I did get your birthday package on transfer day, thanks! I have been going through a lot of experiences developing patience on my mission, so I gave myself a break and already opened it and wore two of the ties and ate a bunch of the treats haha.
Anyway, I am now in Gera. My new golden missionary is named Elder Goodrich, from Orem, Utah. He is 23 years old, and is a pretty quiet guy. It will take me a while to get used to him since Elder Colson talked all the time and was kind of like a crazy little kid that liked to press peoples´ buttons, and Elder Goodrich is very quiet. He does like to be obedient, and knows why he is out here.
Gera is an interesting town. There is not much to do here, not only as a missionary, but just for anyone. In the last ten years or so, the population here has dropped from about 120,000 to 80,000 or 85,000 because there is no work and no university. It is the ideal situation here to be in a city with a university because there are tons of people in that stage of life where they are trying to figure things out, but here it is very much the opposite for the most part. Everyone was raised in a communist society and for the most part everyone is atheist. We do have a pretty cool branch, even though it is very small and almost everyone is related somehow, like almost anywhere else in Germany where the church is small. The accent here is pretty bad, almost as bad as it was in Idar-Oberstein, maybe a little worse. We have not found anyone to teach yet. It has been extremely cold and people really don´t want to talk to us for the most part, even in good weather, so there is that. We have also had to spend time getting things for the new apartment (which is HUGE by the way), like food and laundry detergent and other necessities. We did get contact information from two people so far, so that was good. Hopefully a miracle will happen with those people and we will start having lessons. We are also two buildings down from a senior couple, the Kempes, who are the greatest. Elder Kempe is the ward mission leader and counselor in the branch presidency, and Sister Kempe is really nice and teaches primary (which is a total of one kid). We ate with them yesterday, and we do emails at their apartment. Elder Kempe likes chess, so after this email, I am going to try to play against him, and he will probably destroy me haha.
Anyways, that is kind of the state of things here in Gera. I hope that things pick up quickly. Just keep praying for me so that we can get the work off the ground here and start seeing some miracles.
Hope you have a good week and a good Easter! Love You!
LG, Elder Squires