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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Week 20...40° and rising!

Grüß euch!
One complete week of training under my belt... and Im fairly certain it was your prayers that kept us afloat this past week!
This letter might be a little short, but we are just a little pressed for time! I still love you all very much, even if I can only share a few stories from last week!
WE SET TWO BAPTISMAL DATES! WHOO! It was a miracle and a half, so let me tell you the story.
We met a woman and her son on the street about three weeks ago- the woman speaks no german, but the son translated into Turkisch for her, and we brought them a Book of Mormon. We had a decent first lesson (once again the son translated) and he told us his Father would also possibly have interest, and he gave us an adress. We didnt really have contact with the family after that, even though we tried.
So... Elder Woolsey and I were planning for sunday evening, looking for the best use of our time. We thought we could go try and find this address, and tell the man we had spoken with the son! So we went out to the house (he was the very top of a large, ghetto apartment building) and we knocked! No answer. Now here was the inspiration from the Holy Ghost... Elder Horlacher told me he tries "appointment notes" sometimes, where you leave a note on the door with a return time and number. So we figured "why not?" and left one saying we would come back tuesday, but we werent really expecting much.
We come back tuesday evening, said a prayer he would be home... and Viola! He was actually waiting for us! he invited us inside, opened up an Almdudler (an amazing Austiran beverage. no worries, no alcohol!) and we introduced the Book of Mormon for him! He wanted us to come back because his son Kenan, had actually told him about us! So we set a return appointment for thursday, and asked him to invite his son.
Thursday evening, they were both there waiting for us! We taught the restoration, and it seriously went perfectly. JUST BEFORE we had gone into the lesson, we recieved a text from the Zone Leaders, saying two areas in our Zone had set baptismal dates that day, so we took that as inspiration, and decided we wanted to try and set some also.
The lesson went GREAT and they had some great questions. the father, Hasan, speaks decent german, but Kenan, the son still translated a little bit for him. By the end, the both understood that there is only one true church, and we showed them a picture of baptism. They had never heard of baptism before, so we explained it and they got so excited! Hasan agreed to be baptized on the 24 of August, and Kenan on the 28 of September!! They had a lot to learn and will need a lot of patience understanding, but they are a miracle and an answer to prayers. We have been praying to find people to teach, and I have always hoped to find a family. What a blessing!
Other exciting events for the week...
The police showed up at our apartment thursday night at midnight. The just walked right in and shined a light right in my face as I was sleeping. I just out of bed, threw some shorts on and went to talk to them- still half asleep. Somehow I managed a conversation in German with the police officer when I was still half asleep, and he was looking for Elder Horlacher. Turns out he had lost his wallet- still confused why the police officer just broke into our apartment at MIDNIGHT to bring it back... but whatever. We were grateful... kinda.
We also had a huge ward grillen! We had 30 Kilos of Pig meat, on a big skewer roast... Ill have to send some pictures next week when we have more time!
Training is going well... its still a little difficult to do all of the talking and teaching, because elder woolsey is still trying to learn german, but Im enjoying it. It gives me lots of good practice!
We had record heat this week! 40° C (no idea what that is in F°) and 90% humidity... awesome! Plus AC doesnt exist in Europe, because they believe its bad for the enviroment, so its hot whether you are outside OR inside- you just kinda get used to being really hot and sweaty all of the time, regardless of where you are! Poor Elder Woolsey looked like he was going to die in the heat, with all the walking we do everyday. Im sure he'll get used to it though, I just have too much to think about during the day to notice Im dripping with sweat! the hankercheif I got in the MTC as a present has sure turned into a nice sweat rag!
Well, my time is up. I sure love you all, and thank you for everything yall do for me (mostly prayers, they are the most effective form of help)
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week 19... Training?!

Greuzli mit einand'!!! (thats swiss german... for whats up?!)
Lieber Familie,
Once again, Im proud to say that I am still within the realms of the living. No idea how, but Ive learned not to question these sort of things! We just pray and trust God, and somehow everytime we come out on top!
So... last week I told you the news that I was going to be recieving my brand new greenie this week. I guess now Ill recap the events leading up to that, plus the adventures of our first few days togethers!
So Tuesday, we spent the first part of the day catching up the Area book with all of our potentials and such from the last transfer... it was kinda fun to look over all the people we had found! We HAD an appointment with Andrea, but she wasnt feeling well so that fell out, but we needed to go to the store anyways to print off photos for the Tschüß book! A Tschüß Book... Im not sure if they do this in all missions, but in our mission they are like mini blank yearbooks... and at the end of every companionship, you print off pictures of your adventures together, and decorate a few pages of the book in any creative way you want, then write down all of your inside jokes, cools memories, and just testimonies. They are really cool! I had no idea to how to do it really, so my entry in Elder Janis' book turned out to be really lame and plain, after I saw how cool he did mine. I guess Ill just need to up my game next time we trade comps!
Tuesday we finally had an appointment with Amanda at her house, with her husband! She made us lunch, as a kind of goodbye to Elder Janis... is was kinda a sad parting! She really means a lot to both of us, and it was hard to say goodbye for him, but They will see eachother in a year when he tours the mission with his parents.
Wednesday we had Zone Training in Wien all day (the first of three days all spent in Wien this week)- and we learned a ton about love,and seeing the potential in others before looking to judge! It was a great meeting, and it really got me pumped to get out and work!
That night, Elder Janis and I left the apartment for the last time together to go teach Kurt and Edeltraud. It was bittersweet, knowing it was our last time together, and knowing how excited he was to move on to the zone leader in Singen, and I was excited to get my greenie. The lessons went great though! Kurt, we watched 'Finding Faith in Christ' together, and the spirit was SO STRONG. Elder Janis bore his testimony one last time, and it was a little dissapointing to hear Kurt once again deny what he was feeling. We dont really know where to go with him. Edeltraud was a good lesson though... she bought Elder Janis a little gift and we all bore testimony one last time. That night Elder Janis had to stay up till midnight to pack.... I guess you need to do what you need to do! Some missionaries I heard were up till 3-4, so elder Janis got tons of sleep comparably!
Thursday was the big day. We left for Wien early in the morning, because the transfer train with all the Elder from our zone left at 8:20! There were some bitter sweet goodbyes, and then they were gone! My training was officially complete as Elder Janis handed over the keys to the area (literally and firguratively!) and hopped on the train! Crazy stuff.
I spent the day in Wien partnered with Elder Sponsellar in the Wien 5th ward area- We basically just did a bunch of finding, and taught German class. We found 3 really sweet potential investigators that day! Too bad I cant contact any, because they are all in Wien. darn. The train with all the new Elders was supposed to come in aroun 7, but the train was CANCELLED! So after about a 100 phone calls, we found what train they got transfered too, and they got in about 8:30. ELDER WOOLSEY! He is my Golden (Greenie)! My Son! He is from Snohomish WA, a little town 30 min north of Seatle! He is actually older than me, as far as age goes... but thats not a problem!
Friday was our first day together! We had to drive into Wien ONCE AGAIN, because we had a special meeting for all those who were training and being trained with Zone Leaders. We talked about how we can show love to our companions and how thats how we can make the biggest impact on our greenies, is by finding ways to serve them so they know we love them! That night we taught Edeltraud in the park, E. Woolseys first lesson! He didnt understand a word he said haha. He gave a good testimony on the end though. Br. Bauer was sick and called us for a blessing that night, but we had an appointment with Amanda, so the other elders ran out to him. Elder Woolsey was so drained by the end of that first night!
Saturday we didnt have any lessons lined up, so I took Elder Woolsey for his first contacting and dooring experience! I wish you could have seen the look on his face when I turned to him and told him he was going to talk to the next person we saw! He was so nervous! And the first lady we saw was Turkisch anyways so they REALLY didnt understand eachother! haha it was a great day.
Sunday, elder woolsey gave testimony in church. You could really feel his excitiment through his broken german. It was really good, and we went and met all the members after church too. And that afternoon we found three potentials! Great day.
Thats basically the sum of my experiences this week! Its hard to do pretty much all the talking and teaching sometimes... but its a good way to practice my german I suppose! I have high hopes for Elder Woolsey. He has a lot of potential, its just helping him see it and helping him believe he can reach it! We set some pretty high goals for this area, and we are really going to need to stretch ourselves to reach them, but I believe that with prayer and faith we can do it!
Thats about it for this week! Thanks for the prayers, Im going to need them. Elder Woolsey too. Pray for him.
Adventure is out there! Sometimes is comes up behind you unexpected and gives you a greenie for a companion, then the real fun starts, and the worries of being a leader kick in. Wish us luck!
Elder Bartholomew


Thursday, June 13, 2013



Woche 18- FLOOOOOD!!!

Lieber Familie!
Grüß euch!
What a week it has been, once again, I lay awake in bed sunday night and I wonder how I ever managed to survive it all. But we are alive and thats all that matters! I have a testimony that the Lord protects and strengthens his missionaries!
So, the beginning of the week was still cold and rainy as ever. We were having a difficult time getting ahold of our investigators, so we just went out in the rain Monday night with a list of inactive members who we could stop by and talk too! Unfortunately we just came back with nothing but wet socks. The people seem to behave like the weather sometimes... when its nice and warm, everyone wants to stop and talk. When its cold and rainy, in june, people just glare at you angrily. We tried to make the best of it though! Monday night we actually got the call though, that Aggsbach dorf (where our ward mission leader lives) was half under water! Because of all the rain for the past few weeks, the major rivers in Germany and Austria have all flooded 15 meters high! He said it was really bad, and once the water went down, they would need our help to shovel the 'slam' (mud) away before it dried up and the water was gone. But that probably wasnt until friday so we didnt worry ourselves too much.
Tuesday we had district meeting in Wien, followed up by the transfer-district lunch by Herbs- worlds best Wiener Schnitzel! I really wish Americans could understand what Wiener Schnitzel actually is- NOT a hot dog. Absolute opposite. Its so incredibly delicious and humongous. We also got to have an Austausch! So I took Elder Morrill back to St. Pölten with me. Even still, it was pouring cats and dogs. We first had an appointment in the Church with Andrea- our prime referal from Bruder Bauer. BUT she came, needed to use a church computer, so we waited an HOUR while she used the computer, then she got up, said she needed to go home and LEFT. we were pretty bummed we didnt get to teach anything, but luckily Br. Bauer forgot his Buch Mormon, so they came back quick, and we got a 5 minute spiritual thought in before they left. After attempting to visit a few more less actives in the pouring rain, we had probably the COOLEST lesson Ive had so far on my mission. His name is Reinhard- hes a Jehovahs Witness that we met on the street 5 weeks ago. Im not sure if I said already, but there are a LOT of Jehovahs Witnesses in St. Pölten, and they are street preachers too. So usually we get mistaken for them. But, he let us in because he was interested in hearing about the Book of Mormon. I gave the introduction after we said a prayer, then he whipped out the big guns. He has a long list of question and bible scriptures already prepared, and we could tell he wanted to bible bash. His first question was about baptism for the dead, and why our church does it. He shared all kinds of scriptures about why man needs to work out his own salvation, with no one else. Elder Morrill just stared at me, so I went to the only bible scripture I could think of. Corinthians 15:29- the evidence of baptism for the dead in the bible. And a miracle happened. He sat there and stared at the scripture for a while, he had nothing to say, then he put his list away. He was stumped! He just kinda sat there quietly, so I shared Moroni 7:12-13 about how all good things come from God, and we both bore our testimony of the book of mormon to him. I dont know if I have felt the spirit so strong before... and we sat about 2 minutes in silence while he just flipped through the book reading passages. The thought came to my mind, ask him how he feels right now. Before I could say anything, Elder Morrill says 'How are you feeling!' It was so powerful, he just said 'I need time to think. When can you come back so we can talk more?' So we set a return appointment! Coolest lesson ever!
Wednesday unfortunately, as we were walking to Schwester Sindl for lunch, Reinhard called. He told us he loved our meeting, he felt great, BUT he said he couldnt possibly believe that something more than the bible exists. He just kept talking, and before I could say anything he hung up. It was really dissapointing, but I know he felt it, so I dont know what more we could have done. Schwester Sindl cooked us Schitzel for lunch, so that was the second time in 2 days! We all had a good laugh about that... until that evening, when Br. Bauer called and said meet him at the church at 18:00. HE had odered schnitzel for us too! 3 Times! Needless to say we were pretty full of schnitzel after that.
Thursday is when it got crazy. We got the call in the morning, that our help was needed in Aggsbach to clean up the flood damage. So we suited up and took the first train possible. It was quite the scene! The water was already receding, but it left SO MUCH mud behind- people houses were pretty much filled with mud. For those who know about the cherry season, it was a little surreal to pull on some water boots, grab a push broom and a shovel, and get to work cleaning up! One of the yards we were working in actually had 5-6 cherry trees, so there were even cherries floating in the water and all over in the mud! It was like being back on the farm! but not really. There were big tractors driving all over shoving dirt around, and we just bought one wheelbarrow after another down to the river filled with mud. We spent the better part of Thursday, Friday, and Saturday there in the dorf. And we met some really cool people too!
The craziest part of all of it, was the transfer call friday morning. Elder Janis is leaving, to become the zone leader of the new zone they are forming in our mission to accomidate all the missionaries... and I got called as a trainer! that means on thursday Im going to get a greenie as a comp! I have no idea what his name is yet, but Im pretty humbled by the opportunity to train another missionary! Its a pretty huge resposibilty, taking care of someone who can essentially speak no german. I guess it will take a lot of prayer, but I think we will survive!
That was my week in a nutshell! I sure love you guys, and I hope all goes well. Please pray for me and my greenie... 2 Americans, attempting to survive in Austria! Its going to be crazy!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 17... Besuch von dem Präsidenten Miles!

Grüßt euch!
Wow, what a crazy week. Lots of ups and downs, but lots of progress too!
First of all, last monday we ran off quick to go visit Shön Brunn Palace in Wien... That was pretty neat I would say. The inside was totally weird... Really antique looking, but the faces of the paintings were actually pretty scary looking. and at one point, there was a queen who was obsessed with asian culture, so half the palace is all oriental looking! We couldnt take pictures inside, but I got some sweet ones of the grounds!
Tuesday... That was a little bit of a depressing day. After we came back from Wien from district meeting, we were supposed to meet Edeltraud in the church to discuss her baptismal plans. Everything was going just hunky dory, until we finally uncovered a little problem. Mother Mary. We thought she might pray to her... turns out she fully believes on her, and so it was difficult to try to explain that we dont believe on that in our church. She didnt take it well, and when the members started coming for ward council, she was talking very loud, and it didnt make a good impression on the members. all in all, the spirit left the room and we were all pretty upset. THEN, in ward council, or Ward mission leader tried to ask for some help, someone who could just talk with her and actually listen to her to help her, and he got totally shut down. The Branch President told him flat no, because he says members shouldnt be used like psychiatrists. Anyways, it turned into a huge argument, and our mission leader stormed out of ward council. Not a happy night. I was pretty stressed out about the whole thing, but Elder Janis talked me through it, and we were able to calm down by the end of the night.
Wednesday, the sun finally came out! It was the first time for a week and a half that it wasnt pouring rain! We met with Amanda in the park... just to hear her tell us she done with us, again. She had done the calculations and the tithing is just too high she says. We listened to her, and convinced her to come meet our Mission President on thursday. Then we ate lunch with Schwester Sindl- she cooks for us every wednesday SO MUCH FOOD. It seriously makes me want to explode every week. It is amazing food, but to be polite you need to clear your plate, and she just keeps PILEING it on. She is way nice though, so I dont mind.
Thursday was the big day. President Miles had called us and told us he was coming to St. Polten on thursdays to actually do missionary work with us!! He had chosen about 5-6 areas in the whole mission (out of about 68) to spend a day in a work! So we spent the morning getting ready for him, when we got a call from Bruder Bauer. He had a referall for us! We rushed over to the church, where we met him and his lady friend, Andrea. It was a little akward at first, but we talked with her, and she is really ready to turn her life around and find peace. So cool! that night, we taught Edeltraud, Amanda, and Br. Korherr in the church, all with President and sister Miles sitting and teaching with us! It was so cool! Amanda and Korherr went great and made progress, but Edeltraud... she said a lot of things, and President gave us the no-go on the baptism. he told us she needs more time to prepare- how true that is we discovered.
Friday we didnt have many appointments scheduled, so we had planned to go by on less actives and potentials all day in the pouring rain. Not too much success there, but my package from mom did come! That was exciting news! Thanks mom!
Saturday was crazy. We were planning on visiting a baptism in Wien with Edeltraud, and breaking the news to her that we had to postpone the baptism. She called us about 10 minutes before the train left in an emotional wreck, telling us she wasnt coming and needed to be alone. Then she sent us a stream of texts telling us that we were being held against our will, being forced not to have contact with our families, and then she said she doesnt need to be changed, and all this stuff. So..... we are giving her some time to calm down and we will try that again. BUT we did have another lesson with Andrea and Bruder Bauer and that is just going SO good!
Sunday I got to teach primary, because there are two kids who are 11 and not baptised, and so we were invited to teach them about baptism, and give them the lessons! So cool!
Well, that was pretty much my week! Lots of ups and downs, but overall good! If you are wondering about Rade... we havent had contact with him all week. He literally just dissapeared! But we are still trying there too!
I sure love you guys! The church is true!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew