Monday, April 15, 2013

The Streets of Vienna!

Hello from Vienna!!

      Still is so weird to say that, but I love the sound of it :). This has been an awesome week here. Its not that something grand or earth shaking happened, but it was the collection of so many perfect moments. I can honestly say I have never loved my mission more. That doesn't mean this is the easiest I have had it, because opening a city is extremely tiring and stressful. But, it is also is the gateway to witness sooo many miracles. It is amazing here......simply amazing!
      I must admit, my least favorite part of missionary work was something we call street contacting. That is where you just go out on the street or in a park and try and talk to people and make appointments to meet with them. I think the largest reason why I wasn't the largest fan, was due to my frustrations with the language. Along with that, I just freaking love teaching! haha, so if I was in a lesson, I was the most happy. However, I LOVE talking to people here! I seriously have the hugest grin on my face the whole darn day! They are so nice!! Vienna is known in this mission has being the place with the meanest people....but this mission doesn't know how good they have it, haha. I think if they took a trip up to Berlin they would be horrified haha. We have had some incredible lessons this week right smack on the streets of Vienna! I love it! We are meeting some incredible people and I can't wait for this coming week where we get to meet them in their apartments and teach them more!
      We have also been doing a lot of less active member work this past week. This ward needs it!! We have seen some amazing success with that. I have grown the strongest testimony here in Vienna of just how important it is to never give up on people. We have been working with a lady named Lida. She was baptized over 20 years ago and hasn't been to church in about 15 years. Some would definitely count her as a lost cause. We have been working with her, and low and behold, the woman showed up to church on sunday!! The first time IN 15 YEARS! Oh my heart just melted when I saw her. We are particularly close and she just linked arms with me and wouldn't leave my side the entire day. She cried through the entire sacrament meeting and said that she felt the peace again.
      We also had a really neat experience with another lady that is a less active named Nina. It was last Saturday and we were headed to a district finding day. I had no idea why, but the whole morning I just didn't feel good about going, but its not really something you choose whether you go or not. Well the feeling persisted as the time to go drew nearer. I said something to my companion and she said that she felt a little funny about it too but didn't know why. We knelt down and prayed together in efforts to gain more direction. Very quickly I got the impression we needed to go by Nina's and we needed to be there at 5pm. It was quite strange because I had only seen Ninas name on a list of members earlier that day, but I remember it stuck out to me for some reason. I knew what I had to do. Hesitantly I called my new district leader and explained to him we wouldn't be joining them anymore. We went to Ninas apartment instead. We rung the door bell.......and nothing. I was so disappointed because the answer to visit her was so strong. As my companion turned around to leave, I said a prayer and pushed the button again. After 2 minutes of me staring at the door bell, and my companion staring at me with a confused look......she answered :). She invited us right in and said that we were the angels she prayed for. It was fantastic to talk with her and learn her life.
      Both these woman, along with others, we meet with regularly now. They had already made the decision to be baptized but got lost in their path. The spirit is so insanely strong in lessons with these people. Revelation and inspiration on what to say to them is SO INSANELY POWERFUL! The words are never my own, but the are said in a bold package wrapped in love that hits them straight to the heart.
      We finally got to meet our ward yesterday for the first time at church! It is definitely a smaller ward that I had pictured in my mind. They are really nice though. Lots of old people, and a LOT of people on the ward list that weren't there....meaning LOTS of Less actives. Everyone was coming up to us telling us how excited they were for sisters. We even got clothes from a member haha. She wanted us to get a reallllll good welcome in to the ward :). They are so cute to us.
      The city is feeling more and more at home every day. I hardly even look at a map anymore, it is all just ingraining itself into my mind. The hope is that I will get to finish out my mission here.....what a dream that would be!
      Spiritual Thought: As I reflect on the life of Jesus Christ, particularly at the point of greatest trial for him, I am reminded by a familiar phrase he expressed, "Why hast thou forsaken me?" I do not want to focus on the phrase it self or what he was feeling at the time, I want to focus on what he did in this difficult time. HE PRAYED. In my life I have learned that sometimes we don't receive answers to prayer because the Lords knows we are not ready when He does answer, it is often "here a litter, and there a little" because that is all that we can bear, or all that I am willing to do at the time. Too often we pray to have patience, but we want it right now! We may not know when or how the Lords answers will be given, but in His time and His way, I KNOW, His answers will come. Let us not give up on the Lord, His blessing are eternal, not temporary. He knows our sacrifices and our sorrows. He hears your prayers. His peace and rest will be yours as you continue to wait upon him in faith. "They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint." Let us wait upon Him by pressing forward in faith, that we may say in our prayers, "Thy will be done".
      I have gained the strongest testimony here, that nothing happens to you without a purpose.......everything happens to perfect us. Heavenly Father loves us, that is something I know for certain. Talk with him. Listen to him. Grow with him.
      Thanks for all the love and support!! I hope you are all enjoying the beautiful spring that has finally come! I miss you all and pray for you every day! I wish everyone luck in school, work, and life! KEEP THE FAITH!
Sister Linford

Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Hormayrgasse 59 Top 9
A-1170 Wien 9

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