|I love Tirol!|
|On the train|
|Book of Mormon in German and Italian|
|Hmm not quite sure about this one...|
|Cathedral in Brixen|
|On the train ride|
|On the border of Austria and Italy (note the signs!)|
The Lord blessed Sherry with her dream of traveling to Italy this week. She loved it and the first thing she said to me this morning was "I am living in Sud Tirol some day!!!!" Then for pday she went on a Sound of Music Tour!
She is back to her bubbling over with happiness self this week.
(A few answers to Mom)
(The train trip to Italy:)
"It was awesome, the train was empty and so we had our own cabin and I had brought my speakers and we just listened to EFY music and looked at the pretty view!"
"There are some photos of Innsbruck in there also. The city with the snow covered mountains."
(How is the weather?)
The trees have started budding, the birds singing, and there have even been swans out. Everyone is thinking that we just won't have a winter this year. Some of the plants that bloom for Easter are already budding. Yep, so I am fine with this weather! Plus, I didn't have to buy a real winter jacket!
Can't believe you got so much snow! I am jealous! Apparently the southern part of the alps, that usually gets hardly any snow, has like 3 or 4 meters while we have none up here! But I am not complaining, missionary work is hard when it is cold outside. So I like this weather better :)
If someone had to pick a theme for this week, it would have to be "how many languages can a missionary have to speak on a mission?"
We had an awesome time going down to Brixen and doing a "Super-Tausch" with Sister Schoenherr and Kervinen! While down there I learned one phrase in Italian (since the city is about 80 percent German speakers and 20 percent Italian speakers). The phrase was, "I can only speak German"
Don't ask me to say it auf Italianisch...I forgot.
But we had another cool language event this week! In our ward we've been really trying to contact all of the inactive members and see if they have interest to have contact with the church. It's been super fun to reach out and help find the members who have just sort of slip between the cracks.
We went by on an inactive who said that she has no interest this last week. She answered the door and she was the short older woman. We were trying to talk with her but she didn't understand us and we couldn't understand her. She gestured to her ears and it seemed like she was going to get her hearing aids. While she went to the other room, I kinda did a sneaky secret agent look around and make sure she was the only one living there and that she was the old lady we were looking for. I went back to the doorway and then she invited us in, but we were still having a real hard time understanding her.
Moving from SW Germany to Austria, I have gotten pretty used to not understanding the dialekts here. There are just some people I won't understand. But the hard part about this sister is that she couldn't understand me. Strange, I know I have an American accent, but I didn't think it was that thick.
It was then I started looking around and I noticed all of the little notes, books, etc. in her house were in Spanish. Click! The lightbulb went on. I used my tiny bit of Spanish I learned from a year in high school, about a week of Spanish 101 at Clark, and then the two weeks before my mission and communicated basically nothing but enough that we left her with a spiritual thought out of the Bible, we now have her phone number and she has ours, and she knows we are the Sisters.
She also told us her whole life story but all I could understand was Chile and Roberto...or Enrico. Some sort of Spanish mans name.
Our Relief Society President served her mission Spanish speaking in the US so she'll be able to get the details. But this sister definitely is okay with contact so hopefully we'll be able to get it all figured out!
And I can now say that we have taught a lesson in Spanish on my mission! Booyeah!
This week really was one of those weeks that made me pause and think, "Woah! Is this real life? There is no way." There are always April showers before may flowers and my email last week was about the rain, this week brought all of the beautiful good stuff!
I got to spend a lot of time on the train just looking out the window at the Alps and thinking about where my life is and who I am. I just can't believe how lucky and blessed I am, all because of the decisions to keep my covenants that I have made with God. The saddest and most terrible parts of my life have been when I failed to keep his commandments, and the happiest times of my life are when I am consistently doing my best to keep them. That is no coincidence!
God's will is really for all of us to be happy. But we have to choose to follow his will if we are going to have that happiness. You can't have your cake and eat it too. You can't make choices contrary to God's commandments and then have the happiness promised by him to those who choose His will. It just simply doesn't work that way.
It's pretty nice, the formula to being happy in life. Keep the commandments: Be Happy. Don't keep the commandments: Be Sad. And not the good kind of sad that makes you appreciate happy moments. The bad kind of sad that keeps you awake at night, stresses you out, and confuses your sense of purpose.
There were a lot of great General Conference talks this last Conference about God's will, the commandments, etc. I would definitely encourage you all to check them out.
But yep, that's basically all of my email-worthy news for the week. Fell in love with Italy, taught a lesson in Spanish. Of course tons of other stuff happened, but that's what my mission journal is for. Don't worry mom, I haven't missed a day yet I don't think.
This work really is the work of God. There is just no way it would be going forward if it weren't! Yes, contrary to popular belief, miracles in missionary work are even happening over here in Austria. It looks different, but you can't help but feel the excitement in God's huge plan for these special people. The hearts of the people in this part of the world are hearts of Gold! They are some of the most amazing people I have met and I love them so much!
I also love all of you at home so much! Hopefully you don't get sick of me saying it every week, but I do! I am so grateful for everyone at home. I can't wait to give you big hugs again some day! But for now, the people here in Salzburg need the hugs a little bit more!
I love you all!
Salzburg Zone Conference photos: