Monday, October 26, 2015

Oct 26: Busybodies

Hello! This week was completely insane!


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

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

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


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

Our arms are sore.

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

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

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

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

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

PS In preparation for Christmas...

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

s laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, October 19, 2015

Oct 19: Christmas is coming!!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

I will never be excited again.

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

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

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

My scripture for this week was Mormon 3-22.

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

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

Love you all!

Sestra Abbott (Sestra Bodka)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Oct 12: My journal might as well be a cookbook

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

s laskou,
sestra abbott

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Oct 5 to blava and back again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

S laskou,
sestra abbott