Overcast and Cold in Austria!

It’s almost Mai and there is no sunshine and it’s actually pretty cold. Mostly because of the humidity. But that’s okay!

I’m writing so early because we were going to go to Salzburg today but because it’s so rainy it doesn’t make sense to go. We’ll probably go next week so that we can have the warmth accompany it as well. 
I’m really excited to go to Salzburg on a P-day because I’ve been there several times, but I just haven’t been able to see much because we’ve been going to Zone things. 
We had Zone Training so that’s why there aren’t any pictures from it. But there is Mission Tour on the eighth and we’re going to Wien which will be exciting. It’ll be a day trip. There’ll also be one of the seventy there, I’m not sure what his name is, but that’ll be fun. There’ll probably be pictures from that as well!
We were going to be going to Freiburg on Saturday and staying the night in Münchin, but unfortunately the baptism we were going to was cancled. But Sister Judd thinks the guy that was going to be baptized will be worthy some time this transfer. He just was a smoker and he thought that he would be able to smoke a little bit until he was baptized and then stop  after he was baptized. But unfortunately that’s not the case. But Sister Judd seems to think that it will happen soon, so that’ll be good. 
Last P-day when we went to Linz we didn’t actually play tennis. It ended up being more of a let’s eat and McDonalds kind of deal…Which is what the picture is of…my meatless hamburger…Well, they really take the nur ketchup thing seriously. 
I survived my first transfer though! Yay! Today is the first day of the new transfer and it’s really strange to think that this is six weeks! 
Sister Judd and I went to this little town called Vöcklabruck and we saw this church that was the city church until 1745 or something. I’ll send some pictures of that as well, it was actually really cool! So many interesting places. 
Okay, well, fail. You’ll just be getting actual pictures sent to you in a letter. 😀 
This week, we had an awesome experience! In preach my gospel it says that the best and most effective way to do missionary work is through the members and that if the members were to step up and do their job we would be doubling the number of baptisms we have in this church. That’s what President Hinkley said in a conference talk I think…But that’s why the Provo mission is the highest baptizing mission in the world, because they don’t go out and tract, they don’t go out and knock on doors, they operate fully and completely on member referrels. 
This week Sara, the bishop’s seventeen year old daughter and one of the ward mission leaders, gave us the name of a family that she baby sits for. They had offered her coffee and when she didn’t take any they asked why. When she explained that it was because of her religion and that she doesn’t drink alcohol, etc. they were interested. She gave them a pamphlet and our number and then when they hadn’t called us for about three weeks we dropped by. 
On the Klingle we said, “Hallo, wir sind die Missionarinen von die Kirche Jesu Christi. Die Sara hat gesagt das Sie haben interesse.”
The man on the kingle immediately let us in and we were talking to him. It was funny because we had just started a fast for our investigators just an hour before and he offered us water and we didn’t know what to do so we figured God would forgive us for taking the hospitality and drinking the water.  We were talking to him a little bit and we found out the he and his wife are religious. He actually said to us, “Yes, we’re Christian, so you got the basics figured out, it’s just the coffee that I’m concerned about.” (Note that this man is Austrian, his wife is American and they speak English at home so this was in English, which is weird). 
Sister Judd and I just stared at each other in shock! Can you say golden? This man basically said that the only problem that he could forsee was the coffee thing! Crazy! We have an appointment with them on Tuesday night and I hope that it goes well! 
I’m so excited!
He actually called us later and asked us if we could babysit after our meeting, but we told him we weren’t allowed to and he was disappointed. I don’t think that he thinks that we’re babysitters, just that he knows we’re from the same church as Sara and that means we’re trustworthy. 
I just was in absolute shock! 
But this is why the members are so important!
Okay, I have a commitment for you! Invite the missionaries over for dinner! Ask them how their lives are, ask them about their families, ask them about their investigators, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them. Ask if they need any joint teaches! But the missionaries need the members! If you have any friends that aren’t members, talk to the missionaries about them! Use your family history skills! 
I just really want you to help the missionaries out on that side of the world!
 
Okay, Spiritual thoughts!
First from Elder Holland: 
“In this Church what you know will ALWAYS trump what you don’t know.”
I think a lot of the time we get caught up in what we don’t know, but honestly, it doesn’t matter how far it is to Kolob. All that matters is that you know that Christ died for you, that He suffered in the Garden of Gethsemane and he LOVES YOU!!!
Also, another great quote from President Harold B. Lee
“The most important of the Lord’s work you will ever do will be within the walls of your own homes.”
“We have been born, as Nephi of old, to Goodly parents who love the Lord.”
I really know that I was prepared because I had good parents. I’ve always been able to choose, always been able to go my own way, but I had parents who did their best to make sure that I went the right way. 
I think it’s hard sometimes for those people in the world who do the right things and they teach their children the way to live and their children still go along a different path, but Heavenly Father was perfect, He presented a perfect plan to His children and yet, He still lost a third of His children. Agency is one of the greatest gifts the Lord has given us, and we use it and have used it from before the time that the world was. 
Every day in the mission field is really hard. It feels like you’re broken down to the smallest that you can be and at the end of the day your feet hurt and you don’t know if you’ll want to get up the next morning. 
It’s that way spiritually as well. Elder Holland said, “My faith has grown into a tree of life. If you’re lacking in faith, you can lean on mine.”
Sister Judd had an interesting comment regarding this, she said, “On your mission it just feels like you have no faith left because everyone takes a little bit here and a little bit there and pretty soon you feel like you have none left.” 
It really is true. You always seem to be scraping the bottom of the bucket of faith. But Christ some how made three loaves and seven fishes feed the multitudes, I think he can make my faith last a little longer. 
 
Love you!
Lillie
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Rainy Days and Mondays

The only thing is that right now they’re not getting me down! 😀

Gotta love the Carpenters! Or is that Peter Paul and Mary?
ANyway… This week was interesting to say the least.
I don’t have a lot of time, but I’ll just give you an overview of what happened.
We taught West again and he actually listened the most that he’s ever listened to us! We are going to do a little family home evening with them today and we’ll see if West kept the commitment that we gave him to read and then we’ll make him progressing if he did! Which would be awesome! 
On Saturday we had a bit of a miracle happen. It won’t seem super big to you, but it was crazy to us. 
We have an investigator, Leo, who lives in this little town called Scharnstein and it’s in the middle of nowhere. He’d had a really hard week and had brought up some really rough things in his life. About five years ago he stopped drinking and stopped smoking and sold his sports car and then he met the missionaries later. 
But this week he called us drunk and he drunk texted us and he sent a message to Sister Judd saying he thinks of her as two different people and then he sent one to me that said (word for word) Grethings to Siter Ha(e)mag. He was drunk and even when he’s not he can’t say my name. 😀 
But he also smoked and said that it didn’t help him, but he was still really frustrated with himself. We decided that we were going to go down to Scharnstein, since we were planning on that anyway, and we wrote him letters with scriptures and such and included a letter that an Elder sent for him as well. Then we took the tiny little train down to Scharnstein and we knew we only had about an hour and a half to get from Banhof to Leo’s apartment to drop off the letters and then get back to Banhof so we could make the last train home. Otherwise we would be stuck in Scharnstein, which would not be good. So we get to this little town and we have no idea where we’re going, we just have the name of the street and we talk to these people in a gas station and they give us directions and we head out there. Sister Judd said that the last time they had come out there it had taken about forty five minutes to get out to his apartment, so we had no idea if we were going to make it, but we pressed forward, and by some miracle we ended up on the right street, heading down this long winding road and then we got to the apartment, after a close run in with some sheep, and then we dropped the letters in the mail box and headed back in record time. It took us maybe fifteen twenty minutes to get out there and fifteen to twenty minutes to get back. We got on the train and we headed back to Wels, it felt like we were on the Amazing Race! We went back to Wels (I’ll send a picture later of this one car train) and we gave out a book of Mormon to a man who was slightly drunk. 
But when we got back we planned and then as soon as we were finished planning we get a phone call. We look down and it’s Leo. 
So then we spend the next half hour talking to Leo. Apparently he had been in his apartment when we had gone by and he hadn’t heard us or his phone! But it was just this crazy little miracle and it felt so right and I don’t even know! But anyway. THat was the miracle story for this week. 😀 
While you were in the  temple I was on a miracle train! 😀
It’s really rainy here, it’s actually just super cloudy and chilly. I’m not wearing a jacket though. It’s not cold enough for that. We’re going to LInz to play tennis and so that’ll be fun! 
I’m going to write more later in actual letter, but I love you so much!
This week was kind of difficult just because of the amount of stress that we were in, oh and don’t worry that a member gave us a bike on Sunday that his grandmother rode for twenty something years and stopped riding when she was ninety two! Or that we forgot it at the church when we went to eat and that when we came back we discovered it had been stolen! Yeah, that was awkward… Val, his wife, said, “#*(% happens”
Well, I’ll say. 
But yeah, such is life. I guess. I just feel really bad that it had to happen hours after we got this bike, for free, from them. They were just willing to give it to us and this happens. Hopefully it’ll be better later! Love you!

 

 

Still Sunny in Austria!

We have actually had sunshine! Constant sunshine for a day and a half! It’s a miracle!!!!
We have actually had a pretty crazy and slightly stressful week…On Tuesday we went to Salzburg where we had Zone Training and that was an exciting little trip. Afterward we went on our austaush (switching companions for twenty-four hours) So I went with Sister Smith’s companion for a day and Sister Smith went with Sister Judd for a day. Sister Smith and I are in the same Zone, so that’s cool. Not the same District because of the distance, but still, it’s pretty cool. I was definintely grateful for Sister Judd at the end of the twenty-four hours. 😀 
But when I got back to Wels, well actually we met up in Vöcklebruck we found out that our phone was lost. It probably was left on a train on Tuesday. So that caused some understandable stress. Last week we were really excited because we had appointments every single day of the week, but unfortunately because we lost our phone we had some difficulty. We were going to go to an appointment with West on Wednesday night but we couldn’t make it because of how late we were getting on the train because we were making phone calls on the Neumarkt Sister’s phone. 
So a little thing about Austrian Zugs, you buy your ticket off the train at a little automated ticket station and then you present your ticket and your vorteils card to the person that comes by and stamps it. Sister Judd had forgotten to purchase the ticket to go home, simply because of the craziness of it all, we usually call the office and have our tickets ordered, but the tickets were never purchased. So we’re on the train, completely oblivious to this little fact and when the ticket checker man comes by he looks down at the ticket and our vorteils cards and I can immediately tell something is wrong. I’m thinking, “Oh my goodness, there’s something wrong with my vorteils card!” But actually we only had a ticket to Vöcklebruck and not back to Wels. Oops.
But he was SO nice! Usually it’s about a forty or fifty euro fine for not having a ticket, but he was just saying, “You can buy a ticket from me!” We were confused at first because we weren’t sure if we were going to have to go with him or what was wrong, I was just so lost and confused. But I understood what he was saying, I just didn’t know if he was going to make us pay or if we were going to be arrested or something. 
It was all good though, we paid for the ticket and he asked where we were from and he was super nice! He thought I was Norwegian because of my name, and I guess I look Nordisch. Okay. Cool. I’m not going to argue with that. 
We’ve decided that we’re going to carry something with us every time we go on a train in case we see him to say thank you for it. We were just so grateful!
Oh, have I told you that the people here have the hardest time with my name? It’s really funny. They stare at it and get really close and try to sound it out. They’re all like Sister Ha-ha-hamm-hammock, but they don’t pronounce it ‘ick’, but ‘ock’ and they ask if that’s correct and I’m like, yep, that’s right, but they just keep trying so hard. It’s really funny. 
Anyway. So with the phone thing we just figured that we’d get a phone by Saturday because the Weidmans were going to Münchin for a conference meeting thing and they could bring the phone to us. So we made lots of phone calls from payphones. Thank goodness there are a lot more of those in Austria than there are in America. But here’s the thing about pay phones. You have to have coinage to use them. Which isn’t a problem, they have euro coins and two euro coins and it won’t take anything smaller than a ten cent coin, but that’s cool. Except, when you run out of coins and all you have are two cent and five cent coins you are trying to get information from a member and the phone turns off. 
That’s what happened yesterday. We got our phone and we were all excited becuase we’re going to have this phone and we won’t have to hassle with things anymore, only to find out that the SIM card was never activated.
So we were calling a member to see if they knew the address of another member who lived closer to us, but the phone hung up right as she was telling us where Antwi lived. 
We finally just knocked on our neighbor’s door and asked to use their phone and we called Antwi and he came by and was trying to get the phone figured out and he was going to the website on the card and trying to figure out how to activate it, but guess what? No dice. 
Antwi is from Africa and so he has three phones. One for his everyday use, one to call his mom in Gana, and one for some other purpose that we don’t know what it is. So we are currently using the SIM card for the third phone because he’s so nice. We’re going to make him banana bread. Well, actually, let’s be honest, Sister Judd is going to make him banana bread. I might eat whatever’s put in front of me now, but I don’t cook. 
But I really am just so grateful for Antwi and for his willingness to help us. Oh, I actually left out an important detail. The card that we have can only be activated by one person, who is currently on vacation in America…till Friday. So we’re going to be using Antwi’s SIM card till Friday. But he was saying to us, “There’s 900 minutes on there, you can use. Make lot’s of phone calls, cause I need those minutes to be gone before I can get a new one.” I don’t know what the purpose is, but we’re grateful!
I got the package this week. It came on Wednesday, but I couldn’t go get it from the post office till Thursday! I wore the skirt on Friday! It fits really well! I’ll send a picture home of it today! 
I also got the debit card! Thank you so much for sending it!!!! But I have a funny story that goes along with that too! 😀
So, according to Austrian law you’re supposed to anmeld (register) within three days of arrival. Well, I couldn’t anmeld until the papers to do that came from the church because when you’re on a mission you’re supposed to have that information to tell them why you’re living there. So we wait for a few days, it doesn’t come, we call the office, they tell me it hasn’t been sent because my passport copy had never been sent in. I told them that we’d sent it along with everything else when they needed it. Well, turns out they accidentally put it in another packet that they sent to me so we had to send that back to Germany because the copy they’d taken of it when I got to Germany had been on the President’s computer and he’d gone to Switzerland. Finally, last week we call them again and say, “My thing still hasn’t come and it should’ve after all this time.” They woman says, “Well, I’ll decide after another week if we should send another one cause I would have to type it all out again.” And this is a week after they told me to wait another week. And I’ve been illegally living in Austria for three weeks. Then five minutes later I get another call and it’s the same woman and she tells me that because I never sent the passport photo from when I was home they never sent it, but now they had it and she just forgot to send it again and that I would have to wait because of the passport. I explained that I had sent it and that it had been their mistake for putting it in the wrong packet and so yeah…that was frustrating because it wasn’t my fault. We had sent everything in. But anyway, that’s not really important. 
When I went to go anmeld I had to take my passport, well, I always have my passport in my backpack, but I pulled it out and low and behold, my debit card is tucked away safely in my passport. STUPID! 😀 
But thank you very much for sending the letter with the new one. 😀
I really appreciate it! 
So I’m legally registered to live here in Wels, which is a good thing. But now I know what it’s like to be illegal. 😀 Your daughter, the criminal. It’s actually not that exciting, but it’s funny. 
When I went to anmeld they asked me if I lived with anyone and I told them Sister Judd’s name and the lady looked at her computer and was very confused, and then I realized I had to pronounce it the way that the German’s would say it. It was pretty funny.
She spoke to me in English at first, but I spoke in German and it was better for her. But when she asked me what city I was born in she handed me the paper so that I could write it out because she didn’t know how to spell it. It was interesting to be on the other end of understanding. 
But I’m beginning to understand more and more as things go along. 
Oh, in our ward a couple of the members call me the tall one and Sister Judd the small one. It’s pretty funny. 
We are teaching a woman name Sonja and she’s hilarious, she is always laughing and just is hysterical. She also makes fun of me in German and I can only understand her half the time. She also thought I was seventeen. And she didn’t realize that we have first names.Well, she knew that we had first names, she just thought that they were the ones on our badges. So our last names are our first names. 
I wish I could have recorded her reaction to that. 
It’s also really weird here, cause the culture, when you hug someone, especially older women, you touch both cheeks and kiss and it’s just surprising. The first time it happened I was so confused. But it’s all okay. 
In the MTC they make this huge effort to drill into you that you only use Sie (formal you) with everyone. But most of the investigators and the ward members and the young women and everyone pretty much, unless they’re older than you, will use du (informal).
Leo, on the phone one day, I was talking to him and I kept sietzing him, and he said to me, “Du, you can say du” But he said it auf Deutsch. 😀 I gave the phone to Sister Judd shortly afterward and he said to her that he was going to ask me the next time he saw me if I would be more comfortable if he Sietz me. Yeah, I’m fine with the du, it’s just hard for me to remember, it’s getting better and easier though. As a general rule I use Sie until they use du.
We have our interviews with President and Sister Miles this week, on Thursday, so that’ll be good. Just life is just so crazy. 

