Monday, July 29, 2013

A Ridiculously Awesome Week!

Hey family!
This week has been RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME!  Sister Woods is great as always and we're working like crazy here in the best city in the world!  Our investigators are doing awesome - we had four people progressing this week.
The two I want to talk about this week are Z and R.  We've seen HUGE miracles in their lives as they've read the Book of Mormon and have started to make some changes in their lives. It's so interesting to see which people progress faster than others: I think it really depends on how much each investigator studies the Book of Mormon.  The people who read and pray and study and are diligent are making great strides whereas those who just read are taking baby steps.  But, progress is progress and I can't complain there!!
Z is 17 and from Slovakia but, has grown up in Vienna.  She speaks Slovakian, German, and English fluently and is, natürlich, so ridiculously intelligent.  Z has been reading through the Book of Mormon everyday, texts us questions she has, started personal progress, and has been committed to keep almost all the commandments already.  About two weeks ago, she asked if she could come out with us as we did missionary work and, of course, we said yes!  So we've had a non-member joint teach with us at a million lessons haha.  Z loves hearing other people's concerns and always pipes up about what we've already taught her.  Testifying of the truth that she has already obtained. She is geniunely thirsting after the word and reads articles nearly every night. She and I have become really close and it was the sweetest thing ever! She asked if I could be her big sister! (She's an only child and her parents are divorced)  She wants to be baptized and is already living all the standards necessary. I'm sure ya'll are waiting for the but... and here it is.  Her mother is fine with her investigating the church but, isn't okay with Z being baptized.  We hope that as we work with Z and her mother more, that her Mother will let her make the decision to be baptized, even if she doesn't necessarily agree. 
R.  What to say about R. haha We meet with him several times a week and he's like a little brother to me!  He said we could be his big sisters haha (Although, I think we're the same age.) Our biggest miracle this week, started with him coming 60 minutes late for our appointment at the church.  Safe to say, I was getting a frustrated with the time, but when he arrived, R asked if his friend, D, could come to meet us too.  Referral! haha We said yes and offered to give D (when he arrived a tour of the church).  R went on to tell us how D was a good guy, but didn't believe in God and he seemed a little nervous for us to meet.  R always worries that bad guys will be mean to us.  Anyways, we had a super lesson about the Plan of Salvation.  He got the whole thing and he asked if he could get a Priesthood blessing.  (We had talked about the Priesthood and blessings earlier in the week). We were surprised but, I went out and grabbed the Elders (whose Sacrament meeting had just finished).  Right before they start the blessing, he asks if they could wait and bless D as well who would be coming soon too. So D came, and we started with a prayer. Right after that, Elder Riser and Elder Stapleton came in and blessed D and R.  (For those who don't know, blessings are a special prayer given by those holding the Priesthood.  It is similar to how Jesus would bless the sick or sad in the Bible to give them strength).  What a fantastic way to start out a lesson! The Spirit was there so strong and the blessings were absolutely beautiful. That was David's first experience even hearing about the church and you could tell it really touched both R's and D's heart.  ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!  I could tell D was a player, used to being a punk and not really caring about the rules but, when that blessing was given, it touched his heart.  He seemed to glow and then we talked about Jesus Christ and how we as missionaries would love to teach him more.  R was just as affected! You could tell he was SHOCKED by how much power that blessing contained and about how the Elders, through the Spirit, were able to speak the concerns of his heart.  Blessings are incredible and if you haven't had one in a while, or even ever, I suggest you get one.  Really, the comfort and peace and remembrance you feel will change your life.  I know that I need to get blessings regularly so that I can always feel the strength and guidance from God.  I'm so grateful that the Priesthood authority has been restored on the Earth again and that many young men have lived in such a way that they can use that authority with power!
Incredible week to say the least and those are only two stories!  Our zone does a miracle count everyday and I've really felt a difference.  Elder Robins said this about it, when we care enough to count the little miracles, God will bless us with great miracles! And that's so true! I love serving here in Vienna. It's hot. Humid. Busy. Crazy. But, it's also miraculous! and I feel incredibly blessed to be here.  :)  Know that I love you and I hope all is going well!
Love you!
Sister Harman
PS  I got my visa this week

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Picture of Wien 3 District!

