Monday, January 13, 2014

Sister Motto "Those Austrians -- I just love them!"

Liebe Freunde und Familie:

Hello from sunny, bright and blue-skied Vienna! I know it's winter here -- but it's been so mild and dry...perfect weather for missionaries.  We love having dry shoes.  Even with the unusual warm temps, the weather the past couple days has been absolutely stunning... no complaints here.  Many of the members have been saying its crazy that we haven´t had any snow yet. Apparently by this time last year they had knee-high snow. As missionaries we are feeling very blessed and are grateful for sunny skies, pleasant and dry cobbles to walk across and temps which allow us to stay outside a little longer during the day.  (It's been in the higher 30s and 40s rather than in the usual below freezing temps)

This week we had Zone Training, and we talked a lot about Finding and Teaching, as in Preach My Gospel.  We have such an incredible zone -- I love them and they all know how to work hard!  Sister Green (she was so nervous!) had an assignment to speak, gave a fantastic thought about the importance of being ourselves in missionary work and to "make friends" rather than "get numbers".  A wonderful perspective, ja? It made a lot of sense to Sister Green and me to try build on those common beliefs and allow our love for Heavenly Father's children to permeate their hearts.  Well...that is the plan.  As for those oftentimes stubborn Austrians, we hope it becomes their plan too!  I just love them!

This past week was much better than the "leave-us-alone-theme" of the previous holiday week.  Austrians know how to celebrate!  (Case in point...the New Years Eve firework display at midnight...our ears are still ringing!)  Thankfully we had some great success in finding quite a number of great potential investigators! We talked with so many people  and were able to make contact with many less actives and former investigators. That really is key, oder?  The more we talk to...the greater chance of finding...odds are always on the Lord's favor! We saw many blessings where we felt prompted to visit someone, and they wouldn´t end up being home, but we were able to teach and/or set up appointments to teach the people who lived there currently.  It was all in the little things that we saw God´s love and tender mercies. This week we had incredible lessons with Nicole M and her family, as well as Doris. Although these two women, Nicole and Doris, cannot completely progress onto baptism because of their marital situations (spouses will not give permission, sigh), I still feel so honored and blessed to go and teach them and to help them build their testimonies and help them draw closer to Christ, even though they cannot do so yet through the waters of baptism.

Funny, slightly awkward moment of the week: We had an appointment fall out at last minute with an awesome investigator named Sara. She texted us telling us she had a short-notice appointment come up for the Beschneidung for her worries, we didn´t have a dictionary on us, so we texted the Elders to ask what Beschneidung meant. It was their response which made us kind of chuckle.....(meaning: circumcision)  Thankfully we have been able to reschedule and have an appointment with Sara later this week.

Now, it is common knowledge that everyone at some point on their mission, as well as through life, experiences ups and downs. To be completely honest, I feel like that happens more on a mission, especially here in Vienna, than anywhere else. One is SO aware of weaknesses and shortcomings on a mission, and I think it is because we are always striving to be the most effective and efficent servant of the Lord possible. I know that as I have gone about my mission, really trying to serve with my whole heart, I have recognized my weaknesses practically every day. THat what I'm for my good!  I shouldn't fear that process of humility and the more humble we become, the happier. When we are happier, we want to work harder and then success DOES come! I promise. And for that is what all missionaries are striving.
American Pasta Salad I made for the Ward Dinner

Sister Green and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset stroll on the way back home from a teaching appointment.  Our walk took us through the famous Zentral Friedhof (Central Cemetery)!  There we were greeted by my musical great-great-grandfather,  Franz Schubert, and his famous colleagues and musical geniuses, Bach, Beethoven,Mozart and Strauss.  Their gravestones and statues are incredibly beautiful and as dreary as a cemetery could possibly be...this one spoke to me.  I owe much to these special composers....who spent a lot of time with me during my formative years.  The hours and hours of piano practicing was difficult and tiring...but I got to know these men.  Their lyrical compositions are forever cemented in my brain and heart.  Now that I live here and preach the Gospel to the special people of Vienna Austria, I have become even more appreciative of classical music.  I firmly believe that these brilliant composers hands were guided by the Spirit and were influenced by a loving Heavenly Father. I can't wait to meet them one day.......and say thanks!

LDS area of the Central Cemetery!

Yesterday during Sacrament Meeting, I had the impression and thought come to mind how honored I feel to be a missionary serving in the Alpine German Speaking Mission.  All of these people have become so dear to me.  I really feel very comfortable and at home.  There have been many of moments where I recognized exactly WHY I was sent here, whether it was to meet a specific person or to learn a specific attribute, I know why I am here, and I am so very grateful.  I can't wait to wake up tomorrow and know that I get to teach the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ!!!!

I hope you have a great week!! I love you all so much, and I encourage you to turn to your loving Father in Heaven, and to always and forever seek His guidance. Wherever we may go, He is our Family and our Home, however far away we will be from our earthly home.

I love you!! Until next week!!

Alles liebe,
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto


  1. I love how she feels at home in her mission, the revelations she shares, and the amazing photographs. What an inspirational journey she shares with us.

  2. When she talked about the composers it was like listening to my own Elder! He felt the same way! Is Schubert really an ancestor?

  3. Love her photos...won't those be a treasure for her and inspire her to continue her musical journey!