Friday, May 29, 2015

halfway through:(

First of all, before I forget, I forgot last week to say that when we were hiking all around to the radio tower and such, we were just hiking along our merry way, and I spotted a huge snake on the trail. I just about died. It looked like Verdi in that book with the snakes, you know? Called verdi? Yeah. It was ginormous. I just about died and the elders were actually paralyzed with fear and then Sister Russell was not afraid at all and scared it away so that we could cross the path. So that was just an incredible adventure here in the forest of Bratislava.

Second of all, what an incredible week we had! I love this work! Sometimes, most of the time, I completely forget that I am a real life missionary. Things just become so normal. We had an unusual day this week, where we just taught a lot of our members and inactives, and we never got to go out on the street and talk to people. I was a little depressed at the end of the day and I could not really figure it out. And then I was like, wow. We did not really find anyone new today. That is sad.

And then it hit me that when I get home, it is going to be like, the worst.

And then I rationalized that I could still do missionary work at home, so life will be good.

And then I had to press past my half way point, which was this week--because my mission is almost 19 months-- and that was at first a little depressing but we made the best of it. What is time??? Ahhhh

So, anyway. life is basically incredible. We talked to this polish girl on the street yesterday who felt like her life was miserable. She said her purpose in this life was just to survive. She hated being surrounded by people and said the only time she was ever happy was when she escaped her family in Poland. She was afraid to meet with us because she said her attitude rubs off on everyone she meets. She actually began to look up at us when we fervently testified of her divine worth as a daughter of God and her potential to become something great, now and after this life! The best part of it was when we asked, Is it possible that there is a God? And she said, Yes, I think it is possible. And when we asked why, she had the most unexpected response. She just held up her little hand and said, Look at this. Are we not just a little too perfect? Every detail and every little joint has a unique purpose. I think that there has to be some kind of bigger brain behind it all.

I love that girl.

We have been finding everyone who we have been planning for, which I think is really marvelous. There are always days in a transfer, where you find exactly who you planned for and teach them exactly what you planned, and those days are always like YES. I remember my first transfer, it was almost every day. And I am finding that this transfer as well, we find who we planned for every day! Whether it is a YSA boy with a shoulder bag, or a dad with his daughter, or an awesome close to nature guy, they always seem to "Coincidentally" wander into our paths. We are so blessed! I am telling you, the Lord is in this work. It is His work, and He will be a part of it if you allow him to be. He is the only person who can lead you to His elect and His prepared!

you might not recognize sister eggers is because she has a pinata on her head. hahahahaha
We had a unique experience this week to hold a New Beginnings for one special young woman in our branch. She is incredible! She draws better than any of us, and speaks russian, slovak, and some english. Sister Russell and I and Sister Cottle have basically taken over the Young Womens presidency here. What special sunday classes we have with her and what a wonderful New Beginnings it was! She keeps saying, "But I am the only one." And we remind her of the young women all over the world who are pressing forward with the same purpose and who have some of the same challenges! She is such an example for us. She wears her torch necklace every day and is not ashamed of the gospel! She is already preparing to serve a mission.

THEN we had the most amazing experience ever!! We got to go to Trenčin to have a little
rendezvous program celebration meeting thing with as many members in Slovakia and missionaries as could be there. We celebrated on that day, May 23, the 9th anniversary of Slovakia being dedicated for missionary work. We went on a little hike into the woods, to the same spot where Prezident Uchtdorf said the dedication prayer nine years ago. It rained a little but all was well. And then we went back to the church building and had homemade pinatas--super random, no purpose.--and the most delicious gulaš in the entire world. Ah. I love these Slovaks. I know I already ranted about them last week, but seriously, I could not have better examples. They are so rock solid! I loved more than anything having the opportunity to see people from Košice, even an investigator that Sister Parsons and I found, and feel the spirit of Slovakia. I seriously cannot express how much I love them.

Lastly, I made Borscht this week!! Thanks dad!! IT IS SO AMAZING I LOVE IT SO MUCH

Best day ever.

Well, bye, dovidenia, majte sa, until next time,

Sestra abbott

chinchilla happiness

Ahojte!! What a wonderful week we had. I seriously do not remember half of what happened, however. I am trying to conjure up an email but my mind is blank! I promise that I did missionary work this week!! Haha.

One awesome thing that happened on monday is that we only had a wee amount of finding time and we had planned to find a dad in a green polo, so we ran out and began contacting. We had a fantastic contact with a man and got his number, and I was pretty pumped about it, but as we were walking away, sister russell looked at me with huge eyes and was like, "HE WAS WEARING A GREEN POLO!" just one of those amazing moments when you realize that spiritual promptings are a real thing.

We got to go visit one of our members Monika this week, and she has an english budgie and a chinchilla, which is probably my most favorite animal on the whole face of the planet, and just had the best time ever. With a chinchilla and a bird. And I also really love birds.

One thing that I am grateful for are the members here in Bratislava. And in Slovakia. They are incredible, incredible examples to me. They show me what it means to act with the faith that you have inside of you. Faith really is dead without works. And these members work hard. They carry the Lords work here in Slovakia on their shoulders. They put all their heart, might, mind and soul into everything. We had a branch picnic bbq thing on saturday morning, and the families who came were constantly helping. There was nobody in charge--everyone was in charge! Which could be hectic but because we are all united in one purpose, our goals can be realized. We, as a new baby district of Slovakia, have a terrific, faithful, strong district president, who was called to be the president at the age of 23. He holds the same keys as a stake prezident. and he is over an entire country! He is still a single student, and has 10000 other worries and he is responsible for these little members in Slovakia. I wish I could translate my gratitude for these people in words! They are the reason we serve. We serve together with them. And if the strength that I see in these little branches and groups were to be in every ward of however many hundred, we would see extraordinary miracles. They are the pioneers! And I am so, so, privileged to work with them. I cannot imagine attending sacrament in a room with more than 25 people in it. And when we meet together, focused on Christ, the spirit in the room is a tangible one. The peace I feel when I take the sacrament is the same peace I feel when I feel forgiven. It is recognizable and it is real. And I love the Lord for showing me what His gospel can truly do to people and what it really means.

matching oven mitt
One thing that we have been doing is really cooking like the Slovaks! We bought an entire bag of potatoes and are already about through it. Potatoes, onions, and sausage. Klobasa, in slovak. And BOY, is it SO GOOD. I will never be able to eat American bacon or sausage or hot dogs again! Probably the worst thing ever for you, but hey. We made pirohy this week (pirogy?), and we want to try and make russian borscht. One of our members (and my father) have given us recipes and cabbage, so when we have the time (Which may be never), it will be a marvelous undertaking!!

Well, that is pretty much it I think.

Another thing is that there is ALWAYS ice cream here in Slovakia. It is amazing. You know how like in America or New York they always say "A starbucks on every corner?" Here it totally is not starbucks. It is ice cream. And the ice cream here is SO GOOD. better than any other. I cannot even describe it. It is like gelato-y custard-y and wow so delicious. 70 c a cone baby.

Also, today we hiked to the top of the radio tower in Bratislava and bought some expensive lemonade! I did not bring my camera, so if you can, you should google it.

So yeah. Thanks to everyone and good luck to everyone and all that jazz.

Praying always!
Sestra Abbott

Sunday, May 17, 2015

šťastne deň matiek všetci (Happy Mother's Day Everyone!)

Bonus family picture with starši garnernot pictured starši asay
Hello again! We have had a seriously wonderful week. The weather is fantastic and the sun seems to always be shining on us. Sometimes there are just little random buckets of water that drop down from the heavens, but a darling umbrella keeps us dry (Most of the time.) Then fifteen minutes later the sun comes back out to help our little freckles along. We could not ask for more.

We had the most remarkable privilege (how in the world do you spell that) to have a visitor from an area seventy this week here in Bratislava! Our district presidency was being trained and how lucky we were to be the missionaries here. Elder Adler was from Germany and spoke to us as missionaries for about an hour. He answered questions and gave so much wonderful advice. The spirit was strong and I do not know how I was so lucky to be one of the missionaries here! We had a lesson, and afterwards, he asked our investigator such upfront questions like "You are scared. Why are you scared?" and bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel SO strongly. We were half translating for him, because we do not know how much our investigator understands, but the spirit was strong enough that I think she understood what he was saying.

Then, that same day, we had a lesson with a different investigator who is so prepared for baptism and
knows that the gospel is true--but has been set that he will not be baptized until he reads the Book of Mormon and receives an answer. We have been a little bit stuck on this concern, and were again addressing it, when all of a sudden, Prezident McConkie comes into our little classroom and asks to join. So obviously we say yes, because who wouldn't, and he sits down. We asked our investigator what he was planning on doing when he found out the Book of Mormon was true, and he basically just answered, I would become a Mormon! Then Prezident just bore the strongest testimony and had the most perfect experience to share with him. By the end of the lesson, he had chosen a day when he can be done with the Book of Mormon and be baptized! Yes.

Calvary in Nature
Also, for family night, I made Americké Palacinky, American pancakes, which seemed to be a terrific success. Everyone was confused about why they were not thin (here their pancakes are just crepes) and they loved them. The best part was that Sister Cottle brought peanut butter and the elders made homemade maple syrup. SO that was just plain delicious.

We had an awesome day on Wednesday, because we talked to two men named Jozef who approached us and asked us what we were doing and why and were so ready to listen to us! One even asked us if we could meet before we even said anything about it. Later that day, we had already been contacting all day, and a lesson fell through, and we only had about 30 minutes until our next appointment, and then it started raining and we did not have our umbrella, so we were just like, well, lets just stay inside and make calls. But we really felt like we needed to do as we planned and try and contact, even if we only had 20 minutes to do it. By the time we got out the door we only had about 15 minutes, but in that time we taught 2 people and got their numbers with 1 already set up appointment. We could not believe it! Sometimes the Lord works in strange ways, but His ways and thoughts are always higher than ours.

Everything is so green here, I love it so much. When we are contacting, I feel like we could just
wander a little and go hiking, because there are these little baby paths all around that randomly lead into woods. I will send some pictures of an adventure we had today when searching for a Calvary here.

We worked at stans again, and I have to tell you, I think my arms are getting way strong. Maybe. Just kidding, he gives us work that is sometimes difficult so the Elders will just slyly come over and do it for us when he is not looking. Yeah.

I think the last thing I really have to write about today is that Mothers Day was on sunday! Hooray! I was too excited to talk to my family. I was probably bothering everyone else because I was so excited but whateves. My family is the And happy Mothers Day to all the mothers and mother-figures (we had to go over that in english class) out there! Love and look up to all of you!

And of course, here is a small poem excerpt which I found and I love from Prez. Monsons talk "Hidden Wedges" (Which is a well known and simply wonderful talk.)

"Of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: ´It might have been!´"
     John Greenleaf

Something that I am learning, even through my pride, is that when the Lord tells you to do something, do it! Without hesitation! In Preach My Gospel, when it speaks of promptings, it always says that after you receive a prompting, you should "Valiantly follow" or "courageously follow" that prompting. Do not waste a minute, or you could be too late! It is something that I am learning, little by little. The Lords will is always wiser than our own.

Well, enough rants, but have a happy May! My halfway (Well, nine months, not quite halfway) mark is in two days!

Sestra Abbott

Monday, May 4, 2015

ziploc bag, mystery calls, galaxy leggings and other miracles!

me and the Družhkovci (Russian family in our branch)

This week was a great one, let me tell you. It started out with some wonderful thrift store shopping, with two dresses for just a euro each. YEAH! (Sewed a hem onto the bottom of one of them..)

Then we went and bought groceries at a new potraviny which I cannot say was the most miraculous idea because for some reason they only had paper bags and then carrying them on the tram home was just a ruckus, but, nevertheless, we made it. With food.

This week was full of miracles! One amazing thing that happened was this: As we were walking down the beautiful path by the Danube, our phone began to ring, and a number we did not recognize popped up, which is not always the most relaxing feeling, so I answered the phone with the usual, "Dobrý Deň! Tu su sestry!" And was mirrored by an equally as awkward "Dobrý deň? Do you speak english?" I could not decide whether this was reassuring or not, but soon discovered the cutest little american mother talking to me on the other end of the phone. She invited us to her home (She is a military wife) and said we could share a
little message with her. And how wonderful it was! She has two little boys, aged 4 and 2, and they could not be cuter. She made us such american banana muffins and gave us orange juice. They had met with missionaries before in the states, and she had fantastic questions like, "Do you read the Bible and Book of Mormon together?" And "What is the Great Apostasy?" We fell in love with her all over again when she handed us an actual ziplock bag with more mini banana muffins in it as we stepped out the door. What a wonderful tender mercy! The homeless people also liked the muffins.

Then, for a second time, our phone rang with a mystery number on it. This time, it was a Slovak, and it was a man who we talked to in a park about a week earlier. He cordially invited us to come and eat at his restaurant/bar/winery and said he would feed us for free while we told him everything we needed to. This sounded like a great deal, until he told us that we could not wear our nametags. After much prayer and consideration, we decided that it would not be the best idea to go without our nametags, so we informed him (quite kindly) of this and invited him to church.
"you had logs?"..inside joke

And then, he came to church. With a friend!

And he bore his testimony in sacrament meeting. And talked all about how we talked to him in the park and how we were still invited to his restaurant. And he is going to meet with us again!

Then, one of our investigators came to church!! Which was truly a miracle because we have been trying and trying to get her to come, and she has a baptismal date, but things never work out, but then she came! And on top of that, she wore galaxy leggings. Winning.

our cute investigator
Also this week, I went to Trenčin again!! Wow right?? I got to go to Trenčin with Sister Wilson and boy, I so love that city and the members. I learned so much about them and so much about the history of the church there in Trenčin. That is where Slovakia was dedicated by Prezident Uchtdorf for missionary work! How cool is that? So cool. They are all members who have been faithful through communism, with their little red KM books in hand. I loved teaching with them, and got to go to dinner with them because...

Sister Seninger was here with her family! Her giant family! And it was great! I was in both trenčin and bratislava when she visited! It was incredible to show the members this huge, united family and to really feel the spirit when members reached out to them in love even when they could not understand anything that was going on. My translation skills were definitely put to the test.

ALSO we have a new slovak sister!! Sister Ratcliffe. She is so cute and fits in just perfectly with us. She is in Košice (Best city ever to be trained in) with Sister Parsons (Best trainer.) We love her.

And we had training. So that was incredible. As always.

And we talked about getting people on baptismal date during training, and I basically just committed someone to baptism on the street just five minutes ago! I was like, June 20th. She gave it a soft yes. On wednesday it will be a 100 percent yes I am sure.

This is super blurry, but it is us slovak sisters and two czech sister ratcliffe is one in from the left.Also, that dress I got from the thrift store and sewed the hem on. Exciting things. And yes I know my legs are the only ones showing it is just because I am 80 feet taller than everyone and two people wore tights. 

Phew I am running out of breath typing this insane crazy email. THEN we also got to go to two of our members houses for dinner this week!! And food is incredible! I had both Russian and Slovak food and it is all deliciousness. I am pretty sure I have completely overcome my pickiness. I eat everything.

Also, someone showed me that Happy video that they did for general conference. So funny.

Okay well this is getting crazy and I am overwhelmed by how blessed we are here in Bratislava! We have so many solid progressing investigators just in our companionship that will build our branch. We know it is because of all the prayers and faith that go into our work!

Here is a poem, based on a story they tell about a man in Košice.

Penny Dime
He once told me of a beggar--
Covered with dirt and street sewage
Asking for a penny,
Penny dime, penny dime.
He pleaded with such certainty
He purchased a mansion with his words.
As he lived with his riches,
his smirk and his servants,
Tell me,
From where did his satisfaction come?
He breathed his last
surrounded by his loved ones--
The butler, pillow, and ash-tray.
Oblivious, still,
to the sounds of the starving
on the very street where he
made his living.
Asking for a penny,
Penny dime, penny dime.
What use is a nickel
When you do not value time?

Lastly, here is a quote by elder scott
"We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to become each day"

Love you! Talk to you soon!
Sestra Abbott

Joyously summery

This week has been so full of ice cream, sun, and wonderful miracles. I am so grateful to be a missionary here in Bratislava and cannot believe how quickly time is going. I cannot imagine doing anything else!

I love serving the people here--.from working in Stans garden and chopping wood and concrete up with an ax , to helping someone with a stroller down the stairs. I love carrying groceries and serving with all my might--seriously though, my arms are getting a certain workout.

Some miracles that happened this week are 1) We contacted the coolest man from Austria who
knows someone in Utah! He proceeded to show us her entire facebook page and tell us about how he knew about the church already, and was open to receiving a Book of Mormon! Very excited to meet with him and are ever grateful for those people who reach out as missionaries to their friends all over the world!

We have an investigator who has immersed herself in the Book of Mormon and it is incredible. It is so marked up, and she is prepared to hear every word we have to teach her. When talking about her baptism, we brought up Mosiah 18, where it talks about people saying "it is the desire of our hearts" Right as we began to read, she opened up her book, and this chapter was exactly where she had ended her last reading, and underlined with a thick line was that exact verse. Basically znamenie. (a sign)

I just barely ate seriously the MOST delicious and fancy bagel of my life. It was a chicken caesar bagel.

This week was also Sister Russell's birthday (I am the birthday fairy. I have been with everyone on their birthday. It is because I make the best cake), so, not only did I make her a cake, but so did a sister in our branch and the elders. It was a successfully cake-filled day.

My favorite day this week was thursday, because we had lessons every half hour.

It was a little bit crazy. but it was like YEAH MISSIONS YEAH. We taught forever and we loved it. My favorite part of the day was when we taught Igor, because a recent convert girl from Nitra was down and visiting and so she taught with us. When she testified of the Book of Mormon, the spirit filled the room like none other. She talked about how she read the verse about the fruit of the tree of life, and just then, she knew that what she was reading was true and that she needed to get baptized. Now, we as missionaries testify of things like this every day. But this was incredible! This member changed the perspective of our investigators. Members and their sincere testimonies make such a difference. The power that they hold in their simple testimonies brings the Holy Ghost and confirms the truthfulness in the Book of Mormon, or Christ, or the gospel, or whatever! Truly I am amazed.

Also, I am never-endingly sunburned now.

We had a really terrific experience yesterday while contacting on the Danube, we talked to this
beautiful young woman who opened right up to us and told us that she was actually thinking about what Gods plan for her was just the day before. After teaching and testifying, we pulled out the Kniha Mormonova and explained her, and invited the girl to read the three verse promise at the beginning of Moroni 10. As she read, we could see her face change. Then she continued to read. And read. And read. People began to pass these three awkward girls and give us sideways glances, as two strange girls watched another read in a book. After about ten minutes, she had finished the chapter, and looked up with her face filled with joy. She was enthralled when we gave her the book and was so grateful to us that she embraced us both! A little taken aback but completely filled with enthusiasm, we were happy to set up another meeting with her.

Ahhhh I Love the gospel

I read this fantastic poem in the BYU devotional "Forget yourself" by Gordon B Hinckley. Unfortunately, it was really long, so I did not write it down, but I love it! The poem talks about a woman who lives her life, has children pass away, grows old with her husband, and then she says, what is this I hear about complaints and regrets? Why are we complaining? And then (I remember this part, I have been quoting it all week), the last few lines say

Degenerate sons and daughters,

Life is too strong for you.

It takes life to love life.



Sorry, enthused over here about this poem.

Anyway, you can take what you want from that, but for now I am just in love with it.

Merrily and gratefully,

Sestra Abbott