Thank you Sister Miles for posting this picture!  Doesn't Krissie look happy?  :) :)  July 16, 2013

Wien 3- E & S Thurn, President Miles, P. Smith, Helbig, Huff, Martin, Woods, Harman

Monday, July 22, 2013

New assignment!

Hey! I'm glad everything went well with the wedding and that all the work for it was well worth it! I'M SO STINKING EXCITED FOR MORE PICTURES!  So just send 'em as soon as possible. Of the decorations, people, the dress, cute pocket squares.. the whole shabang.  I love Katie's dress (she looks so mature! What a babe!) And Josh and Zach in their outfits. and Mom. Hot dang woman. Looking foxy! Jordan, natürlich looks incredible.  What a beautiful bride!  I can't wait to see how the card board cut out of me looked.. I know I can't measure up to the loveliness of the bride but, maybe Sarah can come close hahaha

Tell Josh congrats about the lost tooth!! That's so fun!!

This week has been crazy.  We had district meeting with President and Sister Miles this week and that was fantastic!  They're so kind and personable that I didn't even get nervous for my first interview with President Miles.  He's SUCH a sweetheart! Really, I love him and Sister Miles so much already.  Transfer calls were on Friday and I'm DRUMROLL!!!! staying here! Surprise, surprise haha  I'm so glad that I get to stay here in Wien with Sister Woods.  She's so funny and keeps me on my toes!  But, right after we got the call about staying here in Wien 4 from our Zone Leaders (Elders Riser and Robbins), the phone starts ringing again and it was President Miles.  I got so nervous thinking that he had changed his mind about us staying together.  But, nope! We've been called as the Sister Training Leaders for the Wien Zone.  I was really shocked because we're both really young (on the mission) but, it'll be a great learning experience for both of us.  Sister Training Leaders, for those who don't know, are in charge of the Sisters of the Zone. We'll organize taushes (exchanges), do leadership training, and just make sure that the Sisters in our zone are reaching their potential!  Should be exciting, terrifying but, exciting! Oh and Sister Judd and Linford are splitting up. Sister Linford is heading home after 18 months well served and Sister Judd is getting a golden! I'm excited for both of them but, definitely sad to see Sister Linford go! She's a phenominal missionary!

Last Tuesday, we had a lesson with R.  It was supposed to be a member lesson but, things weren't working out and our train was late.  Safe to say, we were really frazzled.  But, finally, we got to his apartment, sat down at a bench outside and taught one of the best lessons ever!  We had the feeling that we needed to teach again about the Restoration of the church and about the simplicity of Joseph Smith's prayer.  R was so quiet after we talked about Joseph Smith's vision, that I started to get a little nervous.  Afterwards, he looked up and asked if he could come to know like Joseph Smith did. Would God care enough about me to answer my prayer?  We testified to him that God loved him so much and would want nothing more than to answer his question.  We said a prayer and he said he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon was true and that God did love him. Seriously, I have never felt the Spirit stronger in my entire life! We then invited him to be baptized on August 10th.  He paused (in my head, I started thinking... oh no.. here it comes) and said, Yeah. That feels right.  We got so excited and he was so excited and AH! It was AMAZING.  That feeling right there, is totally indescribable but, is the most incredible feeling in the world.  On the way home, I kept thinking - this is what missionary work feels like.  This is why I'm here: to help people feel the joy that comes only through coming to Christ!  

To answer your health questions: I'm doing great. No health problems whatsoever.  Just working hard and having a good time! 

Oh Deutsch.  Es ist für mich sehr hart.  Aber ich viele dinge gelernt habe. Or something like that! It's alot easier to speak then it is to write!  I love love love learning German.  One of our mission mottos is Wir sprechen mit jedem.  aka We talk to everyone.  It's so important to do, especially, in a busy place like Vienna. We can't know who is ready for the gospel unless we start talking to them!  So yeah, my German has had to get better in order to do just that! Unfortunately, that means I speak danglish hard core as well.  haha I apologize in advance for my english in these emails.

Anyways, I love you and I hope all is well! Give everyone some love for me!

Sister Harman (or Kris... Es ist egal!)

Hey Dad!

I always love hearing from you and I'm sorry I didn't email back last week!  I can't imagine what it is like to have a child grow up and make those sacred covenants.  But I do know how important those covenants are.  Someday, when I grow up (haha) I'll make those same covenants and know that when that happens.. I'll be thinking so much of the example you and Mom have set for me. Really, you can see the huge difference righteous parents can make. It breaks my heart to see families that have the opposite true.  Parents set the path for their childrens' lives and I'm extremely grateful to have you and Mom as examples for me.  
Jordan will be alright.  I really liked this section in D&C 31, if you have time I'd read it! It really helped me out!

It's incredible how knowledge of the Atonement can not only change the way we act, but, really change our nature.  I've seen that in myself already.  As I come to know the Savior more, I want nothing more than to do this work forever. To see people change through Him and to become worthy to make and keep those sacred covenants.  The Lord is amazing!

I love you Daddy!!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Schnitzel is the best!

Hey Fam!
Sorry this letter this week is going to be really short :( We had an awesome P-day scheduled out but, some of the Elders aren't super punctual so we started like 2 hours late..... and not so much email time! 
Anyways, today we went to see the Catacombs in Stephenplatz.  SO CREEPY but, pretty cool! Then we went to Herb's with my district: Elders: Helbig, Huff, Smith and Martin.  They're so hilarious!  Herb's is a huge tradition for missionaries and has the most delicious schnitzel ever.  OH MY GOODNESS! It was so good.  Schnitzel is like pounded, flat pork that's breaded with stuff and deep fried.  Does anything in the world sound better? I think not! I had my schnitzel cordon bleu style.  So yummy!  On P-Days we usually play soccer with a bunch of Elders, or sightsee, or shop. At least, that's what we've done so far! It's great fun ;)
Cool story for this week: We taught a lesson to W at the Js' home.  W is a new convert and the J are an American family in our ward.  We taught her about Repentance  and it was one of the best lessons Sister Woods and I have ever taught together. So smooth and the spirit was there like crazy! It was awesome!  Sister Jones, who served her mission in Hamberg, Germany, said afterward how good it was and that was so nice to hear. Sometimes I get a little nervous teaching with RM's present because I think they could do it better than me, but I'm learning so much and my teaching is improving loads.

Funny story for this week: People enjoy informing me about how young I am.  Especially really drunk people.  This week we've had like 15 people stop us and ask if I'm old enough to be a missionary.  Dang it, people! I'm 19 years old haha  The usual guess is 16 but, I have gotten 14 before.  But, even if they don't recognize my age, everyone is usually super pumped that a 'child' is out preaching the word of God. haha at least I know I'm making a splash eh?  Oh and an 83 year old man touched my face this week in the middle of the lesson to inform me that I was too skinny.  Thanks K! I'll work on it haha Back to the Restoration.... ;)
I hadn't heard about Jordan but I'm glad she's doing better. I don't mind about the skirt. It's whatever! Good luck with the wedding this week and don't stress too much. You've got angels out there helping you! P.S. that picture makes me mad and happy.  She's a punk. Give her loves for me!
Sister Harman

Note from Mom:   We had to let Krissie know that her sister Jordan was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had a second surgery to remove the rest of her thyroid.  Jordan is also getting married this Friday (the 19th of July).  It has been a hard week to have Krissie be away from home, but we couldn't be prouder of her choice to serve a mission.  Please keep Krissie and Jordan in your prayers.  Thank you!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Another great week in Wien!

Hola!  Guten Morgen! Hello!

This week has been really good but crazy as always.  

My fourth of July this week was AWESOME!  The Sisters serving in the 1st Ward (Judd and Linford) had an eating appointment that turned into a party.  We got invited to join the party and since our appointment fell through, we went! The Huy's so fun.  Bro. Huy is from Germany and Sis. Huy is from Mongolia.  They're both hilarious and speak incredible English and they love missionaries!  Walking into their house was like walking into our house!  She gave me a huge hug and told me to tell her everything about our work and it was awesome!  Everyone brought different types of food (Sis. Woods and I made apple cobbler) and ohmygoodness. So delicious.  Bro. Huy is blind but, that doesn't slow him down at all.  He was laughing and cracking jokes the whole time.  Eventually, he decided since it was our (All the American's.. by now there were 8 American Missionaries here) Independence Day, we should all sing American songs.  He started belting out the Star Spangled Banner and oh man. It was literally one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen.   Picture in your head a blind man, sitting on a couch singing our national anthem with a super thick German accent.  It was nice to be around such a casual, normal family that was totally pumped about missionary work - even though, I'm not even serving in their ward I felt so loved!

