Monday, July 25, 2016

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

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