Monday, March 28, 2011

Alles Klar!

This is such an interesting place. Everyday is just full of crazy stuff and I don't know if I'll ever get used to that smell. It just shows up sometimes. I finally had the opportunity to go on "tausch" (exchanges/splits) with the zone leaders. I went off to Wiener Neustadt with Elder Varney who is actually a musical theatre singer at UVU. He is sooooo awesome and an amazing missionary. We tried to stop off to give some guy a Turkish Book of Mormon that he had asked for. We met a lady outside the building who appeared to be his mother (a very Turkish looking lady) who said we couldn't meet with him. When we told her that we had something for him she said "Give it to me!" After explaining that we wanted to give it to him in person she just angrily got in her car and left. As it turns out he either wasn't there or he didn't answer. So we left and continued on our way to Wiener Neustadt. We got there and walked from the Bahnhof to the zone leaders' apartment. Along the way we talked to a bunch of people. There is also a little stream along the walking path that you could actually see through. This is a novelty since most water in Wien (especially the Donau canal which I see quite often) are not very clear. The water is pretty nasty looking and brown. But yeah, we went to the apartment where we played some music and talked for a little while and got to know each other. Elder Varney as we were leaving suggested we do some musical contacting. We left deciding to sing Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, hopefully to some little old ladies in the park. It was a little too dark for little old ladies so we settled for regular people. We found this man who was just strolling through the park and sang to him. Turns out he is a musician in a Turkish band and plays guitar. He thought that we sounded great. We told him a little about our role as missionaries and asked him if he wanted to learn more. We went and sat down on a park bench and said a prayer as the city's church bell started ringing. We introduced the Turkish Book of Mormon which we still happened to have with us!!! So he was able to read Moron 10:3-5 for himself in his mother language and then he gave us a perfect summary back in German. He was willing by the end to meet with the missionaries and get a tour of the church and everything. He would even make time for the missionaries to come. It was sooooooo cool! In the morning we went back to Wien and I was happy to be going home. We went to the Stake Center on Bocklinstasse where we had arranged to meet back up with our respective companions. We were a little early so I snuck on to the beautiful pipe organ that they have there and played some stuff. For the most part I kept it pretty quiet with just flutes and the lighter wood sounds. At the end however I was playing Abide with Me and I literally for the last verse "pulled out all the stops" and let it all go. It was soooooooo cool! After Elder Foremast and I left the building we walked down to wait for the bus or S bahn but after standing there for a couple of minutes we were addressed by a man who just said "Mormons!" We turned around and there is a man driving a horse drawn carriage! He asked us where we were going and he told us to hop in. We rode with him and talked a little about our church. He was really open but he said that he doesn't ever like to talk about anything he has not read for himself (the Book of Mormon) and so we rode with him all the way to Stephans Platz where we thanked him and gave him 5 euros even though he said it was free (as it turns out, a ride like this one would have cost up to 50 euros) and we gave him a Book of Mormon with our card and he said that he would read it for sure since he has so much time. It was such an awesome day. We still haven't done much teaching since a lot of our investigators have been having problems with work or being sick. We have done a lot of going to old investigators and less active members. There is so much to do all the time. So far I have gone to quite a few different places here in Wien. We haven't gone to any museums but I have seen the Staatsoper in all it's magnificent glory. I just love it here!

In response to your update: I haven't gotten your package yet but I'll be waiting for it! Schw. Downs is now in Bruck and der Moor and we were sad to see her leave but she is needed there. I am soooooo excited that Michael is going to Taiwan!!! That is soooo cool! I hope everything at home is going great. I love hearing what's going on back at home. Have a great week. Tschuss!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Hallo!!!! It's me again. This week has been pretty interesting. We didn't get a lot of lessons because there were a lot of problems with our investigators. Asmie Eristol, a Haitian girl, moved to a different apartment. Julian, our favorite talkative Polish man hasn't been able to meet or come to church because he has been sick. Our investigator Ivan from Chile works three jobs and studies at the Universitat Wien but he DID come to institute! He's cool. We got some new potential investigators. Two are a couple with a 40 year age difference, he is from Austria and she is from Serbia. They smoke and have a ton of stuff in their apartment but they let us in when it was raining outside. Our last new investigator is a Catholic liturgy professor at the Universitat Wien. He referred himself at the temple visitors center in San Diego. He apparently travels the world finding the differences in Catholic liturgy among different congregations and languages. He speaks German and English. We seem to teach of Auslanders, it would be nice if the Austrian people would be a bit more open to the church like our liturgy professor friend. A little bit about Elder Foremaster, he is from Northern Utah, Ogden area and he has a ton of family pictures! He is not the biggest classical music appreciator however we are united in our mutual love of the German musical Rudolph and we rock out to "Weg in die Zunkunft". He has served a lot in Austria. He spent a lot of time in Salzburg and Innsbruck. He also served in Neuotting and Ingolstadt. He is 4 or so months away from from going home and is very ready but he is always reminding himself that he has a lot more to go and he can't just give up now. He's pretty good at just talking to people on the street. It is still great to be here and I'm still having a lot of fun and it's always Wien Wien nur du Allein in my head. I hope everything is going great at home and people are happy and that it's all puppy dogs, unicorns and rainbows. Until next time, Tschuss!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Time Flying, Singing and Wienerschnizel

This week went by so fast it was crazy. Every night this past week had something going on. Most of the things were meetings of some sort in which I understood very little of what was being said. We work a lot with the JAEs (young single adults) in the Institute Center. They are all so awesome and there are even a few that only speak English. The senior missionaries at the center are also great. On Thursday we had a great fireside by Elder Hinkley (the last prophet's son for anyone who did not know that) and he is awesome. He has some of the same habits of speech in his emphasis of words and diction as his dad. It was really cool when he would tell stories about his dad. On Friday we went to Mission Tour at the Bocklinstrasse building. The Assistants to the President stayed overnight at our apartment and they gave us a ride in their car in the morning so we didn't have to take a long ride on the Bahns. Bocklinstrasse is an awesome building. It has the coolest baptismal font I've ever seen and the chapel has a Bosendorfer piano and a real pipe organ. It's soooo cool. We were instructed by President and Sister Condie and also by Elder and Sister Hinkley. For lunch we had Wienerschnizel and Kartoffelsalat (potato salad, not as good as mom's). We learned a lot about getting younger people to join the ever technology friendlier Church. Elder Hinkley gave us a lot of insight into the development of the new The new one is so cool. On Sunday I got to go to choir practice. I ended up not singing much and really just lending my limited skills at the piano. It was interesting. After church we didn't go too many places because Elder Foremaster had a headache. Eventually though we got out and went to see if we could contact some referrals from Temple Square. They were way up in the hills over Wien and the houses were fairly expensive looking. I actually found Karen's dream home (who by the way needs to write to me...) I also saw a large fishing boat on dry ground (no idea how it got there on a hill in the middle of Austria) and a giant chess set. You could also see all of beautiful Wien at night with it's many lights. In that course of walking we probably walked several miles but I didn't really mind. It was so cool and beautiful. We went to Stephansplatz last Monday and it was such a cool church, just no Spirit. Every day my testimony of this work gets stronger and I love the work that I am engaged in, even if no one will listen to me. Our investigators are still making progress and we're looking for some more through the old area books. People need to hear this message and I'm here to bring it to them! It's great. By the way, I just got your letter today so it must take a while to get things here. Also the email you sent me is from the Berlin Staatsoper. I need the Vienna Staatsoper and the Vienna Volksoper if you can. I hope everything is going great back at home. Until next week. Tchuss!

Wien, Wien nur du allein!!!!

(Mom's disclaimer - sorry everyone, Mom was under the weather and unable to update until today but now you have 2 entries!)

