still my biggest!) in the north, kind of near Denmark!

Look for the yellow marker!

Look for the yellow marker!

I also got called to be a district leader, which is causing me unneeded stress, honestly.  But I’m excited. My new companion’s name is Elder Weaver, and all I know about him is that he’s tall. So that’s good!

I’m feeling fine now, but I was really sick this weekend.

Germans are strangely into eating raw meat on sandwiches.

I had raw salmon the other day (smoked) and it was really good, but on Saturday I ate what was essentially raw bacon and yes, it absolutely killed me. It kind of felt like some little bacon wrestlers were using my intestines as the ropes around their WWE wresting ring, and they were definitely throwing down what I will – in polite society – describe as some wicked wrestling moves.

bacon wrestling

We kicked off the Family history class on Sunday with the members, leaving them all thoroughly confused, which was basically as expected, since middle-aged Germans are so completely inept with computers its embarrassing. We had a woman in her 40’s ask us how to turn off her computer, so that should be a fun little playhouse for Elder Allen in the future! But our plan was just to introduce the idea so they have time to invite their friends over the next 2 weeks to the first class. I think it will go really well. The members are excited. I think I’kll do the same thing in Neumünster when the time is right.

All in all, I’ve really, really sad to leave Frankfurt Oder. It’s the right time, but it hurts, too. Every transfer hurts, but this town is very special to me. I think I’ve learned the most here of any city on my mission. I’ve learned charity, and I’ve come to really love both the members and investigators in a very special way that I think only missionaries and parents can understand, in that this person has become someone you pray for constantly and think about daily and desire more than anything to help. I’m sure it’s more extreme for parents, but it’s an interesting dynamic with complete strangers who are older and more experienced than you are.

I’ve learned to love the scriptures even more, and I’ve come to really appreciate them as the Word of God. I’ve been delighted and astounded to see just how much you can get out of every verse. It is so deeply layered and meaningful, and so completely beyond the capability of any human to reproduce. It’s almost like you can feel the imperfect human language and understanding straining and stretching under the rich immensity of meaning. It really can only be conveyed through the Holy Ghost.

And I’ve come to be extremely comfortable talking to people and being around them.

I’m excited to see what type of missionary I will be in Neumünster – I feel like every area I become a different one with new strengths and weaknesses!

I love you guys! Have a great week!

Elder Greaves

New Address is: (also updated on the contact me page)

Elder Caleb Greaves
Geibelstrasse 21
24536 Neumünster