Monday, December 31, 2012

Elder Houston Bodily standing to play piano since there was no room for a bench  (posted by Mission President's wife on Alpine-German mission site).
Elder Bodily (front left and next right) Elder Chapman as they received new companionship assignments together in St. Polten, Austria (posted by Mission President's wife on Alpine-German mission site).

Happy New Year everyone!

December 31, 2012
Happy New Year everyone!

I'll start with the important news. We had transfer calls last Thursday and I am really excited for my new assignment. I will be leaving St. Pölten, but I am going back to Germany this Thursday to serve in the great city of Stuttgart. I am super excited. What's more is I am going to be working with Elder Zimmerman from Houston, Texas. I've met him before and he is a really good missionary and great to get along with. He is the first companion I'll have had who has been on their mission longer than me since my trainer E. Field. On top of that Elder Zimmerman and I will be the Zone Leaders for the Stuttgart zone. I was really excited to get the call. There will be a lot of worked involved with it, but I think it will be a great opportunity. 

The Stuttgart zone covers the Stuttgart stake which is almost all of south west Germany that's in our mission. There are 11 different wards with 26 missionaries altogether. It's the second biggest zone in our mission number wise but the wards are a lot closer together than the other zones so there are a lot of Zone activities that take place on P-Days. Stuttgart itself is the 4th biggest city in our mission (after Vienna, Zurich, and Munich) and so it will a change from the small feel of Rosenheim and St. Pölten. Stuttgart ward also has a really big ward, so it will be fun to work with all the different members. Usually, when President Miles calls someone to be zone leader they are usually there for 4 transfers which means I will probably be in Stuttgart until June. Elder Zimmerman has already been there for 3 so I will probably be with him 1 transfer and then get a new companion for the next 3 (which would be my longest companion). I am definitely going to miss St. Pölten a lot, especially the amazing members that were here, but I am also excited for this opportunity. It was a really cool experience for me when I got the call. The night before I had been having struggles going to sleep because my fever decided to act up again. I went to go sit on the couch and eat something to make me feel better and while I was sitting there I started thinking about transfers and what might happen. The idea came to me that I could go to Stuttgart and work with E. Zimmerman and then it just stuck. No matter what other possibilities came to mind I just knew that they weren't going to happen and that I was supposed to go to Stuttgart. It was something that has never happened to me before. The next day when we were waiting for the call the zone leaders called us. Usually when they do that it means they are telling us that we are staying where we are for the next transfer. It turned out they were just calling to see if we knew what was happening to us for transfers yet. A few minutes later President Miles called and gave me the new assignment. Ever since then I have just had this great feeling that I know I need to be in Stuttgart. Whatever reason it is I know there is something there that I need to do that will help me and that I can do to help others. I am really excited for what may come.

As for E. Chapman he will be staying here in St. Pölten and will be working with an E. Janis. I learned a lot from St. Pölten and I am so grateful that I got to serve here. Other transfer calls (in case you are curious): Elder Basset and Elder Moon are both leaving Wien 1. They are coming to Offenburg and Waiblingen in Stuttgart zone (so I'll have been both their district leader and zone leader). They are excited for their new areas though and we get to take the 8 hour train ride from Vienna to Stuttgart together. Elder Young is staying in Munich. Elder Root is staying in Ellwangen (which is in Stuttgart zone so I'll get to see him again soon). Elder Stapleton is staying in Bruck an der Mur. Oh and by the way, E. Field pretty much hinted to me in a letter that he might get engaged soon. I'll let you know if that ends up happening.

Mom and Dad, it was so good to talk to you on Christmas. That kind of made my Christmas.
It was so great to talk to everyone at home on Christmas eve. That was simply awesome to see everyone and to meet Rolf for the first time. I loved talking to you all and am glad that you all had a great Christmas.

