Friday, September 23, 2011

Sept. 19, 2011

            Well first off, we received no visit from Elder Bednar. At least that I am aware of. Maybe sometimes soon...?? Well I can at least hope. (according to other missionary letters I have read Elder Bednar visited England and the Frankfurt Mission)  And as for music, I would love some CDs. And there isn`t really anything I want for my birthday. I am going to need to buy a winter coat soon (it is pretty cold today, so it might be REALLY soon), so you could give me money for that :) anyways, sorry I am so boring and lame, but there is really nothing that I want for my birthday.
            That is interesting that they moved special ed to Rocky Mountain. Any good reason as to why they did that? And I am sorry that time goes by so fast. Now you know what it is like trying to teach people the gospel in 45 minute lessons.
            Well this week was really interesting, for a number of reasons. First off last Monday for P day after I emailed you we went to Wien to Stephansdom, the giant church in the center of Wien. We met up with Elder Sanderson and his companion, Elder Tanner, and we went on a tour of the catacombs underneath Stephansdom. It was really cool, but pretty creepy, because the catacombs are where they buried people, so there are just rooms full of dead bodies, and apparently they ran out of room, so in some of the rooms they started to organize the bones so that they could fit more people inside. Unfortunately there are no pictures allowed, so you can`t see how disgusting it was. But we also climbed the tower of Stephansdom, 343 steps in this little windy staircase, but it was a good view. All and all it was a very fun p day.
            Then Tuesday we had district meeting, and then we had an austausch. Elder Talbot worked in Wien with Elder Greve, and Elder McClellan came to Wiener Neustadt with me. We had 2 fallen out appointments, so it was a pretty rough day, and nobody really wanted to listen, so poor Elder McClellan, he probably thinks Wiener Neustadt is the worst. Oh well, we had a lot of fun, and it was a good austausch. Then on Wednesday we had another austausch. This time I went to Wien with Elder Sullivan, and Elder Parker went to Wiener Neustadt with Elder Talbot. Now if any of you are thinking, "man, why are you doing so many companionship exchanges?" let me tell you why. Pres. Miles is very synergy oriented, and he really wants us to do a lot to learn from each other. He has asked us to do more austausches and to do a better job of making them spiritual experiences. So that is why. Anyways the austausch in Wien with Elder Sullivan was awesome. He was a little sick, so that was rough, but he really did a great job of working through it. It was super fun to work again in Wien. We had tons of fun talking to everyone. And we had a cool story.
            We talked to this atheist, Buddhist guy, who really wasn`t too interested. He was willing to talk with us, but he wouldn`t give us a number, address, or make out an appointment. I was ready to leave him and find someone new, but then Elder Sullivan committed him to go home, and pray if there was a God. He agreed to do it, and then gave us his number and address. It was pretty cool. Elder Sullivan is the bomb.
            Besides the austausches, Elder Talbot and I have been trying to really get the work moving faster here in Wiener Neustadt. We have a lot of investigators, but they aren`t really progressing, and we really wanted to change that. So we have thought a lot about it, and we are trying to get our investigators to meet with us for 3 times a week. It is a lot, but we have really felt that that is what is needed to help them progress. We will see what will happen this week.
            Anyways, we had stake conference this weekend, and we were finally able to get A________ to come to church, and to meet with us! He has been working like 60 hours a week, so he hasn`t had anytime to meet with us. But finally on Sunday we met with him at a members house. We talked about reading scriptures daily, and at first A_____ said that he didn`t have any time to read, but as we talked more and as A_____ felt the spirit he totally changed, and by the end he told us that he wants us to call him every day to remind him to read! It was really a testimony to me of the power of the spirit and how it is the only thing that can change people, but it also showed how easy it is to drift away from the iron rod. Scripture study is the best! I am so glad we get to study for 2 hours every day. It is my favorite time of the day.
Anyways, have a great week, enjoy the beautiful season of fall, and I love you mom!

Elder Terry

Sept. 12, 2011

        Well this week was an adventure. First off, sorry that Bro. Kjar scared you with his phone call. I actually thought about that when he asked for our phone number, but I figured that you would get over it. It was pretty fun to walk around Schönbrunn with him, and he loved taking pictures so I hope that maybe you will be satisfied on the photo side for a while. And yes, I know, my hair is short. I cut it myself actually, a few weeks ago. The 15 euro it costs to get it cost by someone else just wasn`t worth it. And I got your letter today, so it was good to hear that everything is going well. Besides our adventure to schönnbrunn we had many adventures this week.
            First off was we had an exchange with the Zone Leaders, and I got to go to Wien and work with Elder Handley, who is the elder that I replaced in Wien 5 when I first came into the field. He is a great missionary, and we had a busy, busy schedule. We pretty much ran around Wien for the entire day. It was a lot of fun, and I learned a lot about talking and contacting people in random places, like waiting for the train/subway, on the escalator, in the elevator, etc. It was a lot of fun, and really good.
            Outside of our exchange our entire week has pretty much been inviting people to come to the open house that the members were hosting on Saturday. We gave out TONS of invitations, and we tried to invite every inactive person on our record. We also found a few new investigators.
            One was an 82 year old man, named A______, A member found him when she helped him carry a package, and she invited him to learn more about the gospel. He is super nice, and a lot of the stuff that he says is super funny. He is the first person I have met in Austria that is still racist towards Jews. He really believes that every bad thing in the world is because of the Jews. We also found a guy who the missionaries used to visit, but he wasn`t making any progress so they dropped him. We went to the appointment, and his Jehovahs Witness neighbor was there, and he kept trying to teach us about what the bible "really" says. He was really smart, and definitely knew his bible stuff, but it was interesting how he could twist scriptures to say what he wanted them to say. The appointment wasn`t too great because the Jehovahs Witness just kept talking, and we refused to bible bash with him, but we were able to get to know Hans, the former investigator, and we made out another appointment.
            C_______ is still having a really hard time quitting smoking, and she is starting to doubt whether what she has felt is really the spirit or if it is just comes from herself. We are really working with her on the importance of daily reading and praying, and we pray that she will be able to quit smoking as she continues to study the Book of Mormon.
            We had the open house at the church on Saturday, and it was a great activity. We had quite a few non members there, and we were really excited about that. But the most exciting news is what happened on Sunday...... Wiener Neustadt branch became a ward! It was an amazing experience to be there as the members all raised their hands to support the creation of the Wiener Neustadt ward. The members here are awesome, and they have worked so hard to acheive this. I was glad that I got to be a part of it.
            We are looking forward to another great week here, we are really excited for all of our investigators, and I hope everything goes great back home. I love you!

