The week began beneath the ground, under all the grandeur of St. Stephan's Cathedral and in the dank tunnels preserved despite the bombs of World War II. The  ancient catacombs are an eternal house for 10,000 dead, from Hapsburg emperors to peasants alike, a place to give you chills when you really think about the prospect of your own mortality.  "There," said our tour guide, as we peeped through rusty bars into a dark room where but the dimmest of lighting reflected off the old bones, "is a mass grave from the time of the Black Plague." If that's not creepy for you, then I don't know what is. However our spirits were much lifted when at the end of the tour we went to pay our guide. "No, no. We always let our sisters in free." "But we're not Catholic!" we protested. He gave us a look like "So what?!" and refused to take our money anyway.

This week has been absolutely crazy but I couldn't be more happy. From spontaneous three-way exchanges to speaking in zone training to picnics at Belvedere to zone tours in an old trolley around Vienna (courtesy of a certain amazingly generous Brother Van Rosen) to scheduling for another one of our friends to be baptized in September (!!!!!!!), every moment just makes me love being a missionary. Ok, so maybe I'm always slightly exhausted by the end of the day. But it's so good.

Quote of the week: "Sister Lundgreen, I think I've had more vegetables this transfer with you than I have my whole life."

Story time!
Whilst on tausch, Sister Zomborski started going through the closest, looking at random things that previous sisters left. She found a little BYU lanyard with a hot pink mystery bottle on it. "What is this?" she asked. "Hmm," I said, taking the bottle. "I don't know. Maybe it's like pepper spray or something." So obviously in my blonde brain it was only logical that I test the bottle to see if it wasn't empty or just unlabeled perfume. When I squeezed the nozzle, a little tiny mist sprayed out. Right as I was about to think, "It's nothing," the mist made contact with our rotating fan and basically exploded through the whole apartment. Our respiratory systems discovered the horrendous sensation of pepper and in an instant we were all coughing our lungs out. Let's just say we couldn't go to bed for a while. Let's also just say that I have learned my lesson about mystery bottles in a sister apartment.

We had a number of meetings with both members and nonmembers, but one of the days we were especially looking forward to was Saturday. That morning we left early and then had four back-to-back appointments!

1. First, we went to the rest home to visit Schwester Kapp again. The five of us Wien sisters sang hymns, and as we did so three nurses came in to listen! They also wheeled in another elderly woman to hear us, and the roommate was crying. As we were leaving, the nurses were all thanking us and asked if we were coming again!
2. Next we had a lesson about 3 Nephi with our awesome new converts...
3. followed by a lesson with a man who showed up at church last week (translated into Farsi by our same new convert friends).
4. Then we had another lesson. The interesting thing about this last lesson was that we had planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation... But when my mouth opened, what came out instead was a lesson about Lehi's dream in 1 Nephi. My companions looked at me like "what?" But afterwards I just told them I hadn't felt our plan was right for him QUITE yet. Instead I used the Tree of Life as a sort of introduction, asking him after reading the chapter together if he would be interested to learn more about what we believe, as a way to help him find a grip on the iron rod and reach that precious fruit. So the next day he came to church again, and when I looked at the manual for the Gospel Essentials class I just wanted to moan. This lesson did NOT feel right to me. Then our AWESOME ward missionary Emmanuel started teaching and said, "I'm going to switch things up today. I didn't like the lesson planned for today and felt prompted to instead teach the Plan of Salvation." After it ended I could only thank him for how perfect that was.

We are praying for those in Munich who suffered from the shooting, as well as for the others both at home and abroad who have experienced unexpected loss. These are dark and difficult times in which we live, and though we can't control the world around us, we can continually look towards God. We can continually strive to be our best selves, living in a way so that we have no regrets. Most importantly, we can cherish our loved ones because they are truly a blessing irreplaceable.


    Sister Lundgreen

The Legend and the Legacy

To walk into a palace is to walk into a realm of near unreality.  Hofburg was like a dream, and as I wandered through the red and gold damask rooms of Sissi and Franz Josef it was hard to imagine that this was their home. One of the things that I love so much about living in Europe is that its history never ceases to amaze me-- even AFTER it's been untangled from the legends.

But still after my preparation day ended and I returned to reality, I realized that I live in an amazing reality. I have never been so busy in my life, and yet I have never felt more fulfilled! We have had random people walking into the church who want to meet with us.... Random people walking into institute center who want to meet with us.....random people calling our phone who want to meet with us.... Even the guy who made our takeout noodles asked about our nametags, and by the time we walked away we not only had given out a Book of Mormon but also had his number so we could meet with him and also three free Turkish yogurt drinks (haha). He mentioned his talent at converting people to his religion so I don't know how much hope I have for this, but it's still cool. Other than that, we have had a number of back to back appointments, and our next week is supposed to be 10x crazier still. Although for my first several weeks in Wien we couldn't get ANYONE to come to church, we now have two of our friends who say they want to come every week! Also, one of our friends who we just started meeting is hoping to get baptized in September, and we couldn't be more excited for her!


