elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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Hey guys!

Hey guys!

This week was also pretty good. I can’t complain.

First off, R is still doing awesome. We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and we were slightly nervous, since tea is such a big thing in China, but he is probably the only Chinese person ever that thinks tea is gross. So he was already living the Word of Wisdom. Now he can do it on purpose! 🙂

Probably the biggest news, besides R of course, is what I’ll be doing next week. I’ve been asked to help teach at an intensive language learning week in Frankfurt Oder. Since Elder Weber and I are going home, only one other missionary is left that knows the language really at all. So we need to train up the next generation. I was pretty shocked when President told me about it because it is one of the last weeks of my mission. I really didn’t want to go. There are a lot of positives about it, but some negatives too. I prayed a lot this week that I could know what I needed to do. Of course, part of me was excited to go back to Frankfurt Oder, but sacrificing one whole week at this point is a lot to ask.

So I wanted to make sure this was right for me, and that this was the way I could help the most people. After pondering and praying, I came to the conclusion that I should do it, as long as I was still able to help out my area, as in, another missionary will replace me for that week, and I stay in good contact with the zone. I’m a little sad, honestly. I think it will be an amazing experience, and I really feel like I’m supposed to do it, but it’s not how I wanted to end my mission. We’ll be teaching or being taught the language from 9 in the morning to 8:30 at night, so it will definitely be intense. Anyway. More on that next week.

We had Zone Training Meeting this week, which was suuuper hectic. We were planning it still the night before. Since it was my last one, I really wanted to give it everything I had, and it was quite the little brainchild.

Just about everything we did was a “new thing”. Which I always enjoy. We had some members come and help out. One half of the PowerCouple, as we call them, named K, was apparently an awesome missionary in Hong Kong, so we asked her to give a training on finding. I came, a super awesome member, and shared his conversion story, which is very impressive. He is a great storyteller too. That was to help the missionaries, but also to help these to members (sneaky sneaky). We mixed things up by having a testimony meeting at the beginning of the meeting, and we started off by splitting into halves. Then a DL and I gave Training to one half, and the Elder Wiesrdorf gave one with the other DL. That was also to help the district leaders out, show ’em how it’s done, etc. 🙂

Our subject was: Christ.

Pretty powerful stuff. I was with Elder Halbleib, who is one of my favorite missionaries ever. Rock solid testimony, cares about others, just all around really great. And if I may say, we absolutely killed it. We wrote a story about a personal encounter of Christ, to make it all seem real, and I think it got the missionaries pretty fired up. We also did a round robin type deal. So one big problem is, you teach missionaries something and then they don’t apply it. And missionaries get bored, so moving elements are useful. Some ZL’s before have done this thing where you have three trainings being taught at once, and three groups, and they rotate, so they get all three trainings. The downside of this is the missionaries that have to teach everything 3 times are then pooped, and they didn’t get to hear the rest of the trainings. And the missionaries ignore things.

So, we made a system where Companionship A teaches Companionship B about using members or something, and then Comp A leaves to go the next station, and Comp B takes over as teachers and teach the same subject to Comp C. Then you learn about and teach every topic. It was really interesting, and I think it will make the ideas stick more. We also gave a hardcore pump up presentation. The idea was based on a story Elder Groburg (author of The Other Side of Heaven) shared in GC. The story is really long, but if you are interested, the talk is called “The Lord’s Wind”. Anyway, I wrote a poem about it and shared it with the missionaries (with the very strict rule that if my companion told anyone I wrote it, I would string him up by his pinky toes). Here it is below:

God’s wind
(Inspired by the conference talk entitled “the Lord’s wind” by John H. Groberg)

I sail on a boat.
Yahoo! I shout, with the sun in my face and the wind tousling my hair
It’s good to be free and it’s good to be young and it’s good to be on my way there
Forward, onward and outward I gaze
Thoughts of success and glory ablaze
I glance proud at those sails, full, taut and strong
When God is with you what could ever go wrong?
And then –
a stumbling thudding shudder.
It began on the deck, then the soles of my feet,
Moved up my back, but wasn’t complete

And the sails
went
slack.

A shaky laugh, a little shrug,
I give a sail a tiny tug –

And

I

Wait

An angry puff escapes my lips
“Where’s the wind?” With hands on my hips
“I need a good strong gusty gale
“Without Your help I’m just gonna fail
“How will I get where I need to be
“If You do nothing and refuse to help me?
And then in my heart, like a voice from on high
I hear “Don’t you ever forget that for you I did die.
“There is nothing, no nothing, I would not do for you.”
The words lit up my soul and I knew they were true
Humbled, timid, a little ashamed
My next question I more carefully framed
“My Lord and my God, I’ll do what You ask – I’m now prepared”
And I knew that He’d answer, because I knew that He cared
I thought and mulled about getting to shore –
When my eye fell upon that little old oar.

Hours pass, my boat slides up onto the sand
Success at last! I’ve finally reached land.

My back truly ached and my arms really burned
But I’ll always remember this lesson I learned
Sometimes in life we wait and wait
And and all is still and we blame fate
And when winds don’t come our sails to fill
It may not be against God’s will
It’s not because God isn’t there
Nor because He doesn’t care
It’s just a chance – now don’t get mad
It’s just the strongest feeling I had
As on the boat my oars I pinned –
sometimes you get to be God’s wind!
And when you really want to go
Well – you’ve got to row and row.

And then we talked about how in missionary work, if we just wait for success to come, we’ll be waiting a long time. And when there are no “winds”, we may start to wonder if God is powerful enough, or if he cares, or whatever excuse we can think of. But I truly think that sometimes, God lets us sit long enough to figure out that we control our fate. If success isn’t coming in missionary work, all I can tell you is grab your area with two hands and squeeze every last ounce of success stored up in there. Go out and actively take what you want, and if your desires are pure, God will bless you for it.

If success isn’t coming in other spiritual aspects of your life, remember the old adage “Nothing changes if nothing changes.” If you are struggling, good! It’s better than surrendering. If you feel like your testimony is weak, pray hard, study seriously, and try different things to make coming to church a revelatory experience. Remember the words of King Limhi to his people after having their bids for freedom rebuffed three times.

“O ye, my people, lift up your heads and be comforted; for behold, the time is at hand, or is not far distant, when we shall no longer be in subjection to our enemies, notwithstanding our many strugglings, which have been in vain; yet I trust there remaineth an effectual struggle to be made.”  Mosiah 7:33

I trust, and give testimony, that there always remains an effectual struggle to be made. We can always improve our situation with the help of the Lord.

I love you guys!

Have a great week!

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This week was really great!

Hey guys!

We met with K, the nonmember husband, on Monday. It was a somewhat difficult lesson, since he had a ton of questions about all of the commandments. Having lived with a Mormon for 30 years, he’s experienced all the inconvenience and has felt none of the blessings of all of those “rules”. I can totally understand that. From the outside looking in, it just seems to be problems. And the only way you can find out if something actually blesses you or not is just to do it.

Then Wednesday, we were supposed to meet with our miracle Frau, O, but she was sick. That was super disappointing, but she agreed to come to church.

Thursday we had zone conference. That’s always fun, but most people that I know are home already. All the sisters I know from the MTC, Elder Weaver, and Elder Garrett are all going home next week. A year ago, going to zone conference was this big exciting chance to talk to people about crazy stories and stuff, but eventually, you’ve collected so many crazy stories and everyone else you know has too, that when all the little whippersnappers are jabbering on about all those things you’ve lived through about 4 times already, you see a friend across the room and just kind of give grim nod and move on.

