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 :]