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.
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
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!
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!
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
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!!