Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Week in Wien!

It's been another great week in Wien and I can't believe it's time again to write.  Really the days fly by so quickly.  It seems we're always running from appointment to appointment and next thing I know another week has passed by. So crazy!  So my apartment is special.  We're a four Sisters apartment, meaning we have two companionships! It is SO much fun. The other Sisters serve in the Wien 1st Ward and are really great.  Sister L is on her last transfer (she started out in the Berlin Mission but they called and asked her about three months ago and said the Lord really needed her in Wien... in a completely different mission. How crazy is that?!)  and Sister J is about 10 months in. They both speak really good German and are really fun to be around.  Our apartment is decent sized, one bedroom, a bathroom, kitchen, and living room.  The funny story about that is that we have bunk beds in our bedrooms but they're so squeeky the Sisters before me couldn't sleep. So they moved all the mattresses out to the living room.  So we have a sleepover, pangea bed night every night which isn't bad at all.  I think the EP (Ehe Paar - missionary couple) has been meaning to get over and fix them but it's been a couple months haha.  But, even with four beds and four desks in our little living room, we manage well enough. Honestly, we really don't spend much time there so it's not that big of a deal.

My companion is 21 from AF, UT and studied Biomedical Engineering for 3 years before coming out here.   I cover all of the English speakers in all of Vienna so my area covers like half of Austria. Over 2 million people live in my area. haha Inside my area boundaries, we have about 20-ish German speaking missionaries. So it's way cool. 
We have a bunch of investigators but the main ones right now are: J, C and L, R and A.  J is from Peru and speaks no English.  She speaks Spanish and so we use Sister G in our ward (she speaks like 5 languages) to translate for us as we teach her.  Her Baptism is scheduled for July 7 but, we think we'll have to move it back because she might be working.  C and L are from Ghana and have 3 children under 8.  Very Christian and are kind, sweet people.  R is 19 and is African but, he grew up in England and has lived in Wien for the last 3 years.  He's super awesome and is totally ready for the Gospel. A is 20 and has a boyfriend and a 2 year old daughter back in Romania.  A and her boyfriend really want to get married but, they can't until their Visa comes through and they don't have enough money to travel all the way back to Romania to get married so they call each other husband and wife and act like a married couple.  We had a baptismal date for her because we thought she was married but, then that came out and she's not willing to live the Law of Chastity.  So we'll have to wait until her Visa comes in! Hopefully, very soon!  We have others but those are the big ones we've been meeting with alot.
In our lesson with R this week, we were going to talk more about prophets and latter-day revelation, when he told us about he had been watching a religious tv channel and it said that premarital sex was a sin.  He had never heard that before and wanted to know if we believed that too.  Right then and there I taught the Law of Chastity and he said he wanted to live it.  He said he was afraid of what his girlfriend might say but he asked us to pray for her heart to be softened.  Hopefully that'll go over well.  It's crazy to me how ready some people are to receive the Gospel.  They want to follow God and will make whatever changes necessary to live in accordance with his laws.
We had a Finding Day on Saturday with a couple of youth in the ward and, afterwards, Brother B (he's from the Phillipines) took us to McDonald's it was delish!  haha He ordered me a ton of food and it was glorious!  That was our only sort of eating appointment this week so we've been cooking a lot but, this week we have like 5 or 6 eating appointments so that'll be great haha  SO excited! Especially because we have people from all over the world in our ward, they all came up and told me they'd be making something special from their homeland. So who knows? Maybe next week I'll have some great food stories ;)
It's weird for me to think that it 3 AM for ya'll right now, especially now that I'm finally over jet lag!  
Cool story for the week... hmms.  A couple of weeks ago, Sister D (Sister W's  trainer), met an African man named C on an U-Bahn (subway). She got his information and he seemed pretty interested in our message. They (Sis. D and W) called a couple of times to set an appointment but, he was busy so our first appointment with him and his wife, L was this week.  So we walk in and he welcomes us in.  His wife walks in as well and gives him the dirtiest look ever.  I guess she wasn't aware the missionaries were coming over. We come to find out that they had taken the discussions back in 2004 and something had really offended them.  Luckily, time had healed some wounds and I was able to clarify/correct what they thought the Elders had taught them.  L was very upset and thought that our church tried to 'indoctrinate', throw away the Bible and replace it with the Book of Mormon. That was kind of a shock for us and we could tell she felt very strongly about that.  We switched gears and taught the first lesson (all about the Restoration) and they were both very into it.   They said they'd love to have us come back as long as we promised to use both the Bible and the Book of Mormon as we taught.  I got SO excited and they said, we could come back this week.  Aw yeah haha!

