This week was great :) probably one of the best weeks of my mission so far! For p-day last week we hiked Schlossberg, the famous mountain in the middle of the city! You should google it because it is so awesome and it has such a funny legend behind it! But at the top there are biergartens, old castle/church ruins, the famous Graz clock tower, a bell tower, gardens with paths and benches, a souvenir shop, and the most beautiful views in the whole city! Like if you want the perfect place to propose to your girlfriend, go to Schlossberg. It's really awesome because you can either hike up the side, climb the stairs up, take a tram up the side, or go on an elevator ride straight through the middle of the mountain! And the city buildings are built like right up next to and onto the mountain, so it's very much incorporated into the city. Best day ever :)
During the week, Sister Fast and I decided to have a movie night, because all we do is finding ALL DAY LONG EVERY DAY, and we needed a little break! So we came home a little early one day, planned really quick, got into our jammies, pulled out all of our snacks and all of our nail polish, and just watched church movies! We own basically every movie President Kohler has approved for missionaries to watch, and we have a little portable DVD player in our apartment! #blessed It was so nice to relax for a little bit, while also being spiritually edified! If I've learned one thing this week, it's that I need to be a little easier on myself and not get so caught up in working myself to death, but to have fun on my mission! I've been too concerned with being exactly on time for everything, and thinking that we needed to be working our butts off every second of the day. The Spirit does not dwell in uptight, stressed out places! As my dad told me, "even the General Authorities need to take off their white shirts and relax sometimes!"
Friday we had to wake up early and catch a train to Wien for interviews and training. Literally, the best day ever!! Wien is three hours away, so the whole train ride we were playing games with the Elders and it was so fun! And I felt so cool when we got there because I knew exactly how to get us to where we needed to go. I seriously didn't realize how much I missed Wein, and how much I had grown to love it while I was there until I went back on Friday! I think a little piece of my heart will always be in Wien! President Kohler is the best. We watched the worldwide broadcast for missionaries for our training, and it was basically like a mini general conference for missionaries! 6 of the 12 apostles were there, so that tells you how big a deal it was! And it was so great to think that all of my missionary friends around the world had watched it too :) I actually saw Gracie Berrett in the broadcast! So crazy! Then while we had district meeting, President Kohler took us one at a time for interviews. I got some GREAT advice and counsel from him, and I'm just really grateful to have such a cool mission president :) We definitely came back to Graz on such a spiritual high!!
So to answer some questions:
My ward is actually the biggest ward in Austria! There are at least 100 people, and most are active! My ward in Wien was around 70 people.
Most wards in this mission have one set of elders and one set of sisters assigned to them, and most church buildings just have one ward that meets in them because the boundaries are so big! In Graz Ward, we have us, the elders, and a senior couple! So six missionaries in one ward, which is super awesome...not gonna lie. :)
We still take street trains and busses to get around here, but the public transportation is definitely not as big as in Wien. And there are real houses here!! I love it! Most people still live in apartments, though
So far it has snowed for exactly two days since I've been in Austria. And this week we didn't even need our jackets and gloves while we were walking outside! So whoever told me that this would be the coldest winter in 40 years forgot about global warming, I guess!
So the spiritual thought for this week is "reach out with love." You seriously HAVE to go watch that Mormon message because it is the cutest!!
This week I've been focusing on how I can be more charitable, and more humble. Those two things are must-haves out here on a mission, but, surprisingly enough, missionaries aren't just bestowed with perfect charity and humility when they are set apart. I've been learning more and more each day how to forget about myself and put others first, and it is harddddd, but it brings more joy and happiness than being selfish and thinking about yourself ever could! Trust me, I know both sides very well. I keep thinking about a scripture that I read for personal study this week, Moroni 7:6-8
"For behold, God hath said a man being evil cannot do that which is good; for if he offereth a gift, or prayeth unto God, except he shall do it with real intent it profiteth him nothing. For behold, it is not counted unto him for righteousness. For behold, if a man being evil giveth a gift, he doeth it grudgingly; wherefore it is counted unto him the same as if he had retained the gift; wherefore he is counted evil before God."
We need to reach out with love with real intent! If we perform acts of service grudgingly, or just because we think others are watching, or because we're just trying to check one more thing off of our list, then we might as well not have even done it at all! To have true charity, which is the PURE LOVE of CHRIST, we need to truly care about people, and truly try and be like the Savior. #WWJD
So this week try and reach out to someone new! Make a new friend! It will be great :) We make new friends as missionaries every day! And it's so funny because we are like the most popular/most hated people in the world! It's so awesome!!
Well, I just want you all to know that missions are fun :) and I am so grateful for the perfect example of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I never have to worry because as long as I'm following him, everything will work out!
Love y'all! Schönen welche!