Monday, August 25, 2014

Lemons into Lemonade

This week was pretty crazy...we took a lot of not-quite-ideal situations and made them into the best that we could, and we had a pretty good week. Lemons into lemonade. It's real, folks.

On the steps of the Palace.
I just have to talk about last P-day; we went to...SCHÖNBRUNN! My lovely mother in a letter a few weeks ago asked if we had gone yet, so I promptly turned around to my companions and we resolved to go that next week. It's absolutely beautiful, with huge grounds, beautiful gardens, a gajillion tourists, and lots of photo-taking opportunities. There's this cool overlook that we walked up--you have to walk through all of the front/back grounds of Schönbrunn and up a huge, steep hill, but when you get up to the top you can see ALL of Wien! We had to scurry up pretty quickly because we had an appointment we had to get to, but I'm so glad we did. It was incredible!
Wien, Schonbrunn, and Me!

Sister Bushman (and her name tag) were at Schonbrunn Palace.

Tree pose in front of Schonbrunn
Sister Bushman, Sister Freimann & Sister Smiley
Beautiful Schonbrunn Palace was built in the mid-1600s.
Okay, funny story. The Wien 1 Elders set up a service project for us all to do this week; we were going to go do some garden work for a member that basically lived on the border of the Czech Republic. We were all going to catch a train together, be on the train for an hour, work for a few hours, come home, do some studies and other activities in the late afternoon, and then go to GMK (weekly meeting with the Ward Mission Leader) at 6. We were running a smidgen late as we were heading to the train, but we knew if we BOOKED it from our Straßenbahn to the train, we would be fine. As we flew up the escalator, we watched the doors close and the train pull away--with the Elders on it! We seriously had missed it by like, 5 seconds. Bummed but not deterred, we went to check the train schedule. The next train that went that far north would come in TWO hours. We went to talk with the OBB train people, but they said there was no other way that we could get there besides the train that came in 2 hours. We hadn't made any back-up plans (shame on us) because we were so sure that this was a solid, non-moving event. Oops.
Ice cream makes long walks better!
With Sister Smiley & Sister Freimann
So, what do you do in this situation? You make the most of it by quickly buying some treats at Billa, going home, and doing all of your studies, weekly planning, and stopping by some members before heading to GMK. It was pouring and only Sister Smiley had an umbrella, but we weren't in too poor of spirits. We had saved the day and made it worthwhile! When we got there our Ward Mission Leader told us that the Elders wouldn't be joining us...something had gone wrong with the trains and they wouldn't be able to make it back for a little while longer. They eventually made it home, but we all kind of laugh about that day; the day we almost went to the border of the Czech Republic. A lot of stories have been like that this week. Things would go completely wrong. Then, we would just look at each other, shrug, and get to work. In the end, things would work out. This is The Lord's work, and when we try to follow the Spirit - in missionary work or in life - it always works out. 
The past 24 hours have been really fun because the Sister Training Leaders in Graz came up for a tausch (exchange). Normally one missionary would go to their area and one from their area would come here, but since we have 2 areas and things are a little tricky with a dritt, they came up and will be here until Wednesday, and we'll split up into 2 groups between the 5 of us on Tuesday and Wednesday to work. But, in the mean time, we're having a special Sisters' P-day with them! It's so fun. Sister Smith and Sister Threlkeld are both red-headed and lovely and hilarious and while getting up in the morning with the 5 of us is a little crazy, we're so excited to work with them for the next few days. 
I love Vienna rain!
Today was also really fun because we had interviews with Präsident Kohler! Apparently they happen around every 3 months. He is so awesome. It's really apparent that he cares about the work and what's being done, but he also really just cares about us. He told me that if missionaries are legitimately not enjoying their missions, something is wrong. Missions are hard, but they're joyous. And we should be constantly learning and striving and happy as we serve. 

A couple little fun mission-slang things I've picked up before I go: 
* People refer to their mission beginning and ending as being 'born' and 'dying'. Like, I was 'born' in Wien. Sister Freimann will 'die' in 3 transfers. Sister Freimann 'killed' her last 2 companions because she was their last comp (companion) before they went home, haha.

* The average time a missionary spends in an area is four 6-week transfers. Typically there will be a comp change every 2 transfers, so when someone new comes in, there is someone who knows what is going on. When 2 new missionaries start simultaneously in one area, it's called white-washing. I've heard white-washing is crazy stressful.
"Personal Touch" (chocolate) from the Weiner Neustadt Elders
* People give "personal touches" to other missionaries, or to ward members or people they are working with. They can just be a nice little note, or a little gift, or something like that. The Wiener Neustadt Elders gave us chocolate this week. (Speaking of, holy cow. Chocolate here is so good. I will never eat Kit-Kats again.)

So these are a few fun little things. I think of you oft! I love Vienna, but there is no place like home! :)

Sister Bushman
Two more photos:
 The adorable 'Kino' that has been set up in the Wiener Neustadt town center for the past two weeks...I want to come back and go see a movie there after my mission!
 I meant to send this last week but didn't...THIS is what it takes to get me to give a talk in church (auf Deutsch). The red are Sister Freimann's corrections. Natives are so handy!

1 comment:

  1. She is so darling! Such a bummer that Sis Henry didn't get to train her. I am impressed you got the blog up with your travels. I just am loving her photos and her sweet letters home, thank you for sharing your wonderful daughter!