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Monday, April 29, 2013

Woche Zwölf- Versetzung Zwei!

Lieber Familie!
Today is the first day of Transfer 2! I cant believe that all has passed so quickly... it seems like I just blinked and suddenly its here! So much has happened... but luckily, I still have 15 transfers left! Plenty of time to accomplish all the lord has for me to do!
This past week has just flown by- faster than usual it felt like! Our most standard Investigators, Amanda, Wayne, were both unable to meet this week, so it actually opened up a lot of time to go and find new people to teach, who are ready to find the gospel!
Last monday I actually got my first haircut, in German. What an adventure that turned out to be! My trainer just sat and laughed as I struggled to figure out what the Lady was asking me in her fast Austrian German. Once I realized she was asking how many millimeters I wanted, I realized I had NO IDEA how millimeters compared to anything... so I went with 9. It sounded like a solid number. Turns our it looks pretty good!
Tuesday was an Austausch, and once again I got to work in Wien, this time with Elder Niedens. We taught advanced English class, which is seriously difficult when the people we are teaching's native languages include german, chinese, arabic, turkish. But we made it fun!
I love my time in Wien... my favorite part of missionary work is probably street contacting now. And in Wien there are 4 million people roaming the streets at all times! Its great! I had some SWEET discussions with people, and even got a few numbers for them elders and gave out some Books of Mormon!
 I promised myself and the Lord I would start pulling my weight around here. And we saw some serious miracles!
Of the course of this week, we found 13 potential investigators, and had 4 new investigators!!!! That just BLOWS the mission standards out of the water! Because we had a little extra time to meet with new people, and go check up on old potentials (because we couldnt meet with Amanda or Wayne all week) people were just FALLING into our paths. Wednesday and Thursday it just felt like everyone we talked with we had an amazing discussion. I have such a testimony of just going outside and doing the work- finding someone to go by on, someone to talk to, TRYING to find people to teach. The Lord really led so many people into our path this past week, it was incredible. Sure, not everyone became a new investigator, but we still taught some great lessons, gave some Books of Mormon, and layed some great ground work for these people.
One Miracle story during the week though. One guy we found is name Janiker. He is from Syria, and he is studying in St. Polten. His english is better than his german, so we teach in English, but he reads in arabic. He basically knows NOTHING about Christ other than he had heard the name before and wanted to learn more. We gave him an INCREDIBLY simple first lesson overview and read from the Book of Mormon with him. He is really sincere and wants to learn. We gave him 3 Nephi 11 to read to learn about Christ. the next day, we saw him walking on the street talking with his friends. We went to talk to him, and he told us he had already FINISHED 3rd nephi, and had questions about who the people of "Ether" were. AMAZING. We are still trying to get a second lesson with him because he is pretty busy, but he just loves the Book of Mormon and he already showed his friends and wants to get copies for them.
(embarrassing side note. While this conversation with Janiker was going down, we walked past Haupt Bahnhof, where all the kids walk through coming home from school. We were standing next to a couple of teenagers who just started kissing like they wanted to eat each others faces off. after they were finished the girl turned around... and it was Annika Brunnsteiner! She is the only young woman in our Branch! It was kind of hilarious to see her turn bright red as she realized the missionaries were standing right behind her teaching someone. How sad for her haha)
Friday and Saturday were pretty intense. We got a call from our GML who said that mission headquarters informed them that St Polten is getting a SECOND COMPANIONSHIP next transfer, so we need to set up the apartment for 2 more elders! So they came over Friday to measure everything, scheme it all out, make some plans, then they took us to Melk, their dorf, for the day to get the stuff ready to bring back on Saturday. Their house is HUGE, and we actually ended moving stuff IN for them before we brought our stuff our. Long story short, we were moving furniture up and down stairs from about 17 hour till 2 in the morning! and then we got up at 6 to bring it to St. Polten. Fun day. Best part is when we were moving stuff in, one of our neighbors came out, kranky as Ill get out, yelling that we were disrupting the peace of everyone and he was about to call the police. and I was only one around to really calm him down in my broken German! I think I confused him more than anything!
Sunday we had lunch with our GML and discussed the Ward Mission plan... we have some big goals for the future! Im PUMPED! Plus, they had a ping pong table in their house... and his wife who is from China, challenged me, so I got to play for a few minutes. That felt really good.
All in all this week was great!
Transfer calls also came saturday... Elder Janis and I both decided that we have a work here to accomplish and we will just need to work hard to do it!
Thanks for everything, I love you all!! Thanks for the prayers, I hope you know Im praying for you.
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 10- Woche der Wunder - (sorry we are going back in time to Week 10! sorry for the mixup!)

Guten Morgen Familie Bartholomew!
Alles geht mir so so gut! Hoffenlich, geht es Ihnen gut auch!
I dont even know where to begin to describe this week! So many crazy things!
I guess Ill just start with Monday- right after I finished the last letter! That night we had planned to give a lesson to a less active, Schwester Zettl- I think Ive talked about her before? She is so cool! Anyways, turns out she was super sick, so instead of a lesson, we went with a member, and we actually gave her a blessing! It was crazy to stand in on a blessing in German! The priesthood still works, regardless of the language!
Tuesday morning was one of the most frightening moments for me on my mission yet. Amanda, our best investigator, called us to tell us that she was finished with us, wanted to give the books back, and never meet with us again. We planned to meet with her later that day to talk it over. Elder Janis and I had to take a few minutes to calm down after that, becasue losing her would be a serious blow to the ward, and really to this area. We prayed about it, and felt that whatever happened would be ok. Our lesson with her that day fell through, so we decided to meet the following evening on Wednesday.
On wednesday, we spent the majority of the day in Wien because it was Zone Training- and we learning all about FINDING- which President says we need to make a bigger focus in our mission. This was perfect for me because Finding is actually my biggest fear as a missionary- talking to random strangers and knocking on doors is a little nerve wracking! We learned a bunch a better methods to going about it, and I really spent the rest of the week attempting to apply them! Now when we got back to St. Polten, thats when the real miracles started. We met with Amanda at the church, like planned, and we had our joint teach- Bruder Shildbock- ready with us. We briefly let him in on the situation- that this was potentially a final lesson- and he was great to grasp the severity of the situation. The lesson actually went perfect, we addressed her concerns- she had been talking with friends- and Br. Shildbock made her feel way more comfortable about everything. I had the opportunity to bear testimony to her as well- and I dont think Ive even given so much into a testimony before. I struggled through the German, but the thought of her walking away when she was so close to changing her life around, was too much to bear for me, so I gave it all I got. And she just stared me in the eyes for a good ten seconds and said "yeah... yeah i know its true. I can see it, I can feel it. (looking at my companion) yeah I believe him, its true" It was such a relief to hear her say those words! and at that point of the lesson- the buzzer on the church door rang. Elder Janis left to see who was at the door... turns out it was Bruder Korherr. Bruder Korherr was baptised is 1992 and went inactive about a year later. He hasnt been to church in 20 years, he has a long ponytail, but for some reason, he told us he was just walking through the innenstatt, and felt like he needed to go ring the church door and see if someone was inside. We invited him up, and he sat in on the lesson! Crazy right? Afterwards we walked home with him, and had a great discussion, really comfortable, and set a time we would come back and visit him again! THEN after that we had a stellar visit with Wayne, where we watched the 1st vision video- he wasnt completely interested, but the spirit was strong!
Thursday wasnt incredibly eventful- we knocked a lot of doors, not a lot of success. BUT another incredible story! that evening, after we were pretty bummed out from the day, we decided to go by on the lady from a week and a half ago- the one who had just come out of a coma and wanted to meet in a week- so we rang the outside door of her complex, hoping she would be home. Someone inside the door jsut opened the door because they heard us talking- it was her! or so we thought. We walked in, looked at eachother for a few seconds, then asked her if she was the lady (Halberl) we were looking for. She said nope and walked away leaving us standing there so confused. So we climbed the stairs to knock on the door to the apartment- no one home. We walked back downstairs and asked the lady again if she really didnt remember seeing us before, becasue we were positive this was her. We discovered through the conversation that this lady we were talking with was actually the SISTER of the lady we were looking for! Halberl was back in the hospital, and her sister had come by the building to tidy up and get the mail for a few minutes when we showed up! We had an awesome discussion with her about why we were talking to her sister, and she says she wants to get taught by us too, when we get ahold of her sister! Crazy stuff!
Friday, we had 3 amazing lessons in a row that evening! First, we walked, in teh rain, with Bruder Korherr, because he doesnt want us in his house "until its 20 degrees!" so we need to wait for it to warm up a little bit! He is really comfortable around us, and really opened up about a lot of his challenges! We have hope of getting him back to church soon. Amanda was right after that- we ran through the baptismal interview with her and she passed with flying colors! She is almost for sure going through with her baptism next saturday, the 27th! We are SO EXCITED! My first baptism! Whoo! and the first this area has had in 4 years! After that we had a lesson with Wayne- we taught him most of the second and third lesson- and it was amazing! He is seriously slowly changing, and he told us he considers us some of his closest friends! So close in fact, that he called us at 2:30 that morning, partially drunk, asking us if we wanted to work out with him the next day. We had to politely decline. We have a way to go, but we have faith!
Saturday was our Helping Hands service project and our Finding Day! The ward cleaned up the river side for a couple hours in teh morning- let me tell you, Austria is beautiful, but there is a serious littering problem. its kinda bad. - anyways that was fun. Finding day! The elders from Wien came over and we devoted 4 hours JUST to finding people! Elder Neidens and I took to the streets first while the others went to check up on teh some people. Although Elder Niedens is more than a year out, he is much quieter than me, so I found that I hard to go out of my way to act as teh senior in that companionship. It was different than usually falling back on elder Janis- I had to lead out! and it was way fun! I didnt actually find anyone personally, but altogether, we got 5 potentials and a new investigator! whoo!
That pretty much describes the weeks! Things are going great! Its as hard as ever- but successes and miracles come every day!
I had some time to think this week during my studies- People always say Europe has no success- but I can say with ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE that is false! Anyone who says otherwise is lying. Sure our numbers look a little different than Brazil, but the members are strong, and miracles happen on the daily! And we are baptizing! Its happening!
I love you all! thanks so much for everything!
Adventure is out there!
Elder B

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Week 11- Fall Outs and Lumber Jacks Inbox x

Grüßt Euch!!!
I am just quite astounded that it has already been another week! I guess time flies when youre having fun... and working your pants off!
Where to start... Well tuesday was a TON of walking. We went by on about 10 people that day, all over St. Pölten, and seriously no one was home it felt like. We talked with a bunch of people, but no real interest, until literally the last person we stopped by on  for the day- and we even got an appointment with him! We didnt want to be late, so we then proceeded to sprint home a mile and a half from his house... fun stuff in church clothes with a backpack full of Bücher Mormon!
Wednesday looked like it was going to be packed- we had five lessons planned in!! Our first appointment was a service project at a members house in a small dorf about 30 minutes from our city. Her husband (Herr Huschner, or Josef, a non member) came and picked us up and he is SO COOL. The ward has tried to work with him in the past, but he isnt all too interested, but he loves to have the missionaries come. Their home is beautiful- its a little log Austrian hut on a hillside, or mountainside rather. The people in the dorfs are seriously like modern pioneers. Its the craziest phenomenon. Outside of the city, all the houses are a minimum 100 years old. Just like classic what you would imagine when you think sound of music. They still boil water on a log stove to wash dishes! But at the same time in these cabin things they have internet, lights, and television. I cant even explain it. Herr Huschner put us to work, we hiked the hillside behind his house and with our axes, chopped down trees, split them, barked them, and then dug holes and drove them into the ground to make a fence thingy. It was SO MANLY and legit. We basically felt like real lumberjacks, on an Austrian mountain side. 
After that ALL our appointments but one fell out for the day. Turns out that was a theme for the week...
Thursday we had 3 lessons made out... all three fell through also.
Friday we had 3 lessons, and two fell through.
But Friday was still awesome because it was my first interview with Präsident Miles! Man he is such a cool guy! He speaks great german, but he has a loud and profound American accent that is almost comical. He gave me some really great advice of 4 ways I can be a better missionary.
1) Learn the language like a native
2) Understand the doctrine of the Atonement#
3)Become a creative Finder
4) Eat, Drink, and Sleep missionary work! Make it EVERYTHING!
Saturday morning we had three appointments, 2 of which fell through. We did finally meet with Amanda though, which was super important because she had been sick all week, and was having doubts again about the baptism. She took us out to lunch, and we finally found out that the major issue was that her family (husband and son) are really opposed to her being baptized, and she really wants their support before she does. Shes going through no question, just when now is the question. Its looking like the 1st of June now.
After that we went to Wien for a finding day with the Wien Elders. It was so fun to talk to the people on the streets of Wien! I had a sweet conversation with the most unlikely guy... he had dredlocks down to his ankles, but I approached him anyways and he was way interested in the Book of Mormon and wanted to visit the church! Plus another man on a park bench was so funny. His name is Michael. He was really closed off at first, but then he opened up and just kept talking! He didnt really want to meet with us, but he was way nice. I actually found out through him what happened in Boston... I was so sad to hear that things like that are happening...
Sunday we had PfalKonferenz in Wien as a stake (Pfal) and all the members in this half of the country got together for conference! It was great and we even had a 70 there who spoke with a translator! Kurt, our investigator, came and watched with us. Elder Janis had to leave and talk to a ward member for a few minutes and left me alone with Kurt, which a little nerve wracking at first because I cant always understand him... But it was great! we had a great talk and he really opened up about how he felt the spirit of the konferenz. We are pretty sure he´ll take a baptismal date this next week.
We got back to St. Pölten about 14:00, and we had a full day ahead of us! We didnt even have time for meals or studies, we had so many lessons and people to visit. But wouldnt you know it... 2 lessons fell out, and almost no one was home we wanted to visit. But 15:00 things werent looking too good. then the miracles started.
We got in with a referal name Baddik. His is from southern Russia and he is a muslim who was WAY open to discussing the gospel. He is a firm believer in Islam, but he is out of work right now, so he told us he will read the whole book of Mormon in 3 or 4 days and then get back to us! We are confident he will feel the spirit and we will be able to teach him way more! then, later that day, we recieved a call from a man named Albert. We had left a note on his door because he wanted a russian book of mormon, and he told us to come back right away. Him and his wife Mariette are SOO NICE. they fed us AMAZING russian food and we so friendly and open with us. Turns out they are from the some place Baddik is from- a small area of southern russia that has been in war and rebellion for many years now, so about 10 years ago they fled the country with nothing but their  kids and came to Austria, learned german and were just happy as can be. Mariette was more interested in the Book than he was, and she also insisted we come back and she will have read the book. SO COOL!
So, all in all, the week was difficult is some ways, with appointments dropping right and left, but it all wrapped up with some serious miracles, and with the transfer almost finished, we are looking at a seriously stellar next transfer! I am just so darn excited!
I love this work! Seeing the light come into peoples eyes is incredible when they suddenly find hope in a dark cold world.  the church is true!
I love you all and I will talk to you again next week! Thanks for the prayers and the letters! Im still working on my snail mail replies, but they are coming!
Elder B.
Adventure is out there!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Woche 9- General Konferenz in Wien!!

Guten Morgen meine gute Freunde und Familie!
I cannot believe its already been another week... It feels like I was sitting here just about 5 seconds ago writing last weeks letter!
On an exciting note... today the sun came out! During this last week, on Thursday, it came out for a few minutes while we were taking a walk with a less-active (he said it was too cold in his wohnung?) and I threw a mini party. Today, I woke up and the sky was BLUE and the sun was out! Thats a first! Happy day!
This week I spent almost half the week in Wien 1 ward, because tuesday was my first Austausch (exchange) so I worked in Wien with Elder Morrill- man that elder is the funniest. Then we went back on Saturday through Today so we could watch the English Transmission of General Konferenz in the international english ward in Wien. Wien seriously is the coolest city ever!
On Tuesday, in Wien, Elder Morrill and I first had the awesome opportunity of teaching an Advanced English class to speakers of all sorts of languages, from chinese to arabic. Turns out, I dont really know  English as well as I thought! Luckily, they all spoke decent english, but we tried to explain when you would say "has had" or "have had" or "had had" in an english sentence... it was rough. Afterwards, we taught a lesson to a recent convert (luckily she spoke english) and she had some intense questions! Our discussion centered around who God's God was, and why Jesus used to be called Jehovah- it was pretty deep and difficult to explain to a sister who spoke english as a second language after chinese. snap. On our way to stop by on some potentials in downtown Wien, elder Morrill and I got successfully lost. Sheesh that city is HUGE. So we decided to just get off the Straßebahn and just hit it on foot in the right direction, talking with people on the street as we went! We ran into, consequently, this catholic lady who walked up to us and said something SO COOL. she said "Oh yes, I know who you are. You are those mormons who talk to people on the street! I am a strong catholic, but I love talking to you. You are just about the only clean, well dressed, polite, happy men in this town. I can just see you glowing as you walk around and I can tell exactly who you are. I wish all the men in this city could look as well as you" cool right? We were grateful we were doing what we were supposed to be doing so we could uphold the image of the church for her! We ended up bearing testimony about eternal families, and inviting her to church! She politely declined, but said she cant wait to talk to us on the street again! I hope maybe we left a good impression for her in the future.
Wednesday, after I got back to Sankt Polten, we knocked just about a million doors, with very little conversation. Oh well, because we taught two great lessons to Amanda and Kurt (Herr Hertvogal. He told us we can call him Kurt now. and now he wants us to use Du! which for German speakers, is a big deal apparently)
Thursday morning was a rough one. Im not entirely sure why, but I was just dragging like crazy, and the day looked daunting. I felt prompted by the Holy Ghost to use part of my study hour to search the scriptures for the term "Happiness." It took me thrusday-saturday to finish studying all the references, but let me take this moment to report my findings.
The common theme clearly taught by the scriptures is this: Happiness is a combination of obediance to the Lords commandments, and trust in the will of God. Happiness is a pursuit and prayer answered by God in response to humble pleading, and a complient lifestyle. When we forfeit our will in favor of God's, and SEEK for happiness in the RIGHT PLACES, he will fill us with happiness in this life, to which happiness we will lifted into in the next life, ever adding thereon.
In Alma 27:17-18, Ammon COLLAPSES with joy at the end of his mission, because he was a humble, penitent, seeker of happiness. Reviewing his story, you can see he is the perfect example of HARD WORK, TRUST, and OBEDIANCE. Elder Janis and I set the goal to collapse with joy when we finish our missions, and we are going to live everyday to reach that!
Basically, our spiritual discussion for the day really pumped me up, and by the time we left thursday I was ready to go!! Almost in mockery of our happiness, literally the first 4-5 people we talked to are examples of the people who literally say "You mormons are crazy! I wish you would leave our city! you are probably being held against here by your will by your church! Youre brainwashed! You have 5 wives! Youre crazy! etc." I seriously dont think Ive had so many people in a row tell me how crazy I was. Usually people just say "no time" or nothing at all, so it was kind of surprising! Satan thought he had us discouraged for sure, but we were able to just bear simple testimony to them, and I even felt the spirit strong there on the street as those people walked away raving about how crazy we were. Plus, after that we finally got back in contact with Wayne! He had been partying pretty crazy at a Disco and lost his phone, but we found him again, taught him a steller lesson, and committed him to watch some General Konferenz on the internet. Followed up yesterday, HE DID! We're meeting with him again on Tuesday to talk about it!
Friday was the craziest day ever! I finally became a legal resident of Austria because all my papers came in the mail, so I could go turn them in for a "year visa". Looks like its official! After that, we studied and started weekly planning, but had to cut it short becasue we had an appointment with the Berk family, a potential who we found before easter that we were pumped for!
We brought a BoM in turkish just in case, which was good, becasue he was more comfortable with that anyways. We had a pretty good discussion, and he was moderately interested, but didnt want to make a return appointment. Just like most potentials, they just arent that interested in know who god is. To them, its ok to just know that God exists, or doesnt. Understanding him doesnt interest them. we left him a challenge to read a little bit, and I feel really strongly that if he does, he will feel it almost instantly, if he will just open the book. We got him number so we could check up in a week.
