Sister Linford is currently serving in the Alpine German speaking mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This includes parts of Germany, Austria and Switzerland. As we get updates from her, we will post them here. If you would like to know more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints or what a "mission" is all about, just visit www.mormon.org or www.lds.org, or you can leave us a comment and we can answer your questions.
Ahhhh.......hadfvbchaksdflauhseofuiawehfjnasmxcnioaüsd......I don't want to write this email. I don't want to admit that it will be my last one. I just don't know what to say. It still doesn't feel like I will be home soon. Here in Vienna...being a missionary, that is what "real" life is to me.....everything else is just a distant memory. Trying to imagine me coming home is something that I just don't think is possible for me. Everyone keeps asking me how I feel or if I am sad, but to me it has just been another fantastic week of missionary week just complete with a lot more questions and weird sympathetic looks being sent my way. I guess I will just be one of those that it doesn't hit me until a few days after I am home.
Enough with that, I am still a missionary as of yet and I have had a fantastic week! So I am going to tell you a little about it :). This week was all about the Loh family! We had lots of appointments with them and it was all leading up to the baptism that happened yesterday. It was seriously the sweetest baptism ever!
Gina, the mother, spoke about her inactivity a little bit and how it was the baby blessing that Bella had 9 years ago that got her to come back. This blessing talked all about how Bella would be raised in the church and how her parents would play a big role in that. She said that she remembers at the time of this blessing she was confused as she really hadn't been to church in a very long time and this blessing for Bella as a baby was to appease the grandma. However, as we missionaries reached out, the words of this blessing came back to Gina's memory with an unexpected force of peace. She knew she needed to start coming back to church after years of inactivity. So the Loh family started coming every week and we got the pleasure of teaching them!
Then Lars, the father spoke. He got up and said the he knew he wasn't a member but he did know a few things. Holy Cow, I won't be ever able to completely repeat what he said but everyone there was crying. He just promised Bella that she had found the right path. That through his lifelong journey of him searching, he had never felt so much peace and love then he had in the last few months in our church. He was so sweet about everything and you could tell that they both were so proud of her.
My companion and I also gave talks. It was such an incredible day! Bella is such an example to her family and I know that the rest of her family will also one day be baptized!
Our other investigators continue to do so well! They are all at big points in deciding when to be baptized. It is so fun to be working with so many families.....it brings such a deeper dimension to this work.
The ward here.....I know, I know......you hear so much about them! But this is the last time so bear with me! This past week has been a lot of goodbyes. I have been stuffed full of food every second as we run from one to another sharing our last memories together. They have been so so soooo good to me here. Yesterday they kept me busy as I had to give this huge goodbye thing in Relief Society as well as saying BOTH prayers ha, then I gave the Sunday school lesson with my companion, then I gave a talk and said a prayer in Sacrament meeting, THEN I gave a talk at the baptism. I was talked out to say the least......but everyone was so sweet to me. They just kept saying, "You will never be forgotten!" Which is all any missionary hopes to hear. Man I will miss it all so much......
I leave for Munich, Germany on Wednesday morning. And then it is off to America Friday morning. Whooo what a trippy week ahead of me. I hope to see you all shortly! As sad as I am to leave here, I am sooo excited to see everyone again! Just a reminder my flight comes in July 26th at 7:25pm. I will be on a Delta flight coming from Atlanta, Georgia. I would love to see you all there!
Spiritual Thought: D&C 10:4 "Do not run faster or labor more than you have strength and means provided to enable you to translate; but be diligent unto the end."
Love you all, KEEP THE FAITH!
Sister Jessie Linford
Hey y'all! This week started with a Castle trip and ended with a baptism......so yeah, its safe to say it was a good one! Last monday, we went to the Belvedere, which is a beautiful castle. You would think with me having been out for as long as I have, I wouldnt need to pinch myself anymore.....but, that is just not the case! I have to ask myself all the time if I really am in Austria. And the answer is YES :). I am a lucky one!
This week I was a little bit of everywhere. I spent 3 days on an exchange in a city called Graz. It is the second largest city in Austria. It was fun to see another city in this mission. I haven't gotten to do an exchange where I went to another city since last December when I went to Hamburg. I was really excited, but also really not looking forward to leaving Vienna. As my time is now under 2 weeks, every second here means so much to me. However, I was able to push that aside and have a fantastic time in Graz with Sister Ackerman. As always with exchanges....you have some good laughs, lots of chats, super awesome lessons, and.....ice cream! haha its just a must. I had a great time in Graz, but the 2.5hour train ride home could not go faster! I was sooooo excited to get back to Vienna! I just love it here a little too much.
