Monday, March 30, 2015

More of March

 It has been a year now since Osei was baptized! He saw that some of the Elders had a small set of scriptures and really desired to have one. So we ordered a set and also a nice scripture tote for him to put all his things in. He was soooo excited to receive these gifts. We love him so much. He has become our little buddy!!

 When we went up to Vienna for our Stake Conference, we spent Saturday with these great friends, Lukas, Amrei, and their friend Anna!! They are all like family to us and I know all of our own kids will love them also when they come to visit us in Utah. Amrei didn't want to see us go and decided to attend the evening conference session with us. She loved it!! We are praying that they will get baptized someday soon but first they have alot to do to prepare for their wedding in September. They are all three the sweetest people you will ever meet.

 This is some of us after the Sunday Conference session at the Austrian Center in Vienna. Such a great experience to be there. Notice how handsome our cute Osei is in front.

 Funny selfie inside Schlossberg!! There are many tunnels through the mountain and they have made a short train ride mostly for children in one of the tunnels. Of course Dad and I had to see what it was all about and it was fun to see how they have decorated and made it fun for kids, of all ages!!

 Pizza lunch after District Meeting!! We treated all of us missionaries to store bought pizzas and then bought  tons of extra toppings for each  to build their own!


 This might be our last time at Schloss Eggenberg. :(  We will miss our friends the beautiful peacocks!

 Now begins a few pictures of the Senior Couple Missionary Conference in Salzburg March 25-28th!  We had such a great time associating with the other couples that will be friends forever. We are so grateful to have these conferences every 6 months. The first activity we did was a tour of  a salt mine. They give you these fun coverings to put over your clothes so you don't get dirty. 

 Then off on a train inside the mountain.

 Going down the shute was a real hoot!! ha ha. He was holding on to me for dear life!! You really get going fast and it was a real blast!! (I am such a poet)! There were two different shutes to slide down to get to the levels in the mine. It was really fun!!

This is a picture of the shute from the bottom. You can't even see all of it.

Then another train to get us where we needed to be. Very interesting indeed to learn about the salt mining that was such a huge part of Salzburg and other salt mining towns.

This was our fun tour guide. She had to speak both in German and English because there were both languages on the tour at that time. 

That night we went to a fabulous Mozart dinner/concert all dressed in our finest!!

 Notice the chocolate dust image of Mozart on our dessert plate.

The 5 piece orchestra and opera singers were exquisite with 3 sets of Mozart opera throughout the evening, with food in between,

Here is some live, up close action!

Now some nice Mozart music, for your listening enjoyment!

 A beautiful, wonderful evening!!

 Next day before our meetings, some of us ventured out across the lake to Herrenchiemsee. This is another palace or castle of  King Ludwig ll. Now we have visited all three of his major castles. This royal palace was built as a "Temple of Fame" in honor of the Sun King Louis XlV of France and a replica of the palace in Versailles. Everything inside is nearly identical to Versailles, only more elaborate and bigger. This part that you see is the central part which was supposed to have right and left wings added but because of the great expense, they never were built.

 Such fun missionaries to hang out with. The Haslers from Colorado Springs, Wades from Fruit Heights and neighbors of ours, and Parkers from Highland, Ut.(don't think they are in the same stake as our Bryan's family who also live in Highland). Can you even tell that this is an eight person selfie? Elder Tew has developed many valuable talents on our mission!

 The front fountain.
Since you are not allowed to take photos inside the castle, this replica of one of the bedrooms is in the museum to photograph. Let's just say it doesn't do the castle justice because all of the finished rooms are spectacular. The King died before the other 15 rooms could be finished. The King also had other castles and buildings to be built but by the time he was found dead (humm... a mystery) the money was all gone and Bavaria was heavily in debt.

A nice lunch of Lentil Soup at the Chiemsee Cafe and we were off to our meetings.

 Elder and Sister Anderson are from Taylor, Ut and she is first cousin to Janna Lamb in our home ward. Their assignment is over all of the YSAs in all of Europe. Big job and they are great!

 This young couple with us and the Smiths are the Shuberts. He is the Bishop of the Salzburg ward and they were there to speak to us. She is American, from Arizona, and he is Austrian and they met at BYU Hawaii. They are the parents of 4 children and their oldest daughter is now serving a mission! They are so full of light and life. They are awesome!!

This is not a clear picture of our new friends the McOmbers from California. They just arrived in our mission last month from the Berlin Mission since their work there was finished. They are serving as Family History Records Preservation missionaries. They are digitizing the vital records of birth, marriage, and death records here in Europe with a special Church developed camera system. They are doing amazing work and then sending those pictures on to Salt Lake. There are all kinds of missions for seniors!

Some of us Senior Sisters !! 

 The Smiths were in charge of this great conference and they did such a wonderful job. Thanks!!

We took the Parkers to the train station so they could make their way back to Vienna where they serve in the YSA center there. They don't have a car and love the public transportation but we were glad to transport them around the last few days and become better friends!

 This is the view out our Hotel window in Salzburg.

 On our way back to Graz, we stopped in to see the lovely lake town of Gmunden. This is where our good friend Eva Muhlberger is from and they go there every month for a week to stay at her small apartment that she still keeps. She has wanted us to come but we didn't have the time till now. Even though we knew the Muhlbergers would not be there, we were so happy to finally be able to tell her that we were in her Gmunden.

