Monday, September 24, 2012

Herbst ist gekommen … time to pull out the scarves again :)

Guten tag!

This past week I have noticed the air is really starting to feel like fall. I have dug into my suitcase to pull out my tights and scarves that I haven't used since the winter. In a way it feels like seeing old friends again.
Last Monday Sister Reid and I took advantage of the sunshine and went and saw the gardens at Schönbrunn, a beautiful baroque palace. There is a little hill you can climb up and then you get a gorgeous view of the palace and of part of the city behind it. As I saw all those red roofs stretched out in front of me I couldn't help but think about how miraculous it is that I get to serve here. I am grateful to the Lord everyday that I have the opportunity to be here.

I realized something the other day. I have served about half my mission (my halfway mark is next month, gasp!) and all of that time I have been in big cities, first Munich and now Vienna. Sometimes it can be a bit intimidating in a city, because you are surrounded by people all day, every day. But it is also an incredible blessing to get to know the people here and to just soak up the culture. We have so many opportunities to do cool things on P-Day, and we see other missionaries all the time, which is a great support. So who knows what my next area will look like, but if it's another city, I'm ready for it :)

Something cool about Vienna: Vienna has a lot of streetcars, or trams. However, the streets of Vienna are very narrow, so if someone doesn't park their car close enough to the curb, the tram can't get past and is stuck. Then other traffic and possibly more trams get stuck behind it. The tram driver will then ring their bell a lot. If the person doesn't come in a minute or two to move their car, the fire department comes and moves the car over a few inches so the tram can get by. I have heard of this process but have never seen it in person. Well, last week there was a bit of a hubbub outside our window while we were studying. I just attributed it to normal city goings-on until Sister Reid got up to get a drink and looked out the window. Turns out a tram got stuck right down the street from us and they had to call the fire department to move the car. Unfortunately, we were too late and looked out the window in time to see the fire men putting away their equipment. Blasted newts! One of these days I will see it.

This week we met with D three times! She is an American working at the embassy. There have been multiple events in her life that have prepared her for gospel. She is so ready. The members of the ward have been really supportive as we have been working with her. She already has made some great friendships. Unfortunately, she will be out of town on business for the next two weeks :( She will still be able to come to church in between, so that's good.

Last week we got 3 referrals! Now we have all these great new people to go out and contact. I am excited to see what will happen.

A few weeks ago Sister Reid and I talked to a man on the U-Bahn named M. He took the Book of Mormon though, and was really interested in talking more about God. So we met with him last week. His big question was "But how can God have a son?" His view of God is that God is bigger than everything; that God is incomprehensible, and that saying that God has a son is limiting him to our human view point. Thinking about what M said caused me to delve deeper into my belief about God. Here is what I believe: God is our Heavenly Father. I believe, like the angel Gabriel tells Mary "für Gott ist nichts unmöglich." (“for God nothing is impossible”) Therefore, who am I to say that God can or cannot have a son? All things are in His power, and if I believe the Bible and the Book of Mormon (which I do), then I KNOW that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Because God loves us, He sent His Son.  (We passed M off to the Elders, since he speaks German)

I also realized that even though we can logical explain things to people, even though we can put together good scripturally based arguments, ultimately it is the Spirit that does the convincing. It is through the Holy Ghost that I have gained my testimony of God and of Jesus Christ. When I read in the scriptures I feel that confirmation, but without the Spirit I would not have the sure knowledge that I do.

Ich liebe es, mit den Menschen über das Evangelium zu sprechen. Ich lade die Menschen gern ein, aber sie müssen die Entscheidung selbst treffen, ob sie unsere Botschaft annehmen oder nicht. Jeder hat die Entscheidungsfreiheit. Obwohl ich vielleicht nicht so viele Taufen auf Mission sehen werde, ich kann erfolgreich sein indem ich Menschen jeden Tag einladen, näher zu Christus zu kommen.
(I love to talk to people about the Gospel. I issue an invitation of welcome to people, but they must make the decision for themselves whether to accept our message or not. Everyone has their agency. Although I may not see many baptisms in this mission, I can be successful as I invite people every day to get closer to Christ.)

Tschüss! Bis bald!
--Sister Stewart

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