Then, we made the TERRIBLE mistake of agreeing to ride with the 4 sisters in our district on the way back, because group tickets are way cheaper, and also because we are buds, but I swear, we were literally the last missionaries out of the church. I stood at the door with my scarf and gloves on for about 20 minutes, begging, pleading, cajoling, praying, and singing at one point, and all the while they just blissfully floated from group to group, squealing like they’ve never even seen another sister before, and moving their mouths remarkably fast, probably chattering about makeup or purses or chocolate, or whatever it is sisters talk about these days.

So we missed our train. “And the voice of one crying in the wilderness…”

Then, like champs, we planned alternatively. So the Kiel sisters got out with us in NeumĂĽnster, and then we thought they would wait a few minutes and then get another train, only when we showed up, their train was already there, and they hadn’t bought a ticket yet. So as they hysterically tried to figure out which ticket to buy, then panicked because they didn’t have small bills, then, freaked out getting change at McDonald’s, I thought idly to myself that this is what they are probably like ever single transfer day. Then, ironically, the only time they relaxed and slowed down was after they bought the ticket, assuming they had already missed the train anyway.

But they didn’t.

So Elder Allen grabs literally 6 bags himself and throws them in the train, with me making that windmilling motion baseball coaches do on 3rd base, and they slide in right as the doors close.

Safe!

I’ve been teasing them about that all week.

This week will be the Flensburg sisters’ last week. I’m sure going to miss them. They are the perfect examples of having been changed by their missions. I asked them both what the the single most important thing was that they learned on their missions. Their answers just blew me away.

Sister Hahn didn’t even have to think about it. Her answer was that she learned how to be a Mormon. She learned what it meant to fulfill a calling by learning from both good and bad examples. She knew what she expected from the members here and now sees what the missions would want from her in Utah. She learned what it meant to live her faith.

Then Sister Demke, who personifies the phrase “still waters run deep”, said she has learned and gained a testimony of the perfection of the Plan of Salvation. She knows God has made a perfect plan for her and everyone else, and the more she learns about all the parts, the more impressed she is by the flawlessness of it.

Both very different answers, but proof that they both spent their missions becoming true disciples.

But the coolest thing that happened last week was in the culmination of what we affectionately dubbed “D-day”. As a missionary, you get excited for activities, because if it is a “special” Sunday, it helps investigators make time.

This Sunday was a Primary program (gold), and a child’s baptism, with a ward potluck afterwards. We have been working hard with the little German munchkins to get them to bring friends. The zone leaders did this thing where they asked every companionship to pick a day this month when the rest of the zone could pray for you. They’ve been getting on my case about picking a day, but we kept putting them off, because we wanted to save it for a special day. We asked everyone to pray for us on Sunday, the last work day of the month, that our investigators would come, and ward would bring friends.

As church started, we were disappointed to see that there were no visitors there. Our investigator was coming for the last hour, but 2 others had cancelled on us. But as the lady hour and the primary program started, we were amazed to count about 9 nonmembers and 5 less active members there, only one of which was our O “the Wonderwoman”. The rest were from members. I saw at least one full family with 3 kids and a mom. The little buggers brouhgt down the house with a rousing – and more than a little brainwashy – 9 verses of “follow  the prophet”. That song gives me the heebie jeebies. But the rest was great. We didn’t have time to talk to everyone, but we did talk to one couple named B and S. They are from Canada actually. They were super friendly. The girlfriend is inactive, and the boyfriend is a nonmember.

But the cool part is, we are meeting with them this week!

Booyah.

Then, those two and O stayed for the baptism. It was super awesome.
N (the 8 year old) it’s just about the cutest little button ever.  Then her 10 year old sister, V, sang some baptism song, and man, I almost cried. O told us right after the baptism that she wanted to get baptized and become Christian someday too.

We told her we think we could help with that. That day was really cool, because then we felt like not only was our faith strengthened, but the other missionaries in our zone were hopefully strengthened as well!

To answer some other questions, yes, I have bought a coat, and I look
pretty stellar, and no, I still have not gotten anything about my birthday package. As for the Christmas package, did you send it to Berlin? I have no idea what the game plan there is, but no, I won’t be going to Berlin to get it. They could just ship it if they need to.

I love you guys a lot!

I wanted to tell you, Dad, that I thought your talk was awesome.

I brag about you guys as if you were my grandkids.

Also, what you said a few weeks ago about set ridiculously high goals and then working to achieve them anyway totally inspired me, and really helped me these last few weeks. I’ve thought about it often.

Elder Greaves


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This week was… eh. Not terrible.

Hey Guys! I hope everyone is doing well, including Ginger!

This week was… eh. Not terrible. Actually, good things happened, but just not enough to be satisfied.

I’ve talked before about how we are working really hard to collaborate our efforts with the NeumĂĽnster ward.

We’ve started meeting with this awesome retired guy named K, who is the husband of a member. He’s been married to her for 30 years. It’s so interesting to see how he learns. His wife is super awesome, and is not afraid to talk about the church, but I think the phrase “A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house” applies here. 🙂

We met him during an eating appointment, where our ability to talk soccer and 60’s music came in handy.

(Sidenote, one of the best things you can do to prepare for your mission, after you have read your scriptures, is learn how to talk to people and develop your interests. I can’t tell you how many times I wished I knew more about music or movies or professional soccer so that I could have a good conversation with someone.)

interests

We gave a “quick” spiritual thought, which lasted about an hour, because he started asking a ton of questions. He was super frustrated because he hasn’t been able to understand anything his wife has been saying about the church for the last 30 years. But as we explained it, it clicked, and he got really excited. He said he didn’t want the lessons, but we asked later at church if we could come by for another spiritual thought, thinking we were being sneaky, but the member wife just said,

“Hmm. Sure. You might be able to help him.”

Busted.

But we came over, had a super awesome talk, and then offered to build some Ikea furniture for them on Saturday. Then we had another spiritual thought. You get the drift. He’s so great. He’s this super German crotchety old man that likes his soccer, but he has a best friend and when his wife is out of the house, they put on records, blast he music, and start jumping around playing air guitar. O love that image. 🙂

He’s super happy whenever something makes sense to him. We shared Alma 32 with him, where it talks about faith being like a seed and not being a perfect knowledge, which he didn’t get.

So we compared it to love. You can’t see love, but you can feel it. No one can prove that you love someone, but you know it just the same, and it really can’t be explained away as merely chemicals in your body causing you to feel that way.

Another good teaching moment is when we were with this less active couple. He used to be in he Bishopric, but eventually fell away. He makes lots of excuses, but it basically just comes down to pride and laziness.

That sounds really harsh, but what I mean is, it could happen to anyone. He missed one week, then two, then before you know it, he was gone.

They brought up this time how they could come back to church, but then it is just one meeting after another and before you know it you are drowning. That is legitimate. I think we can all agree we are strangely addicted to meetings in this church, considering no one likes them anyway. We empathized and asked how difficult it must have been when they had 4 kids at home. The wife spoke up for the first time, and for the next 20 minutes they detailed their schedules, how they were always tired, how she had had to run kids everywhere and it was all too much, it was super stressful, on and on, all real feelings they had. Then, when they finished, we just asked,

“But was it worth it?”

It got quiet. They slowly nodded their heads. We moved on.

This church asks a lot of its members. In the form of showing faith and obedience, that is a very good thing. In the form of keeping families apart, it is a necessary but potentially dangerous trait. Apostles and prophets have warned us about this. One said we needed to remember not to ask for too much time. Another reminded us that it wasn’t about Mutual, or campouts, scouts or Relief Society activities. It’s about Christ. The rest is just an appendage, a tool to help us come closer and stay near to Him. Let’s not forget the order of things.

David A. Bednar asked us missionaries when he was here, how we would respond if the church started building church buildings without a gym, without pews, if it got rid of the youth program, Primary, etc. It’s weird to think about it, and I don’t think it will ever happen, considering that they are too useful, but if it were to happen, the church would still be true.

Let’s not forget that.

All in all, I’m a little disappointed so far with the progress of NeumĂĽnster. It’s going better than it has in a long time, but I honestly expect more. I can see the Lord helping us, I just hope I’m not somehow slowing Him down. I feel mostly good, but I want to feel all the way good. NeumĂĽnster is a good area with a bad reputation, so we need to see a lllooot of success so that missionaries stop knowing it as a hard area. That’s actually a problem in our whole zone, which the zone leaders are working on. It’s fun working together with them, and I really like them both a lot. It’s fun taking them on exchanges and trying to kill them with work. 🙂 I think Elder Bretzieng had to walk about 10 miles with me on Thursday, not exaggerating (at a very missionary-like pace, of course). Not something that happens in big cities, or so I heard through the snail mail we just got from the pony express out here in BOONIES. 🙂

I love you guys.

Mom, that’s so cool about your law firm. I hope everything goes well.

Love you!

Elder Greaves


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This week was good in a lot of ways!

Elder Weaver and I are getting along well. He’s almost done with his mission, actually. He’s finishing when Elder Garrett does in December. We are working hard here!

Monday we had a lesson with L, the 17 yo kid. We taught him the Restoration, and he was excited to read the Book of Mormon. His friend promised him a Döner (turkish Gyro, basically what tacos or hamburgers are to America) if he reads it in 12 weeks. 🙂

Then Tuesday, we had a member appointment with some awesome members named the L’s, who may or may not have a friend for us to teach in the future, which is cool. We also help with a football team on Tuesday, since Elder Weaver is really into football.

Thursday we had district meeting, which turned out really good. We focused on helping investigators keep commitments. We also had ward council, which is usually pretty lame, because missionary gears turn a lot faster then member gears. 🙂 And it was, but we are working on it.

Friday we met with L again and taught the Plan of Salvation, then we went on exchanges, and I went to Kiel with Elder Morton. Elder Morton and I were in the same district in Bernburg, so we are already good friends. We had an AWESOME exchange. I respect that guy a lot, and we had a ton of fun together. We had a full day of appointments planned, and were kind of bummed that we wouldn’t be able to do much finding. By next morning, all the appointments fell out, so we had nothing but finding! So we just walked down the street and talked to everyone for like 6 hours, just cracking up the entire way in between conversations with people. It was awesome.

Sunday we had church, which was okay, and then we went to a Born Again Christian church we got invited to that night. We were told it was a Pentacostal church, so we were pumped to see people talking in tongues and stuff, but there was none of that. It was just this Christian folk band and crazy lights and people getting waaaay to into it. It was wierd. Elder Weaver and I made a list of positives and negatives afterwards:

Positives:
1. Everyone was way into it. Like, no one fell asleep. Something our church could improve on!
2. The members seemed to genuinely like each other. Everyone liked everyone, and they all seemed really happy to be there. Sometimes I feel like our church puts us all together so much, we completely take for granted how close we are to everyone around us, exactly like we treat our family. It was like they were all friends, and we are sometimes like a family but we are all grumpy teenagers, who secretly love each other but don’t show it.
3. They really focused on Jesus Christ.

Negatives:
1. It was basically a party. The scripture about the voice of the spirit being not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but as a still small voice came to mind. It was not at all still or small, but our sacrament service is very simple and quiet. I like that.
2. It was somehow apparent to me that this was all completely the thoughts of men. It was men reaching out to Christ, not Christ reaching out to men, if that makes sense. Instead of Christ being at the helm, the Elder guy was at the helm, and they were all trying to get to Christ.
3. It was missing the “genius of our church”, as Gordon B. Hinckley put it, which is activity. No members had any jobs really. I love that in our church, they entire congregation is the priest. Everyone has a role. It asks a lot, but it makes everyone grow a little more.

Something cool I learned in personal study this week:

We were talking about the ten virgins parable in Priesthood on Sunday, and this super old guy raised his hand and said,

“You need a wick for the lamp to work.”

Turns out he’s actually just completely senile and that wasn’t a gospel related comment at all, but then the more I thought about it, the cooler it was.

The topic was on being a light. Everyone knows that the oil in that story is a testimony, and everyone knows how we can’t give people their testimonies. They have to find out for themselves if it’s true. But it mentions that when the bridegroom came, the virgins trimmed their lamps. So why do we need wicks?

Wicks turn oil into light. That’s our works.

oil lamp

That’s how we turn the passive testimony represented by the oil into a burning light. We use our testimony to be light to others, which is sharing our testimony but in a different way. I really like this not-really-scripturally-based-analogy because it totally talks about member missionary work.

I dunno. I have to go, that was a little rough, 🙂 but I love you guys!

Elder Greaves


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Pretty European Street

2015 8 31 Pretty European Street

First, Mom, your blog post was awesome! I really liked it a lot. I don’t know why this text is red or how to change it.

This week has been really good – and pretty strange. It all started on Monday, when we found out that we had interviews with President on Tuesday in Berlin, which is 1 hour 45 minutes away. And our interview ended at 8. So we had to stay the night with the Marzahn elders, the elders in our district. So we had to cancel a few appointments and we headed on over there. We got there reeeeaaaallyy early, and we just happened to run into Elder Allen’s old MTC companion.

After talking for a while, we thought it would be fun for all three of us to go finding in Berlin. We did a few minutes of that, then went back to the mission home. Due to some problems, some missionaries right before us had really long interviews, and so Elder Allen and Germann and I jumped on the trampoline in the dark, which was way too much fun. Then Elder Allen interviewed sweatily with President, by which time it was about 11:30 p.m.. Don’t forget, missionaries are supposed to be home between 9:00 and 9:30, and should be in bed by 10:30. But it was honestly pretty fun to talk to Sister Fingerle and other missionaries. Then, to sweeten the deal, the office elders drove us home. At this point in my mission, I feel like I know just about everyone. This decreases over time, so that by the end, you knew less people than when you got here. But for that night, Elder Short, former Bernburg district leader, Elder Draper, my trainer, Elder Germann, former district buddy in Bernburg with Elder Short and I, and Elder Allen, my trainee, we’re all in one care driving through the dirtiest scariest parts of Berlin at midnight.

SO.

MUCH.

FUN.

goofy smile

So we stayed the night in Marzahn, and slept for 8 hours, under strict orders from President Fingerle (sir yes SIR).

Then we had district meeting, and then I stayed in Berlin for the second night on exchanges with elder Germann, which was also super fun. Finding in Berlin is a blast.

Then, we exchanged back, and Elder Allen and I tried to go get my broken iPad fixed, but we couldn’t find the place. We decided to head home, but I don’t know Berlin that well, and we took a very slow way back, so we missed a train, and we were sitting in the train station in Berlin at 9:30, so basically worse off than earlier in the week. So we had to stay the night in Marzahn AGAIN, and by that time it had lost its fun.

So we got up early Friday and went back to Frankfurt Oder, where I got to put on that change of clothes I forgot to bring.

Blech.

icky

In the mean time, Elder Allen and Elder Williams found a few people, so we met with a few of them the rest of the week.

One of them is super awesome! His name is Jacob, and he’s from Chad.

Chad

The first time we met with him, we tried teaching the Restoration, but w didn’t make it super clear and he didn’t get it. But we did get to know him. He ha a tough past, but he’s actually a civil engineer!

Of sorts.

I don’t think that’s quite the same in Africa as it is here or in America, but he did do drafting and built houses. Then on Sunday, we got up super early to get him to church, and he really liked it. The first hour is Sunday School, so we held an investigator class, and taught a much better Restoration lesson. He LOVED it!

He started reading the Book of Mormon as soon as I gave it to him, and every free minute during church and afterwards, he was reading it. We we’re with him this morning (he was helping us move furniture for a member) and he had read all of the book of Jacob and thought he was a pretty cool guy, considering they have the same name and all. 🙂

So anyway, we will definitely put him on baptismal date this week. If he had come to Germany 2 weeks earlier, I probably would have seen his baptism, but no joke, there would have to be some monumental screw up for him not to be baptized by the end of next transfer.

