"Preach the Gospel and if Necessary Use Words" October 21, 2012
Well there was a lot of interesting things that went on this week. We actually spent a lot of time in Wien (Vienna). On Wednesday we went up to Wien for what was basically a mini Zone Conference. At the beginning of each month all the Zone Leaders go to Munich to meet with President Miles and talk about needs of the Mission or various topics they want to discuss. The area presidency about two months ago asked that after these meetings that the Zone Leaders meet with their Zones and discuss what was presented there so that all missionaries can get a hold of what has been discussed to help improve the work. Wednesday was when they had that and its called Zone Leader Training Meeting. On Thursday we went back to Wien where we had a district meeting as well as interviews with President Miles. On Saturday evening we went back up to Wien to stay the night with Elders Bassett and Moon so that we could go the next morning to the stake center and watch a broadcast from President Monson.
This last week President Monson had visited Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich to visit the members in Germany. Then on Sunday he was in Frankfurt where they had a broadcast that was played for all German speaking wards and branches. He spoke a lot about applying the love of Christ in our lives and living by example. Something he mentioned that I thought was really interesting was he talked about how Jesus never wrote any of the scriptures we read, rather he lived by example and taught in such a way that he wrote his commandments and his love and his thoughts on the hearts of those who listened who then in turn wrote them for us later to read. It really demonstrated the principle of actions speak louder than words. As President Uchtdorf said "Preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words". It also went in hand with what Mom always tells me, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." I think it's so important to remember that as we made those covenants to follow the Lord we promised to be a witness to him in all that we do. Unless you live what you preach it won't have an impact. I found it a really good talk and very encouraging in that we don't need to worry about what we necessarily say or know to make an impact on others, but rather when we simply choose to act in a loving manner it will mean the world to someone.
I thoroughly enjoyed my interview with President Miles. It was so to say spiritually rejuvenating and it helped me figure out a lot of things that have been pressing my mind for awhile. One it helped me confirm that even though we haven't been having a whole lot of success here in St. Pölten that I am still doing that which I need to be doing and that the Lord is pleased with what I've been giving so far. The other thing it helped me with is to understand more or less of what we need to do to help the ward. We recognized that if you keep doing the same thing over and over with no success it is going to stay that way. Really what we need to do is think outside the box and try new approaches to finding people to teach. For example, Elder Chapman and I are planning on going through a neighborhood this week and offer to rake leaves for those who would need it. We are hoping to live by example in what we are doing and then hope that through our actions it will lead to possible interest on the part of those we serve. Whether they find interest or not at least we will be able to serve and help out around the community. This week will probably be a lot different than former weeks here and I am way excited.
While Elder Chapman was being interviewed I got to talk with Sister Miles about how things were going among other things such as how our apartment was doing, health wise, etc. She prepared to share her thoughts with the Missionaries about President Uchtdorfs talk about how we should enjoy life and allow ourselves to be happy. It is one that I particularly enjoyed and have been thinking about a lot lately. That is something I really learned well with Elder Root; even though the conditions might not have been the best while we were working here in St. Pölten we still managed to have a lot of fun and really be happy throughout it all. The main thing is that we can choose to be happy with the way things are. Some mornings these last few weeks I woke up rather deprived of energy just from being sick or from not being particularly excited for another day of just straight finding when we had no idea as to what or where we were supposed to go, but it always turned out really good by the end of the day because Elder Root and I had always chosen just to enjoy our time and chosen to be happy. It's that choice that has really helped me have the greatest experience with my mission so far. Most days it goes really well where we can feel the spirit and see great work happening before our eyes. But even on those days where it might not be so fortunate the Lord is still waiting to bless us and make us happy as long as we decide we want to have the right attitude. The gospel is about joy and if you allow it to be, you will be filled with joy. The Lord also gives us many things which we can be happy with. On Saturday I had caught a cold somewhat and it was one of those days where I seemed a little more stressed than normal about the work and stressed that I had been getting sick so often that when I we got to the Wien 1 Elders apartments after we ate dinner with them I just went with a prompting I had been having to get a priesthood blessing at some point and asked Elder Bassett if he could help me out. The blessing was very heart warming and since then I've just been very excited and energetic about everything. I am really grateful for all the times the Lord has blessed me and that I can help others understand these blessings that are in store for them.
Something that has been amazing to see since I've gotten here is the change we have seen in the ward towards the missionaries. For the first little while when I was here it seemed like the relationship between the members and us was that of indifference. However, now when we see the ward members they get really excited and happy. I think it came through simple things for example such as showing interest and following up on things, and trying to be active in the ward through lessons or bearing testimony on Fast Sunday. Also, taking some members cookies or Swiss bread with a spiritual thought never hurts either. These things have helped.
Ok, now a few questions or matters I want to address. First of all, Happy Birthday Grandma Crow, from last Saturday. I hope you had a great day. I think this is the point where you start going down in age so you just get younger from here.
To answer some of your questions mom: I got the SD card this last week. I will be sending another home that has the pictures from this last transfer with Elder Root. As far as Christmas I am planning to give a copy of Bishop Rife's book to President and Sister Miles. As far as for other ward members or investigators (future ones any way) I think it would be best if I just got the stuff or made the stuff here either because it is in German or I think it would work easier. As for my package I did think of a few more things since President and Sister Miles suggested you should have Christmas packages sent by the 1st of November. I would like some measuring cups because we don't have any in our apartment and I've searched at stores and just can't find any. Elder Root had to have some sent here from home, but he is gone now. Also some ideas would be Jon Schmidts sheet music. I'd love the hymn ones that I have at home, but also if you could get maybe one of his other books (particularly Volume 3 piano sheet music- the green one) that would be great. On the matter of Jon Schmidt if he by chance has released a new album (it will probably be something to the extent of the Piano Guys Volume 2) that would be awesome. And Poptarts -Smores flavor. You don't have to get all of those things but those are just some ideas. Thank you so much and thank you also for putting together the calendar, I really appreciate it a ton.
Other Mom questions: Our branch has about 20 active members. My other comparison is Rosenheim which had 60-70 active and was the smallest ward in our mission (there were some branches bigger than it). We don't have a ward building here so we rent out a floor in a building in the southeast part of the inner city. Our Branch President is actually from Wien who was called to serve here, otherwise they would keep having the same people as the branch president. We are one of two branches in our stake, the other being the Bruck an der Mur branch where Elder Stapleton is serving. The active members here are really strong and good faithful people. They have very funny personalities, but it keeps things interesting. As for piano, I play every week in Priesthood and every other week in sacrament.
Well I should wrap up here. Before I go I just wanted to say that I finished reading Jesus the Christ this week. It is a book I would suggest for everyone. It is very good about really explaining how important Jesus Christ really is for all of us. I know that he is our Savior and that he loves us and helps us when we have faith in him. I am so glad I have this opportunity to represent him and help others through the direction of the spirit come unto him.
I love you all and I'm so grateful for everything you do for me.
Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen