Monday, June 3, 2013

Liebe Familie,
A lot of crazy (wonderful) things happened this week!
We had been trying to plan our Austausch with Linz, but all of this crazy stuff kept happening. We had to change the dates and the times, then the dates again, and then the times again, and again and again. By the time we got to the day of, we finally had everything figured out. But then, Sister Schönherr needed a root canal, and, needless to say, Austausch was just canceled. We are heading out this afternoon for the real one. But it turned out to be wonderful that it didn't work out. We had to go to Raul (the one-year-old grandson of Anita and Bobi/son of Christina and Daniel)'s birthday party. It was interesting - it was just in Christina's apartment, and we had party hats. Some of the neighbor girls came, too. That would have been weird to be on Austausch for, to say the least. Then, later that night, we had an appointment with a less-active in our ward. We have not been able to get her to come to church for the life of us. President and Sister Miles came to our district meeting, and then went on joint teach with us. They came up to Neumarkt at the end of the day for this appointment. It was awesome, because we teach this woman in English, so Sister Miles could participate. We talked about Elder Bednar's talk, ''That We May Always Have His Spirit to Be with Us.'' President and Sister Miles were incredible joint teaches. Then, at the end of the lesson, President asked the woman, ''Sister [Traud], when was the last time you had a blessing?'' She told him, and he asked if he could give her one. The priesthood is real, people. He had no idea all of the things that have been concerning her for the past few weeks and months. Yet, these concerned were addressed in her blessing! She started crying! It was so incredible! She still didn't come to church on Sunday, but she will!
Then, a few nights later, we were meeting with Anita. Bobi is out of town, so it was just the three of us. Anita opened way up to us about how stressed and scared the family of the older woman makes her. She described how stressed she gets sometimes - it sounded a lot like she has panic attacks. She also said she has trouble sleeping in the nights, too. I reminded her about when we talked about the priesthood a few weeks earlier. I bore testimony of the power of priesthood blessings for comfort and peace of mind. I asked her if she would want one. She said that she would love one, but then she asked what she had to do. I told she just needs to have faith that it can help her. She said she could do that:] Sometimes it would be nice to be an elder because we could have just given her a blessing right then. But we came back the next night with a member who blessed her. He explained again in different details what a priesthood blessing is. He then gave her such a powerful blessing. Anita was also bawling at the end of her blessing. It was so cool. Also, we met with her last night, and she told us that she has slept soundly every night since her blessing, and she isn't worried all the time! She told us that she just feels so much peace! If only we can get her married, then she would be baptized so quickly!!!
On Saturday, we agreed to go to church with one of our investigators so that she would come to church with us. Maybe with some people that's a good idea. But it turns out the 7th-day adventists meet for 3 1/2 hours. She drove us there (how sweet), so we couldn't even leave! We were stuck in this awful, boring (almost to the point of tears) place! They had 4 opening songs, three before the opening prayer, and one after. And 3 closing songs. And we sat in these benches not feeling the spirit (quite the opposite thereof, in fact). I cannot describe in words how awful it was. Our church is about that long, too, but the difference is that the priesthood authority was not guiding that church meeting. Then there was a guy on my right who tried flirting with me. That was annoying, too. The (now former) investigator wanted us to have lunch with her and another woman in her congregation, too. I told her that Sister Smith was sick (which was kind of true), and I needed to get her home. But before we could go, a man with a hair lip came up to us and was asking us all these questions about our church. It was kind of weird preaching in an unconsecrated religious facility, and then the man had no interest anyway. So that was annoying because it just turned out to be a waste of time. But maybe not. He said he has a Book of Mormon at home... Anyway, it is incredible that I lived through that morning.
Last Sunday, Sister Smith and I fasted that we would get an investigator with a baptismal date this week. Last night, we had our first official lesson with Linda. At the end, we set a date with her! She is so cool and will be baptized on the 30. June! Sister Smith asked her if when she knew these things were true, would she commit to be baptized. She nodded and agreed. Then, I told her that it's always good to set goals. It shows our faith to our Heavenly Father that we think we can receive an answer by that time. I asked her about the 30. June. I had just barely given her her Book of Mormon a few minutes before that. She paused. Then she said, ''So, I have to read this whole thing by the end of the month?'' I explained that she only needs to read a chapter to receive an answer. I explained again the purpose of the goal, and she nodded and said, ''Yeah! Yeah, let's set that goal!'' It was so cool!!! We are so excited for Linda! She has already been to church enough times, too! We just need to teach her the lessons! 
Also, we had dinner with the bishop and his family after the lesson. We brought the Nachtisch - ice cream and cookies. One of his kids (7) said, ''Es ist immer herzlich willkommen, wenn ihr Eis bringt!'' or ''It is always more than welcome when you bring ice cream!'' That was the cherry on top of a great night:]
The priesthood is really restored. It's always so incredible to have these reminders of its power.
Sister Stephanie Reid

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