Tuesday, June 30, 2015

dirty chestnut

district selfie with Wanda who just got baptized!

Everyone, I am in the most beautiful, magical place. Trenčin is so wonderful. We are literally in the shadow of the castle all day and the Vah river is the most beautiful thing and it seems to always be perfectly partly cloudy with a good amount of ice cream stands on the tiny namestie. I really really adore the people here. They seem to all know me already! People just ask us how we are doing all of the time. It seems like a good forty percent of the people we stop are already best friends with the missionaries! The church has had a branch here for the longest, so all the members have been coming to church since before (and through) communism. They are just all really cute. 
"The District" haha minus me and elder garner and the cottles
One of the members is probably nearly ninety years old, and even though she has met me twice before, she was so excited that the new sister had come to Trenčin that she decided that she simply had to come down to town from her garden to see me. So she rode her bike down in a little suit and hurried down, bought us ice cream and little kolačiky, and then pedaled back up to her little garden, leaving us holding our ice cream and pastries and some berries from her garden with very confused and happy faces. And when she was getting the ice cream, she is so darling, she keeps telling the lady, These are our missionaries. They work for us all day every day, so I am buying them ice cream for free. It was really the best thing ever.
Also, I discovered the true color of my hair this week. We no longer have to guess. An elderly man fondly called sestra eggers a "Blondinka" and then pointed at me and said "špinavý gašton" As confused as we were, we looked up gašton, and, yep, I have dirty chestnut hair.
kind of awful but beautiful picture of trenčin castle!
We have also just had so many miracles this week. Trenčin is just awesome. We have an investigator (Well, the elders investigator technically, but we teach him more often than they do) who is SO excited to be baptized on saturday. He just keeps telling us, I wish it was the fourth of july. I wish it was the fourth. And we just smile and say, yes, we do too. It is so amazing to see someone with such desire to change everything about their lives and have a new start. It is inspirational to see people overcome addictions and weaknesses, and rely on Christ. We can see it in peoples faces, when they are becoming nearer to Him and finding out what it actually means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. It does not always mean to go to the kostol every week and listen to recited prayers. It is a real thing that each of us can have! We love it and we love these people who are already great examples to us of trying to live as Christ lived and walk as He walked.
blava castle

We went on an adventure this week and found a complete fairy town. It is really incredible. I did not know that the woods you read about in fairy tales existed!! But they DO! And as soon as we walked into this little town we made friends with everyone there. Everyone started inviting us to their town get togethers and asking us why on earth we were there and were so open to hearing our message...we are looking forward to going back again and again and again!
The best part was that on the bus on the way back from this place, two little (slightly drunk) old men got on the bus and were telling us how beautifully we smiled, etc etc, and then proceeded to tell us about seven jokes about catholic priests. They were laughing so hard and we were too, even though it is really hard to understand slovak when spoken slurred and without any teeth. Just so good.
We have been making lots of food. I am inventing over here! I feel like a  mom.
blava grafitti coolness
Ah. Also, this week, seriously it seems like everyone (well, who doesnt know the missionaries) thinks that I am russian. It is like, they will have this whole conversation with me, and be like, so, you are from russia? Er, no....Who knows what in the world my accent sounds like! I always have dreams that nobody can understand me. Well, teaching with love, teaching with the spirit...
We also have a really big district this transfer because we are in a district with the two elders who are in Nitra right now. They had to close an area there (We are a little short on missionaries right now) But it is fun that they get to come to Trenčin for district meeting now! We are excited because we will be able to do a Koncert with them! And go to Nitra! YES

anyway, I read a really incredible talk by Elder Holland on discipleship, and was really thinking about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. I read in Luke 9 this morning about people who had the desire to follow Christ--surely a wonderful desire, but were not willing to give their all to him. 

 57 ¶And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
 58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
a really cute picture of sister russell
 59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
 60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
 61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
 62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

We are so privileged to be disciples of Christ! He knows His disciples and I cannot express how grateful I am to be one of them. I hope that I can act and show my devotion to him in everything I do.

PS Happy 4th! ´merica.
Sestra Abbott

elder ringger left this week! He was my first district leader in Košice!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Last week in Blava...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Jún Jún

Everyone, it is so beautiful here, and also, just so humid. Holy cow. I have ceased the nonsense of even remotely warm showers. Seriously, cold showers...the best life. We can never decide whether or not to open our windows (We do not have air conditioning) because sometimes it is hotter outside and sometimes it is a little bit cooler...we guess. Sometimes wrong. Anyway.

