I’ll heed your call, no need to small, and face the fire below for you!
Two companions more than sisters…
Two companions when all others flee than we remain.
Tis true, tis true … True companions are we two!
I feel like this happy little melody is a good way to start my email this week. (Song from The Mystery of Edwin Drood) If you will recall, the two who sing this song actually have a very strained sort of relationship, but the sisters I am talking about today are united in their efforts in the land of Wiener Neustadt.
So dear ones some amazing things started coming together this week; new faces becoming new friends.
Also we attempted to get bikes. …. Cough, cough.
No, it was all right we are going to go buy one this week, though the bishop’s wife was kind enough to lend us her bike. But it got a flat and a flat tire doesn’t go so far even when you try to repair it three times. Even with the Elders and Bishop and bike shop guy. Heheh. We learned that it is really hard to ride with bags and two people on one bike. Don’t worry we only tried that once and we had our freshly purchased bike helmets to protect us. We probably looked like a circus act or something.
So we met two Arabian gentlemen this week and to our excitement they came to sport night! We ran into them, on the way from the church. K and O are both about 25. One already somehow had a Book of Mormon. He was really excited to hear from us and told us he has lot of questions. We invited them to play soccer and they are both so good at soccer. The next day we tried to meet with them, but they got home really late. Well, missionary standard late and we could not wait for them anymore. They texted us that they would be at Hauptplatz until midnight if we wanted to get a coffee with them. Oh, no. But the next time we met them at three and we helped them understand better what we do as missionaries, a.k.a. teach people not go on coffee dates. Ha ha. Luckily they both seem to have real interest still so that is good.
K has so many questions about the differences of Muslim and Christianity. We continually have to explain that we are not catholic and don’t know about the pope. It was sort of a difficult lesson because he was going all over the place with his questions and like Korihor wants proof. Confused how Jesus can be the Son of God. Confused why there are so many religions. Confused about how to be “saved”. He has so many questions. We handled it pretty well though even though he was a force to try and scatter the lesson. He is going to read in his Arabic Book of Mormon and read the pamphlet we gave him. Today we made a whole plan of arrack how to answer his questions and bring the spirit. The other hard part was that his friend only speaks German. I would go to translate for his friend and then K would interrupt with another idea and it would get confusing for O. Then they would both speak in Arabic to each other. Oh goodness the adventures we have. But I can see it. Their spirits are hungry for the truth.
We also got to know a man on Sunday that the elders told us about. His wife is a member and he is not. He has been taught so many times the lessons but now he has decided to get baptized. We are the ones to prepare him. His wife said, in her English accent, that we have it easy because he has already decided to be baptized. And then he interjected with a good-hearted laugh, “Oh no sisters you still have to convince me”. He smiled and let us know he was joking. He is a fun sarcastic fellow. But during the gospel doctrines class he gave all the answers in the lesson about the priesthood. I know that will be a big blessing for him and his family.
One of the families from Graz has moved here and the brother of one of the members from Graz lives here too. I was able to enjoy a lovely vegan chocolate cake with my friend J and get to know more of the members this week. Part of being in Weiner Neustadt means traveling to different cities by train to teach members or investigators. That is a very common thing. I am going to have quite a collection of city maps.
The elders are teaching a fun little kid. He has the fullest, blackest, slightly curly mullet. He is nine years old; his whole family was investigating but now only him. But his father came to sport night and his mother has been in church the last two Sundays. She wants us to come visit with the elders when thy come to teach K, hopefully that means we can teach her!
Well I am feeling so happy out here. It is slow getting started and I still have not quite had time to unpack my suitcase all the way away, but good things are happening and we are getting some new things started. There is actually a lot of member support. There are some people here who are really big blessings in our lives.
The best time for me is when I am conversing with someone, talking with them and street contacting is starting to be more of an adventure for me.
I also love the quiet time at the end of the day when I am painting watercolor thank you notes and drinking cold sparkling water while sometimes singing along with whatever song we are listening to.
I have really felt peace a few times this week by being reminded about the enormity and love of the atonement. I hope you can feel it too.
Love Sister Gardner
Object lesson of the day:
Think about a dead light bulb. No matter how many times you flip the switch it does not come on. There is no light. That is like baptizing without the restored priesthood power or any other church really. A light bulb still looks like a light bulb but it does not serve its full purpose of bringing the power into light and helping the people make a full connection with God. (Object lesson for you today)