Hmm, a cultural story for this week.  People are very honest.  They tell you exactly what they think about you, your beliefs, and whatever you are saying. Sometimes it's a little unnerving because in America, we sometimes beat around the bush in order to be more polite.  Not in Austria. You can try and start a gospel conversation and they'll interrupt in the middle with a 'Was wollen Sie?' What do you want?  The first time someone said that to me, it shocked me so much I couldn't think of anything to say.  Now I just tell them that I want to teach them about our gospel and help them come closer to Christ by Baptism.  Blunt. Scary. But, we have gotten SO many new investigators because of it.  People love Christ, they know He is there and that He loves them. But, they aren't sure how to get closer to Him.  That's where we come in!  I love love love love it.  

Investigator stories are always hard to choose because I'd love to tell you about all of them! So I'll start with Rebecca.  Rebecca is a single-mom with four children.  Her husband passed away March 2012 from liver cancer and she's been raising their children all by herself.  She's lived in Vienna for 25 years but, is originally from the Phillipines.  The Wien 3 Elders found her street contacting and referred her to us (English is better for her than German).  We met with her for the first time on Saturday and talked all about the Plan of Salvation. Rebecca's oldest child is 12.  Rica is her name and she is the sweetest thing on the planet. As we taught the plan all four (12, 10,6,5) kids slowed down, sat still and really listened.  It's so incredible how sensitive children are to feeling the Spirit.  You could tell Rebecca was shocked her children A) wanted to listen B) were able to sit still to listen.  Rebecca really wants the comfort an eternal family can bring her and I'm so excited to go back and teach her more!

One random cool story!!  On Thursday, we had all of our appointments fall out.  It was a bummer but, we figured that just meant there were some super golden people for us to find instead!  So we just took an U-Bahn, got out and started walking around talking to people.  She would take one side of the street and I would take the other. We found alot of great people but, it was getting late so we started heading home.  There was a guy walking the same way we were and I kept thinking I should start talking to him.  Two blocks pass by and we're still walking the same pace, in the same direction.  I couldn't think of anything to say auf Deutsch so I just handed him a card.  He took it and another block passed by in silence, with him reading the card.  Finally, I asked him if he came from Wien and next thing you know we're having a conversation and I got to teach a summary of the Restoration.  THEN HE ASKED ME IF I WAS FROM GERMANY.  I laughed and said, I know, my German isn't so great.  I'm from the States.  He stopped walking and was shocked.  He didn't believe me.  He is here in Wien studying but, has lived his whole life in Frankfurt and said, I sounded just like them.  It was the coolest thing ever. I totally thought he was making fun of me and my German but, NOPE! And!! Even cooler than that, I gave him a Book of Mormon and he was so excited to start reading it! We're meeting with Sandy (that's his name) sometime this week!! Oh yeah! So all in all, a great week!

I'm glad Jo's surgery went well.  It can take a lot of you, but it's good to know she's getting better!  I've seen posters everywhere for that WWZ movie.  I didn't know what it was about.. you'll have to put it on the to-be-watched list haha PS I'll send more pics next week!  Also, you can send me more lansoprazole and singulair if you want.  I'm doing okay with both but, it never hurts to have more.  Especially, if I were to get transferred to Germany (aka where it's  illegal to send drugs).  I don't think I will though. My guess is that I'll serve here for like 6 months.  Who knows though!  If you were to send a package, I wouldn't mind getting pretzel mnms or mac and cheese.  Sounds weird but... yeah. You wouldn't have to send the noodles... just the cheese haha or peanut butter cups.  These are suggestions! Do not feel like you need to send me these things, you just told me before I left to keep you informed haha  Anyways, super long email haha 

I love you all!! Can't wait to hear about next weeks adventures!
Sister Harman

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Things are excellent in Wien!

Hey Mom!
Life is going excellent here in Wien. It has been a crazy week but super great, none the less!  My companion and I are doing great.  Sister Woods is hilarious and we have a lot of fun together. I'm okay on medicine right now but it never hurts to send me more (PS you can totally send medicine to me here in Austria).  We go running for exercise everyday and I LOVE IT! The food is good, with all of our dinner appointments this week - I felt ridiculously full all week.  It'll be a miracle if I come home without gaining a hundred kilos! I'm kidding... mostly ;) I've kind of become the garbage disposal for when the other missionaries can't eat the nasty things or just have no more room. And oh my goodness.  So much food.  We have two Elders in our ward, Elders Smith and Martin. They're rock stars.  Elder Smith is on his last transfer and is still working crazy hard and Elder Martin is on his third transfer so pretty new and is a riot.  Elder Smith is from Kansas and Elder Martin is from England.  Both are just so funny and it's great being able to work with them!
I'll start shopping for that stuff (boots, coats etc) approximately now-ish.  Hopefully, I'll find it soon before all the prices go up for Fall and Winter.  Hmm adventures for this week.... 
We visited this married couple, J and G. J is from the states (East Coast) and G is Austrian.  They're looking for an English church to attend and our really open to hearing about our church.  Way cool people, they invited us over for dinner last Friday and they made this delicious taco/salad thing.  J and G started telling us the story of how they met and it cracked me up. Both are SUPER into peace walks.  They walked for like 10 weeks in Australia, 9 weeks in America, 9 months from Austria to Russia.  SO crazy.  Anyways, they met on a walk in the states and fell in love. Sister Woods got so excited by this (the love but, mostly the peace walks) and then we ended up spending like an hour hearing all about their walks and how we should raise awareness for peace.  Very great haha but, then we turned it around and had a quick lesson about the Book of Mormon and they both agreed to read it. Oh and I found out that if you have your hands on your lap during dinner, it's disrespectful.  You're supposed to keep them on the table at all times.  Oops... I'm an American! haha
We had an Austausch this week (Exchange) and Sister Ackerman came up from Gratz to be with me.  She and Sister Armstrong are the Sister Training Leaders for our zone.  So I had to take over all of Wien for almost 2 days.  I was really nervous, not for the lessons or talking to people (I know I can do it in English), but with the navigating.  It's crazy difficult to know how to get to places and I can never tell which direction I'm facing because all I see are tall buildings annnnd the best part. It just worked out that all of the appointments, we had scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, were places neither of us (Sis. W and I) had been before.  Long story short, I actually managed not to get lost all day Wednesday and Thursday and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Then our appointment went a little long Thursday night, and we knew we'd have to rush home to make it on time.  But, we (Sis. A and I) had a little bit of a struggle figuring out which train to get on and then I figured it out so all was well.  There was a delay and we discovered we were going to get home about five minutes late.  We're big into exact obedience so I called up our District Leader, Elder Helbig, to tell him that we were going to be a little bit late. He was chatting away and I realized oh hey! This is our stop! So we hop off and then I got confused and thought... wait. This looks different so we hopped back on. As the train took off again.... I realized that actually was our stop. Safe to say, I was freaking out inside trying to think AH! What do I do now?! This whole time I'm still on the phone with Elder Helbig and Sister Ackerman is chatting up this guy on the train.  Poor Elder Helbig finally realized I hadn't said anything in like 4 minutes (give or take a stop on the train haha) and did the awkward... 'Oh, well, I guess I'll see you tomorrow uhhh..' And I felt horrible so I tried to think of something to say, but I hadn't been listening because I was confused and so the conversation ended.  All in all, we returned home safely, albeit a little late.  And now I have a great unsuccess story for District Meeting Ja Wohl! Lessons learned: I can't multitask, directions not my fave and, if Sister Ackerman is talking... you probably won't get her to stop and miss another stop on your train haha. 
R - I can't remember if I told ya'll about him but he's 19 and is living by himself. We had a super awesome lesson this week with him about the Restoration and invited him to baptism. R said that he would pray about it but, that he knows it will help him come closer to Christ.  He said coming closer to Christ is his ultimate goal and if Baptism will do that, he's game.  It was super scary inviting him but, so much smoother than I expected :)
I'm glad everything is going well at home! I'll pray for Jo.  One thing I really liked studying this week has been Mosiah 2 and 3.  They help me remember the blessed and happy state we can have through following Jesus Christ.  I hope you will give it a read, I know it really helped me!
Anyways, I love you all!!
Sister Harman
PS I haven't seen the broadcast yet :(