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Monday, July 22, 2013

pictures! sorry i didnt know how to do it before. hopefully this will work

 (this was from Jordan's sisters wedding)

Woche 24- Sleeping on the train tracks... like missionaries do.

Lieber Familie,
Grüß euch!!!!
Well, It was the final week of the transfer, and it was an interesting week to say the least. Everything was building up to the big transfer call on friday... so I guess Ill just start there with the big news...
Im staying in St. Pölten for a couple more transfers, and im TRAINING again! looks like Im going to have 2 sons in my first 4 transfers. crazy stuff.
As for exciting things that have taken place this last week...
Wednesday was Interviews with president Miles... it was my second interview- I guess that makes me kinda old! President Miles said right when I walked in "wow elder, already to your second interview! it seems like yesterday. These are road marks you dont wanna hit!" It was crazy to think Ive been here long enough to have two.. and I will almost surely still be in Wien 1 district for my next interview too! The interview went awesome, it was way cool to spend time with president miles- he is inspired of the lord!
After the interviews we had a massive lunch at Herbs- Schnitzel. District Tradition.
Thursday we had 4 appointments with new investigators lined up... and wouldnt cha know it. They all fell out. It was rather dissappointing. But a small miracle- we were WAY out in the middle of nowhere- and we had the potential of being REALLY late to our next appointment. But as we were all running (in our church clothes) a bus shows up out of nowhere, and Elder Horlacher just jumps on! After we jumped on, we asked the bus driver if he was going in the direction we needed- turns out he was going exactly where we needed to go! and when we got there, he didnt even make us pay. Miracles.
Friday was the day of the big call- usually the president calls us early morning (between 7-8) but this time we didnt get a call until 9:35! It was nerve racking for sure... and we were actually at a service project when it finally came! We were helping old Bruder Seitz stack his wood pile, which was covered in fire ants. Poor bruder Seitz is 94 years old and couldnt even see the ants, so he was picking up the wood and they started crawling all over him- we kept telling him to be careful and not to touch it, but he is a stubborn old guy haha. Elder Mongia is getting Elder Herzog as a companion, I got the news that I am training one more time, and Elder Horlacher is the new Zone Leader in Stuttgart! I guess that makes 2 of my companions that have become Zone leaders. I told Elder Mongia either he or my greenie needs to become zoneleader in 2 tranfers to keep it a perfect streak!
Friday after we had a bonfire with Bruder Bauer- he invited us to help him move stuff in his woodshop- then we had the bonfire with a boy named Florian Räder. He grew up in the ward, moved to america for 6 years, became Atheist, then moved back to Austria. Bruder Bauer is doing a lot for him, trying to help him come back. It was sad to talk with him and hear him pull out every excuse in the book why being Atheist is ok- to be honest it is all just one big excuse to break the word of wisdom- he thinks its cool to drink and brags about it quite openly even though hes only 16. real sad.
Saturday we had dinner with the Hirschmanns and the Brunnsteiners- which was awesome because Herr Brunnsteiner is not a member, so it was good to get a little closer to him. the members seem to think hes the closest "non member spose" in our ward to being baptised. Sister Hirschman (the one from china) cooked us a traditional chinese meal- and you would all be so proud to know I clean my plate without a single complaint. it was actually quite tasty. Even the seaweed soup we had was great! PLUS I learned to use chopsticks, and I ate the whole rice/vegatable bowl with chopsticks. whats up?
Now the exciting part of the week.
Bruder Kerschbaum, the less active we have been working with alot lately, needs help getting to church because he is a little anxious to ride alone (its a psychological thing- but it is a real problem) and we wanted to do all we could to help him. So we decided to ride the train to him in the morning before church, and ride with him to church. The catch. There is only one train to where he lives (a dorf called Maria Anzbach) and it leaves St. Pölten at 5 am. and then the train rides back at 8 (its only a 25 minute train ride) So... we wake up at 4, get to his dorf by 5:25, and we have 2 hours before we need to go pick him up. So we all layed down next to the train tracks in our sunday suits and tool naps. It must have looked hilarious, but we were so tired it didnt matter. It was quite the experience! Plus he came to church!
All in all, it was a schön week. Plus, earlier today, for Elder Horlachers last P-Day in St. Pölten, we took this little tiny train (called the Mariazell) on a scenic train ride through BEAUTIFUL austria. it was unbelievable- ill send some pictures. WOW. it was incredible. Straight out of sound of music.
Well, I sure love you all. Please pray for my greenie. He needs it more than I do his first week.
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Woche 23- Wunder Zahl, Wien Pfahl

