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,
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....