Monday, July 27, 2015

but trenčin, right?

Okay, so, this week.

I love Trenčin. There are just the loveliest people here. Everyone knows everyone, and people just love us and say good morning to us, and there is just a castle, and the river always looks like it is surrounded by a rainforest. So that is just terrific.
Like, for example, this week, well, yesterday, we contacted this woman and sang to her*, and had a fantastic contact. She did not want to give us her number, so that was sad, but we prayed we would see her again. Then today, I had a sudden urge to get my haircut, and we looked everywhere/one place, but they were already booked, so we walked really far to go to this random mall place because we were feeling like that was a good decision. We walked into the hair dressing place and there was nobody there, and the hairdresser was that same lady! We really could not believe it! She was SO happy to see us, and sat me down and talked to me forever about how my hair is the thickest in the whole world, and also about God and receiving answers to prayers. God really works in mysterious ways-sometimes, through hair.
bacon on the ground
*This week was a glorious week, because in preparation for our koncert, Elder Jardine brought me his ukulele so I could play it in the koncert. BEST WEEK EVER. So yesterday, we decided to take it with us contacting. We walked around Trenčin for four hours asking people if we could sing to them. I am finding that I can play almost any hymn on the ukulele, so we can sing whichever ones we have memorized in Slovak. The best part about this is that it stops families!! We have been trying for weeks and weeks to figure out how we can stop families with smallish children. It is hard when we stop them and say, hey, look, we teach families, and then their kids are running away as we are speaking! We loved being able to show people that we teach families instead of just telling them. It was probably one of the most fun afternoons I have ever had.
picture on fire alarm
So. Another hilarious thing that happened this week happened when we were visiting our 90 year old investigator friend. She told us that she went to katholik mass on sunday, and the priest, was a really nice man, and stood up and told the congregation that there are two really cute young women who dress very nicely and have nametags that are going around trenčin talking to people about their religion, and that everyone needed to give caution, because the two girls had really strong faith! We were half scared and half pleased with this, and then she continued to say that she went up and talked to him and told him that she has us over all the time! Hahah we were dying. She is really a cute old lady.
One of my favorite miracles happened this week when we saw one of our members eating lunch at an outdoor cafe with her friend. She waved us over, and we talked to them for a while, and then we ended up teaching and giving her friend a book of mormon. She was so interested and so ready to receive it. And our member was so great at bearing testimony and being excited for her friend! Ah. We loved it.
Then we had another incident when we were talking to people on the street, and then our new convert just came right up and started teaching with us! We were in the middle of the lesson, and he just walked right up and started bearing testimony about the book of mormon and his baptism, and was not ashamed at all! I was so impressed! This man who was baptized like three weeks ago had absolutely no fear. It was really quite amazing.

I got slapped this week, so that was fun. A woman really hit me three times on my bare arm and told to go back to my own country, because they already had teachers here! I thought that was nice. I actually was grateful for it because it snapped me back into reality for a minute, and helped me remember who I am and what I am doing here. This is totally not normal life! I am a representative of Jesus Christ, like Paul, or like Stephen, or like Peter! I am preaching his gospel with every footstep I take. I am stopping people on the streets to bear my testimony of a living Father in Heaven who has a plan for us and a Savior who died for every one of us. I cannot believe that for one minute I would ever forget the significance of my calling.
BUT we also got blessed on the street this week. SO, justice, right?
Phew. Also, they have these white flesh peaches here, and they are just heavenly.
anyway, I seriously cannot remember what else I was going to write.
SO happy pioneer day!!!
s laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, July 20, 2015

beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him that publishes peace

I cannot even begin to describe the wonderful week we have had here in Trenčin.

We have been tromping around in all kinds of weather, from incredible thunderstorms to 40 degree celsius skin frying heat (actually, I think most of you would be surprised to hear that I have yet to be sunburned on my mission. I am doing quite well in the sunscreen application department and have settled into an unusual tan). People think we are crazy but that is the best part about missionary work!

This week I learned eight different words for sparkly.

We had a very successful (is that how you spell that?) english class this week when we talked about fear. it was pretty interesting to see what people are afraid of. And as we were discussing, I thought how interesting it is that the wonderful news that is the gospel resolves and calms so many fears. I would be so afraid if I didnt have the knowledge that I do! And when we are afraid, much of the time it is really the "Fear of the Unknown" dun dun dun. But that is why it is so great to be a Latter Day Saint! Really, we are constantly learning, and the big unknowns that are so frightening to people do not have to be so frightening. When we have knowledge and faith, we will have no room to fear.
PS still afraid a little of the ocean because I still do not know what is in it.

Then we had a great day on wednesday--haha as I look back at it, I realize that it really was the most
wonderful day!! It was Elder Garlickˇs birthday, so of course we were invited to Sestra Alžbetas house to make him some halušky. It was so fun. Her daughters came over and taught us how to really make halušky--we even had to whip the sour cream by hand! We arranged some slovak sweets on a plate and really had a delicious meal. Sestra Alžbeta (She is 80 or 90 years old) LOVES to sing Happy Birthday (yeah, they dont really have a birthday song so they sing english), so we literally sang it eight times to everyone that was there. It was really wonderful.

Then we went and had a chalk display which was just so creative and fun! People kept passing by and staring at us drawing the plan of salvation and we would just ask "Chcete s nami kresliť?" Hahah some people drew with us and we actually had some really great conversations about the plan of salvation! We were surprised at how successful it was! (SO yay! we are doing it again this week!)

THEN we had joga with the branch. Yep, yoga. Except like it is called "Five Tibet Monks" in Slovak. It was really interesting.. Hahaha it was really funny and great. There are five different exercises and you repeat each of them 21 times. My favorite one was the one where you just put your arms outstretched and turn in a circle.


I returned to Košice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
It missed me so much.
It is so beautiful.
I love it.
It is the land of miracles.
It is also really far away hahaha.


the day spent on exchanges in Košice was probably the singular most miraculous day of my entire mission.

And that is not even a joke.

Sister Eggers was with Sister Parsons, and I was SO lucky to be able to serve with Sestra Bartusz for
a day (She is a hungarian member who speaks slovak and english, and was just baptized in Nitra in November. She is incredible! She is serving a mini mission right now in Košice with Sister Parsons for five weeks.) It was the best thing that has ever happened. We taught So much. And found SO many people. I seriously am still in awe at the numbers they had this last week. The faith that carries those sisters is so powerful! And four sisters in one city is really a spiritual hurricane!

Speaking of hurricanes, that same day, we were going to do a singing display with the Elders in Košice, where we sing hymns on the street and some of us try to talk to people. So we began, and the rain came POURING down. There was thunder and lightning and we were all crowded under a little ledge belting out Count Your Blessings in the rain. I have to say, I think we brightened up some days.

SO that was miraculous. The other miraculous thing was that despite being out of Trenčin for almost three days, we still had a very successful week! The law of compensation is a real thing.

The funniest thing happened to us yesterday. Last week, we were tracting, and a nine year old boy let us in his yard. We asked if his parents were home, but he just got his older brother, who was just like, hey we arent interested (besides, it was awkward because the dog was attacking us) The little boy asked us if we believed in ghosts. We had a great little conversation with him about spirits and about how we all have one. It was a great little experience and we went off contentedly.

But then on saturday, we were walking across the bridge, and we see a little boy with a bag over his head (apparently so his head would not sunburn.) He stopped right in front of us, said hello, and then said, Hey! Dont you want to talk to me? And we were super confused. We asked, about what? And he said, Like last time! So we talked to him about the plan of salvation and gave him a pamphlet. We walked away, thinking it was a little strange that a little boy had just contacted us, and then we realized that it was that same little boy! He is the most elect child in Trenčin.

The last, most miraculous thing that happened to us this week, is that our wonderful Zuzana in Bratislava was baptized. Sister Eggers and I both taught her, and although we were a little too far away on saturday to make it to the baptism, we are exploding with happiness. It is so cool to see that this is truly the Lords work and that he truly does bless us and know what is right for our branches here in Slovakia and across the world! I could not be more grateful for those who helped her to be baptized and could never ask for a bigger blessing. My heart is really overflowing with gratitude. The gospel is true and it does change lives! I have learned more from faith that people in Slovakia have than I ever have learned before and I do not understand how privelaged I have been. The Lord is in every footstep and I hope I will never become accustomed to His constant presence in my life!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

let there be light. and sun. and electricity

I just want to start by telling everyone that
I will never, ever, ever, in my whole lifetime, or in the next, take it for granted ever again.
The day they switched it back on I watered the ground with my tears.

This week has been total, complete, crazy, miraculousness. As always, but maybe this week I am a little more grateful for it. We started out on monday just completely perfectly, when we went for ice cream with two 90 year old women. That was just a party. After making the long journey back to the church building, we had family night and Sestra Alžbeta made me a chocolate cherry cake, after which Elder Garlick lit a candle for me 20 times to blow out. I would say that it was probably the best thing ever. Then, after going home and realizing that we were starving and had no electricity, we decided to call the pizza man. He was conveniently saved in our phone as "Pizza Guy" Sister Eggers called. This was the equivalent of her slovak call in English:

PG: "Hello, this is the"
SE: "You have pizza?"
PG: "...yes"
SE: "Can I, um, can I order one?"
PG: "....yes."
SE: " oh, okay cool. Cool. Hawaii?"
PG: "Yeah, we have that. Where do you live"
SE: gives address
PG: Okay, what is your phone number?
SE: -doesnt know phone number, frantically searches- "Um, moment, moment"
SE: Accidently hangs up phone.

Anyway, after calling back, we did get our hawaiian pizza.

Phew, that took me way too long to type up.

Well, then, we got to go to this fantastic art exhibit place because the daughter of our member is working there. I was so happy just all surrounded by all this art.

We had so many miracles this week in Trenčin with people just being prepared. It is a really small town, so everyone already knows us, and we see some of the same people every day. There are two women that always see us, and talk to us, but never want to meet or anything. Well, this week, both of them agreed to meet with us! It just is such a testimony to me that sometimes peoples hearts just take a little while longer to soften, but really, the Lord has His timing and the message of the gospel is for everyone! Another woman told us that no, no, she would not meet, that she sees our boys all the time and they are always trying to give her a book of mormon, and all we said was "Nič ne je nahoda" Which is "nothing is a coincidence!" and she said, okay, I will meet with you. And now after one lesson she has a baptismal date!!! Who knew???

Then, I went back to Bratislava. It missed me so much. I went on an exchange with Sister Ratcliffe, and boy, we saw so many miracles. I cannot explain. I do not know how it is possible to see everyone I love in Blava on one day, but it happened! We taught, and taught, and taught. And we saw miracle after miracle. So many new people came to English class. Igor is still so close to baptism. We got ahold of many lost potentials! It was really amazing and Sister Ratcliffe is the boldest, most enthusiastic little missionary. I sure love her.

Then we went to Praha! Woohoo! Sister Eggers and I got to go on a real long road trip with the zone leaders. And I was so happy to see Prague! I havent been there since the very first day of my mission and it is really the most beautiful city. We had a really great training and I cannot believe the missionaries that I serve with. They are incredible! They are the most faith-filled, hard-working, obedient missionaries probably in the whole world. I learn so much from their examples.

Well, my hands are tired, and I really cannot explain the amount of joy I am feeling in the work in words. The keyboard just is not very receptive to my emotions. They are bursting out of me!! I could not believe this morning when I read exactly what I was feeling in Alma 29:

" 9 I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea, and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy.

 10 And behold, when I see many of my brethren truly penitent, and coming to the Lord their God, then is my soul filled with joy; then do I remember what the Lord has done for me, yea, even that he hath heard my prayer; yea, then do I remember his merciful arm which he extended towards me.

 14 But I do not joy in my own success alone, but my joy is more full because of the success of my brethren, who have been up to the land of Nephi.

 15 Behold, they have labored exceedingly, and have brought forth much fruit; and how great shall be their reward!

 16 Now, when I think of the success of these my brethren my soul is carried away, even to the separation of it from the body, as it were, so great is my joy."

I hope I am not annoying by pasting so much text in there but seriously it is the only way I can describe how I feel! I am so grateful for the work and I am so grateful for those around me who are always incredible examples to me! I am the happiest ever.

s laskou

sestra abbott

PS. Sestra Eggers is the best companion ever. I love her. This week, she accidentally put my contacts in and vaccumed up my toothbrush.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Best week ever.

birthday dinner in a fancy restaurant
I am going to try and write down this incredible week with enough time to send home my million pictures. 

breathe in....

Let me just start with a small little finding miracle...When planning one night, we decided we wanted to find a "Spicy Man". We did not really know what that meant, and we did not know what he would look like, but we were sure we would know when we saw him, that he was spicy. It was a little risky, but we headed out with our spicy glasses on. Then, walking down the street, we saw the spiciest man we have ever seen. His mustache curved up SO HIGH I could not believe it. We looked at each other, and we knew. He even did a little dance for us and was a hockey coach that loved Kanada and could not really speak any english. It was so great.
Also, training was this week in Brno! So, not wanting to be late, we traveled the night before to Blava and stayed with the sestry. The next morning, all six sisters got up at 4am to catch a train that left at 610, and we were SO good on time! But then we discovered that all the trams were not running to the train station. So we ended up sprinting at 530 in the morning through the streets of bratislava with all our bags and a broken suitcase, and prayed and prayed that we would not miss our train! At 605, we were still running, and an elder called and told us that the train had a 20 minute delay. We just about fainted with relief.
tan line
So we took a nice morning stroll to the train station (after quite a rigourous workout), and got on the train, which ended up having to go all the way back to trnava, turn around, switch tracks, switch engines, and then go back to brno.
Long story short, we were supposed to get into brno at 730, and we pulled in at about 1015.
So we all ran into training very sweaty from a very humid train and quite hungry, but all was well and so worth it for the wonderful training that we had!
Which I will tell you about later if I have time.
Then we came back to Trenčin, and we were welcomed by a dark little apartment with no electricity. 
It was so great. The Košice sestry were with us so we all sat down around candles and ate sandwiches and made a little camping fort. We all felt like we were in a movie or something.
Then it was the fourth of july!!!!
Birthday Package
Hooray! We were so excited! Our ladislav was baptized in the Vah! It was seriously the most wonderful thing. It was a perfect day, and the water looked like glass. He was so excited. And the spirit was so strong when we, in our little group, sang and talked together about baptism. And when he stumbled out of the water, he just kept saying, "Som čisty!! "I am clean!" And that he had a new life now. It was so great. He was too excited for his Confirmation, which was on Sunday, and now he is a perfectly perfect member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints! And could not be more proud of it! He is a truly incredible example of someone who really turned their entire life around and promised to follow the Lord. I cannot believe the commitment that he has and the faith that he consistently shows. Ahhh!
crying because I love mint oreos
Also, after his baptism, we had a fourth of july party! Which was very successful! The Elders made sloppy joes and potato salad (we were supposed to make the potato salad, but, we had no electricity, so the elders saved us and we bought chips and watermelon instead) and FEASTED. Those sloppy joes never did taste so good! Sister Eggers and I were singing our patriotic songs all day, and the people there told us that that was simply totally not normal to just sing without a purpose. But they said we could do it anyway, since it was Americas day. It was the best.
Then, it was sunday, and it was the hottest of all sundays. I could not believe it!! It was like 100 degrees farenheit and felt like we were swimming in air! SO the fasting was a little rough but we discovered that singing songs really helps when you are on a really hot street and really hungry. Everyone should try it because it totally worked! We ended up having a great time. Then the elders made us Halušky, and were literally such angels because we were SO HUNGRY and we had no food because of the electricity thing! We were the most grateful humans. And then they gave us a cake for my birthday, which we ate for breakfast today, so that was also amazing.

And then today! We went on an adventure, Sister Eggers and I! We decided to go hiking in the middle of nowhere and it was probably the best most beautiful thing that has ever happened. And then we sang super loud "The Spirit of God" in the middle of the mountains. Boy did those butterflies feel the spirit.
And then we went to the fanciest restaurant in Trenčin I think and ate halušky again. So by far a most excellent day.
Well, I am going to end by saying one thing about training. We talked about choice. Which I absolutely loved. We can choose to be happy every day! We can choose to share the gospel by example and acts. We can choose to forget ourselves. It is a conscious choice that can change our lives! I am trying to make these choices every day and have become increasingly grateful for this gift God has given me to be able to choose!

Okay so pictures.

That this slovak woman dressed me up like a slovak this week! It was the best moment of my entire life! She put me in her homeade slovak outfit and I was crying because i was so happy! Ahhhhh!