Gratefully this week we were able to accomplish wonderful and LOTS of follow-ups on previous investigators, hoping to increase our pool of investigators and help our sweet less actives and young adults. Through this process, we met Tovo, a young man about 27 years old from Madagascar. He is living with his sister here in Vienna to study German and history. Tovo has excellent German, and is very excited to continue learning more about the Church. He lost contact with missionaries a few years ago and was so pleased when we called. Our first meeting with him was great! We gave him a Book of Mormon in French, his mother language, and then almost immediately challenged him to baptism. In only the way that our Heavenly Father can provide, the sweet small voice of the Spirit told us that Tovo wasn't ready and that we needed to wait to ask him for this commitment at this time. And as a result of our listening and following the Spirit, Tovo said " I want to learn for myself this pathway is the one God wants me to take, and I will read this book completely, and then decide." Since Monday of last week Tovo has read all the way to Mosiah, and keeps desiring to read more. He loves the Book of Mormon!!! We are meeting with him again tomorrow, and this week we will be team-teaching him with the Elders. Isn't that awesome?
Yesterday I got to play the piano in Primary!! Yay!! I LOVE whenever I can play it. The assigned pianist was out of town, and our GML's darling wife Theresa asked me to play. The kids here in the Vienna 1st ward are preparing to sing in the PV-Darbietung, Primary Programm, at the end of this month. This may sound silly but I got a little emotional listening to these little Austrian angels singing. Could there be anything sweeter than a child singing and praising our Heavenly Father in song? I love our primary programs at home and this one promises to be as special -- if not more than ever. For some reason, hearing the same songs I grew up with, now in German, deeply touches my soul and brings tears to my eyes. (I cannot wait to take pictures and perhaps sneak in a film of them practicing sometime soon!)
After church we ate lunch with our wonderful and darling GML (ward mission leader) Perry, his wife Theresa, the elders, and the elders' investigator Pouria. MOM AND DAD -- I had FUFU!! And well....it's like what you said....interesting, kind of enjoyable but totally different than what I'm used to! "Fufu" is a Ghanaian dish that Perry really enjoys. It was really messy because you don't use utensils, that was strange. Thank goodness for soap and water...the simple things continue to bless my life everyday. We watched the Hastening the Work of Salvation broadcast with them, and then talked about the importance of missionary work. Both Theresa and Perry, newlyweds and freshly returned missionaries, were so excited that we are sharing this film with our members! Pouria loved the film as well, and is also excited to participate, hopefully, in full time missionary service one year from his baptism (which is on Saturday) . So excited!!
Following our appointment I was talking with Elder Richman and Pouria about how many of the world's most renowned and gifted composers are buried here in Vienna, and only a short jog from my apartment (actually, the original burial places of Beethoven and Schubert are just around the corner! Pictures next week). Elder Richman, another amazing musician, got very, very excited. He asked Pouria if he knew who Beethoven was, and Pouria in his French accent said "Yes Rich-man, I do know who he is. But I want to know somesomething. Do YOU know where Beethoven is?" This lead to lots of laughs and a little bit of teasing, especially because Elder Richman was so excited about finding where the composers were buried. It is fun to talk to other missionaries and to hear their own personal experiences as to why they appreciate Germany or Austria and why they felt they were called here to serve a mission. Many missionaries are touched to hear that both my parents served German speaking missions and that my mom lived in Vienna as a student. Not only am I beholden to my parents for raising me to love the Lord and raising me in the WAYS of the Lord, but I am beholden to those who have gone before me -- blazed the trail, so to speak...so that I can appreciate so many beauties of earthly existence like great classical music, architecture and written words. I'm so thankful that my ancestors loved and honored the Lord and made huge sacrifices so that they could find the truthfulness of the Gospel and worship in righteous freedom.
I still have lots to get done today so I need to sign off and finish Pday! We had an amazing appointment with our investigator Doris this morning, so we get to spend some evening hours out in the city. This city is even more stunning at night.
I love you all! I love being on this errand of angels and to help bring truth and happiness to His children here is Austria. I am humbled and so happy.
Your favorite missionary, :)