Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

Okay, so first thing first. My new address is
Elder Andrew Terry
Kirche Jesu Christi
Benzstrasse 10
71332 Waiblingen

            It is MOST important to put Kirche Jesu Christi on it or it won’t get to me at all. Oh and let Tay know that I got her letter on Tuesday before I left so not to worry.
            Well Waiblingen is different from Vienna. First of all it is weird to not be in a big city with millions of people. We have a tiny portion of Stuttgart but we live about 10 minute train ride outside of Stuttgart so it’s definitely different.
           Anyways my new companion is Elder Patchett, he is from Texas, and he has been out on his mission for about 10 months, he came out at the same time as my old companion Elder Pieper. He is a really good cook, so I have been eating really well, which I am sure will make you happy. Hopefully I will learn a thing or 2. The ward here in Waiblingen is awesome though. They are really focused on missionary work and getting members involved in missionary work. Our ward mission leader is totally awesome. He is about 24 and a returned missionary, and his parents have us over for dinner once a week. We get a lot of eating appointments here too apparently, so that can be both good and bad. We are working with our ward mission leader, Micha, to start a new program with the members to get them involved in the missionary work. Waiblingen is a lot like Wien 5 was in that we have a little part of city and then a bunch a little dorfs all around. But the trains don’t come as often and aren’t as reliable as they are in Vienna, so that makes it harder. We did find a new investigator because we have been going by on old investigators, and we went by on this investigator. His name is Markus, he is about 45 years old, and he is kinda crazy because he had a stroke 15 years ago and he forgot how to speak German or English. His German actually isn't too bad, but he gets really distracted easily, and he has a lot of crazy ideas. He also records tons of tv programs onto DVDS. He actually pulled out one to show us something, and guess what it was. The Nostradomus Effect, that show on the history channel, and he wanted to know when we thought the world would end. Man did I have a hard time not just spitting out everything I knew and thought. Instead we explained that the name of our church is the Church of Jesus Christ OF LATTER DAY SAINTS because we know that the second coming is soon. But this guy was convinced that the world is ending in 2012. We are hoping that we can turn that to our advantage by helping him get prepared for the end of the world by being baptized. Other than that we have been trying to get acquainted with the area and such.  
            Yesterday we got to travel to Ravensburg, Elder Patchett’s old area, for the baptism of a lady that Elder Patchett found and taught. It was really cool, and a very scenic and long train ride. Other than that there isn't much else going on here. I love you, and I truly am grateful to the Lord for all that he did for me. If he could go through the suffering and sins of the world for me, than I can overcome my fears and disappointments for him. I love him, and it is only through him that I am able to do this work at all. He is my Savior, and I'm eternally grateful for all he has done for me!

