Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas: Lights, Markets, Turtlniks, and Drunks

Another beautiful week in Slovakia. I am literally living in a National Geographic Magazine. I am eternally sorry for not sending more pictures. But I am hore dole hore dole and crazy busy. The work
is hastening! These people here are amazing. They are pioneers and I feel like there are so many people searching for the truth who recognize it when they hear it.

First off, I am with Sister Parsons (From Montreal, MTC companion, best friend for life, etc etc). Second of all, it is Christmas. Which is my most favorite time of the entire year. There is the most wonderful spirit that we feel when we testify of Jesus Christ. We got the He is the Gift video translated into Czech, (still not Slovak, but still UZASNE) and I love it so much. This week, we had our Annual Branch Christmas party. It was such a party. Hahaha we did a Christmas program, watched a lot of mormon messages (So funny because we just have someone translate while it is playing), and played and sang a lot of Slovak and English Christmas songs. The best is that the missionaries have to sing the english songs, but there aren't very many of us, so I still play the piano and sing at the same time, which is sometimes a bit pathetic. President Van Dalen told me on sunday to either sing or play the piano. He wants to be able to hear my voice, so he likes it better without the piano. A Capella for days.

So at the party we had this program, you know, we read scriptures and things, and then we had the best food ever. We had the traditional cabbage soup that Slovaks eat on Christmas Eve (I have really taken a liking to these things: Cabbage/Sauerkraut, Homemade sausages, potatoes, sour cream. Still tolerating pickles.) Then they have potato salad..a little different than american potato salad but you know. Potatoes, potatoes. Then, usually, slovaks would eat Carp for christmas. Our branch was not going to buy fish for everyone. And turns out, most Slovaks do not have Carp. Whenever I am talking to someone on the bus or something about it, they all tell me that there are too many bones and it is too 1) hard to cook and 2) dangerous to eat, so everyone just eats whatever other fish they like. Then we had delicious pastries. I had no idea what was in them.

Anyway, so this week has really been jam-packed. We have so many people to teach that we do not have enough time to teach everyone! We are trying to call a million people to do Christmas visits, and it is really quite an excursion. It feels like I have been running a marathon for a whole week--but the best part is that I can do it! Such a good feeling. And yes, maybe sometimes we only have five minutes to stuff something down our throats for lunch, but it is so worth it.

A goal that I made was to talk to every family with kids that we see, no matter where we are. And what wonderful results we have seen from our sacrifice. We have been immensely blessed. We have gotten so many numbers--I could not believe when we totaled the 9 or 10 numbers we had received in our first 2 days. The best part about Sister Parsons and I being together again is yes, we are both very new. Yes, we have really been thrown into missionary work. But no, we are not drowning, and nothing can stop us! Somehow the language is here. We might not sound super educated and we are not always completely crystal clear, but the language is not a barrier! Which is wonderful! In fact, we travelled to Brno and back! Woohoo! (But really, that was a little intense)

Anyway, speaking of the language, I had to give a 15 minute talk on sunday in Slovak, which was a little intimidating. President Van Dalen said that he "wanted to hear about the Spirit of Christmas from someone who actually had it". So I really tried my best. It was kind of an awkward sacrament meeting since I also played the piano and sang a musical number. It was kind of like "Woo look at sister Abbott" A little awkward. 'specially since I probably said the same phrase in my talk 1000 times. Hahaha

Something that little poor sheltered Utah me did not know came with the holidays is this thing called alcohol. Haha so weird. They just sell so much hot wine and beer at the markets. But the markets are still so beautiful! I will spare you all the drunk/fireworks(really loud fireworks here) stories for now, but haha just something funny that happened this week was that we met this guy to teach him and of course he was in the marketplace, totally drunk and playing his accordian, and wanted to have a lesson right in the middle of the market, so I just thought, okay we will just teach him something really quick. Obviously that was a bad option because he was not listening at all, and I felt like we needed to leave, so (in slovak obviously), I just said quite firmly, We will Not teach you if you are drunk, and this is Not a spiritual place. We left and I was a little frazzled and Sister Parsons was just laughing so hard. It was pretty funny. All I know is that we are so protected by the promptings of the Holy Ghost! haha

Haha I am just laughing about this right now.

Done laughing. So we went to Brno this weekend (in the Czech Republic) for our Christmas training, and it was so wonderful! Although Kosice is so far away--haha, we are closer to the mission homes in Ukraine and in Hungary than we are to Prague--The train ride was fun because there was SNOW!!!!!!!!! We do not have snow in the city yet but going through the mountains was a winter wonderland. It finally felt like Christmas! Ah! And our training was so wonderful--we did a lot of Czech/Slovak traditions, like splitting an apple for good luck, eating wafers with honey and garlic on them, and floating candles in walnut shells. And of course, eating a huge meal. President talked about Christ (samozreme haha) and His life, and about the story of the people lifting their friend through the roof of His house to be healed. It was so inspiring. He talked about how we all need to "lift our corner" and that each and every one of us is a good missionary and we contribute, no matter where we are. He gave us all a kind of mutual blessing--well, it was literally a blessing, and it was really the coolest thing that has ever happened. I felt like I was getting a patriarchal blessing or something. It was really incredible.

Well, I don't have a ton of time to write, but I just want to wish everyone Merry Christmas! I love you all and am grateful for the influence each one of you has had on my life! This year I have thought a lot about the Shepherds, and about how they were really one of the only ones who had to exercise their faith in the Nativity scene. Mary, the wise men, Joseph--all were commanded by someone to fulfill their callings. But the shepherds had a clear choice. To go, to leave their sheep, and exercise their faith, to see a baby and believe that he was their Savior--or  to stay contentedly at their work. And they did. They chose to go and see their Savior, and to be the first to behold their Salvation. And when they did this, they immediately began to spread the word abroad, that a Messiah had been born, and that they had found their Salvation. How incredible they are!
(Sorry, blurry, but totally necessary)

Anyway, before I get too excited,

Merry Christmas,
Vesele Vianoce,

I will talk to some of you soon :)

s laskou,
Sestra Abbott

1 comment:

  1. YAY!!!! They got my little pendants I made them! HOORAY! I just love these girls so much!!!