Elder Terry

Monday, September 5, 2011

Phone Call-but not from Andrew

Today when we got home from the T-wolf Trot I answered the phone and this nice man asked for Sister Terry.  He said he was in the Alpine German Mission, turns out he is from Idaho and was on a business trip to Vienna and ran into Andrew and his companion on their P-day.  It was a great phone call, pretty much what he says below is what he said to me on the phone.  Way fun!  Wish it could have been Andrew instead but I'll take what I can get. 

Dear Bro & Sis Talbot, Bro & Sis Terry,

What a treat for me to spend a few hours with your valiant sons in beautiful Vienna today. Being their P-day, they were on their way to see the beautiful Schonbrunn Palace when I ran into them on a crowded train... ironically, I also was going to see the Schonbrunn Palace. I can't overstate how "ironic" this was; we were still many miles from the palace, and they (or I) could have been going anywhere.

Your sons were outstanding emissaries of our Master; they engaged people in a very friendly way, offering to help take pictures for others, helping with a stroller on stairs, giving money to a man with no legs, asking a man about the book he was reading, and ALWAYS smiling... even in the heavy rain.

God bless you for your raising of these two fine Elders; I hope you enjoy these pictures as much as I do (holler if you need higher resolution versions).
Kevan Kjar

Kevan Kjar

September 5, 2011

            Thanks for keeping me kinda posted about what is going on in the world. That is great that Houston (Bodily) is coming to the greatest mission on earth. Maybe we will be companions one day! That would be the best! Man, I’m already tingling with excitement! Anyways, thank you for following my eccentric advice! Oh and because we had zone conference I got mail, so I got Brooke and Abbie’s letters, and also a letter from Brian Fleming, my roommate at BYU. Did you know he went to the San Francisco mission? Grandma and Grandpa Terry need to find him and invite him over for dinner so they can fatten him up!
            Anyways, this week has been an adventure. First off, last P-day I locked the keys to our apartment inside our apartment. Luckily the hausbesorger, I’m not sure how that translates, something like the dude in charge of our apartment complex, (it translates as caretaker) anyways, he helped us break into our apartment with a credit card. So that was a lot of fun. Then on Tuesday we had an austausch (exchange), so I worked with Elder Parker, who has only been on his mission for 2 weeks. We had an adventure with the Austria train system. First we missed our train by like 10 seconds, so we waited for the next one, then we got on and sat down next to this guy, and I started talking to him, and suddenly I noticed he had a ÖBB backpack, which means he works for the train company, and since we "technically" aren`t allowed to preach on the train, I had to stop Elder Parker from trying to talk to him about the church. Let’s just say it was an awkward situation. But we survived. We had an appointment with Herr Schäfer, and that went well and then we tauscht (swapped) back Wednesday. Wednesday night I gave my first baptismal interview. It was definitely weird to be on the other side of the table. Now I know a little bit what it is like for bishops. Man I think I was more nervous to be giving the interview than I have ever been when I was the one being interviewed. But everything went well, and it was a really neat experience. Then Friday was Zone Conference! Man, I love Zone Conference. Pres. Miles is just great! He talked to us about working with less actives, and about how the Area Presidency of Europe has set a goal to double the active membership in Europe by 2020. He told us that if we work with less actives to reactivate them and also ask them for referrals that we will be able to reach that goal. Pretty much zone conference is the best! Then Saturday evening we had an appointment with Christinne, and she brought grapefruit juice with her! For those of you who are confused as to why that is a big deal, drinking grapefruit juice is one of the 15 steps that we use to help people quit smoking. Which means that Christinne was trying to quit smoking again on her own. I was definitely surprised, but it was amazing to see that she really wants to change her life. I am super excited for her because I know that she can do it with the Lord´s help!
            I decided that it would be nice to give you some pictures of our apartment. This apartment is the closest thing to a home that I have had in the last 7 months. It is crazy to think I`ve been on my mission for 7 months and I´ve never been somewhere for longer than the 9 weeks at the MTC. Oh well, it definitely makes life exciting! And the whole missionaries not telling the truth, that’s because we are commanded not to! Well not really, but in the missionary handbook it says not to say anything negative about your companion, your area, or pretty much anything. I have found that to be pretty solid advice. If I don`t complain about things or even allow negative thoughts to register then they go away. So I can honestly say that there is nothing that I`m holding back or keeping secret. Yeah missionary work is hard, but it’s the work that is hard, not the missionary part. All work is hard. And missionary work is the most rewarding kind of work, and I find it to be rather fun. As you and Riker well know, a wise man named Kelsier once said that sometimes you just have to smile to prove that they haven`t beaten you yet. (this quote is from one of Andrew’s books, “Mistborn” by Brandon Sanderson.  Read it, love it) That’s my advice for this week. SMILE. It makes the world a better place. I love you!
Elder Terry