Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Mikulaš príde!!

gifts for mikulaš
Wow I really cannot believe it is monday!! I was so excited for it to be december, because I bought this advent calendar that seriously has some delicious chocolate in it. Unfortunately, the days have gone by so fast that I completely forgot to eat the candy and I am already five pieces of chocolate behind! škoda. It feels like I just barely emailed this morning.

Anyway, this week was one of the more exciting ones (asi that is why it went so fast). Well actually looking back at it, I have had seriously some exciting weeks. ANYWAY. We got to go on exchanges this week with Bratislava, and sister Russell came over to do some great things in Trenčin, and WOW it was really wonderful!!! We met with a great mother who was very open and very prepared. She accepted a baptismal date in her first lesson and gave us some great cookies. Then we had a really powerful lesson that focused on the apostasy. Sometimes here in our little catholic country we are a little afraid to talk abou the apostasy. We even had a lesson with a teenage girl the other day who read the brochure, and came back and pointed out the word "odpadlictvo", or apostasy, and said, " I do not like this word." It is pretty funny.

But we were really able to be very bold and clear in this lesson and it really brought the spirit! It reminded me of our district prezidents talk last week. He said that the things of the gospel are really simple, but it is sometimes hard to find the simplest words to describe them. I think the only thing that can really illustrate fully the simplicity and truthfulness of the gospel is the Holy Ghost. If we can speak with the voice that testifies to peoples hearts, they are much more likely to understand and accept the message of the Restoration.

Then, Sister Parsons and I had an incredible opportunity to travel to Prague for our leadership conference! It is always quite the journey for us, we are always gone for three nights, but it is so worth it! It was longer this time, a five hour conference, because we got to spend the entire time talking about Jesus Christ and how to follow His example of leadership. I think that I could not feel the spirit stronger than I do when we read the stories in the New Testament of Christ and of His example. I think what I loved most about it was talking about Jesus and the Individual. If you look through the New Testament, you will really discover that the stories of His life are compiled of a bunch of people. Many of them were pretty much people with no influence and people who were looked down on by society. And yet their stories are included in Holy Scripture that people now revere and refer to every day to find solace and guidance. It is truly incredible! Jarius´ daugther or the woman with the issue of blood or even the enemy who gets his ear cut off are all important lessons for us about how Jesus will always look to the individual first.

We also talked in the meeting about sharing spiritual experiences. We enjoyed our car ride home because we shared a lot of our spiritual experiences. We talked about why we came on a mission and
sväty mikulaš prišiel
how we got here. It was great! Of course, I bawled during Sister Parsons´ because I just love her, and really felt a boost of strength in my testimony when I heard the Elders testify so powerfully that despite everything that was preventing them from coming or wanting to come, that they know they need to be here. It was so great that Sister Parsons and I decided that we were going to start to share really important personal experiences on the street with people when they applied. Even if they were really small, like a warm feeling, we began to make our contacts a lot more personal this week. And boy, did it make a difference. I have never felt the spirit so strong on the street than I have this week. And people see us a lot differently now! It can be a little scary, but sharing your testimony and sharing your personal experiences is always worth it, because it seriously strengthens everyone in the conversation.

ANYWAY COOLNESS I am just apparently in a writing mood so I am going to go ahead and skip to Saturday and Sunday because it was mikulaš!! Hooray! Christmas part one in Slovakia! It is a great holiday where Saint Mikulaš brings treats for the good kids. It was real dramatic here in Trenčín because they do a whole ordeal of a show on the namestie on saturday, where Mikulaš comes and has a full out war with the devil in order to save the children from Hell. We took our dinner hour to go down to the cute markets and see all the ruckus.  I have to say it was quite the cultural experience, there were angels throwing presents to children, and also children bawling everywhere when the devil came out with his fire, and then Mikulaš coming in on a bicycle looking a whole lot like a glorified Pope. Ah man. I really really love Slovakia. Plus everyone gave us food for Mikulaš so that was the best thing ever. I will try and send the best pictures of this we got. It was altogether really an interesting experience.

Lastly, I just want to say one bitty thing about the Book of Mormon! We are still are reading rapidly, and are now in Helaman 9. There is so much power that comes from this little book! We all fasted on Sunday for the Czech Republic and Slovakia because they are SO close to a stake in the Czech Republic. I really feel such a sense of power and unity behind us right now--and we are so excited to see the miracles.

Love you all!
Sestra Abbott

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