“At Home in the Hills—Yasmin Dengg of Hallwang, Austria,” Friend, Nov. 2006, 18–20
A famous musical claims that the Austrian hills are alive with music. Here in Hallwang, they’re alive with much more. In the winter, they ring with happy squeals as Yasmin Dengg, 8, goes sledding with her sisters, Julia, 7, and Lina, 3. In the summer, Yasmin can tell you that the hills teem with plants and wildlife. No matter the season, Yasmin is thankful to live here and even more thankful to know that God created this lovely place.
Her favorite spot is the nearby forest. She likes it so much that she had her birthday party there! All summer she watches spiders, tadpoles, and frogs; builds things out of sticks; and goes exploring. She especially likes wading in the stream.
When she can’t explore in person, Yasmin has found another great way to learn—by reading. It’s a good thing the library is just around the corner, because it seems Yasmin can never read enough! She is beginning to learn English, as many Austrian schoolchildren do, but for now does most of her reading in German.
Yasmin is not only a great explorer and reader, but also a great swimmer. She faced a difficult decision when her swim team practice time was changed to Monday nights. “I love swimming,” she says, “but I quit the team so I could spend time with my family.”
Luckily, she got to spend time with her family and swim on their vacation to Croatia, a small European country about a six-hour drive away. She collected shells and swam in the Adriatic Sea. She hopes to go back someday because “it’s so warm there!”
Much closer to home, Yasmin likes visiting the beautiful, historic city of Salzburg. Her favorite stop there is the natural history museum, where she learns about ancient animals. However, Salzburg is more famous for its musical history. The well-known Trapp family singers lived here, as well as the classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. His opera The Magic Flute is among Yasmin’s favorites, so she was excited when her grandma took her to see it at the marionette theater. (This type of theater— large marionettes, or puppets, enacting operas to recorded music—is very popular in Austria.)
Salzburg is also famous for its churches. There are more than 60 of them in the city! As old church bells peal through town every Sunday, Yasmin can be found at a small church in the countryside. Few of her friends know much about the church she attends, but she’d like to change that. She invites friends to Primary, tries to be a good example, and even invited a friend to her baptism.
Yasmin achieved one important goal by being baptized and is already focused on the next. “I want to go to the temple and do baptisms for the dead when I turn 12,” she says. She’s preparing now by being obedient. Whenever she earns money shoveling snow or doing other chores, she makes sure to pay tithing first.
Yasmin can be a tease, but it’s clear that she loves her family. She likes baking cheesecakes for them, and she always shows Dad that she missed him when he comes home from work. She spends time with her sisters—riding bikes, playing at the park, playing dress up—and always makes them giggle!
Whether she’s enjoying the woods or sticking close to home, Yasmin makes the Austrian hills come alive with the sound of her laughter.