Letter from Sweet Sister Motto: "I can't think of a better way to live one entire year of my life than as a missionary for the Lord"
We could tell that Natalie had a hard week this past week...yet she still remains positive and joyful nonetheless! Please continue to pray for her and the work in Vienna!
Dearest Family and Friends,
Happy New Year and a very exciting 2014 to you!!
I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the reality of this news that it really is a brand new year: my journal has many scratched out dates with 2013 still written on it as proof. I am so excited and very grateful for the opportunity and blessing of being able to be on my mission for this ENTIRE YEAR. I can't think of a better way to live one entire year of my life than as a missionary! for the Lord. I get butterflies of excitement when I think about that I have this chance to serve Him with all that I have. One of my goals this year is to read the entire standard works (New Testament in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price) all in German! It´s a HUGE project, but I know I can do it with the help from the Spirit and the Lord. I love that Mom is also trying to still read her scriptures in German! Know that I will be doing that with you....strength in numbers from across the sea.
We started off our Silvester (German for New Years) celebration with our entire awesome district and enjoyed Mom's Pumpkin Pancakes and buttermilk syrup for brunch at the church building. We had a lot of fun making them, but I forgot how much Elders really do eat, and I had only purchased one can of pumpkin from the American store, so we settled with making buttermilk pancakes until everyone was full and satisfied. We had a really good meeting concentrating on working with less actives. We talked about focusing on one particular less active with each companionship in our wards, and making some "new best friends." We have many less actives in our ward here in Vienna, and after doing so much less active work in Göppingen, I think it will be neat to fixate on strengthen and building up these already pretty special wards in Vienna. I really want each member, particularly the sisters in our area to know that she is truly loved and that she has a beautiful divinity. Too many worldly hurdles cross these sweet ladies paths obstructing them from understanding how important they are to the Lord, to this ward and to themselves. If they could only know that we are praying for their happiness everyday! My prayers are getting increasingly longer with the many names added to my list....my knees are actually starting to get calloused!
We celebrated New Year´s Eve with the Elders, and Baagi and Richard Huy. Fireworks were already going off around 4, and were getting more and more intense around 7 when we went to the Huy´s. Baagi made us a beautiful dinner complete with meat and mashed potatoes, and had everything decorated super cute. The fireworks outside and our attention spans got to a point where Baagi, the elders, and us bundled up and went outside to watch the fireworks for a while. Many of these fireworks were the very sizable ones, comparable to Stadium of Fire. The city sounded like a war zone: everywhere we turned there was a brilliant flash of light. I can better appreciate your explanation of how Germans and Austrians celebrate Silvester and why President Miles encouraged us to not be on the street but to be safe inside with members. All in all we remained safe and sound, maybe a little deaf now and had a wonderful New Year´s! So cool to say I started off my year in VIENNA!
Speaking of which...I'm more than thrilled to be staying here yet another transfer. There is so much work to be done here and I feel like the Lord needs our companionship to find those who are willing to hear our message about the Savior.
Honestly this week was REALLY hard & challenging in so many ways. Very very few people were interested in meeting with us and we had appointments cancel on us right and left. Perhaps it was the holidays and being off of work, but we could hardly teach one lesson! So discouraging...I have to remind myself that the Lord is in charge and that He will lead us if we stay faithfully diligent. Another difficult aspect of this week was that Sister Green, Sister Packer, AND Sister Clark ALL got sick. I got to play nurse and do lots and lots and lots of Area Book work! :) So far I remained healthy and have avoided the bug that´s hit our entire Vienna zone which is definitely a blessing from Heavenly Father. (Really someone had to stay healthy to take care of all the others, right? )
Another bump in the road was that our sweet investigator Frau Eiser told us she did not want to meet anymore. So sad. When we called to make our appointment for next week, she told us she was happy with where she is at in her religion. She was making such beautiful progress, and I felt like I lost a dear friend. I walked the city that morning with tears and such emotion and love for this sweet lady. How I wish I could just embrace her and let her know that she can find so much happiness in the Gospel! We still pray for her and hope that one day she will want to meet with the missionaries again and make further progress in the Gospel.
Even though this week was humbling and taught me a lot....I grew in many ways. (Yes...missionaries do get down and not every week is a banner week...it's how we pick ourselves up and go at it again and again....) Elder Scott teaches that the Adversary will use our memory of any previous guilt, difficulties and lack of WHO we really are to lure us away from the light of the Gospel. It was a good reminder in a not so great week.
As I have set goals for myself, I encourage you to do the same, with the mindset of knowing weaknesses are different from rebellion. It is through the Lord, who gives us weaknesses so we can be humble, that we transform and make our weaknesses into strengths. I have such a testimony of this! Here on my mission I have recognized more and more of how truly imperfect and flawed I am. It´s been a very beautiful experience as I go about each day, and when I give my best, to see how I improve, step by step. I am so grateful for this opportunity to be a full time missionary. In my "farewell" talk I was given the scripture D&C 18:10-15, where the Lord says how great our joy shall be when we bring but one soul unto Him and rejoice with them in His kingdom. I remember expressing with such fervency the desire to find just that ONE. I'm still searching and I'm going to continue to do this with great fervor and excitement for THE WORK!
I love you all!! I am so grateful for the letters and emails and expressions of love and support. I truly, honestly, heartfeltly am so grateful for each and everyone of you: family, friends, ward members, and alles gleiche. Throughout the week, I felt your prayers and thank you for thinking of me and asking our Heavenly Father to bless these people, this work and those who lead and guide us!
Liebe Grüße, Sister Natalie Motto
The wonderful Baagi Huy!
District Vienna 1…so happy that they are staying together for another transfer
Sister Motto with new "over the shoulder" bag from Grandma Pat