Oh my gosh!!!! So the short version of this whole week of experience is as follows: We got out of the MTC around 5:30 am or so and went on our way to the airport. Everything was great as we got there. We stopped off in Atlanta and has around 2 hours to wait there. You could tell we had reached Atlanta because everybody was black (blessed black people). It was cool at the airport but eventually we had to leave and get back on the plane for the really big flight. It doesn't really matter how long we were on the flight because either way I got maybe 2 hours of sleep. It worked out though. So eventually we landed in Munchen and met the Condies and the Assistants to the President. Everyone was so nice to us. We immediately got out and on to a Schnell bahn where we tried talking to people on the way to Solln where the Mission home is. We almost lost Sister Nelson when she didn't get off with us at the stop. She made it back though. We walked to the Mission office and went downstairs to have a really long meeting where we learned a lot about the mission and what we do. It was soooooo hard to stay awake during that meeting. Even standing up almost let me to falling asleep, mostly because of jet lag. Once it was over, we walked down to the Mission home and had a little testimony meeting with everyone. Then came a wonderful (huge) meal with everyone. After the meal we got together in the living room to find out where everyone was going. It was soooo exciting!!!! Elder Clark was the first and we found out that he was going to Switzerland. He was way excited. Elder Dilg was sent to Wels which is a little farming town in the middle of nowhere just like he wanted. Then came Sister Nelson to Wien 2 and Elder Olsen to Wien 4 (the international ward which covers the entire city). The it was down to me. President Condie asked me, "If there is one place in the mission that I would love to serve, what would it be?" I obviously responded with "Well, I will go anywhere that the Lord sends me, but I would really love Wien". Then he told me that I would be serving in Wien 1. I was sooooooooo excited! I couldn't believe it. We then gathered around the piano and Sister Condie played 'Wien du Stade meiner Traume' while I sang along. They were so happy to finally hear an opera singer since the song (they always play it when someone gets sent to Wien). It was great. I also sang, at President Condie's request, 'If with All your Hearts' from 'Elijah' which is a tenor aria but I did alright on it (I guess). We had a really good sleep that night. We woke up in the morning and had boiled eggs and apples since that was all the Assistants had in their apartment (sadly for them). We left to go to the Bahnhof and got on a train to Wien. We met some other Elders and Sisters on the train including Sister Carrol who is one of Sister Downs' old companions. I met a Sister McGuire who is also a vocal performance major at USU. They were all very nice. The train took a while but it was alright since it wound its way through the BEAUTIFUL Austrian countryside with quaint little villages along the way. Eventually we got to Wien and I got to meet my new companion Elder Foremaster who is awesome and has been helping me a lot. I also saw Sister Downs and it was fun, we're going to talk at some point and get caught up. The next few days were a bit of a blur but I'll try to recount some of the things that we did. We did a lot of street and Bahn contacting. Most people are not incredibly friendly but some people will at least stop and tell you no. We spent a good amount of time at the JAE (YSA) Institute Center. There we teach an English class and invite investigators to activities. There are even some Americans that come to the center and they are all really nice. We taught quite a few lessons. We had one with a kinda crazy little old man who said a lot of really intelligent sounding things but didn't make one bit of sense. He spoke really good English but I didn't understand what he was getting at. We have an awesome Haitian investigator named Asmie who speaks German and French. She is working on getting an answer of whether the Book of Mormon is true and if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She reads and prays and usually comes to church though so she's really doing well. We taught a schizophrenic guy named Christoph who is a member but less active. We're trying to get him back to church and receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. He spends most of his time sitting at home in his little tiny apartment watching zombie movies...yeah. We also taught Anna who is the girlfriend of a newer member named Mostafa. Anna is Hungarian and we gave her a Hungarian Book of Mormon and we taught her a little bit about the church and found out what is important to her. She told us that if she found out that the church was true she would get baptized. Yes! It's so awesome. We also taught a Polish man named Julian who has been taught for a while and has an issue with alcohol. He is really long winded and will talk forever and sometimes tries to turn the lessons into his time to teach us. But, we always bring him back somehow and try to teach him more. He really is great though and he's trying really hard to change. We also taught a girl who found her way to us through the English class. She speaks Persian and left the Middle East because she said Jesus appeared to her in a dream and told her to go learn English so she can help her people. (Did I mention that the current Persian version of the Book of Mormon is an incomplete one?) So I hope that she finds our message interesting. We may have to send her to the Wien 4 Elders since she doesn't speak German though. Everything is so great. Today we'll probably be going to see stuff and buy some things in the Innenstadt. I found out that we are allowed to go to an opera on P day!!! Could you check for me and send me a list of the operas playing at the Vienna Staatsoper and at the Vienna Volksoper? I can't surf the internet so someone else will have to tell me. Karen: Tanz der Vampire is playing right now here, thought you might want to know that. My address where I live will be a better place to send letters. It will be faster than sending it to the mission home. By the way, mom, we did get fed twice this week. Once on my second day by a sweet old lady named Schw. Stahl who made Sauerkraut and Pork with Knodl and Strudel for dessert. It was amazing. We also had tacos (of all things) from Schw. Kopf who has two crazy cats and knows a lot of operas. I found out from a member Bru. Peter Cunia that Peter Alexander the famous German entertainer was born a Neumayer. I didn't know that. The people seem to love me so far but I love them even more. It's just great here. I hope everything is going great at home and at good ol' BYU. Tell everyone I say hi. By the way, I really love Wien despite how bad it seems at times and the rat I saw yesterday. Neither he nor the pigeons want any pass along cards despite my constant offering. Have a great week!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Week 8/9

Email #1 - Thanks for the Memories! Yeah, so I leave the MTC on Monday in the morning. Up by 4! That's every opera singer's favorite time to get up. Anyway, so it's been fun but I'm so ready to get out of here. I'm more excited than I can even express to be going off to the most beautiful part of the world. I'm feeling fairly ready these days. I saw Elder Jacob Lee today and he already has a package!!! The world is not fair. I'm glad to see him here though and get to talk to him a little before I leave.

Fun little anecdote about today: I got to go to Babylon with Elder Clark because somehow it slipped his mind that he needed a checkup x-ray for his arm since he broke it last year. We went to the MTC campus health clinic and waited for a doctor. After Elder Clark left, I waited. After about 20 minutes he finally came back and told me that we needed to go to the BYU Health Clinic. So we left campus and went to the clinic down the street. The TV was on and that was so hard not to watch. After he was called back, I waited another 20 or so minutes. He came back and we had to take the prints back to the doctor at the MTC clinic. Once we were there, I waited probably 40 minutes to find out that Elder Clark's arm is apparently a little strange in the x-rays and so he is going to leave the MTC to go to his surgeon in Murray. I am going to stay with the other Elders in the district until he gets back. Fun! So today has been interesting. I don't have any of my letters with me so I'll try to remember what to respond to. First of all every one needs to know not to send me any more letters here. We don't get mail Saturday, Sunday and I won't be here on Monday. The last possible thing I can get is a Dear Elder letter written before 12 noon MST on Friday. I'll send another message later today with the Munich Mission home address. I hope that the trip to Utah was fun and the Opera Scenes were good. I bought 2 new CDs. Once is a CD of mostly popular showtunes from MoTab. It has Sherrill Milnes singing in one of the songs. The other CD is MoTab singing the Copland Old American Songs. They should be cool. For our flight to Germany we are flying on Delta (so hopefully my bags are not overweight) from SLC to Atlanta. I can't arrange any meetings with family unfortunately so I have to wave at dad from the air. Then we go straight to Munich. It will be great Might even do some missionary work in the airport. Fun! Email #2 - So the Mission Home Address is Elder Andrew Neumayer, Alpine German-Speaking Mission, Lommelstrasse 7, 81479 Munich, Germany. Also, I re-read the letters you sent me. Tell the kids in your class that they need to bring their real old fashioned paper scriptures to class. Especially those who are preparing for missions...which is all of them. It is so important to be able to look up scriptures the real way because the church is not changing it's position on no cell phones or electronic devices in the mission field any time soon. That's my vote. It is also better for the soul because you can mark real scriptures. Have a great week and tell Karen to write me.