 There happened to be an Easter Festival going on so we took some pics. This couple looked interesting!

 This 3 piece Austrian band was really fun to listen to and the whole area was festive.

Yes, you even get to hear them now!

For the grandkids: there was even a small animal exibition, with white silk hens, bunny rabbits, chicks, and more! Pictures above, videos below!

 One of the streets in Gmunden.

 The castle on the Island. Such a beautiful picture.
 So beautiful that I had to include it twice!! Just look at those Alp Mountains.

 Same mountains - different view!

 You would think that I love, love, love these mountains!! This is a view on the road home to Graz and I will miss these mountains but we are coming home to our beautiful Wasatch Front mountains that I also love!!! (We are praying for more snow on them, too!)

 We returned from the conference Saturday night and Sunday morning Elder Tew and I both spoke in Church. March 29th was a wonderful day for us here at church. The Lord really blessed me that I could say my talk in German thanks to Rick for the translation and for coaching me! And thanks for all the prayers to help us. I spoke for 10 minutes. Rick's talk was awesome also and the Spirit was really with us. A member of the Stake Presidency spoke after us to conclude and the final song was "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" in German. As we sat up front and looked out at all of those wonderful Graz Saints that were honoring us with those words, it was extremely tender. It was very hard to sing.  I am tearing up right now just thinking of that special moment and the feelings we had as so many of them came up to thank us and hug us. (some were not church members, were less active, or live far away) 
This picture is after Sacrament Meeting where our YSAs rushed us down in our room for this picture. Some of them have moved away and came back to hear us speak and say goodbye. We still have this week for FHE and Institute though, so we will see most of them again before we leave. You can imagine how we felt but we managed to keep most of our emotions in control.

After our dinner at the Korak's we took the Sisters to Hannes and Ketty's for a fun visit, and to talk about  our Heavenly Father's plan of happiness. It was great! I hope to post one last time next week before we fly home.  Keep praying for us. There is still alot to do here!!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

March Madness !! 2015

I named this post March Madness because it is crazy getting things ready for us to go home. Our mission here is ending and we will leave Graz on April 8th. We will drive to Munich and fly out on April 10th! Alot to do before then. 

 March means spring and we are starting to see its beauty!

Our last District!  Elders Mitchell, Pyle, Tew, Deleeuw, Durrant.
Sisters Bishop, Tew, and Poll

Our good friends Elder Dean and Sister Judy Wade who serve in Klagunfurt, came to Graz to spend the day with us. We got to show them our beautiful city of Graz.

That same day the we met up with Steve and Diane Worthen who were picking up their son Elder Dane Worthen from our mission. Steve is Rick's brother Steve's best friend and Diane works for our chiropractor. E. Worthen served several transfers in Vienna so we saw him at Zone conferences. They were on their way to Vienna and stopped in Graz to see us. We all had lunch together, Wades, Worthens and Tews!  What a great Day!!

This is Oskar who cleans the floor at the grocery store where we do most of our food shopping. He uses this cool machine to wash and buff the floor and loves to speak English with us. He is quite funny and loved his picture taken.

Our fun Graz Elders, Mitchell and Durrant.

 Bernhard Kober, (nearly engaged) Phillip Suppan (married now and visits us sometimes) and Lisa Zechmann, (getting married in May) are helping Phillip study for his huge exam after Institute. They all grew up together and are best friends.

 This is Jarom Korak who started coming early to help me cook for Institute night. He turned 18 a few months ago and has been to Institute 6 times now. Jarom loves to help - yay for me!!

 We love Lukas and Amrei so much!! Not only are they great friends, but  they are making progress in their religious views. They love hearing about the Gospel. We only have one more time to be with them before we leave, but they are planning to come to Utah maybe next year and spend time with us on their way to Yellowstone!! You all will love them too.

 Our last Waffle Night! Amrei and Lukas were still here from Vienna and came to experience it!

 We cook the waffles down in the YSA room. Don't you love our aprons?

 Elders Pyle and Deleeuw with Stefan from Bruck for waffle night. Stefan is getting ready for baptism soon. He is a great 24 year old and will be a fabulous member of the church!

 Marlene and Clements Suppan after church. She is one of our YSA representatives who we work closely with. We will miss her so much and Yes, she will miss us also. We have no replacements yet. so pray for another missionary couple to come to Graz.

Signe Lassl (in back) is our Stake RS President and Patricia Antonodoulos (her husband is Greek) is one of her counselors. They were visiting the Graz ward and we had a fun chat since they both speak great English. They are wonderful Sisters in the Gospel and I love being with them.

 Sweet Sister Wilma Prantl holding a picture of her and her first husband who died only after 2 years of marriage. They both joined the church shortly after marriage and she has since been sealed to him in the temple.

 The Hanselmayers took us out to lunch and this is the Austrian food we ordered. This is fried potatoes, ham, apples and eggs. It was good.

 This is fried eggplant with tomatoes and cheese inside. Both of these dishes have Austrian names but we can't remember them.

 Peter and Ava Hanselmayer with the table decor. Aren't they the cutest? We love them very much. Peter has done alot for the church over the years and has such a strong testimony but Ava is not a member anymore. Her heart has softened a great deal though and we are hoping she will come to church with her husband on the 29th when we speak in Sac. Mtg.

 The flower shops are opened and blooming!

I will leave you with a street scene from our car.  Tschuss!!