Monday, November 18, 2013

Letter From Sister Motto in VIENNA!!! "The Modern Day Miracle"

Liebe Familie und Freunde,

Servus Servus from chilly Vienna!! And what do you honor my arrival in Vienna the Christmas lights are up and Christmas markets open TODAY....really, how did they know?! ;)  

Ok.....mission life. I am LOVING VIENNA!! My new favorite city on earth. I cannot believe this transfer is almost up. I feel so at home here. My ward is absolutely incredible. Bishop Christoph Soucek is President Thomas Soucek's brother, and he is seriously an older version of Elder Quinn Black. I'll send you a picture sometime. We have a cute 91 year old lady who gives us Manner candy bar each week: needless to say my Manner supply is good for a while. I love being a missionary in a big city: the work here is simply different. Many missionaries in our mission call Vienna "magical" because the member-missionary work is very, very strong. There are times I really miss my cute little quaint Göppingen but like I said I feel very at home and very comfy cozy here in Vienna. The peace I felt from Day 1 has not left. I know this is where I need to be.

So much happened this week!  I'm out of breath just thinking about it.....  First, we were informed last Monday of a new policy in our mission where we are able to write emails on Thursdays for one hour to participate in some ONLINE missionary work! We email our investigators, potentials, and "familiarize ourselves with the LDS websites". So neat!  These emails will be strictly for the pure essence of missionary work and not to email home, sorry Mom.

This week we also had our Zone Training meeting, and this upcoming Friday we will have Zone Conference.  At Zone Training we talked about HOPE, our Christlike attribute for this month picked out by Sister Miles, and focused on the talk by Elder Uchtdorf "The Hope of God's Light."  We had a discussion on what we thought the opposite of hope was. I didn't quite think about it, but the opposite of hope is DESPAIR.  Hope is like a beacon of light, and when we don't have hope we are walking in darkness, whatever our personal darknesses may be. What a blessing and heavenly gift it is to have a testimony and knowledge of our Savior Jesus Christ, who is our ultimate Source of light. Faith and hope go hand in hand: you cannot have one without the other.   Our Vienna Zone is something special...all of these missionaries are united in faith.  They are all stalwart, strong and believing....and of much fun!  I loved seeing my local friend Sister Winters and meeting some of the other newer missionaries.  This is a GREAT place and an amazing time to be a missionary!

In the upcoming weeks the 280 strong missionaries in the Alpine German Speaking Mission will be exercising our FAITH and HOPE as we have promised with the Lord to participate in a modern-day miracle. We, as a mission, are fasting twice this month and exercising our faith as we work each day, to bring to pass 180 more baptisms by December 31, 2013, to reach our 2013 year goal of 290 baptisms. Now, this miracle is not going to be easy, and as missionaries and members we are going to have to put forth our very, very, very best efforts to accomplish this goal. Hope and it's dutiful partner Faith are the two attributes and elements we will hang onto as we go out and work each day to fulfill this goal in bringing 180 precious, beloved Sons and Daughters unto Him. President Miles has encouraged each missionary to read "It's a Miracle" by Elder Neil L Andersen and to pray with the Lord to figure out what our personal contributions to this goal are. I have such a strong testimony of this promise, and I KNOW the Lord has in mind a great plan for each individual Elder and Sister in the mission, because He does for me. I have never wanted to work harder on my mission! I realize now that I have always had this drive, but now with a divine, beautiful, personal witness of how I as a missionary can contribute to the Lord's work.  Asking the Lord and recieving this answer was something I've needed to do all along. I can happily say that from this moment on, my mission has improved and changed for the better!

Guess WHAT?! On Tuesday the national Austrian Soccer Team plays a friendly with the USA!!!  And we get to go!!! Tor Tor Tor….can you believe that???!!! We are shortening our pday today so that we can have some "saved" over for Tuesday night.  I am so excited and will be thinking about my soccer obsessed family during the entire thing!

A couple of days ago we were able to meet with Nicole Mörwald (who was found by Elder Moon [E Moon is from our home stake in Lindon] when he served here in Wien 1!). Nicole is an individual I feel like I really connect with. Nicole has had all the lessons, but because of a source Nicole cannot control,  denial from her husband, she cannot yet be baptized. Our lessons, therefore, are always discussions and are really interessting as we help Nicole's understanding of the Gospel grow. We talked about Joseph in Egypt and how the main message of his story is the beautiful gift of forgiveness. We also talked about faith and prayer, and together kneeled in prayer for the families and people in the Phillipines, and the people who have been effected by this natural disaster. Nicole offered the prayer, and what a prayer full of faith and humility it was, as she prayed specifically for the missionaries, their families, the members of the Church, and the children. It was such a beautiful moment.   Please continue to pray that her husbands heart will soften.

This weekend we were able to attend the baptism of Pouria Baktahr, Elder Richmans and Worthens investigator!!  Pouria refers to himself as Pouria Nephi as he LOVES Nephi and wants to strive to become more like him.  This baptism was full of support and love from the sweet saints in this ward.  Sister Judd and I have had the opportunity to sit in and teach Pouria a few times with the Elders and the 5 of us have created a great circle of friends. This past Saturday Pouria was baptized by Richard Huy, one of our ward missionaries (Baagi's husband). Richard and Baagi have become surrogate parents for Pouria, and the overall baptism was very, very touching.  I adore this ward -- they are strong and supportive and diligent in all things. Pouria was first introduced to the missionaries in Innsbruck and met them on the street, and that was the only interaction he had with them.  See, there are lots of successes with street contacting! A few weeks later after moving to Vienna, Pouria had a dream about 2 missionaries. He awoke the next morning, which happened to be Sunday, and had an overwhelming prompting to go to Church. He looked up our address, Silbergasse 2, attended Sacrament Meeting, and asked Elders Richman and Worthen if he could be taught everything to know about the Gospel. He was baptized 7 weeks later. In his blessing when he was given the gift of the Holy Ghost, Pouria was complimented on his ability to recognize the truth of God, and that this spiritual gift will bless his life and family in the future. Pouria is an example of just one out of many who are prepared and ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ: it's our job as missionaries to find those sheep!  No one can claim that Germany and Austria and Switzerland are not ready to hear the Gospel...the Gospel is going forth stronger than ever! We are a baptizing mission!

Newest Member of the Wien 1 ward

I was deeply touched as today I read "Being A More Christian Christian" from Oktober 2012 General Conference, by Elder Robert D. Hales.  For me, I will never forget December 31, 2001 on a very cold morning in Chicago, Illinois: the day I was baptized. Second, I will never forget February 28, 2013, as I further made promises with my Father in Heaven and took once again myself the name of Christ when I was blessed to receive my endowment

As we make these promises, namely at baptism, we are to "forsake our nets and follow Him" just as Peter and Andrew. We are to leave behind worldly habits, customs, and traditions. That also means leaving behind regret, doubt, fear, and looking forward to a new day and promise to be better. We are literally made new in Christ, and as Elder Hales says "our very natures change, and we are no longer wanting to go back to our old ways." This process is called CONVERSION. Even as we become converted and steadfast and rock-solid faithful, there must needs be for opposition in all things. Even the most faithful of Christians and members of the Church of Latter-Day Saints will be, as Elder Hales says, BLESSED with the opportunity to experience difficulties and disappointments. What? I would have never guessed my trials would be considered to be so much as a blessing. A learning experience, most definitely. Something to make me a better person, no doubt. But as a blessing? Wie so? These challenges Elder Hales describes as refining challenges, challenges and hardships that will ultimately, if we hold faithful, shape and mold us to become new Disciples of Christ.

He is there to bless us. He is there to lift, encourage, comfort, and build us. Jesus Christ is our Savior who loves us! I am so honored to be in His service.

Ich wünsche Euch Alles Güte und wünsche dass Ihr alle eine wunderbare Woche haben werdet!

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Natalie Motto


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  2. They really do have the cream of the CREAM of the crop in her zone right now, truly miracles will continue as they faithfully share their light. I just have the biggest grin reading of the joy she has serving there, knowing how special her Mom feels about it too! How blessed you both are!