Monday, October 29, 2012

It snowed today

Guten tag!

Today it snowed. And it's October. Luckily I have hats and scarves and boots to keep me warm.

Everyone serves us tea when we visit them, which is awesome because it warms you right up, but I always get too eager to drink it and end up burning my tongue.

We went to our Ward Mission Leader's house for dinner! He lives in a village outside of Vienna, so getting to his house involved a somewhat creepy train ride (it was just really dark) and then getting out at a stop that looked like it was in the middle of a field. The station was just one gravel platform. I think I have been serving in big cities too long. I am used to brightly lit train stations with multiple platforms. But the trip out there was worth it. He cooked a Filipino feast. Oh my word it was so tasty. I never knew until I served in this area just how good Filipino food is. We also got to go to a Filipino birthday party this week. There was a whole pig and Filipino sticky rice. Our Ward Mission Leader tricked us into eating intestines.

This week we also watched the Restoration video with one of our investigators in Tagalog. Maybe they just should have called me to the Phillipines.

On Wednesday we went finding with the other missionaries in our District in downtown Wiener Neudstadt. It's a cute little city about 30 minutes outside of Wien. It was so fun to spend the afternoon just wandering around the Pedestrian Zone just talking to people. We talked to one woman who was so touched that we wanted to give her a Book of Mormon. She said "No one's ever given me a book before." She also asked "Why did you talk to me, specifically?" I have been thinking more about that question, and I think that every person we talk to was put in our path by the Lord. Now, they may not want to listen to us, but that doesn't matter. Heavenly Father gives everyone a chance (multiple chances actually). We as missionaries just have to be in the right place at the right time, and then we will meet the prepared people.

Our investigator with a baptismal date postponed. She is still doing great, but she just wants to be really sure before she makes such a big decision.

Something I learned this week: When you have a problem that's bugging you, or when you feel discouraged, go to the Lord in prayer. He WILL help you. And then, once you receive revelation, ponder on what He has told you. This week I was struggling with something, and I prayed really hard about it and got an answer about what I needed to do. I did that, but then I still felt uneasy, so I kept on pondering on the problem and the things I could do to solve it, and then BAM. Heavenly Father was right there again with even more revelation, and more importantly, the peace of mind that I so desperately needed. Then I read in Helamen 10, and I really related to Nephi's experience. So I know that Heavenly Father will not leave us hanging. He will be there, every step of the way, until we find the peace that we are searching for.

Ich liebe euch. Ich bin so dankbar, für die gute Menschen, die ich in meinem Leben habe. Ich weiß, dass Gott mich und alle seine Kinder liebt.
(I love you. I am so thankful for all the good folks in my life. I know that God loves me and all of his children.)

Ich wünsche euch eine schöne Woche!
(I wish you a wonderful week!)
--Sister Stewart

Monday, October 22, 2012

Taufdatum in November! (Baptism in November!)

Hallo liebe Famile und Freunde!  (Hello--my loving family and friends!)

Well, I guess I will start with the biggest piece of news- We set a baptismal date! D will be baptized on the third of November! Please keep her in your prayers.

D is amazing, we have been teaching her for a little over a month now. She really wants to finish the Book of Mormon before she gets baptized (she's about halfway through). To support her in that goal, I decided I will also try and finish before she gets baptized (I am also about halfway through) Wish us luck! If you want to join in this crazy challenge, you can start today in about Alma 30 and then finish before November 3rd. Even if that's not possible for you, I still encourage you to push yourself in your scripture study. If you normally read 10 minutes a day, read 15. If you normally read one page, read two. I know the Lord will bless you as you feast upon the words of Christ!

This past week was one of the busiest so far on my mission. We did splits three times! Wednesday we had a Zone Training Meeting. The Graz sisters came up to Vienna for the meeting and then stayed the night because interviews were the next day. So we got to split with Sister Pingree and Sister Holmstead. Oh, it was so fun to work with Sister Pingree again! 

Thursday we had interviews with President Miles. I love interviews because it is that little extra boost that I need to help me through the transfer.

Friday we went to a work out class that one of the Relief Society sisters teaches in our ward. Oh man, my muscles (especially my glutes) were very sore.

Sunday we got to hear President Monson speak! It was broadcast from Frankfurt. We had two of our investigators come! One of them showed up at 11:15, and then it ended at 11:30. Oops. (I really thought it was supposed to go until 12). They had a translator for him. He would pause after every phrase and then the translator would say what he had said in German. I am so glad that is not my job! It is hard to translate on the fly like that, especially because German and English sentence structure are so different.
Fall has come to Vienna. The leaves are changing colors. The past two days have been very foggy. I am grateful that we can wear boots and scarves; they help so much to keep me warm. I think I will leave lots of my clothes here when I come home, but I will definitely bring back the scarves I have accumulated.
We memorized this scripture in Alma 26:12 this week, and it has become one of my favorites. I am striving to develop this attitude-

“Ja, ich weiß, daß ich nichts bin; was meine Kraft betrifft, so bin ich schwach; darum will ich nicht mit mir selbst prahlen, sondern ich will mit meinem Gott prahlen, denn in seiner Kraft kann ich alles tun; ja, siehe, viele mächtige Wundertaten haben wir in diesem Land vollbracht, und dafür wollen wir seinen Namen preisen immerdar."
(Yea, I know that I am anothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will bnot boast of myself, but I will cboast of my God, for in his dstrength I can do all ethings; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever.)

