Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This week was pretty dang amazing.
On Tuesday, we met with Danielle. She is doing so well! She told us she is glad she waited until now to get baptized. Before, she always had a little anxiety, or something. But she said for the first time, she is genuinely excited for her baptism! She feels ready. It was a good lesson to us to see that the Lord really does have His own timetable. We often don't understand why things can't happen when we want them to, how we want them to. But, the Lord knows what is best for us. Now, the baptism can be a much more positive experience for Danielle! And we have time to prepare a really great baptism gift for her! We will have everyone write their testimonies (on colored paper, of course) while she is changing. Then we will put them in a binder for her (with a picture from her baptism on the front). We also gave papers to people who will be out of town, but who really meant a lot to her. Also, Danielle will be in England with her parents for Christmas. So, we are making an Adventskalendar for her with talks and spiritual thoughts to read each day until the end of the year (we couldn't stop two days before the end of the year, now could we?). Danielle is doing so well, and we are so excited for her to finally be baptized!
After Danielle's appointment on Tuesday, we visited Binod and Neeta, a couple from Nepal living with some less-actives in our ward. We taught about prophets and Christ's earthly ministry. And do you know what? We also set a baptismal date with them that night!! We set it for the 30. December, and they were very excited! Also, the inactives have become more and more active as we have been meeting with their roommates. They have been so excited to help their friends learn about the gospel, and it's helping them remember why they got baptized. So that has been fun to see, too!
We had my first Zone Conference this week, so that was nice. After Zone Conference, when we were all pumped up to talk to people, Sister Leben and I found a toll guy named Gerhardt. We struck up a conversation on the Straßenbahn, and he was so cool! He is in his 60s, and he said he had been part of the Vienna Christian Group, but he didn't like them as they demanded too much money from them. He said they were too aggressive. We gave him a card as we got out and asked him for his number. He said he would call us on Monday and left. Normally, I would think, ''Well, hopefully other missionaries find him later.'' But, Sister Leben and I both thought, ''I actually think he will call!'' He did not call on Monday. He called that night!! He said he got home and could not stop thinking that he needed something we had to offer. So he visited the website on the card, saw a picture of the temple, felt the spirit, and wanted to meet the next night. He had many questions for us the next night, but he is so cool. He will visit his parents for Christmas, so we can't meet for a few weeks, but he said he will read in the Book of Mormon and call us when he gets back. Mensch. He is so cool. Unfortunately, since he speaks German, we will have to give him to the 2nd ward elders, but we are still glad we could help!
Things with the companions are still going well! Sister Stewart is so great at finding little acts of service everyday. And Sister Leben helps me with my German and tells us jokes every night before we go to sleep. The three of us have a lot of fun together!
That's all for now! I can't wait to see you guys next week! Have a great week!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, December 10, 2012

Liebe Familie,

This was a crazy week, but it was good. Sister Stewart and I have determined that anyone's first week anywhere is never a normal one. This week did not disprove our theory in the least.
On Monday, Sister Stewart and I went to Graz. We wandered around THE Weihnachtsmarkt there, and then Sister Stewart headed back to Wien with Sisters Pingree and Kleiner (Sister Kleiner is from Stuttgart, but is serving in Graz because she is supposed to be serving in Wisconsin, but does not have her visa. So, they are letting her start her mission here. This prevents future missionaries sitting at home, twiddling thumbs while they wait for visas. Such persons will hereafter be referred to as 'visa waiters.'). Sister Holmstead and I stayed in Graz that night and were able to get some work done. We went to this place that Sister Holmstead and Sister Pingree have christianed (but most likely without the lengthy process and\or hand signals. So actually, they just nick-named it) the House of Miracles. About half of their investigators live in this building. These are very poor people who are down and out of luck. It is not the best of living conditions, but they are there trying to turn their lives around. They are some of the most humble people, and they are searching for something better. One of their current investigators is trying to quite smoking and drinking. He has asked the sisters to drop by unannounced everyday to check on him. If he doesn't know they are coming, he can't be prepared to not have smoked in the last few hours, or something. This way, he is always on his guard. He is starting to get much better now! So, we visited him, and picked up another lesson while we were there, along with two new investigators (it was as though I was on a mission in the Phillipines!). It was very cool. And they kept complimenting me on my German, so that was nice, too!
Tuesday was great, too. We taught a less-active and made a lot of progress with her. She finally opened up to us, and Sister Holmstead was very grateful for that. We also went door to door inviting people to their ward Christmas party. And we ended up dooring into a former potential investigator! That was very cool. He had been stand-offish before, but that day he was excited to see us. He also gave us the address to where he was moving, and the address of a former investigator. He asked us to come visit them the next day, so we picked up another new investigator that day, too! 
We had ward council that night. I was a little bored, but it was okay because I got a phone call during ward council. Sisters Stewart, Pingree, and Kleiner were teaching Danielle Tuesday night. After dinner and the lesson, she announced a decision she had made the day before. Then, she called me to inform me. ''I just wanted to let you know that I have decided it's time for me to be baptized. So I'm getting baptized on Saturday!!'' she said. I was so very happy for her and came back into ward council just beaming. She said she had felt impressed to read through the interview questions again. Upon reading through them, she realized she knew all of the stuff she needed to be baptized (which is what a told her a week ago:D), so she should just do it already.
Wednesday morning, we switched back. We had district meeting and finding day in Wiener Neustadt, and we found a really cool woman for them!
Thursday morning, we went back to the train station to pick up Sister Kleiner. Sisters Pingree and Holmstead had been informed Monday that they needed to be in Munich on Thursday for Zone Leader Training. But, they said it was unnecessary for three of them to go (travel is kind of expensive here), so we were to watch Sister Kleiner while they went. It ended up being such a blessing in disguise to have Sister Kleiner. First of all, communication was very lacking this week. On Tuesday, Sister Stewart pulled a nametag out of the mailbox that said ''Sister Leben'' on it. She called the mission president to ask what to do with it, since none of us are named Sister Leben. He said we were getting a visa waiter and didn't know why the office hadn't called. It's a good thing her nametag came so we knew to go get her! We had to pick her up during English class on Thursday. But, with Sister Kleiner, we only had to ask one member to go on splits with me to go get Sister Leben from the airport, as Sister Kleiner and Sister Stewart could stay and teach English. Sister Leben comes from northern Germany, and is 24 (?) years old. She is very sweet. 
The next day, Sister Stewart got sick. But, since there were four of us, we could leave two people at home, and two people could get work done. So, in the afternoon, Sister Kleiner and I went by on the Vietnamese family. They are doing well and seem enthusiastic for us to return. That night, Sister Leben and I were supposed to visit Bright, a less-active, at 7. At 5:30, she called to inform us she wouldn't be there. I would normally have been frustrated, but I felt at peace that it was okay that Bright wasn't there. I asked what was wrong, and Bright said she was with her friend, Temi (whom we met my first week here, but she had no further interest) whose husband passed away yesterday. Then Temi got on the phone and asked if we would come. So we hurried to Temi's house and answered her questions about the Book of Mormon and eternal marriage. She was so interested, and we set up another appointment for this week! Also, BRIGHT FINALLY CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!!!!!! 
The Graz sisters stayed at our house Friday night, so we had to borrow extra pillows and blankets from the elders and Danielle (who, by the way, decided Thursday to move her date to the 29th so her male friend can be there). But it was way fun:]
We taught Wanni about fasting on Saturday. She said that the only thing that is keeping her from being baptized is her dad's lack of support (this is especially important as he could cut her off financially if she makes him too upset). We taught her that fasting is another way she can help her dad. She loved the idea so much, that we all fasted yesterday and broke the fast together. Wanni is really making a lot of progress, and her dad is slowly but surely coming around to the idea of Wanni learning about the church! 
Sorry this was a long letter, but as I said at the beginning, it was a crazy week. But, a lot of big things happened, and this will be a great transfer. 
Have fun continuing to prepare for Christmas
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, December 3, 2012

Liebe Familie,
As November has come to a close, I feel the need to begin this epistle with a list. 

Things That Broke This Month
  • cup
  • my ankle (not really - I only twisted it (yes, again (and, yes, falling down the stairs again (I actually had to admit that was how it happened this time as my usual feats (skydiving, usw.) were not activities in which I would be engaging as a missionary))), but I feel it sort of belongs on the list)
  • handy (only for 12 hours - Sister Stewart incorrectly inserted the SIM card, so we had to go to the Orange store the next morning to have surgery performed - but it is functioning once more)
  • Sister Stewart's necklace
  • Sister Stewart´s pen
  • my twisty-top pen
  • washing machine 
  • front door handle
Yup, this month was pretty great! No, but really. It was:]

This week was very lovely, but the weekend was definitely the most story-worthy part of the week. On Thursday, we started teaching Binod and Neeta, roommates of some less-actives in our ward. They come from Nepal. They said they don´t even know what Nepali people believe, and are very open and willing to learn about our beliefs. We have to take things slowly, but not too slowly. It helps that they live with members and are so open-minded for sure! They are so cute, and we love them already! They even were in church on Sunday, and just seemed to be having a great time! 
The less-active couple has a six-month-old baby. She is the cutest baby. She has dark hair, long, dark, curly eyelashes, and is almost-always smiling. Since she is six-months-old, she can start eating solid food. In Nepal, instead of having baby showers, they have rice ceremonies. And we got invitied. Sister Stewart said that in countries with high mortality rates, they celebrate the birth of the baby after the baby is old enough that they are sure he\she will actually live. When they excitedly asked us to be in attendance, we weren't entirely sure what a rice ceremony was. We knew Adrika would be eating rice for the first time, but that was about it. It was an actual ceremony! We were there on Saturday night, along with a few of their other Nepali friends, and another couple in the ward. They laid out a blanket on the floor. The mother held Adrika. In front of them was a plate with dry rice (an oil lamp atop the mound), a plate with cooked rice (made red with food coloring) and rose petals, and a bowl of rice pudding. Everyone took turns getting on the blanket, facing the baby, putting some red rice on her forehead (and rose petals on her head, if he\she desired), feeding her a bite of rice pudding, and giving her a present. It was very cool, and there was Nepali music playing in the background. Then we all enjoyed a Nepali feast. It was so yummy! And Adrika was just so excited the entire time (she loves attention and will start screaming during lessons if attention is not at least some-what focused on her. So, the rice ceremony was definitely on her list of Top 5 Best Days).
We also did service for the UN Charity Bizarre all day Friday and Saturday. We, along with the other missionaries in Wien, helped set up, helped with parking, and then helped at coat check. During coat check, Elder Johnson joked that we should give out their numbers (the numbers that they give us so we know on what hooks hang their coats) on pass-along cards. I suggested giving them number holders, aka Books of Mormon. But, we did get to do some missionary work afterall! A woman came up to us at one point to get her coat back. Elder Johnson left to grab the coats, I asked the woman where she was from. She said Peru, then she turned to (what I'm assuming was) her husband and said, ''He is from New Jersey.'' I got very excited as he is a man who speaks English - someone the Elders can teach! Elder Johnson returned, and the woman asked where we were from. I told her we were from Utah, and she asked where we had learned to speak German so well. We told her, and also told her we teach German classes twice a week. We wrote down the address of the church and center where the language classes are held, and she was so excited! I asked if we could have her number, so she wrote down her name, number, and address! She was very excited, and she left. So, that was very cool!
Yesterday, Sister Stewart and I met with Danielle again. She is finally back in town! On our way home from her place, we ride the U-Bahn for one stop, then we pick up the Straßenbahn for about 8 stops. Since the U-Bahn ride is only one stop, we usually don't sit and talk to people. But there was someone we had to meet. So, about half-way between the stations, we saw a flash of light out of the window accompanied by a loud bang! Sister Stewart and I thought it was weird, and then the U-Bahn skidded to a halt. Then we thought it was very weird. We waited for a bit. The driver came over the loudspeaker and said there was a problem with the train (no kidding), and to be patient. We decided to sit down. We sat across from a mother and her son. I was about to greet her in German, when she said something to her son in English! I asked where she was from. She said she was from Austria, but she and her husband wanted her son to learn English, so they speak English in the home. We talked for a long time, as the train was broken. She gave us her business card, and told us to call her if we ever needed help with anything. We gave her a pass-along card. I gave her an English one, and Sister Stewart said, ''That one's in English. Here is a German one. Unless, would you like to attend church in English?'' The mother was very excited about the aspect of church in English - this would be another place for them to practice, if nothing else! She asked if they had a program for children, so excitedly explained the format of church, in particular the primary. They were both so excited to come next Sunday! And. We got to walk out of the U-Bahn tunnel! I have always wanted to do that! Definetly an awesome night!
Well, that is all for now! 
May the force be with you.
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, November 26, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This last week was ever so excellent! We picked up three new investigators and had a day of miracles! Not too shab... :]
We teach English classes every Tuesday and Thursday. The vast majority of the people who come are people from Iran. They are Christian or Zoroastrian, and are seeking assylum. For them, Austria is a momentary stopping-point on their way to America. In order to assist the visa process for America, they need to learn English. So, in addition to the other classes they are all signed up for, they attend our classes as an extra boost. They love being there. One woman was supposed to fly out three weeks ago, but didn´t have the proper signatures at the ready, and the seats on the plane got bought. She told us, "I don´t mind. Now I have more time to spend with you! We are so grateful we have this place to come to." They are some of the coolest people I have ever met. Anyway, there was one woman, Anita, who started attending last week. After her second class, she told us, "There is something different about this place. You are all so happy, beautiful, and energetic. I want to know why." Sister Stewart and I started teaching her. We taught her twice, and yesterday, she brought her husband, son, and three friends to church with her! They stayed for all three hours. We have two people in our ward who speak Persian natively, so that was super helpful. Anita is so cool, and we are excited to keep teaching her!
Wednesday, we went to Wiener Neustadt for District Meeting. It was at the Ehepaar Thurn´s apartment. The bishop in the Wiener Neustadt ward and his wife wanted to make us missionaries a Thanksgiving feast. So, we had what they thought was Thanksgiving food. We had chicken (understandable, as turkey is incredibly expensive here) (I like chicken better anyway), Rotkohl (perhaps they confused this with cranberry sauce?), what was supposed to be stuffing (not entirely sure what that was), Almdudler to drink, and muffins. It was very tasty, but it was certainly like no other Thanksgiving feast I have ever eaten!
That night, the elders, Sister Stewart, and I met with Brown. He is a less-active in our ward with whom we have lost contact for the last two months. Then, he called us a few days ago and said, "I miss you people! When can we meet?" Sister Stewart and I were there to introduce Brown to the elders so they can start working with him. He is a hoot and a half (I think he actually qualifies as two hoots - for example, when we were meeting with him, we asked him if he had been praying. He said, "Yes, when, for example, I see a bunch of snakes. I say, ´Lord, deliver me from the snakes!´" Not sure where he is seeing these snakes in Austria, let alone Vienna, but glad to know he didn´t stop praying entirely:D). And he came to church on Sunday! It is so rewarding helping the less actives come back to church!
Friday was a day of miracles. First of all, we had four appointments (a miracle in and of itself), and second of all, none of them fell out (you have no idea what a miracle that is)! We met with Joy, the woman who just showed up at church last week. Apparently, she met with the sisters last year. She stopped meeting with them for one reason or another. She recently lost her job, and remembered how good things were when she was meeting with the missionaries last year. So, she decided to come back. She is from Nigeria and is so cool and so spirited! We also met with Wanni, and she is doing well as always! Then we met with Sarita, a less-active in our ward. She wants to do FHE, but does not know where to start. Sister Stewart and I went over to do FHE with her. We taught a lesson and played UNO with her and the married couple with whom she and her husband abide. After the closing prayer, Sarita said, ´´They have something to tell you.´´ The couple just smiled. So Sarita said, ´´They would like you to start teaching them!´´ They excitedly nodded their heads. We gave them Books of Mormon, and they invited us to Adrika (Sarita´s baby)´s Rice Ceremony this week. We ended the evening by meeting with Bright, another less active in our ward. She just got back from Italy, and is doing really well. She loves when we visit, and wants to come to church, but she has a crazy work schedule. So we continue meeting with her and strengthening her. Oh, and I bought my first Christmas present this day, too! I bought the game of Harry Potter Lego. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and Sister Stewart and I have had fun playing it!
Well, I best let yáll go! Have a wonderful week! 
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, November 19, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Transfer calls came on Friday, and Sister Stewart and I will remain in the Vienna International Ward for yet another transfer. So, no news there:]
We met with Danielle twice this week, on Monday and Wednesday. Monday, we had dinner and FHE with the bishop and his family. That was a hoot and a half (it could have possible qualified for two hoots, but I have no access to the hoot scale, so I am not the authority on what items are required to bump events\people to the next level of hoots)! The bishop is Filipino, and his wife is from Wales. They have three children with English accents. I could listen to them speak all day. Danielle absolutely loved them! We talked about receiving answers to prayers. It was very wonderful! Danielle drove us home (did I mention she takes notes during our lessons, too?) and talked about how much she appreciated and learned. On Wednesday, we had a JAE with us who served in the St. George mission. Danielle was able to list a bunch of reasons to get baptized. Then she said, ''But, on the other hand...'' and paused. She could think of no reasons! The only reason is honestly that she needs the courage and conviction to be baptized. She has gone to the states to be with her significant other for Thanksgiving, so we will see her again the first weekend of December. Hopefully her flame (or a member of his family would be fine, too) will be able to say something that will make her not want to wait any longer. So, we will keep praying for her, and see her when she gets back!
