Well shoot. Another crazy, crazy, week has passed us by! We had Zone training on Tuesday. We always have Zone meetings in Salzburg, so after the meeting I just stayed to work with Sister Holman on an exchange and Sister Clark headed back to Linz with Sister McEwen. Almost 15 months out and I FINALLY got to try riding a bike. I felt like I was finally graduating and becoming a REAL missionary.
(Granted I always had seen Elders on the bikes and it's incredibly easier with pants than with a skirt but, none the less.. it was great fun!) Quick little funny story, Sister Clark is a bit taller than me and the first Sisters that had the bikes, Sister Henry and Sister Garrett, are far taller than me. My lovely bike for the day was already on the shortest settings that it could go on and I just had to do my best not to slow down. (When you slow down - that's when you tip over!) Safe to say, I earned lots of respect for those Sister Missionaries out there pedaling for all they are worth! Sister Holman and I saw lots of miracles - despite all their appointments falling out. She's a great Sister Missionary from Texas and will be heading home this next week. (Editor's note: I freaked out when she saw a picture of my missionary with a bike helmet on. Due to concussion history she was advised to NEVER ride a bike again. It is a really good thing I heard about this afterward or I would have been a mess all week!)
For those who may not know, Linz is a straßenbahn and bus area, Ludwigsburg was a bus and S-bahn area, and Wien was U-Bahns and Straßenbahns :) Simply so that ya'll know!
1.Exciting news! M has completely given up smoking. Just like that. We followed up with him during our first lesson this week, and, to be honest, I was expecting a little progress but, nothing too crazy. But, then he just smiled and said that he was done. He hasn't smoked in over a week already and said that everytime the craving comes, he just says a prayer and thinks about his wife and he has the strength to abstain. Sister McEwen and I were so excited/surprised/amazed that we almost didn't know what to say. We just kept saying wow, and looking between the 6 of us. (M, M, the Didenhover's (our Ehepaar), and us!) He seemed just about as amazed as we were, he's been smoking for over 15 years and has been trying to quit for ages. He said he realized he'd be trying to quit without the best help that one can receive - yep! The help from our Father in Heaven. With his help, really everything we need to be can be done! What a great example he is to me about faith and I just feel ridiculously blessed to be a part of his coming unto Christ.
2.I also had the opportunity to give a talk in Sacrament meeting. I was a little resigned to my fate when Bruder Merl pulled me aside and asked me to give a talk. It's been ages since I gave my talk in Ludwigsburg and I knew it was bound to happen again - surprise! 10 minutes about The Holy Ghost! In particular, he asked me to talk about how the Holy Ghost is the second part of our becoming clean, of our sanctification after baptism! Here's a quote that I really liked from President Joseph Fielding Smith,
I believe in the doctrine of laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost, by which we are brought into communion with our Father in heaven and learn of His ways, that we may walk in His paths.10
The Sacrament meeting was so quiet as I was speaking that I started to get nervous that people weren't understanding me. I could just feel the Spirit so strong and just knew that these people needed to hear that the Lord had ways prepared for each and everyone of them. I kept just praying in my heart that they would get something out of the talk. After I finished, Benjamin Mielacher (an Elder friend of mine, who just got home from his mission!) gave a talk and the meeting was silent. The congregation was just riveted as he shared stories from his missions and I just felt so grateful to be a member from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where we can receive the gift of the Holy Ghost and are asked to share our testimonies with others!) Bishop came up afterwards teary eyed and said, that the meeting had never been so quiet and still before. Everyone had been able to feel the Spirit.
3.Another Friday in Zion! We went to visit our lovely Old Folks home this week, this week with a flute in tow! Sister McEwen played the flute, as I sang along and we even ventured out to sing some English songs. We thought it might be getting a bit dull for them only to hear the German songs. They just smiled and laughed at the crazy 'Americans'. (Much to Sister McEwen's chagrin, they still think she's from America haha) We brought roses with us and gave them all each one rose so that they could remember until next week how much we love them and how much God loves them. I slipped one of the roses into Larry's shirt pocket and he just looked up and said, 'Ich bin die Schönste Mann auf Erde!' I am the handsomest man on Earth! It was so adorable and we just laughed until we cried. Sometimes we get so busy, teaching and focusing on the big things that we forget the simple joys that come from flowers, smiles and hugs!
Basically, this week was amazing. We saw so many miracles from investigators, members and less actives and I just feel super blessed to be a part of His work. It really is the most rewarding work I've ever done!
Love you all!