Old World (Post from June 27th)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

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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