Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Celje, Slovenia: ... faith precedes the miracle ...

Hi people I love!!! We had a wonderful rainy week here in Celje - the Lord is BLESSING us so much as we continue working hard.  I am striving to work on the attribute of diligence this week.


One thing that amazes me is how our church is purely built on faith. From the beginning of time, this church has moved forward with faith. I am grateful for the faith that Joseph Smith had, to go and ask, in a grove of trees. And the faith of Brigham Young, bringing a large group of people to Salt Lake, when he had never seen it in real life - only in a vision. Or the faith of missionaries who volunteer to go serve the Lord.. not knowing beforehand where the Lord desires for them to go. Or the faith of investigators, who first must act on faith, to then receive an answer. Or the faith of those who are going through troubling times, needing faith to rely on the Lord and trust that he knows and understands. Our eternal journey is steps of faith. We take one step at a time and as President Hinckley says, " doing so, we reach toward the unknown, but faith lights the way. If we cultivate that faith.. we will never walk in darkness." What a beautiful promise! 

As missionaries, we do what we are asked to do, because of our faith. We go on and serve with faith in our hearts!  This week was a sweet memory for me, as I remembered that one year ago I opened my call. Or should I say, when I learned that Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro existed! ;) Sister Higgins and I laughed on Wednesday as we re-enacted opening my call.. but this time everyone clapping and cheering and feeling so excited - because we actually knew where it was! I soon realized how amazing it is.. and how HAPPY I am that I am serving a mission. I remember that exactly a year ago, I laid in bed that night, looking up information about my mission.. And finding videos of people speaking Croatian and Slovene on the computer.. and crying with FEAR... but also with excitement.. But I have to admit, sort of wondering what I signed up for!! I remember I looked in my scriptures and felt like Nephi saying, "I was (or in my case, "I will be") led by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I must do." And now here I am a year later and this is such a part of me! This is who I am becoming, or what I am learning. My mission has a huge part in my heart now, and I am eternally grateful that the Lord inspired me to feel the desire to serve. Each day the people here take a bigger place in my heart, and I am so grateful. 

Wonderful Darinka being patient as she teaches me to dance!

My friend Franjk!
 Each day we go with the authority of God, by the power of faith and teach, planting a seed of faith here.. and another there.. which will help people grow in their own faith. Faith is the basis of testimony.. and faith is what will move forward the work of the Lord. 

One of the greatest acts of faith that I saw this week, came from our sweet investigator, Alja. Sister Brown and I found her our first week together tracting - almost four months ago. She told us that she was Catholic when we tracted into her.. but we asked if we could come in and share a message. We told her about the restoration, and she said that she would pray about the things we taught her. We continued going over once a week.. and slowly teaching her. Last week we had such a wonderful lesson with her about prayer, and this week she texted us and asked if she could meet us in town center, instead of us coming to her house. We were thrilled and quickly said 'yes'!! We had the idea of bringing her to the church building, so that she could be more familiar with it. Because we did not plan for her lesson in the morning, Sister Higgins and I knew that we would have to rely on the spirit to know what she needed to hear. After showing her where we have church, we asked her if she had been praying, and she said 'YES'!! And she feels that the Book of Mormon is really "benefiting her." As I was listening, I felt prompted to ask her to be baptized - which is a little scary, even though we have the commitment memorized in Slovene because we say it as a companionship every morning.. but I quickly remembered that FEAR is the opposite of FAITH. So as I looked at her and asked if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ, by being baptized... she responded with YES!! She committed to a date of being baptized on MAY 30th!!!!!! We are so excited to watch her and help her progress to make this eternal covenant with Heavenly Father. 

Other than our one lesson, all we had this week was contacting and tracting - YAY lots of finding!!! I had a sad realization this week.. Sister Higgins thinks it is funny.. But for some reason Slovene is completely taking over my brain. I am so used to so many different dialects of Slovene.. that when I talk to people, I am trying so hard to just hear simple basic roots of Slovene because there are so many different dialects. And this week, I was talking to someone speaking Chinese.. and how sad is it that I did not even realize it! I was speaking Slovene to them.. and thought they were speaking it back.. so I asked them to repeat what they said because I did not understand them.. And then they clearly said something back that I did not understand.. so we both walked on our ways.. and Sister Higgins says, "They were speaking Chinese!!" WHAT?? How sad that I did not even realize it because my brain is so focused to try to hear Slovene words.. the same thing happened with someone speaking French! All I can say is.. "You know you are speaking a small language with so many dialects when"... 

Well ALL IS WELL.. We are happy, faithful, missionaries here in Slovenia.. I LOVE YOU and cannot wait to see your faces in 6 days!!!!!!!!!!! HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY MOM... I am so so grateful for you.. words will never express my love and gratitude for you. SEE YOU SOON :) 


Talk to you in 7 days!

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