I think I was in an undiscovered place this week as I attempted to find a house in next to a forest in a town out side of Graz; I navigated using the faithful pre screenshot pictures of the map. It led us along a most lovely path, over bridges and next to streams, through tree lined patches and a long dirt road. It is beautiful to me to see how God has given us this beautiful world. Also, beautiful how He gives special experiences to all of his children that they may know He is there. I got to hear the conversion story of one of the lovely older women in our ward this week. Her experience took place after she took shelter in the woods when she was a young woman in the midst of a rainstorm. She asked God a particular question.
Missionaries had earlier made their trek out to her little families Dorf (village), but she had not been ready then. This time in the midst of howling winds she prayed, asking that if God was there to give her a sign. She prayed that he would strike her house with lightning. To her astonishment immediately the house across the field from her home was struck. For weeks she did not tell her mother. Fearing that she would be reprimanded for having asked something so dangerous. No one was hurt that day when the lightning struck but from that day on until now at 92, Sister E has known that God is there, that he is real and that this church is true. What a great experience to hear this story.
I enjoyed the varying weather this week boiling hot and then pouring rain and more lightning than I have ever seen before. I got to experience a bit of a storm myself. I finally had to close the roll down grate on our window because it really looked like a strobe light at times or at least the haunted mansion ride at Disneyland.
So in other news I gave a talk in church. That was a big surprise and I feel like it went surprisingly well for how much grammar knowledge I still need. Heh heh. That is when it would be really helpful to have an Austrian shoulder angel at my beck and call to correct grammar errors. The best part was that E came to listen to my talk. Unfortunately church was only two hours because of the heat. Weird. I know. I thought so too. You appreciate Sunday school a lot more when you suddenly can’t have it.
I met many interesting people this week.
A Croatian man who congratulated us for what we are doing, he said he was Catholic, was wearing a Charlie Chaplin shirt and hair just above his shoulders. He spoke to us in English and had such a 1960’s laid back vibe. He helped us find the door for the family we had been referred to. It was nice to hear someone tell you here in Austria besides the members and other church of Jesus Christ people, that they admire what you are doing. I said I liked his shirt. He replied saying, “Charlie Chaplin was a legend”. Stimmt. (Agreed)
Also old woman who certainly thought we were someone else but her helper did not speak German so we ended up giving her a Book of Mormon and promised to read for her next week. Alone and not able to leave her home, we were able to help a daughter of God who was feeling low.
We ran into a woman during out finding day that had met missionaries on the streets only a little while ago in Switzerland. I told her that God is giving her a sign, and that we had a book for her. I think she actually believed me because she says she will try to come to church.
Side note, sometimes it just pays to smile.
Also if you are planning on yelling to ask who is at the door through the closed door when we knock, pretending you are not there, it is not going to work on me. Especially when I have your phone number and can call your number and hear it ringing through the door. You’re not fooling me sister. But I will leave this book for you by the door because it really will help. Even if it is just to read the name Jesus Christ. He was a pretty good guy, if you know what I mean.
Each day is made up of so many disappointments and so many miracles. For example today the wifi did not work. I am now resorting to sitting against a wall next to the library to try and stay close enough for the connection because they closed. And who comes riding up on his bike but a less active we have been trying to get in contact with. That’s right people right now. Miracle just happened. The miracle on Vorbeckgasse. (Vorbeck Alley)
I have been thinking a lot this week of how I can become more the missionary I want to be, and also more than that, the person I want to be. I know I can use all that I am learning here to guide my course. It is all is a big learning process. And often it does not have to be perfect to still have a spirit of beauty. It is the same with people, theater productions, relationships with anyone, coloring books, the great cosmos and birthday cakes. So be patient with yourself. Take what life gives you and figure out how it is supposed to be beautiful. Even the dullest of grey helps one paint great mountains.
I love you all so much and I wish you luck this week in your pursuits. Take a deep breath and know that someone with all power and love understands.