Monday, November 30, 2015

Gratitude X900

Oh, wonderful week. I just have to say, that I kind of feel silly after last weeks email when I complained about there being no snow, because literally as soon as Sister Parsons and I left the library, we were talking to this man on the street, and completely lost focus because within minutes we were standing in a huge blizzard! The snow was pelting our faces and we were completely frozen in a few minutes. Now it is gone but I eat my words from last week.

We saw so many incredible miracles this week! It is really remarkable how when you feel like things are not going as you planned, or you have a couple of strange obstacles in the way, the Lord still sees your willingness and worthiness and puts you where you need to be. I am so grateful that as we are prayerful and spiritual, He leads our footsteps into the paths of people who really are prepared and who need His love and the truth!

We saw that this week when, on monday, we knocked on our neighbors door in our hall. We had met a couple of times before, and she is a pretty crazy lady, so we love her. We simply wanted to invite her to our thanksgiving feast (more on that later). She was a little riled up about the world and about politics in America, so it ended up being her being quite loudly opinionated in our quite echoey hallway and us patiently listening to her for a little over an hour. Needless to say, this did have a part in Gods plan. In the middle of this loud friendly conversation, our other neighbor came out to walk her dog and intervened for a moment. After argueing a bit with this lively woman, she turned to us, and in perfect english said "Girls, she does not know what she is saying. I have experiences, and I know God is real." After a few more minutes, she left. We were so incredibly grateful for this angel!

The next day, we were walking home from english, and it was dark (Which means nobody is out), and we saw this woman outside of our building with her dog yet again. She approached us and began to talk with us. It turns out that this incredibly lady is french, but speaks german and english and slovak as well as french. She is divorced and has two little boys, one of which has cerebral palsy. The dog is specially trained to help this child. She opened up to us about how, when she went through a hard time, the Catholic church rejected her and condemned her. She turned to God and has been trying to have a personal relationship with him. It was really one of the most incredible moments! One of those times when you look at someone, and you know that God is real. As we walked back up with her, she said she noticed that we lived alone, and that she would be alone on Christmas Eve. We are now spending Christmas Eve with her! It was really so remarkable I cannot explain.

I am now just going to go ahead and skip to the thanksgiving part of the week, because it was seriously the best thanksgiving I have ever had (no offense to everybody.)! Wednesday, we received our "obrovsku morku" (our VAST or GIGANTIC turkey). Our kind friend went and got it for us, and dropped it off at our apartment, and I really cannot describe how incredibly grossed out we were. It was, luckily, feathered and cleaned, but it had a neck and was bleeding and, I wont get too into this, but lets just say that it looked like a small child. We were  pretty terrified. And there was no way it would ever fit in our oven.

This is where God stepped in--the elders have the most incredible man they are teaching who is a father, and also a chef at the Grand Hotel. They told him about our turkey, and he simply stated that there was no way we could cook that ourselves, and to bring it to him at the hotel. All we had to do was drop it off and wait until 6 pm the next day. Literally the most awesome thing ever.

So we invited all of our dear friends to eat thanksgiving dinner with us. Sister Parsons and I made seriously SO MANY DELICIOUS AMERICAN ROLLS (finally figured out how the yeast works here) and a real pumpkin pie except from a butternut squash, and homeade stuffing, and gravy, and I think that is all. The elders made SO MANY vegetables and mashed potatoes. It was really unbelievable. Everyone hated me a little bit when I continued my family tradition and made everyone go around and say what they were grateful for before they could eat. We have so much extra, now, as well. We gave away so much and still have 5 kilos of turkey left.

