Hallo Familie :)
Okay, first things first. I will be on skype around 20 uhr here, oder 8pm. That puts you at noon, your time. And 4pm Tyson's time. So, I have 40 minutes with you, and then 20 with Tyson. I don't know how you want to do it, whether I talk to you, then to Tyson, or vice versa, but I just know it would be impossible to talk to you all at the same time. But Tyson knows, hopefully. I sent him an email as well, so he should get that in time.
So, be on skype maybe a bit before noon. I will let Elder Weston go first. We are skyping at a member's house, familie Barosch. I don´t really know them yet. But I will :) It will be great. I am excited!
Oh, Happy Birthday to Joseph Smith :) And Justin, ge? Hope they have great ones. How old is Joseph Smith now, 208? Not bad. We are going to a member family tonight, Elder Botcherby and I, and we will talk about Joseph Smith. So I got to read some of his teachings this morning in study. He was an incredible man. And a prophet of God. We need more people like him in the world. And of course, that is just a step on the way to becoming like our Savior, whose birth we are celebrating :) Frohe Weihnachten!
This week was fun, and cold. Some cool things happened, though. Ich erzähle euch mal...So, on Wednesday Elder Botcherby got a call from a Hungarian woman who was traveling through Wien and needed help getting from the train station to the international bus terminal across the city. So, we volunteered, because we had the time. So, we show up at the bahnhof, and who is it? Sister Feher, the Sister we met in the MTC, who learned English AND Finnish in her 12 weeks there (of course not perfectly) and with whom we talked very often when we saw her and her companions around the MTC. Sister Feher´s MTC companion was Sister Ehlen, Bro. Ehlen´s sister. So when I saw her, as soon as she turned around I said, "Sister Feher, I knew you in the MTC!" and she looked at my nametag and then we both commenced in remarking how crazy it was that we met up again in Vienna, Austria! That was so cool. Elder Botcherby flipped when I showed him the picture that night of Sister Feher and I. We accompanied her and talked the whole time in English! And in the MTC she was finding English rather difficult. She was traveling up to Frankfurt to visit her friend, and about 18 months later we met up again. Craziness :) I will send a picture of us.
Next up, we had an awesome Christmas conference! We did a white elephant which was really fun, and we played the chimes. There was one song with harmony, and it was way cool. At the end, Sister Miles bore her testimony about how we have the light of Christ in our eyes, and she showed us a slideshow she had made, with pictures of Christ mixed in with missionaries from the mission. That was really cool. Then President Miles bore his testimony about the Savior. The conference really helped invite the Spirit of Christmas. After that we went to Rathaus to carol, and we got a little crowd who loved us. Then some moms came over and were angry with us because we had been singing so long and their group of kids wanted to sing. Geez, Merry Christmas people, we had no idea haha. All of you, don´t be Mister/Misses Scrooge, okay? Danke schön. I will send you a picture of our time at the rathaus Christmas markt last Monday. I bought a sweet little lederhosen dude ornament, where you pull the string and his arms and legs fly up. I was looking for something that just said Austria, and that was it :) Now I just have to find my own lederhosen again...
Guess what? Familie S_____ is going to be baptized on Sunday :) We went to teach Maria on Tuesday last week, with Arnulf Schaunig, and she is doing so good. But she still smoked 10 cigarettes a day :( But we went back on Saturday, she had made it down to 2. And our joint teach, Kilian, who used to smoke, was able to help her a lot and encourage her to just stop. Elder Botcherby and I talked really quickly as they were talking, and we both had a good feeling that if Maria stopped smoking then and there, she could be baptized with her family next week. So we will hope and pray that she makes it, I know she can. And then those 4 will be baptized next week. We are so excited. :)
Guess who I got to talk to on Saturday evening? Sister Schaunig :) Elder Botcherby and I did a tausch for the day so that we could accomplish all the things we needed to. Martin, the man taught by Elders Jones and Abbot, was baptized and confirmed and then received the priesthood on Sunday, it was great! (He had special permission to do it so, so we did it!) Martin had invited Elder Jones and Botcherby to an opera that night to celebrate, but we also had a few appointments between the four of us. So Elder Weston went with Elder Jones, Elder Botcherby and I hit up the appointments and then got to go play fußball with some members and their friends. :) Oh my goodness, I will send another email with pictures from the new family I met on Saturday, the Su____ family, being taught by Elders Jones and Botcherby. Their two kids, 6 and 7 years old, are so awesome. I kept them busy on one end of the couch so that Elder Botcherby could have a good conversation with the parents. The dad was baptized not too long ago, and they are still teaching the wife. They are so nice :) Anyway, I love them. The kids gave me the biggest hug when I left, I knelt down so the 7 year old daughter, M_____, could put my scarf on for me (she liked it a lot and wore it the whole time, as you will see in the pictures) and then she asked if I would come to them on Christmas, and if she would see me again, and she gave me the biggest hug. She stole my heart. And then the son, R_____, joined in the hug and told me he loved me. Sometimes you just have to be loved perfectly by a child to let all the stress and the like melt away. That is what happened for me! So we went from that awesome family over to the S_____ family, two incredible families in like 2 hours. We are very blessed here in this area :)
Back to the beginning story, we were playing fußball, but we got to the place and the door was locked, so we called Arnulf, who is in Klagenfurt visiting his mother, to ask who we should talk to. And I asked if his mom was there. So I talked to her for a few minutes, it was great. I also got an email from the Casellas today, and they want me to come stay my last week with them in Klagenfurt :) haha. They said not to worry about permission, they are going to speak with the mission boss.....Heavenly Father. Good enough, I guess haha. Their kids are playing hockey now, he sent me pictures. I miss them so much. Man, I miss everyone. Oh, that reminds me, I have to wish Familie Auras a Merry Christmas :) I wish I had the emails from Sympla and Bendito, I will have to ask Elder Allan. Mensch, Renate sent me a package for Christmas! How nice of her. I kinda already opened it, because I didn't know what it was, but I will reopen it on Wednesday. :) Still like Christmas! We are also going to do a Bayerisch Frühstück on Christmas morning, with pretzels and weißwurst and sweet mustard. Gonna be great.
Anyway, I am going to see you tomorrow, so I will talk more then, of course. Now I will hör auf bis dann. But I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and I will wish you a Happy New Year next week. Enjoy what is left of 2013, ge? Meine Güte, where did it go....
I love you all, remember that the Savior does, too. Really, His love you can feel, you can find peace and joy. Don´t just talk about it or listen to others do so, make sure you take some time to think and to FEEL. I know He is there, He was born for us, and ebenso He died for us. The greatest gift of all. :)
Elder Jalen Gibbons