Monday, January 25, 2016

Welkommen zu Graz!

German moment of the week: Apparently in Switzerland the German word for "Christian" is "Christ," and Sister Jest has only served in Switzerland so we have just been innocently telling people here that we are Christian! But in Austria Christian is just Christian, and Christ means Christ.. Haha so we've actually been telling people we are Christ.. Oops...

In other news, I finally got my visa!  A long and painful process that I will have to do again soon.  My last few days with Sister Jest were really good, which I am extremely thankful for. We learned a lot from each other.  Our very last day together all of our appointments fell through, so we just went finding for the whole day and into the evening, which was FREEZING, but we talked to some super awesome people!  Then we went home and made dinner together and just kinda had a recap of how our transfer together had been, and what we both learned and what we could still both improve on, and laughed about our stubbornness. :)

Thursday was transfer day!  It was a day full of train rides for me, and I loved it! Just imagine riding in a warm train through the snowy alps, with beautiful trees, valleys, frozen lakes, and mountains surrounding you, little brightly colored cottages tucked in the snow in the middle of nowhere, and snow flurries fluffing up as the train passes, and that's exactly what I was doing :) it was like the Polar Express!!  I went to Salzburg to meet my new companion, Sister Fast, and then we traveled back to Graz together!  I'm not too good at the geography of where everything is here, cuz you know, I just go where the Lord wants me to go, but according to my calculations it was a very long way, and also a very long day.

Let me just say how extremely difficult it is to drag suitcases down cobblestone streets. And if you add snow and ice to that, it is a nightmare!  Definitely need to get rid of some stuff... SISTER FAST IS THE BEST! HOLY POOP! (are missionaries allowed to say "holy poop" because I still say that a lot..?) I am literally crying I love her so much.  She is from California and she is so happy and energetic and kind and such a hard worker, just everything I want to be as a missionary basically :) This is gonna be a great transfer, I CAN JUST FEEL IT IN MY BLOOD.  I don't think I have laughed or smiled this much my whole mission so far.

Church on Sunday was great.  This ward is super awesome!  In my last ward basically everyone was over the age of 80.  We had 4 primary kids, no young women, and like 3 young men. But this ward has children to spare!  And young women too!  Yay!!  Everyone in Graz ward is SO ENERGETIC.  Like I felt like I was being attacked by jumping beans the whole day (haha.)  I don't know if I can handle this much socializing every Sunday!  It's crazy!  

So I don't know what kind of rumors were being spread about me before I got here, but I had people coming up to me asking if Sister Fast is helping me learn English, too (seriously why does everyone think I can't speak English,) and what it's like in the Philippines, or if my family lives in Asia, and this one guy spoke to me in Spanish for a good 10 minutes before he found out I wasn't Hispanic.  I was just so confused the whole day. But I have already gotten to know the members so well, and I'm sooo excited and happy to be here!

So! Geistigen Gedenken! (Spiritual thought). In Wien, Sister Jest and I were sharing this "21 day challenge" with members, and I really think it's super awesome so I'm gonna share it with all of you! (It's attached at the end). It's in German so I will translate.  So first you need to write down a list of all your friends, family members, or neighbors who you would like to share the gospel with.  Then for 21 days you should pray for them, day and night, and read the scriptures that go along with each day.  Elder Robert E. Wells of the Quorum of the Seventy has promised that if we take this challenge and ACTUALLY DO IT then by the end of the 21 days at least one person from your list will be ready to meet with the missionaries! That's basically a promise from Heavenly Father himself, people!!  So now you have all officially been challenged :)

Have a lovely week! Ciao! Tschüß! Papa! Auf Wiedersehen! Bis später! Schönen Tag noch!

Random Austrian fact: there are a bazillion different ways to say goodbye here. And if you don't say at least 3 of them you haven't really said goodbye (haha.)

Liebe Grüße,
Sister Thunell

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