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Memories of Austria and your mission.

Share your memories: of mission life, of missionary work, of Austria, of people, etc. We extend a special invitation to Sisters and Missionary Couples, who have been under-represented on our page. If you have something to share, let us know. (At address below.)

Eric L. Anderson wrote:
I have many great and fond memories from the mission field which could take pages and pages to write. My LTM district changed my life. What an awesome group of Elders that I will never forget. Being bounced from speaking German, to English, to Croatian and then trying to pick up Serbian and Austrian German and then Macedonian! I was so messed up with the languages that I didn't know what I was speaking when I got home! All I know is that I learned to love the people so much in each country I was in and that it didn't matter what I said or how bad the grammer was if I had the Spirit testimony was given and received. We had the best missions in the world.

years served: 1977-1979
Cities served in: Munich (Germany), Stuttgart (Germany), Heilbronn (Germany), Vienna, Beograd (Serbia), Zagreb (Croatia), Skopje (Macedonia)
William Conley Bailey wrote:
My mission was from January 1955 through July 1957 and I served under Presidents Perschon and Curtis.

years served: 1955-1957
Cities served in: Wintrtur (Switzerland), Zülich (Switzerland), Vienna, Graz
Kathy Baird (now Russon) wrote:
I remember the "perfect" P-day while I was in Villach with Sister Lora Williams (Walker). After our usual morning study time, we dropped off our laundry off at the Mauch's. (For a short time until our washing machine was repaired, Sister Mauch graciously volunteered to do our laundry). Then we caught a train for the Mölltal, writing letters along the way. We got off the train on the hillside above Obervellach and hiked down to the town. We looked at a historic church and some other places our landlords, Walter and Heide Lehmann mentioned, then walked down the valley five kilometers and back up the hillside to look at the castle of Unterfalkenstein and the ruins of Oberfalkenstein. Then we caught the train back to Villach, writing more letters on the way. Upon arrival, we did our grocery shopping for the week, then we went and picked up our laundry and headed for home. After our dinner we went to our scheduled appointment that evening. It was a busy day but very enjoyable.

years served: 1987-1988
Calvin Barlow wrote:
I served in the mission from November of 1976 to November of 1978 under two presidents, Salik and Myers. I initially served in Vienna, then in the little town of Knittelfeld, then Linz and then back to Vienna. I loved my mission and the experiences I had in Austria as I taught members and those investigating the Church. I have had the opportunity of returning once since my mission and I correspond on occasion with Karl Boehnel, a member in Vienna.

years served: 1975-1978
Cities served in: Vienna, Knittelfeld, Linz, Vienna
Kurt Bestor wrote:
I only served in Austria for two months, but it was still chock full of great memories. I remember arriving in Wels after a very long plane ride from the states and an equally long ride on the train from Vienna to Wels. Having learned just enough German to say "Where is the bathroom?" and "Would you like to be baptized?" - I was starting to panic as I tried to buy tickets, ask for directions, and purchase a leberkase sandwhich for lunc. After a mere eight hours in Austria, I was ready to transfer to a stateside mission, when a very friendly and cute blonde teenager approached and asked if I needed some help. To my surprise she spoke perfect English. Even more surprising was that she was the daughter of the Wels branch president. There will always be a place in my heart for Sister Gappmaier.

years served: 1977-1979
Cities served in: Wels, Vienna, Belgrad (Yugoslavia), Zagreb (Yugoslavia), Karlovac (Yugoslavia)
Howard Combs wrote:
I served in the Austria Vienna Mission from March of 1970 until March of 1972.

years served: 1970-1972
Ivan Emery wrote:
I served in both the Swiss-Austrian and Austrian Missions between 1958-1961 in Zurich, Leoben, Hallein, Salzburg, Moedling, and Vienna.

years served: 1958-1961
Cities served in: Zurich, Leoben, Hallein, Salzburg, Moedling, and Vienna
Wayne Scott Feller wrote:
I read many of the fond memories people have of their mission, and don't really know where to begin! I think like most people, I have at least one special memory from each area where I served. And no one needs me to drone on for pages about a place that we have all grown to love in our own way!

years served: 1991-1993
Cities served in: WienIII, Wien I, Klagenfurt, Wiener Neustadt, Wels, Wien II, and Graz
Bryan Heller wrote:
This may only be a memory for a few, but it is a pleasant one for me. It's generally about my favorite time on my mission. To make the story short, I'll put it this way. I was in Linz, which most people considered the least desirable place to be. One time, as district leader, President Smith asked me in an interview what I was doing out there, because everyone in the district was telling him about what good district meetings we were having. I honestly had to say that it was all because of the other Elders and Sisters in the district. Thank you Elders Daniels, Neilsen, Rupper, Barney, Jensen, Christianson and Sisters Green, Haag and Milroie for making Linz such a wonderful memory for me.

years served: 1987-1989
Erik Hansen, Capt, USAF wrote:
Surfed across your alum site today. I served in Wien from 83-85. Served in Wels, All Wiener Gemeinden and in Wiener Neustadt.

years served: 1983-1985
Cities served in: Wels, Vienna (all wards), Wiener Neustadt
Eric L. Anderson wrote:
I have many great and fond memories from the mission field which could take pages and pages to write. My LTM district changed my life. What an awesome group of Elders that I will never forget. Being bounced from speaking German, to English, to Croatian and then trying to pick up Serbian and Austrian German and then Macedonian! I was so messed up with the languages that I didn't know what I was speaking when I got home! All I know is that I learned to love the people so much in each country I was in and that it didn't matter what I said or how bad the grammer was if I had the Spirit testimony was given and received. We had the best missions in the world.

years served: 1977-1979
Cities served in: Munich (Germany), Stuttgart (Germany), Heilbronn (Germany), Vienna, Beograd (Serbia), Zagreb (Croatia), Skopje (Macedonia)
Mike Jerman wrote:
The missionaries from the Graz districts were doing an Ausstellung at the University of Graz in the winter of 1983. On the second day of the Ausstellung, I walked outside for a break and stumbled into an anti-American protest being organized by the local Communist Party. I approached the lead protester who was wearing a skull and a black robe and carrying an American flag. I asked him what was going on and he said his group was protesting the American invasion of Grenada. Never having heard of Grenada, I nevertheless insisted that if the U.S. was invading a country, we probably had a good reason for doing it. After discussing the vices and virtues of capitalism and communism, one of the bystanders grabbed me from behind and demanded to know why I was wasting my time talking to morons. Fortunately, before I ended my conversation with the Communist, Sister Sipherd took a picture of the two of us. The picture ended up being the most memorable of my mission. Btw, Elder Lund and I tracted out a lot of Communists in Graz. We even tracted out their Graz headquarters. They invited us in, and we watched TV with them for awhile.

years served: 1982-1984
Cities served in: Vienna, St Poelten, Wels, Graz
Lise Moyes, (now Christiansen) wrote:
I could write pages and pages, of course. I remember hiking more P-days than not with the Wiener Neustadt district. We hiked Schneeburg to celebrate the 4th of July. We also did some great service projects together, like helping Millie fix up her new apartment and painting Frau Dank's house. The meal Frau Dank served us after was memorable, too. She didn't believe in refridgeration, and we had to think of some creative ways not to eat the food we didn't think was safe without hurting her feelings.

I remember Christmas caroling in Vienna just a few weeks before I came home, and visiting the Weihnacht's Markt near the Rathaus with my companion, Sister O'Dell. I came home on December 30th, and I thought that last Christmas was the perfect way to end my mission.

Years served: 1987-1988
Cities served in: Wels, Vienna (Wien II), Baden, Offenburg (Germany--Germany Munich mission), Ravensburg (Germany--Switzerland Zurich mission), Vienna (Wien II), Vienna (Wien I)
Mary Kay Neet wrote:
I serve under both Pre. Myers and Salik along with Sisters Susan Matheson, Ruth Law, and Melanie Hadfield. Though we were spread out and seldom saw another set of Sister missionaries, we did have the opportunity to gather all the Sisters together for a special Sister's Konference. On April 18th, 1979 Pres. and Sis Myers met with Sis Law, Sis. Hadfield, Sis Matheson, Sis. Melanie Monson, Sis Catherine Brock, Sis Karin Heiniger, Sis Bonnie Fenn, Sis Leslie Van Gieson, Sis Julia Cook, Sis Ruth Weight, Sis Tamara Johnson, Sis Holly Nicholes and Sis Lora Knight. Following a day of workshops and talks, we had a special "Mexican Dinner" flown in by the Assistants and finished the evening off by attending "Die Fledermause" Operette.

