Tuesday, November 27, 2012

 Post card on November 27: This is what the area looks like when we travel by train to Wien (Vienna).

"Praise to the Man"

November 26, 2012
Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

I hope you enjoyed it! For my Thanksgiving we went over to the Brunnsteiner family's for lunch and had all you can eat Schnitzel (and just so you know mom and dad, they can't promise it yet because they are not totally sure on their plans, but I will probably get to skype at their house for Christmas).  It was really good, the only problem was that one of the pieces I ate tasted rather funny and then afterwards I broke down with stomach problems for the rest of the day. But I am better now and the rest of it was great. In case you are wondering, no, Austrians do not celebrate Thanksgiving, but the Brunnsteiners celebrate American holidays -so it works out.

Mom and Dad thank you so much for the calendar you sent me for Christmas. Yes, I know, I opened it a "little" early, but I was too excited. I think it is one of the most meaningful gifts I've ever had so thank you so much. It really meant a lot to me and it was very well put together. All of it was perfect, there was one part that was a little funny though. On the month that is dedicated to my companions, it's got the big picture of me with all my companions, and then the individual ones for all of them so far except where you would think there would be a picture of Elder Young and I (preferably in Lederhosen) there is a picture of Elder Moon and me making Swiss bread on our austausch. I guess him and I will just have to be companions sometime to make it real. I would simply love to be companions with him sometime so that's fine with me.

Ok so here is the situation with our investigator Liz, she is no longer our investigator. She moved here with the Hirshmann family, but then because of work and other complications she decided it was best to find her own apartment back in Wien. So we had to turn her back over to Elders Babcock and Evans in Wien 3rd ward. I think it will be much better for her though because she lived in St. Pölten boundaries, but lived very far away from the city itself so it was really difficult to schedule time when we could meet that fit her schedule and we could get to her or she could meet us in the church. This way she is directly in Wien so the Elders can visit her more often. It's now back to 100% instead of 95% finding which we are pretty good at.

I can honestly say that giving a talk in sacrament meeting in German for me is not a problem. Of the 13 Sundays that I've been in St. Pölten, 6 have been assigned to Stake Conference, General Conference, a President Monson Broadcast, and three fast and testimony meetings. Of the remaining 7 I have been assigned to give a talk in 4 of them, all of which have been 15-25 minute talks. Because the branch here is small, they like to have the missionaries speak a lot in order to keep the members from having to speak so often. But because my companions here have both been new missionaries and have been working on their German to speak more easily, our ward mission leader/1st counselor decided that I could cover both shifts. It's good practice right? I was able to speak yesterday and it was an especially cool experience for me because I was assigned to talk about prophets, and then afterwards I got to play my arrangement of "Praise to the Man". It was an opportunity for me to be really grateful for the gifts that the Lord has blessed me with. I think it went well because afterwards the Branch President's wife told me that for as long as I am here each month I "get to" play a musical number during one of the Sundays and I get to play something for the ward Christmas party that they will be having here. That means P-Days I get to spend time practicing and learning new songs on the piano.

When we went to Wien for district meeting this week we ran into a former member of the 70 and his wife, Douglas and Jane Callister. He is the brother of the Elder Callister who is in the 70 presidency. They also lived in President Miles' home ward so they told us to tell him hello next time we saw him.

I am glad the funerals for Sister Rife and Patriarch Roberts went well. I hope both families know they are in my prayers and that I hope all goes well for them. They were both really good examples to me and grateful for what they have done for me. Speaking of the Rife family, welcome home Michael. I hope all is going well for you and I appreciate the example you were as a missionary.

I hope all is well. Thank you again so much for everything you do. I love you all and grateful for what you do for me.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Did the next best thing and held up our Book of Mormon

November 19, 2012
Servus Zusammen!

Congratulations to Madi, Anneliese, Erica, Amanda, and Bryson who all got their mission calls this week. I am way excited for you and I think you are all going to be absolutely amazing missionaries. Argentina, Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina again, and Italy. Sounds great!

Please let Bishop Rife know that he is in my prayers and that I am hoping for the best and the spirit of comfort to be with him and his family.

I am glad Kaitlyn had a good homecoming talk/birthday.

I got the SD card this week as well as the envelope with Dad's mission bible notes. Thank you so much. 

I don't have a whole lot of time because we are having a zone p-day today and we have to get going here soon, but the important news is that we got transfer calls this Friday and Elder Chapman and I will be here in St. Pölten another transfer as I finish up his training. The transfer goes until New Years time so I will be here for Christmas. It will be nice to have a ward I know for the holidays and I've heard Vienna looks amazing during December so we will have to spend a couple P-days there (not that we don't do that already).

I am excited that I am still in St. Pölten another transfer. It might be hard, but I like the ward members we have here a lot, I like my district, and I think some great things will come this way. Since transfer calls I've been blessed by the Lord with more hope, and I want to make this my most personal successful transfer so far, regardless of what happens with the work. What was also quite a blessing is this weekend we ended up getting invited to eat with a lot of different members (when I say a lot, I mean a lot for St. Pölten ward, but still really nice). They didn't know about transfer calls and when I told them I was staying they all got excited. Then they  asked me if I was glad I was staying. I told them yes and they told me they were glad I was too and that I wasn't scared off yet. They then began to tell me that for the last 6 or 7 years St. Pölten has been a fight for the missionaries. They don't know why, but the work here has been extremely hard. They said that only about 4-5 missionaries in this time have been here for 3 transfers or more because it had been too hard for them otherwise. They mentioned they have had a lot of missionaries being trained here . I was just really grateful that I had been one of those who had shown my appreciation to the ward for being here. One of the members, Bruder Schildböck, told me that Elder Harmer (Jake's dad) was one of the best missionaries he had seen here and that I reminded him being like E. Harmer, which was really nice.

I had a great austausch with Elder Moon this week in Wien. It was awesome to actually teach lessons. We committed one of the investigators to baptism and it was possibly one of the best lessons I've had on my mission so far. It's great to know that the spirit can always make a lesson good and that even if you haven't taught for a while one's teaching abilities don't get too rusty. During the austausch we went to the airport and picked up Elder Moon and Elder Bassets new companion Elder Kombar who is from Switzerland, and is serving here for a couple of weeks until he gets his visa for America to go to the MTC and then serve in Wisconsin. Elder Moon and I felt like AP's as we sat there waiting to pick him up and introduce him to everything. There were a lot of people at the Wien airport and we didn't know what the new missionary looked like (and he didn't have a name tag yet, so we couldn't pick him out). However, there were a lot of people at the gate holding papers with the names of the people that they were waiting on, so we took that idea and did the next best thing and held up our Books of Mormon hoping that he would see them and recognize us. It worked! 

As far as Liz, she lives pretty far away from St. Pölten itself so it has been hard to schedule a time that we could meet with her since her and the family she is living with are still going through the moving process, but she comes to church each week which is splendid. We have big hopes for her.

I hope all is well this week. Thank you for all the support. I love you all and hopefully I'll have more time next week to explain what I have been up to. Once again I am way excited for all of the new missionaries!

I am happy that I am here on a mission. I love you guys so much.

Elder Bodily
Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Love At Home"

November 12, 2012
Servus Zusammen!

Congratulations to Brittney Harris and Cameron McGinn with their mission calls (and if anyone else I know got their mission call who I don't know about yet congratulations). I am not sure when you both leave, but I am way excited for you both! Canada should be great Brittney and Cameron, well, let's just say you are coming to the promised land. It might not be the same mission as me, but Germany is simply the best and you are going to love it.

A couple of exciting things happened this week. First of all we got a new family, Familie Hirschmann, in our ward that moved here from Wien. When we get a new family it is a big deal because they make up about a fifth of our ward now. It's him and his wife and his parents and what's even more exciting is that a lady named Liz and her brother Raphael from Peru are living with them as they came to Austria for job and schooling opportunities. Raphael is a new convert as of July and her sister just started taking lessons from the missionaries in the Wien 3 ward. Which means we now have the opportunity to teach someone who has sincere interest. On Sunday we had an investigator/new convert class with Liz and Raphael that Brother Bauer our First Counselor/Ward Mission Leader taught during Sunday school and we were able to get a basic idea of what she had learned so far from the previous Elders. There is a bit of a language barrier since she is still learning German and only really speaks Spanish, but she understands a good amount and we spend a lot of time in the scriptures with her Spanish Book of Mormon. We have a lady in our ward named Sister Ullrich who used to be a Spanish Teacher and she was super excited that she had the opportunity to practice the language and translate for her and her brother. It's very exciting to have an investigator again.

We were invited over to the Hirschmanns house to get to know them better and Liz and Rapheal. Brother Hirschmann asked us if one of us knew how to play piano and when I told him I could he had me go play a few songs. When he found out to what level I could play he and his wife pulled out their violins and said they hadn't had a missionary in their ward for awhile who could play piano and they had been wanting to practice playing the hymns with.  We went through a number of hymns and after about a half an hour we ended up creating an arrangement of "Love One Another"  that we are going to see if we can play in Sacrament meeting here soon. They are a great addition to the ward.

We had a finding day in Wien this week and I got to see a cool example of how the Gospel of the restored church of Jesus Christ really can answer all concerns or question. Elder Moon and I went finding together for a while and we ran into this Seventh Day Adventist who decided he wanted to Biblebash. If Elder Moon and I were better Missionaries we probably would  have stayed away from getting too much into that and just stick to bearing testimony and giving our message about the restoration... but it had also been a long day and Elder Moon and I had gotten a lot of people ignoring us, so we succumbed to the man's desires. He tried pulling a bunch of his thoughts on us about why how our church was wrong or trying to make us puzzled by certain scriptures in the Bible, but the great thing is, that even though he didn't want to hear anything from the Book of Mormon, we answered all of his question or corrected certain principles through the Bible. It then came to the point where he just wanted to be stubborn and right and he eventually just walked off muttering to himself. But the lesson I learned is that, first of all you shouldn't look to Bible bash and you should avoid it because nothing really stems from it, but it is nice to know that when you have that knowledge and clarification that comes from the Book of Mormon and from modern day prophets and with the help of seminary studies the Bible becomes much more understandable and it gives clear testimony of the truth of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. Still, use that knowledge on people that want to listen, not those who just want to argue.

I am officially allowed to drive in any European Union country as of today. I got my temporary license and the actual license should be here by next Monday.

This week I have a two day austausch with Elder Moon in Wien and then Friday is transfer calls, but more than likely things will stay the same here because I will be finishing up Elder Chapman's training.

That is about it for this week. I hope all is going well for everybody, love you lots.

Elder Bodily
Gott Sei Mit Euch Bis Aufs Wiedersehen

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

In the mission when you train they call it adding to your family so Elder Field (my first companion) is considered my dad and then Elder Chapman (right) and Elder Root are considered my son and stepson.  Elder Root is my step-son because I didn't start his training, but I finished it. 

Family, Prophets and Religion

November 5, 2012    Grußdi Miteinand

First of all, sorry about the very short letter last week. There were some scheduling conflicts and it made it very difficult to get to emails last Monday.  We went to Wien to help the senior couple in our district to move into a different apartment because their old one had some issues. We went and did emails at the YSA building at Wien. The problem was us, because Elder Moon and Bassett, and Sister Reid and Stewart also do their emails there as well. I took the last shift and by that time I only had about twenty minutes left before we had to go. 

 I hope everything is going all right in New York. We had heard that there was a storm in New York from some of the members, but we didn't know how big it was. That sounds like a huge mess. I hope Sean is doing all right and being able to help out over there. Let me know if anything more happens with that. 

I really appreciated your emails this week. I enjoyed reading what was going on at home and the spiritual thoughts you included. This week was a rather good week here in St. Pölten. As a district we are starting something new where instead of having district meeting every week in Wien we are going to switch off between Wien and St. Pölten each week and after district meeting we will then work as a district together in the city where the meeting is held for 6 hours to focus on finding. This week we did that here in St. Pölten. We broke it off into 3 sections of two hours each where the first I would work with Elder Chapman and then the second with Elder Moon and the third with Elder Basset. When I was with Elder Moon we got to work and had probably the most success I have seen in St. Pölten. We found a number of potential investigators and were able to find a lot who were either interested in a Book of Mormon to read or visiting the church sometime in the future. After that day it kept going well. We were able to give out a few more Books of Mormons, but more importantly found some who had interest in learning about our church. All of them seemed to have different interest points whether it was they liked our church's emphasis on the family, the fact that we have prophets today, or simply that we lived our religion in a country that is rather unreligious even though most are associated with a church. There wasn't anything too different from this week and previous weeks as to how we worked only that I think the Lord really understood how willing we were to work. It seems to come down to attitude and trying to strengthen our desires to work harder. With the potential investigators that we found the way it stands right now, about half we decided that they actually don't want to learn at the moment. But we still have a good number who we are very hopeful about. We have been working to schedule times to meet with them and hopefully things will go through this week or at least next. We are still trying to work a lot through members to get the work going as well; for example in December we are having an invite month where the ward members will focus on bringing their friends to church and this month we are meeting with them and trying to get them excited for it and to be thinking who they could invite.

Thank you for the spiritual thoughts you both sent and for the poem you sent of Bishop Rifes I found them both very nice and very uplifting. Dad I wanted to ask you if there is any way possible that I could get a copy of some of the notes you made at the back of your mission Bible? That's something I want to be better with because there are a lot of people here who won't believe anything if it doesn't come from the bible. 

I also had an austausch with Elder Sievers, one of the Zone Leaders, this week. He is German and although he can speak pretty good English we just spoke the whole time in German. He told me that I had picked up the language rather fast for someone who has been out as long as I have. It was a really nice compliment from a native who probably has to be pretty patient with the rest of us who are still working on the language. Granted, he only said my German was doing all right; Austrian German can sometimes be a little difficult to understand. But it makes it an adventure. This last Sunday I got to teach the lesson in Priesthood meeting and because we don't have too many members, the High Priest/Elders Quorum leader decided to have me teach every third week because most priesthood holders have had a lot of teaching opportunities. 

Mom this last week we had Austrian Holidays on Thursday and Friday where they don't deliver mail, and they don't deliver it on Saturday and Sundays  either so today is the first day that I can get the package so we will see when we get home. 

Speaking of packages I found out what happened to the package in Frankfurt with the Advil. I got a phone call this last week from the office Elders saying apparently a letter came to me this last week in Rosenheim notifying me that because I hadn't reclaimed my package in the timeline that they had set, that they had taken the liberty of destroying the Advil pills and disposing of the package and I had to pay a fee within 7 days for it or it would double. Fortunately the current Rosenheim Elders got the letter to Munich and they took the money out of my account ($35) for the fee and got everything squared away so that there were no problems. Lesson learned. Don't send Advil in packages to Germany (even though I had asked for them after the bike accident and the US post office cleared it). 

Thank you again both for all of the love and support you have both shown me and for helping me out by sending me packages and lots of help. I really appreciate all you keep doing for me and all that I keep learning from you both. You are really the best parents.

I love you guys a lot. I hope everything is going well for you both. Thanks again for everything.

Well I am going to have to leave it at that and get back to you next week. I am really excited for all of you who should be getting your mission calls in the next few weeks or so. You are truly in for a life changing experience. Let me know how it goes. 

I love you all and I hope all is well
Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs wiedersehen