So, you can stop your wondering and worrying, RENATE WAS BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!! :) Let me tell you how crazy this day was.
We planned out the times we needed to be on different trains and such to get to her new apartment, gather all the things she needed, and then go to the church so she could prepare herself and get changed. So, we get started off good, and then we were on the S-bahn when the speaker came on and said that because of construction work that day, the bahn was NOT stopping at the stop we needed. So we jumped off and asked ourselves what in the world we needed to do to get there, and how in the world we were going to get Renate and her friends back to the church. We ran over to the buses and hopped in one when the driver said he was going to the place we needed to go. As soon as we hopped in, he drove off! Let´s just say that the Lord has really good timing. So we got to Renate later than planned and had to call Elder Benson and ask him to go start the font, because we were going to be late. Then we had to walk to the Bahnhof in Obertürkheim where she lives, and wait for a bus back. Then we hopped on a U-bahn, and finally on one more to get to the church. The font wasn't very full, because none of us missionaries knew how to properly work the plug thing. But we figured that out, and then none of the lights in the font were working, and people were showing up late, and there were tons of reasons to let the adversary ruin this moment. But I didn't let it happen. I knew she was going to get baptized anyway, didn't matter if we didn't have light or if we had to start the whole meeting a bit later than planned. It happened! Elder Horlacher and I were both in the water, that is how Renate wanted it, but we needed it too, because she had some bandages and stuff wrapped on her leg wounds, and she really could not stand by herself. We both held her up the whole time. And the first time we tried it, her feet just popped right up haha. So, we told her we had to do it again, and she said "What??!" hahaha. Elder Horlacher said the prayer and I was on the other side, and I used some trick that I learned from Dad or from someone back home. I put my leg over her feet to keep them down, and then it worked! She did it! And she was confirmed on Sunday, followed by the Primary program, which was awesome. It was a great weekend. Renate had a few friends who came, and one of them gave us her info because she knows where our church is in her hometown, and she wants the missionaries to come visit her. She was so nice, C_____ is her name :) This is the Lord´s work! Because Renate was baptized, her friends are also so much closer to their Savior, when they just act on the things they felt. So cool!
Well, on to transfer news! I am going to Wien 2 Ward!!!! (Wien is Vienna.) Back to Austria! And, Mom got it completely right, I am going to Austria and training! AND the trainers finally get to go to Munich and pick up their goldens and have meetings with Pres. and Sister Miles again :) I haven't been able to do that yet, except when Elder Eaker picked me up when I was a golden. I will be whitewashing this area, so that will be fun! But get this: I live in the same apartment as Elder Botcherby!!!!! :) And, I will be with Elder Botcherby (my MTC companion) and my golden in a drit (a trio) for the first week or so, because the new Wien ZL with Elder Botcherby is going to be..... Elder Jones!!! :) from my landshut district! But Elder Jones is staying in the office for a little bit to train the new secretary a bit more, so I get to work with my MTC comp and my golden for a week! I am so excited. Plus, Christmas and New Years in Wien with some of my best friends in my apartment, it is going to be so awesome!!!! The Christmas markt is going to be incredible!
But, transfer calls were on Thursday this last week, it surprised almost everyone! I got a text from Elder Davies in Offenburg asking where I was going, and I was thinking that he just wanted to make some guesses before Friday. I was writing him back when I got a call from President miles. BOOM, going to Vienna, training. I had had a lot of anxiety for these transfer calls, because I had no idea what would happen! So it was like ripping off a bandaid, just did it quick and it was a surprise. :) Just like I told Elder Orchard back in the day in Klagenfurt, he is going to Munich to be the new Assistant! I knew it all along, he is such a great guy. Elder. And when he tausches in Wien, he can come and hang out with my golden and I, and either Elder Botcherby or Elder Jones. I was just so happy after finally figuring out where I was going. I know it is where I am supposed to be. Sister Green is also taking another train ride with me, as she is going to Wien 1! This time she will help me keep track of my luggage, hopefully... haha. She is actually going to work with her MTC companion, so she is way excited. Elder Horlacher´s new companion was already 5 transfers in Stuttgart zone, and he is coming back as Zone Leader. Elder Hansen got his wish and is staying in the International Ward for Christmas. His new companion is from Sweden! Sister Smith is also training. And the Bensons of course are staying ;) haha. Elder Morrill from Ludwigsburg is going to be the new Zone Leader in Munich, and Elder Bartholemew is replacing his "father" as Zone Leader in Singen! We knew those two are great missionaries and would be great Zone Leaders. I love how President Miles does it, because he has a mixture of younger and older missionaries in his leadership councils. He is an inspired man!
I am going to miss all the awesome missionaries and friends I have made here in Stuttgart. Thankfully such relationships can last forever. I am so grateful for that. But I am excited for change. I think as I have been Zone Leader and I have known every transfer that I was staying, I just didn't feel like I do now, the rush of excitement for something new, really feeling like a missionary, bound for something new and adventurous. But I have it now. I will have two Austrian Christmases! And will probably stay in Wien until that dreaded last day. Unless I get to go back to Klagenfurt for my last two transfers or something.... would be cool. :)
So, next week you will hear from your Austrian missionary again! Going back to my birthland, but with a totally different dialect. And a MUCH MUCH bigger city. But it is all the same in the Lord´s eyes. I love being here. And I will love being there. And despite your awesome adventures in Morocco, which looks TOTALLY awesome, by the way, I wish you could be here, just to see what I see, and feel what I feel on the Lord´s errand.
I hope you have a great week! I love you all :) Keep smiling, especially when you are wearing shorts and t-shirts at the End of November. Happy Thanksgiving :)
HÄÄÄÄPPPPPYYYYY BIRSDAYYYYY MUM!!!!!! (say is like you are a German trying to speak English unsuccessfully :) ) Have a great one Mom, buy yourself something nice :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons
PS I will send pictures next week. Hopefully.