Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 23 -- Do You Know What Is Even Better Than Vienna? MISSIONARY WORK!!!

Hallo Familie und Freunde!

This week, as all the rest, was absolutely fantastic!  Vienna is already treating me so well. :) :) :)  I can't help but compare it to being a Disneyland for grown-ups. This city is MAGICAL!  The beauty of the architecture, the tree lined, cobble-stone streets all intertwined with thousands of people from all walks of life.  There is a sense in the air of deep rooted cultural history that you can't help but appreciatively acknowledge.   Even though Vienna is huge, this large city lends itself to being personal and comfy.   VIenna's history is perceptible in everything -- the flavor of food, grand pedestrian walkways and the peaceful flow of the Danube, impressive museums and cathedrals.  Oh I wish I could transport you all here this second!  I love that I have a Vienna connection with Mom-- living here at the exact same age....and in the same seasons.  How great is that?!  And the music...the MUSIC!!!  I am standing in the same places as my favorite composers....Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Strauss's, Lehar and Schubert!  Talk about a hot bed of musical creativity. WOW!  I am blessed and honored to be here -- and I am happily soaking it ALL in!  


Do you know what is even better than Vienna??? MISSIONARY WORK!!

This week we met with Nicole  and her family. Nicole is a mother of 4 beautiful children, ages 13 years to 18 months. Nicole's husband is not prominent in the family, and therefore is restraining Nicole from being baptized. She is an amazing woman though, who loves the scriptures and praying with her children. This past week we  taught them the story of Nephi building his ship, and we drew pictures to involve the kids and also see their understanding of the story. Cute 5 year old Davin, upon finishing his picture stood in front of everyone and shouted "SIEHT IHR MEIN BIIIILLLLLD!" Everyone look at my picture!! He was quite proud of his sketch, and I was very impressed. He drew Nephi and his entire family, even the pet dog! (Davin REALLY wants a pet dog and often compares himself to Nephi, so I think that explains the picture a little more.) In our lesson, we talked about faith and being obedient, and with our joint-teach Theresa (our GML's wife) we sang Nephi's Courage. This was probably one of my favorite lessons on my mission! This couple are pretty special people, and we are praying that Nicole's husband, Dennis' heart will be softened that Nicole and her daughter Alena and her son Elias can be baptized.

We had an appointment with a former investigator this week, Frau Gosch, who met with missionaries about 7 or 8 years ago. Frau Gosch let us in and we had a very pleasant discussion and talk about the Church. After our lesson I asked her if she had a copy of the Book of Mormon and challenged her to begin reading it. Frau Gosch then went off on a complete rant about how awful the Book of Mormon is, and how no one could get closer to God by reading such a book about war and destruction. I didn't know what to do, and Sister Judd and I were stunned.  This was my first real experience with someone disavowing something so sacred to me right in front of my face.  It was such an awful feeling.  How could she NOT know how beautiful and true the Book of Mormon is?  We closed with a prayer and left, and it took everything I could to not cry. Really, it broke my heart to hear such words about the Book of Mormon, and that this sweet woman and daughter of God did not understand the principles and messages between the stories of the Nephites and the Lamanities.  Missionary work isn't always sunshine and rainbows and baptisms -- living in fairytale cities....it is hard work!!  Although we have plenty of hard days and people can say really mean things,  there is so much peace and comfort in knowing that one day people like Frau Gosch WILL understand the Gospel, and accept it in it's fullness.  I know who is leading this Church and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.

This week I have come to realize the importance of being a consecrated missionary. This is something that I have learned about from Day 1 on my mission, and will not finish learning until I return home, and even until my spirit leaves my mortal body. In a conversation with Sister Judd, saying that at the end of our missions what could we describe it as in one word, I decided that my mission is the most REFINING experience anyone could have. I know I have brought that up a few times, but each and every day, each and every second, I feel the incredible power of God shaping me to be the best I can. Now, I have also come to realize quickly, that that kind of change doesn't happen unless we are willing to give God our hearts, and often that is much easier said than done. Our WILL and HEART and MIND is the only gift God has given us that He cannot willingly take back. He can take our homes from us, our wealth, our families, and even our very lives. But God cannot and will not ever take our will, because He loves us. He has given us the most beautiful and precious gift of agency, because He trusts us enough as His beloved children to make the correct decisions to return back to Him. How blessed and humbled I feel as a missionary, a full-time representative of Jesus Christ, to take upon myself that responsibility to help God's children REMEMBER the Gospel. As a missionary we are not teaching them the doctrine and fundemental basics of eternity for the first time. We are simply reminding these people of their divine nature. The Gospel rings truth and goodness, and people feel that in their hearts when they openly listen to our message. 

As a missionary, I have come to understand the importance of selflessness and humility. I want to kick myself sometimes thinking of how, in the past, I was so selfish with my time and energy. My mission has taught me the importance of giving back, because God has given us everything, and I am simply "borrowing" these precious gifts of time, talents, and life. I have made resolutions over and over to be better.  President Dieter F. Uchtdorf gave a MANIFICENT talk last year titled "Of Regrets and Resolutions". Reading this talk helped me recognize of living in the moment, taking advantage of it, and also of giving it everything one moment at a time. Elder D. Todd Christofferson also gave a talk, "Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread." We cannot supply ourselves with a yearly supply of manna, otherwise it will spoil. Yes, natürlich, it is important to plan for the future and make specific and realistic goals for ourselves. But we must nourish, each and every day, our sensitive spirits. Our Spirits are DIVINE! They are literal, beautiful, magnificent creations from Heavenly Parents that are so susceptible to outside influences, that we must constantly feed goodness and light to them. That is why the "primary answers" of prayer, fasting, attending church regularly, reading in the scriptures, is so important. This knowledge and testimony I have always known, but here on my mission I have come to UNDERSTAND. And how grateful I am for that!!

"Denn siehe, wer denn wunsch habt, Gott zu dienen, seid ihr zu dem Werk berufen."  ("Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God, ye are called to the work")  There is no better motto for a missionary than D&C 4!! Oh how I love those precious, uplifting and godly verses....they are what help me get through the days and nights of rejection and weariness.  "For with God, All things are possible!"

Well...this letter must end for Vienna and His work awaits!

My wonderful friends and family, have a GREAT week! You are in my prayers and thoughts always.  Thank you for being my support team!  I love you all.

Sister Natalie Motto

Horse-love in every city….The Vienna ones are SO COOL!


Appreciating the Viennese pastries:)

Vienna Füssgängerzone right by Stephansdom --Stephansplatz

HELLO Sachertorte!!!

2 comments:

  1. This is a letter to be read over and over. A rich testimony replete with personal experiences that have reinforced the things she has always known to be true. What a gift this mission is for her. I love that she is in the same place at the same age. Simply profound.

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  2. Well, this beats most of the letters I used to send home. I think I used to complain about companions and lack of success more than all of the wonderful things she puts in hers. Maybe I need to go back and read some to see if I was anywhere close to Schwester Motto's level of spirituality. So excited about the experiences she is having out there in that beautiful land!

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