Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas in Austria

Hi there!

Well, this week was really great!! Wish I could go into all the
details but yeah...
Started off with a really great Gingerbread house making Family Home
Evening where we were once again able to invite our investigators, a
different Iranian family! Sadly, I have yet to receive these pictures
but just trust me that it was great and fun!

This week included many many member appointments but we even had to
cancel on one because Sister Leonard was super sick after we ate at
our Irainian investigators. This is actually the first time I've had
to stay home in the apartment while my companion is sick in bed! Wasn't
as bad as I thought it would be because I went through every single
contact in the phone and set up some appointments with some old
investigators so that was cool.

Christmas Eve and Christmas day here were magical though.
On Christmas Eve we had a devotional at the church and then a family
invited us over for the eveing and we had our first taste of a real
Austrian Christmas! I loved it. It was at a family with 4 girls, and
we were there along with 2 other single young women in the ward. So
fun! We had a little Christmas devotional there with musical numbers
and testimonies and the spirit was just so strong in that dimly lit
living room with all the presents and the tree and the nativities
everywhere. Sister Leonard and I sang a duet! It was great! I massacred the
Alto part and she, well, she's in the women's choir at BYU so
haha...yeah.
We werent expecting it at all but we got so many presents! Seriously
such a sweet family. Plus we had raclette and fondue on the same night
so I can't complain. It was such a blessing to be in such a
Christ-centered home on Christmas.

On Christmas day one of our good friends who might be an investigator
but claims to not be religious came to church to watch Sister Leonard
perform a musical number in sacrament meeting! It was so good! She was
talking to everyone it was so great!

The absolute highlight this week would have to be right after we did
our skyping with our families. That moment after skyping is always a bit weird...like, oh...back to work I guess. But the Lord always blesses us for going right to work
after something like that.

We went and visited this live-in nurse that we found dooring last
week. She was really sad because she is stuck in the house 24-7 for an
entire month taking care of this extremely old man, and this week, she
had to be there over Christmas.  We went back and when she opened the door she said something that I dont think I've ever heard on my mission before: "I was scared you
guys weren't going to come!"
We shared a message about Christ and all went around bearing testimony
about Him and God's love. The spirit was so strong. It was incredible. She
was so so happy after we left. She said that we were really heaven
sent, and I really felt it. That was a wonderful wonderful way to end
Christmas :)

Love you all, have a great week!


A green chair....
We also had a wonderful zone training in Salzburg and were able to hurry and sneak through the Christmas market there to buy our lunch. Man is it beautiful there... Also all received our Christmas packages. Now that was a Christmas miracle that this package even got to me, seeing as it probably went through several different companionships until it made it from Solothurn to here. Seriously, that is on one side of the mission and I'm on a completely different side here. 




This doesn't make sense to me haha.  Joy to you.  It's a nice message anyway.

Burgers we bought last pday. Sooooo good.

A cat found dooring. The only person that would sit and talk with us. Well, he didn't talk so much, and ran away as soon as we opened the door for him. 
Finally I don't have to listen to EFY music. THANK YOU MOM.

LOVE

Love this calendar even more. Thank you Andreas and Max. You remembered how much I love WWE ❤️

Why so much floss, I don't understand.


Monday, December 19, 2016

Look out for the one

Hi there!

Sorry not so much time today but this week was pretty good!
Started out with a super fun family home evening with a new convert and another family in the ward. This is our family home evening activity, us making them play boys versus girls building marshmallow and spaghetti towers :) don't worry, there was a connection to a spiritual message :)



This week was honestly just a lot of tracting and street contacting, but we did find some people and that was great! The beginning of the week started out great but as the week went on we had some really long days of fall-out appointment after fall-out appointment and absolutely no one wanting to talk to us, let alone walk on the same sidewalk as us :)

The best though would have to be Sunday, when we had just gone through a solid chunk of tracting and no one was interested, or very nice, but then we did meet some nice people! I don't have time to go into detail about each person but it was really amazing as we were able to share the Christmas video with them (the new one from the church for Christmas this year) and bear testimony of Christ. One man, although he kept insisting that he wasn't religious, had tears in his eyes as he thanked us for our time and the work we do. As we walked away from that experience we said to ourselves, even if we have to go through 50 or 100 no's before the yes, the yes makes it all worth it!

One last thing. So this week my companion taught me this wonderful lesson. So the same Iranian new convert family in the ward saw the picture of our little Christmas tree on Sister Leonard's iPad and got excited and was asking where she got it. This will really be their first Christmas as christians, and in Austria. Sister Leonard had the idea of giving them our Christmas tree, which is pretty nice since that was a gift to her from someone else, but she really wanted to. So we did, but as we were getting ready to go and do some finding before our appointment with them, Sister Leonard kept insisting that we do a little more than give them a bare tree and wanted to go get them just a little pack of ornaments or something. But of course, me being me, kind of sighed about it and was only thinking about it cutting into our finding time. But we went and bought the stuff anyway, and I'm so happy we did. The little family was so happy as they got the tiny tree and could decorate it together and put it into their little one room apartment at home. I instantly repented and thanked Sister Leonard for reminding me to look out for the one, and not just be stuck on some missionary statistics. That was a great experience.

Have a merry Christmas! (And don't worry the members are taking care of us and will fatten us up well this week, for those that were asking...)



Our cute kitchen

Haha this is Raha, a little Iranian ball of energy, dressed up like Sister Leonard :)

So much sass.


This is Markus. So so cool. Has been a member a year now! And is seriously the best ward missionary I've ever met. We and all the other missionaries surprised him with some cake for his birthday last night.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Happy Birthay, Max!

Hey there!

As you could probably tell from my past emails, we were having lots of miracle stories in finding investigators, but not so many stories about how well investigators are progressing. Well I have good news, it IS getting better!

August, the man we met on Thanksgiving came to church again and we were able to set up an appointment! I find this especially miraculous by the fact that he probably has no idea what's going on and he keeps getting handed hymn books and a Book of Mormon and stuff, but he can't see/read very well so he gets really embarrassed. Yet when we asked him if he wanted to finally meet with us one time, he said ok! We'll see how that goes.

Also the Austrian family we met last week is also doing great and has been reading in the Book of Mormon, at least the boyfriend is, and has a whole chart and system written out of how he wants to get through it in the next couple weeks. Even the daughter excitedly grabs her illustrated bible when we start reading in the Book of Mormon. Trying to track down an illustrated Book of Mormon for her...

I'd have to say the thing that I'm most grateful for this week would have to be the members here. At first I was kind of frustrated, thinking the members weren't all too involved in our work but man was I wrong. Just because you come into an area with little member involvement, doesn't mean they're not wanting to help!

For example, I finally asked a family that invited us to dinner if some of the new converts could come too. Everyone's been kind of telling me to be careful to not step on Austrians' toes and such, but I finally just asked. And then I just kept going and setting up this thing and that with family home evenings and joint teaches and I tell you what, the members were EXCITED to help. So I'd like to end all rumors right now that say that Austrians are kind of closed off. That is NOT true. At least not in this ward, they were all so willing to help for which I am so grateful. I'm especially grateful for the ward mission team here, all the missionaries, ward missionaries, and our ward mission leader. Everyone is just so excited about the work.

And of course one of the biggest highlights would have to be our zone Christmas conference this Saturday. It was a big all day meeting with the mission president and Sister Kohler, and the Salzburg and Vienna Zones all together. That was so motivating for me. We talked a lot about Christ and his life and ministry. We watched a video that went through his life and I suddenly got really uptight thinking, "why in the world would Christ put up with all these people who don't care and who simply do not get who he is and what he is doing for them. THEY JUST DONT GET IT. And then to add on top of that, when he was on the cross and he says, "forgive them, for they know not what they do" that also struck me! Christ asks the Father to forgive these people, because they just do not get it. THEY JUST DONT GET IT. 

And that's the thing that I think has been driving me insane this week in finding. We talk to people and they're like, "oh that's cool. You guys are cool. Keep it up! Bye!" Or "KEIN ZEIT." ("No time", accompanied by a little hand gesture that looks like they're waving a little pest away haha) or, "no thanks, I'm happy where I am." And every time, walking away I think, "YOU GUYS JUST DONT GET IT! This is such a big deal and it could make you happier than you could ever imagine!"  And of course I respect their decision to not meet with us or even talk to us, but after a while it's just a little frustrating.  And watching this film about Christ made me think about him, and the fact that he not only served a mission like me, but truly suffered and died for all of us, and I thought, why? Why would he do that? And why should I keep serving too?

I thought this verse of scripture couldn't answer the question any better: 
"For the things which some men esteem to be of great worth, both to the body and soul, others set at naught and trample under their feet. Yea, even the very God of Israel do men trample under their feet; I say, trample under their feet but I would speak in other words--they set him at naught, and hearken not to the voice of his counsels. 
...And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."
1 Nephi 19: 7&9

I am so grateful that the Savior preformed the Atonement and lived the consecrated life he did, even knowing that not everyone would get it. I'm so grateful that he loves each of us enough that he was willing to do it, even though not everyone accepts or wants his sacrifice. Everyday, I just pray that I can have this same love for the people of Linz, so that I can keep going and keep serving them. And you know what, the Lord has helped me with that. I really have been given a greater capacity to love while out on my mission.

Have a wonderful week,

Bye!



Hauptplatz Weihnachtsmarkt


Haha Sister Leonard is nice enough to pose for me while I take some epic mission photo shoots.


Landstrasse with its lights


Our lovely Iranian investigators surprised us with some dinner. Look how delicious....


And the Norths. They're the missionary couple here. And our neighbors. They invited us for dinner one night and it was sooooo good. Sister North is an incredible cook and we're always nice enough to eat all the cookies she bakes in trying to figure out how to work with European ingredients. 



Monday, December 5, 2016

Solid Week in Linz

Hey there! Another really solid week here in Linz.

Our miracle this week would have to be on Monday when we were going dooring. Both of us felt good about this house and we started going around, asking people if we could share the church's new Christmas initiative video. Have you seen it? It's AMAZING. I love it so much.
Well anyway, we got to one door and the lady said she really didn't have time right then but that we could come back another time. Usually this means, "I feel bad for you, I really have absolutely no interest but come back if you want, if that makes you feel better about yourself." Which if you're a missionary in the dead of winter in Europe, it does make us feel better about ourselves. Ha

So the next day we go back and ring twice and there's no answer. I'm about to turn away and Sister Leonard says, just one more time? So we do and she answers! And she lets us up! And lets us in! Well, sort of: we stood in her entry way baking in our huge winter coats but we got to show her the video! We started talking about the need for religion and a belief in this world and started explaining what we do as missionaries. Honestly, I could hardly understand what this lady was even saying with her strong Austrian dialect and I was just saying words and thought to myself, "Oh Heavenly Father, this young single mom would love the gospel and needs it so much. She's probably the most sane person I've talked to in a couple weeks and I think the first Austrian I've had a really solid conversation with in my time here in Linz (foreigners tend to be nicer and opener). But I have NO IDEA what I can say that will touch her..." and then suddenly in our conversation she says, "well you guys are welcome to come back and visit anytime you'd like!"

Haha Guys, it's bad, but I literally said, "Wait....are you sure??"
Oh dear am I a bad missionary or what. I'm sorry! But it really caught me off guard! Anyway, it was ok, because she was like, "yeah!"

Sooo we got to come back the next day and teach her about the restoration! And what made it better was that her boyfriend and nine year old daughter were also there and super involved in the lesson and also interested! She even told us, "You know what guys, I NEVER do this, letting random missionary people into my house, but when you were talking to me at the door, and you were talking to me about what you do, I just felt this overwhelming positive energy, which I haven't felt in a very long time." 
Cool right??

I think people think that missionaries just know and are conscious of the spirit they have but it's not so obvious for us sometimes! Sometimes we're really tired and all we can think is, "Oh man...I'm a terrible missionary and am never going to get this down..." but then someone tells you that they feel the spirit and power and authority of your words and it just reminds me that it really is the case!

So that was super cool. Like I said, it was a great lesson, plus we're going back next week again, plus she gave us a slice of homemade blueberry cake from blueberries they'd picked themselves from the mountains. Not bad right?

The Lord truly does bless us. Really. Sister Leonard and I have so many conversations where we walk away and look at each other and say, whoa. There's no way that would have happened without the Spirit. So many times where we looked at each other and said, wow. They felt the spirit. Did you see that? Did you feel that? So cool :)


Love you! Have a great week!







Merci Dagmar!!!!!!! Trop bien 😊