We also met with Frau F, the butt-kicking 87-year-old. We planned to teach her the Restoration, but only a part of it. She was so engaged and understood it all so clearly, we ended up teaching the whole thing. When we leave her house, we always just have the biggest smiles on our faces, because she’s probably the cutest old lady I’ve ever met. Sometimes, she just breaks down into giggles about some things and it’s so awesome. We invited her to church for example, which is a half hour away. She said she really wished she could, and then, barely able to get the words out she was laughing so hard, she said

“I can’t ride my bike all the way there!”

She was somewhat relieved to find out we could get her a ride. 🙂

We also met with a convinced Jehovah’s Witness, which was… Interesting. It’s kind of fun to meet with other people who are well-versed in their church, because you learn what things you have just taken for granted as truth, and at least for me, it just strengthens my testimony.

A few differences they have:

1. If it’s not in the Bible it is not true.

2. We aren’t a body and a spirit but just a body.

That may not sound like a big deal, but think about all the other doctrines that screws up: No premortal existence, they believe Jehovah to be Heavenly Father (Christ didn’t exist before his birth), the Holy Ghost is not a being but something like electricity, after we die, we are just sleeping until we are resurrected, so no spirit world and no salvation for the dead. All from one difference!

3. They have no concept of “receiving an answer”.

People are converted to their religion when they agree that their religion is the only religion that matches the Bible exactly. when we asked him how he knew the Bible was true, he said “Because it talks about Jesus.” If we asked him why he believed in Jesus, he would probably say “because he’s in the Bible.” I don’t want to attack any other religion, but that idea was so foreign to me that we barely even knew how to answer. Isn’t a spiritual confirmation the goal? Doesn’t the Holy Ghost support truth? How can you assume such things without just asking God? But I’m sure they have things about our religion that don’t make sense either.

We felt really good about this last week. I’m pretty bummed that i’ll almost definitely be leaving in about 2 weeks, right when things are looking awesome, but I’m excited that Elder Allen has another transfer to finish things up!

I hope everything is going well at home! I hope school went well.

I love you guys!

Elder Greaves


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Hey guys!

This week has been pretty okay. We had too many fallen out appointments and not enough answered phone calls, but we did everything we could and we helped the people we did meet with. This week I’ve just felt really good. I haven’t done everything right, but I feel like I’m trying, and that feels good. I just really love my mission. I feel like it is going faster and faster, and I can barely keep up. It’s so rewarding and life-changing and testimony-strengthening, and just plain fun.

In response to the whole block party thing, [where we invited the missionaries to have dinner with our neighbors] that’s awesome! I hope those missionaries were trying to convert people instead of just standing there. 🙂  I really don’t understand why we worry about offending people. If you had a favorite flavor of ice cream, would you be afraid to share that with friends? How much better is the Gospel?

As far as how I’m feeling, it’s awesome!  I truly feel so much more creative and happy lately.

Please don’t worry about last week. He is just a normal guy trying to act tough, and he literally knows nothing about our religion. We saw him again, and he was angry, but he didn’t even stop this time. He’s just a goof. And to clarify, I wasn’t purposefully antagonizing him, it was just so easy because he was so ridiculous. Don’t worry.

you tell me not to worry

This week, I’ve just realized how much my testimony has grown. I’ve had few earthquake moments, but just looking back, I can measure the difference in my testimony and it’s amazing.

Deeds make doubts disappear.

When you work, your testimony grows, simple as that. I’m grateful for it.

I love you guys. Have a good week!

Love, Elder Greaves


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Hello everyone!

Well. This week was definitely an upturn in little ol’ Frankfurt Oder.

