June 17, 2013
Well I am here in Wien now! There is a lot to say and I am not sure where to begin. I guess I'll start with my companion. So as I said last week, I am working with an Elder Cody Smith, one of three Elder Smiths in our mission (another is also living in our apartment, but I will get back to that later). He is a big friendly guy from Idaho and fits the Idaho work ethic; he is really motivated and not scared to do what needs be done. We had our small world moment on the first day when I found out he was in Elder Cameron McGinn's district in the MTC and they were gym buddies. He took state in Saxophone and wants to be a doctor. It's weird though because I reached the point where my length of being on a mission and the age change in new missionaries has come in contact because I am almost 2 whole years older than him and I am not at the end of my mission yet. However, we get along well and we are having a lot of fun.
In our apartment we have the Wien 4 Elders (English speaking ward, living with the International Elders again) who are Elder Preston Smith and Elder Martin. This Elder Smith is on his last transfer before he heads home back to Kansas. Elder Martin has only been out as long as my companion Elder Smith and he is from Peterborough, England which is in the boundaries of Dad's old mission. They are both really funny and the apartment gets along well together. Our apartment is easily the biggest I have had on my mission. It is also brand new because they bought it about 2 months ago because the whole building was being sold in their old one. It is really close to the Schönbrunn Palace so we can go running there in the mornings if we want.
This part of Wien that we are in is really nice. It is not too busy and not a tight fit like a lot of other areas in Wien. There are a lot of parks and nice living areas and our church is in a nice residential neighborhood whereas the other Wien wards have their church right in the city. The ward here is really nice and friendly too (typically all wards are, but I just wanted to confirm that). It is about the size of my Rosenheim ward which is around 75 active members. There are a couple of members here that are related to members in my old St. Pölten branch. I can't explain but there is a difference between the Austrian wards I have had and the German ones, but both still have that warm welcoming feeling.
I am really excited about the work that will come here. I don't know if it is because this will probably be my last area or what, but since I have been here I have just had this strong motivation to take everything I have learned so far and just do the absolute best work I can. My desire to teach people and help them seems to be growing a lot and I can't wait to see what miracles will happen here. I have really been focusing these last few days on really changing myself to the missionary the Lord wants me to be and develop Christ like attributes to help me progress and make the most of my time here while converting me for after my mission. I am really curious as to how much I have changed in these last few 17 months and I'm curious as to how much more progress I can make. It sounds like we have a lot of potential investigators that we can work with as well as a few current investigators. These last couple of days we have been going by and having some great lessons with them and I really feel like this next week there will be some serious progress as they start coming to church. There are two things that I have really noticed that have changed a lot since how I taught at the beginning of my mission and how I am now, and that is the ability to recognize and act on spiritual promptings as well as teaching with love. They are attributes that can really only come from the Lord and something that comes from constant prayer. I hope I can keep developing these attributes.
What is really exciting is that yesterday the Bobi's were finally baptized back in Rosenheim! I wish I could have been there to see them, but I am just happy that they have finally been able to reach this point in their life. It was March 2012 when Elder Field and I first found them and it has been a long journey for them, but it has finally been accomplished. The next step is the temple. I remember back when I taught them with Elder Young that they had mentioned that going through the Salt Lake Temple would be their dream. I am super happy for them.
I forgot to tell you last week and I almost forgot again today, but this last Tuesday Elder Russell M. Nelson came to Munich and we had the chance to hear from him. We almost missed it because our train from Stuttgart to Munich broke down, but everything was taken care of in time so that we could be there for him. It was simply amazing just to be in his presence. I learned a lot about spiritual gifts from the meeting which has been my new focus in my studies.
So we already have plans for today for P-Day to play soccer with some other missionaries in Wien so I have to go, but I hope all goes well this week. It was really hard for me to leave Stuttgart, but I have a good feeling about things happening here. I will inform you more next week about some of our investigators. I love ya'll.
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen