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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Woche 28- Insert clever tag line here...

For lack of something funny to write- I guess it was just your standard Austrian week! Which in all honesty, is anything but standard!
Grüß euch!!!
Once again I find myself sitting at a computer trying to comprehend how we got here and how another week is already past. The other difference is that this week the computers in the church hause are broken down, so we are sitting in a dingy Internet Cafe being smoked on by Turks. and we are paying 3 Euro an hour to do it!
Monday, monday, monday... well it was awesome to say the least. After P-Day we taught Sister Dressler- a great lesson- then we got a call from Bruder Bauer- He wanted us to come visit a member with him, but it would take him a half hour to get to us. SO we were already at our apartment and we had a choice to make. either we wait 30 minutes OR we go back outside and find something to do quick. WELL I felt strongly to go outside, so we decided to take our freshly written letters to the post box around the corner from our complex. we said a quick prayer to help us find someone on the way- and the FIRST lady we talked to outside our building was very interested in taking a book and reading it. she didnt want to give us the info right there, but it was still a small miracle to see the power of prayer. After that we went and shared that experience with the members we visited, and they got so excited too and told us about their plans with their neighbors- SUPER cool.
Tuesday was distrikt meeting- very uplifting as usual. We got to share our investigators, and brainstorm solutions to their concerns- so naturally we brought up Wolfgang and got some sweet advice. then we went straight home and taught him! we had an AMAZING lesson- as usual. he has already read through 2 nephi and finds everything good and says its exactly what he believes. We made some huge progress, because he invited back again for saturday! Thats the first time we have met twice in a week! That night in PFK meeting, most of the members were absent, due to vacation season, and we actually had the most spiritual, uplifting PFK Ive ever been to!
Wednesday, we did a service project with the hirschmanns- helping them move around their house. It was nice to be able to serve them a little after all the service they do for us! That evening we met again with Erich Scharner- a very nice less active we just got in contact with. Hes great and super willing to make progress back to the church.
Thursday we went to help Bruder Seitz with his garden- he is probably my favorite 94 year old man on the face of the planet. He is so funny and speaks such heavy dialect. Im probably the only missionary here now who can understand him, just because Ive been around him so long. Me, being the genius I am, dove straight into a bush of stinging nettle in the garden. it only stung for a little while! Then we met with Kurt Haidvogel- and he talked our ears off as usual. Lots of war stories and such. Poor elder Parkinson fell asleep.
Friday was our finding day in Sankt Pölten! the whole distrikt came together here and we prayed about an area to go and door- not HUGE sucess- but a lot of funny stories. Got chased out by a couple dogs and such. BUT after the finding day, we had a lesson lined up with a potential- Jamal. We were waiting for him at the park, when an investigator of the other elders, Heinz, shows up (I had met him before)- and we ended teaching him a lesson in stead! it was way cool because the other elders had lost contact with him, but through our lesson, they were able to begin teaching him again!
Saturday was the day for our next appointment with Wolfgang- and it was big, because Wolfgang finally was comfortable with us inviting a member with us- so this was his first contact with the church. Bruder Hischmann came with us and we taught the 2nd lesson- it turned into Bruder Hischmann teaching all sorts of crazy church doctrine- but hopefully wolfgang wasnt weirded out. He seemed to take it all well, and at the end of the lesson, he handed me a journal and said- 'he is my bible study journal. if you want to know whats been going on inside my head, go ahead an read' WHAAAAAT!?! It was so cool. Ive been pouring over it ever since, trying to finding something that could help us.
Unfortunately though, Wolfgang couldnt come to church again on sunday. that is really the only problem ith him- he is so hard to get to church! he just says 'im not quite ready yet'- so our next task is to get him to th church!
Aaaaand thats everything I think! It all just blurs together, but its just great! Im just happy and content with the way things are. We are giving our all, and bearing testimony to everyone we see. and most importantly, im starting to see how christ like service, and selflessness, is really what being a missionary is all about. Loving others and Christ, more than ourselves. Then we are truly happy!
I love you all and I cant wait to hear from you again!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 27 - there is beauty all around...where the Hischmanns live

