Hallo, Wir Sind Missionarinnen!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

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

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