First and foremost I have been transferred! Ja after almost 6 months of being in this wonderful city, I will be leaving my Vienna, and am headed back to Stuttgart Zone to serve in Tübingen ward (Tübingen is about 20 miles southwest of Stuttgart and just on the edge of the Black Forest. It is in the state of Baden-Württemburg. It is a beautiful, small-ish university town where 1 out of 10 residents are students.) ! I am SO excited for the opportunity to serve with Sister Wunderli from Hungary, and I will also be serving as Sister Training Leader. That means I help organize exchanges among the sisters in the zone, as well as going to Munich monthly to meet with President and Sister Miles in a Leadership Council. It'll be neat with lots of new adventures! (And also cheap post (mail). One wonderful perk about Germany that I have missed….)
|The beauty of Vienna in Spring|
|A new convert in the Vienna 1st ward and her fiance|
Sunday we were able to have a special musical evening with one of the investigators in Wien 2 ward. His name is Maxim, he's from Russia, and is a professionally trained opera singer. I attached a couple videos of his performance, given just for the missionaries serving in Vienna.
We had some wonderful member appointments this week where we were able to give one of the missionary lessons, as well as practice our German. Our Vienna 1st ward members are so patient, and it's neat to hear their testimonies and perspectives as we teach. They give great feedback, are excellent German tutors, and also make delicious food.
This week we met with Nicole one last time before I get leave. Sister Green was sick on Friday, and so I went on a split with cute and awesome Sister Friedrichs. It was really funny as we met our joint teach, Isabell Junkarri. She started talking to Sister Friedrichs in English, and then when Sister Friedrichs replied in German Isabell says "Oh! Eine Deutscher!" Es war ganz lustig (Sister Friedrichs is from Germany):) We talked about the Priesthood with Nicole. The room was very still and peaceful as we explained what the Priesthood is, the role of Jesus Christ and the Priesthood when He was on the Earth, and the Resoration of the Priesthood through Joseph Smith. I have never seen Nicole more contemplative when we explained priesthood blessings, and each shared testimony of what it means to us personally. The Spirit was so soft and gentle, and the feeling in the room was the sweetest. I can only compare it to the feeling in the temple when one first walks in. Nicole says she will think about recieving a blessing. Life is very stressful with her 4 children, a part time job, and an almost never present husband to help out. I only shared testimony of what peace and comfort blessings can bring. The tears didn't come during the appointment, but later as I realized I would probably not see Nicole again, they came. She is such a special woman, and I am so humbled and grateful for the chance I had to teach and get to know her. This woman is one of the strongest and most incredible I have ever met, and I KNOW God has big plans for her.
Yesterday, Sunday, was an emotional rollercoaster. I cried throughout my goodbye testimony and on into the Sacrament meeting. Saying goodbye was pretty emotionally draining. This ward has been just like a family to me, and serving here in Vienna during a time in my development as a missionary has left a prominent mark in my heart. I have made many close and wonderful friendships while here. In addition to that, I have learned a lot as I have served here: it was here that I improved so much in all areas of missionary work. How grateful I am for the opportunity I had to serve in such a spectacular ward! As a complete surprise, Nicole came for Sacrament Meeting, even though she had plans to be with her aging grandmother that day, just to give me a hug and say goodbye. That alone made my day yesterday so much sweeter and worth it.
I'm now considered an "older missionary".....yikes. Ten months on the mission is quite a bit of time to figure things out and learn, although each new transfer makes me feel like a golden all over again. One of my favorite songs says "I will step into the fire so your love can purify me, and I will stay until You say I am through. Wash away all the flaws and every imperfection, until my will turns to You..." This mission has most definitely been one of those fires!! Highs, lows, and everywhere in-between, I have definitely begun to understand the meaning of humility, prayer, and the most important of all, Faith. We're made new through experiences that we perhaps did not expect or want to encounter. How grateful I am that I can enjoy the sweetness and joy of the Atonement each day as I kneel in prayer, and report to Heavenly Father how I did that day. I have pledged to give my best, and I've taken upon myself the priviledge of His name. I will always give my best. How grateful I am for my Savior Jesus Christ, and that because of Him I can continue forward and be made new.
Have a great week my dearest loved ones!! ENJOY GENERAL CONFERENCE -- I sure will! I am so excited to hear what you all learned!!
Ganz liebe Grüße,
Sister Natalie Hannah Motto