Both the 24th and 25th were fun days. Since we weren't invited to a members house from our ward on the 25th we went to a members in Wien with E. Moon and E. Bassett. We ate lunch and had dinner there and played games along with singing Christmas songs (thank goodness I could play piano so I didn't have to sing with my sore throat) and then spent the night with E. Moon and Bassett at their apartment and then most of the 26th with them just hanging out since that is a holiday here, too.

Mom and Dad, thank you so much for all the Christmas items that you sent. I enjoyed them a lot, especially the John Bytheway talks. Thanks again for everything and helping me have a great Christmas. You're the best parents ever.

Keep me informed on what happens with the ward. That's crazy to think that it's already going to be reorganized. It will be sad to be separated from some of the members from the 9th ward.
I have to wrap up here, but I'll let you know how everything goes with transfers next week. I love you all.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Elder Bodily and Elder Chapman serving as companions in St. Polten, Austria (posted on Alpine-German Mission site by mission president's wife, Sister Miles).

Celebration of September birthdays.  Elder Bodily fifth from left side. (posted on Alpine-German Mission site by mission president's wife, Sister Miles).

Forget to pack up the Book of Mormon

December 24, 2012
Ok I just figured I would send a short email of a few things that happened this week that you could read before I call/skype home today.

I had two austausches this week. I had one with Elder Moon from Tuesday to Wednesday in St. Pölten. We had a lot of success in that we found a lot of people who gave us their numbers so that we could set up an appointment for after Christmas. The second was with Elder Brose, one of the zone leaders, from Thursday to Friday in Wien. That was a lot of fun, especially since the zone leaders share an apartment with Elder Davies and his companion.

We had a really cool experience this week. We had doored a house, where an older couple lived (around 60 or so) about two weeks ago and they told us to come back this week on Friday afternoon. We got there and they let us in and we got to know them a little bit and then began explaining a little bit about our message that we thought would be good for them. The wife seemed interested, but the husband kind of put a damper on things by showing an open lack of interest and repeatedly telling us that they didn't need what we had and he eventually told us to finish up what we were saying and that we needed to be on our way. This man had been having some serious back problems, specifically with his spine, and so the prompting came to offer him a priesthood blessing. Fortunately, we had been able to explain priesthood authority and so we went forth and explained how we could help him. The wife lit up and said for us to go ahead. After we gave him the blessing he seemed to be more at peace. After that I knew I had to leave them a Book of Mormon somehow. The husband had earlier said that they didn't need a Book of Mormon and that we shouldn't bother leaving it. So I did the next best thing. After the blessing when he asked us to get ready to head off as I was packing up my stuff, I pretended to forget to pack up the Book of Mormon I had and as the husband was walking us to the door, the wife had taken the book from the table (having picked up on my hint) and hid it in a drawer in the living room without her husband seeing. Who knows what kind of impact it will have, but I feel that was what was needed to be done.
Transfer calls are this week so next email I will know what is happening for the next 6 weeks.

I am excited to call home today, love you all a lot!

Elder Bodily
Gott Sei Mit Euch bis Aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, December 17, 2012

Not Getting Discouraged, but Replacing it with Faith

December 17, 2012
Fröhliche "almost" Weihnachten!

This last week was a rather fun week. On Monday we went up to Wien and went with E. Bassett and Moon to pick up the new senior couple in our district from the airport. Afterwards we went to some of the Christmas shops or Weihnachtsmarkts around town to see what there was for Christmas shopping. The first two we went to weren't necessarily the best, but then we went to the one at the Schönbrunn palace and they had some pretty interesting things to look at. The cool thing about German speaking countries and the USA is that most of the American traditions stem from German Christmas traditions. It's cool to see where a lot of the things that make Christmas for us at home come from. Later that night we visited our Branch President in Wien and then slept over with the Wien 1 Elders.  There wasn't much I could get since they don't take credit cards and I only withdrew so much before I left St. Poelton.

The next day I stayed there with Elder Bassett on an austausch and worked in Wien for the day. On Wednesday E. Bassett and I went and met E. Moon and Chapman in a place called Krems in the St. Pölten area where we worked for the day. We came to find out that it was one of the most Jehovah Witness infested cities in the country. On Thursday night we went up to Wien because we had Zone conference early in the morning and wanted to sleep over to get there on time. Because the  APs were staying at Wien 1 (E. Moon and Bassett) apartment we went and stayed with the Wien 3 and 4 apartment (they share the apartment) since they have a really big apartment and Wiener Neustadt (which is where E. Gubler from my MTC group is serving) came and stayed there as well. When you have 8 missionaries in the same apartment it can sometimes lead to a lot of fun. Elder Davies' (who is working in the Wien 2 ward) birthday had been the day before and his parents for some reason sent him a ton of nerf guns. Because their apartment is close to the Wien 3/4 apartment they came over and during the dinner break and in the free time after daily planning we had a huge nerf gun war since no one lives in the whole building except for the Wien 3/4 and their apartment is huge anyways. Don't worry, my team won. That is some of the stuff you don't hear about too often with missionaries.

The next day we had Zone conference which was really good. President Miles spoke a lot about not getting discouraged, but replacing it with faith since we are winding down to the end of the year and we were only half way on our year baptisimal goal. I really like the people in our Zone. and we had a lot of fun there during the conference. President and Sister Miles told me to tell you mom and dad thank you for the Christmas present you sent them. It was also at Zone Conference that we got our Christmas packages from home. Mom you would be so proud of me I only unwrapped one present since I brought them home with me. The present that I opened was the John Bytheway talk about rough starts strong finishes which I really enjoyed listening to.  Thanks again for your letters.

Well I hope all is going well. Thanks for all the support and I am excited to call home next week. Love you lots!

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jon Schmidt Christmas Music with Violin

December 3, 2012
Servus Zusammen!

This week was a pretty cool time to be here in Austria. On the 6th, German countries celebrate St. Nickolaus Day which is where Santa Claus comes (the Christkind or baby Jesus comes on the 24th to give presents) and puts little candies in the shoes that kids leave out. It's a prequel so to say to the actual Christmas. The day before on the 5th is what is called Grompus day where the Grompus, who is St. Nickolaus' sidekick, comes and scares the naughty kids. In the towns,  people will wear these big deamon looking costumes and have a celebration. It's supposed to be a scary little naughty kids/Santa Clause is coming celebration (or rather celebrate that Santa Clause is coming because it means the Grompuses have to leave).

We had our ward Christmas party this last Saturday and it was a lot of fun. We had our whole ward there plus some part member families who were able to bring their husbands or wives who weren't members to come and they seemed to enjoy it.  For the program we had a lot of singing and I got to play the piano for all of it. Something that has really been a blessing on my mission is that I feel Heavenly Father knows I don't have time to practice piano and I've never been that great at sight reading, but I feel like during my mission I've been blessed to develop that talent so that in such events I've been able to fill in on the piano whenever needed. The highlight of the night though was that during  the program Brother and Sister Hirschman (the new couple that moved into our ward a few weeks ago) and I played a couple songs together with them on the violin that we arranged about 40 minutes before the party and it was rather amazing (one of the songs we played was the Jon Schmidt "I Saw Three Ships"  song and they made up a cool violin part to it.  Then at the end they asked if we could just play a few hymns together because they enjoyed it so much. It has been so great to be able to use the piano on my mission in times like this.

The next really exciting thing that happened is the next day Brother Hirschman got called as the new ward mission leader. It works perfectly because we already get along very well, but even better we went over to their house after church for lunch and to discuss mission work business and I found out he actually has a lot of really good new ideas for the work here. I feel like St. Pölten got a new boost of energy that we've been needing and that we're going to see some cool things coming this way. One idea that I am particularly excited for that relates to what I just discussed is that Brother Hirschman was thinking of inviting some his neighbors over for family home evening once a month, and with him,  his wife, and I would put on a musical evening followed by a spiritual aspect at the end. The German culture is big into just getting together and singing or listening to music so it works perfectly, it's going to be a lot of fun, and I think it will be great for finding people who are interested in the gospel in a very comfortable environment.   That is just one of his great ideas,  but I feel like we have a new direction altogether for the work here with finding, working through members and less actives, and I think there will be a lot of great things happening.

The senior couple in our district, the Zauggs, finished their mission last week and we will be getting a new senior couple today. Their names are the Strongs and we will be picking them up here soon from the train station.

What has been really cool these last few weeks is that as a mission we have been reading  chapters in preparation for Christmas and it has been a very spirit filled experience. I have been reading it in German and according to Joseph Smith the Martin Luther Bible is the most correct of all the Bibles that we have and it's been interesting to read some of the subtle differences in the way that it is written in German as opposed to English. It's a lot closer in parts to the Joseph Smith Translation and is more clear on certain doctrines that we as the restored church believe. But most importantly it has been great just to reread the Gospels with that which I've learned on my mission in mind.
Thanks for the letters this week, I really appreciated hearing about Michael's homecoming talk. It was good to read about.

I am glad there was enough food at the Christmas party (according to Sister Borup - since I was not there). I was going to wait for awhile before I told mom this, but a few weeks ago we were in Wien with a bunch of different Elders for P-Day. You know the picture of the giant Cor Don Blu I sent you? Some missionaries struggle to get that alone down. For the last 8 years there has been the mission record of one elder who ate 2 of those. We decided that I would try to break that. Needless to say mom, I now have the new record for our mission with the Giant Cor Don Blus. Hopefully it won't be broken for awhile. But I promise, I don't normally eat that much!

I hope all is going well. I love you guys a lot. Until next week.

Elder Bodily
Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, December 3, 2012

Stocked up on warm clothing!

December 3, 2012
Servus Zusammen!

I hope it has been a good week for everyone.

From history we learn that at the height of the Ottoman Empire when they were the most powerful kingdom in the Eurasian powers, they tried twice to extend their reaches into Western Europe, but twice were stopped at the gates of Vienna. Most historians credit this to the Austrian winters they had to fight against. Well, I know what they mean now. I made the great decision of deciding that we would work this week in the outskirts of town where we would have to bike 30 minutes to an hour to get to and then have to bike back in the evening. It gets dark here about 4-4:30 and it has dropped 7 degrees Celsius from two Sundays ago to now, but the worst part was biking home against the wind. I think we are going to be sticking to foot for awhile now. I am pretty sure I almost killed Elder Chapman though. He is about a half inch to an inch taller than me, but about 70 pounds lighter (even after my weight lost), so in other words he had no body fat to protect him. Anyways, today we've made sure to stock up on buying lots of warm clothing. But hey I could be somewhere where it's 120 degrees throughout the day so I'm not complaining.

This week we were with our ward mission leader at a part member family's house. The mom and the daughter are members, but two of the other kids aren't and the husband doesn't like the church very much and doesn't like having the missionaries over when he is home, so we can only visit when he is away. While there though we invited the 14 year old son, Tobias, to church since the dad leaves it up to them to choose as to whether they come or not. He said he would and then he actually came yesterday. During Sunday School we were able to talk about the basic beliefs of our church with him, in particular Jesus Christ and the restoration, and he was rather interested. Not as interested as Joseph Smith was when he was 14, but nonetheless he seemed to have sincere interest and he wanted to read the Book of Mormon by the end of our time talking to him. It will be a little difficult meeting with him and with his family because of how opposed the dad is against the church and doesn't allow the topic of the gospel to come up in the house too often, but even if we have to go slowly I think we can see some great things come for Tobias. 

We were informed this week that we will be having 90 extra missionaries coming into our mission between March and sometime in the summer. We currently have 140 so that's more than half of what we already had. A lot of people will be training in the months to coming.

I hope all is going well for everyone. Again I am going to have to cut emails short this week because of some scheduling issues, but I love you all and wish the best.

Elder Bodily
Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen