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

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