Elder Terry

May 23, 2011

AHH!!!!! Don't send any package!!! I'm being transferred to..................... WAIBLINGEN GERMANY. hahaha aren't transfers great? I totally wasn't expecting it at all, but it is where the Lord wants me to be. Oh and Waiblingen is the ward that is directly north and east of Stuttgart. It is a pretty small area size wise, so I'm excited to see what that means. Unfortunately that is on the other side of the mission, which means Wednesday I will be traveling by train all day. About 8 hours train ride, with a one hour umsteig wait in Munich. So before I forget to say this, I got your letter with the apostile, so it’s all good, we are going to take care of that tomorrow morning. I also got Abbie’s letter, and I know she was worried, so it would be nice if you let her know. I also got the dear elder from Jake and the Burdetts, and Bro Burdetts dear elder about Wien. And Tresslers letter, other than that anything that is in the mail won't get to me for a LONG TIME; so if I don't write back it’s not my fault, I'm just in a different country.
            That is good advice about Patriarchal blessings. I had my shrunk and laminated at the MTC and I stuck it in the back of my scriptures, and I normally read it about once a week, but yeah that is really good advice. I would LOVE the May Ensign in English. I don't know when we get them in German, and I don't know how much I can understand so I would love them in English.
Unfortunately I won't be in Austria when Liddles come, so I guess that wasn't meant to be.
            Okay now about this week, It has been crazy. Last Monday we had a lesson with Nickolai, and he was crazy as ever, but after the lesson he walked with us to the bus stop, and on the way he told us he has cut down to only one pack of cigarettes a day and he will keep cutting down because he wants to be baptized. I was shocked because I thought he wasn't making any progress. We also did an ausstellung on Wednesday, which is like a street display, and we got tons of numbers. Most of them were for the wards in Wien, but it was so much fun to be there with like 10 elders and just talk to everyone. We literally talked to everyone, which is way cool, because that is like thousands of people. We also had a cool experience on Wednesday. We were in Deutsch Wagram for lunch with Pres Husz, but we went early because we wanted to go by on someone we had met on the street 2 weeks earlier. He was in a rush trying to "get to school" so he gave us his address and told us to come by. So we went to the address and it was fake. Well the street and the house number were real, but he gave us a fake steige number and a fake door number. But we were there, and the Lord doesn't lead his missionaries somewhere for no reason, so we doored out that stiege, but no one was home. So we doored out the next stiege, and still no one was home. So we sent to a house right next to it and rang their door bell, and there was the guy that we had met of the street 2 weeks earlier. He let us in and we started talking to him. Turns out he wasn't going to school, but was going to clean his mom's house, who had died just a few weeks earlier. He also told us that he was way strong Catholic, but his baby died when it was 12 days old and it wasn't baptized and the catholic church pretty much told him, well that’s to bad, so he was ausgetretet (I can't even remember this word in English. It means pretty much "self ex-communication" or more literally "he stepped out")  from the catholic church. He wanted to know why his child died, and we told him that we could help him find the answer. It was so cool because we knew that the Lord had brought us to one of his children to let them know that they have a Father in Heaven who loves them. So cool. We also had zone conference on Friday. It was so good! We learned so much from President and Sister Condie, and also the Assistants. That was when I found out I was being transferred too. I'm really sad to leave Vienna, it’s an amazing city, and the members are awesome, and there are so many people ready for the gospel. It was so cool because on the way back from zone conference we got on the Schnell bahn and I talked to this old man named Peter. And my train contacting skills are super sub par. I pretty much just asked where the train was going, said I was not from here, and then he just starting talking to me. And in Austria that doesn't happen. People don't talk to someone unless they know them. Anyways I ended up getting his number and setting up an appointment for the next day, and we visited him and he is really interested and wants to know if there was a God. We promised him that he could find out if there was a God by reading in the Book of Mormon, and then we committed him that once he found out if he would be baptized. He was hesitant at first because he had heard that Mormons circumcise people at baptism (I have no idea where these crazy ideas come from) but once we explained that that wasn't true he said that he would. It was so cool! Anyways that work is going great, and I am excited to work in Waiblingen! The church is true!
Elder Terry

Monday, May 16, 2011

May 16, 2011

            (I told Andrew that his friend, Jake Berlin, got his mission call to Chile Rancagua and not to Germany like Andrew had predicted.  Here is his response…)  DANG!! I was really hoping Jake would be coming to the Alpine mission, but I guess that is okay, the Lord needs him in Chile. That is really exciting. Tell Spencer (Spencer Baker enters the MTC this week and is going to the Germany Berlin mission) hello from me, that Germany is awesome and get ready to work hard. Oh and to buy a suit in Germany. (PS I bought a suit last week.. only 50 euro, and it is better than the suits you get from Mr Mac. Oh and I bought a cheap backpack because mine broke, but then the new one broke too, so I might be buying a new one soon).
            (During the phone call I asked him about his ward but I didn’t understand very much since he used names of places.  Now I will have it in writing and I can look at a map and figure out where he’s at) Our ward covers most of the north eastern part of Austria. We have everything on this side of the Donau pretty much to the border. I've never been farther than Deutsch Wagram, which is where a lot of members live, and that is about 15 minutes by train away. We are planning on going to a town called Gänserdorf soon though, so we will see. We have a lot of members, but not all of them are active. Probably about 80ish members come to church. The Wien 4 ward is international, so they teach in English.
            (I asked him if he had a regularly scheduled time for service and what kind of service they do)  We don't have a regular time for service. We always ask people if we can do service for them, but they often say no. The only real service we have done is we dug about a six foot trench around this guy’s house one day. It took a couple of hours, but it was really funny. There was a construction crew working there too, and we talked to them. One of the guys left and he bought beers for everyone but he got 2 cokes for us. It was funny.
            Oh Nickolai is still super crazy. He left church last week because he had "tooth pain" but we didn't really believe him. But last Monday we went to his house and he had ripped out all of his top teeth. hahahahaha he is so weird. I literally can't describe it. He wants to be baptized but he can't quit smoking. So we talked about the Book of Mormon, and asked if he thought it was true. He said he did. So we read 1 Nephi 3:7 and told him that God has prepared a way for him to quit smoking. Then Nickolai told us that the Book of Mormon wasn't true and that Joseph Smith was lying. It was funny.
            Anyways, Sem (the Mongolian girl who came to church the last week) is really progressing. We gave her the Book of Mormon in Mongolish on Sunday, and on Wednesday we met with her again and she had read 29 pages! She had tons of questions about stuff because she has no Christian background at all, so we have to explain who Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are, but she understands things really well. We invited her to come to a baptism in Wien 4 on Saturday, and she came and loved it! She also came to church and has read to 1 Nephi 22. The only problem right now is that she is really really shy and doesn't like talking to other people at all, so at church she just hides behind us. And she has a little bit of trouble praying, but really for not knowing practically anything before she is progressing really well. We are really excited for her.
           We also did a blitz on the university this week. I tried English contacting because some of the elders say that it works, and it’s funny because it works better than German contacting sometimes. Apparently the students like to show off how much English they can speak or something.
            Okay here is my crazy missionary rant for the week. For some reason everyone here thinks we are Jehovah's Witnesses. Like I don't understand why. There have been missionaries coming to Vienna for like a hundred years. But apparently the Jehovah’s Witnesses are everywhere here, and it actually explains a lot why people think we are so crazy. It’s because they think we are J-dubs! Sometimes when people like ignore us or are mean we just yell that we aren't the Jehovah's Witnesses and then most of the time they come back or pay attention. It’s so funny. Who knew that the Jehovah's Witnesses had such a big presence here? Anyways the work is going well, they finally got a new ad campaign so we can look somewhere besides our feet, and my first transfer is almost over. Wow, have I really been here for 6 weeks? That’s crazy! Anyways the work will move forward, and we are so blessed everyday. I love you!
Leibe,  Elder Terry

Mother's Day Phone Call

May 8, 2011

Here is a synopsis of Andrew’s phone call home.  We were able to talk to him for an hour after we were finally able to make a connection.  We asked him some questions and I wrote down the answers as well as I could.  I think next time I will have to buy a recorder so I can participate in the conversation and then go back to listen to the recording to get a transcript.

What do you eat for breakfast? 
When he first got there the previous elder had left some cereal that is similar to Cocoa Puffs, so he ate that.  Now he eats Müesli with yogurt.

What is your apartment like?  How big is it?
The apartment building is 6 floors and they live on the top floor.  They have a small bedroom with bunkbeds, a small area for desks, an even smaller kitchen and a sitting area.  He has a microwave and a stove, the stove is gas and has to be lit each time he uses it. The refrigerator is mini-fridge sized.  Only he and his companion, Elder Pieper, live in the apartment.  Elder Pieper is the District Leader and the Zone Leaders are in their district and live about 10 minutes away.  As we were talking I could hear his companion laughing so I asked what was going on and Andrew said a member was there looking at their walls.  Apparently they have a water leak and the paint is peeling off the wall and they have mold so they are asking the landlord to fix it or the church will find another apartment.

