Monday, January 19, 2015

Austria is Awesome!!!

Things are super good here.  I am loving Austria for the few days that I have been here, but it is hard to transition.  I keep asking people why they are in Germany, and my companion has to help me remember that I am not in Germany anymore.  It is actually entertaining.  It sounds like you are both studying a lot together from Fielding Smith book and that is super cool!!!  I am glad that you are still reading something together every morning even if it is just you two.  Sometimes I wish I was back in school, but then I really think about it and I am glad that I am not.  :)  But I do miss it a little.  I will have plenty to do when I get back.  But actually there are a lot of exchange students here and I am way jealous. I wonder why I didn't do that, and then I realize I wouldn't be a good student if I had, and also I was poor....  So that is why.  But I am super jealous of all you and your trips.  I wish I could just come with all of you.  I have decided that I am going to work super hard so I can travel a lot when I get back. My companion and I said that we are going to go backpacking and hiking all the time after the mission.  All over the world, so I am excited about that. 
My companion is awesome!!!!  I love having an American companion who understands my English and my sarcasm.  not that my other companions weren't amazing, cuz they were.  And I learned a ton from them and we are the best of friends.  But it is different with every companion and you all get along differently.  And to be honest we just click really well.  And I am super grateful. And even though sometimes we have no idea what people are saying to us, we do ok.  She is one transfer younger than me on the mission, so that is fun.  We are both learning together.  But she is awesome cuz she knows the ward super well and the area.  She is 21 which is a blessing.  I have been blessed to be with all older companions, which I consider a small miracle.  God knows exactly what I need.  :)  She loves to be outside and go hiking and backpacking all over the place.  We get along really well. 
Graz is amazing.  We have a huge ward.  The biggest in Austria actually.  And I am super excited about it.  To be honest it is a little shock since I came from such a small branch, but I am glad.  And hopefully one day I will learn everyone's name.  So far I haven't seen too much of Graz, but we are going to a castle for p-day today with a member.  I am really excited about it.  The German is coming.  Slowly, but surely.  I actually understand pretty well.  The speaking is another story.  But it is cool that both of us can communicate so well with the people even though we are both really young missionaries. 
We have some really awesome people to teach. We have a few investigators that I haven't met just yet but will this week. They are mostly from Japan or China but they are progressing really well.  We are hoping to have a baptism by the end of this transfer.  I don't really have much to say about them since I haven't really met them yet.  But we did have an amazing lesson with a girl on Sunday. She is a friend and referral from a member who is an exchange student.  And it was amazing.  She is from Sweden and is here studying.  And she is literally golden.  The problem is that she is going back to Sweden in 2 weeks.  So we will have to get her in touch with the missionaries there.  She was so willing to learn and asked great questions.  And she said "thanks for taking time to meet with me and to help me learn.  This was such a great experience"  And she said the closing prayer and it was perfect.  She is amazing.  I am a little jealous of the Swedish missionaries that get to work with her.  But she just doesn't have time to meet with us cuz she has all her finals right now and then she is getting ready to go back to Sweden.  But I love her and I just met her. 
That was the most exciting thing that happened this week.  It is really cool here in Graz cuz we have a set of sisters, elders and a senior couple.  The sad part is the senior couple goes home in 2 transfers and so far no one is coming to replace them.  But we are ignoring that fact right now.  I am excited to have a normal week here in the new area and really get to meet people.  right now I still have no idea who anyone is and everything. I also have no idea where anything is or how to get around right now.  Transportation is a little different here.  But I am working on it. 
You all sound really busy and I am happy that you both got new callings.  I love you all and hope you are doing well. I pray for you always. 
Sister Poll
My new address is:
Sister Danielle Poll
Papiermühlgasse 19/8
A-8020 Graz
P.S.  I finally got all the Christmas cards and everything. Tell every one thank you for taking the time to write them.  It means a lot.  And thank you for going to my work to get some from there.  I was super surprised to see their names in there, but super happy as well. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

 It's transfer week...I'm going to Austria!!!

So.....  This week is full of surprises. We had a ton of finding this week.  Honestly it was really hard and we were struggling to stay motivated a bit.  One can only handle rejection for so long.  But, we made it happen.  We actually didn't find any new people, but we met with the youth that I told you about and had a rocket lesson.  It was amazing.  The spirit was super strong and awesome and they promised to read and let us come back again.  It was amazing.  Other than that it was full of finding and being rejected, but it was also really fun. 

So.  The big news of the week.  TRANSFERS!!  Some sad news and good news.  My area is being closed. So now there will only be Elders in Passau.  So this week we have been busy getting everything in order to close the apartment and also giving all of our investigators (the few we have) to the Elders.  We had a meeting with them yesterday and we gave them all our books and info and records on everyone. It was sad, but honestly really good.  We both talked about it this week and how maybe Passau needs a break.  There isn't quite enough work for 4 missionaries right now. And after this last week when it was really hard for us, I was wondering what we were going to do next transfer.  Cuz the elders have the same problem that we do.  And we go out and work hard and we both come up empty.  So I think it is good, even though it is really sad.  So I bet you are wondering then were I am headed. This is the good news.  I am no longer going to be in Germany.  I am headed to Austria!!!!  I will be serving in Graz. I am super stoked about it.  The Branch here is sad that we are leaving and they asked if maybe next transfer when we have more sisters if it will open up again, but I have no idea. It is possible.  We will have to see.  I hope so, cuz the branch needs the strength that missionaries bring, but also Passau is hard right now.  I am excited to go back to a ward, but I am going to miss the members here a ton.  Other than that nothing too excited this week.  We are just going to pack today and also try and make it to the Dome in Passau (a really big church with the biggest church organ in the world) before we go.    Love you all tons. 
Sister Poll
I forgot to tell you the other news that we got this week.  I thought I was forgetting something. So we got news this week that we aren't using our German enough, so now all our distrkt meetings will be in German, and maybe also our zone meetings.  They are trying to decide about the zone.  And they also made this new rule that we need to speak German 9am-9pm.  Before most of us would speak German outside, and English when we were home.  But now that is not an option.  It is actually going to be really good I think.  To be honest, we were more silent for the first few days, but now we are doing OK. Sometimes we have no idea what the other person is saying and we need to clarify in English, but for the most part we do OK.  And actually I am super excited for this new rule.  It is going to be a little more difficult at first, but at the same time it will really help the mission. And also the missionaries to better our German. I am stoked!

Monday, January 5, 2015

It's a New Year!!

Hallo von Deutschland!!!
How is everyone? It is so good to talk to you all in a new year!! I can't believe it is 2015. Crazy!!! And I hope you all have some great resolutions to do and hopefully keep and also hope you celebrated well. It is crazy to hear about people at home. Know that my prayers are with those that you talked about and I hope all works out. I know that things happen for a reason even if we don't know what that reason is. God has a plan and we need to have faith to follow it. I am leaning this concept still in my life. 
About Genealogy. I actually wanted to talk to you all about it this week. So here is the thing. I need you to go on and put in information online on the family search website. Stuff like dates of ordinances and stuff like that. But also pictures and stories about grandma and grandpa and so on. I really need you to work on it so that I can finish some stuff here. We have this my family booklet that we are trying to use to find people, but I need stories and pictures from family search and also dates so that I can finish it. And plus, we all need to better about putting it in here so that it doesn't get lost. :) Family history is not just finding people, but also recording stories and other things that we know so it doesn't get lost. Thanks in advance. :) 
Now I can tell you about this week. It was crazy busy. We helped a member move on Monday which is why I was not here to email. He is super awesome. He was actually in an accident and so he has one crutch and can't bend his left leg, but he was moving so fast in the snow and ice and cold it was crazy. I thought for sure he would slip and fall and hurt himself, but he didn't and he was moving around all of us telling us where things go. he is amazing.
Then we had a big storm a few days this week, so we were out in the cold doing finding a lot. But we had some fun in the cold. We met with one of our past investigators to see if they had interest and I learned some interesting things. They believe in reincarnation. And he will be an eagle and she will be a snake after this life. I tried to ask if they wanted to be together forever and they said no, so that backfired. And she also said that she read the BOM and it was too easy for her. First time in my life I have heard that. I actually said "wait, what???" She must not have really read it, cuz you can't read it and not feel something. But you have to read it with the right attitude. But they were really nice to us. Then our appointments fell though on Thursday and Friday. Story of my life.... But it is ok. We actually were finding one day and we had this awesome thing happen. So we went by on a man who had told past missionaries to come back. And when we got there his name wasn't on the klingle. So I just decided that since we were there I was going to klingle the house anyway. It was a bunch of apartments actually, but the first one I klingeled let us in. And it was a bunch of kids who let us in. The first thing they said was "do we want to hear about the Mormons?" I hadn't even said we were Mormons so they already knew us!!! But we went in and had a lesson on the 1st of January. Honestly I think they were all a little drunk and they had more cigarettes than I think is needed, but one of the girls was really interested and took a BofM and promised to read. We are going back to visit her on Wednesday, (I think she was sober). We hope that she will really have interest. But it was really cool experience. Anything can happen and anyone can change.
We also had tausch (exchange) this week which was terrifying and cool. I learned that I like being the one to follow rather than know were we are going. It is a little stressful to have to know which bus, which time, and were the address is. But I made it happen and we didn't get lost once and we were on time to the appointments we had. And we handed out 2 Bof M's and I got her back to her train in time to exchange back. It was a miracle. And I loved it. I will be ok when I have to take over the area, but I hope my new companion learns the way fast so I don't have to worry about that as much.
We actually met with one of our investigators this week who is really cool. She has 4 dogs, and we gave her a BOM. She asked for 2 weeks to read and ponder it before we come back. She is super cool. She has a smoking problem and told us that she isn't a church goer cuz she can't get around real well, but she has some great potential and I am super excited. Anyone can change. And I really hope we can help her see the importance of coming to church. She was really cool.
I think I told you what happened in church in my letter, but I will also say here. we only had 11 people in church this week including the investigator from the elders and us missionaries. So 6 members. And they showed up late. The investigator was the 1st one to church. And we were worried we wouldn't have church at first. But it all worked out. Other than that nothing too exciting.
All is well here. I love you and I am so grateful for your support and love. Know that you are all in my prayers and I am working hard.
Sister Poll


December 31 Note:

 It was so good to see all of you!!! You all look soooo good!!!  Blake looked sooooo skinny!! I could not believe it!!!! We finally got snow as well the day after Christmas and it has been snowing almost every day since. It is really pretty here with the snow and the rivers that we have. I will try to send some pictures of Passau. Sorry for the late email this week, but we helped a member move on Monday so we changed our p-day to Wednesday instead. So that is why I went awal.  
I'm glad that you all had a good Christmas. I really missed being with all of you, but at the same time I loved being here. I am learning so much and my ward family here is amazing. Christmas Eve was so awesome here. It is like Christmas back home. The culture here is awesome. I will have to send some pictures, but I am emailing by our ehepaar this week and so I am on an ipad, and no way to hook up to pictures. I am really grateful that we are able to have them. We were able to be with them for Christmas and now we are with them for New Years as well. It is such a great blessing. I love them so much!!!
Nothing too exciting has happened since I talked with you I don't think. We had a lesson with this woman who has 4 beagles. And man was that an experience. I was being mauled by dogs and my companion doesn't really like dogs, so that was interesting. Luckily they were really nice. But this woman is interesting. She smokes a lot and said that she won't ever come to church, but she has a really hard time walking so that is part of the reason. But I think that she has some potential and if we can get a member to bring her she may change her mind. We will see.
We also met with someone this morning who believes in reincarnation. That was an interesting conversation. I was trying to ask them if they wanted to be together, husband and wife after this life, and they both said no. He was going to be an eagle and she was going to be a snake..... I had no answer to that. I really just was speachless. What do you say to that. And they were both quite excited about it actually. And she said she had read in the Book of Mormon an it was too simple for her. I actually said "wait, what?" She was completely serious. Never heard that one before. But they were really nice and friendly, but said they have no interest in our message.... So ya. Welcome to missionary life I guess.
Then this week we are going on exchanges with the sisters, so I will have a different companion for the day. That will be interesting. I will be here in Passau, and we will see if I really know the area good. But it will be great since I will have to take over the area in about 2 weeks anyway. I am more than a little nervous about that.... I hope it goes ok... But if not, at least we will have fun with it. All is well here. Don't worry about me. This week has been really strange with p-day moved and everything. And just strange with everythin. With Sylvester (New Years) we don't have any appointments and no one is outside yet... And anyone we have seen is preparing their house for parties or they are drunk.... SO ya. I saw a man this morning at 11 who had 8 beers in his hand/arms and he already looked drunk. So it is a party here. And a lot of the members ask us if we want alcohol free beer, which just seems the same to me. We are not allowed thank goodness, but I could try beer if I wanted. :) But I don't and won't so don't worry. It smells too bad for me to bring it anywhere near my mouth. Sorry this email is so boring. I love you all a ton and hope you are doing well. I loved talking with you and hearing what is going on. Hopefully soon I will have some exciting new things to talk about, but for right now we are struggling with the holidays. They are great times to find people at home, but also really hard times cuz they have no time. But we are doing ok. I got the letter from you with everyone's notes. Thank you a bunch. Love you tons!!! Happy New Year!!!
Sister Poll