First things first...because I know you may be curious......Transfer 5 News, albeit bittersweet: I am staying in this amazing city another transfer and I couldn't feel more blessed!!!!! The bitter side of this sweet is that Sister Judd is getting transferred to Graz and will be serving as Sister Training Leader. I have great confidence that Sister Judd will do amazing as a STL and in Graz before she goes home in a couple months. I will miss her but we have had a great friendship and effective companionship and I'm so grateful for the time we have been able to serve in Wien together. Now it will be my pleasure to work with my wonderful MTC companion Sister Green for the next little while here in VIENNA! Even though we were only together a short 11 days in the MTC, I know and love her already. Sister Clark will be working with Sister Nicole Packer, one of my awesome friends from PG High School. (So we will be roomies!!) Small world, even smaller mission, and lots of good things happening darin! I can't imagine what it takes to organize and navigate so many companionships every transfer...I know President Miles spends hours on his knees for guidance and so I know that these transfers are what the Lord wants and needs to continue to build His Kingdom. Blessed!
This week was CRAZY busy. Sorry if I am repeating myself every week but its true! Busy missionary = tired missionary = happy missionary! I have been going to bed exhausted and waking up....yep, you guessed it....exhausted! :) I wouldn`t have it any other way. Thankfully the hard work is paying off! (Speaking of paying off...I am happy to announce that I have conquered the Euro/Dollar thing...I have successfully converted everything in my non-numerical mind which has helped me figure out really what I am spending. For awhile there, the Euros really seemed like Disney Dollars:)
You know what is fun and exciting? Being a missionary! Administering His work through various means of missionary work is awesome. We are happier and more productive when we have balance in our work/life. So this week we spent a lot of time doing follow-ups and street contacting in search for new investigators. We had some AWESOME appointments with some teaching potentials as well as less actives. I cant say enough good about our Wien 1 members. LOVE this ward!! Their support for this work is mind blowing and truly humbling. We had over 20 less active visits! I really think that these less actives just need to know that they are loved and are important to the Lord. That is our message...and it rings true for all of us, doesn't it? The Lord LOVES US!! I had a couple of less actives throw their arms around me and thanked me for sharing our message. The appreciation from them was tangible and so sweet.
Apropos of balance in all things.....to be able to attend the USA v AUSTRIA mens nation soccer game was so much fun!!!! I would have loved for you to be there with me family. That's great that you were able to see it on TV and I laughed when you said that you kept pausing the TIVO in order to scan the audience for a glimpse of me! I feel so loved and important:) Well, at least you got some of my pictures, right? The Elders in the Vienna 5th ward were invited by their members, so we had a group of 8 missionaries at the game. We spent our time with some of our favorite members and enjoyed the crazy, upbeat, energetic culture of a Euro Fussball game. Even though the Fussball environment was itself was rather insane...we all felt very "protected", as if we were in our own little bubble. True that the Lord watches over His missionaries....even at soccer games. Das Stimmt!
|Our wonderful Vienna missionaries from Wien 1 and Wien 5 along with the members who invited us -- isn't that cool!?|
|The atmosphere was electric! Even though this place was completely insane -- we were protected, almost as if we were in a bubble.|
|Doesn't matter where we are -- we are missionaries first and always!|
This week I also got to experience my very first European Christmas market!!! I walked in....and stood in complete wonder and amazement. It took my breathe away. Sister Judd just giggled at my enthusiasm. How could she know that I`ve heard about Christmas markets my ENTIRE life (How can this Christmas baby NOT love anything Christmas?) and then to experience one for the first time was even more magical than I could have ever dreamed. We are going again today after a Thanksgiving lunch with our entire district. I can`t wait! I have decided to do the remainder of our December street contacting at the Christmas markets. Lots of people there to meet and to explain about the true meaning of Christmas:)
|One of the many Vienna Christmas markets|
We were able to enjoy our ward Primary Program yesterday. Our cute 12 primary children sang songs and gave talks outlining the lesson as found in Preach My Gospel, "The Gospel of Jesus Christ." Best things happen during the primary programs, gel? So amidst little Mattiaus blowing in the mike like Darth Vader and cute Malisse singing at the top of her lungs with no tone at all, the Spirit that filled the chapel yesterday was one of the sweetest I have ever felt on my mission. I had to control my almost sobbing sounds of tears. Our sweet investigator, Nicole came to church yesterday with her son Davin and daughter Nelia for the first time in about 2 months. She loved it and felt so much love. Also, our investigator Tanja came to Church for the first time in a long while yesterday. She told me she had questoins that she needed asnwered, and that`s why she came. During the Sacrament Tanja leaned over to me and whispered, with tears in her eyes, that her questions were being answered simply by realizing the warm flood of emotion building in her chest. She wept even more during the PV Program, and I am so grateful that Tanja was able to feel of the Spirit as strongly as I myself did during the beautiful meeting.
This weekend we were privileged to have Zone Conference. I could go on about President and Sister Miles all day -- I think the Alpine German Speaking Mission is probably the luckiest in the Church to have such an incredible, humble, wonderful leader guiding us. Our main focus this conference was our mission thema/motto which is "Wir sind gehorsam, wir sprechen mit jedem, und wir taufen", or "We are obedient, we talk with everyone, and we baptize." President and Sister Miles talked a lot about the importance of being obedient and it was emphasized over and over the importance of kneeling in prayer at the end of each day and reporting back to our Heavenly Father how obedient we were. I thought it was really interesting and decided to rededicate myself to this challenge. Obedience is such a powerful concept. Each day we make hundreds, if not thousands, of decisions. Some are big and some are small, some are for our benefit and others can lead to unpleasant consequences. Heavenly Father, knowing that we need some guidance, has given us commandments and rules to help us better differenciate good from the bad. But, because we human, we all make mistakes. But it is through the Atonement of Jesus Christ that we are able to repent and promise to be better. This week...for our US Thanksgiving holiday...I am most grateful for that. The Atonement allows us to return to our ever-forgiven, loving, perfect Heavenly Father.
|Our Vienna district singing….:)|
|Viena Zone Conference December BIrthdays|
|Our amazing Vienna zone with President and Sister Miles|
|We LOVE our Vienna Elders….They are so good to us!|
I want to let you all know of my testimony of this Gospel and the infinite role our beloved Savior, Jesus Christ plays in our lives. He is there to comfort us, support us, give us strength, and help us begin anew according to our needs. He is there to encourage, inspire, enlighten, and bless. It is beyond words of earthly description to tell you of my appreciation to my Savior and to my most loving Heavenly Father who I KNOW live!!
I love you all! Onto the next transfer with a new and bright beginning. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and always remember to be grateful, not just Thursday, so God can better give you those blessings "in überfluß."
Sister Natalie Motto
|Bonus pictures sent by a member of the Sister Missionaries learning how to make Chocolate Balls|