Friday, June 27, 2014

More Joys for June!

 Good friends! Albert Handy and Elder Tew

 What a great Father's Day gift. Albert received the Priesthood and was ordained a Priest.

 Cute girls in the ward. Anna, Valentina, Emilie, and Cyra. Can you tell who the twins are?

 Bruder Haas walking his girlfriend Maria from church. He is hoping she will embrace the Gospel like he did.

 Someone in our ward had alot of extra clothes from a relative and gave them to anyone they would fit. Bro. Haas is thrilled with his new winter Austrian wool coat and suit jacket.

 And Elder Tew got another beautiful Styrian suit. It fits him really well.

 Father's Day for Rick - what he loves to do - eat treats!!

 And we got to skype with all of our family. Here is Brady and family in Anchorage.

 Another reason to SMILE!

 Last pic of our District before transfers. Two are going home and one is going to Germany. Elder Tew took  the picture.

 She got BAPTIZED June 17th!!  She is our sweet 19 yr old who found the church on her own after following the "Shaytards",   an LDS family's YouTube video blog. She was so intrigued by this crazy young family with good family values and who interjected Mormon culture into their every day life. After 6 months of watching this family, she looked up the church address here in Graz and just walked in the door. She knew so much already about being a  Mormon that it was easy to teach her. It was just a matter of time until the spirit let her know it was time. We all love her!

She asked Raphi Knapp to baptize her.

 Sister Allman and Sister Smith taught her the lessons.

 We are at the train seeing Sister Allman and Elder Moon off early the next morning after the baptism. Their missions have come to an end. They are both flying into Salt Lake City.

 We found Rick's name in Bruck an der Mur. We should have snapped this pic with him in it, oh well.

 Another prep. day afternoon activity we hiked up the very steep 25 min. climb to the Gosting Castle and Fortress Ruins. This was built in the 11th century and towers 200 meters above Graz. We saw it on the mount from the freeway and planned to take a look. 

 From the top this is one of the views. You can see the Schlossberg in the middle of Graz. Look really close and you can see the clock tower on the very right of the mound.

 Another view with some of the ruins.

 You can see the tower where we were. Notice the flag, it is made of metal.
This  was another great adventure.

  With the transfer, we received three new (to our area) missionaries. Elder Caldwell (new) E. Martinez, Sister Smith, Sister Smith (new) Elder Plumb (new) and E. Smith. It is confusing now that half of our missionaries are Smiths! And both Sister Smith's first names start with R, and both went to Utah State to school. Both are from Northern Utah. One from Logan and the other from Brigham. We call them Sister Red Smith and Sister New Smith, although Sister New Smith goes home next transfer.

One of my favorite corners that we pass all the time in the car.. I love all the flowers shops on this corner  and at the end is a tiny bakery shop. 

Grüner See and Zone Conference

 Sister Lex invited us to go with her & Skydra (who are members in our ward) and Skydra's  daughter Dasa (who was visiting from England) to Gruner See. Gruner See means Green Lake and is a bit more than an hour drive from Graz. 

 The hike (or rather walk) up was beautiful through the trees.

 The Lake was so gorgeous. It's hard to capture how green and clear it is.

 Divers come from all over to scuba because in June the runoff from the mountains makes the Lake the deepest of the year. It can measure about 40 feet in the center. In the fall it becomes much smaller.

 We were told that divers finish their training here to certify.

 The Lake is surrounded by the Hochschwab mountains and forests. The clean, clear, emerald green water comes from the snowmelt and the temp. is 43-45 degrees F.


 In the shallow end we got our feet wet and burrrrr, jumped right back out.

 So much water came down this spring that it overflowed into the reserved area. You can see the walking path and bench that gets covered when that happens. Heike said she came 3 weeks earlier and she could walk on that path but today we had to take the upper path. The farmers are happy to have more water this year in Styria.

 Another small lake we passed on our way down. I loved the bright green algae growing on the bottom and how clear the water is. That made it easy to see several fish, also.