Okay, so do you know what a Durndle is? Look it up, I saw one and I was thinking, that’s pretty awesome, I think I want to get one of those…yeah, until I saw the price. You buy the pieces separately usually, but when they’re all added up together, they’re about 1300 euro… 😀 I actually saw a full one that was on sale for 60 euro, but it’s just not worth it! They’re so awesome though! On Easter  a lot of the ward members wore theirs. It was pretty cool to see them in their traditional attire. 
Sister Judd was saying that when her parents come to get her she’ll probably get one with her mom so that they can have matching ones. I think she was just joking, but I’m not sure. 😀 

To answer your questions for this week, there are about eighty people in our ward, it’s an interesting dynamic. There are a lot of older couples, but still a couple of families, and there are a few young women. But just the culture of the ward is different here. Yesterday, one of the ward members, Val, she’s hysterical, was responding to someone who said that she doens’t always get what she asks for when she prays, and Val said, “Well, why do we even pray at all if we know we aren’t going to get what we want?” Val is a character. I think she’s from England and she has two kids and her husband is in the bishopric and she’s not afraid to say whatever comes to mind. She also likes to stir things up a bit. 😀

But last week the sunday school teacher just came right out and said that his father was mean and even after the thirty two years that he’d been alive his father didn’t know him all that well, and his dad is sitting in Sunday school listening to this. He looked humiliated. 

We work with the young women and the relief society. Sister Judd and I switch off between who goes where each week. People here are really big about letting their kids choose if they come to church or not, so if they don’t want to come, then they don’t. 

My favorite food that I’ve tried are the wheat patty things that are really interesting and shouldn’t be good. But also Rot Krau is really good, really sweet. I have eaten everything that’s been put before me and I have liked some of it, not all of it, but a good portion. You’d be surprised at  what I will eat now. 😀
  
Study time for me is really important cause it’s a time when I can read the scriptures and I can spend about half the time reading for me if we have a lesson to prepare for, but if not then I can read for the entire hour. I think it has built my testimony so much. But my passion for reading the scriptures and for Jesus the Christ has seeped into my personal time as well. During meals I’ll read them because they’ve just become so important to me.
It’s interesting to see what you begin to look forward to as you’ve gone through two and a half months of your mission.
Sometimes the time moves really quickly and you just wonder at the end of the day where the time went and you feel like you just left your apartment and you realize that you did so much during the day.
But some days you go through and you just wonder when it will end. Those are the days where you begin to count how many transfers you have left and the days that you get depressed cause you realize that you’ve only been on your mission for two and a half months. But thankfully those days don’t last too long. But anyway…yeah. 
It’s good here in the mission field, it really is, but the work will never be easy.
Lillie

THE SUN FINALLY SHINES DOWN ON AUSTRIA!!!!!

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Hallo!!!! 

THE SUN FINALLY SHINES DOWN ON AUSTRIA!!!!!
It has been so gloomy and sad here, but now the sun is out on a clear blue Austrian day!!!! Oh, I just love it! 
It’s still cold, which is so weird for here, apparently there hasn’t been weather like this here for fifty years. Well, that’s okay! It looked a little warmer in Utah!!!!
Well, let’s see, this past week was exciting! We gave out three Books of Mormon on one day! That was cool! 
We are also teaching this wonderful family. Denise and the oldest daughter, Aleeah want to be baptized and have wanted to for about a year. Aleeah is nine. The bishop said no because Moses, the husband didn’t want to be baptized. It seems that we really only teach African men here. Or at the very least, men. 
But Moses is very nice and very receptive to our message…Kind of. We were trying to teach him about the Holy Ghost and he had never heard about it before. We were teaching a Denglish lesson cause that’s how their family speaks, half English, half Deutsch, so we were struggling to explain it in either language. How do you explain such such a concept to someone who’s never heard about it? He kept saying that it was about the devil or something. The feelings he receives are not from the Holy Ghost, but from God. It’s hard to explain that the Holy Ghost works for God…but cool. 
They’re still really nice and awesome. Denise is so willing and ready to answer questions. It was like teaching with a member in the room! We love them so much and we’ve only taught them once!
We taught West on Tuesday and that was an amazing lesson! We addressed his concerns and started talking more about prophets, but then I bore my testimony and after I finished he asked his question again. Sister Judd astutely realized that those questions are his crutch for when he feels the spirit. Which he admitted that he felt the spirit when I was talking, which was a great experience. He said, “The spirit is strong with this one,” He said, pointing to me (I kind of felt like someone was saying, “The force is strong with this one. Mommy, do you remember telling me once that the force was like the spirit? I remember that very clearly.) And then he said, “You can see her shaking with it it was so strong.”
It was a neat experience to talk to him and to realize that we had gotten further with him than any of the other missionaries because we had just tried. I am not going to give up on him. Hopefully we’ll meet with him this week again, I just was so shocked that he responded so well. The power of a testimony. 
It just goes to show that the words don’t matter, the spirit is the one that teaches, not us. Not the words. It’s the most amazing thing to realize that you’re doing nothing execpt facilitating the spirit, the power of God to speak to these people. The only thing I did, was be worthy and prepared enough that the spirit could use me. That’s all that happened. 
We were stood up at an appointment with this old lady who said that she was walking her dog when we were supposed to be coming by. So much for that, but that’s okay. 
On Saturday morning we did what’s called a Straße Austellung. We have a giant sign with a family on it that we put up in the middle of a shopping street area and talked to people. I asked a man, “Haben einen shönen tag gehabt?” Er hat gesagt: “GANZ NICHT!” Apparently he didn’t have a very good day. 😀 Too bad for him. 
But, it was all good! 
And then, that night we were so excited for conference! It was like we were getting ready to go out to a party!!!! I did my nails and actually brushed my hair and then as we were walking to die Kirche we were just saying over and over how excited we were to be going to conference. You know you’re a missionary when that’s all you think about all day. But honestly, that’s how it should be! You should be so excited to go to conference. Rahel, one of the members here who served her mission on temple square was so excited a couple of weeks ago because she was going to conference! It just is such an amazing experience.And at home we take it so lightly, ‘Oh, we got another set of conference tickets!’ Sure it’s exciting, but one of the members said to me, “You’ve been to the conference center right?” And I said “Yes.” He said, “The spirit must be so strong! What I would do to go to conference and to hear the prophet speak, and to feel the spirit of so many people gathered to hear the word of God.”
That almost broke my heart when I realized how lightly I had taken conference. Even in the fact that I was sad that I wasn’t going to see the fourth session, but when I get home I know I’ll be able to go to many more conference sessions. This man has never, nor will he likely ever get to go to the conference center and be one of the twenty thousand people in even one session. It was a really big eye opener for me. It is so important not to take that opportunity for granted.
These people here are so strong and they have amazing testimonies. Our ward boundaries encompass eighty miles from the northern most to the southern most area. Yet they are still always so happy. They are always so excited to see the missionaries and they have us over to eat at least once a week. For lunch we were at a member’s house. Where I fell on a cactus. (Who would’ve thought that I would find mulitple cactai in Austria?) But they were so nice and they were so interested in our lives and our families and they just wanted to know everything about us! 
If there are missionaries in the area that you can have over to eat, invite them. Talk to them about their families, commend them for the work their doing. If you have people that you know that they could talk to about the gospel, tell them. They want referrals!
I don’t even know if I can express to you how much the members mean to me. I can’t understand half of what a lot of them say, but they are so nice and they are so amazing! They are an amazing support system and I cannot imagine doing this work without them.
Conference was amazing! I loved it! I was so shocked about the emphasis placed on fidelity in the family. It’s so important, but it’s just crazy that they had to mention that in General Conference! But also, that weird tax thing on the Saturday afternoon session, what was that about? Has there been some question about the church’s finances or something? Anyway, Conference was just so awesome. I loved it so much! I have about twenty-two pages of conference notes in my new journal. I finished the one I got for the MTC and I have this really big one that’s really cool looking! Journal number twenty two!!!! 😀 But it’s just amazing here! 
A lot of people smoke…but apparently it’s worse in Germany. But everywhere you go, kids are smoking. Austria smells like cigarrette smoke.
Actually, Austria just smells weird. It’s a mixture of smoke, tea, coffee, and something else. Perhaps the bio.
Garbage is really stressful here. We separate all of the biodegradable and the paper and plastic, glass and then the rest just goes into the regular trash. So yeah, it’s interesting. We actually flush a lot of things down the toilet. It’s just what everyone does. 
Thank you for getting the card mess figured out! I’m sorry about that! Elder Weidman told me that he talked to you! He’s a funny man. His wife is also hysterical! But yes, life continues on here. 
My German is improving, though I’m still relatively silent in many German conversations. Not entirely, but still, interesting.
Many of the members we visit ask me to pray cause they say that I’m the new one and I should have practice.
Oh, that reminds me! We had West pray at the end of the lesson with him and he was so nervous! But it was a really awesome prayer. He actually mostly just prayed for us because we were in a foreign land and teaching strange people. 😀 
 
It’s been a good week!

 

 

My view of the Pre-existence

While I was reading Jesus the Christ yesterday I came kind of had this idea of what I imagine it must have been like in the pre-mortal existence with Christ and everyone. Cause did you know Lucifier was one of the Great and Noble ones?!?!
Okay, here’s this thing I wrote:
I can imagine, in the pre-mortal life, Heavenly Father calling all of His spirit children together and we were all very excited, wondering what the Lord had to say to us as a group.
I imagine we all stood with out friends and spoke excitedly with each other as we speculated what we were to hear.
Heavenly Father stood with our Heavenly mother, glorified, resurrected beings, that stood out among the disembodied spirits. Heavenly Father Appeared excited, and so we became excited as well. “My beloved children!” His voiced boomed, though still kind and loving and soft.
Every spirit stopped talking to listen.
“My beloved children I have exciting news for you!”
 Again, an excited whisper rustled through the crowd of billions.
The smile we all knew so well played on His face, “My children, you all have to opportunity to receive a body!”
Great shouts and cries of joy erupted from the spirit children of God. The sound was so great that the Heavens shook and the morning stars sang. We were all excited to have bodies such as those our Heavenly parents had.
When the rejoicing calmed down, our Heavenly Father said, “Receiving a body is only a small portion of my plan. If you are loyal to me ont he earth that I will create for you then you will have the opportunity to have Eternal glory, even the glory that I have.”
More rejoicing went up among the spirit children of the Most High God.
“Unfortunately, you will not be able to return to my presence on you own. For even the most loyal and the most faithful will fall into sin, which according to the demands of justice, would disqualify all of you on the Earth.”
A solemn silence fell upon the multitude.
“How can we return to you?” A lone spirit queried.
Heavenly Father smiled. “A Savior and a Redeemer to go down to the Earth and Atone for your sins. And whosoever chooses to become clean in the blood of this Savior, through their own agency, the same shall be saved.”
“Does that mean not everyone will come back?” Someone asked.
“Not everyone will return. The must choose to accept the atonement.” Heavenly Father said.
“What does the Atonement require?” Another asked.
The Savior must go down and suffer for your sins, as you will suffer. He must suffer for all of your sorrows, all of your pains, and all of your fears. In Him you will find comfort, peace, joy, and love, for He shall live a perfect life and shall be raised up in the Glory of my name.”
“Who will go?” A spirit asked.
“I will go, Father.” Came the humble call from the spirit Jesus as he stepped forward out of the crowd of spirits.
Every spirit knew Him, and He knew all of us. He had always been there to listen and had been a good friend and had shown incredible love for all the spirits in heaven with the Father. He had also been the most loyal to the Father, always.
Heavenly Father smiled and began to speak, but before He could, another spirit came forward, Lucifer, another great spirit, known and loved by many, and said, “Here I am, Father, send me, I will be thy son. I will redeem all mankind that one sould shall not be lost, and surely I will do it, wherefore, give me thine honor.
But Jesus, concern in His eyes said, humbly, “Father, thy will be done, and the glory be thine, forever.”
Only a moment of silence stood between the promise and the Father’s answer.
“I will send the first.”
“NO!” Lucifer called and went for Jesus, but was stopped by Michael. Other spirits who were close to Lucifer joined in, but those who wanted Jesus as our Savior fought valiantly for this plan. We were victorious and many spirits escorted Lucifer and his followers, comprising of the 3rd of the hosts of Heaven and cast them down, out of Heaven.
The spirits who fought returned to the Father and the Mother and were greeted by the spirits who had chosen not to fight.
Heavenly Father began to speak again to those of His children that still remained, the sadness at such a great, if anticipated, loss of His children evident on His face.
“My great and noble Children.” He said, “I have more that I must ask of you.” We waited in strong anticipation.
“In the last days, before the second coming of your Lord and Redeemer, even Jesus Christ, my gospel, the gospel you have been learning here, the gospel and the knowledge you have obtained in this life will not be availible to you in the same way on Earth.
“I have chosen my leaders and my prophets.” Heavenly Father paused and called up great men and women to be great influences on the church and the world throughout all of time. “In the last days my gospel must be preached to the world. You will be called missionaries, messengers of the divine message of Christ. It will not be an easy task, you will be rejected, spit upon, and hated, but the reward will be great.” A heavy pause filled the heavens. “Who will go?”
Soon, one in every 50,000 spirits stood to volunteer to be the missionaries in the latter days. These were many of the Nobel and Great Ones.
Many many years later, the time came for Christ to go down into the world.
A great excitement was filling the Heavens, our Lord and our Savior was going down to live his life.
We said goodbye to our brother who we loved so much, but the great and last goodbye was that of the Father and of the Son.
“I will go down in your name, my Father,” Jesus promised before He left the Heavens for His earthly life.
We all watched His life with great intent, each of us knowing he would suffer and eventually die for us one day.
Near the end of His life, we watched as Christ suffered for our sins in the Garden of Gethsemane and cried with each drop of blood He sweat
We watched with mournful knowledge as He was lifted onto the cross and nailed to the wood planks, His head crowned with thorns.
And we watched, as He asked the Father, who wept with us, to forgive the sins of those who crucified Him. We watched as one solitary man, a man who was set to die that day, recognized the redeemer of the Lord and asked Him to remember Him in Heaven. We wept with the words our ever loving Christ said, “Together we shall meet in Paradise this day.”
And we watched for the six agonizing hours as He hung in pain after having suffered the tortures of the sins of the world, and the tortures of the men who had wrongfully imprisoned him. We watched as He finally called in a loud voice to the Father saying, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” And He suffered no more.
Into Paradise our Savior went, but stayed not long. And for three days administered to those in prison and taught them and loved them and many remembered Him.
After three days our beloved Lord and Savior was reunited with His body, a glorified body.
Before He went down to the Earth, He asked His Father to leave the marks in His hands, feet, and side so that the children of men might know that they were a testament to all those who felt them and that they might know that He was indeed Jesus the Christ.
 It’s a long story, but I wrote it on Easter and I don’t know. It was emotional to write.