We also met with Wanni twice this week! She is, likewise, so close to baptism. She also knows it is a step she needs to make, but is concerned that her dad isn't standing behind her. Her mother encourages her to come to church; she knows that God loves Wanni, and wants her to continue to feel that love. But her father thinks it is a scummy idea, and Wanni doesn't want to cause contention in the family. But she is so excited to continue to learn more. We also started a sticker system with her. She gets one sticker for every day that she reads, another one for every day that she prays, two stickers when she meets with us, and three stickers when she comes to church. She LOVES the stickers! And that is slightly an understatement. She also told us that before she started meeting with us, she was depressed and apathetic all the time. But now, she is happy and excited about life! Wanni is so cool and so close!! 
David finally came back to church! Yes, he was in church on Sunday! It's a good thing the Lord helped Sister Pingree and me to run into him last week. We had lost all contact with him before then. This week, he called us on Thursday and asked if we could meet. We had appointments all day, but tried to schedule something for the next day. Unfortunately, I think David works a temp job, because he never knows his schedule until practically that day. And we also need to coordinate with the elders so we can pass him over (passing over investigators is always so awkward). But at least we have contact with him again! That is a HUGE step!
Yesterday, a woman named Joy came to church. Although Sister Stewart and I are still trying to figure out the beginning of this story, Joy showed up yesterday morning when the German-speaking ward was starting for church. She stayed through all three hours before someone told her they speak English at 1:30. So, she stayed for our three hour block, too!!! She is so cool! I got her number, and we are going to try to meet with her this week. She is from Nigeria and is looking for work, so she doesn't know how free her schedule is, but she is very cool.
Well, I am sure y'all have things to get to, so I will end this epistle. The Christmas markets opened on Saturday, and although it is getting cold, the town is so festive and fun! This will be another great transfer:]
Ich habe euch Lieb!
Liebe Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, November 12, 2012

Liebe Familie,
On Wednesay, we had our Austausch of the transfer. This time, I stayed in Vienna, and Sister Stewart went to Graz. It was so crazy running the show! But, I did not get Sister Pingree and myself lost, I did not lose any investigators, and the apartment did not burn down in flames! But, really, it was a day of miracles!
We left for Mürzuschlag after English class Tuesday night and made the tausch. Sister Pingree and I got on the train back for Wien, and Sister Holmstead and Sister Stewart waited for the next train to Graz. Sister Pingree is my grandma:] We got home with the intention of hurrying and planning and then going to bed. Originally, Sister Pingree was going to go with me to district meeting, we would go finding in Wiener Neustadt in the afternoon, and then teach Danielle that night. But district meeting got moved around 5:00 Tuesday night because the elders in our ward had scheduled an appointment during district meeting that they couldn´t move (it´s a long story, but it was very important that they met with this investigator). So, district meeting got moved to Saturday (as that was the next day we all had free), and I had a blank day to fill! Just a half hour later, one of the cute little Filipino sisters in our ward called and asked if we could meet on Wednesday (this is the group of 70 year old women with whom we meet every week). The day had just opened up, so we scheduled the appointment for 1:00. There was still some time in between Danielle and the Filipino appointment. I didn´t just want to go finding, but every person I called was too busy (or wouldn´t answer her phone). When Sister Pingree and I were planning Tuesday night, I presented this problem to her. She told me that they had had an investigator in Graz who had moved to Vienna just a week ago. She asked if we could meet with him to introduce him to the elders and make sure he is still alive. I, of course, agreed that was a good idea. She called Aref, and he had time to meet. We then contacted the elders of the ward he would attend and arranged with them. It was one miracle after another coordinating that, ps. It was incredible how I could not get that time filled until we were filling it with the correct activity.
So Wednesday, we met with the Filipinoes. Sister Pingree is 6 feet tall, and the Filipinos are no more than 5 feet tall. She was so excited to meet them, and they absolutely loved Sister Pingree. They kept asking questions like, ''What is your shoe size?'' It was so funny! And the less-active sister was so strengthened (as always).
Then we left to meet Aref. He is so cool. He was born in Afghanistan. When he was 6 months old, the Taliban bombed his house, killing his family. He does not know if he has siblings, or not. He was a slave to a man for awhile. He treated him very badly. Everyone kept telling Aref that man was not his father and that he needed to escape. He finally did, and walked to Iran. In Iran, he learned about Christianity. There was a group of people who met secretly to learn about it (this has turned out to be such a blessing for so many reasons - the teaching has been so much easier since he knows what ordinance are, for example). The government learned about it, and they came one day during a meeting killing everyone in the house. Aref was safe because he hid in a cupboard that was not checked. He then fled to Greece. He learned Greek (he can´t read it, but he understands it very well - they have him listen to conference talks in Greek quite often). I can´t remeber exactly what he did here. But one day, he needed to leave. So, he took a giant sleeping pill, got in the trunk of a car, and two days later woke up in Austria. Sister Pingree and Sister Holmstead found him giving away pass-along-cards to people as they were underway, and they heard him say, ''Taufe, taufe.'' He had been given the card with Jesus being baptized on it. They turned around, and got his information. He understands and speaks okay German, but they have the Persian to English dictionary at the lessons to look up the big words. We met him at the JAE center. We told him he could come here to read the Book of Mormon (he hadn´t had a chance to read since he got to Vienna being that he has Muslim roommates). It is so incredible to meet these people that go to such measures for Jesus Christ. Aref is also investigating the Catholic church. He knows one of these two churches is true, he just doesn´t know which one. The Wien 2 Elders are white washing right now, so they have a little more time than most missionaries. They are doing a great job of taking care of Aref. And it definitely put Sister Pingree at ease to see that he was alive (a very real concern) and had someone to take care of him.
We met with Danielle that night. Danielle loves Sister Pingree (Sister Pingree had taught her another time) (let's face it, who doesn't?). We watched Elder Holland´s talk ``Safety for the Soul.`` Danielle committed to finish the Book of Mormon by Thanksgiving. She also opened up so much to us at the end of the lesson. We are finally uncovering that iceberg. The entire lesson, the Lord was definitely putting the words in our mouths. Sister Pingree and I both walked out and commented how that was not us teaching that lesson.
Though it is hard to express in words, it truly was one miracle after another that whole day!
Saturday when we went to meet with Danielle, she told us she had been feeling very frustrated and emotionally drained a few days prior. So, she started reading in the Book of Mormon. About 20 minutes in, she felt this calming peace, and she didn´t feel sad anymore. So, she kept reading. She adjusted her goal; she resolved to read the Book of Mormon before church yesterday. Which she did! We didn´t have a chance to chat too much about it, so stay tuned for next week when we learn the results!
Yesterday, in church, we were learning about food storage. Sister Picard told the story of the ant and the grasshopper. She was so excited because it is originally a French story, and she is from France. Then Sister Appiateng finished the story for her by saying, ''That is not the end of the story. After the ant tells the grasshopper he may dance all winter long since he sang all summer long, the grasshopper starves to death because he did not have the food in his food storage. So the ant takes the grasshopper, and the ant has even more food storage!!'' Everybody lost it! Then Sister Appiateng's sister, the teacher, said, ''That ant was not very charitable...'' It was about the funniest thing ever! It took a few minutes to get the class calmed back down again. And that is advantage #24 of having Africans in your ward - stories with endings like that are not told in traditional wards:]
I think I have rattled on enough. But things are going so well! We meet the coolest people and see miracles everyday (somedays they are harder to find than others, but they are there). The Lord is truly helping us in this part of the vineyard!
Ich habe euch Lieb!
Sister Stephanie Reid
P.S. Come March, we will receive 26 sister missionaries in that transfer (we have 24 now). It is amazing to see how quickly we are being affected by President Monson´s announcement!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Well, another week has come and gone. Although this week was a little slower (presumable due to the mid-transfer blues, low temperatures, or a combination of the two), it was still full of miracles!
So, we have been teaching a man and wife for a few weeks now. The woman is an American, the man a German. I did not know until last week, though, that she is from... (you will not believe this)... Yakima. Of all places for someone to be from! I could not remember people's last names, though! It was a little embarrassing... I kept thinking, "There is Aunt Linda (who married two guys named Charles), Uncle Wink, Uncle Del, Dean and Shelly, but what are their last names? Then I remembered Uncle Wink's actual first name is not Wink. But that was a few days later (I may be in Europe, but those blonde moments still come). Anyway, if you could write me back with the relatives who live in that area of the country, and include their last names, that would be great. Thanks!
Halloween was this week, but we hardly knew it. Sister Stewart's mother sent her a Halloween package, so we brought Halloween candy to district meeting on Wednesday. The elders saw the candy and said, "When is Halloween?" "It's today, Man." "Oh? Well, I dressed up as a missionary then." "Aw, man! You stole my costume!" Yes, we all dressed up as missionaries, hardy har har. But, really. We saw an ad in the Strassenbahn about how to carve a pumpkin (a glorious example for two reasons of the lack of knowledge concerning Halloween 1) In America, we know how to carve a pumpkin. There are not ads on television, or anywhere else, explaining how ones goes about doing that. 2) The day of is far too late to start thinking about and carving one's pumpkins. But perhaps the ad will help people be prepared for next year), and we saw one little girl dressed as a princess (though we think she might have been a tourist). We met with Danielle that night and made a Halloween Funfetti (instead of multi-colored dots in the middle, they were black and orange) cake (Sister Stewart's mother sent a cake mix as we do not have them in Austria. We also do not have powdered sugar, so it was a good thing her mother also sent Funfetti frosting (this, unfortunately, was not Halloween-themed, and we did not feel like picking out all the sprinkles that weren't orange. But it was still exciting!) for Nachtisch. That was very exciting and fun:] The next day, All Saints' Day, was celebrated. There was nobody on the streets. It was crazy!! But I am glad to hear y'all had a fun time celebrating Halloween :]
We also do not have Thanksgiving here, which means that as soon as All Saints' Day is over (or if you are Mueller, as soon as the temperature drops below 20 degrees on a regular basis), Christmas can be set up! The Christmas markets are being built, little advent calenders and stuffed Santas are in the stores, twinkle lights are being strung around the city, and the feeling of Christmas is here. It will be very fun to be in Vienna at Christmas time! It is so exciting already, and it is only the first week of November!
We taught the little Vietnamese family last night. We just ADORE them! We taught about the apostasy and the restoration last night. When we explained that the people killed the apostles, the mother's hands went up to her mouth, her eyes got big, and she gasped. It was so cute:] We gave them the Joseph Smith pamphlet in Vietnamese on Thursday and asked them to read it before we came last night. We ordered the Restoration video in Vietnamese (oddly enough, we didn't have the Asian languages DVD in Vienna. Weird, right?), but they couldn't figure out how to work their DVD player, so we had to watch it in English anyway! But they kept get excited when it would quote parts that Joseph Smith said in the pamphlet - parts they recognized. We left the DVD with them so they can watch it Vietnamese this week on a laptop, or something, and hopefully understand the whole thing. But at the end of movie, we asked if they would pray about if Joseph Smith was a prophet. The dad said, "I believe it!" The mother nodded up and down in agreeance. They are just so receptive to the spirit. They always get so excited when we ask them about reading and praying as a family because, "We just feel so warm when we do it." We brought stickers to entertain the children, and the parents just love having us over. They want so badly to learn as much as they can about Jesus.  They have accepted the soft baptismal commitment twice because they know that is what they need to do. They are, however, very nervous about church because this is all so new, and they just do not know what to expect. The first time we asked them to come to church, they turned us down because, "We will not know when to stand up and sit down, and we do not know the songs or how to sing very well." We explained that they don't ever have to stand up, and not a lot of people can sing very well, but most importantly, we will be right there with them to show them the ropes. The mother is going to try it out this next Sunday! They are just so teachable. We are loving the progress they have already made and are excited about all of the exciting things that lay ahead for them!
I hope that all is well at home. Have a great week!
Alles gute!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid
P.S. You should probably learn how to use Skype. That is how I will be calling home on Christmas. You can practice on Michelle, or something. But please be in good practice so I don't have to pay an arm and a leg to call on the phone home. Please and thank you. :]

Monday, October 29, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This was a slower week, but still a good one! 
On Tuesday night, we had dinner in Untersiebenhirten with our GML. We had to take a train out there that was eerily scary. It didn´t have the announcements for the upcoming stops (as we are used to), so we really had to be watching out the pitch-black windows for the little sign announcing the Bahnhof (which was a slab of cement with a bench on it). We were dropped off in what appeared to be the middle of a corn field in a horror film. Although it was only 6:30, it was pitch-black. We stood on the Gleis as we waited for the GML to come pick us up. It was so scary, and we were very grateful when his car pulled up! He, as is most of our ward, is Filipino, and he prepared almost every dish that has ever been served in the Philippines! It was so tasty, but so much food! The elders were also there, and Elder Escher (from Switzerland) was very excited to try so many new foods. 
Then, on Friday, another member of our ward´s child turned 1. The Filipinoes celebrate for any reason they can think of. So, there was a giant party with an MC to which we were invited. Yes, we were asked to give a spiritual thought at this one-year-old´s birthday party! And did I mention it was in another church? There is something in the white handbook about not proselyting near churches, but it says nothing about proselyting in them. So we gave our spiritual thought, and then they got on with the festivities. It was like no birthday party I have ever attended, but the food was, again, incredible! However, I did eat intestine for the first time, and that was odd. It´s very chewy. But, other than that, it was all so good, and quite the party! 
Wednesday night, we had dinner with the Picards. Yes, three eating appointments in one week! That was quite incredible in and of itself! But the Picards are solid. They are both from France. His mother is from Iran, so he also speaks fluent Persian. I am not sure what he does for work (Sister Stewart and I think he is a spy), but they lived in Tajikistan for about 5 years, America for a few years, and now they are in Vienna. They have three children, ages 11, 8, and 3? And they are just about the cutest things. For health reasons, the mother had to switch to a Vegan diet a couple of years ago, and since she´s the mom, the whole family is now Vegan. So, she served us a Vegan meal, and it was actually quite tasty! Danielle and her boyfriend were there, too. Danielle loved it, but Jared had some questions (we could tell). The lesson was also incredible! We taught repentance, baptism, and the Holy Ghost. We had the 8 year old share feelings from his baptism. He told about how a few months before he was baptized, he started praying about the church and received an answer that this was what he should do. He also talked about how happy he was after he was baptized. He said he was just smiling all day; he could not control his joy. He was so sincere, and the spirit was so strong! Then the oldest daughter told of a time when the Holy Ghost comforted her when she was scared. Again, nothing ´´profound,´´ per say, but so powerful. Danielle is so prepared for the gospel. :] We just need to get her baptized...
Earlier on Wednesday, we went finding all afternoon with the Wien 4 elders and the elders in Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt. It is such a cute little town! And we met a lot of really cool people! 
Sorry there aren´t a lot of cool story-worthy things (and we are strapped for time this week), but it was a good week! The field is so white here (literally today as it snowed), and we just need to keep working to harvest it!
Alles gute!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, October 22, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Danielle is getting baptized!!!!! She called us Friday night and said,
"Hi, I would like to be baptized. When can we do it?" We were jumping
up and down; we were so excited!!! Danielle will be baptized on 3.
November at 6 pm. She is so excited, and so ready! And we are excited
that she is willing to take that leap of faith!! Mensch, we are so so
so excited! There are no words. :]
On Monday, we went to the first district and did some sight-seeing
around there. There are such cool old buildings in this city. We
especially loved the national library. What an awesome building. We
also came across some Roman ruins. It is so crazy to think how old
that stuff is! It was a cool P. Day:]
We had interviews this week. Graz came in for zone training on
Wednesday, and we did splits again that night so they would have a
what to do. Sister Pingree and Sister Stewart visited with Danielle
(that night she said, "Last week, I was asking myself, ´Why am I not
baptized?´ But then again, I am still not 100% there yet." Just a few
days later, she decided to take that leap of faith!!!!), and Sister
Holmstead and I visited with the deacon in the Catholic church. He
invited us to a Taize Prayer with him. But, he received some incorrect
information as to where it was, so Sister Holmstead and I got an
unofficial tour of a Catholic church as he led us all over trying to
figure out where the entrance to the Crypt was. It was way cool for
both of us - we had never toured a Catholic church before! Sister
Holmstead was really good at asking Peter questions, too. It´s always
nice to bring someone new along to ask the questions that we really
should know the answers to, but we´ve known him too long to ask:] But
we eventually figured out where it was, went to that church, and
caught the last half hour of it. Sister Holmstead and I noticed how
the songs we were singing were talking of true principles, and we felt
good when we were there. But, for that fulness of joy, we need the
fulness of truth. It was a very good lesson to learn. We love Peter,
though. He just wants everyone to get along and be happy. We are
"sharing faith" (as he put it in a text) with him this next week:]
Thursday after interviews, Sister Stewart and I headed to the church.
