Hallo, friends & family-
Part of the reason I was praying to come to Austria for winter was because I was really looking forward to a white, Austrian Christmas! But after several older women- actually, pretty much EVERY woman I have talked to since I got here in Linz- has told me that it really doesn't snow until spring and that a white Christmas is pretty much impossible, I guess I have kind of accepted the fact that there will be no snow Christmas morning. But that doesn't stop me from jumping up every morning and looking out the window! You never know, women (not my mom) can always be wrong! First of all, they don't know who is praying for a White Christmas just like good ole' Minnesota Christmas'! And second of all, even if it doesn't snow by Christmas- it's almost 2014- so a New Year with new snow covering right? Wait... did I just say is almost 2014?? Where did 2013 go?
|Goodbye Fall, Hello... almost Winter|
|A beautiful park near our apartment|
On Tuesday we had Zone Training in Salzburg, and I cannot get over how beautiful it is there!
I would gerne live there. We were in such a hurry, so I couldn't take more pictures. We are going back on Wednesday for Zone Conference. That will be a double "YAY". I get to go back to this beautiful Austrian treasure AND I get to see President and Sister Miles! I will plan plenty of time for extra picture taking!
|Salzburg, could anywhere be more beautiful?|
This Zone Training was probably one of the most spiritual experiences I have had on my mission. At the beginning of this year, the mission set a goal to baptize 290 people this year. So far, we have baptized around 110.
The goal of 290 was always something that we would look at and say "Yeah, that is a good motivating goal, but let's be honest, that's a really lofty goal and it just might not happen!"
Every month, the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders discuss a topic for the whole mission to fast about on the first Sunday, and we learn about it in Zone Training. As the ZLs and STLs started talking about the mission fast for December, the spirit came so strong that it was almost like a slap in the face! They talked a bit about this goal of 290, and said what better topic for a mission fast than to fast and pray that we actually reach our goal?
Instead of laughing at how ridiculous this sounded, the only thoughts that came into my mind was how MIRACULOUS it sounded. As much as my mind wants to tell me its impossible, I know it is possible. I keep thinking of all the miraculous things that this mission is expecting to happen:
* creating a stake in Freiburg
* building a new temple in Vienna
* for the work to literally EXPLODE in this beautiful land amongst these wonderful people
So really, baptizing 180 people in December is TOTALLY doable!
|Sister Wunderli & Ich|
I just can't help but be completely excited to be serving in an area of the world that is on the brink of so much success! I can't even express my feelings of excitement to see what is going to happen within this next month and a half!
That is our big mission miracle, but Linz is seeing miracles all on it's own.
Sister Iris Miesbauer had her open house last night, and she left today as an official missionary! It will be very weird not to have her around. Sister Wunderli and I will have to find another person to do joint teaching with! As much as we will miss her, Salt Lake City is going to LOVE her and she will be a wonderful missionary.
|Officially Sister Miesbauer|
We were teasing 'M' last night about how she has to hurry up and be baptized already so that we can start taking her with us to lessons, and she said that she would love to be able to serve a mission! But considering she is already 24 and she would have to wait a year after her baptism before she could go on a mission, she just doesn't think that's a possibility for her.
I suggested the idea of serving a mini-mission- which I had never heard of before I came here, but I guess you can serve a mini mission for 6 or 12 weeks. As 'M' was driving us home, she told us about how excited she was and how much she would love to serve a mini mission, and how excited she is to get married and raise her family in the gospel.
It is one thing to watch your individual investigators progressing, but teaching 'M' is so much more than teaching any other investigator I have ever met. Ever time we talk with her, I am so amazed at how strong her testimony is and how strong she is as a person and as a daughter of God!
It is one of the most rewarding things to think about how big of an influence 'M' will have on the people around her for the rest of her life. It really is the greatest thing to watch these people change their lives, and then to see them continue to change the lives of others around them!
|Proof we spend a lot of time on our feet... holes in my Clark's|
Although I love being able to share the gospel, to testify of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation and to show people the love that our Heavenly Father has for them through my love and service each day- I REALLY love to see the change in peoples lives as they grasp hold of something so big, beautiful and marvelous. It is a miracle every day as people's lives are changed, not because they got more money, a bigger house or whatever else the world has to offer- but because they finally found the best thing there is to find- the love of their Savior and the power of the Atonement applied in their own lives. Is there anything better??? I think NOT!
I found some canned pumpkin in our apartment that Sister Jeynes left behind, and I was so excited I just HAD to bake something! Considering I had no recipe and it was late at night, I would say that my failed concoction tasted relatively edible :P
I will remember that for next time, it is always good to have a recipe.
Well, wouldn't having access to Pinterest be nice? Do you think pinterest will be part of the church's plans to allow internet access to the missionaries?? I could find a convincing argument maybe- or mom, why don't you get working on that??
Just kidding- but Mom, I would LOVE it if you'd send some recipes. With the holidays approaching, I do have the urge to do some baking! As much as I loved to cook at home, I've never realized how much I NEED a recipe to make something YUMMY!!! Also, I have an investigator, 'Ma', who is a chef, and she has been begging me to teach her some American recipes ever since I got here! I'm not sure what she has in mind, but I am sure she will be fine with anything :P
Oh, these silly people thinking America is so cool- don't they know this is Austria, beautiful, wonderful Austria :)
|I found more maultaschen|
I love you all so much, and you are in my prayers every night! Have a great week :)
Oh, I don't want to forget- Here are some quotes of the week:
"Ooh, that is a nice door ornament!" -Sister Didenhover
"It's Austria, everything is pretty, get used to it!" -Elder Didenhover
Me: "I haven't gotten a call about my visa yet, I am starting to get really worried!"
Sister Wunderli: "..oops! A lady called last Wednesday, your visa is ready to be picked up!"
what will I do when Sister Wunderli is gone? Never laugh again, I guess...
Lots of Love and Laughs :)