December 30, 2013
Alles Gute Zum Silvester!
I hope you all enjoyed the rest of your Christmas and that everything goes well for New Years. This week was mostly spent with the members during the Christmas break. Wien has been my longest area and I feel like I have built a pretty good friendship with the members here and so it was really great to spend so much time with them. We were with 7 different families over the last week and had a great time sharing Christmas with all of them. This week had a very special feel to it especially since I am about to come home, it made it very meaningful to me to have such a wonderful experience here in Austria before I come home.
On Christmas Eve night I had a very special experience for me concerning my mission. On Christmas Eve night we were with one family and the other two Elders were with another because the second family told the other two elders that all four of us could come for Christmas Eve and the other elders said we could come before they remembered we already had a CE invitation. So we did the best thing we thought and just split to go to both families instead of all of us going to just one. We started coming home a little after 11 (don't worry we had permission from President Miles to come home a little later during Christmas time if we were celebrating with families). When we got to the apartment I realized that I had left my keys to the apartment in another bag of mine. It was a new side bag that I bought just the day before and hadn't transferred everything over into yet. We called the other elders and they said they wouldn't be back for about 45 minutes to an hour. So we decided to take a walk around Wien to pass time. There was a very special Christmas feeling to everything and for some reason it just all felt really joyful. We decided to walk to the Schönbrunn palace since it wasn't too far and visit there. When we got there we thought the gates were locked up, but we found a side gate that was opened and we walked in. Everything was lit up around the palace including the giant Christmas tree right in front of it. We were the only ones in the palace grounds. We walked up to the tree and it was then that it became a very spiritual experience for me that was very joyful and a reverent feeling. I had very strong feelings of the Savior's love and the spirit of Christmas came over me. Also, at that moment I felt a really strong feeling that the Lord was satisfied with me as a missionary and the effort that I had given. It was a confirmation to me that Christ had accepted my mission and that I could feel at peace with what I had done as a missionary. It wasn't something I was expecting going into the grounds, but it was something personally very meaningful to me. It will probably remain as one of my most meaningful Christmas memories.
We got to emails a little later today so I am going to have to wrap up now, but I love you all lots and I hope you all have a fantastic New Years!
Gott sei mit euch bis aufs Wiedersehen