It is a good thing that I love the sun, because we have surely been out in its rays! My little water bottles do not last for long.

This week has been fantastic, like every week (still flying by faster than ever). We have had the most remarkable experiences with families in our ward. We were requested to come to this half inactive families house this week...and it was seriously so wonderful. The mom and two of her older daughters were there as well as a granddaughter.  They made us vegan cinnamon rolls and apricot juice, which was of course wonderful.
Then they showed us all these old photo albums and talked about two sisters who taught them years and years ago. We could not believe it! The spirit was so strong. And, she is still in contact with these sisters! I LOVE THESE SISTERS. I have no idea who they are, now both mothers to many children, but they are keeping the faith in this family! It made me so determined to be a lifetime missionary. The mission never ends and I am so grateful for those missionaries who are aware of that!

Well, this week, we taught our english class how baseball is played.

There could not have possibly been a more confusing topic. I am telling you, there is a reason why baseball is an american sport. They were like, but why do you even want to get to a base? We did not even get to the point of explaining anything like stealing bases. They really did not understand it. Maybe we are just poor teachers...but I think people probably learn best when they learn by playing. SO in the future....probably really hard to teach baseball with just a whiteboard and a marker.

This week as well, we had a really fun experience that was a little strange for us as missionaries. One of our little members is getting married. SO we obviously had a bridal shower. And we were invited! Hahahahah it was so weird. I was laughing as we wrapped an investigator up in toilet paper like a bride. It was confusing but we had Marlenka cake and ice cream at the end, so obviously it ended up being a very worthwhile experience.

We also this week have had some very spiritual experiences with one of our investigators. He is so close to baptism! He is just waiting for his answer to be very clear. He is making more progress than we have ever seen before. We are talking with him every night about his reading and his questions and his prayers are becoming more and more personal...it is a miracle taking place right before our eyes! Sometimes when we see people change, we are with them so much that it isnt such a big change, but when we step back and see the progress that they have made, it is seriously a wonder. There are miracles today! God changes lives, and the Book of Mormon changes lives, and the gospel is true! One of our members from Croatia shared with us an awesome quote from their prezident (Famous BYU basketball player from croatia. Cannot remember his name). He said " There are a lot of excuses I can think of why not to come to church. But I can only think of one why we should:

Because it is true!"

We had the coolest experience on saturday. We were going to go eat lunch at this little kebab stand, but it was not open so that was lame, so we searched around and decided to go to this mall that is right next to our flat. For some reason, we had never been there. FOR SOME REASON because it was seriously the coolest ever and had the best food court! Anyway, so as we were perusing the massive food court and trying to decide where to eat, a man approaches us, and just says, "Excuse me, are you the mormon sisters" And of course we say yes, and he asks us if we would like to eat lunch with him! He was not slovak, but was interested in what we believe. So we sat down and had the most intellectual interesting conversation with this man. He asked us for a Book of Mormon in english and wanted to meet again. Miracles! The Kebab stand was closed for a reason!

We also had a great opportunity to visit one of our less actives, who gave us shoes (Because ours were way too heavy for summer), and cookies and yummy sparkling water. Then we proceeded to run into an investigator and his wife directly afterwards and then had a successful call and then we had an interview with prezident! Basically spiritual overload day.

Sunday, we got to go eat with our russian family. I basically eat everything now. My parents would be so proud of me. We had salmon (so delicious. I think I liked it before), and homeade pickles and this weird salad and little potato balls... I just love every food. Ever. People just give it to me and I eat it. And that is why I am terrible at losing weight.

Anyway, this week we have a concert. Which will be much fun. We are handing out a million flyers, and I drew the graphic on it, so I am always a little self conscious when I hand it to you. I am almost like, Free concert, sorry the picture is so bad but the music is good, free concert....

Well. That is my week for this week! I think! If I can remember.

I gave a talk on fasting yesterday in church, and I so enjoyed reading Prezident Eyrings talk while I was preparing for it (I decided to read part of his talk in Czech..that was interesting). I love the promise from Isaiah 58 that he quotes.

"8 ¶Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy rearward.
 9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
 10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
 11 And the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not."

So incredible and so true! The blessings are real and come with our faith. I love it too much!

Well, transfers this week! Let you know next week!
Sestra Abbott

Monday, June 8, 2015


wrapped my hair in a scarf because life was
so hot and then I looked like I lived in Africa.
Everyone...summer is here..and it is glorious.

The humidity is seriously so. Humid. And it is so weird!!!!! We had an awesome week in the sun. I am in love with it. And yes, I did get sunburned one day, but I learned my lesson, and now sunscreen is my best friend for life. And it is so wonderful because it gives me an excuse to put my hair in a ponytail every day! And not wear makeup because it melts off of your face anyway!


This week, wow, we had a great great week, full of teaching and finding and just fun all together. Such missionary fun. Hahaha. We are happy to report that we have been really working on Elder Kearons advice, and made some goals. And they have been paying off! I love going the extra mile. That sounds weird, but seriously. Literally. Running in the morning is SO GREAT. And also, really hot. Sister Russell told me that in humidity, it isnt cooler in the mornings, and I really did not believe her one bit. I was like, there is no way that it will still be hot in the morning. It is never hot in the mornings! Boy, did she prove me wrong. So weird to be running outside in our little field at 630 in the morning but feel like it is 1 in the afternoon. It is so great. And, in other ways we go the extra mile, of course. We are diving into the scriptures and really feeling the urgency that the sons of Mosiah felt when they said "they were desirous that salvation should be declared to every creature, for they could not bear that any human soul should perish; yea, even the very thoughts that any soul should endure endless torment did cause them to quake and tremble." And okay, we are not quaking and trembling, but sometimes I just want to stand out in the middle of Hviezdoslava Namestie and tell everyone that this is a real thing and it is so important!!!

Anyway, before I get too excited about this,

We had a day full of contacting, and I would say that it was about 38 degrees celsius outside, which is pretty dang hot, even though I have no idea what that is in farenheit. Despite losing every ounce of our water weight, we decided to press on and continue to find Gods children. And we were so blessed! I cannot fathom, still, how many lessons we taught. It was like all of a sudden, every mom, every young man, every grandpa, all wanted to hear what we were saying in the blazing heat! We found the most amazing little family and gave away two book of mormons in about two and a half hours. Which was just remarkable. And, even though I came to teach our English class about as red as a beet with a heat rash on my legs, it was totally worth it.

PS. One of our english students in the conversation class raised his hand when we asked if anyone had any questions and gave a lecture about protecting ourselves from the heat and sun. Thx.

So, anyway, we had a great spiritual thought (Is this how you spell that? confused( With our member from croatia, and not only did she bring us back the yummiest caramel walnut wafer treat from her mother in law in croatia, but the spiritual thought was so cool! We talked about light, and how each of us has light, and the light of Christ. We made a list with her of all the physical qualities which light has and talked about how really, they all compare to our own spiritual light! I do not have time to explain each of them, but these are some qualities we came up with: Dispels, is Absorbed, Warms, Reveals, Reflects, Refracts, Brightens, Regenerates. You can probably think of more, but it was really cool when we read it with Doctrine and Covenants 50 verse 24-25, which talks about receiving more and more light until the brightest day. Ah. I just love it. It goes hand in hand with my sunburn.

Look how much water we keep in our fridge!! We never stop
drinking it. I was laughing so hard when I took this picture. 
We worked in Stans again this week. I built a really good baby fence for the baby bunnies.

Also, at game night, we played Clue in Slovak. And now, I have so many useful words. I do not know when I will need all these words for murder weapons, but I am sure they will someday come in handy.

Lastly, we had a great experience this week--I made a goal in weekly planning that I was going to stop complimenting people behind their backs. Like, if I had something nice to say, I was just going to say it to them, because you might as well say something nice to their face and make them feel good if you were going to compliment them. So we were sitting at the tram stop, and this lady has a seriously amazing dress on--it looked like a mumu with elephants on it--and so I muster up a little courage and tell her that I love her dress. And it totally worked!! We ended up teaching her about prayer and inviting her to church next week! And yes, when I contact on trams and buses, I compliment people all the time like that. But it was just cool to see the Lords hand in our goals, as well as to see how far a sincere compliment can really go.

Lastly, I am really into conference right now--we just received our ensigns this last week-- so here is another beautiful quote by Prez Uchtdorf, that I love!

"...the grace of God does not merely restore us to our previous innocent state. If salvation means only erasing our mistakes and sins, then salvation—as wonderful as it is—does not fulfill the Father’s aspirations for us. His aim is much higher: He wants His sons and daughters to become like Him.

With the gift of God’s grace, the path of discipleship does not lead backward; it leads upward.

It leads to heights we can scarcely comprehend! It leads to exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our
Heavenly Father, where we, surrounded by our loved ones, receive “of his fullness, and of his glory.”18 All things are ours, and we are Christ’s.Indeed, all that the Father hath shall be given unto us."

Well, until next week. Love and pray for you all! Thank you for the wonderful emails and prayers!

Sestra Abbott


This week we were so blessed.

I love life.

We had training and were blessed by a visit by Elder Kearon of the Seventy, and boy, that was just fantastic. We cleaned our building here in Bratislava from ceiling to floor preparing for him to come. We prepared spiritually and physically, and preparation really pays off! Really, what you put into something is what you are able to get out of it. The saying is one hundred percent truth. We were excited to participate and excited to learn. There are so many things from his training that we are applying! I love that he talked to us so much about how we start our day. How we get up, how we wake up, how we exercise. Not going to lie, I decided I should probably stop only eating chocolate pillow cereal for breakfast. As well, we are working on our teaching skills and our listening skills. 

a picture sister russell took of me during weekly planning. 
Which is fun.

It is June!!! It is summer! The tourists are everywhere! The sun is out and I am pink! We have talked to so many people from so many different cultures. We taught the coolest man from Romania on the Dunaj and he was so great. It is always great to hear from people who have seen missionaries in another country. He was sooooo confused about why the elders in Romania wore white shirts and ties. He just kept repeating, No matter what they are doing! They always wear them! I do not know if they are students or businessmen or what but they are always wearing these suits without suit jackets! We cracked up a bit.

I also think I forgot to add a really cool story that happened last week. It just reminded me because this was also on the Dunaj. We got to teach a really cool older couple from Israel! They spoke Hebrew! We talked to them about our beliefs and seriously, they really are some of the Lords elect people. They were so special. Even though they were Jewish, they did not really believe in God, but the woman was a Bible teacher. In Jerusalem. In Hebrew!! I died. And she wrote out some Hebrew for us, so now we know some Hebrew. Yeah!

We were blessed to teach our American military mom this week. Mostly because she brought us real life brown sugar that actually packs!!!!! Wow!! We have missed that! I was baking cookies like there was no tomorrow! And those chocolate chip cookies are so good. They dont have chocolate chips either but we successfully chopped up some chocolate pretty similarly. She is always so cute, she just makes us the yummiest American food and lives in this nice apartment. And has wonderful questions.

Thanks to all the members in America who reached out to her and shared with her so many testimonies already! They make our job easier. I cannot believe how many people who are Americans actually really know the Mormons. I mean, in comparison to people here, who have never heard of us before. I forget, when we talk to people from larger countries, that we are actually a known religion in the world.

There are so many families everywhere! It is warm and all of a sudden there are children everywhere
we look! The Slovaks are so incredibly careful and conscious about the health of their children that in the winter, it seems we never see the children unless they are bundled very tightly into a huge stroller. And now, it is like little life exists! We have never taught so many families. We can feel the Lord blessing our lives every time we talk to them. They are really so wonderful. Families are so important to these people, and we love it!
Well, speaking of families, I was reading Elder Perry's talk this morning, and I just love him and his words. We will miss this man. I love the paragraph that says,

"My brothers and sisters, the restored gospel centers on marriage and family. It is also on marriage and family where we can unite most with other faiths. It is around marriage and family where we will find our greatest commonality with the rest of the world. It is around marriage and family that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has the greatest opportunity to be a light on the hill.
Let me close by bearing witness (and my nine decades on this earth fully qualify me to say this) that the older I get, the more I realize that family is the center of life and is the key to eternal happiness."

This is true! This life and the next are all about families! And I have never been more grateful for my own families and the examples in my life. Thank you everyone in the whole world who has a family.

Sestra Abbott

This is me and a giant firework because random 
fireworks went off  in our backyard this week.