"Trying to Save Men in Vienna" Sister Motto's missionary perspective this week
Hello meine liebe Familie und Freunde!!
This week has surely been one of the most interesting and adventurous that I have experienced so far! Some of our funniest and most spiritual moments have been with old men (meant in the best way) --Heavenly Fathers wonderful Sons of God. I'd better explain...here you go:
Last Monday following emails, Sister Green and I went grocery shopping at our favorite little store of Hofer. As we were loading our groceries into our bags, I noticed an older gentleman bending down next to us, to what appeared to be getting something from his walker-wheelchair basket. Well that is what we thought. Within seconds I noticed his face had completely gone white and began to go blue. My nursing/lifeguard instincts kicked in and I ran over and supported him on his back so he would not fall, and cried out for help. The sweet man, who at this point was still coherant, said "Tut mir leid, tut mir leid," (I'm so sorry, I'm sorry) over and over. I assured him everything would be ok, and asked for help again. Oddly enough nobody in the store helped me. The cashier just stared in panic, and I said over and over again, "Bitte Können Sie mir helfen?!" (Can you please help me?!) The gentleman was really heavy, and I gave all I could to help support him so he would not fall and hit his head. Eventually, for what seemed like an hour but probably only 1 minute, two other women rushed from the back of the store (why nobody in line didn´t help I´m not sure) and helped me ease him down. One of these women, miraculoulsy, was a nurse, and as an other employee called the ambulance (144 instead of 911 I learned!), she provided the necessary care for him. Whew! This older gentleman ended up being ok (we believe), and Sister Green and I were able head on our way after about 30 minutes. Yes, stranger things have happened but this was just crazy unexpected!
Another awesome and unexpected story....two weeks ago, Sister Green and I recieved a call from one of our friends from the Wien 2 ward, a young adult named Annika. Annika lived in our ward when I first got here, and has done many joint teaches with us. She gave us a call and informed us she, on the errand of a friend, was requested to visit an older gentleman here in Vienna. She asked if we could come with her to visit him. We met Annika and on Wednesday visited Ludwig , who is supposedly a famous theater actor here in Vienna from about 20 years ago! He has since gone completely blind and is very ill and bedridden. What I first thought would be an appointment of just small talk, we sat and talked for almost a full hour just about the Book of Mormon. That was such a wonderful, special conversation! Ludwig expressed his love for Jesus Christ, and he said "I can feel His love when you speak!" He begged us to come back and visit and talk to him more about the Savior and the Book of Mormon so we will soon be going back with Annika to give Ludwig a Book of Mormon on CD for him to listen to, and to teach him more about the Gospel. We taught Ludwig about prayer, and as we pray to our Father in Heaven, we can always feel Him near, no matter what we are doing or where we may be. As we were leaving his apartment, Ludwig shouted from the other room, "Bleib Christus treu!" (Stay faithful to Christ!) Here is a man with massive physical challenges who wants to become closer to the Savior. AMAZING! I felt the Spirit come over me with such power in that moment, and I had such a firm confirmation that that is exactly the mindset we need to have each day. No matter what people say to us, as long as we stand by Him and preach His Gospel, we will have nothing to fear and we will have joy.
Just this past Friday as Sister Green and I were walking home from an appointment with a less active, we made the goal to say hi to everyone we saw --even when that means catching someone off guard and surprising them with non-typical culturally American greetings.(Germans and Austrians find it odd that you greet strangers on the street -- that is usually saved for people who are already acquainted) We saw a nice looking younger man and said very energetically, "HI!" He stopped us and said "Kennen wir uns?" as seemingly everyone does when we say hi to them) and I expressed that we were simply friendly and wanted to say hello. This man, maybe 25 years old or so, looked at my nametag and said "Hey! You are the people with the men dressed up always so nice, with the beautiful ties. Your men missionaries used to come over a few years ago, until we moved, and we have since lost their contact information. You are always so friendly. Don´t you have something to give people about what you believe?" Within 2 minutes we had Dragan´s address, phonenumber, and will be going to teach him, his sister, and mother later this week. The Lord works in mysterious ways...even through his oftentimes overly eager sister missionaries:)
Overall, Sister Green and I had a fantastic week. We had a wonderful appointment with Nicole and her kids also this week. We taught about the gift of the Holy Ghost, and at the end of the lesson Sister Green boldly and without hesitation commited Nicole to be baptized....and she said YES!!!! Nicole says she has set personal goals for herself as far as reading the Book of Mormon, prayer, and coming to church are concerned, and as we help her achieve those goals she will focus more on picking an exact date. HUGE progress, and we are simply BURSTING with happiness!!!
We have truly begun to see the fruits of our efforts come forth, and we have been able to harvest and partake of the sweetness. There is not a morning that I don´t wake up and think "which miracles will we see today?" Big or small, noticable or hidden, the Lord is always blessing us and placing miracles and gifts in our path.
I feel so blessed to be a missionary! I am so very grateful to be chosen to find people to teach in this incredible city. Yep...the work is hard and sometimes can really get you down. But that´s when you take a breath, pause, get on your knees, and humbly ask "only with Thee can I continue forward." Then you get right back up and go to work. As we give God a reason to bless us, He will give us reasons to work, as He sends His prepared children to hear the message of the Everlasting Truth.
I love you all!! I pray for you, and I hope you know how much I love you.