Monday, May 25, 2015

I Appreciate the Hard Times!!!

Can't believe it is memorial day at home!!!  Can't believe you are all going fishing without me!!  Have fun and catch a really big fish for me.  :)  Crazy that Blake is in Wales now and in a dritt.  I really hope that never happens to me.  But I shouldn't say that cuz then it will.  I really hope I avoid it though.  We have a dritt of elders in our distrikt.  This is going to be an interesting transfer especially cuz it is only 5 weeks as well.  Crazy.  The time really goes by so fast.  I can't believe it.  Next time this year I will be home, or at vet school somewhere.  But I will not be in Austria which is weird to think about.  I really love it here.  I really do believe I will be transferred next transfer.  It is a bit odd for sisters to stay in one place for this long and this is my fourth transfer here.  I really think I will be going somewhere, but I still have 4 weeks left so I shouldn't think about it.  But I am excited to go somewhere new. But I LOVE Graz.  It is really amazing and the people here are awesome.  We are teaching a few new people now, both from Africa. :)  But that doesn't matter.  Whoever is ready to hear the gospel we will teach.  :)  It just reminds me of my first area where I thought I was in Africa with all we are teaching.  I don't know if I ever told you this, but 2 people from my first area that we found got baptized and one more has a baptismal date.  I was so excited when Sister E told me that.  Even if you aren't there for all the moments, you know you did something to help someone.  And Sister E went home this last week.  Strange to think that she is not a missionary anymore.  I am not sure if or when she is coming to America exactly or the details of what she is doing.  I will keep in contact with her through email.  :)  But it just makes me feel really old on the mission to think that my trainer is home.  And it seems like just yesterday that we were together and she was telling me how fast the time goes and I thought she was crazy.  But now I totally understand what she means.
Like I said things are going really well here.  We have found a couple more people to teach and are always looking for more.  But we are really excited about who we have.  We met with our investigator this week and had a joint teacher there who speaks Romanian so that really helped. It was really great to have the language barrier go away for a day.  It just makes things a little bit harder, and then longer since we have to wait for translation.  But in the long run it really is fantastic.  Then we can know that she is understanding because it is in her own language and we can understand exactly what she is saying since he was there to help.  It was really a great experience.  Got to love the all the languages we get to work with here.
It has been raining a ton here as well.  I love the rain, but when you have to be out in it all day it gets a little old.  Especially when you are looking for people to talk to....  So that has been a little struggle, but nothing we can't handle.  :) The fields look so pretty.  I really love looking at the photos and I am so glad that we still have the field across the way.  
Looks like all the animals are doing well.  I hope the pigs do well in the show.  Sorry about the scours in the bulls.  Dad, I am really worried cuz I can't remember anything from school at the moment.  All of my school stuff has kind of flown out the window and German and the gospel have taken over my brain.  I really hope when I get back I can remember what I went to school for 4 years for...  But sorry I don't have any suggestions...  
Something really cool that happened this week was that we met with this man on the bus.  He was staring at us and at my Book Of Mormon that I had in my hand and then started trying to ask us about it.  We were really excited but he speaks like no German and absolutely no English.  It turns out he is the dad of one of our Investigators that has kind of disappeared.  He invited us over to his house with our investigator there and we got back in contact with her.  Found out she no longer comes because she can't understand a lot of things and doesn't really have the time right now.  But it really helped us to come back in contact with her and we were really excited to meet her parents.  But that is another example of a language barrier.  We were kind of signing things back and forth cuz we speak no Arabic and he speaks basically no German.  It was really funny.  I enjoyed it.  But I think it scared my comp a little that this man was leading us to his house, and the fact that I was so excited about it.  But it wasn't anything sketchy ok.  :)  I knew exactly what was happening.  :)  Except what he was saying to me.  :)  But it was really  cool thing that we just happened to meet him on the bus and he recognized us because of the Book Of Mormon and talked to us.  MIRACLE!!!!
We also had a really great lesson yesterday with another who is from Nigeria and has been here in Graz for sometime now.  He really wants to learn more and we are really excited to be teaching him.  Can't wait to meet with him again next week.  Things are going awesome here.  Our hard work of the past few weeks has been paying off. 
I heard a quote from someone that said "The worth of your worst days=Priceless"  You really learn the most when you hit the hardest points in life.  I really look back and can't remember the hard times cuz they get overshadowed by the good ones, but I remember how much I learned from the hard time I have been in.  It is really true how great the worst days are.  That sounds really funny to say.  But even I look back in life and realize that it is on the days when I am having the hardest times that I have learned the most.  And I think that shows us how much Humility really is a blessing.  When we humble ourselves before God and ask for His help, we realize that we can't do it on our own and we learn so much from the hard moments.  I am so glad that he doesn't take those hard moments away from us, but instead helps them be a little bit lighter.  Without the hard moments that I have had through the mission, I wouldn't be the missionary I am today.  And more importantly I wouldn't be the person I am.  I know that I have learned so much in my life.  A lot of it coming from the mission field.  But I know that most of the learning I have had has come through the hard moments and realizing that I need to rely on God to help me through.  And then I receive the blessings at the end and I can look back and realize that God had His hand in my life and I can see the blessing that came from it.  We can do hard things.  And when we let the hard things teach us, we can continue to harder things in the future.  God loves us enough to let us learn.  As hard as it may be in the moment, I am so grateful for the "worst days" because they are really truly priceless in my eyes.  Remember that when you are wondering "Why me".  You will be grateful and become better through it all.  It reminds me of the talk by Elder Christofferson about the Current Bush.  It has become one of my favorite talks in my life.  Constantly trying to remember that God has a perfect plan for me.  Why would I follow my plan when I could follow the perfect one of God.  He loves us all personally.  
Sorry its not too much this week.  We are going hiking and only taking an hour for emails.  I love you all and hope you have a wonderful week!!!  Talk to you next week!!  Love you!!!
Sister Poll

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

That is so awesome about that guy you talked with.  It is really amazing how people find the gospel.  I really have heard so many great stories while being here since most of the members are converts.  And it really is amazing how God prepares his children.  And really it shows how true this gospel really is.  People accept the gospel all over the world.  When we heard from Bednar he said that if people all over the world can accept the book of mormon and the gospel, how can it not be true?  If it were something made up by a man, people would have found out by now and people all over the world wouldn't be accepting the gospel.  It really is so true.  The gospel brings a light into peoples lives that you can't find anywhere else.  It helps you to become a better person and to come closer to our Heavenly Father.  It is a great blessing that we have and we should be sharing it with others so that they can also enjoy this great blessing. I would encourage you to all share your testimony with someone this week that is either less active or isn't a member.  It doesn't have to be some big thing, just tell them about how your weekend was amazing because you got to go to church.  There is your weekly challenge.  It will make a big difference.  :) 
This past week was really great.  We had transfer calls on Saturday.  Drum roll!!!  Sister G and I are staying together.  It will be great!!!  She will soon be done training, although she really is already a trained and set to go missionary.  She is awesome and is teaching me way more than I am teaching her.  I am so truly lucky to be with her and learning from her. We are both just learning together cuz if we are honest we never fully understand everything around us and never fully understand the gospel.  :) It's always really great to try to see it from someone elses perspective.  (Next transfer is only 5 weeks long)
This last week was really great.  I was in Vienna again for exchanges and I was with my favorite Australian!!!  We were tearing it up there. We had a great lesson and just read out of the book of Mormon together and really talked about what it meant.  It was really nice. And I got to try some Indian rice.  :) super good.  But I had just eaten a ton of schnitzel earlier so I was stuffed...  But we had a great time.  Then the next day we went to another wonderful person.  She is the niece of one of our members in Graz.  So I know her really well.  She is amazing and it was so good to see her.  She fed us some great tofu enchiladas, not too bad actually.  :)  And then we did some great contacting and talking with people.  I had this amazing thought this week as I was talking with someone on the train in German.  I know that my German is far from perfect, but I just couldn't help but realize how amazing God is.  He qualifies those that he calls and helps them to do his work.  I am speaking German in only 9 months and really helping people understand our Heavenly Father.  It is amazing. I really and absolutely love it.  And I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be.  
Then I came back to Graz and we had some great finding time this weekend.  We had really no appointments, but we talked with a lot of great people.  We are doing great work here and I am so excited about it.  Sunday has become my most favorite day of the week.  There is just something special when we all come together to think of God and worship Him.  And then we are able to take the sacrament and use the Atonement that God has given us.  It really is my most favorite day of the week I think.  And then it is really funny cuz here after church is a social event as well.  We stay after church for at least 30-45 minutes talking with members and it is great cuz we can set up appointments as well.  But at home we were always rushing out of church where here the members all mingle and chat for a bit.  It is in part because they live so far away from each other.  But I am growing to really love the time to talk with each other.  I have really grown close to the members from it.  Other than that this week was pretty great.  It had its ups and downs, but so does every other week.  Just like Blake said, sometimes I don't love the day until we are eating dinner, but I always love it.  :)  
I love you all and thank you for all your support.  We have a great investigator that is really progressing and we are working hard here.  I will be honest and say that this last week has been a bit of  a hard one, and I would appreciate your prayers. But know that we are working hard and giving our best.  We really are doing the Lord's work. And we do it because we have such big testimonies on how it can bless the lives of others. I love you and think of you often!!! 
Love Sister Poll

Monday, May 4, 2015

 So Blessed!!!

 Sounds like your trip was awesome!!! I hope that one day I can travel the world and see everything there is to see.  It really has become one of the biggest testimony builders for me actually.  When I look at the world and the animals in it, (yes of course I have to include the animals. :)) I can't imagine how this life was created without a God.  I know that he did it and he made this world what it is.  And if this world is so imperfect, then I can't even imagine how wonderful the Celestial kingdom is.  I really hope and pray that I get to experience it first hand.  God loves us without a doubt.  He gave us a beautiful place to grow and learn and I am so grateful every day that I get to see some of the most beautiful countryside.  And it looks like you got to experience some of the same things as well.  
This week has been a little hard to get back into the swing of missionary work.  After you have been out of your area for about a week and been on trains and not in your own ward and all these other things it has been a little bit hard.  But we are making it work.  Things are going good here.  It was so amazing to go back to church in our own ward this week.  We saw people that we know and it was just wonderful.  I was so glad.  One of our investigators came to church as well and we were really excited about it.  She usually has no time to come or is too tired to do so.  We don't meet with her often for the same reasons.  But we were super excited that she was there.  I also got to see someone from Tübingen because they were here to visit their family.  It was really great.  She just had a baby and I got to see her as well. She is super cute and it was awesome to see them.  Brought back some memories.  :)
We are working on getting some people to teach at the moment, but don't take that as we are not busy.  We are working hard with our less actives and as well as the ward.  We have some great member appointments set up for this week.  It is going to be an awesome time.  I am super excited about it.  We are also meeting with a potential this week that we are hoping will be an investigator soon.  We are really excited to meet with her and get things moving.  Bringing people to Christ!!! 
We will also be eating Hungarian food this week.  I will let you know how it tastes.  We have a good friend of ours who is going to cook for us.  We are really excited to finally meet her husband!  We have been teaching her English and she invited us over for dinner.  I really just love her.  She is amazing and I don't know why she needs help with English cuz it is better than mine.  (See example with the work cuz.)  But we are really excited about it. 
I can't express how much I love all of you and how grateful I am.  You are all doing amazing work where you are and keep it up!!!  Thanks for all the support.  I just was sitting in church this past fast Sunday and was just overwhelmed by how blessed I am.  By how much I love all of you at home and how great life is.  Is it hard, absolutely, but it is also completely worth it.  I was so glad to have the opportunity to bear my testimony of the Gospel and know without a doubt that it is true.  That the Lord loves us and that he has given us Prophets in these days so that we can know what is right.  President Monson is a true prophet and he loves us.  God loves us and sent His son, and our brother to atone for us.  I am so grateful that every Sunday we have the opportunity to take the sacrament and remember Him, and we should be thinking on Him every day.  I am so glad that I was born into the church and that I have the opportunity to help others come to the knowledge of Him.  Being a missionary has really changed my life and I know that we all can be enriched when we share the gospel. Give it a try, you never know whose life you will change. And keep being the great examples that you are.  that is one of the best ways to share the gospel.  I love you all.  I know with all my heart that the Church is true.  I think of you all often and know that God is watching over you.  Have a wonderful week and try to see all the little things God does for you every day.  He really sends angels to watch over us.  Love you!!!
Sister Poll

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Getting caught up

We have been out of town for a couple of weeks so I will attempt to get thing caught up today.

April 27
It was a crazy week and nothing like normal, but also really amazing and I have learned a lot.  Last p-day was really fun to go hiking with a member and the elders.  We had a ton of fun and it is always so nice to get out and see the world a little bit.  To just take a day and see the beauty of where you are.  It was the same castle that I have been too before.    I will keep you posted with pictures soon.  So don't get too disappointed.  :)  Tuesday was really great because we met with a less active that we have been trying to contact for ever since I have been here.  He finally called us up after we left a card in his mailbox and we went and had a meeting with him and a member there.  It was really great to finally meet him, and we really want to go back and help him more to come back to church.  We also met with another less active that we have been working with lately.  She is starting to read in the book of Mormon again and she was doing family history in the church the other day.  It was really great because she now has more time to do things since her friend was moved to a place where they can take care of him better.  So that has given her a lot more free time and we are really hoping that she will come back to church soon.  But she has work as well so we are now trying to work on getting her the days off so that she can come.  But she is awesome and doing great so we are really hopeful.  We then went and I played a song for the young men and women to sing that they will do in Church in a few weeks.  I am not sure exactly when.  I have been able to play the piano a bit here in Graz and it is awesome.  I really love it and I am sad that I lost so much of it when I went to school.  I really am excited to come back and just take time to play again.  Right now I am a little busy with more important things.  :)  And we had ward council which was really great.  We were able to talk with them about all the people we have been visiting and see if there is anything that they need us to do.  I am really excited for the things that are happening. 
Wednesday was wonderful. :)  We ate lunch with a great family.  They are an awesome older couple here who invites us over often and we love to go there.  We just help to build them up and bring a spirit there with them. 
We had a great English lesson on Thursday.  We teach English about 1-2 times a week.
We also met with a great woman who is a little less active.  Her mom is in the ward and is really faithful, but she has fallen away a little bit.  So we are working on getting her to come back to church.  And for awhile we thought that her relationship with her mom was really bad, but a miracle happened and her mom was there for our lesson!!  It was a surprise to us and we were stoked about it.  And it went really well.  We are really grateful for the spirit in the work.  Without him we don't do anything.
Friday was a long day of travel. We are on the outskirts of the mission and had to go to Salzburg which takes about 4.5 hours and then we went from Salzburg to Munich which is about 2.5 hours.  So a long time on the train and many hours later, but we made it to Munich and we stayed in a hostel there for the meeting the next day.  That was exciting and I am super glad that we go to do that.  I got to stay with the sisters who re-opened Passau.  So that was really cool to talk with them about who they are teaching there and how the members are doing there.  Also the Vienna sisters stayed in the same room as us. Such a party.  That never happens.  But we went to bed on time and all 6 of us were able to get ready in a timely manner which I thought a miracle. :)
Saturday was defiantly the highlight of the week for sure.  Elder Bednar is amazing.  Really you can just feel the spirit walk into the room with him.  It was really great to be there and to hear from him and all that he had to say.  We talked about technology, but not really about ipads.  We talked about how we can better fulfill our purpose as missionaries, and how a new tool is coming to help us do that.  It will defiantly be an adjustment that is for sure.  But we really just were able to be taught by Elder Bednar.  He did a question and answer session with us which was amazing.  I forgot my notes back at the apartment, (opps) but I didn't really take too many on what was being said, only what I was feeling/thinking anyway.  And that I will never forget.  It was amazing to sit there and just be taught by one of the greatest teachers.  He really knows how to bring you all into the conversation and also how to make it so we all benefit from the spirit.  Not just taking notes that we may never look at again.  But we talked about Agency and how when we choose to make covenants with God, our agency is changed.  Our choices have changed.  We made a covenant and now we have to stick by it.  So really we can't choose to not obey the commandments, because we have made this covenant.  Our agency is different from those who have not made covenants with God.  But we entered into the covenant willingly.  We made the choice.  And we stick with the consequences.  And when we do what is right we are richly blessed.  It was amazing.  I learned and felt so much.  Even if I don't remember all that he said, I will always remember how I felt sitting there.  I know that he is a prophet, seer, and revelator.  He speaks from God and all that he says is true.  He teaches us how we can come nearer to God and he is also not perfect.  He is just a normal person with a mantle to hold and he does it with a lot of grace.  I am so glad that we had this opportunity to learn from him and to feel of the great power that he brought to us.  I know that this church is true and that what we are doing as members and missionaries is right.  We have made these covenants with God, because we know what they will bring.  And I can testify that I am happy because of this gospel.  It is amazing the difference that it makes. 
Because of the timing of the meeting and how long it takes us to travel, we only headed back to Salzbur and stayed the night with the sisters there.  We were going to be home so late and also a train back to Graz was just really not a good option.  So we stayed in Salzburg which was super fun.  :) and then went to church with them on Sunday. It was really great because one of our investigators moved to Salzburg this past month, so I was able to talk with him and he came to church and I got to see him.  It was really great.  He is still not ready to make the covenants, but he knows how serious they are.  He is working on it and one day I do believe he will be there.  It was really great to see him and to go to church there.  But it was also really weird.  To go to church and not know anyone there, and to know that we are not staying...  It was something that doesn't happen very often in the mission.  And now I feel strange because we missed church in our own ward and that was something that also never happens.  Just strange, but fun all at once.  So then we traveled home Sunday night and finally got to sleep in our own beds again.  It was wonderful to be home.  But we really had no time to do much before heading to bed.
Then yesterday we turned right back around and got on another train.  This time to Vienna.  This is the most I have ever traveled on the mission.  It is crazy.  But we headed there for interviews and it was really great to see President again on a personal level and just talk with him.  I was great to get his advice on certain things from Elder Bednar and also on what we should try to do better.  It really made me feel better to talk with him.  This next week is going to be a little hard to get back into the swing of real missionary life.  We have a pretty normal week now and then next week I think we will have exchanges again.  Which means back to Vienna.  But it will be fine.  Like I said, I love trains.  :)
Mom, Dad, keep up the good missionary work in Panama.  I am so proud!!!  That is awesome!!!  Glad you are having fun.  Also glad that your trip is going well.  Can't wait to talk to you all in a bit.  Have a wonderful time and keep working hard.  Remember that the church is true and I love you all!!!
Sister Poll  

April 13
I found out this week that our new member is getting ready to head to the temple for the first time!!!  I am so stoked for her!!!! I really wish that she would send me a letter back.  All the info I get is through the missionaries that are serving there.  But I am really excited for her.  The temple really is an amazing place.  I know that you all know already, but if you don't realize what a great blessing it is to have a temple right in our back yard, just think of those who never have the opportunity to go.  It really is a great blessing that I plan to take more advantage of when I get home.  We are so blessed.
Also we just started a new transfer and it will go 6 weeks and then our next transfer will be 5.  I will probably leaving Graz after that, but who knows. 
Things this week have been really busy.  We had transfers on Thursday and I got my new companion. She is 19 (my first 19 year old comp) and is from Lindon Utah.  We get along ok, but we have only been together for a few days now.  She is young on the mission as well so I am helping her figure things out a little bit.  She loves theater and singing and she sings really well.  We are doing great together.  For that I am grateful.  She speaks pretty great German.  She took it in school for about 4 years before the mission and so she can speak it pretty well. But she is wonderful.  We are going to baptize all of Graz together.  We have been doing a lot of finding this past week and trying to get some people to teach.  We were out on Saturday and it just started pouring rain.  We didn't have any jackets or anything because in the morning it was really hot. And we had a umbrella because a member gave us one as we were leaving her house.  So we had to change plans and run home so that we could grab rain coats and another umbrella.  It was really cold. I am glad we were able to come home.  The elders weren't as lucky.  They were soaked through and had no umbrella and were really far from home.  Sad day... But we had fun anyway.  This next week will be busy.  We have some appointments with some less actives.  We are also teaching English to this amazing person that we will meet with as well.  It is going to be great. And then on the 25th we will have Elder Bednar come and talk to us.
We had a really cool experience happen last week.  We got a referral and we called him up and he said that we could come any time.  He is a manger for a hotel so that is where we met him at and talked for a little bit.  He said that he is looking into a bunch of different religions so that he can be educated when his guests ask about it.  He found us on the internet.  We talked to him a little and he took a book for the hotel, (in case someone who is staying there asks for it) and also one for him personally.  He said he would read it and let us know if he has questions.  We are going to give him a call later this week.  Miracles happen.  There are people who are searching for the gospel.  And we are here to give it to them.  No better work than that.  :) 
Please keep us in your prayers that we can find God's children who are prepared to receive this gospel.  They are there, we just need to listen to the spirit tell us where to go.  Thanks for all your support and love.  I couldn't do this without you.  You make all the difference to me.  I pray for you always!!!  Keep on going, nothing in too hard with God on our side. :)
Sister Poll