years served: 1977-1979
Larry Osburn wrote:
Servus! I served in the Austria Vienna mission from August 1975 through April 1977. Interestingly I served technically under 4 presidents (Presidents Neill D. Schaerrer, Erwin E. Wirkus, Gustav Salik, and President Ken Myers) and in two missions: Austria Vienna and Germany Munich. Yes I was part of the 1977 anschluss. President Schaerrer was my mission president while I was in the old LTM. I only knew him from correspondence. Shortly after being picked up by the Mission AP's they pointed to a departing plane and said there goes President Schaerrer. So technically he was my president, but not really. For the first half of my mission I had President Wirkus. He was a great man. Very calm and long suffering. Kind of like having your Dad or Grandpa as a mission President. The second half more or less was with President Salik. President Salik was very busy establishing the Church and missionary work in Eastern Communist Europe so we didn't see much of him. The Assistants to the President pretty much ran the mission. All things considered they did a good job. I first met President Ken Myers in Linz Austria. My companion was Manfred Schust. President Myers had been Manfred's seminary teacher. He was working in the Church seminary and institute program and would stop and take us out to eat at Wiener Wald when ever he passed through Linz. I served in Villach, Wien, Linz, Salzberg, and Ulm Germany. I was in the Munich mission for only a few months with President Myers. They assigned me to the American Servicemen program in Ulm. this was hard on me, seeing that I was a Air Force Brat and had lived in Germany as a kid. Not only was I suffering at the end of my mission from the usual trunkyness of being a "short timer", but I had tremendous deja vu as well. Strangely enough when I got home my Dad was transferred from LA to San Jose. Guess who my Stake President was? Yep, Ken Myers. Small world. I wasn't the best missionary, my German wasn't the greatest, and I had some long hard days in Austria and Germany, but I don't regret it one bit. I wouldn't trade my memories and experiences for anything. If any of my old companions or mission buddies would like to email me I can be reached at: Later-days.

years served: 1975-1977
Cities served in: Villach, Wien, Linz, Salzburg, Ulm (Germany)
Suzanne Reeve wrote:
I spent my first ten months in the Vienna III Ward, living in the little basement apartment in the Bethlengasse, 1120 Wien. Two months before the end of my mission, I was transferred back into Wien III, and my companion and I were the last missionaries to live in the Bethlengasse apartment, as it was closed in November 2001 and sisters taken out of the ward. I also lived in the Linke Wienzeile, not in the Hirschmanns' building, but next door, and in the Kreuzgasse in 18th district. I have countless memories of Austria, of course: Mahlzeits with Sr. Kadiera in Wien III, street displays in St. Poelten and on Meidlinger Hauptstrasse and the Mariahilfer Strasse, lots of Filipino food in the International Ward, preparation days in the Hofburg and the Vienna museums and my second preparation day in the mission climbing Schneeberg. And of course, the mission home at Fuerfanggasse 4, with the Schulzes and the "mission dog," Luna.

years served: 2000-2001
Cities served in: Vienna III, Vienna I, and Vienna IV (International Ward)
Lynn Rowley wrote:
My strongest memories are of the Amerika Vortrags. When Elder Charles Schulzke got tired of tracting in Linz and turned to doing slide shows in the schools. It sure made us visible to the young people. I always took the Zug from Wels to Linz to do clog dancing in the Vortrags, while Elder Todd Swenson did some fiddling.

