Friday, December 19, 2014

DECEMBER in GRAZ 2014!!

 December means Christmas! We love December!! This is the tiny tree we have here in our apartment. I will show you more of our decorations later in the post. 

 This is after our first FHE for the month. You can see the Elders, Bernhard Kober, and Ben. We are hoping Ben will be ready to be baptized soon. He is alot of fun and he loves being a part of our YSA group.

 Sister Pentz, Lisa, Sister Bishop, Hayli and Sophia.

 Dominic and Haiko. Both Sophia and Haiko are new friends investigating our Church.

 Fun game!! On the front of our paper was a name of a famous character or person that we had to ask questions to find out who it was. We couldn't see the name we had but everyone else could.  It was a thumbs up!! It was a new experience for Haiko. (everything in the church is)

 We always enjoy our Missionary District meetings on Tuesdays. The missionaries are great teachers.

 I do alot of the cooking in our apartment for the YSAs, esp. the desserts. These are cherry squares.

 After Institute night I had to snap this picture.  Some had already left . Five in this pic are nonmembers. We love em!!

 Looks like Christmas! This is the advent wreath that Sara Luschin bought for her Grandma's living room table. The tradition for Austrians is to light a candle  each Sunday before Christmas for the four weeks.

 We visit Sister Luschin on a regular basis. It is also great when Sara can be there also. Sara is a nurse and has to work alot.

 Angel cookies from sweet Sister Gabi Korak in the ward. She made an angel for all the primary children and missionaries.

 Our small Christmas village that we bought. We are taking these home with us.

 Two candles are lit on our wreath so far. We bought this small wooden tree also.Don't worry, even though it looks like the candle is right under the tree and will ignite any second, it is really not that close.  I love the lighting in this picture.

 We were able to get a DVD player for Bro. Haas for an early Christmas present.  Elder Tew got it all hooked up to a bigger TV that someone gave him. His eyes are so bad now that he cannot read anymore or write but he can watch DVDs and we got him some nice Church DVDs to help him. He was so grateful and has such a great testimony. He is a strong member of the Church and does all he can to invite others to Christ.

 This is probably the strangest fruit ever! It is a Kiwano melon. You can see that it is small with semi sharp spikes. Ouch. We had to try it just for fun. I think it is from Egypt. Check it out on google.

 Well, that was a waste of 2.50 euros. Horrible! No taste and slimy seeds with yucky juice. But it was an experience for sure.

 But.. this is still our favorite. The Kaki persimmon. And... we also love the pomelo.

 These are some other treats we had to try. The rice cake smothered with dark chocolate is a fav of mine, Marzipan Stollen with thick powdered sugar, very good also! 

 Christmas in Graz! We love all the lights and decorations here in Graz down the streets.

 The Rathouse (City Hall) and the real freshly cut tree. The colorful projection lights with different designs every few minutes are interesting, like a changing advents calendar.

 Amazing street performers- enjoy being there for the last of one of his songs below:
video

 We love all hanging Christmas trees strung on wires across the streets. We still wonder how they do all that.


 I will post about the Christmas markets in my next December posting.

 The beautiful Alps on our way to Salzburg for Zone Conference.

 A fabulous Conference with two zones of missionaries.

 The Wades and Parkers. 

 We are with Elder Plumb and the Smiths. Elder Plumb was transferred from Graz to Salzburg where the Smiths are.

 We love being missionaries!!

 Later that night the Wades and us met up with the Smiths and some of their YSAs, at the Salzburg Christkindl Markt (Christ child market).

 We stayed over night at this great little Bed and Breakfast. This cute lady is such a nice owner and hostess.

 Fun pic walking back from breakfast.

 Getting ready to check out.

 Ward Christmas Program and Social.

 Brother and Sister Ollendorff

 December 13 was also our annual Family Christmas Party. This year it was hosted at Bryan's house. They had us on Skype and also Brady's family in Anchorage at the same time. Wow, crazy!! We were on the big screen. Thanks guys!

 Elder Sajin Lex, the Bishop's oldest son, returned from his mission in Romania this week. He will be a great asset to the ward and to our YSA group. I wanted a pic with his hat on also but he removed it too quickly. Doesn't he look great in his traditional clothes? He said he plans to wear them every Sunday.

 Our apartment window with our Christmas star!

 This is George on the right. He is another investigator that was approached by the Sisters and decided to come and check out what we are all about. He is 20 years old and from Nigeria. He has quite a story.

 George had such a great time with our group playing some indoor hocky.

 Our new District!! We welcomed Elder Pyle(back left) and Elder Wasden(3rd from left). Elder Oviatt our new DL is the back right. Elder Tew is trying to match the sisters by crossing his left leg!? 

To end this post, here is a Skype pic of our baby Jack. Kristy has him looking at the screen at us which is fastinating to him. We are those funny people that cannot pick him up yet but who love him soooo much.

Monday, December 1, 2014

November Notables - part 2

 I thought I would start off this post with a picture of the cat that lives at the Luschin home. When we visit there, we usually see him. Since we have grandkids who love animals I thought it would be a fun pic. Reagan, this is for you!!

 Monday night, Family Home Evening!
 Hayli, Mario, Elder Mitchell and Elder Plumb.

 Before it got real cold, we took an hour out of our P-day to walk one more time while the leaves were still colorful at the Schloss.




 I found the perfect Maple leaf.

 Walking down the path to the front gate of Schloss Eggenberg.

 Elder Tew is hard at his studies for his Institute lesson.

 We are on our way driving to one of our home teaching visits. The bicycle is just like a car here and if you are following a bike, you must be patient especially when a tractor is coming at you!!

 On Friday the 21st, we went to Vienna for Missionary training, District Meeting and interviews with President Kohler.

 A drive-by pic of Maria vom Siege Kirche (Mary of the victory church).

 At the end of a visit with Hannas and Ketty we took this timed pic. Humm, not too bad.

 I had to take a picture of little Timo sitting by his mother Uli at church.  They were all decked out in their Austrian attire. He is soooo cute.

 We were leaving the church when Haiko, an investigator, came riding back on his bike. He had some questions for Elder Tew.

 This is the picture that Haiko took of us and the church building.

 They are putting up the Christmas lights in the city.  This is only one street and every street is different.

 We celebrated Thanksgiving with our young missionaries on Tuesday 25th after District Meeting at our church.  We all contributed to the feast. I taught them how to fold napkins to make a lotus flower. It was such a fun afternoon.
 Our fabulous District!! (minus Elder Tew taking the pic)
 A silly pic with our precious flower napkins.
 And... here is my plate of the delicious Thanksgiving feast.- Turkey, potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, vegetables, roll, kn√∂del, ( like stuffing in a ball) and for dessert... cake and whipped cream.

 Our cute Sisters Pentz and Bishop.

 Our Graz District has Thanksgiving Hands! We traced our hand and then passed them around so each of us could write something nice about each other. Then we each told something we are thankful for. It was great.

 Elder Tew and I went to visit Albert in the hospital and then Bro. Haas came to visit also. He brought some things he bought at the store for Albert. After a while he reached down and pulled out these flowers from the bag and gave them to me.  He said that when he saw them he felt like he should buy them for someone, but didn't know who. He didn't know we were going to be there, but when he saw us he knew he wanted me to have them. I was really touched because this brother in the Gospel has become very close to us and I was having a hard day. A tender mercy for sure. 

 This is Austria! It was hard for me to believe that they actually sell cigarettes at the hospital!! The lady at the information desk has them behind her glass window. What??

 We stopped for a few minutes at this "Oldtimer" hotel, resturant and gift shop to check it out. If you look closely at the wood cut out of the girl on the left, she resembles Elder Tew!

 Our Nathan's 33rd birthday was on Thanksgiving Day this year, Nov 27th.  Thank goodness for skype so we could see and talk to Nate and his cute family. Mabel, Jess, Elliott and Nate. 

 Our first Honey Pomelo. We found out it is a huge sweet grapefruit. Loved it.

 Our first Persimmon fruit and we loved this also! It is the size of a large apple. We thought there would be a huge seed inside like a mango but not so.  

 We were just leaving the YSA room Sunday 30th.

 All of the 6 missionaries serving here in Graz were invited for a lovely dinner at the Sander Family. What a happy pumpkin soup!! The face is made with pumpkin seed oil.

 The fun Sander Family. The mom, Marlen is an Opera singer, and Valentina plays the cello.

 Yumm! What a delicious Sunday Thanksgiving feast. Those fun flower looking things are potatoes.

 Some pictures of Grandma and Grandpa Tew for the grandkids! I put several pics of us in this post if you noticed. Sorry.  We just love you soooo much!!!

November 30,2014. The first Advent Sunday. We bought our Advent wreath this year and as tradition goes, we lit the first candle. Every Sunday till Christmas we will light another one until all four are lit on December 21st. We are hoping to take our new little wooden tree home with us, if we have room. Chocolate or tree? Hmmmm...  We love this time of year!!