Monday, April 20, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: Wake Up The World

HELLO EVERYONE - First.. I cannot believe that you got SNOW this week in Utah!!! We had the craziest weather here in Celje as well. The week started off hot and humid. We were sticky all day long. And then we woke up Thursday to thunderstorms and rain.. and it rained.. and rained and rained.. Until Saturday afternoon. It was so cold again I pulled out my winder coat and gloves again.. Luckily no snow.. But now the weather is nice cool and sunny again and we are going to go have a picnic by the beautiful Celje lake :) YAY for spring!! It is so green. And lots of FLOWERS! I always love how beautiful it is after the rain. It reminds me that there is always HOPE and light after times of darkness and trial.

Rain makes a pretty country side1

And results in amazing sunsets!
We had zone conference in Ljubljana this week. I always look forward to these meetings and the revelation we receive through them. I had a really special experience this last week. Sister Grant spoke to us about Elder Neil L. Andersen's talk "Joseph Smith." She asked us to read it in preparation for zone conference. As I was studying it during personal study, I remembered that I had watched that session of General Conference when I was in the MTC. My mind quickly was reminded of my thoughts when I heard that talk 6 months ago. I really learned the truthfulness in the promise that "The Lord granteth unto men according to their desire."

Elder Andersen says that "you will not be a help to others, unless you have a strong testimony first yourself." He gives the example of when you are on an airplane, and if you need to use the oxygen mask, you must first adjust your own mask before you help those around you. He then challenged every person listening to gain a testimony for themselves of the prophet, Joseph Smith. I remember hearing that in the MTC and feeling like Elder Andersen was talking directly to me. I knew that the church was true, and I knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet.. but I questioned myself, if I TRULY KNEW that Joseph Smith was the prophet of the restoration. 

I remember that night in the MTC I was going on a walk with my companion before we went to bed, and I remember asking Sister Hassell if she really knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. We talked about if for a while, and I felt very prompted that I needed to gain a stronger testimony for myself.. before I got out to teach it to the people in Slovenia. I knew that it was true because I had a strong enough testimony of the Church's truthfulness, but I had never taken the time to pray and really gain a testimony of just Joseph Smith. I prayed that night and asked for help.. I prayed for a stronger knowledge to know that Joseph was a prophet of God - and that Christ and Heavenly Father did appear to him. I prayed earnestly that night.. and then went to bed and did not think much more about it. 

I had a really special experience this week reading that talk again, seeing that the Lord heard my prayer, and knew my desires. Because now, the restoration and Joseph Smith is the strongest point of my testimony! I feel the spirit so strongly whenever I testify to people about Joseph Smith, the young boy who had the courage to ASK. It was a witness to me that my testimony is strengthening throughout my mission, because I had that desire. 

We stood up as zone, with all the Slovenian missionaries this week and sang "Praise to the Man" in English. I always feel the spirit so strongly through music, but this was especially strong. My testimony of Joseph Smith is unfailing. I know that he was a disciple of the Lord, Jesus Christ. God the Father and His son, Jesus Christ appeared to him - calling him by name. 

"Wake up the world for the conflict of justice, millions shall know Brother Joseph again."

Wake up the world!! That is why I am here on my mission.. To teach people the unique message that our church has to offer, the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My favorite thing to recite to people in Slovene is the first vision. It uses words that cannot be described as eloquently in my own native tongue. And I believe that nothing invites the spirit so strongly, as hearing Joseph's own words on that event that changed the world. 

As Brother Joseph firmly testifies, "Shall we not go in so great a cause? Go forward and not backward. Courage and on to the victory! Let your hearts rejoice and be exceedingly glad." I know that when we first adjust our own testimonies, we will then be able to testify with greater boldness and authority to those who listen. God knows our desires. 

I love you and miss you!!! Have a happy week and KEEP SMILING :) 


Service project in the rain.

These kids followed us when tracting.

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