 President and Sister Miles called for one more Zone Conference before they leave the mission. They depart for home on June 27th. Our new President Kohler and family arrive June 26. This pic is when Sister Miles was expressing her great love for all of the missionaries and how she will miss us all.

 They gave all the missionaries hugs. Yes, we will miss them. They have become good friends.

 Till we meet again...

 After the Conference we met up with this cute girl and treated her to Chinese food here in Vienna, Austria. It was good, although we should be eating Wienerschnitzel in Wien, right?

A photo in front of the resturant before we drive the 2 hours back to Graz.

Monday, June 16, 2014


 We were invited June 1st for Sunday dinner at the Kober's. Elizabeth (left) and her cousin had a good time especially with Elder Tew's object lesson.

 Yummy ice cream creation.

 We love this family Kober very much. Missing was Alex who was sick. Lisa (sitting next to me) also came. She is our ward's golden investigator and will be baptized soon. Sitting next to her is Bernhard our ward mission leader, the Kober's son.
                                                        Wednesdays are Institute nights.
Thankfully we were there getting ready to eat the dinner we prepare when a fast torrential rainstorm hit and we went down to the JAE room to see how things were.  This area fills up so fast with the water from the roof and the drain gets plugged with leaves. The water goes into the room through the closed windows. This has happened before. This time we caught it in time to bail water and call the Bishop to have it checked again. Some work is on order!

 A well deserved meal after.

 June 6, (our son Bryan's 40th birthday) we drove to Vienna to meet our sweet friend who lived with my cousin last year. She is here to study and got here June 1, so we met and went for pizza after introducing her to the Senior couple there at the YSA Center in Vienna. The Sister missionaries are teaching her better German.  Here we are with the Parkers, Sister Jencks and Sister Smith. She wanted to attend the Stake Fireside with us where Sister Wixom, the General Primary President, Sister Reeves, 2nd Counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency, and Elder Kearon of the Seventy spoke to us.  It was a packed house and very wonderful.

 Sister Kober, Sister Reeves and myself. 

 After the Meeting, the sister missionaries, Aigerim, Elder Tew and I walked around a part of the city before heading for home. This is the opera house where a ballet was going on inside. When there are events happening like this, they show it on the big screen outside for all passeersbys to watch.

 At the top of the Albertine Museum is where we took the previous pictures. It is so magical at night.

 This is a fun pic. As I was sitting in the car waiting for Rick to come, I noticed that our neighbor friend Rene had just gotten out of his car. He lives in the apartment below us. This is what I saw from the rear view window. Elder Tew was inviting him to some of our activities, but he said he couldn't this time, but to invite him to our next waffle night or ultimate frisbee! He is Young Adult age.

 You really have to watch out as you drive through Graz city streets because now that it is warm outside, the Cafe and Resturants will put outside eating places on the street. They put a little fence or barrier around some tables and chairs with umbrellas and there you have more seating but less street and parking places.

 Sister Smith, Dolly, an investigator friend, Sister Allman, Marlene, Heather and Dominique. It is Heather's last waffle night and party before she leaves for home in Utah. (Heather is 2nd from right)

 Mario, Elder Moon and the Tews!!

 Fun playing spoons.

 Now he is a true Austrian!! Another Austrian suit. This extremely nice nearly new suit was given to him. The suit fit perfectly but the hat was too small as you can see.  We gave it to the Bishop who loved it. (PS. Elder Tew is not very happy that Sister Tew put this picture in with the small hat! Love, dorky looking Elder Tew) 

 June 8th was Father's Day in Austria. one week before the USA.  Bro. Schatz(1st Counselor), Bishop Lex holding his youngest and Elder Tew posed for me after church.

 Another pic of another Ulitmate frisbee. But we get alot of less active and non-member friends to these times. They all have a blast and all the missionaries come too. And of course, I brought watermelon to eat after. We had 31 there, so we made 4 teams, and had 2 games going. (We could have used you Justin!)

I will end this post with another view of part of the city of Graz from the top of Schlossberg.