elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany


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Baptismal Date!

Hey guys!

This week was really pretty good.

We found a cool investigator, so Elder Weber helps us out on Skype teaching him since he speaks a different language. I got to go on exchange with Elder Oliphant one last time, which was fun. That exchange though, I was just pooped. I went to bed at 8. I could barely keep my eyes open. Exhaustion is coming more and more frequently, which is great! That means I’m still workin’!

We had Zone Conference with Elder Adler, an area seventy, which was great. I really liked it.

I’ve been trying to make a new plan of consecration for before and after the mission, so I’ve been studying that a lot. And that was roughly the topic of ZoCo as well.

Also, a missionary had been really struggling with feelings of worthiness about things he had already repented off and as far as I know, weren’t actually that big of a deal anyway, but he was just really beating himself up about it. We had been trying to help him. And then Elder Adler started his talk by saying “I hadn’t planned to say this, but I feel I need to tell you all that..” and then went on to explain that we just need to move on when we’ve made a mistake, and not dwell on it anymore, and the only one that wants us to do that is the adversary. It was crazy how fitting what he said was. That missionary really needed to hear that. I thought that was really neat, and I want to be that in tune with the Spirit in the future so that I can help people more.

Probably the most exciting news of the week is that we put R on baptismal date! He is this Chinese guy that came to church with some BYU students a few weeks ago. I haven’t talked much about him, because we always taught him when I was on exchanges, so I didn’t really know him that well. But we had a fantastic lesson with him, and he is just the nicest guy. He doesn’t have much of a Christian background, which means we have to clarify everything. We set the date for June 19, which is really soon. We decided to do it that soon because we have to do a tough balancing act. He is going back to China in 4-5 months. You are not allowed to get baptized in China. So his only chance to be a member is here. They have wards there, you just can’t join them unless you come back to China a member. So, that means that we want to give him as much experience being a member here as possible, so he is as strong as possible when he goes back. So of course, we want to make sure he understands his covenants as well, but we are going a little faster than usual. Hopefully it works out. He already is socially converted, because he loves the BYU students, who are really awesome. They all live in the same building, and they pray with him and read the scriptures with him, and have him over for dinner and everything, so he’s really solid that way.

Sorry, I have no more time… 😦

Love you guys!

Elder Greaves

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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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Hello Family!

This week has been insane. I think I suffered at least 3 bouts of burnout. 🙂

It was one of those weeks that you could either be angry about or love it, depending on your perspective.

We had a whopping 13 appointments fall out, which is definitely a record for me.

However, we also had 16 appointments work out, which is also is an amazing outcome.

tired

In other words, we are trying to work with a ridiculous amount of people. It’s been so much fun, but I don’t know how many more people we can work with before we need another companionship here in Jena. That’s a great problem to have!

We went to Berlin Thursday because we had MLC. That was fun, but tiring. It’s a 6 hour meeting.

I’m sorry guys, I have no time today, we  had to use most of p-day to plan our zone training meeting, so I can only write a little more.

We had an awesome surprise this week; Elder Peterson, one of my good friends from the MTC, came and stayed a few nights with us on his way to pick up a trainee. He served in this area too, so we got to meet with a lot of people because they wanted to see him. He goes home in 5 weeks! He has to go early to play football. He’s super awesome. It was cool to see how we both have changed.

A cool new investigator is named A. He is from Nigeria. He is getting his masters in Microbiology. He was found at the street display. He loves asking questions, and he is fascinated by our doctrine. I love it when people like the doctrine, you know, because it doesn’t actually happen that often. Of course, that’s usually why we are in the church, but the church did a study, and most people joined the church because they wanted a new purpose in life and they saw that in the lives of the Mormons they knew.

He is awesome though.

We also taught this super awesome guy named M. He is so logical, I love it. he is super fun to teach, and we use members O and A as joint teaches.

Sorry can’t tell you more, I’m excited to write more next week!

Elder Greaves


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Hello!

Hey guys!

I haven’t gotten the [family picture] calendar yet.

Make sure to thank Grandma and Grandpa and Grandma Cathy for me! I just took their money out to buy a suit, but they didn’t have any in my size, so I’m ordering it online. So when a bunch of money comes out, just know I’m gonna deposit the 200 back or something.

That temple experience sounds super awesome, Mom!

You said you are running out of names. I’ve been doing a little family history too, since our mission is focused on that. I’ve found several names. Just go on my account to get them. If that doesn’t work, I’ll just send them to you separately. Just let me know.

You asked about keeping the Sabbath day holy and if I’ve had any experiences in teaching that concept or thoughts that have come to me about why the brethren might be
emphasizing it more?

There is a newish Mormon message about the 10 commandments that talks in part about keeping the Sabbath day holy. There are 3 things we tell investigators they have to do to get an answer – read, pray and come to church. Interestingly, as important as the first two are, neither are in the 10 commandments. The most basic of all commandments are the ones that are basically all about just how to be a decent person, and keeping the Sabbath say holy is on that list.

Many churches today, in claiming the law of Moses to be fulfilled, also seek to render the 10 commandments obsolete. Obviously, that doesn’t mean they advocate stealing, murder, or adultery. Actually, any mainstream church or belief system that says the 10 commandments are annulled follow 9 of them – they don’t have any other Gods, stay away from graven images, don’t take the Lord’s name in vain, honor their parents, don’t kill, commit adultery, steal, lie or covet. All of those things are still considered guidelines. However, the only one that these churches do ignore is keeping the Sabbath day holy. I think that’s interesting.

That’s an example to me of doubting God’s wisdom. We doubt that such a thing could actually help us, or actually affects our spirituality. But I don’t think God put it in here just for fun. I think that is one reason we are focusing on it. There are more blessings connected with it than we probably understand, for it to be on God’s original top 10 list.

Dad, you asked about the greatest compliment I have ever received.  It’s probably a tie between two on my mission: one time, a companion looked over to me at the end of
a looooong day outside. We had sore feet and tired legs from all the walking, and he said

“Elder Greaves, I’ve never been so tired in my entire life.”

That was awesome. Another one was meant more as a statement than a compliment, but it carries with it both negative and positive. Another companion told me

“Yeah, your kinda just like a whirlwind, you know?”

That made me really happy.

Yeah Dad, I’m glad you liked the story last week. It was even worse this week. An 18 year old girl started coming to church last week, so first she heard that we can be Gods. Then she asked for next class to be about the three kingdoms of glory, since someone had given a talk on that. I was excited, because there is some really pretty doctrine there. But then, we ended up mostly just talking about hell and outer darkness. WHY? It was confusing for me, and I’m living the darn Gospel.

Dad, you were talking about birth being like a baptism. Elder Bednar said something really cool at our conference a year or so ago. He said that real birth combines water, blood and the spirit, and baptism is done with water, sealed with Christ’s blood, and finished by receiving the Spirit. I thought that was really cool.

You also said being a zone leader is awesome. Were you one your mission? How did that work there?

Anyway, that’s all I have time for, but I love you guys! I hope you have an awesome week!
Elder Greaves