SOoooooooo to sum up what we did this week - was walked around and talked to people. Sometimes I feel like my mission is just this long walk where I am supposed to go talk to people while walking haha.
Because it is December we have been busy helping our branch plan some Christmas activities. We have a Christmas party this Saturday with traditional Slovene food, games, and a Christmas program. We are trying to get a lot of our members to come and also non-member friends. The missionaries are in charge of the Christmas program- so we have been busy on planning musical numbers and a little script where the spirit of Christmas can be felt. Speaking of musical numbers- on Sunday the missionaries had to do a musical number for Sacrament meeting. In the Slovene hymn book, there are just two Christmas hymns, so we had to help translate one with the music that we found and then put together our own harmonies. It was a littleeee bit of a struggle.. especially because I had to stand and play the piano and then Sestra Cuthbert and the two elders gathered around me so that we could all stand by each other and sing together.. CRAZY- but the spirit was felt and it ended up going really well :) Back to the Christmas party... we are trying to figure out what to do because Slovene's don't really like to commit to anything until the day before.. but we need RSVPs so that we know how much food to make.. So we are not quite sure how this will all go.. but it is OKAY!! We are excited and hope it all goes well! This week we helped a few of the members with deep cleaning at the church. It was a little of a struggle for us Americans because they use chalk paint here to paint everything, so if you scrub the walls too hard, the paint comes off... It took us a few hours but it was good bonding with the members!
This is where we have sacrament meeting!! That is Vlado vacuuming... He is the ward mission leader. And Daniel a recent returned missionary.. He served in the other parts of the Adriatic North Mission.
Lately we have been trying to think of new ways to contact people, because the cold makes for some difficult finding. So last week we tried doing brezplačen kakav - free hot chocolate - and it I think I drank more hot chocolate than what we handed out... But we thought we would give it a try again this week and it was SO much better! We stood outside our church and while we sang, we passed out pass along cards and talked with people. And some of our nonmember friends came and helped us! We were able to talk with a lot of people, so we are going to continue on doing that once a week.
Funny story for you all... the word for "hot chocolate" is kakav... and the word for "how" is kako... They sound very similar just a different AH sound at the beginning. Sister Cuthbert and I were contacting people and we found this women who we were talking with a little. She told us she knew that there was a God that existed. And I went to ask her "How she knows that..." But because I had been using the phrase "brezplačen kakav" over and over when trying to pass out hot chocolate to people... I said "kakav??" She starred at me... and then just said "Lep dan!!" and walked away. I then realized what I did and we laughed and walked away. WHOOPS... Hahaha people here probably think we are crazy. Oh well, A for effort right? And then on Tuesday we were walking around center looking for some people to talk with. We found a man and talked with him a little about family history. As we were there talking with him about families and God, he is just casually making his own cigarette and having us hold the garbage, so that he could make it- while he chats with us about God... The joys of trying to talk to people here in Slovenia.. (P.S EVERYONE smokes here.. We walk outside our apartment for five seconds and walk back in and already smell like smoke..) It is okay though - I really am learning to LOVE the people here and their crazy amazing lives!!!
This week we had zone conference in Ljubljana which was so fun to see Elder Hughes again and meet the rest of the missionaries serving in Slovenia!! President and Sister Grant came up for it as well. One thing that I really took from zone conference is just to truly be FEARLESS. Before I left on my mission, that is one thing Dad always told me to do. To be FEARLESS with speaking the language, FEARLESS with loving the Slovenes, and just fearless with everything. I feel like I have talked about this in an email before... So sorry if I have.. But it has really been my focus for this week! I love how so many times in the Bible we hear, "BE OF GOOD CHEER.. FEAR NOT." I think that is so true. We are promised as missionaries that Christ is on our right hand and on our left. And because of that, we have every reason to be fearless and rejoice!! I love the quote by Charles Swindoll who said, "Courage is not limited to the battlefield... or bravely catching a thief in your house. The real tests of courage are much quieter. They are inner tests, like remaining faithful when no one is looking... or standing alone when you are misunderstood." President Monson took that quote and said, "I might add that this inner courage also included doing the right thing even though we may be afraid. Or defending our beliefs at the risk of being ridiculed. Or maintaining those beliefs even when threatened with a loss of friends or of a social status." And I might now add, that being fearless and having courage is going up and helping someone that needs love.. even though it may be awkward for you.. Or going up and bravely saying I am a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints... Or being fearless in knocking on a door knowing that it will most likely be closed on us, but still trying anyways!! There are so many ways one can be courageous and not fear!!!
Thank you for your love and examples. I challenge you all this week to go out of your comfort zone... And make someone feel LOVED. And do something that might be scary or hard for you - but to remember that you can do it because you have the Savior of the world on your side... He wants us to succeed and be brave. He wants to help us learn to be FEARLESS. Remember that God lives and loves us. He can help us be brave with sharing our happy message!! He can work miracles through us when we just TRY... because he wants us to feel the joy that comes from sharing the gospel. Be happy and "be not afraid!!!"
Love you and pray for you ALWAYS -
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.