Friday, September 26, 2014

Mailing instructions and Christmas Packages

Enclosed are the instructions for regular mail, regular packages and Christmas packages.  Christmas Packages should be sent before the end of October.  

Can you believe it?
Your missionary hasn’t even arrived yet and we are asking you to think about Christmas!!!!!! J
However - in regards to posting a package to your favourite missionary - it is time to start thinking about Christmas!!!!
As it gets closer to Christmas, the Postal Service becomes very busy due to the increased volume of mail. Could I please suggest that you start thinking seriously about what you will send and then mail your package/s as soon as you can – at least BEFORE the end of October. We have a room in which to store packages until Christmas.
I will email you when your missionary’s package arrives.
To avoid hold ups and disappointments could you please review the attached information and follow the directions precisely. There is even a ‘posting checklist’ that you can take with you to the Post Office to make things so much easier!
If you have friends and relatives who will also send packages could you please pass this information on to them.
If you have misplaced your missionary’s 4 digit code then please email soon and ask for it.
If you have any questions or concerns then please email them as well.
Some missionaries have birthdays in December. To avoid any confusion can families please write the words JINGLE BELLS on the Christmas package/s – next to the 4 digit code. JThe word BIRTHDAY could be written on the Birthday Package/s.
Thank you for sharing your wonderful missionary with us.
Warm regards
Sestra Judy Munro
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Czech/Slovak Mission
Executive Secretary

Elder Jack Taylor says Hi (ALSO, WEEK SEDEM BABY!)

This week flew by.

I cannot believe how the MTC is shaping my life and the lives around me. (Sorry for cheesiness, it is inevitable when you only get to read the scriptures.) The first weird thing that happened this week was that while on our little walk during class, we all of a sudden heard a roar and music and we all jumped about five feet in the air before we realized that it was the BYU football game! Skutočny život? yes, real life! We didn't even recognize the song that was playing. It is weird to remember that life goes on outside of this strange place...

This week was a conglomerate mixture of really stressful things, really happy things, and really hilarious things.
I will start with the sad things I guess because chronological order for the win!

Brat Bateman really cracked down on us this week, and it really was a wake-up call. He talked about investigators and really focusing and on why we are learning this language. Sometimes it is easy to forget in the routine that we are here for real people and to really change lives. After that, sister parsons and I really were feeling overwhelmed and discouraged because we were so imperfect, and we were really wishing that we had been doing better.


that's enough of that because 



Sunday was incredible! The ogden temple re-dedication was so wonderful and inspiring. In the first session, sister parsons and I were really praying to receive comfort in one of our sunday meetings. Not only did President Monson talk about Czechoslovakia, but he quoted my favorite scripture "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." What a wonderful day! Later, we had the best devotional from Brother Gordon B. Brown who literally spoon-fed us a million ways to be confident as a missionary. I felt so much more confident in myself afterwards and felt so motivated to do my very best. Then, to top it all off, we watched the MOST INCREDIBLE address given by Jeffery R Holland in 2012 for thanksgiving at the MTC. I literally can't put how incredible it was into words, but I just about died. Some quotes from it:

"You have to try to grasp it. This is as real as life will ever be. Nothing is as important as what you are doing now."

"You are understating EVERYTHING"

"We are all converts somewhere"

"It is NOT fun to go out and think you are going to lose. These prophets knew they were going to lose. Buck up."

Also, we got to SKYPE yesterday!! With someone from Slovakia! The sweetest member, too. She literally made us feel so prepared. We understood her and she understood us! I am SO excited now! I already love the Slovak people and am SO excited to serve them.

Okay now for a really good list of things:

1) We had an english fast (we could only speak slovak all day) on tuesday this week. Man that was so hard. But we were surprised at how much we knew! We were so exhausted after the day was done....ahhhhhhh

2) HILARIOUS STORY: We got new croatians and slovenes in our zone this week! But listen to this: We were all sitting in class learning this really difficult grammar principle (Ktory: Death), and all of a sudden this brand new elder bursts into our classroom, says hi, and asks "is this my seat?" We all literally just stared at him and Brat Bateman leads him out of the room into his own classroom. IT WAS HILAROUS. WE DIED.

3) Other funny thing about new elders and sisters: We always say, "Welcome to the MTC! Where are you going, Elder?" And they always say, "Uhhh, I think 12m? 9m? Class?" "Umm..we mean on your mission?" It is funny. Maybe you have to be there.

4) SLOVAKIA IS WHERE I AM SUPPOSED TO BE. Get this: They have these pants. They wear them when they are hiking and when they are working and going on adventures. Brat Zabriskie calls them adventure pants. THEY ARE PLAID WITH KNEE PADS.

I cannot even begin to explain to you how much I need these pants.

I need Slovakia, teraz.

5) I figured out how to make a milkshake out of my ice cream. Win man. Win.

6) There is an elder from Paris here whose name is Elder Snickers.

A couple of last little tidbits:

So grateful for the love and confirmation of my testimony that I feel here in the MTC! I am incredibly grateful for every time I bear witness of Christ, the overwhelming feeling I get of the truth. There is nowhere else I would rather be!

M. Russell Ballard came and spoke to us on tuesday! Yeah! 2 apostles in a row!! And it was incredible! He just talked to us like he was our grandpa and it was really the best. He was so good about telling us just to do our best. He talks about when he wakes up every morning, and about how sometimes it is hard, but he says "Nevertheless, I get up." This is so how a mission is! But even better was what he said next. Every time he does wake up, he immediately thinks, "Huh?! I'm still here? Better get up!" We really are all still here for a reason! God has granted us this glorious existence (Cheese, sorry) and really, the best thing we can do to serve him is to "Feed his sheep." I can't tell you how excited I am to go to slovakia!! It is getting so close and seeming more and more real. I freak out basically every day. 18 days!!!

Scripture of the week: "Say not, I am a child; for thou shalt go to all that I should send thee, and whatsoever I command thee, thou shalt speak." Jeremiah 1:7

Love and miss you all,

Sestra Abbott

Slovak words of the week:
to je na smiech: That is to be laughed at
bezdomovec: homeless person
eat it all!: zjedz!
crystal ball: krystallika gula
nap: zdriemnutie

Some funny language moments:
Someone in our zone in croation said "Will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be crucified' Instead of baptized. hahhaa
Sister Parsons said "we can live a miserable existence with god" instead of "live"
Sister Russell accidentally said "A pillar of Death gradually descended upon me"

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Folks, the time is far spent

Elder Jack Taylor (our favorite)
(going to bulgaria)(went to lonepeak), and us.
This is ridiculous. We are starting our sixth week in the MTC today! How weird is that? I can hardly believe we have been gone for more than a couple weeks. It is hard to believe that life goes on
outside of this comfy little place where everyone is exactly the same. We are starting to get a little too comfortable, I'm afraid. Soon we will be thrown into Slovakia and have to leave our precious squeaky classroom chairs! It is a little terrifying to think that in less than a month we will be flying into Prague. What an adventure. Life is an adventure, that is for sure.

Hump day party! With the box and the cake
 and balloons! And no utensils!
This week we hit our half-way mark. We had a wonderful surprise when the Coveys (Sestra Parsons' friends) sent us the best half-way point box ever. The giant box was filled with balloons and the most delectable chocolate cake from Magelby's... Naturally, we set up the box in the middle of the room and had a family dinner with our district without utensils. Help. What are we turning into?

We had amazing speakers this week. On Sunday, Tad R. Callister came and spoke to us about the plan of salvation--what an excellent plan the Lord has for us! It is incredible that we have been blessed to know the means by which we are able to return to our Father in Heaven. On tuesday, we were visited by the wonderful Elder Richard G. Scott. He is such a wonderful man! He walked into a room already filled with probably 1000 missionaries and it basically exploded with the power of God. He gave the most wonderful talk about prayer. It made me so grateful for the daily communication I am able to have with my Father in Heaven. He truly has power that no human can comprehend--he made universes, commands all life, and is all knowing and infinite, and yet he has time to be personal with each and every one of us. He is a powerful being who has time for personal moments. I loved when he explained that when we receive spiritual promptings, we can choose either to rationalize them or retain them. Never second guess the spirit! I have already learned so much from following his promptings!

