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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



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