Friday, December 18, 2015

Twelve Days of Christmas

Pani Halakova and her homemade oplatky
I love Trenčín!

This week was great in our little Trenčín. Everything here is merry and bright. I love Slovak christmases more than anything. Everything just seems so magical all the time! We are seeing so many miracles this transfer. I think we have found more new investigators than ever before. You would think that in a little town where missionaries are constantly on the streets, all the people to be contacted would be contacted.

But if you would think that, you would think wrong.

Every day we are finding new people who want to meet and grab a tea and talk about God! It is incredible how strong the spirit can be even in little cafes. God helps us wherever we are to feel His presence, and the spirit always testifies of the truth of the restored gospel.

Anyway, so this week the Košice sestry came to us on exchanges, and that was the most fun! I got to work with Sestra Ratcliffe. She sure is a power house! I learn so much more from the sisters on exchanges that they would ever learn from me. We saw so many miracles. I think we ran into almost every less active in Trenčín, and a member from Bratislava! Things I am confused about in life. It was seriously great. One of the best parts was, at the end of the day, we four sisters got together right in front of the Christmas markets and sang! It was great and sounded really so lovely. There were kids dancing and people clapping and everything was so veselé. Christmas is really here!

We also had this great relief society activity where we learned how to make these paper star decoration things and I guess I should have taken a picture because I realize now that I cannot really describe what they are like.
Well, they are little like basket weaving! Anyway. Picture soon.

This week I got sick for the very first time on my mission! It was pretty interesting. I was so worried when I had a fever (Well, I was actually a little out of it, but Sister Parsons was worried), and I just decided to pray and lay down and go to sleep early. I thought for sure I was getting strep throat and that our whole Christmas season was about to be ruined! But let me tell you, miracles happen, and I made a lot of really strong ginger lemon tea, and now I am feeling perfectly fine! Hooray! Christmas is not ruined!

Some other great things that happened this week include that it was our dear Sestra Alžbetas birthday

making oplatky!
this week. 81 years! She sure is a remarkable lady. She lived as an atheist in communism, and was completely against the church when her son joined, but was converted by a senior slovak couple who came back to slovakia when they were not really sending out missionaries still. She is now the sweetest, strongest lady I know! I want to be just like her when I get older. She is always riding her bicycle everywhere, and she has a huge smile on her face that never goes away. She had us all over for dinner to celebrate. We gave her a little doll that Aunt Kristi sewed me for Christmas (Thank you so much!) (And yes, I know, I opened the package too early on accident, but thank goodness because it was really the perfect gift for our Sestra Alžbeta). She renamed her Eliška and said it was for her next great granddaughter. She is so wonderful.

We had the opportunity as well to go visit our investigators and learn how to make homemade slovak christmas wafers! they are seriously so yummy and quite unique. And really hard to make. She really has a skill to make these. She uses a 50 year old wafer iron to do it, and she let us try, and it was just scary. haha but I love Slovak traditions! they have so many at christmastime, and they are so meaningful. I guess I did not know was real, old, heart-deep tradition was until I came here to Slovakia! these people really live according to tradition.

Speaking of tradition, I read this great scripture in Mark this week about how Christ sees them:

5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?

 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.

 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.

 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:

 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free.

this is medovnik, the most delicious honey
walnut cake that we always have on birthdays.
I really have been thinking about the why behind our conversion. Why do we believe in God? Why do we believe what we believe? Why do we celebrate Christmas? I have confidence that each one of us can find personal answers to these questions and know that when we do, we find motivation, happiness, and a God that we can rely on. I am grateful that we all have the agency to choose the commandment of God over the tradition of men when it is necessary, and that we can find strength in Christ when we try to choose Gods path.

love you all!

happy twelve days of christmas!

Sestra Abbott

No comments:

Post a Comment