There’s been this wonderful feeling lately that everything is going to just get nuts here in a week or two. Weird things are happening. These 2 members, (2 of 9) named O and A, are some of the coolest people I have ever met. They have been working with us like crazy. It has been a testimony-builder to me to see that member missionary work is starting to explode. They are incredibly spiritual, and they can feel the building excitement too.

As far as material, numbers progress, it’s just been kind of “meh” lately. Nothing exciting.

But there’s this incredible sense of building energy. It’s like everything we are doing is just setting the golf ball on the tee. Sometimes, I get really impatient, and just want to smack the ball, but the Lord knows what he’s doing, and He wants us to be able to go the whole distance. So we are taking time to put the ball on the tee. I’m excited to harvest. This week, we have seen some really great people come out of the wood works. We met with 2 referrals from members this week, both of whom are so prepared.

We basically spend all day yesterday at O and A’s, because they are friends with most of our investigators, and we just taught everyone all day. It was exhausting and kind of weird, but a ton of fun and it helped a lot of people. I think one of the nicest compliments I’ve ever gotten is when O said we remind her of “their missionaries.” Their missionaries baptized upwards of 6 people here, and those people are the foundation of this ward. I don’t know if we deserve that high of praise, but I’m willing to work to be worthy of it.

Elder Allen is so wonderful. Our teaching unity is off the charts. He is doing so great and he is exactly what I prayed for.

There are a few things that have really spiritually hit me this week.

Firstly, prayer.

Don’t worry, I knew prayer was a thing, but this week, I’ve felt my relationship deepen with my Heavenly Father as I took the time each night to do a kneeling, out-loud prayer. I’ve tried my best to make a solid conversation out of it.

Second is a lesson I’ve had reconfirmed to me.

Maybe because I’m stubborn and prideful and bull-headed. We had a lesson with one of my favorite investigators ever named J. He is 24, Brazilian, and absolutely is just the life of the party. But J has a problem. He is a Baptist born again Chirstian, a lawyer, and a Bible School graduate. In other words, he has been born, raised, and trained to bible bash. And it is SUCH AN EASY TRAP TO FALL INTO. I’m no expert, but I love the Bible, and I think it is honestly amazing to study through the lens of the Restoration. There is so much truth, and so many traces of the original teachings of the early Christian church in it. And there is just a balance between answering questions with scriptures and trying to shove the Gospel down someone’s unwilling throat. About 30 minutes into the lesson, I realized that no one was being edified in any way. The Spirit was not present. And so I did what I have had to do with J a dozen times. I apologized for being arrogant enough to try and “win” with the Bible. I assured him that the Bible is not our main source of truth – it is only a manifestation of it. Truth comes from God through the Holy Ghost. The rest of the time, we just bore pure testimony. It touched his heart. Our joint teach, a convert, pointed out to us that he is starting to care more. He is starting to get scared it’s true. In a weird way that’s progress. I repented, and I hope I have truly just learned my lesson this time.

Third, I learned that a mission is most fun when you think you can’t possibly do it all.

I love the feeling of everything just getting crazy, running around, weird stories, tons of energy, collapsing after 9:30, and starting all over again the next day. It is a blast. I think if I take a step back and realize that the Lord is just working through me, it is kind of a form of arrogance to try and save my strength. I’m not needed. I don’t need to make my self last. The faster I try everything and do everything I can, the faster the Lord can take over. What a wonderful gift.

Guys, I know this church is true. I love it. I love Christ. He is exactly what I want to be. I have big goals! 🙂 I know that He lived, suffered, died, and lived and ministered again all out of love. I know He felt our individual pain and suffering, weakness and frustration, for the express purpose of loving and nurturing us later. I know He accomplished the greatest missionary task this universe has ever seen, namely the Atonement. He braved scourging, smiting, and spitting, stripes and nails and spears – I know He rose above feelings of doubt and pain, heartache and even abandonment, because He knew EXACTLY why He came. And He did it. “This is the testimony that is in me.” (Alma 7:13)

In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

I hope this week is awesome for you, and I will be praying for you.

Love,

Elder Greaves

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