Monday, January 6, 2014

I have come to really know how much the Lord has blessed me in my life and continues to bless me.

January 6, 2013
Well, this is it. The last email.
It's a really, really weird feeling to think that the mission is going to come to an end. I am really going to miss my Germans and Austrians and the experience I have had to serve my Heavenly Father. I hope that I can continue to have the same faith and hope from the spirit that I have been blessed with here for the rest of my life. I can definitely say it's been the most accomplished task of my life and I hope to take what I learned from here and use it for the rest of my life. I have come to really know how much the Lord has blessed me in my life and continues to bless me.
This week we had New Year's Eve which here in Austria is something crazy. There are so many fireworks being shot off and people running around it . . .it feels like a war. We celebrated the evening with a member family who the dad then took us after midnight to go to the downtown area where even thirty minutes later it was still going crazy. Don't worry we were safe, but it was just interesting to see all the excitement going on.
After New Years though we got back to a rather regular work routine. We got to meet with Cxxxxx for my last time and the appointment went absolutely fantastic. It went on for a long time and we covered a lot of different topics. She has really been thinking about baptism a lot and she had felt like she wasn't yet ready or worthy enough yet based off what she knew, but we then went over the baptismal questions with her and she answered positively to all of them and she felt really happy about the fact the she could be ready soon. She told us the she would pray about when exactly she should get baptized and told us that next time we meet again she would have an idea. However, she would like her 11 year old son to get baptized now as well and start to hear the basic form of what we teach as missionaries. She hopes that he can be baptized soon with her. It was such a spiritual lesson and a good last appointment for me with her. She is going to keep in touch and let me know how things go with the baptism when it comes around. 
It was sad to say goodbye to all the members yesterday at church, but I am glad I was able to be with them for as long as I was and feel like a part of the ward. What was great is one of my favorite families from the ward, the Zxxxx,  that moved to Salzburg half way through my time here, happened to coincidently come to the ward to visit. It was a really cool small blessing for me because they had been one of my favorite families from my mission and he had helped me a lot when I was sick, and it was cool for them to be there for my last Sunday and testimony and to be able to sit with them during sacrament.
I hope all is going well for everyone. I want to bear my testimony that I know this church is true. I know that we have a Heavenly Father and a Savior Jesus Christ who is our light and can bring us everlasting life. I know that the work I have been part of is the work of the Lord and it has been one of the greatest blessings in my life to come and have this experience to let my testimony grow, to share it with others, and help others and myself come closer to God and to feel his love. Thanks to everyone who has helped me get to this point in my life and helped me through this when times have been hard and been happy with me and when the times have been great. I have had a lot of great influences given to me in my life and that has been one of the best ways I have felt God's love. I love you all and I am happy to see you soon.
Elder Bodily

Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen (Das wird in 4 Tage sein)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It will probably remain as one of my most meaningful Christmas memories.

December 30, 2013
Alles Gute Zum Silvester!
I hope you all enjoyed the rest of your Christmas and that everything goes well for New Years. This week was mostly spent with the members during the Christmas break. Wien has been my longest area and I feel like I have built a pretty good friendship with the members here and so it was really great to spend so much time with them. We were with 7 different families over the last week and had a great time sharing Christmas with all of them. This week had a very special feel to it especially since I am about to come home, it made it very meaningful to me to have such a wonderful experience here in Austria before I come home.
On Christmas Eve night I had a very special experience for me concerning my mission. On Christmas Eve night we were with one family and the other two Elders were with another because the second family told the other two elders that all four of us could come for Christmas Eve and the other elders said we could come before they remembered we already had a CE invitation.  So we did the best thing we thought and just split to go to both families instead of all of us going to just one. We started coming home a little after 11 (don't worry we had permission from President Miles to come home a little later during Christmas time if we were celebrating with families). When we got to the apartment I realized that I had left my keys to the apartment in another bag of mine.  It was a new side bag that I bought just the day before and hadn't transferred everything over into yet. We called the other elders and they said they wouldn't be back for about 45 minutes to an hour. So we decided to take a walk around Wien to pass time. There was a very special Christmas feeling to everything and for some reason it just all felt really joyful. We decided to walk to the Schönbrunn palace since it wasn't too far and visit there. When we got there we thought the gates were locked up, but we found a side gate that was opened and we walked in. Everything was lit up around the palace including the giant Christmas tree right in front of it. We were the only ones in the palace grounds. We walked up to the tree and it was then that it became a very spiritual experience for me that was very joyful and a reverent feeling. I had very strong feelings of the Savior's love and the spirit of Christmas came over me. Also, at that moment I felt a really strong feeling that the Lord was satisfied with me as a missionary and the effort that I had given. It was a confirmation to me that Christ had accepted my mission and that I could feel at peace with what I had done as a missionary. It wasn't something I was expecting going into the grounds, but it was something personally very meaningful to me. It will probably remain as one of my most meaningful Christmas memories.
We got to emails a little later today so I am going to have to wrap up now, but I love you all lots and I hope you all have a fantastic New Years!
Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, December 23, 2013

Allowed to go to the movie theaters to see the movie "Silent Night".

December 23, 2013
Fröhliche Weihnachten!
Well I hope you will all have a fantastic Christmas! I am way excited to skype home tomorrow, even though I will see you all in about two weeks anyways.
So around this time of year the missionary work kind of slows down because Christmas time is very serious in Austria and Austrians don't like to be bothered when it's time for them to spend with their families and just have some peace, understandably. So the emphasis during this time is to spend as much time as possible with members and get involved in Christmas traditions. Our ward has close to 100 active members and we have been able to spend a good amount of time with quite a few families which will continue into this week as well. It has been a lot of fun and has been great for me to enjoy the Christmas season here with the members I love before I start getting ready to go home.
We did get a chance to meet with Axxxx towards the beginning of the week and the appointment went well. She thinks she will get baptized sometime in March, but she still wants to learn a little bit more because she doesn't feel completely comfortable until she spends more time with the church.
On Saturday the Wien 4 Elders had a baptism in the ward; not for their ward, but Elder Abbott taught a man in his last area who was originally from Wien and his two favorite missionaries (Elder Abbott and one named Elder Jones) are both serving in Wien right now so he decided to come and get baptized and confirmed by them. In preparing the baptism they asked if I would give the talks for it so I was able to take part on the baptism a little. It was a very spiritual baptism, one of the strongest spirits I had felt. After wards the man treated us all to Schnitzel.
We also had a Christmas conference with our zone and President and Sister Miles on Thursday that went really well. It was kind of like a zone conference, but dedicated more to having fun with Christmas activities and a Christmas devotional.
So President Miles has this philosophy about the importance of missionaries being involved with Christmas traditions with member families when they are with them for the holidays. He allowed us to get involved with some activities that aren't normal for missionaries and one of them is there is this movie that I believe is also in America called "Silent Night". It was directed by an Austrian who is a member of the church about the story behind the song Silent Night. We were given permission that if we go with members we were allowed to go to the movie theaters to see this movie. We went with a few of the YSA after Christmas Conference and it was really good. It was really weird being in a movie theater though and one of the fun parts was the previews at the beginning.
On Sunday a lady from my ward and I were able to do a piano duet together for Sacrament meeting. We pulled it together last week and it came rather quickly. It was an arrangement of the First Noel and it went really well.
I love you all and I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that you remember the reason for the holidays.
Elder Bodily

Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

She said that she knows the Book of Mormon is true

December 16, 2013

We had a very productive week. Although we are not able to meet with a lot of people right now because of the holiday season, we are making a lot of progress with the ones we are able to keep in touch with.
We met with Cxxxx again this week. She is doing super well and we went over one of the lessons and baptism with her. She has been keeping all of her commitments perfectly. I am sure she has a testimony of the church, she just needs that realization though its coming very steadily. She mentioned a few very spiritual experiences she had this last week and some of the members invited her to go caroling and to bring her son which ended up being a very special experience for her. I think if we had a little more time to meet with her, she would really recognize that she has a strong testimony and that she is ready to be baptized. Unfortunately, our joint teach had to go for another commitment, but she is still doing well. The problem is she is away for the holidays and so we won't be able to meet with her until after New Years. I probably will only be able to meet with her one more time, so hopefully it will be a really good appointment.
We were finally able to meet with Axxxx again. She is the older lady from Hungary who made a lot of progress when we taught her, but then she got sick and was in the hospital for a month or more. She took time to recover and then she made an appointment with us for last week. It was very spiritual. Elder Fletcher and I were to hand her over to the other elders because of the way we divided our area.  However, all four of us were at the appointment because she asked if it was possible if all four of us could meet with her if we weren't too busy to work it out. During the appointment she said that she knows the Book of Mormon is true and that this is the true church. However, she mentioned she felt scared of the baptism because she felt she had to keep learning more. We then talked about faith a lot and by the end the spirit was really strong and she asked for a blessing. Then she told us she wanted a little more time to think it over and then let us know on Wednesday when we meet again.
We have a less active we have been working with named Zxxxx who is doing really well. He came to church yesterday with his wife and wants us to start teaching her and his father in law. On Sunday the bishop gave a very spiritual talk and after the meetings Zoran mentioned he felt really at peace with things and wants to keep working on coming to church more often.
Our investigator Bxxxxt, who was doing very well with a program he was in and wanted to get baptized after it was done in a couple months. Well he found out this last week that he was doing so well that he will be done this week and so on Wednesday he will be moving back to Linz where he is from, and so the elders there will continue to teach him. It's good that he is making a lot of progress.
We had our Christmas party this week. Unfortunately, the guitar piece with Bxxxx didn't work out. He started feeling scared to play in front of an audience and was having a rougher day and his grandma and I felt it was best not to push him. We will keep in contact though and help  him however we can. Instead at the Christmas party I played one of my piano pieces and it appeared to go fine. In fact, they asked if I could do another musical number for this week in Sacrament meeting, so hopefully that goes well.
Well that is about it for this week. I hope all is good back at home. I love you lots. I hope the Book of Mormon reading is going well.
Elder Bodily

Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, December 9, 2013

Cool experience doing a musical number together at the Christmas party!

December 9, 2013
Servus!  I hope you all had a fantastic week!
So a couple of things that went on this week is we have a new investigator that we are working with named Bxxx right now. Apparently Elder Fletcher had taught him while he was in his first area, but he has now moved here to Wien for the time. He has already taken all the lessons, but we are meeting with him now once a week to help give him spiritual strength He is coming to church and already keeps his commitments and is doing overall really well. He has a sincere desire to be baptized and that will probably take place after a couple months. He is very nice though and is really genuine in his love for the Saviour and his desire to keep the commandments.
Cxxxxxx is doing really well still from what I get from talking to her on Sundays. She has been really busy as of late, but she has time to meet this week and so it will hopefully be a very good appointment.
As of late it has become harder to hold appointments with any investigators or potentials because of the holiday season and so the focus has become more and more on members and less actives. This last week we had another huge split with the four of us missionaries and our ward mission team to go out and visit as many less actives in that night. I went with our ward mission leader again and we ran into two at first that weren't really welcoming to us, but the third was very excited and thrilled by the visit. She wants to come to the ward Christmas party and is working to start coming regularly to church if she can.
We have another less active member that we are working with pretty regularly now named Zxxxx from Sxxxxx. He was offended by a couple of members a year ago or so, but is working to overcome that. He is doing well and he is hoping that soon his wife and father-in-law will start meeting with us.
This last week I had the chance liked I mentioned last week to play guitar with the grandson of one of the members who he himself isn't a member. His name is Bxxxx and his mother used to be a member, but pulled her records out of the church before he was born. It was a really cool experience because he seemed really intrigued by the idea of us doing a musical number together at the Christmas party. He is about twenty years old and has had a harder time in his life and hasn't had too many good influences for friends and it has been hard on him. For some reason though this guitar idea sparked a lot of interest in him and he has taken it to heart to really prepare well for it and you can tell he is very excited. I believe it will be really good for him to have that chance to play for others and get a lot of praise. Tonight we are going to practice together again to finish up the final touches of the song we are putting together. The cool part of it too is that a few months ago the ward council gave us the name of a man that had had a baby blessing in the ward, but was never baptized and that he could potentially have interest and so we should go by on him and visit him. When we went to the address we found out he had moved, but we weren't sure where to and we didn't know how to get in contact with him. Well I found out this last week when I figured out his last name that Bxxxxx was this referral, so it was meant that we were to get in contact with him eventually. Apparently he had just moved out to live with his grandparents. It was a really cool connection.
I hope you all have a fantastic week. I love you lots.
Elder Bodily

Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Elder Bodily at Wein Conference in November 2013.

Missionaries in Wien come together for Thanksgiving at our YSA center.

December 2, 2013
I hope you all had a wonderful week and Thanksgiving! Last Monday for P day we had all the Missionaries in Wien plus a few from outside cities come together for Thanksgiving at our YSA center. I also had the chance to go back to St Pölten because the Bxxx family had invited me back when we had Stake conference. President Miles said it was ok because the nonmember dad had invited me and he said it would be a good missionary opportunity. We celebrated Thanksgiving with them (they don't have it in Austria, but the Bxxxx wanted to celebrate it anyways and so did the St. Pölten Elders.  It was way fun and really good to see my old city again.
Cxxxx is doing just as well as ever. She is really busy right now and it's hard for her to meet, but because of the new policy in our mission we are allowed to stay in contact with investigators through email now and send them links from Mormon messages and  So we sent her one of the new Bible videos during the week and she told me on Sunday she went through later and watched almost all of the New Testament videos and really enjoyed them. If she doesn't get baptized before I go home I feel it won't be long after that.
On Sunday we also had an investigator, Axxx, who we had been teaching a lot, but she had gone to the hospital for awhile and wanted to take some time to recooperate. Well, she showed up at church yesterday for Sacrament Meeting and she really enjoyed it. We will meet with her later in the week, but it was really good to see she was doing well and still excited to learn.
We have the new elders in our ward all settled in now, too. Elder Mohn and Elder Talbert are doing well and it will be great to have them in the ward. Their first night here we had a meeting with our ward mission leader to figure out how best to divide up the area and investigators. It has also been nice because Elder Fletcher has still been getting pretty sick now and again, so if needed we can do exchanges and still get work in our area taken care of.
We had a cool experience with a family in our ward this week. We ate with this family called the Sxxxxx which is an older couple and they have family that are not members. They have a grandson that lives with them who doesn't tend to like to come out when guests are around and has been having some struggles as of late concerning depression. On Saturday we were invited over and the grandson, about 20 years of age,  was asked to help prepare lunch. I got to talk to him a little and then I noticed as I passed his room that he had a guitar, and so I asked him about that. Apparently he loves playing guitar and I was able to talk with him about that and about some bands that he really liked. Then we got to play together a little bit. Then his grandmother had the idea that we should do a guitar number for our ward Christmas party and the grandson said that he wouldn't mind depending on whether he has time with work or not. So later this week we are going to head back over and put together an arrangement of a Christmas piece to see if we can do it for the ward Christmas party.
This Christmas I imagine will be a lot different than last year. A number of members came up to me after church and said they wanted to make sure they had me over for Christmas before I go home and so we already have 5 invites for families to visit and spend time with between the few days around Christmas. It was really touching and I am way excited for it.
Something I have been doing this last week which has been a really spiritual experience is that I have been reading through my journal and taking notes of the more spiritual experiences. When I am done I am going to buy another journal and rewrite some of these experiences (because some of them span over days or weeks or months) into good solid entries and make them my very own small plates.
I hope those involved with the Book of Mormon challenge are doing well. I will be done by the end of this week, but you still have 38 days left as Elder Mohn consistently reminds me, (he keeps track of how much time I have left.  I believe he is trunky for me).
I love you all and I hope you have a great week!
Elder Bodily

Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen