Monday, July 29, 2013

Elders Chapman, Bodily and Davies in front of Ludwigsburg Palace.

Making deep fried Mahl Tashen.

Mahl Tashen where Germany meets American South Cuisine!

This week has been rather crazy!

July 29, 2013

Well, this week has been rather crazy.

So you know how I told you that Elder Naegle was going to be my new companion? Well, he is in Ireland right now. The morning of transfers President Miles called me and told me that for the time being Elder Naegle will not be my companion because as he went to unregister from the city of Linz where he was formerly serving. The people at the city hall told him that his visa papers did not get registered and that he had passed the leeway time that he was allowed to stay in the country. More than that it was a European Union law so he had to leave any European Union country except Ireland which is the only EU country willing to work the situation out with him. We will find out in a week or two as to whether he will make it back. The situation though is that the city of Linz lost his visa papers so that part is their fault, however, they gave specific instructions that if he didn't get his visa in a certain amount of time that he was to return a report that the visa didn't come and he didn't report until about a month and a half later. It's about 50-50 as to whether he will be able to return or not and we won't find out for a little while what the situation will be. 

As for what is happening to me, I am currently working in a threesome with my roommates, the Wien 4 Elders, who are Elder Martin and Elder Reading and we are covering both areas at the moment. We are going to stay as a threesome for the next couple of weeks until Elder Naegle gets back or we find out that he can't return and President Miles will figure out a way to find me a new companion. 

However, that's where the next step of craziness comes in. Both areas are doing well with the work and keeping busy so we had to figure out how to rearrange our appointments and activities or figure out a way to get a number of splits so that we could do everything and so we have been running around non stop from one thing to another and we had to cancel a few things which I will explain later. Then there was also the question of church and in Wien very few people have cars and our apartment is far out away from the church. So since our churches were at the same time we had to have the senior couple from Wien come and pick me up and take me to my church while the other Elders went to theirs. Afterwards we were to meet back up somewhere in between. However, that didn't quite work out as planned which leads to the next bit of craziness. 

On Saturday I developed a chest infection and a sore throat . On Sunday it then got worse for the chest infection as well as the sore throat.  I lost my voice to the point that I could only speak slightly through squeeks. I went to church with the Strongs, the senior couple, but after 20 minutes the second counselor in our ward, Brother Zickbauer, said although I was the only missionary there his family was going to take me home because I looked and sounded dead. He and the Bishop gave me a blessing before I left and said that they would find people to make sure the investigators were more than taken care of and then I left with the Zickbauers. They were already probably my favorite if not one of my favorite families from the ward, but then they went the whole ten yards and let me rest while they found any possible medication that could help. Brother  Zickbauer had been sick earlier this week, so he was already stocked on all sorts of good stuff, as well as keeping me there and making lunch and dinner for me while the other Elders went about and did what they needed to with their ward. Brother Zickbauer had also had pneumonia on his mission like I did back in February and thinks that something happened that caused it to act up again. 

Our guess as to what we thought may have happened is the following: For both my ward and the Wien 4 Elders ward, this week they were swarmed with service projects. When we had to take over both areas that became too much, and we had to cancel some service because it conflicted with appointments from the other wards side. However, the weird thing is that when we went to go tell some of these people that we wouldn't be able to make it to their service project because of conflicting appointments and what not because of transfers, they told us straight up no that we couldn't;  and then they made us feel guilty and said things wouldn't work out if we didn't come, (which is not a common response at all from members ever). Anyways, we got wrapped into doing all the projects and we had to cancel some of our appointments because of it. As to where I got sick, this week was the hottest week in Wien in the last twenty years and the service was essentially all heavy lifting (furniture, hay rolls, etc).  Sometimes we were lifting furniture up 4 flights of stairs in apartment buildings. Because I was the biggest I usually got involved with the heaviest matters. To give you an idea I lost 8 pounds this week alone from work in the heat and we did over 21 hours of that this week. With the heat and heavy lifting it probably broke down my body and because of my former pneumonia and all the dust and what not from the furniture and fields it probably shot my immune system. 

Well mom, you asked me this week to be completely honest about my health, so I hope I built it up enough. The truth is though I was doing really well for the two weeks leading up to this week. Because of the Zickbauers though I am doing a lot better. I still haven't got my voice completely back, but I can at least hold out conversations and I am able to move about. But don't worry mom, after emails we are heading straight back to the apartment for some rest.

I was able to meet up with the Stapletons a little bit though before I came here. They were going to the Schönbrunn Palace which is right by our apartment and so I was able to pick up what you sent with them and talk to them for a little bit. 

I hope it didn't come off to stressed in this email, but things here have been a little crazy as you might imagine. I hope you are all doing well.

Amber if it does work out that I could come to yours and Rolfs sealing I would absolutely love that. That would be something very special since I wasn't able to make it to the wedding.

I hope you are all doing well. I love you lots.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

*Added information entered by Elder Bodily's mom. As you know, moms do worry and I have been worried since his pneumonia feeling that he didn't get  an antibiotic or the right thing to help.  When Elder Bodily had his walking pneumonia our doctor here in Orem wanted to send him an antibiotic and a refill, but the postal service couldn't send it through the mail to Germany.  Shauna Stapleton contacted me last week and invited me to send something to Houston with them.  They left this past Thursday morning to pick up their son from his mission in Germany. The package that the Stapleton's delivered to my son this morning had the antibiotic from his doctor! 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Cool experience with a less active member this week

July 22, 2013

Well we had transfer calls this week. I really expected Elder Smith and I to stay another transfer together, but the plans are different. First of all Elder Smith is going to a city called Innsbruck. It's one of the most coveted spots in the mission because it's in a small valley right in the middle of where the highest mountains in Austria are. If you think of the shape of Austria as a chicken drum stick he will be in the middle of the bone part. As for me... I am going to be greenie busting again (with Elders Young, Smith, and now my new companion this will be my third time). His name is Elder Naegle and he is from Alpine, Utah. He was in Elder Smiths MTC group, he was Elder McGinns MTC companion, and Elder Stapleton was his trainer who has been with him for the last three transfers. I don't know him personally though yet. And of course I will be staying here in Wien 3rd ward. I am excited for the upcoming transfer, but I will definitely miss Elder Smith. Even though it was only one transfer we had a ton of fun and we made a really good team. I learned a lot from him and he is going to do some good work in Innsbruck, I expect him to be AP one day. This Thursday is transfer day.

In my apartment the other Elder Smith is heading home and Elder Martin will be getting a new companion named Elder Reading who is at his year mark now. 

This week for the work things went great. Rebecca is making lots of progress and getting more and more excited about her baptism. Ambrol is doing fantastic as well. We set a specific date for him for his baptism, August 17th, the week after Rebecca's. He is someone who just gets so excited about the gospel it's quite amazing. They were both at church yesterday as well as two other investigators we weren't sure if they were coming. So it was awesome to see them there. 

We had a really cool experience with a less active member this week. I think I am just going to copy and paste what I wrote in my letter to President Miles:
This week we had a really cool miracle that I wanted to share. It was about giving a less active a blessing, but everything that went along with it fell in place perfectly because of the spirit. We had a finding day in our area last Saturday and the day before we spent some time to plan out everything. We went through the area book and picked out old investigators from two different districts in Wien and started writing them down on a list for people to go by. I found a less active member in the area book and at first I thought I would just put her record away and just focus on the former investigators liked we plan, but as we went on I kept having this feeling that I needed to put her on one of the lists. The next step came when I was making teams and deciding which lists certain Elders should work on. For a long time I had a feeling that Elder Riser and Elder Jimenez needed to take a specific list (which as I later realized was the list that had the less active member, Amelia, on it). Finding Day came around and at the end Elder Riser and Jimenez told us that they had made an appointment out for Elder Smith and I to go by the next day on this less active and give her a blessing. The amazing part was that she was in the middle of the list and for whatever random reason that was the first person that the two Elders went by. They caught her right as she was leaving her house, perfect timing. When we went to give her blessing she told us she was having an operation on Tuesday and was really scared for it and she had not thought about a blessing at all, but when the two Elders came by and recommended it she felt God was looking after her and taking care of her despite her believing that her faith was weak. She asked if I would give the blessing and it turned out to be one of the most spiritual blessings I had ever been a part of. There were some very specific points addressed, and at the end she was crying, but just filled with joy. During the blessing you could really feel just how much Heavenly Father loved her and that she meant the world to him and that he had great plans for her. She was filled with the spirit and at the end she told us that as soon as the operation was over and she was recovered she would start coming to church again and realigning her life towards thinking more about Christ. Everything worked out perfectly and it was such an amazing experience to see. 

