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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Woche 16... shon?!

Grüßt euch!
Ich hoffe das alles läuft immernoch gut bei euch!
This past week has just FLOWN past... and total lesson (with investigators, members, and less actives) we got 18!! It was a stellar week! plus... we had 5 investigators in church on sunday! thats more than we've ever had! It was such a miraculous week!
Now that Ive got yall excited ill get to the more nitty gritty details of the week- hopefully i can get to it all, not much time this week. We're about to go visit Shön Brunn castle in Wien...ill pop up some pictures next week cause supposedly is amazing pretty. No big deal.
So, last sunday we found a guy named Mentor- he is from Cosova. He has one of the saddest stories ever... he is living alone, and his wife and children live about 20 km away. they were married happily, but her parents didnt like their marriage, so they pulled some strings in the government and forced them to get a divorce, and took away everything that he owns, so now he lives in a run down apartment for the last two years, and can only see his kids once a week. He has pretty much no background in christianity, but he loves the idea of a modern day prophet, because he read the Quran. We taught him monday night and again on Friday, and he came to church! We have to go slowly, but hes really interested!
Tuesday was crazy... because we had an Austausch, and this time I had to bring Elder Niedens here to St. Polten. So this was my first day as "senior companion" so I had to have the phone, make the calls, lead the lessons, etc. PRESSURE! it went ok though... we visited a member in the hospital, and then went to the church to meet with Amanda for the first time is weeks. She just came back from vacation and so this lesson was critical, because really the last time we spoke she was "done". She came, and Br. Hirschmann, our ward mission leader, basically laid the smack down on her, and she told us she'd come back to church, and start praying about the Book of Mormon again. The real problem is just tithing. its too high for her... but shes making progress. That night, it was POURING RAIN. its actually been dumping rain all week, and its been FREEZING. it is so cold here... and its almost june! what is going on! But, the decision was on me... we had about 30 minutes, and we could have gone home with good excuse because there was pretty much rivers going down the streets, or we could stay out. So I told elder Niedens we are gonna wear our big boy pants and go by on a less active member. It was about a 20 minute walk, and we were soaked, but he was home and we got an appt. for wednesday! worth it!
Wednesday Elder Horlacher was so sick and throwing up all night and day, so Elder Janis and I took their two lessons, along with ours for the day. One of our lessons was with Bruder Korherr, the less active from the rain. He actually let us inside, for the first time since I got here! We talked a little about Alma 5, and rekindling testimonies. He told us he didnt believe Joseph Smith was a prophet anymore and invited us to leave. Kinda  a bummer there. But we went to Rade after and had a sweet lesson by him. He gave us some food actually... is was a huge block of "weichkäse" or light cheese, and a knife and told us to eat it. So we downed the entire block... so much cheese.
Thursday we had two member appointments, one with Schwester Sindl, and one with Schwester Brunnsteiner. They are both notorious for feeding the elders TONS of food, so we had to buckle up to gain a few pounds that day. They are both the coolest ladies- both their husbands arent members unfortunately, but they are both way strong members. We had some amazing Gulasch, and then this stuff called Topfen. It is a kind of yoghurt, cream stuff that is actually illegal in the states because it has too much bacteria or something... anyways its incredibly delicious, so im sorry you guys can never try it!
Friday, we met with Bruder Korherr again, and this is where the miracle happened. He came out of his house with two huge chocolate bars. He told us he didnt have a lot of time then, but he wanted to apologize for lying. He said that he prayed a while back (the day he randomly showed up at the church during one of our lessons, if you guys can remember back that far) and recieved a definite answer that the Book of Mormon was true and Joseph Smith was a prophet. He told us sorry like five times, but told us he is still afraid to come back to church, because he has been away for about 18 years. We are working with him though. Saturday was pretty cool... Amanda called us in the morning and told us she had a concert that night and she had already bought us tickets. so we walked to town to pick those up from her, and on the way we ran into Albert, her son! The night before, we had planned to go by on him, because while we were planning, totally randomly, his house just burst into my mind and the image of it just burned in my brain, so I wrote it down in the plan to go see him. Then the next day we ran into him! It was so cool! He seems so much happier, and possibly ready to meet with us again!
Sunday in the church we had five investigators! So crazy! Including Edeltraud! Turns out she had been avoiding all week because she wanted to prove to us that we could trust her. Things are basically perfect with her... she is going to be baptised on the 8 of june, and she was even trying to convince the other investigators too! So cool!
this was great week!
Well, time is gone, but I sure love you guys, and thank you for your prayers! church is true!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Sunday, May 26, 2013



Woche funfzehn! Zwei neue Elders?!

Grüßt euch!!!
Lieber Familie... Die Mission enthält so viele Überraschungen, wie die Gelegenheit 2 neue Elders zu bekommen!!
Biggest news of the week, we have been preparing the apartment for 2 new elders to arrive NEXT transfer... but monday night we recieved a call they could possibly come this week. Tuesday, during Zone training, we recieved the news they were coming WEDNESDAY. So we rushed to get all the last minute details (bsw. a new desk, moving the closets) and we picked them up at the Bahnhof wednesday at noon! Elder Horlacher (his parents both went to Orem high the same time as mom.... does that name sound familiar? played football?) from Louisiana, and Elder Mongia from Italy! Elder Horlacher is in his 8th transfer, and Elder Mongia was fasttracked through the MTC so its only his 3rd week as a missionary! Crazy! They are both stellar missionaries! Its crazy having four missionaries here... luckily we bought a little extra food (probably a prompting from the holy ghost) becasue the two new elders are hungry and have pretty much devoured all the food Elder Janis and I had. We tried to be polite about it and offer them whatever they wanted... and they defintely took us up on the offer! Today is Pfingsten, so everything is closed because everyone had a huge party last night, fireworks, etc. So we are dying to go shopping tomorrow morning! Wont that be nice!
 We met with Rade everyday this week, because he is very serious about giving up smoking. To prepare him for the baptism, we had some super spiritual lessons, and actually, one of the coolest moments ever, we collected all  the cigarrettes he had in his house and took them out to the dumpster togethers and threw them away!! It was so cool! He went from 40-50 a day, to quitting! The next day he admitted he had got one from a friend, but going all the way down to 1 is incredible progress! and the next day he hadnt smoked at all! unfortunatley, by friday, he was very upset about something, he wouldnt tell us what, but he was really agitated, and told us he wasnt ready, that he felt dirty, and he has something to take care of before we could go any farther. He told us he would still come to church sunday though... but when we went by sunday morning, he wouldnt answer the door. It was a little heart shattering... but sunday afternoon, by way of miracle, we ran into him while we were out tracting, on a little side street where he was getting cigarrettes from a little auto machine. When we talked to him he told us how sorry he was and how he wants us to come back and talk again, and help him. So still hope there!
Edeltraud... so we set the date on monday to be baptized on the 8th of June. She doesnt have any major problems, that we know of, other than she just keeps disappearing! We had two super spiritual lesson this week about repentance and forgiveness, because she does have alot of hard feelings against the people who abused her in her childhood, and she basically started teaching us! IT was going perfect, and she even promised to come to church... but then she disappeared. Not at church, so we left church to go find her, not home, phone turned off. AGAIN! frustrating.
Sunday, after the church, Elder Mongia and I got to go on a mini split so I could do some practice training with a greenie. That was an eye opener! I had to take someone who basically cant speak german (he can say hello, how are you, and thats about it) and go street contacting! I said a little prayer in my heart, and then we went out for about an hour! It was actually incredibly miraculous, because normally we get almost all "no time" and "dont talk to me" but almost everyone we approached spoke with us! I had some great conversations, and even met a guy named Wolfgang, who gave me all his contact info so we could get in touch when he comes to St Polten in 3 weeks! Fun experiences... im glad though I still have a senior companion for a while!
This week we taught 17 lessons... (for this mission, that is OUT OF THIS WORLD amazing. Probably will be my best week ever.) Unfortunatly, 0 of those had a member there. The member work is kinda flat here lately... just difficult to get members to come along. Perfect timing for Elder Horlacher to come in, because he is a member-missionary work pro! We talked alot about it together (as the 4 missionaries and our Ward mission leader) and our focus from here on out is member work, getting the flame burning! Pray for the member, becasue they are so great and aweseom, they just need the courage to let their light shine! We have such high hopes for this area and this mission, and I just know our baptismal dates will go through, if Edeltraud and Rade can make friends in the ward and feel like they belong!
Thats about all for this week! It just blew by so fast... everything goes fast here!
To anybody out there who might read this (which probably is not many) and is graduating high school soon... all you youngesters, congrats! Im not sure when high school is over but I know its soon! I thought about how its already been a year since I graduated.. crazy! time flies! dont waste anytime, seriously! It makes me old to think that all those people in the grades below me are graduating, getting mission calls, etc. what is with life?! too quick.
Also important note: I hope i havent missed any BIRTHDAYS out there... but if so, happy birthday! We have a pretty sweet German birthday song, its actually way funny. Ill sing it for you... someday. for now, if youve had a birthday you can just imagine it.
Well, Alles Liebe! Mach's gut! thanks for the prayers and the support!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 14- Alles Gute zum Mutterstag!

Ich danke euch viel für Gestern. Es bedeudet mir viel euch zu sehen und auch mit euch zu sprechen. Es tut mir Leid das wir nicht so viel Ziet hatten, aber trotzdem, vielen Dank! Nächstes Mal, zum Weihnachten, werden wir unsere Ziet einbischen besser nutzen, oder? Sieben Monate sind nicht so lang! Keine Sorgen da.
Have fun punching that into google translator... I thought you could all enjoy reading a little bit of German! Now imagine the book of mormon written like that, and all the street signs, shopping labels, public ANYTHING written the same... oh Austria, wie ich dich liebe.
This past week was great! So many miracles, but Im just so excited Im going to share what happened Saturday night first!
This man is called Rade. He is from Bosnia, hes about 50, and just really having a hard time. Hes not divorced, but his wife left with the kids a couple years ago. He is trying to get a job, but he is waiting on some documents to come from the government, so he just sits around all day everyday becasue he has no job, no friends, nothing. kinda sad. Well, the missionaries found him in february, and after meeting with them twice way back then, he told them no more, Im not interested at all. Well, like i think I wrote last week, I was going through the area book a while ago, trying to find names of people we could talk to, and go meet with again. Rade was the last name I put on my list just because I felt like it. Well, the entire list kinda slammed the door in our faces, until we came to that last name, Rade. He let us in and we talked about how he has had thoughts of ending his life, how its too late to change, how he just smokes and drinks his life away. Not very happy. We invited him to church and he said hed think about it. Well, a week later (on tuesday this week I believe) I felt like calling him and giving it another try. We met on thursday, and talked about faith repentance and the atonement. It was amazing to see a true DESIRE to believe in his eyes. He wants to change so bad, he just doesnt know where to go. We came back saturday night and finished teaching him about how baptism means we leave our old selves in the water, and come up new. He accepted the committment to prepare to be baptized on the 13th of July, 2013!!!! That was my first baptismal date Ive had the opportunity to set on my mission! It was so powerful!
The next morning, we came to pick him up for church, and the transformation was incredible. When I first met him, he had a scruffy beard, long hair, he was in sweats and a bathrobe. Now, he had combed his hair, shaved, and even put on a nice pair of slacks and a good shirt!! He was nervous, that was obvious, but church went well. It was a little overwhelming for him, but I think he enjoyed the chance to meet people and start making friends. We'll be meeting again on Tuesday!
Now a rundown of the other occurances of the week...
We had a FHA by the family Brunnsteiner on monday... that was way fun! The father is not a member, and the missionaries have been trying unsuccesfully for years to talk with him. He showed up about 20 minutes before we left... we think its important to build a slow relationship with him. just casual and fun first, because he is pretty much a goofball, not very mature!
Tuesday we spent a lot of the day finally finishing (mostly) the apartment for the two new elders coming next transfer! It was a ton of work, and we are almost there!! That night, two elders from the Salzburg stayed the night because of Mission Tour on wednesday... and it was Elder Robbins! He is Elder Janis' MTC companion, and I think his mom is also in dads class? It was fun to finally meet him after hearing so much about him.
Wednesday was mission tour with Elder Teixiera from the 70- he was powerful and life changing when he spoke! He gave us some really good methods of improving our finding efforts and we are pumped to put them into action! We spent the night in Wien because we recieved permission to visit a free outdoor classical music concert at Rathaus (city hall) for the 8th of May! That is a huge holiday here, and it was way fun!
Thursday, Friday, Saturday consisted of a few good appointments, mostly fallen out ones though, and a lot of time to walk around and try and find people! those times are some of the funnest though, because we have some sweet conversations!
Sunday we called home... what a wild emotional experience! 1 from 4 times... a strange milestone? We also finally taught the first lesson to Edeltraud also! Because she showed up right as church was finishing, and came to hirschmanns to celebrate mothersday with us. We havent gotten a date on her yet, but she will probably accept one when we teach her later today!
That was our week! a few other interesting cultural, geographical tidbits...
We did some service in the garden of a member this week, down in what we fondly call "Gartendorf". Almost every city or dorf has a little mini city inside, where tons of people own gardens right next to eachother. imagine that for a moment. And each garden lot has a mini shed thing there too... some are just sheds, but some are actually mini houses where the old people move during the summer and literally live in the garden all day every day for the summer. Crazy.
Its been freezing and raining all week. It rains probably 3/7 days a week. probably why its so green here.
Well thats the update this week! Sure love you guys! Keep up the good work where ever you are and thanks for the prayers!!!
Adventure is out there!!
Elder Bartholomew