Liebe Familie!grüß euch!!
Tuesday was Zone Training- and they introduced a new "member family plan" program to us that is seriously going to CHANGE this mission! I am so excited about bringing it to the members! It is going to really increase the work and bring the gospel to so many people! I am beyond excited for this program! I really feel like the lord has been preparing the ward to recieve this program too- 5 months ago it would not have worked. But the members have really warmed up to the missionaries, and are so excited for the work now! There will be some serious miracles in this area!
Wednesday was the funeral of the mother of sister Schildböck in Wilhelmsburg. We took a bus down there, and were able to take part in the funeral. It was a very somber event, but good. The ward choir sang at the graveside, and they asked me to sing in the quartet- it was a very traditional catholic ceremony (the mother was catholic) so it was interesting to see. Afterwards the whole family drove up into a little dorf to have lunch at a real medival tavern. it was pretty awesome!
Thursday we taught andreas in the morning- and we had to drop him. He is certainly not ready for baptism, and he told us there was no point in meeting anymore because he doesnt want to change. In the evening, we taught Wolfgang with President Sztraceny (the branch president) and he gave a special presentation on the first vision- a very powerful experience!
Friday we got the call- needless to say, we were pretty excited about the news! The other elders are all staying in St. Pölten, and Elder Parkinson is getting Elder Phillips as a companion- hes a little younger than i am in mission age, so they will be two young pups together! Then we met with a man named Jabagji- he is from Syria. and he is a serious seeker of the truth- we found him last week on the street. He told us on friday "when my small daughters ask me who god is... i dont know what to tell them. I need to know!" we told him about the first vision- he asked us "do you really believe that? is that true?" when we answered yes, the spirit was SO STRONG. There is a pretty hefty language barrier because he only speaks a little english, but he is determined to read the book of mormon now to find out if it is true. SO COOL!
Saturday was SO GREAT! We did a lot of tracting during the day, but in the evening we finally got to visit Birgit, and stephan again! She was so nice to us and we talked for FOREVER. she had some super questions about the book of mormon, and it was a sweet visit. Im pumped for the elders to keep visiting with her family. What happened after was the best part. Bruder Bauer picked us up to take us to our joint teach with wolfgang, and in the car he told us about an AWESOME missionary experience he had! Before General Konferenz we committed him to pray about a missionary experience he could have- he had been praying really hard, and so had we. And last week, on of the people he works for (someone he said he would have NEVER guessed would have interest) just randomly told him he was discontent with the catholic church and was visiting other churches. Bruder Bauer simply told him to come visit us and he committed to meet the missionaries! IT WAS AN ANSWER TO OUR PRAYERS! I know that when we pray for chances to share, the Lord will put the people in our paths. we dont need to do crazy things, just to be ready to open our mouths! Sunday, my last sunday in the church, was pretty hard. they asked me to bear my last testimony, and i broke down and cried at the pulpit. These members, these investigators, this area... it all means so much to me. this truly is my home! I love this place with all my heart- it will always be special to me. Luckily the members all rushed us to invite us to dinner before i go... i just wish they had always been so eager for us to come! ;)
After church was one of the best experiences of my mission. We had lunch with the Hirschmanns- and they invited a lady named Doris over. She is one of the people we helped with the flood clean up- about 4 months ago. she told us all during dinner how grateful she was for our help and how she will never forget it. Afterwards, we were singing primary songs all together from the primary book, and we sang "a childs prayer" (in german obviously) and during the song- the spirit was so strong, and Doris just broke down and wept. It was one of the most powerful moments of my mission. I had the chance to bear a simple testimony afterwards and talk with Doris. She didnt agree immediately to meet with the missionaries or anything, but i recieved the witness that her heart was softened and that she will someday remember that day and accept the gospel. so powerful!
The mission is so powerful! I love it!
Please wish me luck as i move on to this new adventure! Im going to need it! I love you all and i love St. Pölten!
Adventure is out there!Elder Bartholomew