Monday, April 18, 2011

April 18, 2011

            My first letter from Europe! yes!!! I'm writing this as a reply because I want to be able to make sure I cover everything. Oh and on German keyboards the y and z are switched so if you notice that it’s really not my fault, I'm trying to catch all of them but it is pretty hard.
            So first the plane rides. It was long. Really long. But the flight wasn't full so we got to spread out and I so I got some sleep. Maybe a few hours. The mission president and his assistants were at the airport to greet us. Pres. Condie is great, and so is Sister Condie, and the assistants are... strange. haha not really they are amazing, but they seemed strange at first because they just smiled and waved at us and they looked really goofy. But right after they greeted us Pres and Sister Condie took our bags, and the assistants, Elder Adams and Elder Baird, took us on the U bahn (German subway) to go contact people. I was so out of it, and I was more then a little scared. But it was crazy to watch how good the assistants were. They would sit down next to someone and within a few moments they were talking about the gospel. Crazy! The first guy I tried to talk to spoke English, so that definitely helped. We talked about the city and stuff, but not about the gospel. Then Elder Sanderson and I tried to talk to this old lady. She freaked out and started yelling at us, but we couldn't understand. So we left her alone and went somewhere else. Eventually we came back to that car and tried to talk to someone else, but the mean old lady started talking to everyone else and we still couldn't understand. Afterwards Elder Baird told us what she was saying. She was telling everyone that we were scientologists and that we should just go back to America. Yeah crazy lady. We pretty much didn't talk to anyone else, instead we observed the Assistants. They are good. They got like 2 or 3 appointments in just our hour train ride. They showed us a few tricks, like when you ask to make out an appointment say "we can make time for you on Monday at 2 or Tuesday at 4, which day is better for you?" just things like that where you word things so that you are bold and turn their thoughts to do what you want them to do. Pretty nifty. Oh and they talk to everyone, and never take no for an answer the first time. Like literally we were running after people to talk to them. Really cool. Then we had meetings at the mission office for the rest of the day, then went back to the mission home and had dinner. My first real German meal, and it was rice and chicken with gravy. It was really good. Oh and they told you where we were going, but they didn't tell us until the next day.
            Here are some of the cool things I found out about German on the first day. First the windows in their houses are AWESOME!! They all have handles, and if you turn the handle half way then the window swings open like a door, but if you turn the handle the whole way then it tilts open from the top. How cool is that! Oh and their toilets are backwards, so that the hole leading out the bottom of the toilet is in the front. I think it uses less water that way. Pretty cool.
            Anyways we spent the night at the mission home, then the next morning we had more meetings and stuff where we got taught, and then we found out our area and our trainer. I am serving in the Vienna 5th ward, and my new companion is Elder Pieper. Our address is

Schlosshoferstrasse 50/14
1210 Wein

 or you can write Vienna, Austria, it will get here too. The only thing is that if you send stuff and it doesn't get here until after I am transferred I might never get it, so if its something SUPER important send it to the mission home, and we get mail from the mission home about once a month, when the zone leaders go to Munich for zone leader conference. Elder Pieper says it takes about a week for mail to get here, and about 2 weeks for packages. And yes I got the package, thank you very much, it was great!
So more about Elder Pieper, he has been out about 7ish months, he is from Salt Lake City, he likes to play soccer, and he is kinda quiet. He is way cool though, and we going running every morning so that’s good. Elder Sanderson and Elder Sullivan are also in Vienna, so that’s pretty cool.
The train ride from Munich to Vienna was cool. Our trainers actually came to Munich to pick us up, so we didn't go alone. It is about a 4.5 hour ride, and we actually missed the train we were planning on taking, so we got in way late, and it was too dark to see a lot of the scenery, but what I did see was beautiful. Munich was so beautiful and green, and so is Vienna. We live in the city of Vienna, in a district called Floridsdorf. Vienna is divided into 22 sections or districts, and we are in the 21st  I think... I'm not sure. Anyways part of our boundaries are in the city, but we also have some of the nicer home neighborhoods in the outer regions of the city. There are 5 wards in Vienna, and one of them is an English speaking international ward. We are in the Vienna stake, which is pretty much all of eastern Austria. Vienna is so cool though. We are a walking district, but we don't really walk anywhere. There are like a million kinds of public transportation. U bahn or subway, Schnell bahn which are more like real trains that we use to travel far distances, Strass bahn, which are street trains, like in San Fransisco, and then buses. We have month passes so we use them all the time, and its cool because you can get anywhere on the trains and such.
            So my first real thing we did was we had a lunch visit with an old lady member in a retirement home. We had this really weird meatloaf stuff, called stephaniebretten, which is meat loaf with a pickle, half a hard boiled egg, and a brautwurst baked in it. I didn't know if I could eat it, especially the egg, but I did, and it tasted pretty good. We also met with a young man named Thomas, who had tons of questions about the Book of Mormon, and he spoke almost perfect English, and asked us to teach in English, so that was great. We also taught a college student named Johannes and his girlfriend, and we met with some newly baptized members named Horst and Ilsa. We didn't have tons of time to teach because..... it was stake conference, and Pres and Sister Condie came to give a training meeting, and we had lots of meetings. Elder Texeira of the Area Presidency came because they are reorganizing the stake presidency. It was really cool. Yesterday as the meeting was closing Elder Texiera was bearing his testimony and he said that if the members work hard the day would soon come when there would be more than one stake in Vienna. It was so cool! Talk about awesome!
This is a long email, sorry, but there is a lot to say, and since Riker and Sidney and dad didn't email me I can't email them, so maybe next week :) I have a lot of time to email so please have them email me.
            I think I've almost covered everything... we don't have tons of appointments right now because everyone goes out of town for Easter, but supposedly we normally have about 13-20 appointments a week, we also teach an English and German class, and we meet with the Husz family once a week. Pres Husz is 1st councilor in the mission presidency ( I didn't know that those existed, but it makes sense I guess) and an Emeritus Seventy. Yeah that’s intimidating. I haven't met him yet but we meet with him on Wednesday so everyone pray for me.
We talk to everyone we can. We haven't even gone dooring yet, because there are so many people on the streets and on the trains that we never run out of people to talk to. Most people ignore us.  We can normally get about 3 or 4 kontakt informations a day, so that's not too bad. We are going through the area book right now to see if we can find anyone that we should try and get in contact with.
            German is coming, but slowly, especially since I'm in Vienna where people talk with a accent. Especially old people. I can't understand them at all. But it’s coming, and soon it won't be a problem. It is still kinda scary to talk to people, especially on the bus, but I try hard every day, and it is slowly getting easier.
The food here is great, I love it, and we just went shopping and I love the food, and the prices. I don't know about the prices since they are in euros, but a liter of milk is .89, 2 kg of oranges is 2 euros. Bread here is amazing of course. They also have this really cheap bread, which they call toast because it’s not even worth calling bread, but it’s a lot like American bread, and it costs .45! sweet eh? It’s against the law to fortify anything with vitamins so its a good thing I have my vitamin pills! We have some peanut butter, and I'm starting to love Nutella, but I'll let you know if I need some peanut butter. Oh and dad, liederhosen are 180 euro here, but supposedly they are cheaper in Germany, so we will see. Anyways I love you all, thanks for everything, the church is true, the work is great, and here in the Alpineländisch mission münchen we baptize people. It’s what we do. Because we are the only church that can! Keep the people in your prayers and the work will move forward!
Elder Andrew Terry

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