I think I have already written far too much today, so I lastly want to talk about a another big step that
we had in Slovakia this week! This weekend we had our first district conference as an independent District.We went down to Bratislava on Saturday and had relief society, priesthood, an adult session, and the next day district conference. It was so incredible to see all the members there. I cannot express my love for these faithful saints. To see everyone I love so dearly all gathered as Latter Day Saints of Slovakia literally overflowed me with joy. I was crying. I love to see all these people who do so much for this church and can stand so firmly in their faith every day. They go through so much, I wish I could really describe how converted these people are. And our district prezident, who is just a 24 year old chlap (recently engaged to a czech member! hooray!), stood with such power, humility and authority at the podium that there was not one person in the room who was not looking up to him with incredible faith and trust. I was called up as one of the random "hey we are going to make you bear your testimony now" testimonies and I was scared to death because there were so many people there (it was about a third of our ward at home), but I stood up there and was overwhelmed by the smiles and love from everyone and realized I was just with my family. I cannot believe how lucky I am to be with these people who are so caring and trustworthy and firm in the faith of Christ! they are such great examples.

Also, one of our primary children from žilina had her drawing pictured in the childrens section of the Liahona this week! not sure if that means it is also in the friend or what magazine but you should look at it!

Sestra Parsons says I need to cut this message down but I am just going to stop writing and send it.

S laskou,
Sestra Abbott

Monday, November 23, 2015

trains travels trainings

still no snow, but we have not lost hope yet.

We got to go to Brno this week for their training, and it was a whole bunch of fun. I am so used to travelling by train that I do not really know what I am going to ever do without them! They are the most awesome resource which we have! I was grateful to be able to stay in Brno on exchange with two of the sisters in a trio there (Sister Bailey went back to Trenčin with Sister Parsons for a day). i absolutely love Brno! I am very surprised that I can understand Czech still. I am so happy I got to learn 1,5 languages. Haha. I had some very spiritual experiences on my exchange!

PS I am either really emotional or the spirit is really strong this week. But I have been crying all week. Just a forewarning.

First of all, I spoke to the most darling girl on the tram. We were goign to the main square to talk with people about the Book of Mormon, so I had one in my hand. She was czech, and also spoke english and spanish. She was incredibly open about the fact that one of her parents was a believer and the other was not, so she felt very torn. I told her it was okay, but she was adament that it was not okay, and that it was very important for her to find faith and to find truth. I was so happy to testify that it was possible! I am so grateful that we do not all just need to hang in the air in a mist of uncertainty, but that each of us can be sure that God is there and that he has truth, and not only that, but a church where we can learn and grow. She gladly accepted a Book of Mormon and agreed to meet again.

Then, (As well in Brno here), we split up in the square and contacted individually because we did not
our cute investigator
have much time. I was so blessed to meet an incredible woman who had overcome a lot in her life but was happy and successful. She lived by the concept that a karma-like force governed life, but was plagued by the fact that it was not always certain. I felt so strongly again, so grateful that God is an unchanging God-the same yesterday, today, and forever-and that we can rely on him in order to determine what is right, and in order to understand Justice.

Lastly, in Brno, we had one of the greatest experiences I think I have had on my mission. The sisters helped an inactive father come to church a couple transfers ago, and he is now fully active. The rest of his family are not members. He has a thirteen year old son, but refuses to speak with him about the gospel because he wants him to find it for himself. The sisters suggested that we teach his son--the dad will not even come and sit in on the lessons. So, we went and taught this thirteen year old boy. We were in a trio and he set up for us little chairs around his desk, made us huge cups of fruit tea (With SO much sugar haha), and cut up apples and gave us each bowls with dried granola and rice cakes. We drew the Gospel of Jesus Christ out for him--steps to overcome sin. Faith, Repentance, Baptism, the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and Enduring to the End. He understood it so well. After we were sure he understood what it meant, we asked him if he would like to be baptized. He responded affirmitavely. Not wanting to intrude or push him, we stated that everyone can pray about a date in December for him to be baptized. He immediately said, I already know! The 24th of December! We all agreed and told him he would have to ask his father.

Then, his dad came in from work and came in to visit for a moment. This big, manly man sat down on the bed next to his son. His son turned to him and said, "Dad, I have something to tell you." "Yes?" "I am going to get baptized. Will you baptize me?" This wonderful man gave his son a huge hug, and began to cry. The spirit in the room was incredible! I have never felt such a love for the gospel then I did then, when I realized how great it is to be on the path with your family.
(He was surprised about the date..."Sisters! Did you pick this?" "No..he did..."
"Who is going to tell mom?"

Haha it was the best thing ever.

This week as well, we got to do service for our wonderful members, and they also fed us a whole lot of food. I love how everything is just chicken and rice and potatoes and cucumbers and halušky. Living the live.


ALSO we had a great experience this week when we were teaching our mom friend. She is so funny, she always takes us out for tea, and says, Look, girls, I just want to speak english, not talk about God, I dont believe in God. The best thing ever is that we always end up talking about God. So that was great but the point is, that we were walking with her after our lesson, and we brought up thanksgiving. But the problem is that literally nowhere in Slovakia in any normal store do they just sell an entire turkey. They sell like parts of it, but never the whole thing. So we tell her this, and she nearly stops in the middle of the street and says, "Girls. My father literally just asked me this morning if I had enough room in my freezer for an entire turkey." So, we went back with her to her dads house, and it was so great! We were with a three generation family and taught them the restoration!
So that was great an all, but lets get back to this turkey deal.

SO her father says, yeah, I have a friend who is a bird farmer. I will call him up. He calls this guy and
asks about the turkey and the man is actually pleased because he was literally killing all his turkeys in an hour. So he asked him to kill one for us (This is seeming very morbid to me) and told us he would bring it to us on wednesday for free for American Thanksgiving.

The only thing is that they said it will probably be 18 kilos, which is around 39 lbs, which is the size of a four year old child.

But dont worry, we are going to figure it out!! We are excited!!

Last, but not least, we accidentally bought toilet paper this week that smells like christmas. Strange things.

actually lastly, here is a thanksgiving psalm 100

1 Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

 2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

 3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

 4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

love you all!

S laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, November 16, 2015

November 16: heart growing three *more* sizes

survey in the rain
jaj. This week was probably the best week ever. Just when I think that I am so incredibly blessed that the Lord could not possibly give me more, he puts out his hand and is like "Pači sa. Here is more." I am seriously in awe on a day to day basis. The more my body seems to give up on me, the more the Lord puts right into my lap. I never quite feel deserving of all the happiness and love I feel all over. I am really coming to love these people more than anything else!

We had a real fantastic English class on Tuesday. There were just the most wonderful people who came! I think it was the biggest turnout Trenčin has seen for a long time. The mother that came last week brought her mom friend and our little high school students came and we had the most fun beginners class. Somehow we always end up talking about food, but no worries, the spiritual thought at the end was really great.

We had training in Bratislava this week! It was really so much fun. Sister Parsons and I trained and I
our zone
have never become so emotional about my mission. All of the elders are training in Slovakia right now (Except one companionship, who is follow up training), so literally half of the Slovak missionaries are three weeks old. I was feeling so old and felt like I was really staring at the future of my family! They are such a great bunch. And every time I get to talk about the Slovaks I realize how much I have learned from them and how much they have really changed me. Training was wonderful and I always love getting together and talking with everyone about Christ, and missions, and feel the spirit, and get pumped.

We had a great testimony building experience this week when we stopped this mother, and she full out turned on us, child in firm grip, and screamed in the middle of the street that she was roman catholic, and she was not changing, and that we were of the devil.

Well, this is not too abnormal, but we just had the most spiritual experience afterwards where we realized that we are totally disciples of Jesus Christ! I was going to go off about this but I feel lazy right now, but it is pretty great. Also, I just wish that everyone could have a chance to live in a country where everyone is catholic, because the more you learn about history, and about other churches, the more it really strengthens your testimony that yes, God does have a true church on the earth, and that so many people have been looking for it for so long and it is finally here!

Slovak Christmas Goodies
Okay, last thing, is that we taught the most incredible family yesterday. Literally was the best experience of my whole life. It just shows that people are prepared to receive the gospel at Gods pace! This older couple has been taught by the elders since 1990s, and the elders had kind of given up on them and went for dinner every couple transfers but never actually could teach them. They always just said they were catholic.
Well, remember the man with the sink? That is the husband!! So we go over to their house, and I think Sister Parsons and I felt more at home and happier than we ever have on our mission. They were so funny. They were talking about the Beatles, and CCR, and Pink Floyd, and John Lennon, then their son comes in and starts playing the saxophone incredibly and they start singing slovak folk songs with him, and sister parsons and I were dying. We just listened to them.

THEN, miraculously, they began to ask questions,

and more,

and more,

and before you knew it, we were teaching one of the most spiritual first lessons we have ever taught. They were so cute and asked us about 70 times when we were coming back again. Then when we were walking home, she even called because she wanted to make sure we were safe and still planning on calling that week.

I love these people! I was just about crying knowing that all those elders who taught them before were so guided by the spirit and helped them to receive this message. It is so amazing how God works.

Well, I just am grateful for everything. This might sound like a really naive generalization but I feel like I can safely say that right now.

Especially grateful for umbrellas.

Also, though I don't know much about what is happening in the world right now, it is obviously very
breakfast today (Sister parsons is teaching me french, so just preto)
scary, and people are paranoid, and I pray that those who are in distress will find comfort. I love Elder Bednars talk from a couple conferences ago, called "Therefore they hushed their fears"
I feel like it was by prophetic revelation that this talk was given.

Elder Bednar says,

"In our daily lives, endless reports of criminal violence, famine, wars, corruption, terrorism, declining values, disease, and the destructive forces of nature can engender fear and apprehension. Surely we live in the season foretold by the Lord: “And in that day … the whole earth shall be in commotion, and men’s hearts shall fail them” (D&C 45:26)."

he continues,

"But can we hush the fears that so easily and frequently beset us in our contemporary world? The answer to this question is an unequivocal yes. Three basic principles are central to receiving this blessing in our lives: (1) look to Christ, (2) build upon the foundation of Christ, and (3) press forward with faith in Christ."

the rest of the talk can be found here

in English

aj po slovensky

love you all! have a great week!

sestra abbott

Thursday, November 12, 2015

There is {music, goodness, laughter, miraculousness} all around

Oh, beautiful week which we had here in Trenčin! I have to say, that I have never been happier I do not think. I have really gotten to the point where I go to bed with a smile on my face and wake up..okay still without a smile but guarenteed to have one in at least ten minutes. I am becoming more and more grateful for the Lords hand in our lives. We saw miracle after miracle this week.

We have been teaching a ton of new people. It is great because they are all quite kind and willing to listen and ask many questions. I think I had fruit tea bought for me about 6 times this week. I am surprised at how many elect people there always are in Trenčin! You would think that after having missionaries in this small city for all these years that everyone on the street would know our message and who we were. But still, every day we are teaching people in their homes, on the streets, and in cafes!

We had a really cute mom come to english this week. I do not think I talk much about our english classes here in Slovakia, but I love them! We teach free english once a week, and our english students are some of my most favorite people. We always feel the spirit so strong. My favorite thing to teach is beginners (Okay, actually, I love conversation as well. Intermediate is just intermediate.) BUT aj tak I love beginners because I always get to talk about my family. So many times this week has my family picture been whipped out to show people! Hahaha my family is probably one of the most "Looked at with open mouths" family in all of Slovakia! You should see peoples reactions. Most of the time they think I am older than my mother, and they are always surprised at the size, and they think we look like a magazine family and ALWAYS ask where on earth we are. It is so funny. But the point of all this is to say that it always brings the spirit so strong! I have such a testimony of family and how a strong family can be built on the gospel. People always say, well, how do your parents do that? And I can only ever answer that they are obedient to and love the Lord. It is the best.

Oh, so, also, we went to Prague this week for our leadership meeting and it was SO FUN. Sister
Parsons and I finally got to go to Prague together! We did not get to go at the beginning because of her visa, but we had the best road trip ever with the zone leaders and it was so worth the year wait to be in Prague together. We had a great meeting (SO excited for training this week!!!) and we had lunch with the McConkies and then we got to go to this strangely elegant and extravagant doctor to get some antibiotics for sister parsons. I am not sure what was happening in there but seriously there was a chandelier and we were filling out her medical forms on a tablet. So that was pretty confusing. It was QUITE the contrast from the medical care which we have here in Slovakia, let me just say. I really cannot remember what it was like in America.

Then, after


that we had to drive through seriously the thickest fog I have ever seen! There and back because it was early in the morning and then it gets dark so early...Elder Driskill was seriously the best chauffer in the world! I could not believe how calm he was! He was still cracking jokes and sister parsons and I were paralyzed in the back seat with fear because we were on the freeway and we could not even see two feet in front of the car. Lets just say, it was slow, but somehow we made it alive (AKA we are missionaries.)

Then, after what seemed like the longest journey I have ever taken, we returned to Trenčin and proceeded to have the most miraculous week ever. The Lord truly compensates! We literally got ahold of almost all of our less actives, one of which came to church on sunday (Seriously, biggest miracle. We thought he had died or something), and we found a mom who met with us today and is the kindest human, and we painted the park, and we just talked to everyone, and met our neighbors and they invited us over,  and ah! I wish I could write out everything that happened but I feel like it would be underappreciated for the amount of typing it would take. But it was seriously great.

I think all this joy is coming from the fact that we downloaded this new youth song onto our phone that is like, "I feel so grateful in my heart, its good to be alive!" And it has literally been stuck in my head all week. Cheese but whatever.

Food: we were fed an abundance of pretty good potato pancakes yesterday, and I just wanted a drink of water more than anything, but our host told us that that was NOT allowed because it would ruin my pancreas because of how greasy the food was and all I was allowed to drink was hot water or tea. SO, when eating McDonalds, NO soda or anything, just hot drinks, for the sake of the pancreas everyone.

I am going to make a save the pancreas campaign.

Well I think that is all. I enjoyed more than I have before reading Jacob 5 this week (Still goin strong on this 9 pages a day in the KM..It is great!) and I was just thinking about how sometimes, we work really really hard, and it does not matter whether you are in a good spot of ground or a bad spot of ground, your tree brings forth good fruit. And that is a wonderful feeling! That is when you really see the fruits! But sometimes, you work real hard, maybe harder, and you love your vineyard more than anything, and you just see bad fruit. I know that for sure I have seen that on my mission before. But I know that right now, I am seeing the success that never giving up brings. If we can plead with the Lord of the Vineyard not to give up on His little trees, he will again say to us, okay, let us go down, and let us work, and prune and dig and do all that we can. And after we do it all, let us say, What else could we have done? And I know that with the Lords help, we will see that good fruit and He will help us know what to do in order to see it. He is truly the master gardener!

I love you all and hope you have an extraordinary week!
s laskou,

sestra abbott

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Nov 2: probably the most incredible week that has ever happened

Well everyone, Trenčin is exploding.

Sister Parsons and I are more than excited to be back together. I think that I have a partially sore and dry throat because I have not stopped talking since last monday. It is really the most incredible thing. I am consistently confused about how we have now been together for how long? and never run out of things to talk about.

I have just got to say that this week has been nothing short of miraculous. Tuesday morning came around and we said our prayer and set out onto the street to contact for a half an hour before district meeting. Well, the first people who stopped on the street was a wonderful married couple and their little year old daughter. They asked us to walk with them for a few minutes so obviously we did, and had a really great conversation. They promptly invited us to come visit them in their home on friday night.

We were crying tears of joy.

Not only that, but on that day we found another investigator, who came to her second meeting and when we prayed she pointed to her chest and said she felt it in there and was sure it was a good feeling.

Plus, we have been finding left and right and I really cannot tell you what it is, but everyone on the street seems to be stopping. Literally everyone. We feel like the most popular people in Trenčin!

We stopped a man carrying a sink.
He was overjoyed and said that the missionaries had visited him before in the past, and he was like "WRITE MY PHONE NUMBER DOWN!! COME TO MY HOUSE!!!"
We apparently had no choice but to write his number down and set up another appointment with him and his family.

We stopped a YSA boy on the street. After talking with us, he realized that we actually already had
his phone number in our phone, so he promised to come to another meeting.

We planned to find a mom wearing some sort of fur. As we were talking with people, Sister Parsons sees a woman with her daughter and feels really strongly that we need to go out of our way to talk to them. So, we beeline to them and immediately start a conversation, and the mom nearly shouts, "Literally two minutes ago I was just telling my daughter that I needed to buy a book about angels!!!"

We pulled out the Book of Mormon and told her we give it away for free. She was laughing so hard because she was so amazed. She really was convinced that this was NOT a coincedence, it was just way too weird. As she walked away, we realized that she had a huge fur coat on!

We had a wonderful time this week painting a childrens park in Trenčin with our members. It got a little sketchy because now apparently it gets dark at 5, and our members didnt get off work until 4, so about half way through the painting we could not really see what we were painting anymore, but it was still so much fun! I love our members. They were just basically recruiting all of the little kids at the park to paint with us and to as well hear about the gospel. They are better missionaries than we are!

Then we got to visit our cute family that we met on tuesday. They were probably the most perfect little family ever! Their entire apartment looked like something straight out of IKEA, and they were so darling. Sister Parsons basically taught their little one year old while I shared the message of the restoration with this cute young couple. It was probably one of the best experiences I have had on my mission! I have been praying to teach families stronger than ever and I know the Lord answers prayers when our desires are in the right place!

THEN it was halloween, and Slovaci do not really celebrate Halloween. Well they do not celebrate it.
but they do celebrate All saints day, which was probably one of the coolest experiences ever! They go to all of their ancestors graves-they travel all around slovakia to get to them- and they clean them all up and leave flowers and light fancy candles all around them. It is the most beautiful thing! it is really an interesting holiday because they go to the cemetary and pray for their ancestors. In the Catholic religion, they believe in something called the očistec (sister parsons is telling me this is purgatory), where after you die, you suffer for all your sins there. SO on this holiday especially, everyone (many times whether they even believe in God or not) takes these candles and prays for their ancestors to be strong while suffering for all their sins. I was a little sad that they did not have all the knowledge that we do about life after this life. How lucky we are to know that all of us, who has lived and who ever will life, WILL live again! And only because of Christ. The spirit was really strong in the cemetary, and I was grateful that although maybe many of the doctrinal pieces of knowledge were missing, God still cares about and loves all of His children.

Also, Sister Parsons bought me a giant kinder egg for halloween because she is kind.

There was a dog outside our window barking so obnoxiously on halloween during studies, and I had made really good waffles for breakfast, so I threw him a waffle off of our three story building and he stopped barking.

Well, that is all! I just want to emphasize again how incredibly grateful I am for the plan of salvation! I am so grateful to know that we will all be resurrected, and that we will all have the opportunity to be exalted. I am grateful that the gospel makes sense--for everyone! It is not a church only for certain people. But it is a church for anyone who wants to become better and wants to continue to progress. I am grateful for Jesus Christ, and am more and more grateful every day that we worship the Living Christ! That what comes after His crucifixtion is important, and sacred. I know it is true and I hope that more people can find that truth every day.

 5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6 He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
waffles to contribute to the food part of my blog.
Dont worry it didnt have anything on it when I threw it to the dog.

S laskou,
sestra abbott