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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

tender mercies

fridge from our vegan week.
Hi everyone! This was a week of tender mercies. I love the little things when I can see the Lords hand in my life and really feel like His servant. I am grateful for the times when I know that I can be humble enough and worthy to do His work--which is not always, but in those rare times when it happens, I feel so grateful!

We started this week and taught our wonderful vegan friend. She is stronger than ever in faith. She, this week, encountered some opposition with her father about baptism! Which, as scary as it can be sometimes, was actually wonderful. We would never want to baptize someone whose testimony could not endure a little wind in the storm. She has gone completely from not believing a god could exist to relying entirely on prayer throughout every day. The light shines out of her so brightly! We saw her mother in the grocery store this morning, and she told us how grateful she was for us, and that her daughter has completely changed and is really a light. I was so grateful that she recognized the light of Christ in her daughter as well! I am continuously amazed daily, hourly by how blessed I am to see this change in her.

ANYWAY so tender mercies.

We painted a playground this week, and though it was really going to rain, it stopped for about an hour and a half, just enough time for us to paint! We had a lot of success and I successfully also painted myself. I had flashbacks to the halloween when I spray painted my hair black to be Mulan when I was trying to scrub the wood stain out of my hair.

So, also, we had the most incredible experience wednesday, where we were trying to be really spiritual about when we were going tracting, and we felt like we should go in the morning (Which, was so incredibly inconvinient, let me tell you), and we just did it and followed it. On the way there, I was prompted to stop a woman on the way. She said, yes, you can talk to me, but I am in a hurry, so you can walk with me. Turns out, she is the sister of a young man serving a mission from our branch right now in England. I have only heard things about him and his family. She said their family considers our church a sect, and that it is a large burden and pain and embarrassment for them. They feel like they have lost him. We reassured her of the truthfulness of the gospel and that he is on a mission because he cares about his family! I felt the spirit so strongly testifying of our words. I think her heart may have been softened just a little more, and though she did not give her information or take a book of mormon, she took our card and agreed that if they needed anything they would call. Walking away, I could not help but start to cry because of 1) the love I felt for this missionary and his family and 2) The goodness of Heavenly father in answering probably countless prayers said by that Elder and others, and our humility and callings that allowed us to work through Him. I was so grateful! I hope that this family can feel the blessings they are recieving. I hope we can help them if we need to.

Tender Mercy: Sister Ross has seen Zorro and the Gay Blade.

Tender Mercy: We had a really delicious slovak meal, that was strangely yummy. Potatoes and noodles. TOGETHER

Tender Mercy: Slovaks help their neighbors! We really could not find this apartment we needed to go to, and we asked a man if he knew where it was, and he went completely out of his way, dropped everything he was doing, and helped us find it. He literally walked us right up to the door of this apartment and was like, ring this bell. I was so grateful that slovaks really live the law of loving their neighbor as themselves.

Tender Mercy: We ran into this really old deaf woman that sister eggers and I helped with books one time, and she was SO HAPPY to see us. I have never been hugged around the neck in such an aggressive, loving way! I was really just filled with love for this woman and could not help but have a huge goofy grin on my face the entire time I was talking with her.

Tender Mercy: We went tracting and talked to so many people! After only an hour, we had already given away four kniha mormonovas and gotten three return appointments. Some say it is the fantastic weather but I say that they are prepared and the spirit touched their hearts!

Well, that is pretty much all. I emailed later last week so it has been shorter. I am really enjoying the little stories and comparisons I am finding in conference talks. Here is one I found this morning

(From Elder Gibsons priesthood talk)
"My father taught me a significant lesson when I was young. He sensed that I was becoming too enamored with temporal things. When I had money, I immediately spent it—almost always on myself.
One afternoon he took me to purchase some new shoes. On the second floor of the department store, he invited me to look out the window with him.
“What do you see?” he asked.
“Buildings, sky, people” was my response.
“How many?”
“A lot!”

He then pulled this coin from his pocket. As he handed it to me, he asked, “What is this?”
I immediately knew: “A silver dollar!”
Drawing on his knowledge of chemistry, he said, “If you melt that silver dollar and mix it with the right ingredients, you would have silver nitrate. If we coated this window with silver nitrate, what would you see?”
I had no idea, so he escorted me to a full-length mirror and asked, “Now what do you see?”
“I see me.”
“No,” he replied, “what you see is silver reflecting you. If you focus on the silver, all you will see is yourself, and like a veil, it will keep you from seeing clearly the eternal destiny Heavenly Father has prepared just for you.”
“Larry,” he continued, “‘seek not the things of this world but seek … first … the kingdom of God, and to establish [His] righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you’” (Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 6:38 [in Matthew 6:33, footnote a]).
He told me to keep the dollar and never lose it. Each time I looked at it, I was to think about the eternal destiny that Heavenly Father has for me."

In Slovakia they say that we need to have " Boh ako naše prve miesto", or to have "God as our first place". If we look at God first, he will not just show us a reflection of ourselves now, but he will show us a reflection of what we can become and of the peoples eternal destinies around us! This is something I am so grateful for (When I remember to do it). I love this work and I love the gospel. Every bit of it is true.

S laskou,

Sestra Abbott

Friday, September 18, 2015

Week of Maria

we had a jarmok this weekend!
Hi, everyone, hi, I know that you were all just incredibly worried about me, but actually, I am emailing now today because everything has been closed this weekend in honor of Pana Maria, the virgin Mary. I am in quite the quaint little catholic town and they have been celebrating all weekend! Not only did she have a name day, but there is a state holiday honoring her seven pains. I do not really know the doctrine behind this. A lot of people have been attempting to explain it to me, but I do not think I could explain it clearly. Basically they love the virgin Mary.

name day celebration in our backyard
So, here we are today, and I can hardly remember what happened last week! But I do know it was full of the spirit. On Monday we had an excellent family home evening, celebrating our new converts birthday and talking about how faith is like a mustard seed. The best part of family home evening was when Ladislav leaned over to Elder Driskill to tell him something, and was confused by someone else talking in his other ear, so he said "Ty si zazrak.", or "You are a miracle." Elder Driskill responded, "Thank you!" And grinned. We have been saying Ty si zazrak all week.

I am not sure what happened on Tuesday. I am looking at my planner, but it is only reminding me that I need to call someone today.

On Wednesday, we went to an old lady's home and successfully taught her and her friend the entire plan of salvation, amidst other visitors, bathroom breaks, vodka breaks, and persistent asking if we needed anything. Needless to say, I felt the spirit! haha

our friend's beautiful garden
We are teaching the most wonderful girl. She is about 23 years old, and is a vegan. She prayed for the first time a couple weeks ago, and was a little on the fence about God, and now, I cannot even explain what has happened. I have never seen the spirit touch someone so strongly. She understands everything and is willing to accept it all. She loves prayer. She prays multiple times a day and has testified of answers that she receives. This gospel is changing her life! This week, she accepted the invitation to be baptized and prayed about and picked her own date. I am learning so much from her and am becoming more and more converted as I am able to be part of her conversion. She knows that when she does not understand something, she can just pray about it. I can feel Gods love so strongly whenever we are with her and have never been more grateful to be a missionary! I am on the edge of tears all the time because I am so grateful and so full of joy because of this gospel. I know with my whole heart it is true and I love these people! they are changing me and changing my heart. I am so determined to do everything I can while I am here to support and help them in their personal conversions and in their little congregations.

comp photo of the week

This girl, she is also a hardcore vegan. SO this week, we are vegan. Let me tell you, this is possible and it is very strange that I have not eaten any animal products in such a long time. The good news is that I can still eat very dark chocolate so everything is still okay. I do not think that I have ever eaten so much fruit in my entire life, though. It is really weird. I am confused, like, did I never eat fruit before? Either way, it is really delicious. I probably will not be vegan for the rest of my life, but I do have a lot more energy and I never feel super gross and lethargic! Definitely am going to step it up in the fruits and veggies category in the future.

This week, we were tracting around, and all these really old war planes were flying all over, and it was a little strange, I wondered if another war was starting or something (not really but I was still confused), and all of a sudden we see all these little parachutes all over. Just little men being dropped out of the plane!! I was really freaking out because it was really amazing. Tears were shed.

On Friday, the sestry from Jihlava in the Czech Republic came for exchanges. They are really awesome. We had a great chalk display where we made a whole board game on the cobblestone and made steps necessary to have an eternal family. It was wonderful. We taught many families and were almost surprised at how many people were mesmerized by this simple game we had drawn on the sidewalk! Missionary work is great.

We met a really cute couple on the way home on Saturday, whose last name is the Falcons. Well, in Slovak. We are going to visit them soon. The real reason why I put this sentence in my email is because I was really proud of myself for knowing the word for falcon in slovak. Sokol.

On Monday, we went to our vegan friends house so she could feed us. She was a little bit worried about us, I think. She fed us pumpkin soup with chickpeas and cucumbers on the side. Picture attached. She is amazing.

Oh also, we painted this playground this week with our little branch, and I really have a great pair of pants for painting in the future, because apparently I am not capable of painting anything without completely attacking myself with the paint. When we were going home afterwards, a lady flat out stopped on the street and stared at me and yelled "čo sa vam stalo?!" Which is like WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?
Anyway I did not take a picture but that is probably a good thing.

Well, there is a lot for you all to think about. I just wanna put this great story in, because it is hilarious, for all the kids who just started school, specifically my brothers, and encourage everyone to do what you can today and dont leave it for tomorrow!

From a talk called "Do it Now" by Donald L. Hallstrom
sorry so long.

"When our oldest child (who is now a father of three and sits in this priesthood congregation this evening) was 11 years of age, he was given an assignment, along with the other sixth graders of his school, to submit his favorite family recipe. As its contribution to a large spring fair, the sixth grade was producing a cookbook that would be distributed throughout the community. When the teacher announced the project and a deadline of a week from Friday, our son Brett immediately concluded there was plenty of time later to get the job done and dismissed it from his mind. Early the next week, when the teacher reminded the students of the Friday deadline, Brett decided he could easily complete the required task on Thursday night and until then he could occupy himself with other more enjoyable matters.
 On the appointed Friday morning, the teacher directed the students to pass their recipes to the front of the class. Brett’s procrastination had caused him to forget the assignment and be completely unprepared. Flustered, he turned to a fellow student seated nearby and confessed his problem. Trying to be helpful, the classmate said, “I brought an extra recipe. If you want, use one of mine.” Brett quickly grabbed the recipe, wrote his name on it, and turned it in, feeling he had escaped any consequences related to his lack of preparation.
One evening several weeks later, I arrived home from work to freshen up before going to my evening Church meetings. A few days prior, I had been called as a stake president after serving several years as a bishop. We were somewhat known in our community as members of the Church who tried to live the tenets of our religion. “There’s something you need to see,” my wife, Diane, said as I walked through the door. She handed me a bound book with a page marked. Glancing at the cover, titled Noelani School’s Favorites—1985, I turned to the identified page and read, “Hallstrom Family, Favorite Recipe—Bacardi Rum Cake.”
Many of us place ourselves in circumstances far more consequential than embarrassment because of our procrastination to become fully converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We know what is right, but we delay full spiritual involvement because of laziness, fear, rationalization, or lack of faith. We convince ourselves that “someday I’m going to do it.” However, for many “someday” never comes, and even for others who eventually do make a change, there is an irretrievable loss of progress and surely regression."

Love you!

Sestra Abbott

beautiful Vah River

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What just happened?

This week feels like an entire year zipped up into one hour! It is really strange and I really do not think that time is a real thing.

We had some incredible miracles and we got to serve A LOT. It was a weird sort of week, but a real good one. We had an awesome project here in Trenčin called the Wallace Toronto Foundation. It is  a foundation that is in our mission, where every year, a big giant huge service project is planned in a city and all the members and friends of the church are invited to join. You know, t shirts and food and the whole shabang. It is in Slovakia every three years. SO can you see how incredibly lucky I am to be serving here in Trenčin right now?? It was literally in our own little city! All the slovak missionaries were invited, and everyone else who wanted to come. There were about 200 people in this little city all dressed in spring green t shirts, painting fences and cleaning stadiums! It stressed our four active members, who were the hosts, out a bit but it all happened and it was really incredible to see many families from the czech republic and from america who came all the way to Trenčin for it! I was full of love and appreciation for the people. I really cannot explain how much I love them and how much I am excited for the church here in Slovakia.

Sister Ross knows some chinese so now I know how to say "I Like..."
It is Woe she huan....

On tuesday (this is before the toronto project, sorry, chronology is a thing of the past...), we went to Brno for progression training for Sister Ross and Elder Bednar. SO strange because it takes all the missionaries out of Trenčin! Who knew that the only new missionaries this transfer would be in the same area. Anyway, we got on a bus, and that was really a twisting, turning, adventure. We made it on time and had a wonderful training! I was really overcome with emotion (Apparently an emotional week) and love for my mission. I could not believe how much I have really changed and how much I love my investigators. Sister Ross was telling about a girl we teach who prayed, and I just about lost it. Real embarrassing. But still.
Then, after some delicious pizza, we booked it to a little dinky bus and made it by about a minute, and luckily we could pay with euros becase we had forgotten to convert any money into crowns. The bus ride was even MORE adventurous on the way back, because we made an old man friend who had a dog. The dog was cute and sat in the isle, and we ignored the mans dirty jokes for a while, and then after a quick rest stop, he gets back in the bus and pulls out a little kitten as well. We thought that was a little strange but it became even stranger when he literally threw the cat on top of Sister Ross! She had to hold it for the rest of the ride and smelled pleasantly like drunk dirty cat for the rest of the day. Hahah best bus ride ever.

WELL in other news, we helped a lot to get ready for the toronto project, making a lot of sandwiches and favors and organizing things and whatnot. Then on Thursday we went to visit dear sestra alžbeta, who made us the YUMMIEST Czech dish with dumplings, pork, and sweet saurkraut. I thought I was just about going to die I loved it so much. Then on Friday we helped some more with this project and met a lot of nice americans who had come in.

Hahahah oh I forgot, on saturday, we were cleaning in the hockey stadium, and sister ross needed to use the restroom so obviously we went and while she was in there she starts yelling my name, and turns out the phone had fallen out of her pocket into the toilet. So that was the death of that phone.
He was baptized by immersion.
So then it was totally dead and we were a little stressed, luckily we had an old phone, and also, everyone knows that you have to also have the baptism by fire, so we used rice and
the phone now lives again. GRATITUDE

Anyway. Yesterday at church we had a fantastic fast and testimony meeting, and I cried the entire time because these members! Are so incredible! I cannot even explain. They are my life. They are the pioneers of slovakia. I wish that everyone in the world could see the things that they do for this church, and the faith that they have. I wish I could give them the wards that they deserve! They are the light in Slovakia and have been missionaries for years, and years. They are the sweetest, most charitable selfless people. They are always talking about how we can help investigators, less actives, people on the streets...ah! I love them and am so grateful for them. They are changing the way I see the world and I love them!
Lastly, here is a quote I found in a talk about courage from Prezident Monson because I am so excited for General Conference.
"Said Scottish poet and novelist Robert Louis Stevenson: “Everyday courage has few witnesses. But yours is no less noble because no drum beats for you and no crowds shout your name.”2"

Have a wonderful week!!
S laskou, sestra abbott

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

everyone should be excited!