We also had interviews with President Miles this week. They went really good. It was a lot different than interviews when I was a zone leader because it was a lot more relaxed and fun and there weren't as many responsibilities to report abou,t so I enjoyed a lot not having the extra assignments to talk about. During the interview I also got a new temple recommend because mine expires at the end of next month. 

This week I also reached the point of no return. The bishopric in our ward found out that I played the piano and I am now the back up to the ward organist/pianist when she is sick or gone and they already asked me to play at least two musical numbers during sacrament meeting within the next month and a half. 

I am going to wrap up there since we have a lot to do today, but I will try to send a package this week which has the memory card for this transfers pictures. I love you all a lot.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Week was full of some absolute miracles!

July15, 2013
Servus!  So this week was full of some absolute miracles.

The first one I will tell about has to do with Rebecca. On Wednesday she sent us a text saying she didn't feel like she was ready for her baptism in August because she didn't feel like she knew enough. We sent her a text back saying we felt she was more than ready for the baptism, but we could talk about it the next day during our appointment. On Thursday we met up with her and she told us about how she felt like she loved the Book of Mormon, but it was hard for her to remember names, that she has difficulties remembering certain points, and now because she hadn't read the Bible all the way through that she wasn't ready enough. I told her I hadn't even read the bible all the way through yet either, and then explained how her concerns weren't bad. We read about the qualifications of baptism in Doctrine and Covenants and about how it hangs on your willingness to follow God, your desire to keep his commandments and do good, and the humility that comes from seeking after that of spiritual worth. We also talked a lot about testimony and helped her realized that she really had a testimony and that was the fundamental key to her being baptized. It was the most spiritual filled appointment we have had with her up to this point. Up to this point I think she was concerned as to whether Heavenly Father was truly going to accept her, but she left more confident than ever before about her role as a daughter of God, and she came away with an understanding of just how happy he was for her, and joyful he was that she is working so hard to follow him and the Savior Jesus Christ. Her baptism is still on for August 11th and I think everything should continue to go well from here on. 

The second miracle that happened was with a new investigator named Ambrol. Ambrol was a referral from church headquarters and we went by on the apartment building where he lived, but there were no klingels (doorbell, speaker box things) that we could buzz to let him know we were there and we had no other way to let him know we were there. We started to walk away when this little kid walked up and asked if we needed to get in. He went and kicked the door open and we walked right in to this little courtyard area. A man ran up to us and introduced himself as Ambrol. He was busy, but wanted to talk to us for a couple of minutes. The building was a foster home that he owned for refugee kids. Anyway, he had started a year ago searching for the Truth. He was born catholic, but he felt like he was missing something. He started looking into other faiths and felt like he was being lead step for step. Eventually he saw a movie one day that mentioned the Mormons and it sparked a lot of interest in him. He started investigating on and came to the realization that the Mormons were the only ones who had similar beliefs to him and even had more beliefs that completely made sense. He had a spiritual experience that helped him believe that this was the right direction for him to go. He requested a visit from the missionaries and that's when we showed up. He was super excited for the Book of Mormon, the fact we had a church that wasn't too far away, and that we would take time each week to teach him our beliefs. He asked if there was any way possible if he could get baptized before the end of summer. He came to church yesterday and absolutely loved it. He even fasted so that he could fill the spirit even stronger and we hadn't even mentioned anything like that to him. He was a little worried that his little daughter that came with him might not like it, but she went to primary and made friends instantly and didn't want to leave at the end. He had to hurry home right after, but we are meeting with him this week and setting a specific date. I am super excited to really start teaching him. The ward has already clung to him rather fondly. His parents were Romanian and Serbian, but he was born and raised in Austria and is really more Austrian than anything. 

The third miracle we had was when we went by on a former investigator named Frau Hofmann. She is an older lady of about 80 and was just content with her church, but didn't mind hearing from the missionaries. We stopped by on her while we were in the area and she told us how she wasn't doing so well health wise as her legs were causing her a lot of pain. We told her we could come by the next day and give her blessing for the sick and she said that would be wonderful. We came back with a member and we did the anointing and gave her a blessing. She explained how she was wanting to go visit her family in Berlin because of summer break, but she didn't think she could make it because of her health. It would be the only time she could have seen them this year. She was praying as to whether God could provide a way for her and to see them, and then an hour later or so Elder Smith and I showed up and offered her the blessing. For her it was a great sign of Heavenly Father really looking out for her and showing his love.

The fourth that happened this week is we were to have a home teaching appointment with our new convert Liz at the library with the elders quorum president. As we got there a lady who was friends with Liz saw her and came up and talked to us. We asked her how she was doing and one thing lead to another and she ended up explaining how this had been a few hard weeks because of some things that were happening in her apartment building. I can't explain the situation, but it was pretty serious. She was praying while she was in the library as to whether she could talk to a close friend about this who could help give her advice, but that she didn't know who and that is when Liz arrived at the Library. She talked about her situation and she seemed relieved to get it off her chest and at the end she seemed to have an idea of what to do, but we also offered her a blessing of counse.l She said that she would try and call us this week about it and also if we could give her a spiritual thought. 

It was just really neat to be part of everything that happened this week. There were a lot of prayers of gratitude and some really strong testimony builders that happened. As you might imagine you can't help but just love the work when instances like these happen.

That is the extent of what happened this week. We were also able to do an austausch with the Wien 5 ward elders. I was able to work with Elder Sponsellar in their area. It's amazing that they live in the same city as us, but it still takes almost an hour to get from where we live to where they live with public transportation. Today for our P day we had a Lederhosen party and went to Stephansdom, the giant church in the middle of the city, with our roommates, both sets of Wien 5 Elders, Wienerneustadt Elders, and Wien 4 sisters. We got asked for a lot of pictures from Asian tourists.

I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sister Bice's wish back in the MTC to have a district tie picture.  Sister Jencks and Bice, Elders Davies, Armstrong, Bodily and Tauche

These shoes were made for walking and I have put some mileage on them in the last year and a half. 

Around the area we lived in in Stuttgart, Germany.

Rootbeer and Creme Soda from the secret store!

July 8, 2013

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July. Our 4th of July consisted of us buying a lot of Rootbeer and Creme Soda from the secret store that no one knows about at Vienna's train station that sells some American products and getting some Ben & Jerry's and making Rootbeer/Creme Soda Freezes. Even our British roommate couldn't help but be grateful to celebrate America's Independence Day.

Well this Wednesday marks a month since the Book of Mormon reading challenge started that we all agreed to. If we are on tract we should be at 2 Ne 9 if you count in the extra 2 chapters we would need to read each month. I hope you are all enjoying it. (Just so you know I am beginning Mosiah right now :)

We were able to meet with Rxxx this week and she is doing well. We talked about tithing and fasting and she accepted everything very well. That is one of the lessons that you can truly tell how dedicated someone is to the gospel if they accept right away or at least say it makes sense and they will act in faith and hope everything works out. On Friday Rxxx asked if we could give her a blessing for the sick at church, but because of an unexpected family issue she wasn't able to make it. However, we are meeting tomorrow with her and hopefully giving her the blessing there. Her baptismal date is August 11th and she will be more than ready for that day I believe.

We had some troubles this week with getting appointments to work out, but I think this week is going to be a lot better for some of our investigators and so hopefully they will go through. We were able to use our time this week to get our area books organized. We have literally hundreds of former investigator sheets in our apartment. If you were to take all of the former investigator records from all of my other areas combined it wouldn't be half as many as the ones here in this part of Vienna. Elder Nelson made a promise at one point that in each area book there is at least one person who will be baptized. We have our records organized into 8 books, so now the trick is finding these people. However, we have made a good system for getting in contact with these people so hopefully things will work out well.

On Saturday our district had a huge Finding Day in the Wien 5 Ward's area. While I was there I was able to work with Elder Eaker for the whole day and it was incredibly fun. Elder Eaker and I were made and released as Zone Leaders at the same (he was in Munich) and he has been out one transfer longer than I, so we have been out relatively the same time. Not counting my roommate Elder Smith who will be going home in a couple of weeks, Elder Eaker and I are the two oldest missionaries in our zone. If you take the 6 youngest missionaries in our 10 Elder district and put their mission time together Elder Eaker and I, by ourselves have been out longer than that. When he told me this it really blew my mind that I was starting to become an old missionary... but anyways, working with Elder Eaker was great. He works similarly to Elder Davies so it was easy enough to work well with him and we had some really fun conversations. On top of that, towards the end of the day he treated me to what was probably the best Italian Ice Cream I have ever had, which is saying a lot because that is the only type of Ice Cream you can really find here.

Something that has been sticking out on my mind is what one of my football coaches always had us do; whenever the 4th quarter came around he always had us stick our arm up with four fingers and start yelling "Fourth Quarter" and get excited about it. The principle behind it was despite whether we were winning or losing in the game, the fourth quarter was something special, it's where legends and miracles take place and it's important to play this quarter as your hardest. It was something that always made us excited because it was the chance we had to go all at it to the end and really prove ourselves. This Wednesday I have exactly 6 months left so tha'ts when my fourth quarter starts. The idea of that has really pumped me and I am more excited than ever to go full out with my full effort and really just make these last 6 months the best, hardest working, most fun filled, most enjoyable months so far. I hope it goes well.

I love you all and I hope you are having a fantastic week.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen

Monday, July 1, 2013

Feversee Church in the middle of Stuttgart, Germany.

German popcan hat (Rootbeer a rare comody in Germany).

German pride!

Great ward and the members are super friendly!

July 1, 2013

Ok, so this week was a little bit of a recovering week because our apartment has been pretty sick. I have still been having some bad headaches from last week and both the Smiths got a really nasty cold. On top of that Elder Martin got some pretty bad stomach cramps. But! Everything has worked out and we are all doing a lot better. I havent had any of the headaches since Friday and the two Smiths are top notch right now. 

It still didn't mean that we weren't able to do work. We were able to meet with our investigator Rebecca twice this week. She is really making a lot of progress and she is well on track for her baptism in August. She is a little shy, but as she has gotten used to us she has opened up a lot and now I think she really enjoys when we meet together. She loves coming to church and the ward has taken to her very fondly. She gets along well with the members and they are treating her super good. Yesterday in church during sacrament meeting she went through about three chapters in 2 Nephi and just marked some of her favorite scriptures in it because she felt like that was what she needed to do. She is already asking questions from Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price as well. 

We had a fantastic appointment with a lady named Elsa this week. Elder Smith and his last companion met with her a few days before I got here and weren't able to make another appointment until now. When we reached her house she seemed a little nervous and she told us that this would be our last time meeting together because she was Muslim and she said she had enough and didn't really need more. That instantly resulted in a lot of silent prayers for the spirit. We started off with getting to know her better and she opened up a lot and it became a really enjoyable time and then she asked, "So what do you actually believe God to be?" From there we took off following the spirit and asking a lot of questions and relating our beliefs to what she already believed. You could see the spirit come over her and by the time we started introducing beliefs that were unique to our church she accepted them fully. By the end of our time she kept saying how if we had more time she would love to keep hearing more and that once she gets back from Albania (she left the next day and won't get back until mid August) we could start meeting again. It was a great example of how the spirit can reach people's hearts in a special way.

Do you by chance remember one of my old investigators back in St. Pölten named Liz Chavez? She moved to St. Pölten's area with the Hirschman family (my eventual new ward mission leader's family) for a few weeks, but then moved back to Wien into her own apartment. Well what I didn't realize is that she is in my ward. She had been in Spain for vacation up until last week so that's why I hadn't seen her yet. She has since been baptized as of February. It was really cool to meet with her again. You can see how much the gospel has lit up her life and she has an awesome attitude of wanting to share the gospel with the rest of her family. 

This week we had a number of service opportunities to help members in our ward with moving. We have a really great ward and the members are super friendly. It's a ward that you can tell is really closely bonded with each other and they are super fun to be around.

So, I had a "brain fart" this week and forgot that I was supposed to give a talk yesterday in sacrament about enduring to the end. I remembered as I got to church that morning. The fortunate thing was that in Germany and Austria they always have priesthood meeting first, followed by Sunday School, and then Sacrament meeting at the end. I had time during the first two hours to come up with ideas for my talk and experiences to share. Thanks to all the talks I had to give while I was in St. Pölten, I have long gotten over the time where I had to write my whole talk out rather than just write the ideas down and speak about those. It went well and I was able to cover my whole 15 minutes. Thankfully Heavenly Father is willing to help me out with getting ideas of what to talk about after I completely forgot I had an assignment.

Mom, could you send me a chocolate chip cookie recipe by chance? I seemed to have lost all my reciepes when I got here (I probably left them in the Stuttgart cupbard) and our apartment was craving cookies the other day. Don't worry though, I still have my Swiss bread recipe memorized so you will still have the chance to have some when I get home. Thank you.

I sure you love all a lot. I hope you have a wonderful 4th of July this week. Make sure to celebrate some American pride for me.

Elder Bodily
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen