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