We had Gemeinderat at the same time as an appointment with the
Vietnamese family. Sister Stewart volunteered to go to Gemeinderat so
I could go on splits with Theresea to teach the family. We taught
about how God is our Heavenly Father and that baptism is the first
step in returning to live with him. Last time we asked them to read
and pray as a family, and I asked them how that went. She excitedly
told us they had done it every night. Then she paused and said, "It´s
the weirdest thing, though. We all feel so warm when we do it..."
Theresea and I got the biggest smiles on our faces as I explained
about the Holy Ghost. They are so ready for the gospel, so willing to
learn, and so receptive to the spirit. They also accepted the soft
baptismal commitment! We are inviting them to see Danielle´s baptism
so they can get more of an understanding as to what it is. But we are
so excited for this little family! They are so great!!
This weekend was a little crazy as we had to hurry and start planning
for Danielle´s baptism, but it will be great! We are so excited, and
so is she! Last night I helped her pick out songs while Sister Stewart
proof-read the German homework of our joint teach after the lesson.
Danielle loved the "Baptism" and "Rainbows" songs in the primary book.
She said, "I love the kids songs because they just get right to the
point about the truth!" She is so stinkin´ cute, and once more, there
are no words to describe how excited we are for her!!
Viel Glück!
Alles Gute!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, October 15, 2012

Liebe Familie,
We finally met with Danielle again! She has been out of town, but she
is back! And her boyfriend is in town, so he was at the last lesson.
He is so cool, and Sister Stewart and I approve of him for Danielle.
Danielle is continuing to make progress, and we are still praying that
her parents´ hearts will be softened. But she will be fine. :]
We got Elders in our ward!!! We are so excited!!! They are very cool,
and so excited to be here! We have tried to help them out as much as
possible with this white-washing (we left chocolate, a public
transportation map, the area book with notes all over the place about
how to teach their new investigators, and so forth). They are also
living with the Wien 3 Elders, so that has been helpful, too. Elder
Johnson is from Sandy and is training Elder Escher from St. Gallen.
Sister Stewart and I do not know how he got called to this mission
(St. Gallen is in this mission), but he seems legit, and we are so
excited to work with him!
Weird story about Wien 3. So Elders Gunn and Babcock were supposed to
stay this next transfer. But, at 10:15 Tuesday night, the president
called them and said that Elder Gunn was needed in Stuttgart, his
train was leaving the next morning at 12:30, and Elder Babcock would
be training. So they packed all night, and none of us got to say
good-bye to Elder Gunn. Schade. Aber, this means that except for Graz,
Wien 5, and, of course, the Zone Leaders, our entire zone has goldens
in the companionship. It´s so crazy, but it will be great!
We got a hold of one of our less actives for my first time this week!
They are this cute little family from Nepal. It is the Dad, Mom, and
their new-born baby. They moved, and no one knew where they went. But
we got a hold of them and visited Sarita and the baby this week. We
taught about eternal families (they also still need the recent convert
lessons), and we pushed F.H.E. We explained what it was, and I
mentioned that one of the prophets promised that if you do F.H.E.,
your kids may skate off course, but they will always come back. I
apologized that I didn´t know which prophet it was, but that was all
that she needed. She got so excited and started implementing a plan
for F.H.E. for the next 10 minutes. She was just so excited! And she
came to church yesterday!! It is so great helping the less-actives
Things are going well with our investigators, too! Sister Stewart and
I had to work out splits last night so we could teach two lessons at
once! But, it was so good!! And that´s also why the elders are also in
our ward now. We need the help!! We have been swamped! But, it´s great
that there is so much work to keep us busy!!
Sorry this isn´t very long, but I need to run! I hope all is well!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, October 8, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This week was a little slow, but it was so great, especially the weekend!
We taught Clara the Plan of Salvation this week. She just smiled when she read Alma 40:11. She looked up and said, ´´My boy is with Jesus. He is okay.´´ She smiled again, looked back at the scriptures, smiled even bigger, then looked back to us for more instruction. We just love teaching her. She is so ready for the gospel.
We got two new investigators this week! It is a little family. They come from Vietnam. They are probably in their early 30s and have two young children. Ian (a girl who is about 3) and a boy (who I can´t remember his name, but he is about 1). They are very energetic children but so cute! He is here getting his Ph.D., and she is a stay-at-home mom. They have absolutely no religious background, but they are very eager to learn more about Jesus. She has a Christian friend, so she knows a little bit, but she really wants to learn more. On the first few pages of the Book of Mormon, it has a page that says what all of the cross-reference symbols mean. She thought this page was giving an overview of the first two books in this series about Jesus Christ, and she expressed her concern in reading the third book in the series, when she had not yet read the first two books. We explained what it meant (the cross-references), but realized we really are starting from ground zero with this family. We are going to have to go very slowly, both for gospel and language understanding, but it will be great! They are so cute, and so willing to learn!
After this appointment, Sister Stewart and I realized we have investigators from every continent except Australia. Also, we are not teaching any Austrians. That was kind of interesting to think about! But it has been so cool learning about all of these different cultures!
Since transfers are this week, we got transfer calls Friday. Sister Stewart and I are staying in Wien, but we are getting two elders for our ward, too!! That will be so nice! We have been crazy with all of the new people we have been finding, so it will be so nice to have another companionship to share the load. Also, joint teaches will be lightyears easier since we are giving the new elders the boy area book. Yes, we have two area books – one for boys and one for girls. The new elders will be an Elder Johnson (?) and his golden! And Wien 2 is also getting another set of elders! The work in Wien is really progressing!!
General Conference was this weekend. Mom had some questions about how that worked, so allow me to clarify. The sessions are broadcast at the church. The families with young children often stay home and watch it online, but we still have a good turn-out at the church. We had all of the wards in Wien, except Wien 5, in the stake center. And the St. Pölten elders were there, too, but I don´t know if any members from St. Pölten were in Wien… We watch the Relief Society broadcast on Saturday at 3. Then, we watch the Saturday morning broadcast live at 6 pm. So, we heard the announcement of the missionary age at the same time you did! (We were all going crazy – that is such big news! We are going to get so many more missionaries now! It is also weird for those of us who are already out here, because we are going to be so old when we get home now! Aber, was auch immer. We are way excited about the change, It honestly makes a ton more sense.)
Sunday, at 2, we watch the Saturday afternoon session. An investigator who will be passed off to us this week, Dawn, was there! She is crazy, so I will tell you about her later. We were so glad she was there, but she had to leave early to catch a movie. We were both hoping that she left before that last talk. Mensch, that was rough. But we were so glad she came!
At 6, we watch the Sunday morning session live. That was such an excellent session! And, Wanni, Bobby, Delores, Peter, and Peter´s friend came! Peter seemed to love it, and he brought a friend. She was very cute and really liked us sisters. She is from Lithuania, but she moved to England when she was 10(?). She was crying during the parts where the spirit was very strong and taking notes during the important parts. We gave her a Book of Mormon at the end, and we are meeting up with her and Peter next Wednesday.
I heard that we watch the Sunday afternoon session next week, or something, but I am not entirely sure. But, yes, we do get to watch general conference, and that is how it works:]
Well, I hope everything is going well in Utah!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid  

Monday, October 1, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Last P. Day, we got together with the other missionaries in Wien and played at this incredible park here in town. It was so fun!
On Monday night, our investigator, Bobby, called us. He is so sad all of the time, but as of late has been very happy (he also has stopped investigating other churches lately, what an odd correlation…). We are so excited for the progress he has started making! Anyway, he called us because he didn´t understand the context of Alma 7, his last reading assignment, and it was confusing him. We explained a little on the phone, clearing up his questions, but resolved to make things even more clear at our appointment on Wednesday.
Tuesday, we had a first appointment with a referral named Lara. She sounds so cool. She is a college student who just got back from study abroad in Oregon where her host family was members. She texted us Tuesday morning and said she was very sick, so we would have to get together later that week. I suggested we fill that time with Bobby, clarifying his concerns with Alma 7 that day, and we could teach the full lesson the next day. We called him, and he was very excited. But, an hour before the appointment, he called and said something very odd and unexpected had come up, and he would not be able to meet. We then remembered we had had a hard time getting a hold of another referral from Wien 2, so we decided we could try going by her house, since no appointments could stay fest at 3:00. The Wien 2 elders were so excited about her. They had met her on the street, and she was very cool. She needed a Spanish Book of Mormon, but they lived very close, so they ran home and got one for her. We showed up at her house, and she buzzed us in. We came to her door, and she was so excited that we came. She kept saying it was such a good thing we came when we did, as that was the only half hour all day she had (and would be) been home. Sometimes when appointments fall out, miracles can happen. We taught her about where the Book of Mormon came from and set up another appointment for Friday. She absolutely loved it, and kept thanking us over an over for coming. She also kept saying that we had come at the perfect time in her life. There are definitely no coincidences. On Friday´s appointment, she was very emotional. She explained that this week was the anniversary of her son´s death 8 years ago. We talked about the enabling power of the atonement, and she was so uplifted by our message. We can definitely see why the Wien 2 elders were so excited; Clara is so legit, and we are so excited to continue teaching her!
Wednesday, I had my first Austausch!! I went to Graz, and Sister Holmstead came here. Graz is so gorgeous!! Sister Pingree and I went on a run to the old part of Graz my first morning there, and I could not believe my eyes. This country is so beautiful. The trainride over was also gorgeous. All the rolling hills, little Dorfs, etc. Mensch. This place is amazing!
The Austausch was a good experience, too. I learned so much from Sister Pingree (who is actually my grandma, so that was fun, too). We taught a lesson to these three 50 year old people. Peter, a big guy with long flowing gray hair, a bandana, and a full beard, is a member. Heidi is a recent convert. Her boyfriend, Michi, is an eternal investigator. The elders stopped teaching him awhile ago, but since he´s always at Heidi´s house, and we need to teach Heidi, we still get to teach Michi. They were the funniest group. And it was great to teach in German finally (outside of the MTC and the times we taught when it was being translated into Polish)! We also stopped by on a woman who is recently less-active. She has 7 children, from ages 16 years-15 months. They are 6 boys and 1 girl, and are a handful fort his sister. She was very receptive to us coming over, and kept apologizing that her kids were everywhere and loud. I assured her that I also came from a big family and was used to the chaos. That made her feel better, and we were able to get a pretty crazy, but good, lesson in.
The weekend was a little rough, but we are still plugging along! I can´t believe this week is the last week of my first transfer! Mensch, how the time flies.
Ich liebe euch!!
Sister Stephanie Reid :]

Monday, September 24, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Last P. Day, we visited Schönbrunn. It was so gorgeous!! We just wandered around the gardens. It was a perfect day, not too hot, not too cold, we didn´t even need a light jacket! But it was great:] It was a good thing we did that last Monday, though, because the weather took the official turn fort he worst on Wednesday. I really think summer is over now. Time to break out the scarves, boots, coats, and tights!
We taught Danielle three times this week! She texted us Monday morning and asked if it would be okay if she fed us dinner. She is so sweet! So, we had dinner, and then taught the lesson. I clarified her question on polygamy. We read the scriptures in Jacob 2:27-30 and D&C 132:37-38. When we opened up to Jacob 2, she said, „I´ve read this one before. It´s why I started having the questions in the first place.“ We had her read all the way through verse 30, explaining what the phrases meant, and she said she hadn´t read past verse 28 the first time. When I was done presenting the scriptures on why it happened, and why we no longer practice it, I asked if that made more sense. She responded that this stuff won`t matter once she knows that Joseph Smith is a prophet – after that, everything else will fall into place. She is correct, but it helps to clear up hang-ups so her heart can be open to receive the revelation. We taught about the restoration, and watched the movie. After the movie, we asked her how she felt. She then explained that her boyfriend (who happens to be a member of the church) told her to pay attention to how she feels when we talk to her, when she reads in the Book of Mormon, etc., as that is how the spirit talks to her. She then concluded with, ``I think the spirit is telling me that it´s true.´´
On Wednesday, she fed us dinner again. She made fajitas. She had to look so hard to find tortilla shells, and such! And she said the cheddar cheese was found in the exotic cheese section. Who knew! We taught the Plan of Salvation – she had a lot of questions, but really seemed to understand and accept it. We also gave her a soft baptismal commitment, and she responded that that was obviously the next step.
On Saturday, before the adult session of stake conference, we met with her again. We showed her the baptismal font (ours is definitely the prettiest one I have ever seen.) and talked to her about the importance of setting a date, so we have a goal. She turned us down flat on that one. She said her parents are not as understanding as she thought they were, and that she wants them to be supportive. She also said that if they still aren´t accepting in another year, she will have to move forward without them. But for now, she doesn´t want to ruffle too many feathers. She still wants to keep meeting with us, but we just can´t set a date. And that is completely understandable. So, Sister Stewart and I are praying a lot that her parents hearts will be softened. That is a big decision, and it would be hard to not have her parents´ blessing.
Mom was saying that she has a student that doesn´t speak English or German, and she has a hard time communicating with her – she can´t even tell her to sit down. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Sister Stewart and I teach English classes at the institute. Sister Stewart´s class is the people from Austria who would like to learn English. I got the people from Iran who are here waiting for their American visas and need to learn English as part of the application. So, I also have to teach two lessons every week where I don´t speak any language that the people in my class teach. For example, on Thursday, we spent about 15 minutes trying to clarify the meaning of ít´ in the sentence „Who is it?“ I had told them Tuesday that „it“ was the pronoun you use when it is not a boy or a girl. Then on Thursday, we were talking about question words, and I said that we use „who“ for people. They were all so confused, and it took that long for us to communicate what they were confused about, and then for me to explain why we used „it“ in that case. So hard sometimes, but so good! I gave them another Book of Mormon on Thursday, and I found a Farsi Gospel Principles book in our church! So now, I can teach them a spiritual thought in their native tongue. It is so great how that book just happened to turn up when it did… :]
We also met with Peter this week. He is from England and a Deacon in the Catholic church. He is so cool. He hates the organization of the Catholic church. He is planning on attending General Conference, and was apologetic when he realized his schedule did not permit him to attend the Saturday morning session (which is aired Saturday night).  We explained that that was okay, that the important one was the Sunday morning session (which is aired Sunday night). He then looked at the schedule for Sunday, and promised to go to all three sessions.  We laughed a little as we commented that that was quite the marathon, and he said, „Well, look, there are hour and a half pauses between sessions for food, and such. I can do it!“ He carries that last Conference addresses Ensign with him, and he just loves what we teach. Problem is, the Catholic church is his livelihood. But, we keep plugging along with him, and maybe eventually we will figure something out for him. At our next appointment, we are thinking of having the stake employment specialist sit in.  
Sorry that was quite long, but I hope you made it through!
Ich liebe euch!
Sister Stephanie Reid:]

Monday, September 17, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This week was most excellent. :]
At English class, I gave away seven Books of Mormon this week. My class is getting so big, and the Iranian people are so genuinely interested in our church. I am so excited to see what happens with them. I would say the biggest problem is the language barrier – they all don’t speak English or German, the only two languages I pretend I can speak. But, we have a guy in our ward whose mother is Iranian, and she spoke it in the home. He is married to a woman from France (and I think he was raised in France, too), so we all assumed he was French all this time. He is the ward clerk, so he saw our teaching record, and the comment on the side of the language barrier problem. Then he told us his family history and said he is more than willing to help us as much as he can. He came to the JAE center on Tuesday night to meet a couple of the people. And his wife is coming this Tuesday or Thursday to meet the mothers. The mothers were complaining that since their children don’t go to school, they don’t have a lot of friends. The French family’s kids are home-schooled, so they can totally be friends with each other! Isn’t it amazing our intricately the Lord takes care of us?
Wednesday was pretty great, too. We had our Filipino lesson, and this time Dolores brought a friend, too! We reviewed Ether 12 from last week, and talked about where the Book of Mormon came from. The best part was after we read the first paragraph of the introduction, and we were talking about why that was important. Sister Banban and Sister Dalit had both commented (in Tagolag and Engish), and I said (in English) that I loved how it said that the fulness of the gospel was contained in the Book of Mormon. Then Dolores said, ‘Exactly! If more churches used the Book of Mormon, there would not be so much confusion on the earth.‘ Dolores is great!! We are so stoked about her and her friend!!
That night, we had our first lesson with Danielle. We were very nervous, but so was she. :] We taught the first lesson. She believes so much, but she has a few hang-ups: polygamy and the need for such a long apostacy. We are going to try to resolve those concerns tonight, so news on that next week. I think the bigger concern will be her family, though. They are very active Lutherans who are not thrilled that she is meeting with us. She feels that she needs to continue, but we can see that she isn’t just going to peace on her family. But, Danielle is great, and I am sure something will work out so that they will be supportive of her baptism. We are very excited to continue teaching her!
We had Sisters Konferenz this week. All 24 sister missionaries in our mission came to Munich for a few days. There is no direct train from Graz to Munich, so the Graz sisters had a sleepover with us Wednesday night, and we traveled together to Salzburg Thursday morning. We missed our train out of Vienna because we read the board wrong and were standing on the wrong platform! About the time we realized it, the train doors locked, and we were stuck  at West Bahnhof. But, another train was headed to Salzburg in an hour, and there was another train leaving Salzburg for Munich an hour after we were to arrive in Salzburg. Our train ended up being delayed 45 minutes, so we had to run when we got to Salzburg, but we made it to Munich!! We were the last ones, but it was okay.
We went on a bike ride on Friday. We rode through Englischer Garten. It. was. gorgeous!! Think Mary Poppins. It really looked like something out of a musical. Mensch. We also got to see a lot of cool historical sites/buildings as we rode through downtown Munich. So much fun!
Yesterday, David, Wanni, Danielle, Sister Constante, and one of our Persians came to church!! It was so great!
After church, we met with David. Mariusz, a native of Poland from Wien II who sat with David in church to help with translation, stayed for the lesson. His German is way better than his English, so the English-speaking sisters taught in German for it to be translated into Polish. Oh, the joys of serving in the international ward. :] But David is great, and he is still on track for his baptism!!
I think that is about everything for this week! Good luck with school and work and such!
Ich liebe euch!!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, September 10, 2012

Liebe Familie,
This week was so great!! So many wonderful things happened; it is hard to narrow down what to write about.
First of all, we have an investigator with a baptismal date!!! Elder Bassett and Elder Moon, in Wien 1, met David. David is about 27 and comes from Poland. He doesn´t speak much English, but speaks even less German, so they gave him to us. We taught the first lesson to him with Elder Bassett and Elder Moon. We had to speak very slowly so he could understand, but at the end, we asked him to be baptized. He thought about it for a moment, then asked, ‘’When?`` We set the date for the 29 September, and he asked what time. So, not only do we have a baptismal date, but we have a time! We are so excited for David! And, we have a guy in our ward who served his mission in Chicago, Polish-speaking. What a blessing he has been. He came to our second lesson with David to help translate. David understood so much more, and it was neat to hear him express his feelings (as he had had a hard time with that in English). We are so so so excited about David!
That was on Wednesday. Earlier on Wednesday, we had an appointment with a less-active. She is a widow whose children are inactive, so she doesn’t have a lot of support. She is Philippino, and likes having translators at our lessons. So the other 3 Philippino sisters in our ward are at our lessons. This week, Sister Dalit brought a friend. We all thought she was a member because we were teaching about Faith and Tithing, and Dolores was over there bearing her testimony the whole time. Then at the end, she said, ‘’I don’t belong to any particular faith, but I know how important faith in God is.’’ Sister Banban then said, ‘’I thought you were baptized Catholic…’’ Dolores retorted, ‘’That is not a baptism. For baptism, you have to go under the water. ‘’ I said, ‘’Yeah, you do!’’ Long story short, we have a new investigator. :)
Thursday was also great. We had my first meal appointment. It was lunch with the Hirschmanns. Every week, they invite the missionaries in their ward and the sisters over for lunch. The Hirschmanns are great. They are an older couple, and Sister Hirschmann has a big ordeal every week about who sits where. Then, when you are assigned to your seat, you do not move. After dinner, we always sing songs, and I played the piano. They got so excited when they learned this, and they just belted all of the songs as loud as they could.  We told Brother Hirschmann during dinner that we thought he could be one of the three Nephites because he is so old and wise, and he nodded and smiled and said, ‘’Yeah, that is right!’’ So, I have now met two of the three Nephites.
That night, we went to visit Bright, another less active. We felt impressed to prepare a lesson on the First Vision. Bright had a friend there who was not a member. Apparently we have given her a Book of Mormon before, but she thought Mormons were weird, and did not read it. But this time, she was ready for the message. She was very intrigued. When we started explaining the Book of Mormon, I felt impressed to share 2 Nephi 25:26. Until this point, the lesson was for Bright, but I also felt that her friend, Temi, needed to read it. She did, put the book on the coffee table and said, ‘’You guys believe in Jesus?’’ We nodded and told her that we do. Sister Stewart started to bear testimony, but Temi cut her off and said, ‘’I thought you worshipped Joseph Smith and Mormon. But this says here that all you do is for Jesus. You talk of Him. You preach of Him. Everything is for Him.’’ Yes, we have another new investigator. :)
I also ate my first Dönner this week. Wow. They are just as good (if not better) as everyone has been saying they are. My goodness. No words to describe them.
We teach English at the YAE Center every Tuesday and Thursday. We have been having a couple of Iranian families that have been coming. We have been trying to locate Persian Books of Mormon for them because they want some, and our apartment is out. We had a joint teach with Wien 3 on Saturday night, and they had some, so they brought them along. We were standing at the Bahnhof waiting to meet up with Kevin, holding these Persian Books of Mormon, when a man walked past, stopped, turned around, and asked, ‘’What language is that?’’ We told him it was Persian, and he asked if he could see the book. As he looked at it, he explained that he was raised in Iran, and he didn’t understand why we would be standing there with Persian Books of Mormon. After a little more discussion, he asked if he could borrow the book. We told him he could keep it, and he was floored. We gave him an English one, too, so he could compare the translations if there was a question. We don’t have a new investigator because he lives in Zwettl, but the elders in St. Pölten do! And that is where Jake’s friend, Houston, is serving! So that is exciting for them!
Yesterday at church, David, Bobby, and Carmy all came!! That was so exciting, especially for David because he needs to attend three times before his baptism, and we had exactly three Sundays! Also at church, a friend of a member in our ward, Danielle, came. Danielle is in her mid-20s and works at the UN building. She had been once before, and I had no clue she wasn’t a member (especially considering she bawled in Relief Society when she read a scripture). At the end of sacrament meeting (the third hour), she came up to us and said, ‘’Um, I want to learn more.’’ She is going to be such a golden investigator, and we have our first appointment with her on Wednesday!
Oh, and I got J-Dubbed for the first time. That was interesting.
The Lord really is helping us in this work!! Things are going so well here!! I am so grateful to be here.
I hope things are going well there, too!  
Ich liebe euch!!
Sister Stephanie Reid :) 

Monday, September 3, 2012

Liebe Familie,
Ich bin in Österreich! Könnet ihr daß glauben?
My last week in the MTC was good. We finally got to hear from an apostle! Neil L. Andersen came. It was so great to hear from a prophet. It was also neat to get to know Elder Andersen’s personality a little better. He reported on President Monson’s birthday, and as such, he talked about what President Monson would teach us if he were there. He had 10 points that were common phrases of President Monson, and he expounded on them. He talked a lot about trusting in the Lord, that the Lord knows what’s best. It was such a great talk, and the spirit was so strong.
Elder Moon broke his finger on Thursday during basketball, and they wanted to keep him for six more weeks! He had a small hairline fracture, and the doctor wanted to send him to a specialist. For a broken finger! It was the most ridiculour thing on the planet. Our branch president and first counselor are both radiologists, and even they had trouble finding the crack. Elder Moon had to call his mom on Saturday to tell her he might not be flying to Deutschland on Tuesday. Elder Moon received a blessing from his companion, and we had a district-wide (including other elders from our zone) fast for him on Sunday. On Sundays at lunch, Wednesdays at lunch, and Wednesdays at dinner, we get ice cream. Sunday’s lunch would be our last time eating ice cream in the MTC, and that was sacrificed for Elder Moon. I think the Lord understood how upset and distraught we all were over missing our ice cream, because the next day, the doctor practically had no idea what Elder Moon was talking about when he went in to receive the final word. It had been this huge ordeal (of which even the president of the MTC was aware), and then all of a sudden, he had no clue what was going on. So Elder Moon flew with us to Deutschland!! Fasting and the priesthood work, people. Period.
Tuesday morning was crazy, but good. We left the MTC at 8:00, and headed to the Salt Lake airport. We got all checked in, and then Sister Perkins, Elder Gochnour, Elder Gochnour, and I headed to Cafè Rio. We were so excited for our last Mexican food for 16 (or 22) months, and the fact that it wasn’t MTC Mexican food. It was sooooo delicious!!
We flew on a little plane from Salt Lake to Seattle. In Seattle, I called Dad, and then it was time to board our plane to Amsterdam. The Seattle airport was a little weird because at the MTC, everyone smiles at you as you walk past. In the Salt Lake airport, not as many friendly people, but still a lot of people greeting us, and such. But in Seattle, nothing. One woman stopped us to ask us where we were going (she had served her mission in Thailand), but everyone else gave us funny stares. We all commented on what an odd adjustment that was. :)
The flight to Amsterdam was good. It as an 8 ½ hour flight. We all tried so hard to sleep on the plane, but it didn’t really work. Elder Aardema couldn’t sleep, either.  I commented how he even had an empty seat by him, and he asked if I wanted to switch seats. I said maybe later, as I didn’t want to take his nice window seat. After another failed attempt at sleeping, we both ‚woke up‘ at the same time, and he asked again if I wanted to switch seats. I nodded, and slept much better in his seat. He still had trouble sleeping, and decided to wander. While wandering, he ran into a lady who asked him where he was from, usw. He told her he was from America, and she said that she had just come from America. She said ,‚Why aren’t there churches open during the week in America? I looked and I looked, but I could find nowhere to pray.‘‘ Elder Aardema explained how we don’t have to pray in church, and he started quoting scriptures from the Book of Mormon. She was very excited/interested and wanted to know more. He excused himself and went back to his seat to get a Book of Mormon and mark the parts with the answers to her questions. He could not find her again until after the plane landed, when she stood up only two rows in front of him! I woke up for the last little bit of the flight, and Elder Aardema told me all about it, and about how frustrated he was that he couldn’t find her again, but that he knew why he hadn’t been able to sleep: he had something to do. It was so cool!
We had an hour and a half layover in Amsterdam because we got out of Seattle faster than expected. It was good we had, because the Amsterdam airport was huge! It took almost half an hour just to walk from where we landed to where our take-off gate was! And we had to clear customs, too. Elder Putkonin got felt up, but I was okay.
We freshened up in the bathroom, then it was off to Munich. We walked on the pavement to get on our tiny airplane. Elder Moon and I both stopped on the stairs and looked out at Amsterdam. It was so unreal that we were boarding for our last flight to our actual mission.
This flight was quite enjoyable, seeing the European countryside. Elder Aardema was finally able to sleep, and I looked out the window the whole time. It was only an hour flight, and the Austrian family next to me was laughing at us missionaries‘ excitement. They were very friendly, though!
We landed in Munich, and the APs were on the other side of the glass waving so excitedly. We picked up our luggage, and the mission president, his wife, and the APs flocked to greet us. Sister Miles threw her arms around me, and the others excitedly shook my hand. Elder Carter was so excited to meet me. My mission papers went in from Cedar City, where he is from, and he was excited to have more represenatation. He apologized profusely that he did not remember me, but hoped I would forgive him. I laughed and explained that although I did live in Cedar for three years, I was not in high school with him. We do know a lot of the same people, though, so that was neat.
We loaded our suitcases and backpacks, were given Bücher Mormon, the APs took us to Bahnhof, and we were instructed to place one. Sister Graf is from Germany, and was in the Preston MTC. She stuck with Sister Perkins and me. I picked where to sit. Sister Perkins sat and smiled, and Sister Graf and I talked to this middle-aged woman. She was very polite. At first she was apprehensive of the Book of Mormon. But after more chatting, she asked ‚,Where is my book?‘‘ when she was getting off the train. It was so cool!
After that, I don’t remember a whole lot, as I was very jet-lagged, and they made us stay awake. We were alotted a 20 minute nap at one point, but other than that, awake!
I was assigned to Wien IV with Ssiter Stewart. It’s an international ward, so we teach lessons in English, sometimes with interpreters. We have to work very hard at our German, since we don’t have as many opportunities as the other missionaries to practice, but it will be okay.
Sorry this letter is so long, and I will write more later!!
Viel Glück! Ich liebe euch!!
Sister Stephanie Reid 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Liebe Familie,
I'M GOING TO GERMANY!!!!!! (I did not even push the caps lock button down during that, emulating the excitement of the situation; I did, however, release the shift button for the apostrophe, as it would make no sense to have quotation marks. I was not quoting anyone. I am quoting myself. Not many people use quotation marks to quote themselves. But the rest was typed while holding the shift button down.)
We got our flight plans on Friday. They usually come on Thursdays, but apparently there are a lot of us leaving this week, so the travel office got backed up. Anyway, I've got them!! It was so exciting when they were finally in our mailbox. They were in our mailbox around 11 (someone was in the building and checked), but we waited until after language study and lunch to get our flight plans. It was more like Christmas that way. Also, if we had gotten them before language study, no way were we going to be doing any studying after that. So we waited. Sister Young ate so quickly - she was not the sneakiest at hiding her excitement. Then we walked with our elders from the lunchroom to the post office. We had to go out some doors, down some stairs, down a small sidewalk, in some more doors, and in some more doors again before we could get to the post office. Then we stood in the lobby while Elder Richards walked down the hall to get our flight plans. We stood, paced, and sat while we waited. Elder Richards soon came around the corner, and we had our flight plans!! He handed them out, and we all read them. I could not believe my eyes. I was so excited!! We all were. We were not exactly quiet as we discussed our plans. Oh, the joy in the air. We are taking Delta all the way, so not too thrilled about that. But the joy of actually going to Germany is overriding all of that. :] 
I suppose at some point I should let you know what these plans are. So I will make that point this point, as it will probably make the most sense. Ahem. We are leaving the MTC at 8:00 am Tuesday morning. We fly out of the Salt Lake airport around 11:30 (again, am that would be heck-a long if it was pm). (I will probably make my phone call at this point, so be on guard. If there is a particular number you would prefer I call, please send me a letter, as I will not be allowed to check my e-mail again before this time.) Elder Moon was saying his mom looked up the flight, and we are flying to Seattle first, and then to Amsterdam. Apparently we have a 2 hour layover in Seattle. So this would be another plausible spot for a phone call. I am not positive if we are going there, though. But a couple other kids were saying the same thing, so I don't know. Regardless, we arrive in Amsterdam at 8:30 am their time. We have an hour layover there, and then we fly to Munich. It is so crazy how real it all became! :D
Our teacher, Bruder Corey taught us a neat German word about three weeks ago. He said that after he was in Germany about six months, when he would tell people he felt like he could finally speak German, they would say, "Oh yeah? Can you say Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen?" It means little match box, ps. I have been practicing that word everyday for the last three weeks. I could finally say it! (I even had a native German tell me I could say it very well.) So, I worked it into my talk for Sunday. Every Sunday, we are all expected to write a talk on the topic assigned. Then, when we get to sacrament meeting, a member of the branch presidency announces which two lucky missionaries will be giving his/her talk. I worked the word Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen into my talk three times. I talked about how faith is like a little match box. When you have it, it's nice, but it's not worth anything until you do something about it. I then read the scripture in Jakobus 2:17 where it says that faith without works is dead. I said that you have to strike the match box, and then you have fire. And then your possibilities become more and more endless, the bigger your fire gets. It was a lovely analogy, and I got to say Streichhoelzerschaechtelchen. Three times. I told my district and a couple of my other friends in my zone about how great my talk was. My district took the liberty of telling the branch president that I had a great talk prepared. Elder Ruff said he would secretly pray for me to give my talk, just so he could hear me say that word. I laughed a little, but I think we can all see where this story it going. Yes, President Dunn called me up as the first speaker, and Elder Wells (an Elder in my district) as the second speaker. I just shook my head and smiled. Elder Ruff turned around and silently laughed. Sister Young asked if I wanted to use her talk. I told her that I had written this talk, and now I needed to give it. So I did. Everyone thought my talk was great! So that was nice. :]
I also gave the musical number in sacrament meting. Sister Young played the violin, and I accompanied her on the piano. We played a medley of "Amazing Grace," "As Now We Take the Sacrament," and "How Great Thou Art." It was so beautiful! I was worried I wouldn't be able to play since I had stubbed my finger the day before (as per usual, I wasn't doing anything cool. I was playing kickball with our district. Our zone set up a kickball tournament - we have brackets, and everything. We had won our first game, but we got clobbered on Saturday. But it's probably best that we lost so we can do real work-outs during Sport. Anyway, I'm fine :]), but it was great! We got so many compliments, and we brought some people (aka the wives of the branch presidency) to tears (and they claimed they were the good kind of tears).  
My birthday was most excellent. My roommates bought me Swedish Fish and Reese's Pieces. They also gave me cards signed by my district, District A (we're good friends with that district), and my roommates I had for my first two weeks here (what forthsight!!). It was so great! My district loved the cake, so thank you very much!! It was exciting to get cake in the mail. My teacher, Sister Covey, taught the class the German song they sing on birthdays (which is a lot happier sounding, and more fun to sing than the one we all know), and everyone sang it for the closing song for our evening class. Other members of the district shook my hand and/or wished me "Happy Birthday" (usually auf Deutsch) every time they saw me. And Elder Gauchner sang me "Zum Geburtstag viel Glueck" repeated four times (since he didn't know the third stanza) first thing in the morning. So, all in all, it was a great birthday!
I am glad to hear Dad got some great food in Denver and that he got to go to two ball games. That would be so cool! I am also glad to hear it sounds like the rest of the family is doing well! I enjoy getting your letters. :]
Bis spaeter!!
Sister Stephanie Reid