Spring outfits for lyfe.
Sister Parsons' friend Sister Arbuckle arrived this week and when she saw us she immediately hugged both of us and yelled, "the twins!" So nice to know that the members in Montreal know us now.

OKAY so the FUNNIEST thing happened yesterday. I was innocently breaking all my healthy eating goals in a moment of weakness and decided it was imperative that I go get something from the vending machines down on the ground floor (we are on the fourth floor). So as Sister Parsons and I are walking down the stairs, the cutest little 5ft 60-something year old lady with these big rimmed glasses starts walking down with us. Then suddenly, she states that she is tired of walking down these stairs and she immediately turns around, grabs hold of the banister, and begins to slide down every flight of stairs backwards. We DIED. She then proceeded to help us do it too, and showed us all the tips and tricks to comfortably slide down the banister.

I am really not sure what else happened this week.


Slovak Study, Artwork by me
haha, yesterday the starsi were sick, so it was just us sestri in class. Because the elders were gone, Brat Bateman decided to play a review game with us. AND WE KEPT SCORE. I've never been so happy in my life. I've forgotten how much I love to play games...and win them.

So my little spiritual moment of the week is mostly just that I have such a strong testimony of Christ. My favorite scripture that I have really come to find new meaning to is 3 Nephi 12: 8: And blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (also found in Matt. 5). I don't think this scripture means to literally see god--But I know if you have a pure heart and righteous desires, He will make himself manifest to you! I have such strength and confidence in Him and am so grateful for Christ ever day. I truly have seen God in every aspect of my life and have become closer to Him and others around me through it. This gospel is too wonderful! I've honestly never been happier in my entire life.
Some of our zone!
A goodbye party for the Croatians and Serbians!

Love always,

Sestra Kalli Paige Abbott
(Also Dear Elders are always appreciated.)

P.S. I am becoming an ancient MTC inhabitant. Literally we are here for SO LONG. When people hear that we are starting our 6th week, they die.

Our District

Our Zone

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nothing is a coincidence...Really.

Hi everyone! Hello from the MTC! The happiest place on earth! (well, for some of us.)

This week, I basically have been so reminded of the Lord's presence in my life. Truly, he tests us and blesses us so that we can be prepared to be tools in His hands when he needs us the most. I just want to share a few things this week that, small or large, just have confirmed that principle SO much.

1) On fast sunday, Sestra Parsons was VELMY nervous about her stomach growling. I cannot even describe how worried she was about this. For this whole month, she has been telling me about how her stomach growls SO loud, and she has never had one fast sunday in her life without an awkward moment. So I said a simple prayer that her stomach would not growl. The day grew nearer, and I assured her that she would be fine. Fast sunday came and went without her stomach growling at all.

2) We had to wait in SUCH a long line for dinner on Tuesday, (parmesan chicken!) and we saw the people ahead of us receiving the MOST DELICIOUS LOOKING DESSERT--Cream puffs. They literally looked homemade. The desserts ALWAYS run out, at least the good ones, and there are never any good desserts left unless you are first in line. I was getting physically stressed. This was very concerning to me. (I'm being a little dramatic). Half joking, I told Sister Parsons that I was going to pray for a cream puff. So I did. Right there. Sure enough, the cream puffs were gone long before we got to the beginning of the line. They brought out cheesecake. "Oh well," I said, " I guess I didn't have enough faith." The worst was that the cheesecake ran out before we got up to the front too. So the people in front of us were leaving without dessert at all! Just as we were going through the line, a woman came out of the kitchen with A WHOLE PAN OF FRESH CREAM PUFFS. Sestra Parsons and I got the first two, and I started crying in line, and it was just really incredible. Yes. I cried over cream puffs. Have I mentioned I've been really emotional?

3) I hosted yesterday, and I knew my very good friend Sara Lewis was coming in.  Though I knew it was a really slim chance, I kind of said a prayer in my heart that I could host her, or even just see her. I told everyone she was coming. Our dear little Elder Taylor from Lone Peak was there when she arrived at the curb (I was hosting someone else), and he valiantly dove through the storm of sisters attempting to host her, and snatched her out of the sea of service! He even told multiple sisters he was saving her for someone else. SO guess who ended up hosting her! Hooray!!! Best day ever.

4) Another hosting experience. I was helping with the earlier group (there were only a few of us), and helping new missionaries arriving early. One sister was deaf--and her escort was really getting riled up about how there wasn't an interpreter there. Believe it or not, I ran up to her and started speaking (?) in ASL! I knew my vocabulary was limited, but I talked to her and took her to the front office, where they couldn't get ahold of the interpreter who was supposed to be there. I said a little prayer that someone could come (who would actually know some gospel/MTC terms), and immediately, I saw the girl who hosted me on my first day. She is the sweetest girl, and she is deaf! She has a cochlear implant, but she was raised speaking ASL. I immediately introduced them, and coincidentally (NOT) my host was able to host the ASL speaking girl.

Funny Moments:
1) strc prst skrz krk. Slovak tongue twister. Literally means "push finger through neck"
2) Sestra Palinikova was setting goals with us, and mentioned that we should try to learn 3000 words by the end of the year. Sister Russell asks, "Wait, are there even 3000 slovak words?"
3) Reading the Kniha Mormonova, Sestra Eggers read "v tejto" and it sounded so much like "potato" that we simply couldn't continue.
4) My math teacher from Jr High, Mr. Barker, is here! He and his wife are going to be serving in Provo. I saw him in the cafeteria and he hugged me and there was an audible gasp while I patted his arm kindly and said, "I don't think I'm allowed to hug you!"
5) We watched Legacy on Sunday and we all just about died. That is really the best entertainment ever.
6) When we were teaching Bajo this week, Sestra Parsons accidentally said "Zivorim" with God instead of "Zit". "Zit" means "live". "Zivorim" means "live a miserable existence." I died.

Other things that are happening.
I got an assignment as the music coordinator person for the meetings in our branch. Woo Hoo. Kind of weird because since the only other positions people receive are sister training leaders and zone leaders, so I have to go to the leadership meetings even though all I am really doing is organizing the music...Who knows? My branch president claims that it is still a leadership position so I guess he must be right.

Sestra Parsons and I are still getting along better than ever. She straightened her hair today, and I can't get over how many people have commented on how much we look alike. We recorded our voices on this voice recorder her mom sent her (BEST THING EVER BY THE WAY) and we sound exactly the same. It it so weird. Today we even said "Slowly but surely" at the exact same time while talking to a senior missionary. What! OH!!! WEIRDEST!!! THING! She was born on August 9, 1994. Yeah mom, yeah. (just a note that this is TJ and Becca's actual wedding date)

Also, has anyone ever noticed that I have a legit blonde streak under my hair? When I put my hair up, it literally looks like I bleached a piece of my hair! Right down the center of my head. It is the strangest thing.

We are learning imperfective and perfective in Slovak, and future tense. Yah.

I love the verses in Alma 13:22-25. I have never been so personally affected by them! If you are on a mission or planning on it, read these! Or if you aren't. We can be angels among men! The Lord truly has sent His servants to declare His word.

I am so grateful for everyone who has been so supportive and for all the blessings I have already seen in my life! This gospel is truly the way to find happiness and purpose in this life and in the next. I know that the Lord watches over each and every one of us, and if we will ask Him, he will grant us answers and blessings! He truly knows how to give His children good gifts.

Love you!
Sestra Abbott

P.S. Thanks for the shirts Mom they are AMAZING

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Time Flies!

Three weeks! One third of the MTC! 21 days! does NOT feel like 21 days.

I have finally started to turn into a missionary. When one of my roommates broke down crying the other night, I didn't know what to do and just quoted scripture for 10 minutes. When I talk about my college roommates, I call them my companions sometimes. When new people came in yesterday who I knew, they yelled "Kalli!" and I about jumped as high in the air with fright as the wizards in Harry Potter did when they heard the name "Voldemort." It was like my past....haunting me....

Just kidding :) Sister Parsons and I still don't know what to call each other. Calling each other our first names is SO weird, but calling each other sister parsons and sister abbott sounds weird too...too formal. We joke that we knew each other before this life by a different name, and that is why it sounds so weird.

Weird Sister Parsons moment:
In the temple today, we were sitting in the celestial room, and we looked in a mirror and we looked like sisters. No, not missionary sisters. Like almost twins. Our faces were shaped exactly the same and our hair is only one shade different....It was the STRANGEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED.
Sestra Parsons and Abbott

SO this week was basically the same awesomeness as all the other weeks, but here are some highlights--

Earlier this week a sister was feeling down, so her companion organized a giant sound of music production in the hallway before bed. I had to be Ralph. That was interesting. (This is all I will say on the subject).

Our investigators (our uciteli (teachers)) are really actually trying us. It is hard! And Slovak is hard, man! This week, we found out that apparently, there are all these different cases for every single word. So you have to change every verb, adjective, noun, well, practically every word, to fit the context of the sentence. It is surprisingly not frustrating. This is one of those moments when I know I am being supported by the Lord, and this is where I'm supposed to be. It is indescribable--to have that spirit with you all the time.
Hahah quickly--while we were learning the grammar principles, Starsi Kuhlmann says "Satan is real!"

We were all taking turns saying the different vowel sounds, and we beat boxed. With slovak vowel sounds. Welcome to mission insanity.

These are the kinds of discussions Sister Parsons and I have in Slovak: SP: "Why did you eat my cake?" SA: "Because you rejected me and ate my cake!"

Our companions subjects are nothing less than amazing. We just started studying Jesus the Christ together, and really, Jesus IS the Christ. I love this book and I love the insights we share! It is amazing the way that the Lord teaches you through the spirit when you are really trying to learn. We are amazed that we are so similar since we have come from completely different backgrounds! It is a really weird feeling to feel like I've known her my whole life--I've already told her more than I've told most of my friends back home (no offense)! But really. We were put together for a reason.

Sister Parsons got to talk to our mission president on the phone this week when she was figuring out some things with her parents visiting her, and it was so great! Presdient McConkie is the kindest man. Slovakia is ready for us! (We are not ready for Slovakia). But yeah! I guess they only have sisters in 3 cities--trencin, kosice, and bratislava. And, since there will only be two sisters when we get there, he is going to bring in a czech sister (!) for half a transfer to help train all four of us. Scary! Ja som bat' sa!

Volleyball is still fun. There were some naive stateside people who were at gym for the first time and hadn't quite grasped the concept of "Tied fun to fun." it was so funny to see them get so upset when their companions weren't setting the ball for them etc. etc. We just were laughing about it and talking in slovak saying "Ti si mukel!" (you are a muggle!) and "Ja som bat' sa" (I am scared). It was seriously so funny.

P.S. I gave in to the donuts, they are so yummy.

Lastly, I got to host this week!!! Oh hooray! The only bad thing about this is that I've discovered I'm a very sympathetic crier, so whenever there was a sobbing family, I had to hand them off to a different sister (hee hee). But it was SO fun. I loved taking the new sisters around to their rooms and seeing all their faces when they first entered the MTC. They are all so sweet and they come from all over the world! Best day ever.

Just one tidbit this week that I really feel like I need to share: We are really working on not comparing ourselves to others. We watched the parable of the talents, and I discovered a wonderful scripture: 2 Corinthians 8: 14: "But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be at a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality". Equality is a totally different concept than we see it usually in the world! If we can use our strengths to build others up and be humble enough to accept their help with your weaknesses, the strength of the group will be incredible.
Here is a wonderful part of Pres. Uchdorf's "forget me not" talk that goes along with this:

"I want to tell you something that I hope you will take in the right way: God is fully aware that you and I are not perfect.

Let me add: God is also fully aware that the people you think are perfect are not.

And yet we spend so much time and energy comparing ourselves to others—usually comparing our weaknesses to their strengths. This drives us to create expectations for ourselves that are impossible to meet. As a result, we never celebrate our good efforts because they seem to be less than what someone else does.

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.

It’s wonderful that you have strengths.

And it is part of your mortal experience that you do have weaknesses.

God wants to help us to eventually turn all of our weaknesses into strengths,1 but He knows that this is a long-term goal. He wants us to become perfect,2 and if we stay on the path of discipleship, one day we will. It’s OK that you’re not quite there yet. Keep working on it, but stop punishing yourself."

Anyway, hopefully I will send some pictures today. Love you all!
Sestra Abbott
Enjoy the view.