This experience made me realize how disconnected I feel from the world sometimes. I literally cannot remember life before I was a missionary. Im really not sure how normal people function anymore! It shocks me everytime that anyone could have something more important to do than talk about God! I asked Elder Janis the other day how it was possible that so many people jsut dont have time for God. He said "well, there is probably a soccer game on tonight. or they have homework. or they need to get food or hang out with a friend. Dont you remember when you had those things, and you blew off a young mens activity or something? In real life, people forget about God all the time" It really hit me! I could vaguely remember a time when other things seemed so important, but now I can just see, God really is the center of our lives! I cant see how anything else could be more important! Look out, because in two years, I can already garantee that I will be the most awkward RM ever! ha!
After that pretty much everything fell out, so we doored until we could come home to finish planning. There we found another sweet potential! Another lady opened her door to us, and turns out she had JUST got back from the hospital, after waking up from a 10 day coma! She didnt explain much else, but she said she was weak, and gave us her number and said "Ill see you back here in one week so we can talk about God ok?" Im pumped for that one!
Saturday, before we went to Wien, we met with Amanda again to get her excited for Konferenz. She just loves everything we tell her, and has so much faith, and shes even read personally almost all the way through Alma! We taught her quickly about chastity, which was simple becasue she is married. But then comes the hang up. She told us she is trying to decide between us and the catholic church. She feels like we brought her so much closer to God, and helped her find the truth. But she has a little issue with tithing... and apparently the preacher told her "oh wow 10 percent, thats way too much. we only expect 1% here at our church!" so shes tempted. We spent the whole lesson testifying that the blessing only come through this Church! After we left I was kicking myself, because I had an experience with Tithing before my mission that I wanted to share, but I wasnt sure how she would respond. After we left I was regretting that bad, so Elder Janis had me write down the experience in letter form, and we left it at the church building in St. Polten, where Amanda would be going to watch General Konferenz with the branch.
In Wien, we got to watch Saturday and Sunday morning sessions live, which means at 6 pm! Priesthood and Saturday afternoon were played during the day on suday- it was seriously such an amazing experience! I dont think Ive ever enjoyed konferenz so much as half way across the world! The message of building our foundation on Christ stuck out so prevelantly to me. How greatful I am for a prophet!
while in Wien, it turns out my Distrikt Leiter picked up the mail from the office when he went to Munich last week for Jedi Council (mission leader conference) so I got all the letters! Hopefully... I can respond soon! I promise to get around to it soon!
So much to say so little time... enough about the events. Heres how the investigators are doing!
Amanda: After the saturday afternoon session, she called us to talk to us about the letter! she thought it was so nice, and she just loved konferenz. as of now... shes moving her baptismal date up from Juli 31 to the 27 of April!!!!! WHOOO!!! She is just a miracle!
Kurt: He is having serious issues with faith in a post life. He loves to meet with us, but he just cant "imagine a ressurection". He watched konferenz though, so we hope he felt the spirit strong. We hope to get a baptismal date with him this next week!
Albert: he has been avoiding us all this last week. His date is the 27th of April, but if we cant get in with him, and help him start making some progress, hes going to need a little more time.
Wayne: we finally got back in with him! He has such potential, the challenge is just getting a 21 year old to ACT. SHEESH.
Well thats our main investigators... Im trying to think if there was anything else funny I wanted to tell y'all.
Oh yeah! Germans CANNOT make a "th" sound, or a "w" sound. They seriously cant. So Bartholomew is a little bit of a challenge. turns out they say "Bart-olo-may" or "Bart-olo-mayus" Its pretty hilarious. Also, mad props to President Uchtdorf. After hearing so many failed attempts by Germans to speak English, his ability is INCREDIBLE. I have never had so much respect. The only thing funnier than a German speaking english, is probably an American speaking German! So i fell among company :)
I think thats about all! Love you all lots! Hope all is well!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew



Tuesday, April 2, 2013



Week 8- Frohe Ostern!!!

What do you know, its already been another week!
Yes, contrary to what some might be thinking, I have survived another week in the strange land of Austria!
Things aren't quite as ridiculous as they were last week, so this letter probably wont be so long as last week. General notes for the week though- good! German is still incredibly difficult to understand in this area, because everyone really enjoys using dialect so much, they dont even bother using Hoch Deutsch. Just a few examples so you can see how fun this is. "Wo sind wir daheim" means literally where are we to house? but it actually means are we at home or not? In dialect, it becomes "wo samma dahamm" no exagerration. Its actually on a billboard, because dogs poop all over the street so the phrase "wo samma dahamm" is kinda like- are we at home? no so dont let you dogs poop everywhere!- confusing right? especially becasue the phrase "daheim" SHOULD be zu Hause to be correct. Plus, all "a"s become "o"s and some other things, like the phrase "ein bischen" means "a little bit" but people here all say "ein bissle" or "ein bitzly" or something ridiculous like that. People are silly.
this week was a learning experience! Ill first jsut go through some daily activities and such
Monday- I finally got to go shopping for Pday, and It was so nice to buy REAL food. food isnt too expensive here... but everything is lighter, less sugerey, and less strong as in america. I think Im gonna be shocked when I taste american food again becaue it really is all a little bit dull hear, other than chocolate. OH MY chocolate is so good here. We also had a lesson with Wayne, I felt like it went SO GOOD the spirit was strong, he was asking us such good questions, but unfortunately that story has a sad ending.
Tuesday- We went to Wien to have district meeting with the elders from Wein 1 area and the senior couple in wien. that was fun to meet with them- it was blizzarding, so it was difficult to see how pretty and awesome Wien is- it really is rocking city. We also had PFK (Priestertums Furhungs Kommitee) and we had a good talk about boosting the excitement inside the ward!
Wednesday- my birthday!! whoo! I opened the presents that I took over seas with me from the mtc (thanks mom!) and wouldnt you know it, a few of my favorite things. Pictures from home, Starbursts, and JDAWG SAUCE. I almost cried I was so happy! The day was pretty rough... we had 4 appointments set and every one fell through for some reason or another. So we spent the whole day knocking on doors, with very little success. however, when all was said and done, I felt ok about everything! Working hard makes happy missionaries. funny note from my Birthday- elder janis bought a cake, and once we had one slice each, we thought it tasted funny. so we found some english on the box... turns out the cake had wine and coffee in it. so we threw it away haha. the elders say thats a really common mistake in Europe becuase they put coffee and wine in everything and dont even label it. oops! happy 19th to me!
Thursday and Friday we both fun. We taught a few lessons each day, but mostly we went dooring because appointments fell through. Apparently its culture in Austria to jsut make and drop plans at a moments notice for no reason! Needless to say, Ive knocked a lot of doors because of it! I had a cool impression though on friday- our appt with wayne fell out so we went dooring and I saw a building in the distance that I felt we needed to knock, and as we walked up I felt the strong impression we were looking for a man. the first bell we wrung, we got let it! (really shocking! we almost always knock apartment buildings, and you need to get buzzed in, so usually it takes a few to get the buzz) and it was a man with a family who was way nice! we couldnt teach him right then because he had company, but he said check after easter and he wants to hear what we have to say! so cool! Pretty much every experience Ive had knocking doors this week, everyday, its the last door we knock where someone finally shows a little interest. go figure we knock doors for 4 hours and the last house opens up! We on thursday after the whole day the last house was a lady who was a maid from romania that really wanted to hear the gospel so we gave her a way to connect with the missionaries in Romania becasue she goes back next week! awesome stuff.
Saturday we had an awesome meeting with a less active member- Schwester Zettl- she is originally from Africa, spoke french, came to Austria 25 years ago, learned german, and was baptized in 2005. she got offended and stopped coming, but she finally let us in. she was soooo hilarious and nice- with her african accented german. We had a super spiritual thought with her, and right when we got up to leave, Elder Janis went for a highfive, missed, and smashed one of her drink glasses on the floor! it was soo funny!
Sunday- Ostern!- It snowed about 8 inches. go figure. Not many people came to church because of the snow, including our two investigators with baptismal dates, Albert and Amanda, but we assume they went to catholic church to celebrate traditional Ostern. Herr Hertvogal came to church though! It was a little surprising, but he is so cool. He is a 5 year old in a 78 year old body. you should see him leap up the 3 flights of stairs for the church! Ive never seen anything like it! It was also good for him to hear all the testimony about resurrection, because thats his problem. he cant imagine life after death. After church, Bruder Bauer took us, and herr Hertvogal to Melk, a small dorf about 40 minutes away, to spend the afternoon at the familie Hirschmann! They are the heart and soul of this ward, they moved in about 6 months ago, and they are the only ones who really believe in missionary work! Br. und Sch. Hirschmann senior are anciently old, and so so so nice. Br. und Sch. hirschmann Jr. (their son) live with them and are so cool. We had a traditional german meal (goulash) and then we got ready for the musical number the elders are doing in a couple weeks. They pulled out the violins, I played the piano, and we were a right good orchestra! Melk, may be one of the prettiest places on earth. It is nestled between two mountains, has only about 200 people, and looks straight out of a fairy talk. skinny winding cobble stone road, little rivers running through the streets, houses up on rocks, everything is colorful, its insane. So darn cool.
that was my week in a nut shell! I feel like mormon, abridging the plates. I can only fit 100th of the things from teh week in the letter, but someday I hope to share everything with you all!!
Updates on inverstigators- Amanda is doing great, she read the book of mormon for 3 hours the other day after we had a lesson about how important it was! also she was having trouble with the idea of tithing, but we taught it again, and she said she was willing to pay half, more than a tenth! she is really so cool.
Albert- has made no progression this week. we stopped by everyday, and he wouldnt let us is becasue he is afraid of people. and when we finally got in on friday and saturday, all he wants to talk about is the news and why people on the street are crazy. it is really hard to get him to focus and read and remember. its like working with a 40 year old baby.
Herr Hertvogal- we met with him on tuesday in his house... I thought I was going to throw up. it was a little disgusting, he is such a pack rat. hording food and clothes and just everything. yuck. but he is making progress! he told us he jsut needs to find the courage to be baptized. we have high hopes for him!
Wayne... ever since wednesday, we has been missing all his appts. we figures yesterday he is just flat out lying and doesnt have interest anymore. were arent giving up jsut yet, but hope isnt bright. its jsut so sad beacause he has SOO much potential. oh well.
Miracles are real! God is our father and he loves us! Christ is the way we accomplish hard things! I dont think I could make it through these weeks without my relationship wiht them. They have the power to do their work.
thanks for the prayers and love! Reminder- you can email me now, and I can email you! my email is Also, if you would like to physically mail me something my address is:
Kirche Jesu Christi HLT
Elder Bartholomew
Trautson StraBe 16/4
3100 St. Pölten
not that I imagine people have sent alot, its just helpful information. Plus, you can always send things to the mission office, but I will only get it ever 6 weeks at tranfers.
Love you all so much! Here goes another week!
Adventure is out here!
Elder Bartholomew

Week 7-Erste Haltung- St. Pölten!!

Well good morning all you boys and girls back in the USA! It is about 12:30 PM here in Austria, but I guess that makes it about 4 AM back home!
What a crazy sauce week it has been! I guess Ill just start with a sequence of events since I left the MTC to help catch you all up!
Tuesday morning 6am- we left the MTC for the Salt Lake City airport! It was crazy driving on the freeway, seeing the 1600 North exit... all kinds of weird being in the outside world again. Once at the airport, it was like they released a pack of wild animals. We had an hour before our flight, and the missionaries in our group all seemed hungry to preach the gospel to every person in that airport. It was moderately comical in most instances watching elders jump from person to person with a book of mormon, only to discover that many of the people were mormon! Not to say this wasnt awesome- i had some good coversations with some kind folk as well- it was just so different being in the real world, DOING what we had been trained for six weeks to do, DOING what I had prepared my whole life to do. I had never felt more like an outsider in my whole life. People stared as they walk by, and the nametag on your chest REALLY DOES make you feel like a different person. The calling of a missionary is real. You can feel it in your veins. Its really quite interesting.
Next stop: Minneapolis Int. Airport. Let the list of weird experiences begin, because now we REALLY WERE in a place with no mormons and we had TWO hours. I spoke with this awesome teacher lady from california- she was a student council advisor, so we had a little bit to talk about, but I found out she gives seminars to stop kids from bullying, and shes basically dedicated her whole life to this. She wasnt at all interested in the gospel, but it helped me realize there are good people trying to do good things in the world, and I hope someday she will be prepared. I attempted to call home, and after 5-6 minutes of conversation, and elder ran up and announced our flight had changed and we were boarding. Sorry mom and dad that I cut our conversation off, but we ran all across the airport just to find out that we actually boarded half an hour LATER than scheduled, and I really did have time. But everyone was so confused, I didnt want to risk going back to the phone :(
After that we had an 8 hour flight to Amsterdam! It was weird because we took off at 4 PM our time, and landed 630 AM their time... so we just kind lost a night somewhere in between! Didnt sleep much on the plane, and when we landed I was exhausted (because it was then midnight our time) and sick out of my mind. I had my first German discussion in the airport though! I met a lady who spent the last 7 years volunteering in orphanages in Zimbabwe, and was just now coming back to Germany. I found out she knew English, but elected to use German anyways. CRAZY. Who knew I would land in Amsterdam airport on wednesday, and Michael would be flying home from than airport just a few days later!
After a short flight to Munich, we finally met the Mission President, his wife, and the APs! The Miles are SOOO nice. they are the nicest people ever. The APs are pretty stellar also. they quickly informed us we would be getting straight on a train to the church house, and they gave us a book of mormon and asked us to place it! pressure!
I spoke with about 11 people on that first train through Munich. No one would take my book, but I tried! They were all interested why an American has taken a 6 week crash course in German, and came to talk with them about a book. I bore tons of testimony, but they didn't really want to listen. Oh well it was still fun!
Then we walked about 3/4 of a mile to the Church house in Munich- Germany is so pretty. Ill just take the time now to say it is rad (haha if you knew german, thats a pun!) Every house is differently shaped, a different color, and basically looks like what you would imagine an old fairy tale house would look like. Except its cool because they werent buil that way, like the houses on skyline drive in orem 2 years ago to look fancy, they are all old school and dark age-ish. It is sweet. And the sidewalks are cobblestone, and the streets are tiny. Oh yeah, and the cars are SO DIFFERENT. Every car is sleek and new looking- kind of like every european car you see in movies. Its crazy. I think its pretty- but I cant wait for spring because all the people on the train couldnt stop complaining about how ugly it was this time of year (atleast I think thats what they were saying...) and how they cant wait for spring. Oh yeah. Its FREEZING here. FRIGID. quite frigid indeed.
Once at the church, we had a quick lunch, then we had a mini "orientation" while the president did interviews. They gave us a 30 minute nap (thank goodness) and then we walked to the mission home (about another 1/2 mile through narnia) where we had an AMAZING bavarian dinner. OH MY it was so good. Food Germany>Food MTC.
After dinner they sat us all around in the living room and pulled out a mission map and pictures of all the trainers. They read a description of the trainer and the area where they were serving, then SURPRISE! they assigned a "golden" (thats us) to work with them. I got assigned ELDER JANIS in ST. POLTEN!
That night, the sisters slept in the mission home, and elders walked ANOTHER 1/2 mile to the mission office. I slept on the floor of the kitchen, because there was 14 of us, but it was ok, the floors here are usually heated so it wasnt so rough!
The next day it snowed! But we quickly got to the church through the blizzard (oh yeah, German snow is cooler too.) and after breakfast (Breakfast is awesome too! cereal- not so good. not enough sugar ;) Yogurt, or Jogurt auf Deutsch, is AMAZING. Apparently, it has so much bacteria they can even sell it in America. But it tastes sooo good, and its healthy too. What?!?) We had a few more orientations in the morning, then it was a quick walk back to the train station to head out all over Germany, Austria, Switzerland! There were tons of elders in the Train station, going all over the mission, switching it up and such. Only one elder had been in St. Pölten before- let me explain why. St. Pölten is actually a relatively large area of austria west of Wien (I apologize for saying Vien last week, I was ignorant. Vienna is WIEN auf Deutsch) but we are the only Elders in this area.If Wien is new york, we are in the Bronx. St. Polten is a thug town. They havent had a baptism for four years, and the last was really just a girl turning 18 and her dad couldnt tell her no anymore. So... most Elders consider this a pretty difficult area. Elder Janis, though, came in with no investigators, no leads, nothing. And his companion was trained here, and had only taught 2 lessons in 2 transfers. But they turned it around! We are having lots of success now! But Ill get to that later.
We got on a five hour train to Wien- which basically meant five hours of the prettiest country side in the world. It is still winter here, which the people tell me is unusual, but the buildings are so so pretty. We are too far north to be in the mountains really, but it still incredible! I didnt take any pictures on the train... I actually kind of fell asleep! oops! Ill get some pictures on my way back to Munich in 6 months or so! Here is the best story ever. Im pretty proud of this one. The train arrived in St. Polten. I got off. logical right? Well, I walked around the platform for a few minutes, and there was definitely not a missionary there waiting for me. Time passed... 30 minutes, Im still standing there, in a foreign country for the first time, all alone. Fun right? Finally after 45 minutes of attempted conversation with strangers, a lady ran up to me and started talking SO FAST. I calmed her down enough to the point I could understand her- and I discovered she was a member of the branch here, and that my companion had been waiting for me in Wien, and when the train arrived without me, he called the sister down to find me. We sat together and chatted for another 1/2 hour till Elder Janis arrived. Crazy stuff.
We went straight to our apartment, unpacked, and then walked to the Innenstatt (inner city) to do some contacting! Thats basically the center of our town, it has lots of really tall buildings with pretty terrible images on them, they are all really close together, and they form a sort of outdoor mall. We talked with several people, and I quickly realized two things. 1) Austrians speak a dialect of german that is probably the craziest thing I have ever hear. really. 2) most people here really dont like to talk about God. I can tell its extra imortant to find the prepared people, because they are the only ones who will listen. I placed my first book of mormon with a man who moved from Afganistan though! he was super cool, but didnt want to give out his number, so I couldnt really call him a potential investigator.
Rather than give a day by day, Ill just describe our current investigators:
Amanda: She JUST committed to a baptismal date (WHOO!) and is an amazing emaple of faith. she is the mother of another one of our investigators, and she is just soaking up everything! she fed us Pizza on friday!
Albert: Also has a baptismal date. He has a nervous issue around people, so his last date fell through, but he is making serious progress. We met with him Saturday night
Herr Hertvogal: He is a crazy old man. We met with him in the church on Friday, and attempted the first vision. He cant really hear and likes to talk in his Austrian dialect alot. and just keep talking. hes funny.
Wayne: he is my favorite. He is from south africa and speaks good english, so luckily I can work a little more with him. Last night, at our lesson, he really opened up and told us about some hard times in his life. He has been SO prepared. every question hes been having lately ties into the gospel. I believe he'll have a baptismal date soon also!
Our meeting house is actually on the third floor of a building in the innenstatt, and is directly above a bar! how funny. the smell of alcohol and cigarettes kind of makes me sick when I walk up the stairs, but once youre inside you really feel the spirit! Our branch has about 30 members, and is basically ALL part member families. The only problem... the members are really stuck in a mindset where they believe missionary work CANT happen in St. Polten. they all seem to believe we will never have success here, so its difficult to get members to help us with lessons, or take people to church, because they have such negative attitudes. We are working with them too. 
Being in Europe is so crazy. The first thing I noticed though... everyone here is so sad. everywhere you go, no one talks to eacthother, and everyone has a permanent sad look on their face. perhaps thats why people are so shocked when we say hello to them on the street!
Wien is beautiful- we had a meeting there on saturday for training, and it must be one of the prettiest places in the world. wow. Ill try to take some pictures next time I go!
I have so much to say and Im sure no one really wants to read it-
but this has been the single hardest week of my life. I have never felt more worthless, more helpless, more lost, more cold, more friendless, then this first week in Austria. Ive also seen miracles! we ran into a man on the street just yesterday, and in conversation we realized he was someone the past elders had been trying to find for months! crazy things. The only things thats pulled me through is my testimony. I am beginning to understand why they say a mission is the hardest thing you will ever do. Cause this first week is already the hardest of my life.
I love it though! I am beginning to enjoy having no idea what people are saying to me, and no idea what Austrian dialect is. We didnt have any food in the apartment last night so I ate old noodles with ketchup! I really do love these little crazy things. Austria is nuts!
Well my time is almost up. I love you all and hopefully someday I can give you more detail than this breif summary!
Elder Bartholomew
ps, I can email anyone now, and we have plenty of time. so email away! my email is
Adventure is out there!