Funny/lame story,  people this week have decided to come up to us and tell us how glad they are that we're here teaching about Christ.  The young people here aren't religious and don't really see a need for God in their life so adults, especially the Elderly, love to come up and tell us how great we are. Talk about an Ego Boost!  Even if they aren't receptive to our message, they love Christ SO much! And you're probably thinking.. Wow, this isn't funny at all... and, yep, I got a little side tracked haha Anyways, people will say, 'Wow, you're both really young to be teaching people about Christ.' And then, they'll turn to me and say, 'And, especially, you!' At this point, I'm giving myself a little pat on the back like Yeah! I am young. I'm awesome!  (Humility comes in small steps ;)) And then they ALWAYS say: 'You can't be more than 16.' Quite, the disappointment.  They never believe me when I say I'm 19... maybe I should wear more make-up or something ahah Either way, it's a good conversation starter. 
And, last but, certainly not least, a cultural story.  So in our ward, we have a very diverse mix of people.  Ergo, many different ways to greet each other.  Some are hugs, handshakes, the head nod, and, of course, the cheek kisses.  They come out of no where and grab your shoulders to greet you and scares the heck out of me everytime!  I'm getting used to this no touching other people thing and so when people touch me - I'm always surprised.  The first sweet lady in our ward, that attempted to greet me, was really confused and wasn't sure how to proceed after I sorta hopped back. But, then I just did what she was doing and it worked out well enough. I'm still not sure how exactly I'm supposed to do the whole thing? I think I just make the kissy sound while our cheeks are touching... and then flip sides... but, I might be doing it wrong hahaha. We all know how awkward I am!  Either way, whatever I'm doing works because we have 5 dinner appointments this week. 

Love Your Favorite Sister Missionary,
Sister Harman

P.S. I found out it only takes like 1 week or so for letters (if you send them to my address) and 2 weeks for me to get a package haha ;)

Monday, June 17, 2013

Serving in Vienna, Austria

Hallo von Wien!

I'm glad everyone is doing well and don't worry.. I'm so excited for Chas and Sarah! Give them big hugs for me! 

As you heard, I'm serving in Vienna, Austria!  It is a HUGE city with around  two million people and it's bursting with life.  My trainer is Sister Woods and she is really great.  Super laid back but, knows how to work really hard.  This is only her third transfer here so she JUST finished up her training last week.  She knows her way around the city and we have been teaching SO many people. It's awesome! Here's the coolest thing,  we're serving in the Wien 4 ward and it's an international ward.. aka in English.  Take that Bruder Wagley!  haha (He was one of my MTC teachers and said I'd probably never get to use English).  Our area covers all of Wien, which is ridicululously massive.  But, we have so large an area because we're in charge of teaching all those who don't speak German (and hopefully, speak English. Although, often that's not the case) throughout the whole city. It takes like an hour to get to church but, it's totally worth it! Our ward has a crazy mix of people from: America, France, Spain, Brazil, Philipines, China, Bulgaria, Ghana, Nigeria, Canada, and a whole bunch of others.  Some travel really far to attend our church, which again is in English.  Oh and did I mention I get to teach in English?! So nice.  That being said - my German is improving so much already. We do streetcontact in German and then if people are interested, we then refer them to the other missionaries. (Total in Wien there are around 20 missionaries and we refer people we find to whoever covers their home). SO cool! 

