KRANK Up the Cold

*pun intended*

The humid heat of summer was swept away as the fall breeze blew in with its auburn leaves and nippy chill.  One day we were wearing our thinnest layers to avoid sweating to death; the next we were shivering happily in scarves and sweaters.   I'm from Arizona, so I won't pretend to understand seasons. 

I bet you're wanting to know transfer calls. 


.....Take a guess....

....Your wildest guess....

....If you guessed SWITZERLAND- 

-you are wrong. 
Anyways, possibly the biggest event of the transfer was something called the Musikalische Abend.  The ward had been planning this since before I even arrived in the mission.  It was a beautiful program about the Plan of Salvation, professionally animated by some elders a few years back.  There was a series of songs that all tied into the storyline, so a few weeks ago I was asked to sing I Will Rise by Chris Tomlin in addition to missionary and RS choir pieces. Of course I agreed because I love singing.

But what I should have remembered is that LITERALLY every single time I have something important like college cheer tryouts / choir or theatre auditions / solo performances, I get sick. On Friday I arrived at the practice with a fever, a cough, no ability to breathe through my nose, a possible ear infection, and an absolutely wrecked voice. I just LOVE Relief Society women because they doctored me right up with prayers and herbal tea, but I was still terrified because I was so ill I thought I would have to back out of the performance.
Saturday morning I woke up early because the anxiety for the song and transfer calls was just too much.  When the zone leaders finally called, I tried to say hello but my voice came out in a frog croak.  "Sister Lundgreen," they said.  "You are staying here in Vienna to train a new missionary!"  Wait did I hear that right? I didn't even have time to try to absorb that thought before we had to be out the door to pass out some of the remaining invitations on the street.  When the afternoon run-through started, I still had a fever, although I did feel a lot better than the day before.  But right before the program began, I asked the zone leaders for a priesthood blessing of health. When my time came to enter the stage I suddenly felt more strength than I had felt all week!   I got up there and just sang my heart out.    

Among some of the other highlights this week were discovering our Ward Mission Leader's love for Star Wars; frisbee in the dark; feeling fearless speaking German and talking to people on the streets; eating rootbeer floats in celebration of finding out that zone leader Elder Hale's bishop was the one who baptized Sister Vreugdenhill several years ago; a lesson about how doing the little things (prayer, reading scriptures, attending church) are like water to the seed of our faith; a wonderful young lady texting us to remind us to send her a Book of Mormon chapter to read;  being interviewed in primary about how we don't need to be set apart with a name tag to be a missionary; and listening to an elderly member's stories of the War.  On Wednesday we got to visit  the American Johnson family and one of their "adopted" family friends.... And then on Sunday after church, upon finding out that we didn't have any plans, they invited us over again! That family is such an example to us, and it just made my day when their friend gave us each beautiful bracelets. 

Typical Austrian Food!

It was really kind of a "pay week." A lot of this transfer I had felt like I was giving all my strength to sow and never getting any fruits to reap, but once again I was reminded that God's timing is different and that we just have to be patient-- when the fruits of our labor finally come, they are oh so sweet. I am so grateful for this Ward, who shows us so much love and support especially this past weekend with their big hugs and kind words. As for my new calling, I will admit I am a little scared, but I wouldn't rather do it anywhere else. I am so excited for everything I will learn, the memories I will make, the growth both me and my new companion will experience. I cannot wait to meet her, nor can I wait for us both to give the Lord all we've got!


    Sister Lundgreen

A note from Sister Selph:

"The members in Wien 1 on Sunday were complete sweethearts. Since Sister Lundgreen will be going into her 5th transfer in Wien training a new missionary (a golden) here, the ward told her they're going to stamp her saying, "Property of Wien 1" They love her and she loves it here so she's also excited. This ward is just pretty much the best. I love all my mission wards. NOTHING compares to a mission ward. They are family. I'm going to miss Wien 1 so much.... Sister Selph has loved serving with Sister Lundgreen!!! THANKS for having such a WONDERFUL daughter."

Hallo, Wir Sind Missionarinnen!

We had barely stepped onto the subway before a man squinted at our name tags and then asked, "Are you Scientologists?"
"Are you Jehovah's Witnesses?" he tried again.
"Nope.  We're from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!"
He looked at us puzzled.
"Have you heard of Mormons?"
"Ahh yes," he nodded.  "You guys use no technology!"
"Not quite."
"Your men have a bunch of wives?"

As missionaries, it's not hard to stick out in a crowd.  Yet even if people recognize the name tag, few actually know who we are or what we do.  They don't know that we are often as young as 18 or 19, that we often have never taken this foreign language we speak in school, nor that we left behind everything (from family to education to modern music) to preach about our religion 7 days a week for 1.5-2 years. At zone conference in Salzburg, all the missionaries in Austria met to hear from President and Sister Kohler.  They talked about how we really do have a "mission," and how we can accomplish it if we work as hard as we  can... Talking to everyone... Being obedient...Pushing back fears even if we are way outside our comfort zone. Perhaps many people don't know what our nametags mean or have never heard of our church... But we are here to give them that chance, because if this gospel has brought our lives so much peace and joy then surely it can bring some to theirs.

Some other noteworthy notes:- We visited Central Friedhof (cemetery). 

We saw the graves of many famous composers (such as Beethoven and Mozart), as well as the tombstones of politicians (such as Karl Renner) and poets and monks and millionaires. 

The most breath taking was moment was as we stood before the field of thousands of WWII casualties.


- We celebrated Richard's 69th birthday! We made an Oreo cake and got to play Wizard with Baagii while Richard sang opera and told us about Elvis, whom he says liked him back in the day when they worked together.
- A man asked Sister Selph if she was my mom.
- We got to ride in a member's car and it was SO SCARY being in a car again.
- We started calling old numbers and set up an appointment to meet with a man whom we sisters have been unable to reach since like April!
- We also had a totally random number call us and ask to meet.
- We missionaries got together for a finding day!  We just went to Praterstern Park and talked to random people on the sidewalks and benches.
- I keep being asked if I am Swedish or Finnish.
- Our sink has like a foot-wide hole in the porcelain, and if you move the faucet handle away from the very middle to try to  control the temperature, water gushes out onto the floor.
- I see more on the subway InfoScreen about the American presidential election than I do the Austrian election.............. ugh

Some German words that are really fun if you translate them literally:- tool = handwerkzueg = "handwork thing"
- cotton = baumwool = "tree wool"

Another fun word:- Quark (pronounced "kvark") = a creamy dish often mixed berries, similar to Greek yogurt except with so many probiotics that it's banned in America.  I liked it so much that I decided to have two bowls of it... Not realizing that I would 15 minutes later be singing in an impromptu quartet in front of all the missionaries in Austria. 

Note to self: don't eat dairy before singing.  (Funny enough,  that was just one of FIVE different musical numbers I did or will be performing in just one week!)
Well I'll be peacing out now; we are visiting a China festival before heading over for dinner with new Bishop Schmidl's ADORABLE family. Before I go, I would like to share a quote from Boyd K Packer: "True doctrine, understood, changes behavior and attitude.  The study of doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.  Preoccupation with unworthy behavior can lead to unworthy behavior.  T
hat is why we stress so forcefully the study of doctrines of the gospel."

I invite you not just to read your scriptures, but to study them... Not just to go to church, but to live your religion... If we truly have the gospel engrained within us then we need not question why we have commandments. Rather we will understand how much God truly loves us and wants to flourish by following His will.

    Sister Lundgreen


This week began in a a crevice of the earth, in a dank and dark cave illuminated just enough to see the  chandelier stalactites. We crept through the mouth of the ancient mountain, first noticing the fossilized bones of a 20,000-year-old bear, and then following the twisty path to discover an underground world where minerals are the paint for peculiar colors. {Perk #273 of being short: Whilst everyone else had to duck, I could walk straight and still have several inches between my head and the rock.}   In one room, water rained down from the stone ceiling into a still pool, the purest one could find.

I never cease to be amazed at the beautiful planet that our Lord created-- and the most magnificent thing is that this Being who performed such a magnificent feat is the same Being who literally cares about us and wants us to turn to Him for joy.  This week Sister Selph and I did a fast in which we prayed for miracles in our work. After about six days time we became slightly discouraged because we weren't really seeing anything.... And then suddenly the blessings just started pouring out.    Of course!  God has His own timing!  If He is willing to take A MILLION YEARS to create a colony of crystals crawling down from the ceiling of a cave... then surely we can be patient in knowing that the answers to our prayers will come eventually.

Wonders of the Week (to name just a few of many examples):

- Literally SO MANY PEOPLE whom we have been unable to make contact with for the past weeks and MONTHS we were finally able to get back in contact with.  Things ranging from us running into them on random
subways and trams to them answering our emails to them finally texting us back just with a new number.
- A man contacted us through asking for a Book of Mormon.
- A woman in our ward whom we had been unable to visit since my first week here finally came to our appointment without cancelling.  She is so sweet!  We read Mosiah 24 about how the Lord doesn't necessarily
take away our troubles but rather gives us the strength to make our burdens feel light.  For a long time she has been concerned that the people in the ward don't care about her (which is not true; I lost count of the number of times people asked us how she was doing) and that if she comes back to church after all this time then the people will be judgmental.  And yet when she showed up th  following Sunday, the ward members were just beaming with excitement and absolutely took her in.  Oh how they had missed her!  She stayed for all three hours and in Relief Society gave the most beautiful prayer.  She even asked us to meet again next week!
- We visited an elderly member in our ward.  We had originally planned on just dropping off a card, but she was so excited to see us that she let us in for an hour.  She was just so happy and sweet and smiley and kept bearing her testimony.  When she opened her card, she gasped because the design was of roses and roses are her favorite.

Some Other Great Things:

- MLC in Munich!  I GOT TO BE REUNITED WITH ALL MY OLD COMPANIONS plus Sister Lehmann who was BASICALLY a companion in the MTC... I love President and Sister Kohler so much and that whole conference was just a spiritual boost.  I have never been so motivated to not only be brave and do the work, but even just to improve myself as a missionary in every way.

- We got to help teach primary, which was about missionary work.  We brought Books of Mormon in 15 different languages and then all the kids were given a "call" to different countries.  This reminded me a lot of an activity we had when I was 9 or 10 which was the first time in my life when I really wanted to serve a mission.
-  Members ask us for Books of Mormon to give to people they know.
- We went to an International Multi-Religious Peace Fest.

- My understanding of German had gotten pretty good already, but now I HAVE TALKED "AUF DEUTSCH" WAY MORE THAN I EVER HAVE.

Quote of the Week:

"We have Turkeys.  Lots of Turkeys," said Teodora, whilst talking about refugees coming into Bulgaria.  I think she meant Turks.

It has been a wonderful week and my testimony has been strengthened so much. One thing that I've noticed is that the more hardworking and purposeful I am in my day, the happier I am. I invite you all to go about your life with a purpose- whether that be to learn something new, to lift others up, to follow your dreams, whatever, the choice is up to you. But we have such a short time here on earth that the less time we spend doing mediocre or even meaningless things like playing on our phones and watching TV, the more time we have to truly make ourselves something greater.

                  Sister Lundgreen

A Day in the Life of a Missionary (Post from September 5th)

At 6:30 the alarm beeps and I roll out of bed. I lay on the floor to do some sit ups - this is always dangerous because it's easy to fall back asleep - but I manage to get a decent workout in. 

7:00 hits and I rummage through the cupboard for music to listen to while we get ready.  I discover an old CD from our member Teodora.  Oh yes!  I think.   There is only one song recorded: her playing a funky-beat "Come Thou Fount" on the synthesizer.

8:00 is Personal Study during which I finish the Old Testament. During companion study at 9 we discuss some of the really deep questions we have been asked by a young guy we are meeting with.  Then during language study, we watch some of "The Testaments" in German before individually studying grammar/vocab.

11:00 we make a big lunch since we won't get home till late.  At noon we head out to an appointment.  In the subway station we are flagged down by a family.  We can tell they are American Mormons because - well, we can just tell.

Just as we arrive at the center for our lesson, she texts us to cancel.  Alright, spontaneous finding time!  We hardly take two steps into the nearby park before a man with a bottle of *unspecified clear liquid* shouts at us from the bench.  Oh no.  "I have a question for you missionaries," he says.  Oh no oh no.  "Do you believe that Jesus was black?" Alright, not what I expected. He then launches into some sort of story involving pyramids and pharaohs and gold and an underground society of Jews in Ethiopia.   His friend rolls some *unspecified plant*.  For the next 45+ minutes the conversation goes everywhere from how this man {btw the title on his card is Herr Dr. Dr. Jur.} roomed with the Crown Prince of Norway at Harvard, to the slave trade and how according to him Columbus was not the first to arrive in the New World, to how all people of a certain *unspecified* religion are evil {I try to politely argue this one but that only sparks a number of graphically violent stories}, to how America needs to step in and stop the corruption in Africa. At least the four of us are able to agree that the key to a better world is love, respect, and treating all humans equal no matter their skin color or nationality. They like us for sharing that opinion.  By the end his friend has taken a Book of Mormon and Herr Dr. Dr. Jur. has given us his phone number and address without us even asking.  As we leave, they say, "Don't forget the underground church in the Ethiopia!"

At 14:30 we have an appointment with an elderly couple in our ward. The husband is too old to attend, but boy is he still a pistol.  He likes to greet us in different languages, and he has a thick dialect. As a spiritual thought we talk about this weekend's upcoming Cultural Celebration and Temple Dedication which will be broadcasted from Freiburg.  (We are so excited to be able to hear both President Uchdorf and Elder Bednar speak in German!  Plus I know it will bring back many precious memories from my home temple dedication exactly two years before the day of my mission report date.) We are so happy to hear these members' strong testimonies as they talked about family history work. Afterwards, they surprise us with a meal - meat salad. Literally I think this sweet lady just dumped whole PACKS of processed lunch meat on our plates, chopped it up with raw onions, tomatoes and boiled egg and gave it to us.  Seriously it's the most heaping portion I've ever seen, and we've already had a big lunch.  We chit chat while trying our darndest to eat it with a smile.  At first the  conversation is great, but suddenly she starts telling us, in gruesome acted-out details, the horrors of the meat industry with its cruel treatment and slaughter of innocent animals.  Doesn't help that I was vegetarian before I left on my mission.  And mind you, she is the THIRD member to do this to us (to give us gigantor plates of super-meaty foods and whilst telling us scarring scenes worthy of Sinclair's "The Jungle" (#theirony).  Finally I finish the food, and she asks if I would like more juice.  "No thanks, I'm full!" She tops off my glass anyway. At
the end of our appointment, though, the couple is just beaming and she gives us the biggest hugs of gratitude for our company.  That alone makes the stomach ache which will last for the next 24 hours worth it. "Buenas noches!" says the husband.  "Spanish?" I say.  "Nope, French!"  "Well, I think it's Spanish too."  "Nope," he protests. "Just French!"  Ok, you win. Man I just love them!

16:00 we get to teach a German course.  In honor of Sister Selph's trip to the doctor earlier this week, we give them a medical vocabulary list.

17:45 is frisbee with all the other missionaries.  One of the guys from German course comes with us and even brings a friend. We invite a random man from the park and he also joins; he gives the elders his number so he can play again next week.

20:00 we our on our way home.  Whilst waiting for the tram, we decide to get ice cream because tomorrow we are starting a diet from desserts (which for me will last until 10/10). This happens to be the same parlor where, when I was a golden, the guy serving me ice cream was super flirty and gave me a free cookie.  Well what would you guess but AGAIN I am given a free cookie! AND I'M 70% CERTAIN IT'S A DIFFERENT GUY.  I'm just dying inside. Of course his face falls when he starts reading my name tag and gets to the word "Kirche." I say thanks and flee.

21:00 we plan for tomorrow and then jammy time! For the rest of our free time we turn on the "Prince of Egypt" soundtrack and I start a watercolor painting of the story of Esther. 22:30 comes too fast but once I hit the pillow I crash. What a crazy day.

I love being a missionary.

Pics from our exchange last week:

Pictures form our trip to the Art History Museum:

KREMS a la KREMS (Post from August 29th)

{I tried to make a Phantom of the Opera reference but I don't know the real "Masquerade" lyrics... I just know that song was stuck in my head the whole time I was in Krems...}

Down in the south of Österreich lies a town of but 900 people where King Richard was held captive long ago. The land itself has been inhabited for thousands of years, as the winding Danube provides for lush green. As a desert child, I was of course ecstatic to hike through the forest up to the top of the mount, where the rolling grape vineyards and red-roofed city could be seen from the crumbled castle ruins. The surviving foundations were speckled with wild flowers of a thousand vivid varieties. 

In the town below, cobblestone streets snaked between quaint cottages, and then there was 
the monastery, impressive as any with the dainty blue tower and the chapel of pastel fresco.

We also had the chance to visit Krems, and then later that week was exchange in Wiener Neustadt ("Veener-Noy-shtot," translated as Vienna New City, even though it's not very new at all; we walked past an 800-year-old church right next to their apartment).

In Wiener Neustadt I had the chance to work with Sister Gudnasen from Iceland! I asked her a bazillion questions about Iceland and also about Denmark where she previously lived.  We had a number of appointments together and were even surprise-treated to some ice cream by one of the cute young moms she has been meeting with! People are so nice. Seriously though, I was so amazed that when you say hello people there say hello back, because that rarellllyyyy happens in Vienna. Other than that, the rest of the week was comprised of finding, singing at the rest home, chilling with Baagii and Richard, and meeting with some amazing new people. Richard 1) loves the gospel and 2) always tells us about how he was Elvis Presley's lawyer, so when we told him some of the tough questions we've been recently asked, he was able to give us some excellent answers.

Weird Quotes of the Week:
- "The Plan of Salvation can be compared to Twilight." "Really?!" "No but I'm sure if you looked hard enough you could find something." -our GML. I will note that this is the second time he has brought up Twilight in casual conversation.
- One of the senior missionaries saw a guy coming through the door for institute.  A look of panic crossed her face for a split second before she put on a smile and then through her gritted teeth said to us, "Oh no. Sonny Michael Jackson." We are still waiting for this backstory.
- Ok not exactly a weird quote, but someone asked me if my family comes from Italy... Cause apparently I look like it? I think I'm going to trust Sister Gudnasen a little bit more when she says I look Scandinavian.

Well, this week I will hit my 1/3 WAY MARK. I am SIX MONTHS OLD now! To my future missionary friends, here are some things I didn't know about, half a year ago before I stepped on that plane:
- Preparation day does not last the whole day.
- A lot of people will mistake you for Jehovah's Witnesses. Sometimes nuns.
- You will have THE WEIRDEST DREAMS.
- Even though it's terrifying, sometimes it's actually pretty fun to talk to strangers, even if all you get to talk about is casual things before they get off the tram. If they leave with a smile then that makes it so worth it.
- If you have an iPad, you can receive and read emails that people send you any day of the week as long as you have wifi. You just can't respond till Monday.
- No matter how much churchy music you listen to, you will still get random pop/theatre/other songs stuck in your head all the time. (However, some older missionaries tell me that they can't remember a lot of their favorite music anymore, so maybe this will change.)
- Wearing normal clothes like jeans is so exciting.
- You will start to love those weird cheesy church movies, even the ones for kids.
- You will no longer be a night owl.
- There is something called Book Trunkiness that kicks in every time you are at someone's house and see their giant bookcase.
- The mission veil is a real thing. You literally just forget stuff from pre-mission life.
- When you look at your pictures, it will no longer be about what you look like but about where you are / who you're with / the precious memory made. Maybe this is because you will no longer have social media to be constantly comparing the number of likes you have, or maybe it's because your perspective will really be broadened to things beyond superficiality, to things that really matter.
- You will meet people in your ward who become role models.
- The Spirit does not change no matter the language. You could be halfway across the globe and yet be with a family whose house is filled with the spirit, and just feel at home again.
- You will become a lot more grateful for everything.
- You will discover new opinions, new cultures, things that make you really reflect on what that you have been raised with.
- Your testimony will be seriously challenged, but oh how it will be strengthened! You will learn to love the scriptures during your hour of personal study each day, and your prayers will become so sincere. If you thought you treasured the gospel before, now it will truly become something immeasurably great.

             Sister Lundgreen

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