Thursday, February 28, 2013

Liebe Familie,
Sister Armstrong drove for the first few days until we learned that she hates driving and I love driving. We called the mission office to ask if I could be the designated driver. So, I have been the driver since then. But, I need to get an Austrian driver's license. So we have had to drive to Salzburg a few times this week for paperwork. I also had to have a physical this week! It is a crazy process, but the license is good for life, so I guess it's worth it:] It's also a little crazy driving here because all of the lines on the roads are white! But I'm getting used to it. Don't you worry:]
Our mission president has really been urging us to clean out our area books. There will be a lot of white-washing next transfer with all of the new missionaries coming in, and that will make the process a lot easier. As we have been cleaning them, we have been calling former investigators, potentials, usw., and we have had a lot of success in finding this week! We set up appointments with a couple of people for this week just by calling them on the phone and asking if they had interest again. 
When I first got here, I noticed a lot of license plates had "BR" on them. I asked which city that was, and Sister Armstrong said it was probably Braunau, a city at the other end of our area that we never visit. I told her I thought we should visit it at least once. She agreed, especially because we needed to go by on a potential to write down his address. We can't go often because we are limited on how many miles we can drive each month. But we planned to go Saturday, and to see what happens. As we cleaned out the area book, we organized the former investigators who lived in that area, and called a few of them to see if we could come by. What a day of miracles that was! We called a lot of people, and two families agreed that we could come by. We went by one family from Romania first. They have 7 children, and they were all excited to have us there. The youngest of the kids is 8, so that is wonderful, too. They will all need a Romanian Book of Mormon, as they gave away the one that they had to a friend. They still have one in German, but Romanian is better. They chatted for awhile with us. They then asked if we had other appointments, and we told them we did. They asked if they could feed us dinner first, and we agreed. That was wonderful, too! The dad is also very into music. So, they put on a mini concert for us! He played a traditional Romanian song on his accordian, and two of his sons accompanied him on trumpet and saxophone. It was a lovely afternoon. Then we headed into Braunau and dropped by on a couple of potentials. We gave one a Book of Mormon, and made an appointment for this week. On our way back, Sister Armstrong thought we were done, but I remembered that there was still someone else she had called. Then she remembered, too, and we found our way to their residence. It was very cool! They said they had waited for us earlier that afternoon, but when we hadn't come, they had gone to Germany for the afternoon. They had only recently returned when we klingeled their apartment! They come from Albania, and they fled because of the war 15 years ago! I cannot believe the people we meet here. The mom and dad were very interested in learning more, and they have four kids. We will try to get the kids to join us next time. We could not believe how many new promising investigators we found just by cleaning out our area books! 
There will be more news on these families to come:]
This area is absolutely gorgeous, and I am so grateful to be here on my mission right now! Helping these people realize their potential is indescribable. 
Alles Liebe!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, February 18, 2013

Liebe Familie,
I have officially said, "Tschüß!" to Wien and am in the cluster of Dorfs north of Salzburg. It is absolutely gorgeous here! The sky (we can actually see it!), rolling hills, mountains, and nature are breathtaking. It`s all covered in snow, but that is beautiful, too.
On Monday, we family night with the Wanni and the Picard family, and that was hard to say good-bye to them. I really liked them a lot, and their kids were great, too. The youngest one drew me a picture of a mystery man, and the oldest one drew me a picture of wolves saying, "Good-bye, Sister Reid," and "Good luck!" They were so cool, and I already miss them.
On Tuesday, I had to say good-bye to Wanni, Binod and Nita. Binod and Nita made us momo, the Nepali version of dumplings. They are very yummy!  And Wanni gave me a pen and told me to think of her every time I write with it. I promised her I would. Then she said, "You don`t really have to!" I assured that I probably just would without consciously thinking about it. She then got her cute little Wanni-grin and said, "Really?! Okay, cool!" It was difficult to say good-bye to them. But they are doing well, and I am so grateful I got the chance to help in their conversion process. I really miss them, too.
Wednesday, we had district meeting. That was delicious, as per usual. We hurried back to Wien after district meeting, though, because we had to prepare for our lesson with Bright. Bright was also not appreciative that I was leaving. There really were some of the coolest people with whom I had the opportunity to associate in this ward.
Thursday morning, I finished packing, and Sister Schulze and I headed out the door to the train station. It was very odd leaving, but I also knew it was time to go. The train ride to Salzburg was a lot of fun. It was a fun group of elders to travel with! Sister Armstrong was waiting at the train station there for me. We took a train from Salzburg to Neumarkt and then got in our car to go home. That was very odd. I didn`t think I would get so used to public transportation, but it still weirds me out a little bit to be in a car, not taking 45 minutes to get anywhere on account of all the Umsteigs. But it`s good:]
We did some dooring in a Dorf called Mondsee that afternoon. I really liked it there. It was so gorgeous! And I placed two copies of the Book of Mormon! One was for a family, and the other was for two twelve year old girls that seemed very excited. We will need to go back to Mondsee this week to follow up. It is a beautiful Dorf, and Sister Armstrong said we have had a lot of success there. Hence, we continue to go back!
I met two of our investigators that night, Bobby and Anita. They come from Romania and are probably in their mid-40s. They really want to get baptized, but they are having troubles getting the paperwork to get married. Apparently they have to get documents from Romania before they can get married (I remember there was an investigator in Wiener Neustadt who had to wait for documents from his mother country, Spain, before he could get baptized and married). Although I don`t understand the law, we are praying that the paperwork will be taken care of so they can be baptized! They are very cool. They ask a lot of questions, but they are serious questions. They are willing to give up dancing, drinking, smoking, whatever they need to be part of this church (they were pretty excited when we told them they could still dance).
On Saturday, we drove to Salzburg. We had a finding day with our district. There is an Ehepaar in our district who is from Pleasant Grove. They asked where I was from, and I guess I did a poor job of describing it, because they said, "You know that church on the hill by Grovecreek Canyon? That is our stake center!" I asked them the name of the stake (to be sicher), and sure enough, they are from our stake. But I did not know them beforehand. They seem very lovely, though:]
Yesterday, I had to give my first talk in Sacrament Meeting as a missionary (the MTC one does not count). It was very scary, but I thought it went well. And everyone (well, a lot of people...) came up to me afterwards and said how good my German was, and that they were very impressed. One man said I needed to slow down, but that my German was very good. That is my problem when I speak English, too. I get nervous, and my mouth goes 100 miles an hour. But I am sure I will figure out how to speak in front of crowds of people someday! Anyway, the ward is very nice, and I am excited to be here!
I am still trying to get used to how quiet it is here, too. It`s really nice, but it is a change!
I love you all!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, February 11, 2013

Liebe Familie,
This was an extremely fabulous week:]
First of all, we had Austausch from Wednesday afternoon to Friday morning. Sister Jaynes came to Wien to work with me, and Sister Schulze and Sister Holmstead worked in Graz. We tausched in Mürzzuschlag, as per usual. I love the train ride between Wien and Graz. I will definitely be doing that when I return. Anyway, this is Sister Jaynes´s first transfer, so she is still a golden. I had to train her for a day and a half. It was very scary, but I didn`t lose her, and I kept her fed. Anywho, we taught Bright that night, and it was wonderful. Bright is one of my favorite people on this planet, and I also love being at her house. Bright had a friend over who is from Egypt and had a lot of interest in the Book of Mormon. She was so cool. She needed a Book of Mormon in Arabisch, and I only had German and Farsi with me. So we will have to bring it by later. But she was very excited about the Book of Mormon and temples:]
We also met with Karina that night. She is from Peru (I can`t remember if I`ve talked about her or not, so sorry if I have) and loves meeting with us. She is in her 30s, and just soaks up every principle. Her mother recently passed away. We taught the last third of the Plan of Salvation that night, and she was so excited about it! She is making so much progress. I am excited to see what happens with her:]
The next day, we visited a member in our ward who has had panic attacks due to her sick kid. Her kid got so sick that he had two seizures, and she literally worried herself sick. We visited her, and we were so glad we did. It was especially good that Sister Jaynes was there because one of her sisters had the same problem. Sister Jaynes was able to comfort the member more than we could have done. It`s incredible that the one day that Sister Jaynes was here was also the one day we visited this member... I am always so impressed with how many details the Lord has in our lives.
We also taught English class, which was a lot of fun. Daniel taught us how to make eggplant. On a sandwich, it was okay. But eating it plain afterwards was not my favorite. But we learned kitchen vocabulary - very useful terminology.
We taught Binod and Nita that night. I love those two so much. They are so incredible. And they just get it. It does not matter what the principle is. They are so receptive to the spirit. Everytime Binod opens his mouth, I learn something new, for example. They were just glowing that night. They were so excited about their baptisms on Sunday, and that they would receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost in a few more days.
The next morning, Sister Jaynes and I got on another train to Mürzzuschlag. We were both so nervous! The transfer calls were coming that morning, and I really felt like my time in Wien was up. I was nervous to see where I would go next. I felt very strongly that it was time to go. I just couldn`t figure out where. Sister Jaynes was nervous, too. She was so scared she and Sister Holmstead would get split up. She was especially scared that Sister Holmstead would leave Graz, causing Sister Jaynes to have to get to know a new companion who is not Sister Holmstead, and she would have to take over the area. But, Sister Jaynes and Sister Holmstead will be staying in Graz for the next six weeks. Their call came first. The calls of who are staying always come first. We waited awhile. Our call still hadn`t come. About 10 minutes to 8, the phone finally rang. The assistants were calling. If the zone leaders call, you are staying. If the assistants call, you are going. If President calls, you have an important leadership position (so for me that means I will be training). I answered the phone, and Elder Harris made light talk for a few minutes. Asked me how I was doing, how I liked Wien, bla bla bla bla bla. I was polite, but on the inside I was screaming, ``My heck, cut to the chase! Where am I going?!`` He then said, ``Sister Reid, you have been doing wonderful in Wien.``
``Thank you, Elder Harris. I have really liked it here.``
He then took a few minutes to get out his sentence about where I would be doing wonderful things next. Folks, I will no longer be serving in Wien 4. I am moving to... Neumarkt!! In the event that you don`t know where that is (as most people I have told (other missionaries aside) do not), I will explain to the best of my abilities. In the event that is not good enough, you all have access to Google maps, Google Earth, an actual map, and other means to locate cities in Western Europe. Neumarkt is north of Salzburg (they are in our district, meaning I will have to go into Salzburg once a week for district meetings!!) and has more cows than people. It will be a little bit (excuse the sarcasm) of a change to Wien, but I am way excited!!! Wien has been absolutely wonderful and fun. I have met the best people here and learned so much! I really am grateful I could be here in Wien. But I am also ready to see a new place and get to know a new set of people.
I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Stephanie Reid

Monday, February 4, 2013

Liebe Familie,
This was another crazy week, as per usual:] But, as per usual, it was great!
Everyone wants to have Wanni over since she is the newest member of our ward, and nobody doesn't love Wanni. So, on Monday night, we had FHE with the bishop and his family. They are so cute; the mother comes from Wales, and her kids have fabulous British accents; the dad comes from the Phillipines, so they are cute to look at, too. Anyway, they absolutely loved Wanni, and it was a really fun night:]
In August, Sister Stewart and Sister Taysom found a girl from Peru named Karina. She left for Peru before I got here because her mother was dying. She was supposed to be back in September, but Sister Stewart and I could never get a hold of her. Then, Sunday night, she called us! We met a couple of times this week (she wants to meet everyday...), and she told us her mother had died, and she didn't want to leave her dad alone during the holiday season, so she stayed. But she is back now and very cool! We tried to meet with her originally on Tuesday, but she was in the first district (not the 17th, where she lives), and couldn't get back in time (although we had an appointment...). We decided we should visit a woman from our ward who was in the hospital because of a stroke. We showed up just as her sister was leaving. As it turns out, her sister had asked if anyone had visited her yet that day. The one who had the stroke explained that no one had come yet, but she knew the sister missionaries would be coming. It is amazing how when plans fall out, it is because there is something else Heavenly Father wants us to do. We had a really great visit with her, and she was in church again yesterday! She is recovering quite well.
Friday night, we met with Binod, Sarita, Om, and Kavya for FHE (Nita had to work). They made us a fabulous Nepali feast! We had asked Sarita to think of a scripture in the Book of Mormon that really touched her. We came in and Sarita just took charge. She called on Binod to say the prayer then started talking about how she loved 1 Nephi 3:7 and why. Sarita is so wonderful. Her return to activity has been so neat to be a part of. And without her help, Binod and Nita would surely not have been ready for their baptisms yesterday. Anyway, after Sarita shared, Sister Schulze and I both shared scriptures we really liked. Then we talked about the power of scripture study and kind of had a testimony meeting on the Book of Mormon. Binod said, ''I don't understand all the words. But I feel a power when I read in the Book of Mormon. I feel good and warm. The book shows me that God has a plan for me. It teaches me the will of God, and what my destination in this life is and how to achieve it.'' When asked how his reading was going (earlier in the lesson), he told us, ''I read everyday! Don't worry about me." Nita told us Tuesday night (when we met with them) that she always has her Book of Mormon in her purse. She reads on the bus, U-Bahn, wherever she can. She tries to read on breaks at work, too. She also said she knows it comes from God. Binod and Nita are so humble and accepting of the gospel. They genuinely know that this is what God wants them to do. 
Yesterday, they were both just beaming all day. When Nita's baptism was announced in Relief Society (they got baptized after church), she was sitting by me, and she just put her head on my shoulder and gave me the biggest hug. Binod was also so excited. And although Nita was too small for even the smallest jumpsuit we had, she was just so excited to be in all white, ready for her baptism. Being around them and feeling of their spirit was so wonderful. They were so grateful that they had the opportunity to get to know the church and us. They could not contain their joy. I really am so glad I had the opportunity to be a part of their stories. 
Have fabulous weeks!!
Sister Stephanie Reid