This week was also Zone Training, where all the missionaries in the east half of Austria came together. It as always was really good, until the sneak attacked happened......those little weasels! I was just sitting enjoying the meeting and just as I thought the closing song was about to start.....nope....."We have some missionaries ending soon, we would like them to come up and give their last hoorah!" That just ain't cool. Why do you gotta take a perfectly enjoyable afternoon and spoil it with something like that?! But that was just the start......I got up, said my thoughts, and sat back down. It didn't really hit me. Despite getting questioned by just about everyone I know in Vienna how I feel about going home, it still hadn't hit yet. But that was soon to change.....
A few weeks ago the big broadcast came out from the church talking about missionary work. Our stake planned a day just last week that we would all come together and watch it. Well shoot........the broadcast was awesome, but, SO HARD! I felt my heart was being ripped out the entire time. It was the weirdest thing! As I watched, it finally hit me. It was physically painful to finally understand what was coming. The joy that these people have in the broadcast, is my every day life. It is something that has become who I am. It seems to be now all that I know. Every person that I have met and now love crossed my mind. These people are family to me. They have seen me grow and because of them, I am forever changed. Its hard to know that will end soon.....
Speaking of these people, they are doing so so well! Bella's baptism is this Sunday and I couldn't be more excited. I even get to give a talk at it :). Everyone else, seriously is just doing great!
When I came to Vienna, I made goals. When I had only a month left of my mission, I made more goals. And it has been my entire focus to reach these goals. I want to leave this program bursting with prepared investigators ready for baptism. I still remember coming to Vienna, not even having a map. We started from absolutely nothing and I have never enjoyed and felt so invested in an area before. It has been unreal to see so many miracles unfold on a daily basis.
Of course I can't forget the members! They are just too freaking good to me. Listen to all the things they did for me this week........played volleyball, took us out to the country side and we had a picnic and picked cherries :), took us out to a Chinese restaurant (rare occasion on a mission!), gave us multiple rides (even more rare! In fact, first time my entire mission and it happened like 5 different times!), fed us....LOTS, and last but not least.....TOOK US TO AN OPERA! Yeah, the Huy's took us to the Mozart Opera right in the heart of the city!! say whaaaat?! It was so freaking cool!
Spiritual thought: "Remember, remember that it is upon the rock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye must build your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth his mighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all his hail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have no power over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endless wo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a sure foundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.” Heleman 5:12
I testify of Him, that He has overcome the world, that He will never forget or abandon us, for He has graven us upon the palms of His hands. I testify that those who keep His commandments will grow in faith and hope. They will be given strength to overcome all of life’s trials. They will eperience peace that passes all understanding.
I wish you all the best this week! KEEP THE FAITH!!!
Whooooo, HAPPY 4th of JULY!! (sorry its a tad late!) Dont worry though, I proudly rocked the red, white, blue all day on Thursday! Being in Europe for so long has just made me so much more aware of culture and my patriotism! This was seriously just such a good week! I know I keep saying that and it has probably gotten really annoying (bare with me there are only 2 more of these emails coming that are clogging your inboxes!)..........but its just true!
Where do I even begin? Lets start with the glorious Andy. Well her real name is Andrea, but she goes my Andy for short. She is 30 and the cutest thing ever. One of the most prepared people I have ever seen on my mission. We have been teaching her the last 2 weeks and last week we spent every free day she had with her. Guess what folks.....SHES GETTING BAPTIZED!!! Yep, just after I go home, in August. She is so cool. She is so excited to get baptized to. She keeps saying, "I cant believe it took me 30 years to find this!"
Other peeps: Doris, she continues to do well! She had some extremely difficult questions that she was firing off in our last lesson. She use to be a Catholic Minister and so she thinks deeper than most. There was a moments where it just felt intense. I stopped talking for a bit and let my companion and the member continue on.....I just stopped and prayed with all my might....I waited until I felt i should talk. Words were coming out of my mouth that I didn't even know. The room stopped and doris was just still as I talked. The spirit was so insanely strong that even the member started crying. There was a complete change in everyone and in the rest of the lesson. It was one of those sureal moments where the spirit guided and I can promise I had nothing to do with what happened. But it did happen, and Doris along with everyone there including myself, was changed by it.
The 4th of July was one of the happiest days of my life! I have no idea why, but it was just perfect! and so american :). The day started out with a fantastic lesson at the Loh family's home. They gave us American bagels and cream cheese! Oh how I have missed that combo the last year and a half. We had such a good time with them and Bella is sooo excited for her baptism that is in less than 2 weeks. She asked me to give a talk at it.
Then, we had a fantastic lesson with Andy complete with some delicious Gellato. Nothing beats that combo!
Next was a good ole time at English and German class where I teach Intermediate English to some hilarious people. One of my students brought me American candy and rocked the red, White and blue with me even though she is from Iran haha.
But, I saved the best for last......we had a party at the Huys family's! Oh how the Huy's really feel like family to me. More so than any others I have met on my mission. He is German and she is Mongolian but they throw a big party for the missionaries every 4th of July. And boy was it a party! We had 8 missionaries, investigators, members, and neighbors. It was soooooo fun!! We just laughed the night away and ate even more American food!
The weekend took a strange turn however. My companion woke up Friday morning with a really red and puffy eye. We just laughed it off. She decided it would be best if she didn't put any eye make up that day. Well no eye make up turned into a trip to the pharmacy to get some help pronto, which then turned her into one eyed willy.....which landed us in the hospital. But the hospital was not working with us so we took her home and she took a benedryl.......12 hours later she woke up and we started the hospital adventure all over again. We were there all day Saturday (cant wait for American health care!) the poor thing got a major eye infection! The past few days I have been going out with members and the international sisters while she has had to stay home. She had to spend the yesterday morning in the hospital again and couldn't even go to church. But she has been a trooper and we have just laughed through the whole thing! She woke up this morning and its almost healed....miracle!
Spiritual Thought: “Here then is a great truth. In the pain, the agony, and the heroic endeavors of life, we pass through a refiner's fire, and the insignificant and the unimportant in our lives can melt away like dross and make our faith bright, intact, and strong.” -James E. Faust.
Thanks for all the love and support! I cant wait to see you all soon. For anyone who would like to come, I will be home on July 26th at 7:25pm at the Salt Lake Airport.
Sister Jessica Linford
LAST WEEK TO SEND A LETTER :) :
Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Hormayr gasse 59/top/9
Well well, another week come and gone! Time is just the silliest thing! This week was another amazing week in Vienna......I just don't think anything less is possible in this city. Funny things happened, amazing things happened, and I got to be a missionary......if that is just not perfection, I don't know what is.
Lets start this weeks letter off with the funny things. Oh with Sister Judd, this topic is never short in supply! Sister Judd may have accidental forgot the keys in her excitement to pick up a package that was waiting at the post office! Yep, that meant that the joy from the package was short lived when we realized we were locked out. We called the other sisters and they were way across town. With no map, no backpacks, no anything of help, we set off on our way across the city in hunt for the other sisters. It was quite the adventure that resulted in a lot of laughs and a lot of wrong turns.
Also, I made a deal with Sister Woods, one of the sisters I have lived with here in Vienna. If she would finally pierce her ears, I would let her choose the color that I would dye my hair. The only rule was that it couldnt be mermaid red. haha. A deals a deal, and she kept her end up so it was my turn to let her choose the fate of my hair. She chose a dark blonde. We then took it home to dye it. Wellshoooooot, I dont know who thought it would be a good idea to let Sister Harman (who has been out on her mission for only 2 weeks) read the instructions......please note they only come in German and sister harmon does not yet speak the language! So yep........we did it totally wrong haha. It caused some funny screaming moments in our apartment for a few moments. My hair just went somehow darker. But it could have been worse.
Also, another event that we still are not sure exactly how it happened.....was just yesterday. I have no idea how but.....Sister Judd tripped and started to fall. In my attempt to be a heroic companion, I tried to catch her.....in the end we were both LAYED OUT on the sidewalk. Like completely on the ground, flat on our backs. These men saw it and ran over to help us. We were laughing too hard to really be able to tell them we were okay, but in the end I think they got the message. Whooo, we definitely made a scene!
This week also had some amazing things that happened! We had some seriously rocking appointments with our investigators. They are all making incredible progress! I really feel there are going to be soooo many baptisms that result in the coming months.
The Loh family is doing amazing! Man I love every second I get to be with this crew! The baptism is now going to be July 21stbecause Bella wants it to be the best last Sunday I have before I go home :). They spoil us every time we are at their home and make us american goodies like Rice Krispy treats.....oh how I have missed a little taste from USofA! Lars the father is really starting to come around and I think we are going to see some water action with him soon too.
Okay here is the ward section! I LOVE THEM!! We have had some amazing times with these people this week! We even had a big ward activity on Saturday. It was a Grillfest as they called it! Face painting, bocce, volleyball, and LOTS of good food. It was a blast!!! We were able to get lots of Investigators to it, along with less active members. It was a big success :).
Thanks for the amazing love and support! It means a ton to me! I hope you are all enjoying your summers, and never forget to KEEP THE FAITH!!!
Love, Sister Linford
Kirche Jesu Christi
Sister Jessica Linford
Hormayr gasse 59/top/9