Sister Wilson front left
Well, let me tell you, we have been back and forth, up and down, all over the world and back again. This week has been SO the best thing ever. On monday, I had the opportunity to serve with sweet sister wilson here in Trenčin. She is so sweet and is the best example for me of serving with love! I was sad I never got to serve for longer with her, but I was glad I got to be with her for her last couple days before she went home. We got ice cream and did a chalk display for a last hurrah. It was fantastic! She is so cute.

So luckily we got her bags all weighed and figured out and dragged them all over the place trying to get to Prague. I was happy I had a buddy on the train. I made an entire batch of mini chocolate chip muffins, and didnt have anything to put them in, so I put them in a garbage bag. So we ate muffins out of a (clean) garbage bag. hehehe

beautiful Prague at night

Anyway, so we finally got to Prague (late a little, our trains have serious problems), and I went to a
fantastic training for trainers with President and Sestra McConkie, and then we went to dinner with them and their family, which was also really fun, and then we ran home, and everything was crazy because Prague is GIANT and pretty and HUGE and really historical and REALLY REALLY GIGANTIC. Anyway we went on the subway and trams and busses and trains and I was altogether just getting pulled around by the Prague sisters. So that was really an adventure.

first halušky she has. She loves.

THEN I got to pick up little wonderful Sestra Ross! She is incredible! I am seriously so grateful for this girl. She was ready to be a Slovak misionarka from the first minute she stepped into the MTC. And the country. She works incredibly hard and is not afraid of anyone. She loves the work and loves the people and her faith has been carrying us all week!! We have had SO MANY MIRACLES. Also, everyone here calls her Sestra Ruža, Sestra Rose, and it is really cute.
I cannot even explain!! I will try.

1) On the train back from Prague, we never stopped talking to people. We taught so many people on that train. They were all so interested and friendly. And they all helped us when we had connections! Oh, side note. Elder Driskill is training Elder Bednar here in Trenčin as well. SO we were all together on the way back. A man helped us with our bags off one train to the next, and, consequently, we made our connection and the Elders did not. The man thought that was pretty hilarious.

Elder Driskill far right
2) We had a fantastic day our first day, contacting mostly all day. We found a new investigator who is AWESOME and already knows our recent convert, so she came to church and he is more excited than anyone! Sister Ross just contacts everyone we see and is so bold. She is a spiritual person and that helped more than anything. We also got ahold of one of our less actives who has kind of disappeared and got to teach him over the phone for an entire hour! (Well, 57 minutes.)

3) We were going to teach this old lady who is an investigator, and she was not home. So we were tracting and contacting around for a few minutes, and Sister Ross is like, Look! Two old ladies on a bench! Lets talk to them! So we make a little journey across this neighborhood, and lo and behold, it is the old lady we were trying to meet with and a friend! Long story short, we ended up teaching both of them, and talking about baptism, and at the end of the lesson, sister ross just says, (in slovak) " Okay, I have an important question. Will you get baptized?" And the spirit in the room was so tangible! I Was dying when the two 80 year olds said that they needed to pray about baptism. So miraculous!

4) we had a really spiritual experience on saturday, when a girl we meet with who does not believe in God. We were teaching, and debating a little bit, and she just felt like she could not believe in god, and could not pray because she did not know how to mean it, and everything, and then Sister Ross just looks at her all of a sudden and says "Will you pray right now?" AND SHE DID. We all knelt down and she actually prayed! The spirit was so strong, sister ross and I both had tears in our eyes. It was pretty miraculous.

Anyway, those are some miracles. RIGHT so amazing.

Sister Ross with an ice bag on her eye
Also, Sister Ross got a mosquito bite on her eyelid during one night, and her eye looked like she had
been punched. She still went on a run with me.

Plus she has jet lag. And she has killed so many bugs in our apartment, including saving a gigantic praying mantis. Such a trooper, this one.

A woman gave us pears yesterday when we were tracting.

The moon was amazing yesterday and the stars are finally out again but I did not have my camera.

I probably forget a hundred things, but i love you all and am grateful for you!

s laskou,

Sestra Abbott