Monday, March 9, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Be faithful. Be hopeful. Be fearless. Be happy. Do what is right!


THANK YOU so much MOM for your package, and Nana for your package and Sister Konietz for your letter! I had a lot of fun this week reading everything from everyone. Thank you all!

Look how greasy my bag was.. the food tastes amazing here.. but you never really know what you are eating to be honest 

Our branch mission leader 

This week was maybe the FASTEST week of my mission! So many funny random awkward things happened that just caused it to fly by. Last Monday, we were walking home from tracting an apartment complex, when a man approached us. I realized that I had contacted him before but could not remember his name. I asked him how he was and told him I was sorry but I forgot his name, and then the most AWKWARD thing happened... he laughed and said something in Croatian/Slovene that I did not understand and PICKED ME UP WITH A BEAR HUG. Of course he did it with all nice and friendly intentions, but I have never felt so awkward. AH. Tuesday we woke up absolutely FREEZING and realized that our water heater - (that still does not work  - still have cold showers) - was completely off. Our water heater also heats the house. So we called our landlord and he tried to come fix it. It has been such a struggle all week because no one knows what is wrong with it. So today they are coming and installing a new one.. so MAYBE this week we will finally get warm showers!! At least from all of this, my Slovene vocabulary has extended and I can talk to anyone about water heaters, sinks, and leaking pipes now :) 

On Wednesday we were out contacting in town center and we ran into a former investigator. She has taken lessons from the missionaries for about 7 years but is not interested in progressing. We talked with her for a little and she asked us to come over to her house. We agreed that we would and followed her home. We got upstairs and it turned out she just wanted my help with fixing her computer. Luckily I was able to understand the problem with it, so I was happy to somehow help her out that day. We ended up talking with her for a little as we drank some herbal tea, and the doorbell rang. Two of her friends walked in and sat on the couch. They were staring at us strangely so I figured I would introduce myself and tell them why we are here. We soon realized that they were Bosnian, but have also lived in Macedonia. So they were speaking Bosnian, Macendonian, mixed with Slovenian.. It was such a struggle. They were not very happy that we Americans were here in Slovenia.. so we tried really hard to be extra nice and friendly with them, so that they would warm up to us. They started being more friendly and we invited them to English class, when the whole "nice friendly" conversation switched. I do not really know how it all happened, but to sum it up... it somehow turned into this huge argument of two Bosnians speaking some other language getting upset that we could not fully communicate with them. So then the former lady was trying to help us out by speaking Macedonian and then they kept asking us questions and we were responding in Slovene. IT WAS A MESS. My head hurt so badly..... Then it turned into Sister Brown and I sitting on the couch listening to them argue for about 15 minutes in some Slovak languages that we could not really understand.... They did agree to come to English class though so we will see what happens.

On Thursday we have a few potential investigators that had agreed to meet with us, but sadly none of them actually happened. So we decided that since we had all day we would try to go look for some of the inactives that we have not had contact with. There are about three of them that we do not know anything about, so we got on a train and went to their town to find them. We had a stop that we were supposed to get off at... and after about 2 hours of being on the train and not finding the stop, we realized we might have boarded the wrong train or something. We decided to get off at the next stop, and soon found the Austrian border ahead ................ Whoops. It was in the middle of nowhere.

We quickly took the next train back so that we would stay in our mission boundary and found the right stop that we somehow missed. We got off and started looking for the street we needed. With our map, we ended up walking for about 40 minutes in strong wind and finally found it. We got to the street and it turns out that the inactive had moved. We were laughing at how much effort we put in to finding her, to have her just not live there... We were also really hungry because we had not had lunch so we were so grateful when we found a bakery.

We walked into the bakery and the worker noticed our American accents and was very interested to why we were in this random town in the middle of Slovenia!!!! I explained to her we were looking for a friend. She asked for the girls name, and we told her to it.. and turns out she had a PHONE NUMBER for her!!!! It was a miracle. She gave it to us, and we called her! She was so surprised to find out how much of an effort we had made to find her.. She told us that she was not interested in the church right now and did not want to meet. But then that night, one of our members in the branch told us that she had called him - which is amazing!! Because she has not had contact with the church for many years now. I am happy that we were somehow able to plant a seed and let her know that we care about her. 

This weekend we had Mission Leadership Conference in Croatia... We drove down and for some reason got stuck at the border change for about 15 minutes. They were examining our visas and passports very thoroughly. It is always funny to watch their faces when they see four Americans who speak Slovene!! They think it is the coolest thing. MLC was great and we have lots of new ideas of how we can help our zone better improve. One thing I love, is President Grant's optimism. Our standard of excellence for our mission is now being changed, and instead of being so focused on numbers.. It is more of a "faithometer" and "smileometer" and "workinghardometer", as President Grant says :).   Because it is when we are happy and faithful hard working missionaries, we will see results of our efforts. 

We were singing the hymn "Do what is right" this week and I had a cool realization. One of my favorite things about Slovene, is that a lot of the words we have in English, do not have a direct translation to a word in Slovene. Or there are words in Slovene that do not have a direct meaning that can be described in English words. So it makes translating hymns and scriptures so wonderful and fun!!!! The third verse in English says, "Do what is right be faithful and fearless! Onward press onward, the goal is in sight. Blessings await you when doing what's right!" As we were singing it in Slovene, I loved the translation of what their hymn says. It says "Do what is right, always with a smile. To choose is at hand, will do what is right. Do what is right, never fear. God is standing near to you, trust in the new happiness and do what is right!"

I loved that!!! I love that in English it is saying be fearless and faithful.. And in Slovene it is talking about being happy!! It reminded me a lot of what President's counsel to us was. BE FAITHFUL. BE HOPEFUL. BE FEARLESS. BE HAPPY. DO WHAT IS RIGHT. 

To je to!!!! have a greatttttt dober teden! 


Beautiful Slovene country side.  Rivers are so blue!

Early morning jog in Croatia with my MTC friends!

Thanks for the straws - Max and Charlie!

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