Oh man! Sounds like an exciting week in good ole America! I'm glad the boys had fun (even if Josh did give you grief) and that Katie got to spend some time in Idaho. I know she was way excited for that. Way to go on the buying the three pair of shoes. I know that I probably will never want to wear flat church shoes when I get back! haha Diversity is great! Oh shoot, poor Elder Naegle. I hope they can get that all sorted out. I know his future companion (the one he is supposed to be with now) Elder Bodily, can't wait until he gets a companion. Right now he's in a drit (3 missionaries) with the Elders from my ward.
OHMYGOODNESS! I got the box! The box actually came while I was in Graz on an exchange with Sister Armstrong. So I had to wait until Friday to open it. I died with joy! The skirt is so cute and fits perfectly. And the Sisters have loved eating American candy! SO thank you, thank you, thank you!
This week has been incredible as always! We had Zone Training this week in Wien. It was sooo wonderful! The Zone Leaders, Elder Riser and Robins, and Sister Woods and I got to plan the whole thing and whew! It went off great! We talked all about the importance of study time and really filling ourselves with the power that comes from God! Alma 26:13 was the central point. Sister Woods and I started out the meeting with an object lesson. Sister Woods like to tell everyone how much I love to bake and how great I am at baking so we made muffins for everyone! We wanted to show that if we put the right ingredients into our personal and companionship study how it can be amazing! That being said... if we don't put in the right ingredients... it can be really nasty. But, we wanted to be sneaky about the point so we first had Sister Woods eat a good muffin and tell everyone how amazing it was. Then she said because it tasted so wonderful, she wanted to share. So we gave an Elder a good muffin, he ate it and loved it! Then we gave a different Elder a bad muffin. Instead of reacting, he swallowed it and said it was good. (Kay, I was trying so hard not to laugh because the poor kid looked like he was going to be sick) Luckily, we had 3 more gross muffins. We had three other Elders volunteer and all were too nice to say it tasted vile. WHAT THE HECK! They were ruining our object lesson! At this point, I'm crying I'm laughing so hard because they all look like they're going to be sick. So I explained that those muffins were supposed to be gross and that we had put fish (the meat and everything) with curry powder, WAY too much salt) and some other random spices into those muffins. One of the Elders, Elder Jimenez, finally acknowledging the fact he hates fish and that the muffins were nasty, jumped up and chugged some water. Safe to say, our lesson went great!
We're having a lot of success teaching people. I feel like the more personable I am to other people and really open my heart to them, the more open they are to really listening, keeping commitments and coming unto to Christ. Our ward is a little bit difficult in that we never get referrals. All those we are teaching, we have found by our own efforts, which is great! But, also hard to help them really feel welcome into the ward. We've been working with our less active members alot this past week and have seen great progress with them. Sister Bt is just one example. She's from Nigeria and was Baptized about thirty years ago. She fell away from the church when she became divorced and we've been working with her alot to help her come back. Our first couple visits with her, were really just chatting and sharing a short thought. We could tell she wasn't really ready to open up to us and so we just kept meeting with her, and waiting until we could share the messages we really wanted to share. Our patience has paid off! This week she invited her whole family, (Sons, their wives and their children) to listen to 'her Sisters'. We got to teach the whole first lesson and oh man! The lesson went so well! They were so interested and ready to listen because we already had that foundation of friendship! That's one of the biggest reasons why member missionary work is so much more effective! People are more open to hear the restored gospel of Jesus Christ from a friend and not a random stranger. AH! It was simply incredible... oh and did I mention we're teaching them all again next week?! SO nice!
I love being a Sister Training Leader! We were in charge of zone training with our zone leaders, which went incredible! I went to Graz on an exchange with Sister Armstrong, which was also great. Sister Armstrong has been out for about 9 months and speaks excellent German, funny, a little bit quieter, but, just a joy to be around! Graz is considerably smaller than Wien and has about I don't know around 300,000 people. I loved it! We taught all in German and I have really fallen in love with the German language. It was great to able to practice with an expert like Sister Armstrong and really learn from her experiences. One funny story, we (Sister Armstrong and I) went to go visit a recent convert, Charles. We taught the lesson about peace and repentance (he's been struggling with the Word of Wisdom) and at the very end, he whispered something to Sis. Armstrong. She said, 'Oh, no she doesn't.' And he looked very relieved. I felt super awkward but, was going to let it go when he said something like I don't keep secrets from my Sisters so I'll just tell you. I asked if you ate meat. I told him that I did eat meat and he jumped up out of his chair and started yelling something in some langauge... I don't even know what. I jumped back, because he scared the heck out of me and he started saying about how he should get the Elders to reprimend me because I was breaking the Word of Wisdom. Sister Armstrong was laughing like crazy and I'm just standing there, not knowing what to do. She explained that I only eat meat sparingly and he settled right down. So funny. Nice to know that he is really committed to helping others keep God's commandments, eh?
You asked about what a normal missionary day looks like: 6:30 wake up and exercise till 7, 7-8 we get ready for the day, 8-9 Personal Study, 9-11 Companionship study/Training (I'm still a golden haha), Appointments all day, an hour of language study fit in whenever, and then home by 9 or 9:30 if we have a lesson. Sometimes we have to move our studies around a little bit, if we have people who can only meet in the mornings but, generally that's how our days work!
One cool story, I got really sick Saturday night/Sunday morning. I started throwing up at like 11:30 and, then like clockwork, would throw up every thirty minutes until like 4. Slept for two hours and then started throwing up again at 6. So a grand total of like 3 hours of sleep. Safe to say, I was feeling awful. But, I have never missed church before and I didn't plan on missing so Sister Woods and I went to church, and said that afterwards, I'd go home to sleep. I was pretty much dying all through church and started to get a little nervous because it's been hot here and I couldn't keep down any water. Feeling dizzy, weak, and terribly dehydrated - I thought geez, you dummy! You have Elders serving right here in your ward and you haven't asked for a blessing! Come on! So I asked the Elders, they gave me a fantastic blessing and literally, right after that I started feeling better. I was still crazy tired but, I could drink water! The wonderful Jones family offered to give us a ride home because I looked so bad and, I went right to bed, when we got home! Woke up later and felt alive! God really does give us the strength to do whatever we need!
Anyways, I love you all and hope your week goes oh so well!