Hallo mi freunde und familie,
The stories that one acquires on their mission either have the potential to be the most spiritual, miraculous and amazing stories, or the weirdest, funniest and most ridiculous stories.
I'm not sure a missionary truly experiences a complete mission without a little (or a lot of both)!
|Sunday night party at the M family home|
|Everyone loves bubble wrap|
Sister Wunderli and I are teaching a less active member named 'S'. We really enjoy visiting her,
she is just a big ball of energy and very, very fun to be around. She was in a play this last week, and she invited us to come to watch her performance.
We explained to her that we would need to get permission from our mission president, make sure that the play was appropriate for us to see, and double check that we had time before we could agree to be there.
We called President Miles, who said that he thought it was a great way for us to show our love and support for one of our less actives. When we told her we would be coming, she got crazy excited, and texted us telling us she would reserve 4 seats for us.
Confused, we called back and asked why she was reserving 4, and she said "well, for the elders of course!" and she begged and pleaded for us to invite the elders as well.
I kept trying to explain that the elders couldn't come, they were busy, but she kept asking me to at least invite them.
So, reluctantly and shamefully, I picked up the phone and called Elder Szvoboda.
When he answered, I quickly said "please please PLEASE tell me that you are busy Saturday night!"
I told him how Sonja really wanted them to come and how I didn't have the courage to tell her that the real reason why the Elders couldn't come was because that would kind of be a double date...
Elder Szvoboda just laughed and said "Sister Peterson, are you asking me and my companion out on a date right now?"
Yup, never thought that I'd be asked that question on my mission lol
Luckily, the elders were indeed busy for the night of the play, so it was just Sister Wunderli and I that went.
It was actually a really good and funny play! During the break, 'S' brought us up to the top floor of the theater and asked us to sing with her to get her warmed up for the next show. So we sang a bunch of hymns, her in German, me in English, and Sister Wunderli in Hungarian for about 15 minutes.
It was so cool to have the three languages complete separate from each other, but unified in the message and spirit of the hymns.
Wow, was this week Thanksgiving?
|The Thanksgiving spread|
|Dig In for Dinner #1|
|Elder Allan & Bottcher are excited to eat|
Thanksgiving was actually really very fun this year!
We were able to celebrate thanksgiving together as a district on Tuesday, which was very fun.
It was our last time being together as a district before transfer day, so it we had a mix of sadness with the fun that we had, but it was nice that we had that same time together before things got a little shaken up.
|The entire district ready to eat|
It was Sister Wunderli's and Elder Böttcher's first thanksgiving, and they were both just dying!
All of the Europeans kept clutching their stomach and asking "How do you Americans do this EVERY YEAR??"
Well my friends and fellow missionaries... I told them, we practice for thanksgiving all year long! :)
On Thursday we were invited over to a members house to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.
Yep, I celebrated Thanksgiving twice this year and I wasn't even in America :P
|Thanksgiving #2, just the girls|
Now that November is over, Christmas can finally begin!!!
We went to the Christmas markets last Monday, and they are absolutely gorgeous!
|Weihnachtsmarkt in Linz|
|Snow in Wells|
The streets are decorated with lights and angel decorations, the Christmas tree stores are opening up, Christmas cookies are sold in every bakery on every corner, and advent had started in the churches :)
I found a dirndl that I absolutely fell in love with. I should have bought it, but didn't (her mom quickly told her to go back and BUY it). It is beautiful and it fit perfectly. This city is beautiful this time of year- we have got to come back one Christmas season. I guess you will have to come back to visit your grandbabies one day, because I LOVE it here :) I could live here my whole life and never tire of anything Germany, or this whole area,
|Sisters Holman, Wunderli, me & Sister Threlkeld going shopping|
We have already had a few members and investigators invite us over for Christmas
(both Christmas'- they celebrate Christmas on the 24th here, but the members know that the Americans celebrate it on the 25th, so we are double booked again!)
Mom, would be in Heaven with TWO Christmas celebration days!!
I can't help but smile whenever we go outside, Austria knows how to do Christmas :)
Our investigators are doing great here too, especially 'M' and 'R'.
'R' said she wants to go contacting with us one day, and 'M' wants to come with us to teaching appointments.
They aren't even baptized yet and they already want to help us with missionary work!
There are amazing people here, I feel so blessed to be serving here in Linz.
|Sister Wunderli & I; still smiling after a great day of shopping|
We were over at 'M's place the other day teaching about tithing. One of our members, Schwester Vogl, shared a really cool story that I want to share with you.
She told a story of two missionaries, I can't remember where they were serving or what they were doing that day, but they were outside when they both got the prompting to knock on a lady's door and ask her if she had any food for them.
She answered and said that she only had enough food for that day, and just for her, and that money was tight and she couldn't afford to feed them.
The missionaries left, but then got a really strong prompting to go back and ask her again for food. The woman finally agreed to let them in. She than proceeded to split her last meal with them, and than they left.
After that day, the woman said that she never went hungry again!
Schwester Vogl's point in this story was that lots of times, God expects us to follow Him first, sometimes into the scary or risky unknown. It is only after we follow Him in faith and obey what we are asked to do, no matter how scary it may feel at the time, that He can bless us.
God is a loving God, and so naturally, He has so many blessings that He has prepared for us.
But because he is a just God, He can't just go around blessing people whenever he feels like it.
There has to be some sort of order, some organization to how we receive blessings.
And that way is by setting certain and specific rules and commandments for us to follow, so that we can receive specific blessings.
In Doctrine and Covenants 130: 20-21 we learn that "There is a law, irrevocably decreed in heaven before the foundations of this world, upon which all blessings are predicated. And when we obtain any blessing from God, it is by obedience to that law upon which it is predicated."
One of the most important things I have learned on my mission is the importance of obedience and how it really does bless peoples lives.
Just like the woman in the story, God was just waiting to give her a chance to exercise her faith so that He could bless her by taking away her hunger.
Miracles happen, blessings happen, I know because I have seen them. That is another HUGE blessing from serving a mission- you get to see miracles all the time. Sometimes they are big and sometimes they are so easy to dismiss as 'luck' or 'fate'. But our God is a God of miracles, He lives and because He lives, miracles and mercies can bless our lives each and every day.
I love you all so very much, and I am so grateful that I am able to write to and hear from you. Have a great week, and happy holidays :)
P.S. Thanks for sending the recipes, one of the young women in the ward told me she has never had a cupcake, (don't faint mom, but they just aren't a big deal here). I am SO excited to be able to do a little holiday baking and to bake some deliciousness for the people here that they have never had. I feel like I've been amply fed and tried so many delicious new things, it will be fun to share that with others during the holiday season.
Today we are writing letters & emails, walking around in the city and taking it easy!
It's probably the first relaxing P-day I have had since coming to Linz :) I am very excited.