Graz, Austria

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Sister Smith with her wonderful Golden, Sister Grossen

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Austria

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Sister Gardner, Elder Wise and Elder Smith really took good care of Sister Smith on her birthday!

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Swartzenagger’s

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Sister Gardner made this amazing cake for Sister Smith on her 22nd Birthday!

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Yum! Sister Gardner is awesome!

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I swear there is a warped speed for missionaries. Missions go by so fast!

I’m not done or too close yet :), but I can’t believe all that has
happened and how long I have lived over here. You notice these things
as you are able to mindlessly navigate a city with buses, trains and
on foot without getting lost, even if one route is closed. You notice
this when you meet a family who wants to learn more about this gospel
and you are able to use a memory of a past family you met to help this
new one. You notice it when your new missionary companion is learning
the language you think in sometimes and dream in every night!

This week we talked to a lot of people. We are doing short surveys to
gather opinions of others and so that we can have conversations with
others about God and religion. We went to one building and there we
met a family from Iraq. This family has been here one month and speaks
very little English and even littler German, they speak Arabic. They
had been switching between Muslim and Christianity, unsure which hey
liked better. We asked them a few questions about the family and they
had no idea what we said. So we smiled, did your best to share a short
message after they so graciously let us in, and left them with a card.

The next day, we went back to finish talking to people in the building
and the whole family found us and begged us to come back and teach
them. They pointed to the card and said Jesus and smiled. We shared
what we could and made a specific time when we would come back with a
book in their language.

We returned he next day with a Book of Mormon in Arabic. As we used
the pictures to describe the story, they understood every word. It was
a miracle! In addition, bit parents were brought to tears by the
spirit. The father was able to come to church on Sunday while the rest
of the family was sick. We found one member who could translate for
Sunday school and we used google translate in Sacrament meeting. He
loves it and says he is for sure returning next week. We will continue
to teach them in Sunday school( the second hour of our church) then
read with them throughout he week. He is already in Nephi 4! So cool!

At another apartment complex, we were at the last door. It had a huge
warning sign saying huge dog will meet anyone on the other side of the
door within 5 seconds, if it wants to. Its a typical warning door
sticker here, but it definitely freaked me out. You probably already
know this but I had a deathly fear of dogs for a lot of my life.

Still, we decided to knock on the door and this guy our age comes out,
no terrorizing dog, and we explain to him that we are doing a survey,
could we please ask him some questions. He said yes and we went
through the questions. The lat one asks if there would be a book
outside of the bible written from prophets that comes from God would
you be interested to learn about it? He hesitated for a moment, thrown
off and said yes enthusiastically. We continued talking, he had never
heard of us before so we tried to make an appointment but he said he
would take a card and call us. Still, a way cool fear facing moment
for me! 🙂

I know that the greatest blessings in life come after the storms and
sometimes they even are the storms, funny enough. The more we go
through gracefully, the more we can learn, the more we do learn, the
stronger we get until one day we are as ready to meet God as we ever
will be and to live with Him and our families forever. You never know
what’s really behind the doggy door until you follow the outlines God
gives you, face the fears and do the right thing. After we act in that
faith, God will bless us! This is something I know. I want everyone to
be able to have these blessings, that’s why I am here!

It’s a great life, being a missionary!

Love,

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