Monday, December 28, 2015

Dec 28 Merry and Bright

my baby brother...growing up so fast
Merry Christmas from us! Another Christmas together!

We just got transferred--sister parsons went to blava with sister russell and I am staying in Trenčin for my last transfer with Sister Ratcliffe! we are excited!

What a beautiful Christmas week! We saw so many miracles and were surrounded by people who were really a big family for us on this beautiful holiday.

We spent the week running around with this video on a little tiny dvd player and sharing our testimony of Christ! We received so many gifts and so much love and felt the spirit everywhere that we went.

Our beloved members fed us an amazing traditional Christmas Eve dinner! We started off the meal with a tradition of eating a thin wafer with honey on it and an entire clove of garlic. That was really something. Sister Parsons just about died and I just swallowed mine in a few pieces like pills. Then we had kapustnica, a traditional cabbage soup with mushrooms and sausage in it, and I absolutely LOVE that stuff. Followed by a main course of potato salad and carp. The carp was not so bad besides the gazillion little tiny bones we had to pick out, and then when she started telling about picking it out on the main square and the man cutting its head off, I lost my appetite a little.

All week everyone has been giving us pastry after candy after cake and we are so overwhelmed with
food that we are swimming in it! I have never felt so loved! People here are so kind and so thoughtful.

We also got to go to Brno for training, and that was really great because we got to visit the Christmas markets and sing there. That was so much fun! I was grateful to see everyone and have a wonderful time and learn about Jesus. It was great. (Also, here is where I saw a carp gruesomely killed with speed and precision right on the main square)

We had an amazing experience with our neighbor mom this week--we visited her with some christmas cookies and gave her the english website to look at, and when we visited her again this week, she was raving about the website and about the videos of mormon families she had seen. She had literally torn the internet apart afterwards and had, within four days, decided that catholicism was wrong, and that she should only be praying to god and nobody else, and that she wanted a family like a mormon family. She had even prayed about the Book of Mormon and said she had not gotten an answer yet. I have never met someone so prepared in my life or been more grateful for modern technology!

Lastly, I just had the greatest experience with Christ this week. I really know that the Atonement works for every pain and weakness and sin and mistake and anything that we have! I am constantly confused and amazed at the love that He has for me and the limitlessness of His mercy. I cannot believe that so quickly hearts can change and burdens can be lifted. How incredible it is! I could not be more grateful for it. He truly lives and is still our Savior and Redeemer! I love him with all my heart!

Happy New Year!
s laskou,
Sestra Abbott

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dec 21st Bud´ Santa´s Elves or Ježiško´s Anjeli

I have recurring confusion whenever I sit down on Pdays to email because it really feels like I just stood up from writing my last email! Honestly I have no concept of time anymore.

But looking back at the week, it was a great time. We are going a little crazy with Christmas and it is SO GREAT. We have been making gifts out our ears and running around everywhere trying to prepare for (I almost just wrote the second coming...) the 24th. I love Christmas in Slovakia. It is just the most traditional, beautiful thing. The people here have held onto their traditions with their lives through the last 40 years and it is very admirable. I am so grateful that they always want to share them with us!

We got to have our culture event this week! We ate at a fancy ish restaurant and then took a trip up to our beautiful Trenčianský hrad. The castle is always magical and it was especially cold this time! Who knew it was so much colder up in the air above the city.

We had a great opportunity this week to go and talk with some people at a nearby homeless shelter.
They have an incredible organization up and running! The man at the head is incredible. They provide meals and beds for homeless people that will follow their standards--so they cannot smoke or do drugs, and cannot be drunk at all when they come in and they are seperated men from women. We visited with the sweet women there and had a really spiritual conversation. It was very interesting to observe how easily they could feel the spirit because of their humility. It was a great experience. The best part haha was that a nun brought some donations over and stayed for a second to visit, and she was uncharacteristically smiley and introduced herself as Sestra. The most hilarious thing was her face when we as well introduced ourselves as sisters. She was confused.

Then, our Christmas celebration was this week! We had a concert and a dinner afterwards. At first, we really thought not many people were going to come. There were a few members and investigators there that we love, and we were happy to have our little concert with them. We started, and the best moment was when our favorite older couple who didnt know if they would come stumbled in late and smiled these huge smiles at us. It felt like our grandparents had just walked into the room! They were clapping and singing along and taking picures of us the entire time--we just really felt like we were with our family. Afterwards we had the traditional cabbage soup and lots of goodies and it felt like a family Christmas party! Everyone that we love was there and we were so grateful.

We also decided this week to take neighbor gifts to everyone in our apartment building. We made a whole ton of sugar cookies and packaged them up (this was a production...I sometimes get a little too
neighbor gifts
creative) and went door to door. The slovaks are so great in this way. They were very confused and very cautious about taking food from us but we ended up creating relationships with most of our neighbors and now we feel like we live with all our friends!! Our favorite mom who lives down the hall from us let us in and we had a really incredible conversation with her. I love Christmas and families and talking about Christ! It is all just a bunch of incredibleness.

Lastly, yesterday we had the most fun caroling door to door with the elders. It was very successful and we have a lot of return appointments! Everyone gives us food and tries to give us money, so it is really great. Caroling as a missionary is probably one of my favorite things ever. The best was when a woman tried to give us some egg liquor, and we really couldnt take it....

"We dont drink alcohol, sorry!"
"but this one is okay, it is holiday liquor!"
"No, no, we really cant, we really--merry christmas!"
"Please, just take it, it only has a little bit of alcohol in it, it is very delicious"
"Our present for you is that you can drink the delicious liquor! Merry Christmas!"

It was pretty great.

Well, I think that is pretty much it. We are running around like crazy and are heading to Brno today so I do not really have time to think of much else! Happy Christmas!

Lastly, Merry Christmas! I have a testimony that the Jesus is Real. He was born and he died for each one of us. I know it! I feel it! I cannot deny the power that I feel when I read about Him and when I pray I can feel the power of His atonement. Every week when I take the sacrament I am never more grateful then I am in that moment when I can feel the confirming Spirit around me and telling me that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, our Savior, Redeemer, and King. I am so incredibly grateful that I am able to represent Him at this wonderful time of year and serve others to show my love for Him. I want to show to Him my gratitude by following the great advice of king Benjamin: “When ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God”. I know this is true. I hope we can all take moments this week to reflect on the Saviors birth and life, and then act by showing our gratitude and serving those around us. Veselé Vianoce!

s laskou,
Sestra Abbott

Friday, December 18, 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas

Pani Halakova and her homemade oplatky
I love Trenčín!

This week was great in our little Trenčín. Everything here is merry and bright. I love Slovak christmases more than anything. Everything just seems so magical all the time! We are seeing so many miracles this transfer. I think we have found more new investigators than ever before. You would think that in a little town where missionaries are constantly on the streets, all the people to be contacted would be contacted.

But if you would think that, you would think wrong.

Every day we are finding new people who want to meet and grab a tea and talk about God! It is incredible how strong the spirit can be even in little cafes. God helps us wherever we are to feel His presence, and the spirit always testifies of the truth of the restored gospel.

Anyway, so this week the Košice sestry came to us on exchanges, and that was the most fun! I got to work with Sestra Ratcliffe. She sure is a power house! I learn so much more from the sisters on exchanges that they would ever learn from me. We saw so many miracles. I think we ran into almost every less active in Trenčín, and a member from Bratislava! Things I am confused about in life. It was seriously great. One of the best parts was, at the end of the day, we four sisters got together right in front of the Christmas markets and sang! It was great and sounded really so lovely. There were kids dancing and people clapping and everything was so veselé. Christmas is really here!

We also had this great relief society activity where we learned how to make these paper star decoration things and I guess I should have taken a picture because I realize now that I cannot really describe what they are like.
Well, they are little like basket weaving! Anyway. Picture soon.

This week I got sick for the very first time on my mission! It was pretty interesting. I was so worried when I had a fever (Well, I was actually a little out of it, but Sister Parsons was worried), and I just decided to pray and lay down and go to sleep early. I thought for sure I was getting strep throat and that our whole Christmas season was about to be ruined! But let me tell you, miracles happen, and I made a lot of really strong ginger lemon tea, and now I am feeling perfectly fine! Hooray! Christmas is not ruined!

Some other great things that happened this week include that it was our dear Sestra Alžbetas birthday

making oplatky!
this week. 81 years! She sure is a remarkable lady. She lived as an atheist in communism, and was completely against the church when her son joined, but was converted by a senior slovak couple who came back to slovakia when they were not really sending out missionaries still. She is now the sweetest, strongest lady I know! I want to be just like her when I get older. She is always riding her bicycle everywhere, and she has a huge smile on her face that never goes away. She had us all over for dinner to celebrate. We gave her a little doll that Aunt Kristi sewed me for Christmas (Thank you so much!) (And yes, I know, I opened the package too early on accident, but thank goodness because it was really the perfect gift for our Sestra Alžbeta). She renamed her Eliška and said it was for her next great granddaughter. She is so wonderful.

We had the opportunity as well to go visit our investigators and learn how to make homemade slovak christmas wafers! they are seriously so yummy and quite unique. And really hard to make. She really has a skill to make these. She uses a 50 year old wafer iron to do it, and she let us try, and it was just scary. haha but I love Slovak traditions! they have so many at christmastime, and they are so meaningful. I guess I did not know was real, old, heart-deep tradition was until I came here to Slovakia! these people really live according to tradition.

Speaking of tradition, I read this great scripture in Mark this week about how Christ sees them:

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

this is medovnik, the most delicious honey
walnut cake that we always have on birthdays.
I really have been thinking about the why behind our conversion. Why do we believe in God? Why do we believe what we believe? Why do we celebrate Christmas? I have confidence that each one of us can find personal answers to these questions and know that when we do, we find motivation, happiness, and a God that we can rely on. I am grateful that we all have the agency to choose the commandment of God over the tradition of men when it is necessary, and that we can find strength in Christ when we try to choose Gods path.

love you all!

happy twelve days of christmas!

Sestra Abbott

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mikulaš príde!!

gifts for mikulaš
Wow I really cannot believe it is monday!! I was so excited for it to be december, because I bought this advent calendar that seriously has some delicious chocolate in it. Unfortunately, the days have gone by so fast that I completely forgot to eat the candy and I am already five pieces of chocolate behind! škoda. It feels like I just barely emailed this morning.

Anyway, this week was one of the more exciting ones (asi that is why it went so fast). Well actually looking back at it, I have had seriously some exciting weeks. ANYWAY. We got to go on exchanges this week with Bratislava, and sister Russell came over to do some great things in Trenčin, and WOW it was really wonderful!!! We met with a great mother who was very open and very prepared. She accepted a baptismal date in her first lesson and gave us some great cookies. Then we had a really powerful lesson that focused on the apostasy. Sometimes here in our little catholic country we are a little afraid to talk abou the apostasy. We even had a lesson with a teenage girl the other day who read the brochure, and came back and pointed out the word "odpadlictvo", or apostasy, and said, " I do not like this word." It is pretty funny.

But we were really able to be very bold and clear in this lesson and it really brought the spirit! It reminded me of our district prezidents talk last week. He said that the things of the gospel are really simple, but it is sometimes hard to find the simplest words to describe them. I think the only thing that can really illustrate fully the simplicity and truthfulness of the gospel is the Holy Ghost. If we can speak with the voice that testifies to peoples hearts, they are much more likely to understand and accept the message of the Restoration.

Then, Sister Parsons and I had an incredible opportunity to travel to Prague for our leadership conference! It is always quite the journey for us, we are always gone for three nights, but it is so worth it! It was longer this time, a five hour conference, because we got to spend the entire time talking about Jesus Christ and how to follow His example of leadership. I think that I could not feel the spirit stronger than I do when we read the stories in the New Testament of Christ and of His example. I think what I loved most about it was talking about Jesus and the Individual. If you look through the New Testament, you will really discover that the stories of His life are compiled of a bunch of people. Many of them were pretty much people with no influence and people who were looked down on by society. And yet their stories are included in Holy Scripture that people now revere and refer to every day to find solace and guidance. It is truly incredible! Jarius´ daugther or the woman with the issue of blood or even the enemy who gets his ear cut off are all important lessons for us about how Jesus will always look to the individual first.

We also talked in the meeting about sharing spiritual experiences. We enjoyed our car ride home because we shared a lot of our spiritual experiences. We talked about why we came on a mission and
sväty mikulaš prišiel
how we got here. It was great! Of course, I bawled during Sister Parsons´ because I just love her, and really felt a boost of strength in my testimony when I heard the Elders testify so powerfully that despite everything that was preventing them from coming or wanting to come, that they know they need to be here. It was so great that Sister Parsons and I decided that we were going to start to share really important personal experiences on the street with people when they applied. Even if they were really small, like a warm feeling, we began to make our contacts a lot more personal this week. And boy, did it make a difference. I have never felt the spirit so strong on the street than I have this week. And people see us a lot differently now! It can be a little scary, but sharing your testimony and sharing your personal experiences is always worth it, because it seriously strengthens everyone in the conversation.

ANYWAY COOLNESS I am just apparently in a writing mood so I am going to go ahead and skip to Saturday and Sunday because it was mikulaš!! Hooray! Christmas part one in Slovakia! It is a great holiday where Saint Mikulaš brings treats for the good kids. It was real dramatic here in Trenčín because they do a whole ordeal of a show on the namestie on saturday, where Mikulaš comes and has a full out war with the devil in order to save the children from Hell. We took our dinner hour to go down to the cute markets and see all the ruckus.  I have to say it was quite the cultural experience, there were angels throwing presents to children, and also children bawling everywhere when the devil came out with his fire, and then Mikulaš coming in on a bicycle looking a whole lot like a glorified Pope. Ah man. I really really love Slovakia. Plus everyone gave us food for Mikulaš so that was the best thing ever. I will try and send the best pictures of this we got. It was altogether really an interesting experience.

Lastly, I just want to say one bitty thing about the Book of Mormon! We are still are reading rapidly, and are now in Helaman 9. There is so much power that comes from this little book! We all fasted on Sunday for the Czech Republic and Slovakia because they are SO close to a stake in the Czech Republic. I really feel such a sense of power and unity behind us right now--and we are so excited to see the miracles.

Love you all!
Sestra Abbott

Monday, November 30, 2015

Gratitude X900

Oh, wonderful week. I just have to say, that I kind of feel silly after last weeks email when I complained about there being no snow, because literally as soon as Sister Parsons and I left the library, we were talking to this man on the street, and completely lost focus because within minutes we were standing in a huge blizzard! The snow was pelting our faces and we were completely frozen in a few minutes. Now it is gone but I eat my words from last week.

We saw so many incredible miracles this week! It is really remarkable how when you feel like things are not going as you planned, or you have a couple of strange obstacles in the way, the Lord still sees your willingness and worthiness and puts you where you need to be. I am so grateful that as we are prayerful and spiritual, He leads our footsteps into the paths of people who really are prepared and who need His love and the truth!

We saw that this week when, on monday, we knocked on our neighbors door in our hall. We had met a couple of times before, and she is a pretty crazy lady, so we love her. We simply wanted to invite her to our thanksgiving feast (more on that later). She was a little riled up about the world and about politics in America, so it ended up being her being quite loudly opinionated in our quite echoey hallway and us patiently listening to her for a little over an hour. Needless to say, this did have a part in Gods plan. In the middle of this loud friendly conversation, our other neighbor came out to walk her dog and intervened for a moment. After argueing a bit with this lively woman, she turned to us, and in perfect english said "Girls, she does not know what she is saying. I have experiences, and I know God is real." After a few more minutes, she left. We were so incredibly grateful for this angel!

The next day, we were walking home from english, and it was dark (Which means nobody is out), and we saw this woman outside of our building with her dog yet again. She approached us and began to talk with us. It turns out that this incredibly lady is french, but speaks german and english and slovak as well as french. She is divorced and has two little boys, one of which has cerebral palsy. The dog is specially trained to help this child. She opened up to us about how, when she went through a hard time, the Catholic church rejected her and condemned her. She turned to God and has been trying to have a personal relationship with him. It was really one of the most incredible moments! One of those times when you look at someone, and you know that God is real. As we walked back up with her, she said she noticed that we lived alone, and that she would be alone on Christmas Eve. We are now spending Christmas Eve with her! It was really so remarkable I cannot explain.

I am now just going to go ahead and skip to the thanksgiving part of the week, because it was seriously the best thanksgiving I have ever had (no offense to everybody.)! Wednesday, we received our "obrovsku morku" (our VAST or GIGANTIC turkey). Our kind friend went and got it for us, and dropped it off at our apartment, and I really cannot describe how incredibly grossed out we were. It was, luckily, feathered and cleaned, but it had a neck and was bleeding and, I wont get too into this, but lets just say that it looked like a small child. We were  pretty terrified. And there was no way it would ever fit in our oven.

This is where God stepped in--the elders have the most incredible man they are teaching who is a father, and also a chef at the Grand Hotel. They told him about our turkey, and he simply stated that there was no way we could cook that ourselves, and to bring it to him at the hotel. All we had to do was drop it off and wait until 6 pm the next day. Literally the most awesome thing ever.

So we invited all of our dear friends to eat thanksgiving dinner with us. Sister Parsons and I made seriously SO MANY DELICIOUS AMERICAN ROLLS (finally figured out how the yeast works here) and a real pumpkin pie except from a butternut squash, and homeade stuffing, and gravy, and I think that is all. The elders made SO MANY vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was really unbelievable. Everyone hated me a little bit when I continued my family tradition and made everyone go around and say what they were grateful for before they could eat. We have so much extra, now, as well. We gave away so much and still have 5 kilos of turkey left.

I think I have already written far too much today, so I lastly want to talk about a another big step that
we had in Slovakia this week! This weekend we had our first district conference as an independent District.We went down to Bratislava on Saturday and had relief society, priesthood, an adult session, and the next day district conference. It was so incredible to see all the members there. I cannot express my love for these faithful saints. To see everyone I love so dearly all gathered as Latter Day Saints of Slovakia literally overflowed me with joy. I was crying. I love to see all these people who do so much for this church and can stand so firmly in their faith every day. They go through so much, I wish I could really describe how converted these people are. And our district prezident, who is just a 24 year old chlap (recently engaged to a czech member! hooray!), stood with such power, humility and authority at the podium that there was not one person in the room who was not looking up to him with incredible faith and trust. I was called up as one of the random "hey we are going to make you bear your testimony now" testimonies and I was scared to death because there were so many people there (it was about a third of our ward at home), but I stood up there and was overwhelmed by the smiles and love from everyone and realized I was just with my family. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be with these people who are so caring and trustworthy and firm in the faith of Christ! they are such great examples.

Also, one of our primary children from žilina had her drawing pictured in the childrens section of the Liahona this week! not sure if that means it is also in the friend or what magazine but you should look at it!

Sestra Parsons says I need to cut this message down but I am just going to stop writing and send it.

S laskou,
Sestra Abbott

Monday, November 23, 2015

trains travels trainings

still no snow, but we have not lost hope yet.

We got to go to Brno this week for their training, and it was a whole bunch of fun. I am so used to travelling by train that I do not really know what I am going to ever do without them! They are the most awesome resource which we have! I was grateful to be able to stay in Brno on exchange with two of the sisters in a trio there (Sister Bailey went back to Trenčin with Sister Parsons for a day). i absolutely love Brno! I am very surprised that I can understand Czech still. I am so happy I got to learn 1,5 languages. Haha. I had some very spiritual experiences on my exchange!

PS I am either really emotional or the spirit is really strong this week. But I have been crying all week. Just a forewarning.

First of all, I spoke to the most darling girl on the tram. We were goign to the main square to talk with people about the Book of Mormon, so I had one in my hand. She was czech, and also spoke english and spanish. She was incredibly open about the fact that one of her parents was a believer and the other was not, so she felt very torn. I told her it was okay, but she was adament that it was not okay, and that it was very important for her to find faith and to find truth. I was so happy to testify that it was possible! I am so grateful that we do not all just need to hang in the air in a mist of uncertainty, but that each of us can be sure that God is there and that he has truth, and not only that, but a church where we can learn and grow. She gladly accepted a Book of Mormon and agreed to meet again.

Then, (As well in Brno here), we split up in the square and contacted individually because we did not
our cute investigator
have much time. I was so blessed to meet an incredible woman who had overcome a lot in her life but was happy and successful. She lived by the concept that a karma-like force governed life, but was plagued by the fact that it was not always certain. I felt so strongly again, so grateful that God is an unchanging God-the same yesterday, today, and forever-and that we can rely on him in order to determine what is right, and in order to understand Justice.

Lastly, in Brno, we had one of the greatest experiences I think I have had on my mission. The sisters helped an inactive father come to church a couple transfers ago, and he is now fully active. The rest of his family are not members. He has a thirteen year old son, but refuses to speak with him about the gospel because he wants him to find it for himself. The sisters suggested that we teach his son--the dad will not even come and sit in on the lessons. So, we went and taught this thirteen year old boy. We were in a trio and he set up for us little chairs around his desk, made us huge cups of fruit tea (With SO much sugar haha), and cut up apples and gave us each bowls with dried granola and rice cakes. We drew the Gospel of Jesus Christ out for him--steps to overcome sin. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He understood it so well. After we were sure he understood what it meant, we asked him if he would like to be baptized. He responded affirmitavely. Not wanting to intrude or push him, we stated that everyone can pray about a date in December for him to be baptized. He immediately said, I already know! The 24th of December! We all agreed and told him he would have to ask his father.

Then, his dad came in from work and came in to visit for a moment. This big, manly man sat down on the bed next to his son. His son turned to him and said, "Dad, I have something to tell you." "Yes?" "I am going to get baptized. Will you baptize me?" This wonderful man gave his son a huge hug, and began to cry. The spirit in the room was incredible! I have never felt such a love for the gospel then I did then, when I realized how great it is to be on the path with your family.
(He was surprised about the date..."Sisters! Did you pick this?" "No..he did..."
"Who is going to tell mom?"

Haha it was the best thing ever.

This week as well, we got to do service for our wonderful members, and they also fed us a whole lot of food. I love how everything is just chicken and rice and potatoes and cucumbers and halušky. Living the live.


ALSO we had a great experience this week when we were teaching our mom friend. She is so funny, she always takes us out for tea, and says, Look, girls, I just want to speak english, not talk about God, I dont believe in God. The best thing ever is that we always end up talking about God. So that was great but the point is, that we were walking with her after our lesson, and we brought up thanksgiving. But the problem is that literally nowhere in Slovakia in any normal store do they just sell an entire turkey. They sell like parts of it, but never the whole thing. So we tell her this, and she nearly stops in the middle of the street and says, "Girls. My father literally just asked me this morning if I had enough room in my freezer for an entire turkey." So, we went back with her to her dads house, and it was so great! We were with a three generation family and taught them the restoration!
So that was great an all, but lets get back to this turkey deal.

SO her father says, yeah, I have a friend who is a bird farmer. I will call him up. He calls this guy and
asks about the turkey and the man is actually pleased because he was literally killing all his turkeys in an hour. So he asked him to kill one for us (This is seeming very morbid to me) and told us he would bring it to us on wednesday for free for American Thanksgiving.

The only thing is that they said it will probably be 18 kilos, which is around 39 lbs, which is the size of a four year old child.

But dont worry, we are going to figure it out!! We are excited!!

Last, but not least, we accidentally bought toilet paper this week that smells like christmas. Strange things.

actually lastly, here is a thanksgiving psalm 100

1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

love you all!

S laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16: heart growing three *more* sizes

survey in the rain
jaj. This week was probably the best week ever. Just when I think that I am so incredibly blessed that the Lord could not possibly give me more, he puts out his hand and is like "Pači sa. Here is more." I am seriously in awe on a day to day basis. The more my body seems to give up on me, the more the Lord puts right into my lap. I never quite feel deserving of all the happiness and love I feel all over. I am really coming to love these people more than anything else!

We had a real fantastic English class on Tuesday. There were just the most wonderful people who came! I think it was the biggest turnout Trenčin has seen for a long time. The mother that came last week brought her mom friend and our little high school students came and we had the most fun beginners class. Somehow we always end up talking about food, but no worries, the spiritual thought at the end was really great.

We had training in Bratislava this week! It was really so much fun. Sister Parsons and I trained and I
our zone
have never become so emotional about my mission. All of the elders are training in Slovakia right now (Except one companionship, who is follow up training), so literally half of the Slovak missionaries are three weeks old. I was feeling so old and felt like I was really staring at the future of my family! They are such a great bunch. And every time I get to talk about the Slovaks I realize how much I have learned from them and how much they have really changed me. Training was wonderful and I always love getting together and talking with everyone about Christ, and missions, and feel the spirit, and get pumped.

We had a great testimony building experience this week when we stopped this mother, and she full out turned on us, child in firm grip, and screamed in the middle of the street that she was roman catholic, and she was not changing, and that we were of the devil.

Well, this is not too abnormal, but we just had the most spiritual experience afterwards where we realized that we are totally disciples of Jesus Christ! I was going to go off about this but I feel lazy right now, but it is pretty great. Also, I just wish that everyone could have a chance to live in a country where everyone is catholic, because the more you learn about history, and about other churches, the more it really strengthens your testimony that yes, God does have a true church on the earth, and that so many people have been looking for it for so long and it is finally here!

Slovak Christmas Goodies
Okay, last thing, is that we taught the most incredible family yesterday. Literally was the best experience of my whole life. It just shows that people are prepared to receive the gospel at Gods pace! This older couple has been taught by the elders since 1990s, and the elders had kind of given up on them and went for dinner every couple transfers but never actually could teach them. They always just said they were catholic.
Well, remember the man with the sink? That is the husband!! So we go over to their house, and I think Sister Parsons and I felt more at home and happier than we ever have on our mission. They were so funny. They were talking about the Beatles, and CCR, and Pink Floyd, and John Lennon, then their son comes in and starts playing the saxophone incredibly and they start singing slovak folk songs with him, and sister parsons and I were dying. We just listened to them.

THEN, miraculously, they began to ask questions,

and more,

and more,

and before you knew it, we were teaching one of the most spiritual first lessons we have ever taught. They were so cute and asked us about 70 times when we were coming back again. Then when we were walking home, she even called because she wanted to make sure we were safe and still planning on calling that week.

I love these people! I was just about crying knowing that all those elders who taught them before were so guided by the spirit and helped them to receive this message. It is so amazing how God works.

Well, I just am grateful for everything. This might sound like a really naive generalization but I feel like I can safely say that right now.

Especially grateful for umbrellas.

Also, though I don't know much about what is happening in the world right now, it is obviously very
breakfast today (Sister parsons is teaching me french, so just preto)
scary, and people are paranoid, and I pray that those who are in distress will find comfort. I love Elder Bednars talk from a couple conferences ago, called "Therefore they hushed their fears"
I feel like it was by prophetic revelation that this talk was given.

Elder Bednar says,

"In our daily lives, endless reports of criminal violence, famine, wars, corruption, terrorism, declining values, disease, and the destructive forces of nature can engender fear and apprehension. Surely we live in the season foretold by the Lord: “And in that day … the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26)."

he continues,

"But can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world? The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Three basic principles are central to receiving this blessing in our lives: (1) look to Christ, (2) build upon the foundation of Christ, and (3) press forward with faith in Christ."

the rest of the talk can be found here

in English

aj po slovensky

love you all! have a great week!

sestra abbott

Thursday, November 12, 2015

There is {music, goodness, laughter, miraculousness} all around

Oh, beautiful week which we had here in Trenčin! I have to say, that I have never been happier I do not think. I have really gotten to the point where I go to bed with a smile on my face and wake up..okay still without a smile but guarenteed to have one in at least ten minutes. I am becoming more and more grateful for the Lords hand in our lives. We saw miracle after miracle this week.

We have been teaching a ton of new people. It is great because they are all quite kind and willing to listen and ask many questions. I think I had fruit tea bought for me about 6 times this week. I am surprised at how many elect people there always are in Trenčin! You would think that after having missionaries in this small city for all these years that everyone on the street would know our message and who we were. But still, every day we are teaching people in their homes, on the streets, and in cafes!

We had a really cute mom come to english this week. I do not think I talk much about our english classes here in Slovakia, but I love them! We teach free english once a week, and our english students are some of my most favorite people. We always feel the spirit so strong. My favorite thing to teach is beginners (Okay, actually, I love conversation as well. Intermediate is just intermediate.) BUT aj tak I love beginners because I always get to talk about my family. So many times this week has my family picture been whipped out to show people! Hahaha my family is probably one of the most "Looked at with open mouths" family in all of Slovakia! You should see peoples reactions. Most of the time they think I am older than my mother, and they are always surprised at the size, and they think we look like a magazine family and ALWAYS ask where on earth we are. It is so funny. But the point of all this is to say that it always brings the spirit so strong! I have such a testimony of family and how a strong family can be built on the gospel. People always say, well, how do your parents do that? And I can only ever answer that they are obedient to and love the Lord. It is the best.

Oh, so, also, we went to Prague this week for our leadership meeting and it was SO FUN. Sister
Parsons and I finally got to go to Prague together! We did not get to go at the beginning because of her visa, but we had the best road trip ever with the zone leaders and it was so worth the year wait to be in Prague together. We had a great meeting (SO excited for training this week!!!) and we had lunch with the McConkies and then we got to go to this strangely elegant and extravagant doctor to get some antibiotics for sister parsons. I am not sure what was happening in there but seriously there was a chandelier and we were filling out her medical forms on a tablet. So that was pretty confusing. It was QUITE the contrast from the medical care which we have here in Slovakia, let me just say. I really cannot remember what it was like in America.

Then, after


that we had to drive through seriously the thickest fog I have ever seen! There and back because it was early in the morning and then it gets dark so early...Elder Driskill was seriously the best chauffer in the world! I could not believe how calm he was! He was still cracking jokes and sister parsons and I were paralyzed in the back seat with fear because we were on the freeway and we could not even see two feet in front of the car. Lets just say, it was slow, but somehow we made it alive (AKA we are missionaries.)

Then, after what seemed like the longest journey I have ever taken, we returned to Trenčin and proceeded to have the most miraculous week ever. The Lord truly compensates! We literally got ahold of almost all of our less actives, one of which came to church on sunday (Seriously, biggest miracle. We thought he had died or something), and we found a mom who met with us today and is the kindest human, and we painted the park, and we just talked to everyone, and met our neighbors and they invited us over,  and ah! I wish I could write out everything that happened but I feel like it would be underappreciated for the amount of typing it would take. But it was seriously great.

I think all this joy is coming from the fact that we downloaded this new youth song onto our phone that is like, "I feel so grateful in my heart, its good to be alive!" And it has literally been stuck in my head all week. Cheese but whatever.

Food: we were fed an abundance of pretty good potato pancakes yesterday, and I just wanted a drink of water more than anything, but our host told us that that was NOT allowed because it would ruin my pancreas because of how greasy the food was and all I was allowed to drink was hot water or tea. SO, when eating McDonalds, NO soda or anything, just hot drinks, for the sake of the pancreas everyone.

I am going to make a save the pancreas campaign.

Well I think that is all. I enjoyed more than I have before reading Jacob 5 this week (Still goin strong on this 9 pages a day in the KM..It is great!) and I was just thinking about how sometimes, we work really really hard, and it does not matter whether you are in a good spot of ground or a bad spot of ground, your tree brings forth good fruit. And that is a wonderful feeling! That is when you really see the fruits! But sometimes, you work real hard, maybe harder, and you love your vineyard more than anything, and you just see bad fruit. I know that for sure I have seen that on my mission before. But I know that right now, I am seeing the success that never giving up brings. If we can plead with the Lord of the Vineyard not to give up on His little trees, he will again say to us, okay, let us go down, and let us work, and prune and dig and do all that we can. And after we do it all, let us say, What else could we have done? And I know that with the Lords help, we will see that good fruit and He will help us know what to do in order to see it. He is truly the master gardener!

I love you all and hope you have an extraordinary week!
s laskou,

sestra abbott

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nov 2: probably the most incredible week that has ever happened

Well everyone, Trenčin is exploding.

Sister Parsons and I are more than excited to be back together. I think that I have a partially sore and dry throat because I have not stopped talking since last monday. It is really the most incredible thing. I am consistently confused about how we have now been together for how long? and never run out of things to talk about.

I have just got to say that this week has been nothing short of miraculous. Tuesday morning came around and we said our prayer and set out onto the street to contact for a half an hour before district meeting. Well, the first people who stopped on the street was a wonderful married couple and their little year old daughter. They asked us to walk with them for a few minutes so obviously we did, and had a really great conversation. They promptly invited us to come visit them in their home on friday night.

We were crying tears of joy.

Not only that, but on that day we found another investigator, who came to her second meeting and when we prayed she pointed to her chest and said she felt it in there and was sure it was a good feeling.

Plus, we have been finding left and right and I really cannot tell you what it is, but everyone on the street seems to be stopping. Literally everyone. We feel like the most popular people in Trenčin!

We stopped a man carrying a sink.
He was overjoyed and said that the missionaries had visited him before in the past, and he was like "WRITE MY PHONE NUMBER DOWN!! COME TO MY HOUSE!!!"
We apparently had no choice but to write his number down and set up another appointment with him and his family.

We stopped a YSA boy on the street. After talking with us, he realized that we actually already had
his phone number in our phone, so he promised to come to another meeting.

We planned to find a mom wearing some sort of fur. As we were talking with people, Sister Parsons sees a woman with her daughter and feels really strongly that we need to go out of our way to talk to them. So, we beeline to them and immediately start a conversation, and the mom nearly shouts, "Literally two minutes ago I was just telling my daughter that I needed to buy a book about angels!!!"

We pulled out the Book of Mormon and told her we give it away for free. She was laughing so hard because she was so amazed. She really was convinced that this was NOT a coincedence, it was just way too weird. As she walked away, we realized that she had a huge fur coat on!

We had a wonderful time this week painting a childrens park in Trenčin with our members. It got a little sketchy because now apparently it gets dark at 5, and our members didnt get off work until 4, so about half way through the painting we could not really see what we were painting anymore, but it was still so much fun! I love our members. They were just basically recruiting all of the little kids at the park to paint with us and to as well hear about the gospel. They are better missionaries than we are!

Then we got to visit our cute family that we met on tuesday. They were probably the most perfect little family ever! Their entire apartment looked like something straight out of IKEA, and they were so darling. Sister Parsons basically taught their little one year old while I shared the message of the restoration with this cute young couple. It was probably one of the best experiences I have had on my mission! I have been praying to teach families stronger than ever and I know the Lord answers prayers when our desires are in the right place!

THEN it was halloween, and Slovaci do not really celebrate Halloween. Well they do not celebrate it.
but they do celebrate All saints day, which was probably one of the coolest experiences ever! They go to all of their ancestors graves-they travel all around slovakia to get to them- and they clean them all up and leave flowers and light fancy candles all around them. It is the most beautiful thing! it is really an interesting holiday because they go to the cemetary and pray for their ancestors. In the Catholic religion, they believe in something called the očistec (sister parsons is telling me this is purgatory), where after you die, you suffer for all your sins there. SO on this holiday especially, everyone (many times whether they even believe in God or not) takes these candles and prays for their ancestors to be strong while suffering for all their sins. I was a little sad that they did not have all the knowledge that we do about life after this life. How lucky we are to know that all of us, who has lived and who ever will life, WILL live again! And only because of Christ. The spirit was really strong in the cemetary, and I was grateful that although maybe many of the doctrinal pieces of knowledge were missing, God still cares about and loves all of His children.

Also, Sister Parsons bought me a giant kinder egg for halloween because she is kind.

There was a dog outside our window barking so obnoxiously on halloween during studies, and I had made really good waffles for breakfast, so I threw him a waffle off of our three story building and he stopped barking.

Well, that is all! I just want to emphasize again how incredibly grateful I am for the plan of salvation! I am so grateful to know that we will all be resurrected, and that we will all have the opportunity to be exalted. I am grateful that the gospel makes sense--for everyone! It is not a church only for certain people. But it is a church for anyone who wants to become better and wants to continue to progress. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, and am more and more grateful every day that we worship the Living Christ! That what comes after His crucifixtion is important, and sacred. I know it is true and I hope that more people can find that truth every day.

 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
waffles to contribute to the food part of my blog.
Dont worry it didnt have anything on it when I threw it to the dog.

S laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct 26: Busybodies

Hello! This week was completely insane!


We started off with an actually fantastic Pday. We had an apartment check on wednesday so we cleaned our entire apartment SO CLEAN because we knew we would be moving out on November first so we would have to get everything packed up and all.

On tuesday we ran down to Brno for a terrific zone conference. We talked a lot about being a successful missionary and goals, which are two of my most favorite things, so it was a really great time. It was weird because this week slovakia is getting 9 new missionaries this week and all of the elders are training except elder bednar so things are getting crazy! Of course, as sisters, I am not sure how much this affects us personally but it sure is exciting!

SO there is not a ton to email about this week, mainly because when we got back on tuesday night,
we cleaned up our apartment a little bit and went to bed. The next morning we woke up and cleaned a little bit more, and then the cottles came. Shortly afterwards we went to see our new apartment with our landlord to make sure everything was spick and span. So we are there, and it is all good and do da dandy, and then he turns to us and says he is going to call some guys to move our beds over and can we be back at our apartment in fifteen minutes to help them and I am standing there so confused questioning my language abitilies and whether I understood him right or not. So I say, well, if we moved our beds, then we would have to sleep here tonight. And hes like, yes. Not a problem?


So confused over here. Long story short, the next day we were out of our apartment and into the new one.

Our arms are sore.

Sister Ross last hurrah
The rest of the week was pretty great. We just lived out of our suitcases because we were waiting for transfer calls anyway, and we really love our new apartment. Between pulling out old rugs and taking down a hundred hooks, it is finally becoming a sister missionary apartment.

Trenčin has been so beautiful, with so many autumn trees and just greatness. People are all bundling up and we do likewise so that people think we will stay healthy.

In Košice this week, the most darling and strongest girl got baptized! She has been waiting for a very long time and she is the best person. We are so grateful for those people who are incredibly elect here in Slovakia. I feel like Slovaks are a lot like diamonds. They are all valuable--and some of them are not quite prepared yet. Some of them havent been through the heat and pressure that it takes in order to make a crystal diamond, but are in the ground waiting to become what the Lord wants. We see them and try to uncover them, and many of them are so close. Sometimes we can see little shards and glimpses of the diamond. Sometimes it is so close that there is a lot of effort that goes into finding the crystal in the rock--we never want to give up on hammering it and brushing it and cleaning it until we find the diamond inside! But there are a few rare cases--just like every diamond--where someone is found, a perfectly clear, formed diamond, ready to be cut to fit the ring of the gospel. This 18 zear old girl was one of those diamonds! And she adds tenfold to the value of the church in Slovakia and to the Lords Kingdom. We feel so incredibly grateful to be the people to associate with these that are the Lords Gems!

Lastly, Sister Ross and I had our last week together. We made the most delicious Slivkový Gul´ky
(Plum Balls/dumplings) with poppy seed and powdered sugar and contacted Trenčin to a pulp. She is so awesome and I am so grateful for her!

We got our transfer calls late on Saturday night. Sister Ross left to Bratislava this morning to be with Sister Russell and I get to stay here as STLs with Sister Parsons! There are always mixed feelings about transfers but I am certainly excited for this next holiday transfer.

PS In preparation for Christmas...

2 Corint. 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

s laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oct 19: Christmas is coming!!

The weather is getting chilly and I am so excited for Christmas!!

Hahaha was that premature? I don't think so because this week at our grocery store they are pulling out the Christmas decorations!! Who is excited? (Raises hand).

I have been pulling out all of my tights from last years winter and remembering that they all have holes in them...

This week was really wonderful. The weather was perfectly chilly, not too cold and not too warm, just right for a light jacket.

We found a lot of friends this week. It was truly a joy. First of all, I have to tell this cool story which happened to us...two days ago. Saturday. We were trying to catch a bus to go visit our friend at work, and we had about ten minutes before it came, and nobody was at the stop. So naturally, we decided to contact to the next bus stop. We went along dandily and we see a dad with a twin-stroller. So of course we bee-line to him, and have a wonderful conversation. He has five kids, the two youngest are twin babies, one is at the hospital with his wife right now. Then, he remembers that his oldest child knows English! So obviously he is excited because we are Americans and wants us to talk to his oldest boy. He calls him and he is right down the street so we went down there to talk to him, a little in a hurry and a little skeptical. He ended up being this really cool 20 year old boy who knew English very well. He was so happy to see us and exclaimed that he was meeting with the missionaries before! We asked him what happened and he said he just moved to Denmark for a little while and lost contact with the missionaries. We are really excited to start meeting with him and his dad this week.

Probably the funniest thing that happened this week.
Is that Sister Ross, has this thing, where she is super jumpy and gets really scared really easily. It is kind of the best thing ever. I have never loved jumping out from behind corners so much.


We were walking home, and it was dark, and I looked up at the stars and realized how incredibly visible they were and how bright and beautiful, so I suddenly reached out to Sister Ross and let out a little excited gasp!

And I think she just about died! She ended up pretty much dislocating my thumb, giving me a nice bruise on my shoulder, and kicking me in the thigh.

I will never be excited again.

As well, we did our district culture night this week! IT WAS THE BEST. Because Nitra is in our
district, we all got to go to Bojnice Zamok, which is basically the most beautiful Disney-like castle ever. I felt truly like a princess. People lived there up until the middle of the 1900s so it was very nice! Really I could not believe how beautiful it was. The worst part about this is that I forgot to bring my camera to the library, so I do not have pictures this week. I will get one from Sister Ross but seriously it was so beautiful.

We had another awesome day this week where we were out talking to people. and we made a bad decision and went on a business street right during lunch break. SO really, nobody had time, and it seemed like we were just repeating ourselves over and over again like robots. So I was like, okay, that is it, we are finding new investigators NOW. And we prayed and left the street, and proceeded to contact a man, who re set up for Monday. And after him we found and taught two more people who set up as well. We were so grateful for the Lord! It was one of those times where you do all you can and you know that the Lord has to just make up the difference.

Well, I think lastly, is that I just am so grateful for the Spirit we have felt this week! After listening to konference I tried to make a conscious goal to recognize and try harder to feel the spirit with me always. And it really did make all the difference! I cannot believe how often I can feel the small promptings the Holy Ghost gives me and all the times I can feel Gods love for me and for His children around me. I have never been more grateful for my baptismal covenant and for the sacrament! I wish everyone could feel like this all the time.

My scripture for this week was Mormon 3-22.

22 And I would that I could persuade all ye ends of the earth to repent and prepare to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt it! I am so grateful for this work and really do wish I could persuade everyone. It is a good thing that the Lord leads us to His elect!

Love you all!

Sestra Abbott (Sestra Bodka)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oct 12: My journal might as well be a cookbook

This is us in a cave with Elder Bednar taking a selfie in the background.
Let me just start off this email by saying that I seriously cannot believe how much we have eaten and been fed this week, just so everyone is not so incredibly weirded out when I cannot stop talking about food. I apologize in advance. Do not read while hungry.

Contacting was probably the most fun thing ever this week because we were able to tell everyone about a living prophet who would speak to us this weekend! I typed up some really small quick info invites last Monday and just cut out a ton of them so we could just hand them to everyone we talked to on the street. The spirit bore powerful witness as we testified of continuing revelation for the entire earth today. Holding up the pictures of our beloved leaders has never been more special to me than it was this week. I am so grateful that I am on the earth at this time, when we have the priesthood power and the fullness of the gospel!

We had a terrific opportunity to visit one of our most wonderful members this week. She is old, but
One of my favorite cathedrals up on a hill!
It is barely visible from the city, all in the trees. I love it.
not too old. She taught us how to make homemade Slivkový Guľky (Knedliky for all you czechs). It was so great! You make this dough out of boiled potatoes and wrap it around whole plums and boil it. Afterwards we put a bunch of mak (like ground poppy seeds) and butter on the top. SO YUMMY we DIED. It has taken me an entire year to consider this poppy seed stuff an actual dessert, but I have come to really like it. Anyway. SO we ate these really yummy things, and she told us her conversion story. The spirit was so strong! I wont type up the whole thing right now, but basically she knew about the church for a long time, and her daughter got baptized in America and went on a mission. Her husband did not agree so she never participated in church meetings or activities or take the lessons. When her husband died, she was finally able to start making the journey to church every week, but she didn't feel it would be fair to her husband to be baptized. When Prezident Uchtdorf came to dedicate slovakia for missionary work, she was there at the dedication site (It is here in Trenčin). He did not even know much about her, but he came up to her afterwards, and (through a translator), he told her "Dont worry, sister, your husband knows now what is true, and wants you to be baptized." She was baptized within the next month, and now she is one of the strongest members I know! I am so grateful for her example!

like a boy scout
We only had a couple of hours to be out on the street on Wednesday, so we prayed and made the most of it, and we saw so many miracles! We saw many of our investigators and had a lot of powerful contacts with really great new people for us to teach. anyway I am bringing this up mostly BECAUSE..

The elders investigator in a little town outside of Trenčin invited us all to come and eat lunch with him that day as well. And I have to say, it was a very strange experience. This man, everyone seems to know him, and he is so friendly and kind, and eccentric a little. His house was spectacular, and he had all kinds of unique exotic plants. He was growing small pomegranates and large limes in his front yard, and all kinds of pepper shaped tomatoes and hard pears in the backyard. He sat us down and fed us a meal of homemade sausage and bread, followed by deer steak and mashed potatoes. It was very good except I was super weirded out by the deer and kept thinking about the deer that got caught on the barbed wire fence in our backyard one Christmas break. Sorry for the graphics. Anyway I ate it and it was good.

Plus the man is cool and is really going to be baptized soon so that is exciting.

THEN the next day, we helped sestra alžbeta paint her fence again, and visited a less active, and both of them fed us as well (I have an elastic stomach). We have about 10000 apples in our fridge, because Slovakia is the garden of Eden, and it is apple season, so the apple gifts are plentiful.
district selfie

Okay I could write about a couple of other things but I am getting hungry so I am just going to skip to this weekend.

KONFERENCIA!! How good was it?? SO good! I was a little frightened that I would not be able to understand it (As it has been in the past with Slovak, at least in conference,) But I was so pleasantly surprised to be able to understand most, if not all of the Saturday session. All of my questions seemed to be answered right away and I was incredibly, and pleasantly, surprised by how much the Lord loves me and His children and wants so that we can be happy and not confused. On Sunday, it was in Czech (we dont quite fit the member quota to have all of the sessions in Slovak), so it required a little more brain power, but I was still in tears and awe during Prezident Nelsons talk and made about 1000 goals for now and the future. Wow I am so grateful for everything I learned!

I think the biggest spiritual impression that I got, to improve on at least, was during Prezident Eyrings talk. I want so badly to be able to be confident that I have the spirit as my constant companion all the time. How wonderful it would be to be able to say 100 percent of the time whether you could feel the spirit or not. I read today in Mormon 2,

 "26 And it came to pass that when they had fled we did pursue them with our armies, and did meet them again, and did beat them; nevertheless the strength of the Lord was not with us; yea, we were left to ourselves, that the Spirit of the Lord did not abide in us; therefore we had become weak like unto our brethren."
and was thinking about how spiritual Mormon must have been! To be able to notice, even after a battle won, that they did not have the Lord with him. I have really resolved to simply be more aware of the presence of the spirit in my life. Then that way, even when I probably am capable of doing something myself, I can rely on the Lord and do it even better, or do it His way. I think being more aware will help us to change small things in order to do the Lords will in every case.

Anyway. Today we went to a really interesting place called Skalka, where monks used to pilgrim to. Pilgrimages. I don't know. Caves. Castles. Cool Place.

s laskou,
sestra abbott

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oct 5 to blava and back again

I feel like this is an accurate adventure picture.
 Hello everyone! We had a real fun week this week. We started off early monday morning and hopped on a train.

OH also, when we woke up, we had such luck because it was dark still outside and there was a lunar eclipse!! It was so incredible! I think that the Lord loves me because I got to see a solar eclipse here in april and now a lunar eclipse. True greatness.

So, we hopped on this train to get to bratislava for a wonderful training, then tuesday was P day, and that was really amazing, because we got to go to the castle and all that jazz and email in Blava, and had a wonderful Pday working with the blava sestry.

OH PLUS, they fed us halušky, which I had not eaten in over two weeks, and my tummy was SO happy. SO happy.

Well, long story short, wednesday came and we woke up bright and early once again in order to go get a visa for Sister Ross. The zone leaders woke up even earlier (Bless their hearts) to go wait in line for us at the foreign police. Then, I was so happy to find that the girl who was helping us all day was the same intern student that had helped me!! It was so cool because I could actually speak slovak with her, when before she was very stressed and uncomfortable because she was trying to speak english with us. It was cool to see that I actually have improved over the last year and that I can communicate!! Yay blessings! I was happy to be with her all day, and she was happy too because I gave her some american granola bars that my mom sent me. We ran around from hospital to hospital (Sister Ross was really a trooper), and then waited at the foreign police for a couple hours. We ended right on time to jump on a bus, buy some bread, jump on another bus, and back onto a train all in less than 40 minutes to get back to Trenčin. And when we got back, I was so relieved to see the Trenčin castle come into sight and to be back home in my wonderful little Trenčin. It is funny how when you are in your area, it always feels like home, even if you love all the other areas as well.

Oh also, I had a cool experience at the foreign police, where I had to wait outside in the waiting room while Sister Ross and our intern friend went in, and I got to help like 4 different people from all over the world! I felt so cool when I was helping someone in english, and two seconds later answering someone in Slovak, and then talking with a czech. Afterwards I looked back and kind of just laughed at the whole situation.

So anyway the rest of the week was an adventure. One of my favorite things that happened, was that we were going to teach a woman a lesson, and our oldest member, sestra Alžbeta, came to help us teach. When the lesson did not show up, we showed Sister Alžbeta how to use the Restoration pamphlet to study and to teach other people. This sweet, sweet 81 year old woman just treasured this precious pamphlet. She kept asking for more, and I have never seen someone read a piece of literature with so much joy and intent. She immediately invited us to go to the kyselka* (*Kyselka. Not sure what it is in english, but it is basically a mineral water spring. The carbonated kind? Yes. Right out of the mountain.) with her, and to teach a less active who was coming and another woman she was inviting. Later, when we showed up in the woods at a little meeting spot, we found her falling asleep on a bench, reading the restoration pamphlet. I LOVE our members!!

Speaking of Sestra Alžbeta, we also had the privilege to go over to her home this week and paint her fence bright fire truck red. Anyway so it was Elder Driskills birthday, and I made him a huge cake (not my fault, I could not remember how much the recipe made for the life of me) and we sang heppy berthday and all that jazz. It was pretty fantastic.

Our favorite vegan friend came back from Nitra for the weekend and she is as amazing as ever. Sometimes I really cannot believe how blessed I am to be surrounded by the people..that I am surrounded by. This girl is so great. Every time we are with her, she just glows. I have never really experienced the "light in the face" thing that people talk about until now. She literally emanates light! We had a little book klub with her and we asked her if she had more questions for us, and the only one was "how can I find time for everything? For scripture study and school and all?" It was a dream. We pray every day for her family to be more open and she is growing so fast. I am so grateful for her every day.

Anyway, I cannot think of anything major, but we have had a lot of small miracles! (Especially since we were out of trenčin for a little while) From talking to tens of families, to having amazing conversations with people about a living prophet and his apostles, we are seeing the Lords hand in our work daily. I love the work and I love these people! I am writing down things every day that I learn from them, and boy, is it a plentiful list.

I am excited to finally watch conference this week and was excited to hear about the new apostles!!

S laskou,
sestra abbott

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Sept 29 Chocolate is Gods Apology for Broccoli

Hello hello, greetings from the sestry na slovensku! Well, actually just one, me, but I thought it would sound really nice to say the sestry.

Also the title of this email is just a great slovak saying which I heard this week. I was called to the right country.

We had a "charged" program this week, very busy with a lot of random changes and fun.

One awesome thing that happened was that we were contacting, and we saw a girl that looked asian, so I told Sestra Ross that it was her turn (She lived in China for four years so I get excited about these things). We stopped her, and she did not speak slovak, but she spoke a little english, and Sister Ross asks her where she is from, and she is from China!! AND THEN they just start speaking this unknown language of syllables! I was amazed. My mouth was like wide open. I was so happy. Chinese was spoken. (*Disclaimer. Sister Ross says she has forgotten a lot of chinese because of slovak, and that they just talked about food. But I do know that at one point they talked about Jesus, and it sounded pretty good to me! I felt the spirit!)  A moment was shared.

The weather has just been so incredibly pleasant, we have started to wear tights and light coats and
beautiful blue danube
sweaters, and it it just wonderful not to be drowning in your own sweat and breathing so much already breathed air all the time. People are very willing to talk to us and walk with us and we are seeing a lot of success! We are working very hard on teaching "Our unique message," which, of course, is the message of the Restoration. I have come to appreciate and feel the significance and necessity of the Apostasy, and it is incredible to teach Gods prepared people about it. The moment when they just "get it" is one of my most favorite things. You can like, I dont know how to explain it, but it is just a little lightbulb in the back of their mind that lights up their eyes when they understand that no, we do not think the pope has the priesthood, and yes, we do have that same miraculous power in our church that Christ used on the earth. The prepared people are always hungry to learn more and we are very grateful to the Lord for putting them in our path!

One scripture I have been using all week this week is 3 Nephi 14--

 "13 Enter ye in at the strait gate; for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, which leadeth to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat;

 14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

Sometimes we wish that everyone would recognize that narrow path, but as the scripture says, there are few that find it! We are incredibly blessed to find those few.


This week had been the week also of orechy. The week of nuts. All of the trees seem to have some sort of edible thing on them, and the slovaks are so good at using every single thing that comes off of them. I feel so incredibly unresourceful all the time. Every slovak seems to know what leaves are good for what tea, and what herbs, and which nuts are good to harvest with a stick and which you have to wait until they fall, and whether or not the wild rosehips are ready for tea or jam, and I am over here like, WHAT ARE ROSEHIPS and people think that I am completely naive because I have no idea how to roast a chestnut or suck the juice out of a honeysuckle flower! I am living in the most resourceful country in the entire world! I have never seen a slovak let anything go to waste. I seriously have so much to learn from them.

Speaking of food, I cannot even tell you how much food we ate on Saturday. We went to lunch and had pizza, it was a little treat for ourselves after not eating dairy for so long, and then directly after we went to visit an investigator, who had made us an entire meal, complete with chicken, fried cheese, and potatoes and tea and banana bread (Which I made for her because it was her birthday, but she insisted that it was so yummy that we must as well eat half of the loaf), then we brought more banana bread to our members, who fed us plum poppy seed knedliky and kinder chocolate. We were running around and were late for slovak study with the elders, who had kindly made us tea when we ran into the room.

My tummy was very full.

We also had a wonderful, wonderful training here in Blava yesterday. I was so grateful for everyone who came down from Prague and CZ to help us down here in little Slovakia. We were grateful to all see each other and to get letters and packages. We were really grateful for Prezidents training, when he talked a lot about having the courage to face opposition, and about Lehis dream. I am not going to tell the whole thing right now, but we talked about how sometimes, people, even when they have tasted of the miraculous fruit, still give in to temptation from the great and spacious building, or wander down strange paths.

I was thinking about that again this morning, when I read another verse in 3 Nephi 18, which reads, "32 Nevertheless, ye shall not cast him out of your synagogues, or your places of worship, for unto such shall ye continue to minister; for ye know not but what they will return and repent, and come unto me with full purpose of heart, and I shall heal them; and ye shall be the means of bringing salvation unto them."

devin hrad
We do not know when these people will feel of the Lords love again. In addition, I read the conference talk, Waiting for the Prodigal, given last conference. I am grateful for the examples of people who reach out in love to those who have perhaps wandered down strange paths or given into the tauntings of the great and spacious buildings. I know that as members and missionaries, as family members and friends, and as brothers and sisters, we all have the responsiblity to love one another, and perhaps wait a little while. I sincerely hope that we will all see those opportunities to reach out in love to those who have wandered a little, or stumbled on their way, so that Christ may heal them--because He will and He does! We see it every day. These people are His sheep and he wants them to return. Sometimes they just need to remember what His voice sounds like.

Anyway, I am very grateful for living prophets and apostles, for our leaders in the church and in our districts, stakes, wards, and branches. I am excited for conference and for the week that lies ahead! Everyone watch for me (We do not watch until the second week of the month.)

s laskou,
sestra abbott