Are your neighbors friendly?
He doesn’t really know the neighbors well but he does say hi and they say hi back.  He said a few elders ago tried teaching the neighbors and the neighbors didn’t like it so no one has done it since.  He also mentioned that with the death of Osama bin Laden they have to be careful and not say they are American.  They live in an area that is predominately Muslim and Turkish.

How often do you have Zone Conference?
Once every other transfer, which is every 6 weeks.  They have transfers in 2 weeks and just had a Zone Conference or are having one soon (I don’t remember that answer very well)

How many dinner appointments do you get?
Not very many.  They are usually on their own for dinner.  His favorite thing to eat is a sandwich called a doümer or something else called a Käse leberkäse which is translated as cheese liver cheese but it doesn’t really have liver in it, he calls it a cheese loaf.  He said the doümer is a German food and the second one is more Turkish.  He said his favorite drink is a Turkish drink pronounced /ulu dog/, he couldn’t spell it for me.  Or there is a German soda pop, almdübler, that he likes.  He does eat Nutella and likes it so he isn’t missing American peanut butter yet.

Do you do your own laundry?
Yes, they have a small washing machine in their apartment but no one uses a dryer so they have a drying rack.  They have been teaching a man who smokes 2 packs a day and his apartment reeks of the smoke, the walls are yellow.  Andrew said their suits smell so they went to buy some dryer sheets thinking that would help get rid of the stench but when they went into stores asking for dryer sheets no one knew what he was talking about, so I will be sending him some.  He did say they can buy Febreeze so that might help.

Where do you go to read your emails?
They go to an internet café that charges 2 euros for 1 ½ hours on the computer.  He said the postal rates just went up in Vienna and that a letter to the US now costs almost 2 euros to send.

Tell us what an average day looks like:
6:30 am            wake up
                        go for a run or play basketball, there is a park not too far away from 
                            their apartment
                        Iron a shirt (see above, no dryer means wrinkled shirts)
8-9 am             Personal Study
9-10                 Companion Study
10-11               Study German if they don’t have an appointment. They try to eat 
                           before they go out so they can last until 9:00 pm without 
                           buying food.
Rest of day      Appointments.  They live a few blocks away from a train station so 
 they ride the train into the main part of Vienna to teach.  There is a river that they have to cross sometimes to teach but it is out of their area so they have to call the Zone Leaders to get permission, he said it while laughing so I guess it’s a regular occurrence and is kind of a weird thing that across the river is out of their area when that is where they have appointments.
9:00 pm           Back to the apartment
10:30               Lights out

            We asked him how church was that day (Mother’s Day) and he said it was good but weird because they had an investigator, Nikolai, come to church.  They have Sacrament Meeting last and Nikolai barely made it through Sunday School, he is the 2 pack a day smoker, without taking a break but then when it was time to go to Sacrament Meeting he said he was hungry and needed to leave.  Andrew mentioned that this investigator is also 60 years old and is schizophrenic.  He chuckled a few times telling us about church and their adventures in teaching this investigator.  He also said that none of their investigators were “normal”.  Most of the people who will listen to them are the ones that are not accepted by society.  The “normal” ones are content with their lives and just ignore you or stare at you.
            Since he knew about bin Laden’s death I asked him if he read the local newspapers and he laughed again and said, “No, the local papers are pornography.”  He said that a company just started a new ad with women in bikinis.  He said they are all over the train station and on the trains and all over so most of the time they walk with their heads down.  He said that he has been warned that the summer will be bad.  Apparently the parks turn into nudist parks.  Lots of fun!
            He also said they ran into someone from Germany who actually spoke German and Andrew could understand them!  The people of Vienna don’t speak German and they are hard to understand.  While we were talking Andrew would ask his companion how to say stuff in English, it was cute.

Monday, May 2, 2011

May 2, 2011

            So the work is going great here. This past week has been crazy busy. We hadn't been having tons of success getting appointments with people before this week, we were only teaching about 5 lessons a week, and 2 or 3 of those were to newly baptized or less actives. So we made a goal to make out 7 appointments on the street this week. It worked great! We got 8 appointments made out on the street, taught a total of 16 appointments for the week, and found 11 new investigators. We were definitely blessed from the Lord A LOT. It was so cool. We would just talk to people and they would be interested. Totally the Lord leading us together.
            We found this really cool family on the street on Wednesday. We were just walking, contacting people on our way to another appointment, and we saw this about 21 year old mom pushing her baby in a stroller, and with her was her mom. We asked them what family means to them, and they stopped and we started talking. We asked if they believed in God, and they told us that if we had asked that last week they would have laughed and walked away, but now they aren't so sure. They told us the craziest story. They were in a car crash a couple of days earlier, in which the 2 year old baby, Sonja, went through the car and flew about 20 or 30 feet. Amazingly she was completely fine except for a little scrape on her knee. Both Kerstin (Sonja's mom) and Gabrielle (Kerstin's mom) felt that Sonja had been protected by an angel. This family had obviously been placed in our path by a loving Heavenly Father, and he had prepared them to be receptive to our message. We set up an appointment for the next day, and we went to visit them. We taught Kerstin, her brother Roman, and Gabrielle the 0 lesson, (which is a magical lesson a general authority gave to the European missions to use) and we brought Sam Jankowsky, the bishop of our ward's son (I’m thinking he meant the son of our Bishop). The lesson went great. Roman wasn't really interested at all, and Gabrielle wasn't either, and they both kept standing up and getting coffee or another cigarette or something, but Kerstin definitely felt the spirit, because she was completely into our lesson. She even texted us later that day saying thanks for coming and that she would be coming to church on Sunday! We were so excited! We actually were hoping that 5 investigators would come to church yesterday, but only one showed up. It wasn't Kerstin unfortunately, but we are pretty sure she just chickened out and we have some good plans to have members pick people up.
            Oh and we met 2 completely crazy people. One is named Walter. He was a HUGE druggie but now he only does ganja, which he says isn't even a drug, but he loves Jesus, and he loved us. He asked us if he could come do missionary work with us, and he promised us "that if we wanted he would fly to America with us tomorrow so that we could get out of this faithless land." yeah he was crazy but he was also funny.
            We also met a guy named Nikolai from Bulgaria. We actually met him 2 weeks ago. He was standing outside of our apartment one morning and asked us of we had "that book" that we could give him. OF course we said yes, so we got his address and set an appointment for later that day. We went by and he wasn't home and we checked 2 more times and he was never home. So we had forgot about him until Saturday, until we ran into him again, and he was like "Mormons!!! Why didn't you bring me that book?" We told him what happened, and we set up another appointment and got his phone number this time. We went by again and he wasn't home, so we called him and he said he was on the bus and almost home. We waited for a long time, then called him and asked him where he was. He said he was at home, and we informed him that we were right outside, but he said we weren't. He ended up getting really mad and hanging up. We figured we must be at the wrong address, and we started running around until we finally found the right one. (side note- addresses here are hard. really hard, so it wasn't really our fault. and when you ask for directions people don't even say I don’t know, they always try to guess where it is, even though they are normally wrong.) Anyways, turns out he is definitely a little crazy, but he needs the gospel, and the Lord made sure that we ran into each other not just once but twice, which practically never happens in a city of 8 million. Anyways the work is moving forward, keep the city of Vienna in your prayers, and also our investigators, and everything will work according to the will of him who is Father of us all!
Elder Terry