Ich hab euch lieb!  (I love you very much!)
--Sister Stewart

Monday, October 15, 2012

Halfway there

Well, hello there!

This past week was great, we were able to see the rewards of our hard work and also get a glimpse of some of the exciting things we have coming up ahead.

 We also got in contact again with one of the less active members in our ward, S, who we hadn't talked to in about a month because she had moved and we didn't have her new address. Well, we tracked her down. We invited S to have family home evening with her family and she got really excited about it. And then she came to church on Sunday!

This next week President Monson will be visiting Germany, and we get to see him speak via Satellite! It will be broadcast here in Vienna! So exciting!

 This week is my halfway mark! Time on a mission is a very strange thing. The weeks seem like days and the days seem like weeks. I still have a hard time believing that I have already been in Vienna for three months and been on my mission for 9 months. Next summer I will be home! I don't get another August on my mission. Crazy! I want to make it count.

This past week in my scripture study I have been reading in Alma 7. I have used that chapter a lot on my mission to explain the Atonement, but I never realized before reading it this past week that there is so much more in there. After verses 11 and 13 which explain the Atonement, Alma goes on to extend a baptismal commitment, which is perfect. It really is after we start to understand what the Savior did for us that we then develop the wish to follow him and be baptized.

Sorry this is so short, I am a little tired today, we walked all over Vienna and back. The city is so pretty, and I wanted to see the "touristy" bits before it got too cold.

Ich bin so froh, dass ich auf Mission bin. Es ist so toll, dass ich die Gelegenheit habe, andere zu helfen, näher zu Christus zu kommen. Ich versuche, mein Bestes zu geben, und dann kann der Herr Wunder bewirken.
(I am so glad to be on a mission. It is so great to have the chance to help others come unto Christ. I do my best then the Lord works miracles.)

Tschüss! Hab euch lieb!  (I love you!)
--Sister Stewart

Monday, October 8, 2012

Wir haben Propheten heute, und sie sprechen zu uns! (We have prophets today, and they speak to us!)

Guten Tag!

I must apologize, as I was reading over my letter from last week I realized how much I use smiley faces. I will try to restrain myself in the future.

Anyway, this past week was a good one. We taught an adorable little family from Vietnam that the Elders in the 5th ward found. There are so cute and just want to know more about Jesus Christ. Well, that's what we do :)

This past week we also taught C, who had a son die when he was just 20. We read Alma 40:11 with her, and as she finished reading, she literally shouted for joy. Oh man, she is so ready for this message, we just have to get her some good fellowshippers in the ward and get her to church!

Sister Reid and I taught our English class the song "Head, shoulders, knees and toes." So, so, so much fun.
The highlight of the week was of course General Conference. We went to go watch it at the Stake Center. During the Relief Society session (which we watched Saturday afternoon), we sat with an investigator some of the Elders are teaching and her 4 year old son, D. D is a ball of energy who mostly speaks Spanish with a couple German phrases thrown in here and there for good measure. Luckily, we did have some crayons on hand, so now I have a nice drawing, courtesy of D, in my notebook. I loved the talks particularly about the Atonement; because that is something I have wanted to understand better.

Then Saturday night we heard the announcement by President Monson: Elders can serve at 18 and Sisters at 19! We have some 18 year old missionaries in our mission, and they do a great job. I think this means that a lot more Sisters will serve missions, because they won't have time to get married first :)

On Sunday we watched two more sessions. We had 4 of our investigators come to watch the Sunday morning sessions! And one of them brought a friend! :) That was amazing. I especially loved the beautiful music by the choir during the session, that really helped to invite the Spirit (and to break the meeting up, so people stayed interested). W came, and in order to keep her focused, I looked up the scriptures the speakers used and had her read them in Chinese. She especially liked President Monson's talk. She said "I want to hear him again!"

One of my favorite talks was Elder Holland's talk. Oh my goodness, he speaks with power and authority, you can't help but listen. I will be going back and rereading John 21 in a whole new light now.
We got transfer calls this week and have some exciting news! First off, Sister Reid and I will both be staying for another transfer at least. Also, we are getting a set of Elders in our ward!! Oh man, I almost jumped for joy when the Zone Leaders told me that. Our ward really needs Elders right now. There are so many priests that should be preparing to go on missions that need a strong example. And, we will be able to pass off some of our investigators to them, so we can focus more fully on meeting the needs of the needs of the sisters that we teach. I am so grateful, because this is something I have been thinking about. The last transfer I told Heavenly Father I would continue to do my best, but it would be awesome if He could send some Elders our way.

Ich habe diese Arbeit so gern, und ich weiß, dass wenn ich mein Bestes gebe, kann ich anderen helfen. Der Herr will, das wir einander dienen. Ich bin vielleicht nur eine kleine Honigbiene (wie Elder Ballard gesagt hat), aber ich kann anderen jeden Tag helfen, in dem ich aufmerksam bin und meine kleine Teile tun. Wie Sister Burton gesagt hat "First observe. Then serve." Meine Mutter ist ein gutes Beispeil von dieser Grundsatz, und ich will ihr Beispiel folgen.
(I am very fond of this work and I know that if I do my best, it will help others. The Lord wants us to serve each other. Maybe I’m just a little honey bee (as Elder Ballard says) but I can help everyone I know and do my little part. As Sister Burton said, “First Observe. Then Serve.” My mother is a good example of this truth and I will follow her example.)

Ich wünsche euch eine schöne Woche! Tschüss! (I wish everybody a good week!)
--Sister Stewart 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Austausch Miracles :)

Liebe Familie,

This week was stuffed with miracles. Really, sometimes I like to just sit back and watch as the Lord directs this work. I am sure it brings Him a lot of joy to lead us to the right people, to lead the right people to us and to work miracles so that His work can go forward. The logistics involved must be astronomical, but somehow He makes it all work.

We found more new people this last week! One of them is named C. She was a referral from the Zone Leaders. They met her on the street and got her contact info, but we hadn't been able to get a hold of her yet. On Tuesday we had a slot of time where we were trying really hard to make an appointment, but two different investigators cancelled on us, so (a little bit frustrated) we decided to go by and see C. We rang her bell, she let us in and said "I just got home from work" Miracle :) Then she told us how she has started reading in the Book of Mormon that the Elders gave her and that she felt that this book came at the right point in her life. Miracle :) We had to leave pretty soon, but then we were able to see her again on Friday and it turns out it had been a really rough week and she really needed some peace in her life. So we read Alma 7 with her (one of the most comforting chapters in the Book of Mormon, if you ever have a bad day, read it!) and after she read she just had this great smile on her face. Miracle :) Oh man she is awesome.
Wednesday we did an Austausch ( = companion exchange). Sister Reid went to Graz to work with Sister Pingree and Sister Holmstead came here. Sister Holmstead and I actually entered the MTC on the same day, but since I was fast tracked I don't know her that well. But we will get to go home together. Working with her was so fun. They have seen some miracles in Graz lately so she was on the lookout for them all day and would point them out when they happened. For example, she forgot her ticket at home so we had to buy her a new one which caused us to miss the tram and then while we were waiting we met a woman from Thailand who was so open and friendly. Miracle :) Then later on even though there was something wrong with the trams and they weren't running regularly, we still made it to our next appointment only 5 minutes late. Miracle :) Sister Holmstead didn't have a jacket, but it didn't rain all day long. Miracle :)   There are miracles large and small that the Lord works every day, we just need to be on the lookout for them.

Church yesterday was so fun. We had Linger Longer, so everyone brought food and we stayed after church and visited. W, our Chinese investigator was there. We made sure one of the ward missionaries stuck with her and took care of her. It was so funny because the member (who is Filipino) taught W how to say "How are you?" in Tagalog, and W then proceeded to go up to every Filipino member she could find (about half our ward is Filipino) and practice her newly learned skill. It was a very funny and creative way for her to get to know lots of the members of the ward.

Lots of the time when we ask people, "Wie geht's?" (How are you?) on the street or in the tram, we get the response "Kennen wir einander?" (Do we know each other?). I guess it is really not a normal thing for Austrians to greet each other, and they are so surprised when someone is friendly. I just smile and say "No, I'm just trying to be friendly." Hopefully we brighten a few people's days or make them think more about why those two missionaries are so nice to everyone.

Next week is General Conference! Yes! So exciting!! We will watch the Relief Society session on Saturday afternoon, followed by the Saturday morning session (live with the time difference) and then on Sunday watch the Saturday afternoon session and the Sunday morning session (also live).

Ich liebe es, auf Mission zu sein. Ich bin oft überrascht, wie viel der Herr uns segnet. Er hilft mir, Freude zu haben, egal was passiert. Diese Arbeit ist wirklich die Arbeit des Herrn, und er passt auf alle seine Kinder auf.
(I love being on a mission. I am often surprised how much the Lord will bless us. It helps me to have fun, no matter what happens. This is truly the Lord’s work and he takes care of all of his children.)
Mach's gut! Ich hab euch lieb!

--Sister Stewart