Here's a cool story, we were having a lesson with a man named Rudolf. He is from Wien and, while he does speak English, German is his native language. So we were having a lesson with our Zone Leaders (He lives in their Area) to do the handoff.  The lesson was going okay but there definitely seemed to be some rising tension in the room as the Elders spoke with him.  On a side note, I should mention I could not understand Rudolf's German... HEAVY accent haha So I had no idea what he was saying but I understood the Elders so that was good at least.  Anyways, I was totally content to just sit and listen and I kept thinking Hey! if the Spirit tells me to say something I will but, until then.... no need to interrupt!  I was so relieved as the lesson went on and I felt nada.  Then when tensions started rising... my heart started to go crazy and I knew I needed to say something.  Except I literally had no idea what was going on and didn't know what to say.  I was freaking out knowing I need to say something but, not sure how/what. Next thing I know, I've said, 'Excuse me, excuse me... I'm sorry.  What is he saying?'  (In English) They both 
just looked at me dumbstruck. And R  just laughed like crazy and asked me, in English, if I had understood the question the zone leaders had asked him.  (Of course, because I was freaking out so much, I didn't know what they had asked him).  He explained what they were talking about and I was able to bear my testimony of God's love for us and why we need commandments.  The Spirit hit like a wall and R's argumentative aura faded.  You could tell he felt the Spirit and the lesson went on (back into German now) and he agreed to try and pray.  It was SO cool!  I was really embarrassed about interrupting Elder Riser and Elder Robbins but, it all turned out okay!  Follow the Spirit, awww yeah! haha

One last story, I asked a man on a train if I could practice my German with him. (He was a sweet old man!) He and I were speaking and I couldn't think of anything else to say conversationally soo I asked him what his favorite color was.  The question took him so off guard that he just laughed like crazy. Glad to know I can make people laugh, even if I don't understand them all the time haha  

I love you all so much and you're the best EVER! Oh, oh, oh. I'm living in a four Sister apartment (which is super uncommon, I'll have you know!) and they're great. Sister Linford is on her last transfer and is really funny. Sister Judd has been out around 10 months and is also super hilarious.  We have a really great time! Oh, and they both speak excellent German so they help both Sister Woods and I out alot. We both still have a lot to learn.  I absolutely love it here and get so excited to talk to everyone.  I've given away a bunch of... I don't know how to say plural Das Buch Mormon auf Deutsch.. Oh well. Something to work on haha.  (Ya'll should probably proof read this baby before putting it up just because this keyboard is different so there might be lots of errors.)  
Anyways, LOVE YOU and don't forget to do member missionary work.. it makes such a huge difference! And go on Splits with the missionaries and think of me, ja? DO IT! 

haha Love you all,
Sister Harman

So I just sent you an epically long one but haha here's my address (send both packages and letters here):
Hormayrgasse 59/9
1170 Wien, Österreich 
My mission president and his wife seem really kind.  We didn't really get to talk to them all that much because there were 27 of us that arrived on Wednesday.  They're coming for a Mission Fireside this week and President Miles said he would do personal interviews then.  But, he seems very sweet. :) 

BTW the Sisters in my apartment thank you so much for sending me with music and M'n'Ms safe to say those didn't last very long haha.  And we're allowed to listen to Christian music (even Christian Rock) as long as it has uplifting lyrics so that's awesome! I'm doing great, working hard and loving every second of it.

Anyways, LOVE YOU!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chapter 6 - She made it to Germany!

We received the following email (with pictures) from Krissie's Mission President and his wife.  So grateful to hear she made it safely.    We are so excited to know where she will be serving.  On the phone from the airport, she told us how much she loved missionary work.  She is jealous that Elders get to serve for 2 years.  She is doing great and ready to work hard.  :)
Dear family of Sister Harman-
We are delighted to tell you that Sister Harman arrived safely in Munich this morning.  She is tucked away in bed now after a long day of orientation. 
We thought you might enjoy these pictures from this evening. She was assigned her new companion and area tonight and she will serve in Vienna, Austria with her new companion, Sister Woods.
We are thrilled that she is here and are very impressed with her preparation and enthusiasm.  She will be a great missionary.  Thank you for all you have done to help her become the fine young sister she is today.  We love her already, and we will do all we can to help her grow as a missionary and have a successful mission.  Your daughter's preparation day is on Mondays and that is when she will be emailing you home each week. If you would like her apartment address where she will be serving - please email her before next Monday and ask her to give it to you in her first email next Monday.  If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.  May the Lord bless you and your family at this wonderful time of missionary service.
President and Sister Miles
Alpine German-speaking Mission
Sister Harman and President and Sister Miles

Where she will be serving and her companion

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Chapter 5 - Getting Packed Up and Ready to Go!

Hey Mom! I'm glad you all got my letters! It's weird that it took so long for you to get them, I sent them forever ago! I sent Katie a letter like two weeks ago? Maybe it got mixed up in the mail or something! I'll send another one before I leave.  Thanks for the box (in advance!) You're the best!  I haven't heard about my visa but, if my Austrian visa doesn't come through I'm still allowed to stay in Germany just with a current passport. So woohoo! Aww, Lauren is die am Besten! Ich leibe Sie!  Thanks for all you've been doing for me  - you're a trooper!!
I'm so excited to talk to you too!  Here's the plan, I will either call around 7 (Utah time) from the Salt Lake Airport or I'll call from our layover in Minnesota (I'll get there around 1:20PM).  I leave the MTC, Tuesday morning at 6 AM and go right to SLC. My flight leaves at 9:48 AM to the Minneapolis/St, Paul  airport, I'll have like a 2 hour layover and then BAM! On my way to Amsterdam, where we'll have a 2 hour layover and then, finally, arrive in Munchen around 11AM (Munchen time) on June 12th.  So we'll be able to go right out and start street contacting/meeting our companions.  I think I'll find out the 12th where I'll be serving (Austria, Germany, or Italy).  I don't know which one I'm hoping for haha Just wherever I'm meant to go! (Hopefully, somewhere with a trainer who speaks German fluently).  It hit me last night, while we were watching the devotional that I leave the MTC next week! I'm so excited and so nervous! We've been practicing our German so much but still! There's SO much left to learn - stuff that I will need to just learn on the fly while in Europa.  My favorite thing about the MTC is probably... being testified to in different languages.  Sometimes Sister Young and I will go outside to do language study and companionships will walk up and ask us if they can bear their testimonies to us in whatever language they're speaking.  So we've heard Cantonese, Russian, Spanish, Latvian, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, and Sign Language.  So cool!  It's awesome that even though we have no idea what they're saying, we can feel the Spirit!  The church is true in every language!

One funny story:  an Elder C, headed to Washington I do believe, was teaching his third or so lesson with an investigator (TRC).  He and his companion were teaching about personal revelation and Elder C said that he would pray and then flip through the scriptures really quickly - stop wherever he felt he should and read the first verse he saw.  Elder C testified that every time he did so, the scripture would give him the revelation and guidance he has asked for.  So to demonstrate his belief, he did the flip and stopped in 3rd Nephi 3:4.  Go read it. Right now. Really.     3 Nephi 3:4  And I, knowing of their unconquerable spirit, having proved them in the field of battle, and knowing of their everlasting hatred towards you because of the many wrongs which ye have done unto them, therefore if they should come down against you they would visit you with utter destruction.   After reading it out loud, his companion turned to him and said, "What now, Elder?"  and the two didn't know what to do. They closed the lesson with a "This is awkward." and a prayer. Safe to say, there are other ways to demonstrate ways to receive personal revelation ;). 
One cool story!  Really quick, because I'm a little short on time... one of our investigators, Christian, has been struggling with depression. We've taught him 4 or so lessons and he's really come to know that through Christ, sein Sühnopfer (his Atonement) and the Plan of Salvation, he can be happy!  So we decided to teach him about Latter-day prophets. The lesson started a little rough (he almost fell asleep while we were reading a scripture... it was only one verse... COME ON!), it ended up really great! He agreed to being Baptized this Saturday and he says he's ready to accept the responsibilities that come with Baptism.  And he only corrected us on our German like twice (that's pretty big for us) and yeah! So great!
Anyway, I love you and I CANNOT WAIT TO TALK TO YOU ON TUESDAY! You better be home haha :) Love you all and have a fantastic week!
Sister Harman