Next, the Vortrags turned into Amerika Abends in the wards and branches. Elder Ralf Gierschke and I started one in the Wels branch. I did more clogging, and we threw in a lip synch with the sisters. We had more than double the normal branch attendance present. Then came an evening in Linz with more than double attendance, a magic show, and grilled hamburgers too. Then we staged one in Klagenfurst, with 70 people attending, only 30 being members. I think that was the best event of them all, and we did a lot of advertising and broiled hambergers and had a full meal too. Finally I did some clogging at an Abend in Wien II. I had already been released from the mission, but I was still there.

Other memories are spending a lot of time with Wolfgang Scholle in St. Poelten, and walking to a castle on P-day. In Wien I, writing and performing skits for the ward, playing ping-pong (and bringing a Chinese contact who won all games), and playing basketball at Bischoff Pietsch's company resort outside of Wien.

In the Buero International, bussing missionaries around Wien for transfers, having contacts all over Wien, and President Condie almost never being in Austria, because he was so busy with the East Block and Greece. In Wels, it was finding and working with Stuerzls and Eichmiers, eating with the members, going to Haag am Hausruck for DDMs, and seeing the Alps from the distance. Klagenfurt was the most beautiful. I remember street displays (and having to clog at them and being video taped by a lot of Germans), Stadtplatz, Koraks, Minimundus (I could have lived there), Wolfsberg, Hochosterwitz, killing mosquitos in the Alterplatz apartment in Summer, someone being baptized in a lake, and all his cats. (and a midnight transfer)

Buero Wien I enjoyed living in the mission home and all the Malzeits.

years served: 1985-1987
Cities served in: St. Poelten, Wien (Wien I), Buero (International Branch), Wels, Klagenfurt, Buero (Wien I)
Heidi Sagers (now Ahlers) wrote:
Who could forget Kurt the Mole? And trying to lose him on the Subway?

And frisbee football in Vienna? (Don't tell Pres. Smith!)

Why would you forget Schütauplatz in the summer or the ice cream!!!

Remember singing in downtown Vienna?
President Schauperl in Vienna
Brother & Sister Loidl, Ramona Kreitner and her 3 kids in St. Pölton.

Familie Racz and Sziplowski in Straß am Attergau.
years served: 1988-1989
Steve Sahlin wrote:
There are of course many stories from which I could choose, so I'll just give a brief overview. I also started my Mission in the Breitenfurterstrasse apartment which was in Vienna third ward. Some of my fondest memories were there with my trainer Mike Jensen, who was an excellent trainer and is an extraordinary person. One of the experiences that I remember was teaching Sylvia, who was Daniel Schmidl's girlfriend at that time. The Woezl brothers in the the Vienna III are definately not to forget, especially Kurt, who would always introduce missionaries to Vienniease German. The Temls are a great family and as a matter of fact I lived with them this past summer. Who can forget Matthias, Sabine and Agnes Teml with all of their missionary efforts and all the help they have given the missionaries. We have Wels where Chris and Val Sperrer are. Beans and Rice! Also the Pingeras as well as all the other members there. And of course who can forget the old Puchberg apartment! Which a missionary had to ride his bike through a forest and avoid running over live chickens to get to. Then we have Linz with the Rechbergers and Gangls. There are many great memories there. One was when Cory Larsen and I rode with a catholic priest to a celebration and taught many people, and another is when we stood up on a Strassenbahn and contacted the whole thing at one time. Then came St. Poelten and the opening of Krems an der Donau, where we got in touch with Peter Bodlak who later became baptized and is now a strong member. Then at the end of my mission I was in VIB or now Vienna IV. Some of the memories of that time include the Hirschmann's apartment where we lived and the enormus space that our area covered at that time (all of Vienna and the many kilometers of the surrounding area of Vienna.) The greatest thing of the whole experience was the knowledge and testimony I gained while there. It was different than I had expected in Austria, but that was by no means a disappointment. I learned so much from investigators, and people such as Omi. The experiences that took place are too many and too powerful and great to be able to simplify with a matter of a few words, except to say the mission experience and Austria are the greatest!

years served: 1991-1993
Cities served in: Vienna, Wels, Linz, St. Poelten, Krems an der Donau
Roderick Saxey wrote:
I served from 1969 to 1971 in Wels, Bad Reichenhall, and Braunau am Inn. My companions were Elders Archibald, Duke, Graham, Reid, and Combs.

years served: 1969-1971
Cities served in: Wels, Bad Reichenhall, Braunau am Inn
Talsan Schulzke wrote:
Ich habe von Oktober 2000 bis November 2002 in Oesterreich gedient. Ich war am Anfang in Wien I, danach in Klagenfurt und schliesslich in Linz Urfahr. Drei absolut tolle Staedte und ich wollte Ihnen etwas schreiben um den Page zu aktuellesieren (sp?).

years served: 2000-2002
Cities served in: Wien I, Klagenfurt, Linz Urfahr.
Dawn Smith (now Walker) wrote:
It seems like a long time since mission days until I read some of the other memories and alumni updates. It makes me feel proud to read about the strong history of our mission and the strength of the members who have helped so many missionaries through the years, more than we could have realized while in Austria ourselves. I served first under President Reber and his wife and then under President and Sister Swensen. I served in Wien III, Wien I, Wiener Neustadt, and Graz. So much has happened since I returned home. Unfortunately, I haven't kept in touch with many of the missionaries I served with. Being farther away in California, that can be difficult at times. I hope that you are all doing well.

years served: 1993-1994
Cities served in:Wien III, Wien I, Wiener Neustadt, and Graz
Danny Summers wrote:
I served in Austria from 1995 to 1997. I served in Salzburg, Graz, Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, and Bruck an der Mur.

years served: 1995-1997
Cities served in: Salzburg, Graz, Vienna, Wiener Neustadt, and Bruck an der Mur.
Ed Tolman wrote:
During Christmas 1976 a district of missionaries in Vienna (Don Franke, Sean Kay, Matt Humiston, Stan Sullivan, Martin Strong and myself, Ed Tolman) got together and started singing chistmas carols on street corners and soon caught the attention of members and the Mission home. I was asked to expand it to include all missionaries in Vienna and set up a schedule of appearances throughout Vienna. I was asked by Mission President Gustav Salik to manage the chior and was assisted in PR by Johann Wondra (then Distrikt Missions Pres.) and Peter Zornig (Church PR officer).

After singing at Westbahnhof, Suedbahnhof, Kaertnerstrasse, Mariahilferstrasse, and Shopping City Sued among other places we had an audience with then President Kirchslaeger in the Hofburg where he was presented a 'Familien Heimabend' manual. During this time we also had occasion to perform our music live on a major radio program called 'Autofahrer Unterwegs'. It was then that Peter Zorning was interviewed by the shows host and explained what we american boys were doing in Austria. (In addition to the busy performance schedule we found time to make a tape and I still listen to it each year.)

This was truly an awesome missionary experiance that we will cherish for eternity.

I too served under 4 mission presidents: Shaerer, Wirkus, Salik and Meyers and started my mission experience with Larry Osborn in the LTM. Memories are too numerous too mention but suffice it to say that friendships forged during those two years will last throughout the eternities! My greatest missionary accomplishment was finding and marrying the wonderful Monika Sabutsch. We now have three beautiful children with our oldest son Markus serving in the Germany Frankfurt Mission.

The one incident that will forever be etched in my memory was my stint as Choir Manager of the 'Mormonen Strassen Sänger’. During Christmas 1976, my missionary district in Vienna (the Laxenburg district consisting of Don Franke, Sean Kay, Matt Humiston, Stan Sullivan, Martin Strong and me Ed Tolman) started singing Christmas carols on street corners. We soon attracted the attention of the Mission Home and President Salik. My companion, Martin Strong, and I were called in for an interview. I couldn’t help but think ‘What did we do now?’

The Mission Home liked the idea of ‘singing missionaries’ so much that they asked me to put together a larger choir with missionaries from all over Vienna. John Roeder was assigned as the choir director and I was put in touch with Brüder Peter Zornig and President Johann Wondra to start public relations. We soon had a busy schedule assembled to perform choral programs throughout Vienna at: Südbahnhof, Westbahnhof, Shopping City Süd, Mariahilferstrasse, Kärtnerstrasse, etc.

Through professional contacts of Peter Zornig our group soon found themselves performing on ‘Live Radio’. We were the featured singing group on ‘Autofarher Unterwegs’ where we sang selected pieces of German and English hymns and Bro. Zornig was interviewed live. At this same time it was evident that we were making history in the Austria Vienna Mission so a recording session was planned that led to a taping of ten Christmas songs including five in English and five in German.

The climax of our performances came when we were invited to perform at the Hofburg Palace before then Austrian President Kirchschläger. President Wondra was no doubt responsible for this as he was head of the Vienna Staatsoper. While in the historic Hapsburg Hofburg palace we sang selected Christmas songs and presented a Family Home Evening manual to President Kirchschläger.

Many years later, while visiting Salzburg on vacation, President Wondra saw me in the audience during a ward conference and made reference to our singing group. He stated at the time that never had such influence been made in the missionary work in Austria as on that occasion with the 'Mormonen Strassen Sänger’. This memory will live with me forever.

years served:June 1975-June 1977
Cities served in: Wiener Neustadt, Wien II (Silbergasse), Leoben, Wien III (Seidengasse, and Salzburg.
Larry Warnke wrote:
I served in the Swiss-Austrian Mission from 12/58 thru 6/61. I served in Graz for the first ten months with Elder Zera Stahli (2 months) and Elder Hans Rieben (8 months) under Pres. Jesse Curtis and Elder Humphries as Dist Ldr. I was transfered to Klagenfurt and served for 11 months under Pres Erikson and Elder Swen Swensen as Dist Ldr. I served as Klagenfurt Branch Pres and we were blessed with the first Baptism in over 5 years in the Branch. Elder Swensen and I went to Wolfsberg and opened it up for the Missionaries. Klagenfurt is my second home and I hope to return with my Wife and visit some day.

years served: 1958-1961
Cities served in: Graz, Klagenfurt, Wolfsberg.
Nils Richard Wesemeyer wrote:
Best memories: After baptizing Duska and her family, we visited them some days later and Duska replied: "I'm so excited to be a member of the Lord's church, I haven't been able to sleep for days".

Teaching the gypsy's. They were kind of wild and the knives were in the air all the time. The smoke in that little room was just too much for us. We didn't wanna teach them. So, after a smart idea, we just quickly gave them a pamphlet about the word of wisdom in hungarian. Every missionary know that's a sure way to get x-ed, at least if not even having started to really teach 'em. Next time we dropped by, they had quit smoking, and with tears in their eyes told us that this is it.

Or climbing Hochschwab. An investigator took us up there. If I knew what I was getting into... I was in bed three days after. Couldn't walk. It was far too dangerous for some missionary up there, at least the path we took.

Comps: B. Finch, J. Alder, D. Neilsen, F. Halupka, I. Stank, H. Dover, J. Haney, M. Ellis, J. Barney, Kristoic, D. Tingey, S. Allman, D. Flentje, R. Meyer, E. Dengg, R. Rupper, C. Jones, H. Schlink, K. White, R. Maglio, M. Daniels.

years served: 1987-1989
Cities served in: Bad Vöslau, Villach, Bruck an der Mur, Leoben, Judenburg, Knittelfeld, Vienna Int., St. Pölten, Steyer, Baden, Office, Hartberg (Graz), Office.
David L. White wrote:
My favorite memories include eating dinner on Sunday evenings at Schw. Mittermayer's home: playing American football in Graz with an audience of 25-30 onlookers; all the beautiful cathedrals, castles and monasteries; Herb's; using Stehplaetze from President Wondra to see operas; arriving at Schwechat Airport to be greeted by an Austrian soldier brandishing a submachine gun; and all the wonderful people and friends.
years served: 1982-1984
Lenore Wilcock (now Corey) wrote:
My most fond memories are definitely from the VIB and the famous family home evening nights. Sister Johnson (Rosanne or "Barb") and I would laugh our selves sick playing the silly games the Philippine members would come up with. I also miss Christmas Austrian style. There are many people I miss and many memories. One highlight would be Steyr, with Hipps, Stellman, Hansen and Wilcock. The fab four. My love to all of you from the fabulous era......Miss you Barb......

years served: 1991-1993

Lise (Moyes) Christiansen