Monday, December 14, 2015

Vienna is Waiting for Me

Soo... My first area is Wien!! (Vienna)  It is sooo beautiful, and so is Österreich (Austria.) 

So let's start at the last few days at the MTC were crazy, but good! Miraculously all of my stuff fit perfectly in my suitcases! I definitely need to get rid of a lot of stuff though (haha.) So the flight to München (Munich) was only like 2 or three hours long but the man sitting next to me just started a conversation by saying how full the flight was for 5am and I totally hopped on that and basically taught him the entire first lesson (haha.) The poor guy was stuck next to a brand new eager missionary the whole time, and I wouldn't let the conversation die! But he was really nice haha :) 

As soon as we landed in München we were greeted by President Kohler and Sister Kohler and the assistants, and honestly it just felt like coming home! They were so warm and welcoming! :) we loaded all of our suitcases into a van and first thing, they handed us all copies of the Book of Mormon and put us on a train to hand them out! I was nervous about my German, but I gave out my copy! The lady I talked to was super nice and very patient with my broken German, and she actually seemed really open and listened to me!  After the train we went to the München stake center and did a lot of training and welcoming, and we got our iPads!!  iPads are SO great! I can read my emails throughout the week as I get them, so PLEASE email all the time now! :) I love getting random emails in the week!  I can only reply on Mondays, though.  Wednesday night we all found out where our first areas were going to be and who our trainers were!  Everyone in my MTC group is spread out over the entire mission! Some of us were put in Switzerland, some in Austria, some stayed in Germany, and Elder Jensen is in Italy! I'm so glad I'm in Vienna because that's seriously exactly where I wanted to be, and I heard its the best place to be for Christmas!!  My trainer is Sister Jest from England.  She's been on her mission for about 13 months, and she's been a trainer a couple of times!

So all day Thursday I was on a train with Sister Gilmore to Wien. It was about a 6 hour ride, and Sister Jest was there to get me, and then we had about another 30 minute train ride to our apartment. That night we just planned, I unpacked a little, and then we both totally crashed. Friday was so great!  We taught a lesson to a girl named Andy. Talk about a golden investigator! She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and she had so many great questions and committed to being baptized! She doesn't want to set a date quite yet because she has only met with the missionaries like twice, but she is totally progressing so quickly! It was a rough lesson for me because I understand way more German than I can speak, so I couldn't say anything that I wanted to say, but Sister Jest helped me a lot. She said that she's so surprised with how much I can understand and how much I can speak with only learning German for 6 weeks! I don't feel that way but she says my German is good so I'm staying hopeful! We also taught a man named Yemi who had a baptism date, but he never comes to church so they had to move it back :( he wants to get baptized soo badly because he received an answer while reading the Bible that he has to be baptized to be saved, but he's having some struggles with his testimony. So we are trying to help him as best we can, but it's hard for him to really understand. Yemi is from Nigeria and he speaks less German than I do so we teach him in Englisch. I'm actually really surprised at how many people speak Englisch!  It's required to learn it in school so really there are very few people who don't speak English.  Sometimes it's frustrating because as soon as people hear my American accent they switch into English because they think it will be easier to talk to me that way. The first couple of times it happened I literally thought the gift of tongues had fallen upon me because all of a sudden I was understanding perfectly what people were saying! But then I realized they had just started speaking in English :( I want people to speak to me in German though so I can learn!

Saturday was horrible. Friday night I was feeling extremely nauseous and I couldn't sleep at all. Then I woke up Saturday sooo sick, so we had to cancel all our appointments for the day, including going to the ward Christmas party :( I was so frustrated, but we called Sister Kohler to tell her I was sick, and she said that like 3 other goldens had called sick with the exact same thing! (They call the new missionaries goldens here instead of greenies). So I guess we had all caught a 24 hour stomach bug or something, and I felt so bad for the others too because it was horrible. I couldn't even stand up all day long :( but the elders came to our apartment and gave me a blessing and brought me some Austrian fizzy drink, and that helped so much!  By 8pm I was feeling so much better!  Poor Sister Jest had to stay in the apartment with me all day, and she didn't really know what to do to help me so she kinda just sat there staring at me, freaking out all day. I felt so bad for her!  Sunday was great though :) I woke up feeling so much better, and I got to church and learned that Sister Jest and I were singing Oh Holy Night with the elders for sacrament, which everyone forgot to tell me about. But I winged it and it was good!  Heavenly Father definitely blessed me because I was singing soprano and had to hit that really high note towards the end, and luckily it didn't sound awful (haha!) Then I had to bear my testimony in German, which went well, and then I guess no sisters in relief society play the piano! So I am the designated piano player again! I'm gonna have to get over my fear of playing for people very quickly, I guess! Even though I couldn't understand very much at church, I always love Sundays! They are so rejuvenating :)

So all in all my experience here has been good so far! I think I was homesick for the first time the other day, just because it's Christmas time and everything is so family oriented and Christmassy here, but it's okay :) in my entrance interview with President Kohler I was telling him how before I got my call I really wanted to go to a third world country and he said, "You are in a third world country! Maybe not material wise, but definitely humility wise!"  I thought that was so funny, but it is seriously so true!  People here are very wealthy and very comfortable, so it's hard to convince them why they need to change! But I love being a missionary still! :) 
Love y'all!


Sister Thunell


  1. I am so proud of your baby girl!
    How mature, how positive, how inspirational.
    Being sick away from home and mom is awful...but she did it!
    Oh, the experiences and memories she will return to you with!
    I can only imagine.
    Please tell her Madison and I are following along with her every strong of the way!
    Hugs, mom!

  2. Sounds like she is doing great! I love missionary letters and emails - they are so uplifting. Thanks for sharing them on your blog!