Some other things that are going down:

* Sometimes I can't remember if we Americans call it football or soccer
* Speaking of which, I recently discovered that I LOVE playing Fußball
* I was at a member's house and I mentioned that I went to BYU-Hawaii,
and he said his best friend Erik goes there and anyways after all this
time this member finally figured out why I looked so familiar--
because I am totally in a bunch of Erik's Facebook pictures from the
cool hikes we did together. Small world
* Being in a drit is seriously the best thing ever because we have
just become instant besties plus with three of us we can play Wizard
before bedtime
* I feel like my rate of learning German is seriously accelerating and
I am so happy about it. I have seriously talked more than I ever have
my whole mission.
* ....except I add the word "like" into my German
* ..... And now I can't even remember all the Spanish days of the week anymore
* The way things are going now we may soon have to start a Farsi
branch. For now, our neubekehrts (AKA our three awesome new convert
friends) are AMAZING joint teaches for when we need translators
* I have the sister shoe tan line
* As Sister Training Leaders we get to go on lots of exchanges with
the other sisters who I just love
*  People gave me compliments this week and it made me so happy, I
think I just want to go out and compliment people now
* I will reach my 5 year anniversary of receiving my patriarchal
blessing on Wednesday. It's interesting to think what it meant to me
then at age 14, and now as a missionary. 

It's funny because often times people will say things such as, "Being a missionary must be so hard." That was something that really made me nervous before I reported to England. And yes, while you could say that it's challenging in the sense that you have to learn a new language and face rejection and talk to strangers and get up at 6:30 and sometimes miss your family a heck of a lot..... For me, I would not say that my mission is "hard." Every day we see the infoscreen at the subway station, and I realize that I am not in France dealing with the tragedy of yet another terrorist attack. I am not in Turkey dealing with the chaos political upheaval. I did not have to walk 2000 miles with nothing but the clothes on my back just to have Christianity. Sometimes people are surprised when they find out I am only a teenager and wonder why I am here, but after talking to a man who, after church, said that he "wants to come back because these people are so peaceful".... Well, I know that a lifetime of missionary work could not bring about world peace, because there is opposition in ALL things. But even if I could offer the little bit of peace that the gospel brings to those will listen.... That is worth it to me. To hear someone tell us that she really thinks she can turn her life around and finally find happiness by partaking of this fruit that we have give... It makes up for any sacrifice I have made 100x over.  That is why I am here.


Sister Lundgreen

Pictures- Bubbles where Hitler gave his speech, gold decor from the Imperial treasury, a Parthenon-like art exhibit

Taufe (Post from July 11th)

With Sister Price gone, I have had to take personal responsibility to ensure that our area is taken care of.

It's kind of intimidating, and yet it's been wonderful introducing my new companions to the beautiful city and telling them about the people that I love so much. For the first time ever I have had to hold the keys, make the phone calls, and take charge of planning. It's also funny how fast you can figure out how to get around Vienna- with its complicated transportation system- when you are under pressure. So far I have only gotten slightly lost once... But fortunately, even if it takes an extra hour and a bit of walking, their are always alternate ways as well as ginormous landmarks such as cathedrals that help you stay direction-oriented. 

So far being in a trio ("drit") with Sister Selph and Sister Fast looks like it is going to be a whole lot of fun. All three of us are blonde, love cooking, love history, and love telling/hearing stories so if you ask me that sounds like a pretty good combination. The ward literally calls us the blondies. One of my companions commented how, "When there are just two missionaries you feel in the way, but when there are three you feel like a posse," and it's so true. 

This week has been amazing the way that potentials and referrals have just fallen into our hands. For example, a random guy on the u-Bahn (subway) came up to us, asked us if we were from Utah, shook our hands and said that he investigated and went to church for six months in Sweden. After moving here he just didn't know where a building was! We have also had a few instances of people we don't know calling and asking for appointments!

Also, a cool thing that they have in Vienna is book exchange boxes in the park. Before Sister Price left, we put a Book of Mormon in there and then came back a few weeks later to find it gone. Excited, we put another one on the shelf and then came back THE NEXT DAY and it had also been taken! I would really like to hope that there are two people out there reading the wonderful words...

Witnessing another baptism into our ward helped me again to remember what it means to be a Christian. Whether a person be baptized as a child by their father, like myself, or as an adult, like this brave young man who sacrificed everything by coming to Austria in pursuit of Christianity, to make the decision to become a follower of Christ is such a beautiful thing.  
(My own baptism) 

Since coming in my mission I have met people who so badly want the peace and security that a gospel-centered life can bring. The longer I serve the more I realized how blessed I am to be raised in a home where I was always told of God's love for me.... Of my potential and of my purpose here on earth.... Of the magnificent Atonement with its power to heal the wounds of fear and sorrow..... I am only nineteen, and I cannot claim wisdom nor experience of the world. But I truly truly hope that when I share this message, that people will listen to the Spirit and come to believe that it can change their lives for the better. 

Some photos from 4th of July:


    Sister Lundgreen

Summer Rain (Post from July 4th)

Happy 4th of July, my dear Americans! There is not much red, white and blue here, but I am still grateful for the religious freedoms which allowed the restoration of the gospel. I have met many people who do not experience those rights! Time is short today, because we have two member appointments and and a trip to Prater amusement park. Although these members are all Austrian, Teodora insisted we bring root beer to make sure our holiday abroad is American as possible (haha).

      This past week has been absolutely crazy, because transfers are in two days and we have been trying to squeeze everyone into the schedule to see each other before Sister Price leaves.  Members, investigators, even potentials have agreed to meet, and seeing her say goodbye makes me so sad for when I have to leave in a transfer or two!  It's hard enough that I will already have to part ways with one of our friends we are teaching who is moving back to Kenya. I love it here so much, and the people are absolutely wonderful.  For now, President Kohler called to inform me that the elders in our ward will be shut down and that I will be taking over with TWO new companions.  AND we will be Sister Training Leaders!  I just hit my four month mark, and as I finally exit my golden/training stage I am so excited to see what else lies in store. 

Something funny-- we have two older women in our ward who always love to shower the missionaries with treats.  The only problem? Most of the time either coffee or alcohol are listed in the ingredients.  It's so sad/funny, but hey at least we can see how much they care. I adore this ward so much.  

   Aside from lessons, some of the highlights this week were a neverending elevator at Rathaus, getting soaked to the bone in cool rain after weeks of sticky hot humidity, trying Pakistani food, getting icecream with Peruvian members (they kept switching between Spanish and German; my poor brain has never been so confused), playing card games with Baagii, and seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir at the opera house.  The Spirit of was like a fire burning as the beloved hymns echoed through the eloquent hall. 

   As you go throughout your week, I hope you will thank God for the freedoms you have been given and always remember to do that which will lift you up.  I love this gospel, and my testimony has ever been strengthened that the gospel is really a message of hope.  

Sister Lundgreen

Old World (Post from June 27th)

This week I felt as if I had taken a step back in time, into the Old World, into a realm of culture and charm unknown by society of today.  Austria has a way of doing that-- in the midst of daunting skyscrapers and screaming engines will suddenly be a brick alleyway leading towards the quiet hint of yesteryear.   

Last Preparation Day we had no idea what to do, so we just went exploring.  We took the tram till the end of the line until we found the historic town of Grinzing and then walked around, enjoying the misty rain on our faces and even stopping in an old Viennese restaurant where the tune of violin and accordion lilted through the air.

On Tuesday, we had super exchanges ("Tausch") with Sisters Brinkerhoff and Thunell.  We again took the beautiful 2.5 hour train ride through the Alps, passing gray castle ruins until we rolled into red-roofed Graz.  I'll admit I was pretty excited to make cookies with the young women, since we don't have young women in my ward! The next morning we taught a member lesson, and then we met up with some of the other sisters for a ride up to the ancient clock tower.  After arriving home, we got a call from our favorite Baagii saying that she had extra tickets for the Mozart Concert!  We first got permission of course, but it was so fun to sit in the balconies of the golden Opera House and watch the performers, decked in wigs and all, playing their beautiful classical music.  

This week we also had three lessons and had three of our friends join us at church!   We had a dinner with an awesome newly-married couple who are both recently-returned missionaries so that is always fun cause they understand us (haha). Also, one of the other members told me that my pronunciation is really good, and that made my day.  I'm trying so hard to not have one of those thick American accents with the crazy "arr" sound that we put in everything.  Sister Price and I have made a goal to speak only German once we leave the house, and I've surprised myself with how much of the language I actually know.  
Something strange I have noticed: every Mormon seems to have a connection to my little Arizona hometown, whether they be one of my Tongans friends at BYU-H who had a companion from there, an Austrian who has a relative living there, or a tourist who is from there.  It is the weirdest thing.

We continue to talk to people and hope that we can find those ready to hear our message.  Sometimes we have really interesting conversations about why we are here on the earth; other times we get told the strangest things like their conspiracy theories about how (such and such) race is going to take over the world. Needless to say, the work never gets boring.  I am just so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the message it teaches.  We as humans have so much potential to learn and to grow; we must just continually strive after the teachings of Christ, work hard, and be humble.  There is a quote on our wall that reads, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care," and though I am not that good at expressing myself, I hope people know much I care about them (both here and in the United States) and how much I love this marvelous gospel.


    Sister Lundgreen

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