elder caleb greaves

Holding to the Iron Rod in Germany

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This week was pretty speedy.

Hey guys!

We were super busy being dragged all over Thüringen (the state we are in). On Tuesday, we had a long service project at Berndt’s, a friend of the missionaries. The missionaries have helped in his garden for years.

So far, no progress has been detected.

As far as we can tell, the the stuff we do probably just undoes (that’s a super weird word, by the way) everything that the previous missionaries have done. We mostly just seem to build random structures using the parts of old structures we broke down last time.

So we kind of just redistribute this solid layer of stuff.

Then Wednesday we went to Erfurt for a district meeting.

Thursday we went to Gera to help another branch do a move.

Friday we had our street display. So here’s the rundown: We had a big green tent, like a soccer shade tent thing. A table, with like 10 different languages from the Book of Mormon. Two 15 foot tall flags for Familysearch. A giant pin board with maps of Germany, Europe, and the world, and the phrase “Where are you from?” written in 4 languages: English, German (Wo kommen Sie her?) Arabic (min ayna anta?) and Chinese (No idea).

The board was a Jena-original designed and prototyped by Greaves and Weber Incorporated.

It was definitely the star of the show – it was super easy to talk to people about families and family history as we invited them to tell us where they were from. We had a lot of other missionaries helping us. By the end, we had 9 new appointments for the upcoming week and about 15 numbers to call. It was awesome.

Then Saturday we went to Gera to help the missionaries there with a street display.

We are super excited for this upcoming transfer. We are maybe going to set a goal for the zone that we have a zone WunderWoche ™.  (See post from two weeks ago).

The other language learning is going okay. I’m kind of annoyed with how slow we are taking, but I’m told it’s actually fast.

This week has been really good for me personally. I was thinking a lot about what I need to work on. I want to make sure I don’t leave the mission with any regrets. I was really surprised actually of the answer I came to for how to do that – I needed to change my attitude about myself.

I’ve come to see on my mission that the Gospel is one of moderation. I think as humans, we find it much easier to call things black or white than to recognize how gray something is. We like dealing with extremes. But that’s not usually the right answer. We shouldn’t be lax on obedience, but we shouldn’t put “obedience” above helping others. We shouldn’t be prideful, but we also shouldn’t look down on ourselves.

I realized that I had been going to the extreme with self improvement. I was so disgusted with the idea of complacency that I forfeited satisfaction. It wasn’t actually that I was being too hard on myself. I’m still convinced that being honest with ourselves about strengths and weaknesses is the fastest way to grow. But being happy with not being perfect – that’s a tough balancing act.

So I started praying to feel happy with my efforts at the end of the day. I prayed I would have satisfaction in the work, joy in myself, without losing the desire to improve. I noticed a huge change in my attitude. I went to bed tired and happy and excited for the next day. Even when it was the kind of week I would be annoyed with before. Not only did I feel happier, I also felt like, by releasing my anxieties about not giving it all I had, I was actually able to work harder, because it was more enjoyable.

I think this ranks up there with one of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my mission.
I love you guys, have a great week!#
Elder Greaves


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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