Dear Friends & Family-
Wow, what a week! I am sorry I was unable to send a big email out last week. We were on a full blown missionary field trip!! What, you didn't know missionaries took field trips, well neither did I, but that's what happens if you are given the right companion :)
Last Sunday, Sister Erdenetsogt and I took a train to Vienna so that we could pick up her visa on Monday. She has had a lot of complications with visa stuff, especially because she is the first Mongolian missionary to serve in this part of the world, so NOBODY knows what kind of paperwork she needs! She already has her Austrian visa, but because she lived in Vienna before her mission, President Miles told her that as soon as she gets her German visa from the embassy than she will be transferred to Germany and spend the rest of her mission there. We were always kind of nervous for the day her visa would be ready to pick up, because we knew that meant that we would only be together for a limited amount of time. On the bright side though, that meant we also knew that we'd get to travel to Vienna to pick up her visa from the German embassy.Which was the purpose of our hiatus from normal P-Day activities.
So, I'm just going to say... HELLO, VIENNA!
Hands down, Vienna is the most amazing place I have ever been. I will still say that Switzerland is the most gorgeous and beautiful, but there is just something about the business, the artsi-ness, the atmosphere of Vienna that just makes you want to sing. We did not have much time, only one day, but we went and saw as much as we could! We saw the Schönbrunn castle, Belvedera, City Hall, Parliament, the International Library, Stephamsdom church; we went shopping and to the missionary famous Wienerschnitzel restaraunt. Honestly we tried to do EVERYTHING!
I had to keep reminding myself that I was a missionary. As amazing as it was though, it reconfirmed my thoughts that I would NEVER want to be a missionary in a city like Vienna or Munich. I'm afraid that I would just want to play all day, it would be hard to focus, hard to do work.
I don't know, maybe I would change my mind once I actually was serving in a city like that. But for now, I am grateful that I get a relatively big, but not too touristy, place like Linz to serve :)
I finally learned how to cook Mongolian food! I was with Sister Wunderli for 12 weeks and kept begging her to teach me how to cook Hungarian, but she never did. I wasn't about to let Sister Erdenetsogt get away without teaching me a few things! This week was the start of Asian New Year, and I guess in Mongolia, the way they celebrate New Year is by making one or two thousand dumplings, and then inviting friends and family over for a week or two and eating dumplings together. Because we have a few Mongolian potentials, we were invited over a few times for this simple celebration. I learned how to make Mongolian dumplings and Mongolian fried bread, which is actually pretty easy to make. Did you ever think a person could learn so much on a mission!
|Sitting down to wienerschnitzel...|
|The workers know the missionaries don't drink beer with their wienerschnitzel|
|... definitely what you feel like after eating wienerschnitzel|
We don't really like to go door-to-door to find people, I mean, we will sometimes if appointments fall out and we have to fill time, but most of the time we try to avoid dooring. Well, we got to learn what is like on the OTHER side of the door this week. Sister Erdenetsogt and I were sitting at our desks doing the training program, and we get a knock on the door. I got up to open the door and see two Jehovah Witnesses, who immediately start their door approach. As they are talking about the Bible and showing me some sort of pamphlet, the wheels in my head start slowly turning, 'Oh my gosh, I just got doored by JWs!' I try to think back of some nice way that people have kindly told me on my mission that they aren't interested without being rude or offensive, but the thing in Europe is, is that you need to learn to be BOLD and not sugar coat things (not like how us Americans do it!)
Luckily, Sister Erdenetsogt came up to the door as well, her name tag clearly visible, and they point at the name tag, say something like 'They're those Mormon missionaries, let's keep going!' They very kindly wished us a good day, and headed back on their way. Well, you know what they say, if you want to be a good missionary and a good teacher you need to know what it's like on the other side of the teaching!
Although Sister Erdenetsogt and I have been feeling like we have been doing good in our missionary work, we couldn't help but feeling that our work would go a lot faster and be a lot more effective if we used the members more. We haven't had any names of less-actives to visit, we struggle sometimes with finding members to come with us to lessons, and we have had the feeling that the Elders are a lot more public with the ward than the Sisters are (partially because there hasn't been Sisters in Linz for a long time.)
Well, anyways, Sister Erdenetsogt and I made a goal to work in more unity with the ward, and this Sunday we decided to use all of our time getting to know members, seeing what more we can do, and helping them help us with our work as well. Man, were we TIRED after church!
But as a result, we got a lot of names from the Relief Society President of ladies to visit, we matched up a few families to help us with Family Home Evenings to a few investigators we are teaching, and we scheduled a lot of people to come with us to lessons to friendship our investigators. And the weirdest thing, as I asked people to help us out, instead of acting like what we were asking was a burden to them, their excitement to help actually increased. People started coming up to us to ask what they could do and if they could help in any way. The whole attitude started to change. I think lots of times I am nervous to ask for help from members because they are so busy, when I really forget that members are also called to take part in the work of salvation. We are all doing the same work-to bring people to Christ and then to help strengthen the members we already have-we just have different callings and responsibilities. I am excited to witness the change in our work as we use the members more and help them learn what their role as friend-shippers are. I am so grateful for the members of the church-there is NO WAY that I could do this work alone!
We just never know why someone is in our lives. What is important to know is that the Lord puts us all together for a reason. There is NO mistakes when it comes to human relationships. We all have need of a little love and connection. We may not be teaching or we may never have the opportunity to serve full time, but remember when you look around at who is next you- you are in their life because they need this connection with you at this time. Remember that your role as the frienshippers is of greater or equal importance to that role of the missionaries
Sister Erdenetsogt has dubbed me as the official chocolate chip cookie maker. There is just something about being American that makes my companions think I am automatically the personal treat and touch maker. She told me once that she wanted to make cookies to bring by on less actives and investigators. I walked in to the kitchen, thinking that she had already started on the cookies. I saw her sitting on the table, and she said 'I have been waiting for you! Aren't YOU going to make chocolate chip cookies?' and she has done that about 4-5 times since then. Its just a part of life I have accepted
|We found CUPCAKES|
|Sister E trying to make a weird American face :)|
|My weird American face :)|
Thank you all for your support and help not only to me, but to all of the missionaries that serve in your areas. We love you and pray for you and your success and happiness every day :) Have a great week!
It's February, Yikes!