Grüß euch!!!
Well, I turned to my companion on thursday (who was officially in Austria for 2 weeks!) and said to him... (after counting in my head)- yeah its been 21 weeks for me. Thats when I realized time flies- if you havent already noticed! 
This weeks was great, so I just want to get to the highlights!
Monday we returned to visit Schönbrunn schloss in Wien with the new guys- and it was about 39.9° in Wien... so we all did our fair share of sweating. We stayed in Wien that night for a while because we had found a girl who was visitng her mother in St. Pölten and she wanted to meet us in Wien, so we got permission to meet her there before passing off her info... WELL she didnt show after we went to all the trouble to arange the whole thing and get the Wien elders to come too. Oh well. We caught a train to St. Pölten and thought we would stop by our new potential Sam! He gladly invited us in, and was SO nice to us! He is about 40, and is the friendliest guy ever! He wanted to order a Pizza for us right there- we had already eaten a ton in Wien though- we taught him a quick restoration and he seemed fairly interested. Super cool guy!
Tuesday, we met with Bruder Korherr in the afternoon (the less active) and we ended up walking all over the city, because he is afraid to let us inside he apartment.. but he bought us drinks! He is super interesting. But the worlds standards, he is a little eccentric and looks a little creepy, but if you just give him a chance he is such a nice guy! the ward seems to have given up hope on him, but we havent! We have finally built a relationship with him that the missionaries havent got in years! He told me he really respects the sacrifices I made to come here, and that he feels like I really care about him. It was really cool to hear that from him. Mini miracle update- while walking with him, we ran into 2 girls from the Dominican Republic who are members, visiting St. Pölten austria (who on earth knows why...) but they were praying they would be able to find the church address and we ran into them in the most obscure part of town! So we gave it to them! Hopefully we will see them at church while they are here! That day we had a lesson with Wolfgang- he is SO close to gettting his answer. We watched the restoration film and read 2 Nephi 31 together... he told us he cant be baptised until god tells him to do it. So we are really praying he can get his answer! 
Wednesday was a LIFE changing Zone Training Meeting- we talked about how to study more effectively- it was seriously mission changing! I feel like I should have been doing it this way the whole time, I just never had it rightly explained to me. It was very spiritual, because during the meeting they had us break up into companionships and actually practice what we learned- and we studied for someone who really needs help. Well, we studied for Wolfgang. Turns out we realized we never taught him to pray correctly, and he will never get an answer from God if he isnt praying- so it was real inspiration and revelation how to help him! We had an austausch afterwards, and I took Elder Richman back to St. Pölten with me (hes from Orem! He grew up right behind the Allens... i think they made it a kneaders now?) but we had a blast that night- we had some sweet lessons with a less active and an investigator! 
Thursday, after studies we had planned to do some dooring, because we couldnt get any lessons in... but it turned out to be unneccisary because we stopped by an old investigator just to see if he was there, and he let us right in and we taught him again and he said he wanted to come to church again! Total miracle! Afterwards we switched companions back, and Elder Parkinson and I spent the afternoon checking up on several adresses we had recieved... turns out we had a couple fakes ones. But underway, we found a guy named Josef- it was an answer to prayers, because we have been struggling lately to find people interested in hearing from us. That night, we got a call from the Hirschmann Sr. who told us he had an appointment to visit a less active and his non member wife the next day, and he wanted us to come along. So---
Friday, we got on a train at 10 to head down to a small dorf called Klamm- very long story short, we took a train ride through BEAUTIFUL countryside- and we ended missing our connection so we had to ride backwards again, and we had a sweet conversation with the traindrive while we waited. He wasnt very interested, but he didnt hear our breif run down of the first vision. pretty cool. one more train, and two buses later, we make it to Klamm- the tiny dorf nestled in the mountains of Lower Austria. We had a delicious soup with Bruder Seliga and his wife- He is fairly active at heart- its jsut the fact that he lives 2-3 hours away from church and his health isnt so good. He still believes on everything, and was even doing geneology the other day! Well, he asked us if we would introduce the faith to his wife, so impromptu we dove right in and started teaching the discussions- SEVERAL hours later we had to go, but she totally wanted us to come back. She told us "Im not going to convert, but I appreciate you introducing my husbands faith" plus she really just liked us alot. I think when we go back, the spirit will touch her! 
Saturday, the Hirschmanns had ANOTHER trip in mind, to meet several of the less active families in the area. So we did splits, and Elder Herzog and I went with the Hirschmanns again and drove all over the place to visit a bunch of families- we got in with 2 actually- both with really positive responses. One has just been going through hard times, but said he would come if we would ride with him... the other man was a little harder. He seemed very active at heart, and he would make an awesome member if he came back. But it was reveal that there were definitely offences made in the past, and that a few bitter feelings still remained between him and the members. We are going to work on that. As soon as we got back in St. Pölten, we ran to our dinner appointment. Bruder Seitz took us out to a fancy Chinese Restraunt- WOW it was incredible. I ate Duck for the first time with some sweet asian noodles and vegitable mix. Who knew that duck is AMAZING. its like the best tasting meat ever! Plus, I ate the whole meal with chop sticks- I was pretty proud of myself. Saturday wasnt quite over yet! the YOUNGER brother hirschmann picked us up after dinner to go do some more service on his friends farm! We were stacking hay and straw rolls- on a farm. ON TOP OF A MOUNTAIN. it was gorgeous up there, and doing the farm work was just so much fun! The family was super nice and baked us a "farm pizza"- it tasted so good! It was with cheese, green, red, and spicy peppers, mushrooms, corn, cucumbers, tomatoes, and a little bit of sausage. sheesh it was so tasty. And that wrapped up the day for us! Quite the adventure!
AAAAAAAAAnd thats a wrap! 
This week was just GREAT! Things are going along well, we just need to keep praying to find more investigators, and expecially pray that Wolfgang can progress and come to church this next week! He is SO golden and ready, he just needs an answer! 
I love you all! Thanks for your support!
Adventure is out there! 
Elder Bartholomew

Woche 26- Hurricanes and Humidity- what more could you want?

Lieber Familie!
grüß euch!
One more week under the belt... and what do ya know, 6 months down! What is this?! Where did all the time go?? I believe tomorrow is the official 6 month mark since I entered the MTC! CRAZY.
Well, lets just get right down to business! starting with MONDAY... here... we... go!
Monday, after we wrote our letters we had a zone PDay in Wien and we all just bought junk food and played board games together at the Youth Center in Wien. It was actually SUPER fun to get to know the other Wien missionaries better! Afterwards we hurried back to St. Pölten asap to get to our lesson at 6 o'clock with Sister Dressler- a less active who is TOTALLY becoming more active since we started meeting with her! She is great! But we always meet out in her garden so we can keep the rules. Strangely enough, it was BLAZING hot ALL DAY, but suddenly when we started our lesson, despite the fact that the sun was shining, it started dumping rain! so we had to say a quick prayer and reschedule. but we had two more appointments that night, so we grabbed our umbrellas and set off to meet with Hassan Gezici, the man who has been preparing for baptism. on the way to his house however... the rain got a little worse that bad. Lets just say, it was literally worse than I have EVER seen before. we couldnt even see, and the wind started blowing too. Basically hurricane status if you asked me. but anyways, we just kept pushing through the park on the way to Hassan appartment. At first we were kinda screaming because it was just so insane, then we couldnt even see where we were walking, so we were feeling our way along the building to the door, and when we got in the doorway, dripping from head to toe, we just laughed our head off at how extreme that was! the lesson, unfortunatley took a turn for the worse. Hassan told us he likes what weve been teaching but it was just too hard to understand everthing, and that he and his son dont have desires anymore. So.. that was two of our baptismal dates gone unfortunately. But we just keep pressing on! Our last appointment of the evening fell through, so we went by on a potential investigator, turns out they gave us a fake address soo... we got super lost trying to find it, and ended up with 10 mintues to get home when we were probably 30 minutes atleast. SO we took off running through the streets! and we BOOKED it- and made it home just in time, and then just about died. Atleast i did- Elder Parkinson is a soccer player so hes used to long distance running (or should I say sprinting)! It was a miracle.
Tuesday we had distrikt meeting with the brand new distrikt- Sister Lewis (a sister in the Wien 1 ward) is ALSO from Orem- that makes three of us in the district. We are taking over Vienna! After the meeting we met with Wolfgang. I dont know if I told yall about Wolfgang, but he is our High potential investigator right now. I found him on an exchange back when I was fairly new, in my second transfer. I have kept contact with him since then, and we are finally teaching him! He has an AMAZING life story and is totally prepared. He was skeptical about meeting with us at first- but he said he knows that god led us to meet, because of all the contacts weve had the past months (aka me calling him every few weeks asking if we could meet- somehow he took that as a sign. works for me!) he has already read the first 11 chapters of nephi and knows its true! In the middle of our lesson, i shared 2 nephi 2 25 as a part of the first lesson- that we are supposed to be happy. When we opened to the page, he just stopped me and said he felt like we should read the whole chapter. So we actually read the whole chapter with him on the spot! He is a very deep thinker, and he said all his thoughts line up perfectly with what is described in 2 nephi 2! It was AMAZINGLY COOL. wow. super mind blowing spiritual moment.
Wednesday we did quite a bit of dooring- Elder Parkisons first experience! Wouldnt ya know it, the very first door he knocks- the lady opens the door and we have an amazing conversation. It must be his golden faith or something.
Thursday, we were invited by a member family to visit Mauthausend concentration camp memorial- the largest concentration camp in Austria. Is was a life changing experience- we spent the day touring the facilities- seeing the furnaces, the gas chambers, the baracks, the quarry. It was such a somber, thoughtful place. It gave me a lot to think about- its something you study all the time in school, but suddenly BEING there makes it all so real. That night after we got home, we went out to do some street contacting and we found a super cool guy named Sam! He is awesome adn we will start teaching him this week!
Friday we packed with service, a lunch with a member, and then another appointment with Sister Dressler! Plus we just did a bunch of weekly planning. It was a million degrees no worries. We sweated quite a bit.
Saturday was a finding day in Wien! Plus... it was also the day we started our mission fast- a fast that every companionship can have a baptism this transfer! We also did a special fast with Bruder Bauer for Andrea- our old investigator who got mixed up with some antimormon material. The finding day was way cool! It was super hot but we found some cool potentials for Wien.
Thats my week in a nutshell! I hope you enjoyed reading! A lot of cool experiences... and a lot of opportunities to grow! Just pray for us to find more people to teach! We need it!
Thanks for the support and love!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew
P.s. Happy aniversary Scott and Julie! and happy birthday to Noah!

Woche 25- Neue Golden--- nochmal!

 Hi Everyone,
I ran that first part through google translate, and this is what it said:

(hmm?  companion?)
Dear Family,
Say hello to you!
This last week was REALLY cool. I got a new employee

Lieber Familie,
Grüß euch!
Diese letzte woche war ECHT cool. Ich habe einen neuen Mitarbeiter bekommen!
Im going to have to write fast to kinda relay all the info from this last week because it was an exciting one!
Tuesday we had our last district meeting together- and we said goodbye to Sister Linford- shes been here since my first transfer and she is going home! It was so weird to talk to her the day before her mission was finished. She really didnt know what to say- it hadnt really hit her yet that she was done. She didnt seem like she wanted to go home. In district meeting, Sister Judd shared a though about obediance, and she had us imagine the preexistence, and think about why we chose to come to earth- what our personal reason might have been. It was such a strong spirit as she testified that we knew why we wanted to come, and we knew it would be WORTH it to be obediant, becaquse we could see the prize too.
Wednesday we woke up super early because we got invited to come offer some service on a farm in a little dorf called Böheim Kirchen- but we still wanted to work out before because we are crazy like that, so we got up EXTRA early to work out, then we caught a train at 6:30 to Böheim Kirchen to stack Hay rolls in a barn- its was super fun. It made me want to be on a farm someday! That day we had 4 lessons in a row, plus a dinner with a member for Elder Horlachers last day. Then we came home to do some last minute packing to get elder Horlacher ready to go to Stuttgart!
Thursday was the transfer day... we went to Wien early in the morning to say goodbye to E. Horlacher and the others. There were a couple who were going HOME- like they were done. It was emotional for them- its super weird to see these missionaries who are my friends and imagine that right now they are sitting at home in America. WEIRD!  Elder Mongia and I spent the day together, getting the apartment ready and baking cinamon rolls (ok I didnt actually do any of the baking, but I cleaned while he cooked) then we went back in the evening to pick up our new companions! Elder Mongia got Elder Herzog and I got...
My new Golden- he is from New Mexico, and he is super cool! He went to a year of BYU, but he lived in Heleman so I never actually met him. He is super excited to be here, and its nice because he never complains and he does pretty much everything I ask him too- dont worry im not abusing the power. Im still doing pretty much everything while hes getting used to life here, but when I feel like he can handle it I give him tasks and he does them gladly. ITs great. That night after we unpacked him for 20 minutes, we got out the door to go CONTACTING! It was super fun and I could tell he liked the experience even though we didnt even find any potentials. As long as hes happy I think were good.
Friday we had lunch with Sindl- she made a traditional Austria salad- Wurst Salat. Its pretty much 3/4 diced onions (Austrians love onions) and a little bit of meat slices- all in basalmic oil. Its interesting. Poor Elder Parkinson didnt understand any of her crazy Austrian German. He had a fun time though.
Saturday we had a meeting in Wien, and on the way we actually had someone come talk to us on the train! and he spoke english, so that was good for Elder Parkinson.
Sunday it was 39°... sheesh that is so hot. we are roasting like toasted cheese curds here. Someone just needs to send Europe a memo and say its time to get AC! We had an impromptu lunch with the hirschman family, and it was actually a miraculous experience! Elder Parkinson and I rode the bus to their house because they didnt have enough room in the car- and Br. Hirschman just went straight up to the bus driver and started bearing his testimony of the book of mormon! That dude is a missionary through and through- they he introduced us! at first the driver was super skeptical, but we he heard out testimonies, he got really quiet and serious- super strong spirit! At lunch, they invited all their neighbors over to play music and sing with us- and a couple came! We sang hymns from the hymn book together, and suddenly in the middle of it all, Br. Hirschmann announced that I was resonsible in the church for giving "sermons" to those who want to learn more about Christ, and that I sermon prepared for them (all the catholic neighbors)- luckily they had Jesus der Christus close by, and I pulled out a section I had read the day before and talked about the strenth christ gives us to perform miracles through us- its was super fun. one of the neighbors actually filmed me to watch me later! It was a funny experience.
Well thats this week! Thanks for the prayers- we really appreciate them! The work is going forward! The church is true!
Adventure is out there!
Elder Bartholomew