Lieber Familie,
Grüß euch!!!
What a wundershöne week for me, and hopefully for all of you as well!
This week definitely had its ups and its downs, but as always, the missionaries come out on top, because we are on the Lords errand, and he wins everytime.
Time for a debrief of the last weeks exciting events? I think yes!
Monday evening, we set a new baptismal date with Erich!! He came to church 2 weeks in a row and told us he wants to keep coming everyweek... forever! He is such an intersting guy with LOTS of questions, but I think he has very serious intentions of joining the church. Im not sure what I told you about him before, but he used to be baptist, but he stepped out of both the catholic and baptist church and was just looking for a church to join and he decided himself to investigate. he has real intentions!
Tuesday we went to Wien in the evening to finally watch the missionary broadcast from a couple weeks ago! It takes a while for all the translations to go through, but I loved it! Ive heard it now in German and English- it really got the members pumped up!
Wednesday we had Zone Training, so we spent the night in Wien actually tuesday- 7 elders in one apartment! It was a little cramped, and INCREDIBLY hot and humid. Its been steadily getting warmer and warmer since it cooled off, so it was very uncomfortable. Zone Training was amazing. We had a exchange right after and we ran back to catch our train to St. Pölten because we had a day PACKED with appointments. One was with a less active sister named sister Dressler. We read from the scriptures and she was moved to tears- unfortunatley she works sundays so we couldnt bring her to church with us this week! Then we met with a new investigator, a guy we found last week named Norbert. He was AWESOME! He doesnt have a lot of time, but we have high hopes for him and his wife Ruth.
Thursday was a little rough. Probably one of the harder days of my mission. Many of our appointments fell through, and it seemed like EVERYONE on the street just hated us. For the first time in a long time I fell even less than 2 class, even less than human. It was a little discouraging to be treated this way the whole day. But Elder Horlacher and I talked for a long time thursday after we came home to plan and he really helped me get back into the zone.
Friday we help Bruder Seitz in his garden. He is 92 years old, and the spunkiest man ever! He has the THICKEST austrian dialect that is STILL really hard for me to understand, but everything he says is hilarious! That evening we met with Amanda and the Schildböcks- once again she threatened to be done with the church and said she didnt want to meet anymore. We found out the problem was jsut that she wanted to attend normal sunday school with the members instead of the special class for investigators! The Schildböcks were amazing for helping her.
Saturday we did a big split. Elder Horlacher went with the Hirschmanns and did an all day tour of St. Pölten branch boundaries (several hundred kilometers) and visited every less active family on the way. In the mean time, Elder Mongia and I went dooring! I was very excited for it at first, but it must have been birthday magic or something (it was Elder Mongias birthday) but we had amazing success!! We found 4 people in an hour just knocking on doors!
That evening, we had a lesson with Bruder Kerschbaum, a less active who is trying to give up smoking. He gave us his cigarettes, and the hirschmanns gave him a blessing. It was one of the most powerful blessings Ive ever had the privledge to be a part of. It was so powerful to see how happy he was with his determination to give up smoking.
Sunday we watched the broadcast again as a ward, and it was so cool to see the ward members get all excited. A few even came up to us after and started brainstorming ways they could start doing little things.

All in all, another successful, ridiculously fast week gone by! Im learning more each day, and Im loving each step I take!
We get transfer calls this friday, and Its possible that i could get transfered, because Im officially the longest standing missionary in this area. So... if anyone was planning on mailing me (which Im sure no one was) Dont do it because I could have a change of address soon! If all else fails, just use the mission home address, then it will always come to the right place.
Thanks again everyone! I sure love you and pray for you! You are the best family in the world!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 22-Can I have your number?

Grüß euch!!!!!
Lieber Familie, es ist eine schöne Sache, wieder die Gelegenheit zu haben, ein Email an euch zu schicken!
This week was possibly one of the fastest of my mission! With the three of us and all that we have to do, i dont even have time to think, usually! Just running from one place to the next (literally, sprinting as fast as we can, in our church clothes, because we are late and our appointments are back to back) But we survived!
Monday evening, we taught our new investigator Erich- he is way cool! He is originally Baptist, but didnt like the way the baptist church was set up, so he wanted to visit our church. He loves our services and wants to come to church every week! He is a sweet investigator! Unfortunately, he has some big financial problems,
Tuesday we had completely packed with lessons, so that was fun. 4 lessons back to back in the church, with a small break for ward council. It was very busy! Andrea is making tons of progress towards baptism, the only hold back is that she has a hard time concentrating long enough to read from the BoM, so we are working on that with her.
Wednesday, we were SPRINTING from appointment to appointment, but it was still a lot of fun. A cool miracle that day... Elder Mongia said a prayer in the morning, that we would be able to place some books of mormon. And throughout the day we each gave one out! The first was totally random, because got lost on our way to a member appointment, and ended up taking this little dirt path to a random building, and be figured we would try and door it. The first door was a girl who took the book and was really interested in reading it! After that, later in the day, we had a street conversation with a man outside of a pharmacy. He didnt have interest, but a guy walking past had stopped to listen, and actually asked us if he could have one, because he had cancer, and he was looking for a source of hope. Crazy cool story. and the third, we met with Erich again, and before he told us he couldnt read because his eyes were so bad, but he told us he really wanted to try and read and asked us for one. So that was one Book of Mormon for each of us! Thats the power of prayer right there!
Thursday, good old 4th of July. I hope you all had a happy Unabhängigkeits Tag! Der Tag unserer Befreiung! We didnt really have time to celebrate my favorite holiday, plus here in Austria, people have pretty negative feelings towards americans right now... something about a spy scandal? no clue really, I just hear little bits and peices of news through conversations on the street. But that day, we set the goal to find 7 potential investigators... it sounded like a ridiculous number, but in just ONE hour, we got 7 numbers on the street from some REALLY cool people! It was such a cool experience.
Friday we were in Wien for a finding day- and becuase we found so many the day before, we set the goal to find 15 this time! Elder Horlacher and I got put with elder Richman, a brand new missionary from Orem actually, and in 3 hours, we found 14 people! It was seriously miraculous! thats the power of pray and goals. 21 numbers in two days. That is some work right there! elder Horlacher has been teaching me some new methods of contacting people, and its helping me a ton. Its a huge blessing to be able to work with a Finder like him!
Sunday we were with members pretty much the WHOLE day, its was crazy. We had some fun meals, built some good relationships. Quite nice.
and there we have it! Suddenly its monday again, and I have no idea where all the time went!
People are progressing, and things are just moving along!
Just a quick shout out to those working cherry season- Im pretty sure night crew is out right now as Im writing this letter- Im praying for all of you and I hope all goes well!
thanks for all the support! Love you all!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 21- Three Amigo Time

Grüß euch!!!!!
One more week past in the blink of an eye... its crazy, because in our planners, we snip the corner of each page at the end of the day, and I feel like Im just snipping corners all the time! We have just been so busy all day everyday, I dont know where all the time goes!
This letter may be a little short today, the other elders are done with their letters and want to go, so I need to hurry!
Status update... My training experience came to an early end. Elder W. left for home this last week on wednesday, so i got put into a trio with Elder Horlacher and Elder Mongia! Im not sure if I said anything about them before, but they are just stellar! Elder Horlacher is from Louisiana, and Elder Mongia is from Italy! We get along so well, and we are just working our tails off! It is so fun!
Luckily, a stormed rolled in last weekend, and its really cooled off here (for all those who were worried we would burn up!) and now its back to normal raining every couple days, and its only about 25° again, which is so nice. What a blessing that is!
Monday I had a strange experience... We visited a member in the hospital (Bruder Seitz he is 94) and while we sat and talked with him, he grabbed me and asked me, in dramatic fashion, if I could see the future. I told him no, and he said "well I can. Ive seen your future, and i know its only going to get hard. Learn patience now, or you will never survive" -It was seriously like straight out of the movies weird. No Idea what it means, but I just felt weird when I left the hospital!
Tuesday, we had to drop Edeltraud as an investigator... she was progressing well as an investigator (or so we thought) but in the church on sunday, she was fighting with the Sunday School teacher about her views about mother Mary, and so we talked with her about it, and discovered some other interesting opinions (like that she believes she was called as a prophetess, Jesus is already come back to earth and lives here in Austria) and we invited her to continue investigating, but told her she cant argue in the church anymore. It didnt turn out too well... she didnt take it well and stormed out. she sent us a couple angry text messages, but luckily that was all. After we were walking home that night, we were walking down an alley, and I looked through a crack in the fence into a courtyard and saw a man, drunk as can be, throwing a chair. I thought to myself, well that was interesting, but then I got the strongest impression RUN! So I grabbed Elder W. and took off! We look behind us just to see the man breaking through the fence, swearing at us angrily. Im glad we ran!
Wednesday is when Elder W. left, and we went to be a trio! Since then we have been super busy with appointment ands such, because we had to combine two area books into one, and two investigator pools into one! We had a HUGE planning session friday, where we literally made a plan for everyname we are working with (which was quite a few!) and we made sure no one fell through the cracks.
Sunday we had 4 investigators in the church! one was a guy who literally just asked us on the street if he could come to our church! His name is Erich, and we are meeting with him again tonight!
The biggest news of the week is that we set another baptismal date with Andrea Ladentauer! She was a member referall we have been working on for a while. Its been coming slowly, even though we have had several very spiritual expereince with her... we called her saturday night to invite her to church, and she asked us to come over that night because she was having a really hard time. We went immediately, and had a way spiritual moment. Sunday night we met again, and she is going to be baptized August 3rd!!! She is someone I am positive will go through. I hope Im still here to see!
Thats about it for this week! Im am loving the work, and loving the companionship! We have so much to do, and its just satisfying!
I love you all! Thanks for your prayers and support!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew