Tuesday, March 1, 2016

After the many testimonies which have been given of him, this is the testimony, last of all...

MTC District
I am tapping my fingers on this keyboard because I am afraid I do not have much of a talent at beginning sad things...hold onto your seatbelts ladies and gentlemen because this is going to be a bumpy one!

I am pretty sure that less than a month ago I was strapping my suitcases ontop of our big suburban and driving down to Provo in a car with some confused children and sad teenage boys. I really had no idea how much the black plastic nametag with the "Green magnet" would mean to me when I put it on with a teary smile. And for the last year and a half I have told people every day that "Sestra Abbott" is my favorite name to be called and that I represent my Spasitel, Ježiš Kristus. I know now that when I came I was seriously an ugly block of clay that seemed to think it was already a beautiful vase. Boy, did God know better! Every little point on that list I have felt and can feel and I know that I am further along the path to becoming a vessel in His hands. I am grateful for the times when I have been enough malleable to feel the spirit testifying through me and to recognize the promptings that I receive.

The Slovak people have taught me so much. They have taught me to be resourceful, and to share, and
to love your neighbor. They have taught me a lot about fruit and a lot about cheese. They really know how to cook potatoes. They have taught me more than I could have ever guessed there was to know about tradition and love for your culture. Most of all, they have taught me about my brother Jesus Christ. Most of the Slovaks know him as their Lord and God who came down to earth to atone for them. Some of them know him as a man who had a whole lot of really good teachings and philosophies. I have learned so much from each of these people, and the thing I think I have learned the very most is one simple truth: Jesus Christ loves each and every one of them. It does not matter whether they have been raised by one parent or by two. It does not matter to Him if they like onions on their halušky or not. He would never turn his back on someone who was sick or injured, abused or depressed. He loves these people more than anything and I cannot believe how incredibly privilaged I am to be able to feel that love. I have never felt more joy than I have when comforting someone who has recently lost a loved one on the street, or giving someone on the tram a book of mormon, or praying with someone for the first time and knowing that yes, indeed, we have a Father in Heaven who loves us so very much! I am grateful that I have been given the wonderful opportunity to mourn with those who mourn and comfort those in need of comfort, but also to rejoice with those who rejoice in Christ!

I have experienced the great atoning power of Jesus Christ while here in Slovakia. I never knew how good God was until I messed up and needed some patching. I am happy that we have the knowledge of a head doctor, one who will always diagnose us correctly and heal us accordingly. I am grateful for the love of our Father in Heaven, as we learn to walk and talk correctly. He would never expect us to fall down and stay down on the ground forever. He fully expects us to stand right back up again! The mistakes we make are never something that should disable us, but rather, opportunities that enable us to use and appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ. He will remove any braces and slings that we have and give us strength we need in our legs and ableness in our arms so that we can accomplish that which He needs us to. When we are weak, then we are strong. Jesus Christ suffered all things so that we could be this amazing person who God knows we can be!

As Jesus Christ sat with his disciples during His last week in mortal ministry, He left with them His spirit, and His counsel. Though they did not understand fully the meaning of everything he spoke, they listened to Him and knew He was the Son of God. I feel that peace that Jesus left with us on the earth. I know that it is real. He may not be here with us on earth, but He will never leave us alone. The reality of His crucifixion crushed His apostles and disciples, but the reality of His Resurrection transformed them into incredible witnesses and missionaries. The knowledge of the Living Christ can enable each of us to do great things--just as it enabled Peter, James, John, Paul, and other apostles and modern day prophets. We can truly do great things through Christ our Lord! He knows each of our weaknesses--but He knows each of our strengths even better. A testimony of Him and of His sacrifice brings lasting peace and an indescribable power that comes from His support and strength. I have experienced it and I know it to be true! It is cleansing, enabling, empowering, and simply miraculous.

I am grateful for each one of my dear sestry that I have served with! They have lifted me higher than
branch photo
I ever expected and surrounded me with love that only comes from the spiritual experiences that we have had. They are each spiritual giants in my eyes and I know I can rely on them! I am grateful for the obedience of Sestra Seninger, the friendship of Sestra Parsons, the spirituality of Sestra Eggers, the smiles and love from Sestra Russell, the testimony of Sestra Ross, the patience and diligence of Sestra Ratcliffe, and the example of christlike service of Sestra Wilson. They give me hope that I can be better every day! I love them more than anything!

I will not write so much about the members that have been more than a strength to me here in Slovakia because I get too emotional. They are stronger than anybody I know! Their testimonies could chew through the iron curtain and they will continue to press forward to eternity! How incredibly blessed I have been to work and love and cry with them.

I know that this is Christs church on the earth! I can say without a doubt that Joseph Smith is the prophet who restored the gospel on the earth. His character and experience has brought me great comfort and solace in times of opposition and trial. I cannot put my appreciation for this man into words, but the words of my favorite hymn echo in my head as I think in gratitude for him:

Hail to the Prophet, ascended to heaven!
Traitors and tyrants now fight him in vain.
Mingling with Gods, he can plan for his brethren;
Death cannot conquer the hero again.

As Prezident Vaclav has been telling everyone, I have received a calling for my "Eternal Mission" now and I hope to be able to share my testimony every day in word and in deed. I love this gospel and have been so humbled to serve the Lord for these short 19 months! My heart pours out in gratitude for Him and for His Son, Jesus Christ. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Jesus is the Christ.

I love you all and will see you soon!
Sestra Abbott

and some food

A small letter from Sister Ratcliffe:


But I did not once feel the slightest bit hungry this week, so that was a good time for me. Pretty sure I weigh 50 pound more after this week alone. JEJ.

We started off the week by visiting our dear friend Pani M, who made us chlebičky (sandwiches) and fruit and Tiramisu (unfortunately I had to take the hit for finding out that it was tiramisu and had coffee in it), So it was sad that we couldn't eat EVERYTHING she placed before us, but Pani M was a gem and was very understanding.

And wow, she also gave us the CUTEST mugs and perfume(?) stuff and kinder eggs.


The next day we were in the building going outside, when it began to torrential downpour and alas nothing in the building but a broken umbrella, but that didn't stop us. We put our brains together found some tape and put that little umbrella back together! but let me tell you I would not advise that in the future, because the tape was a monster to take off.


We went to our members house this is what Sis K said to us before we came over "hey bring your cameras!" and

We had a dress up party with swords, and costumes

Check it out:


but after this the week became a blur,
somehow we ended up on a train to bratislava where we had a goodbye Halusky party before training, (im telling you guys, NEVER WAS HUNGRY) and then up at 4 in the morning to get on a train to brno, for the MOST INCREDIBLE AND EMOTIONAL TRAINING EVER!

I suddenly figured out that the four sisters are actually for real leaving me. and I just cried.
like a baby


like a baby,

but president mcConkie had an incredible training about Joseph Smith.


read this. its great.

S Laskou,
Sestra Ratcliffe

Ps. We had the most incredible day yesterday. We taught a family that has so much desire to know the truth! It was SOOO INCREDIBLE. the 8 year old asked, "is it true that jesus touched someones eyes and they saw and with assurity we said "YES"

PSS If you don't already know, I am waiting on a little greenie. So I will go get her in prague on Wednesday. 

Monday, February 22, 2016


look SO TALL in this picture, but these are some of our favorites :)
 She made us some great halušky. She doesnt look this short in real life.
Okay well now I feel really awkward because I really liked the older first paragraph that I wrote, but now you all already know that it is warm in Trenčín and I regret wearing tights right now, so, hot.
But nonetheless, this week has been just incredible! It has flown by faster than I can even explain, but it has been really great. I love Trenčín and the people here. Something has been reocurring this week that I guess happens to a person when they are in a small town for eight months. It seems that every person we stop on the street and they know me but I do not know them for the life of me. I cannot remember anyone! Typical conversation:

"Hi! We are the--"
"I know! Abbott, I know you."
"Oh really, when did we meet?"
"You dont remember? It was last year on July 16!!!"
It is really so terrible. I always feel so bad. I am trying to memorize these faces. It seems to help
Whats in my bag
when I make sure to ask for names...
Something else really intense happened this week when we were speaking with a man on the street. We were having this great spiritual conversation with this man when we heard this huge crash! We all turned a full 180 and saw that behind us, a car had fully rear ended another car going full speed and was completely smashed in. We all just stood there for a few minutes, really confused, and then the man turned back to us and picked up right where he left off! Sister Ratcliffe and I were both extremely confused, to say the least, and were pretty distracted the rest of the conversation while police came and people dragged the car off of the road. Luckily, nobody seemed to be hurt!
cute čaj
We had an activity this week that really tested my crafting skills. Paličkovanie--we looked it up in our big dictionary, and found "Button lacing". Either way it is a pretty traditional slovak craft, and SO DIFFICULT. Everyone should look it up online. I think after the activity, we were all a little wasted and had literally no more brain power. But I think the point is that we learned something new. AND this scripture describes exactly how I felt:
"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. "
Except that I guarentee that none of my paličkovanie could ever confound the wise. In time, my friend, patience...
Well, lastly, I think I just want to say that church was so great this week! Church is always a
cute church
spiritually uplifting experience and I am always grateful that we can take the sacrament. I know that the Lord gave us the Sabbath to feed our spirits and I love sundays! This sunday was special to me because our friend came to church this week and brought her two children. It was so wonderful to hear the little rustles of children in sacrament meeting. I love when families are together, especially at church, because it is really what the gospel is all about. I have been so blessed to see that here in Slovakia and do not think I will ever be able to take it for granted again! I was grateful for the focus on Jesus Christ in our meetings and for the spirit I was able to connect with there.
Well, I think this is all for this week, I forgot my planner of course, so I am sure there is more but I cannot remember. I know it is not much, but I hope that everyone can add their own experiences to mine this week! Life is wonderful!
Sestra Abbott
PS OBSESSED With this video this week. Showing it to everyone.


Monday, February 15, 2016

First comes love the verb, and the noun follows.

God is sure pouring blessings down on Trenčín! Whenever I feel that life could not possibly be any better, He throws some more sprinkles on or dips it in chocolate or something and everything is just sweet and you have it all right in your hands. I think that yes, there are always some bitter herbs in there, but because of those, the sweet is even better and you feel so much more grateful for the blessings that you are receiving.

This week was full of blessings. On
getting some gifts from the members
monday, we did not have too much time to talk to people on the streets, so we ran out for a few minutes, and talked with a few people. After a few minutes, we felt like we should turn back around. So we did a quick 180 and the first man we talked to, right behind us, was the most elect father we had ever met! He had already received a book of mormon and had been reading. After an incredible conversation about Joseph Smith and the restored gospel, he asked us to come to his house and teach his wife and three older children! We feel so blessed and are so excited to go and visit him.

Trencianska Tepla bags
THEN we went on exchanges!! I got to go down to visit Blava this week and was not only drenched by a rainstorm but by love for the place (hahah this is the best cheesy sentence I have ever written). They have such cool people and I was so grateful to teach and learn there, especially when we had quite a fun lesson with a man from Nigeria who is getting baptized in a couple weeks. It is so incredible to me the different ways that people recognize truth. Whether they see it in the facts, in the logic, in the spirit, in the scriptures, in dreams, or other ways, they always feel it and recognize it when they have real intent. Truly God speaks to His children today in the ways they need it!
Valentines breakfast

This week, we had a KONCERT! So much fun. So much love and joy. Get this, I make these concertflyers, and the concert is called "God is Love" Or "Boh je Láska", and I later in the invitation wrote "Donuts, Music, and Love" or "šišky, hudba, laska". For some reason, everyone who read this flyer only saw the part that said "šišky, hudba, laska", so everyone who we gave them to was walking around saying in a questioning voice, "šišky, hudba, laska?" But I am convinced  that everyone came because of it! (wink wink.) But either way, our concert was wonderful and many of our friends came! We talked about the family and sang a few pieces, and afterwards had lots of donut and music and love. It was really wonderful! We were so grateful for the confirming spirit which we felt there that confirmed the divinity of family and that the family is really ordained of God. I am truly grateful for the family I have been blessed with and for the gospel
We made cookies and delivered with an invite to our concert
that brings us so close!

conversation of the week:

YSA boy-- "čo ponúkate?"
                 "What are you offering?"
Sister Abbott -- "Večný život."
                        "eternal life."

Anyway. Yesterday was a wonderful Valentines Day filled with a whole lot of love from my most favorite people. We saw so many miracles and on top of that, got to visit all of our favorite people. They are truly like my family! They feed me and listen to me and give me great advice. I sure do love them more than anything!

Love you all too.
s laskou,
Sestra Abbott

PS this week I tragically injured myself when I was attempting to fix our coffee table. The fortunate thing is that the coffee table IS FIXED!!!

Sister Abbotts facial mask

More gifts

Elder Cantrells new name tag #frywithtartar

We are on the billboards in Trencianska Tepla

Monday, February 8, 2016


This week was so full of unexpected miracles and new friends and great surprises. I absolutely adore Trenčín. I am in love with my neighbors who surround me and with those people I see all around. They have really become my big family and I feel like I really belong here. I am always greeted by familiar faces (And new faces, surprisingly), and lots of cheek kisses and hugs everywhere.

This week, I have to say, just so you all can picture this in your heads, was all four seasons mixed into one. Just picture two very confused sister missionaries dressing all up in their winter clothes to go out, then walking outside and discovering that the sun is beating down on them and the birds are singing and the snow is melted. So the next day, they go out a little less prepared, leaving their hats and gloves and scarves, and immediately a huge snow cloud builds above them and pours out the windiest, iciest snowstorm you ever did see! If you want to guess further, the next day we had a really wet rainstorm. Anyway. It was just really fun.

I am trying not to write about food because I do not want everyone to think my missionary purpose is "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel and eating their food", but the food is always just so great I cannot not write about it! First of all, our great french neighbor made us this like lemon tart that was SO delicious. It was just like lemon bars but a little more sour and it was so perfect. I was in heaven. I forgot how good stuff like that is. YUM

Then, on Saturday, there was something called Fašiangy here in slovakia, which is basically a huge "Eat, Drink and be Merry party" for tomorrow the Catholic fast of forty days starts. They have this huge party where they just drink and kill pigs and eat meat and have a costume party for the kids and make homemade donuts with apricot filling and just give them to you for free! Anyway it was really a super great time. We were offered a lot of shots but people got so funny about our nametags when they saw them. We happily ate many donuts and fruit tea and shyed away from some of the scary meat that was happening. There were a lot of people there who said I looked just like I belonged right there in their town! I seriously love slovakia.

We had a really sweet testimony meeting this week. I adore the members here and adore their
fašiangy when they cry over the tuba because...no more parties
examples of converted, constant missionary work. One of our members decided that she was going to read her Book of Mormon on the bus when she took her weekly grocery trip to the mall. It is just a short 15 min bus ride but she decided to utilize it. As she was reading, a woman was reading over her shoulder. When it came about time to get off, the woman asked her what the book was. With all her heart, our little member testified that the Book of Mormon was a treasure, and from God. The woman asked her where she could purchase one. Our dear member hopefully gave her the address for our little church building, and hopped off the bus.

And the woman came to the building! Of course, we were not there at the time, but she saw the Elders phone number and gave them a call, explaining the entire story and asking when they could meet so she could have a copy of that beautiful book. The elders excitedly agreed and they are meeting this week! You never know when or where you are being a missionary and who is watching you. Our member expressed gratitude in sacrament meeting and curiosity at who else on the bus may have heard her simple testimony. I just about died with happiness when she stood again and bore testimony of the truthfulness of this book. It was so powerful!

angry bird suckers
Okay this is about to be long, but this is what has really been exciting for me this week. I have been so amazed at our bodies, and at eternity, and I am confused and really overwhelmed by the greatness of it all! Life is so good! Prezident Nelson had a great talk in Oct. 2013 called Decisions for Eternity. Here is an exerpt that I love:

"My professional years as a medical doctor gave me a profound respect for the human body. Created by God as a gift to you, it is absolutely amazing! Think of your eyes that see, ears that hear, and fingers that feel all the wondrous things around you. Your brain lets you learn, think, and reason. Your heart pumps tirelessly day and night, almost without your awareness.8

Your body protects itself. Pain comes as a warning that something is wrong and needs attention. Infectious illnesses strike from time to time, and when they do, antibodies are formed that increase your resistence to subsequent infection.

Your body repairs itself. Cuts and bruises heal. Broken bones can become strong once again. I have cited but a tiny sample of the many amazing God-given qualities of your body.

Even so, it seems that in every family, if not in every person, some physical conditions exist that require special care.9 A pattern for coping with such a challenge has been given by the Lord. He said, “I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; … for if they humble themselves … and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.”10

Stellar spirits are often housed in imperfect bodies.11 The gift of such a body can actually strengthen a family as parents and siblings willingly build their lives around that child born with special needs."
anyway, necham to s vami,
s laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, February 1, 2016

nech sa páči

I don't think I have ever laughed so hard in my life! This week has been so incredibly full of miracles and good people and good times and beautiful weather. Every day when we wake up I seriously feel like I am living in a fairy tale! How incredibly lucky we are to be here and we have a castle and wonderful people and nice smelling air and everything is beautiful.

Some highlights:

One of my favorite things about being a missionary is that you are always where God needs you to be. There are people who we see on the streets a second or third time, and it is so evident to us how many chances God is giving these people to accept our message! We ran into one of my favorite people this week and had a chance to talk with him about receiving his answer. He was adament that he was always praying to find the truth, and never receiving an answer. After some discussion, we discovered that he did not really want to receive an answer. He admitted this and admitted that maybe he was not quite ready to receive an answer. God will always, always give us an answer--when we have real intent and desire to act on that answer.

We had a great time this week when one of our members came to our english course. It was probably
beautiful Vah
the weirdest thing in the entire world for me! She speaks english very well, but I have never spoken english with her in my entire life. It was probably the weirdest thing ever. I felt like I could not speak english adn every time I did it felt like I was speaking this foreign language! I do not know why it was so strange but let me just say, I would rather speak slovak. hahah

This week I found in the church building the coolest autobiography printed off by Martha Toronto, the wife of our missions first mission prezident Wallace Toronto. Our mission has the coolest history in the entire world! I could not believe the stories of missionaries being imprisoned, the mission prezident being called at age 24, smuggling things in and out of the country...I found so much faith in the stories I was reading! The Lord is incredible and is really at the head of this work. The pioneers in every country are truly such faith filled people. I cannot explain how grateful I am for everything they did in order for us to be able to spread the gospel in these countries today.

this is how sister ratcliffe gives me my snacks
Another really cool miracle that happened this week was when we were going out to talk with people, and I kept having the thought that we needed to go a different way and contact in a different neighborhood. I was a little confused because there arent always a lot of people out over there, but decided to follow the prompting anyway. SO we turned all the way around and headed over there. While over there, I thought of a less active member that lived down there but who had presumably moved. We decided to ring her bell and just see if she or her family was there. And she was! She invited us in for the first time and we were able to have a wonderful spiritual visit with her, her mother, and her daughter. We are so blessed! I am so grateful for the promptings of the spirit and know that when we follow them the Lord will truly use us in the ways He needs to.

This week, Sister Ratcliffe helped me out a lot. She helped me to overcome a few of my fears. Particularly, she helped me to do a handstand. That was pretty fantastic.

We had so much success this week going door to door, I was amazed! People have been so kind to us and so open to learning more about Jesus Christ and His restored church. It is interesting to see how the spirit can really soften somebodys heart. Maybe at the beginning of a contact, they will say, no, no, we dont want, but after speaking with us, they always seem to realize that what we have is precious and they have question after question. It is totally worth all of the terrifying dogs to go ring everyones bells at their gates, because we get to have these amazing spritual experiences with people!

We helped our dear Sestra Alžbeta shell some stubborn walnuts this week. Highlight.

We made zuchinni bread and delivered it to people. Highlight.

Church was seriously so great. Highlight.

Oh man we got to go to this mans home this week, and seriously it was incredible! We sat in this outdoor indoor villa thing which was all nice and warm and randomly had a motorcycle. Plus he was wearing all white flowy clothing so that was pretty fantastic. His wife was really sweet as well. Didnt really have interest to be baptized in the end but you know, it was a great and strange experience. Gotta have a few of those.

We are so grateful for this older couple that has us over every sunday. They are so sweet and we always feel the spirit so strong at their house. We had a wonderful conversation with them about listening with spiritual ears--that each one of us in life can learn different languages, be it slovak, english, the internet. But the most important language we can learn is the language of the spirit. If we are always actively listening, we can hear what God wants to tell us personally when we read in the scriptures or when we pray. I loved this exerpt from the Bible Dictionary about knowledge:

"One of the attributes of God (Isa. 46:9–10; Acts 15:18; 2 Ne. 9:20). Knowledge of divine and spiritual things is absolutely essential for one’s salvation; hence the gospel is to be taught to every soul. “How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?” (Rom. 10:14). Knowledge is not obtained all at once, even by revelation, but line upon line, precept upon precept (Isa. 28:9–10). The scriptures, and also living prophets, are given so that the people might have knowledge of things of God and “know how to worship, and know what you worship” (D&C 93:19). Knowledge is one of the endowments of the Holy Ghost (John 14:26; 16:13; D&C 34:10; 121:26–33) and one of the gifts of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:8; Moro. 10:10; D&C 46:18). Peter lists knowledge along with faith, patience, kindness, and virtue as necessary acquisitions for one who would seek for a divine nature (2 Pet. 1:3–9). Since no one can be saved in ignorance of the gospel (D&C 131:6), and one progresses only as fast as he gains knowledge (HC 4:588), it follows that the person who gains knowledge will have “the advantage in the world to come” (D&C 130:18–19)."

I love you all! Have a great week!
s laskou,
sestra abbott

Monday, January 25, 2016

piešok či skale


I know you have all been wondering about what we have been doing up here in little Trenčín, and the answer is certainly missionary work. And oh, it is certainly wonderful! The weather sure makes things exciting--the first half of the week was so pleasant, with birds singing and spring in the air--and then today I think that the clouds fell onto us in buckets of soft white snow! I could not believe how big those snowflakes were!

I think that the Lord really used us this week. We always seemed to be in the right place at the right time. I so enjoy listening to people and understanding them---not just the slovak, but what they are feeling. Praying for charity really works!

On wednesday the day was eventful because we rushed to Bratislava on a train for training! I sure do love trainings. I was pretty emotional because I just am realizing every day how much I love my mission and how much I love the people I serve with and the people I serve. Whenever anything was taught or said, I felt like raising my hand and saying "YES! this is so true! I know it is!" I feel the testifying power of the spirit when others testify, and then it is just one big pot of spirit and testimony and tears.

Afterwards, we rushed back home on the train and got to go to our wonderful neighbors to celebrate
her son´s seventh birthday. It was so much fun! We got to play a little game with him and I felt really weird helping a slovak boy read slovak...and I am an American. It was good. We ate a super incredibly delicious french marble cake and for that I was obviously very grateful.

We had a great time this week because our branch prezident taught us some Yoga! He is a yoga master. In fact, he found the church through yoga! In communism, he went to a yoga class in Brno, in the CZ, where the teacher was LDS: He would share with them "Spiritual Vitamins" Every week in yoga. As communism fell, they were able to share more and more about the church. Eventually prezident got a copy of the book of mormon and was baptized. He brought the yoga tradition to trenčín, and nearly all of our strong members here were converted in this small spiritual yoga class! I absolutely look up to these members. They have incredible conversion stories and I am so grateful for their faith. And I was pretty grateful to do some yoga.

strange snow crystals
We also got to go visit one of our members outside of Trenčín this week. We talked about discipleship and I was just so amazed at her example of discipleship. She sure has seen a lot of good times and a lot of bad times, and is still willing to listen and to make goals to do member missionary work. If every member did as much missionary work as our five members do in Trenčín I think the world would be converted! I admire them. Also she made us some delicious shish kabobs so that was totally great.

Lastly, on sunday I got to give a talk, which is always a great opportunity, but I think I learned a lot more than people got from my crazy slovak that was happening. I spoke about the simplicity of the gospel, and A verse I really loved is in 3 Nephi 11 verses 39-41

 39 Verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my doctrine, and whoso buildeth upon this buildeth upon my rock, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

 40 And whoso shall declare more or less than this, and establish it for my doctrine, the same cometh of evil, and is not built upon my rock; but he buildeth upon a sandy foundation, and the gates of hell stand open to receive such when the floods come and the winds beat upon them.

 41 Therefore, go forth unto this people, and declare the words which I have spoken, unto the ends of the earth.

I love that we are to be built upon the rock. The doctrine of Christ is simple, like a big mass. Maybe
up close you can see ridges, crevices, and different colors, but when you stand on it, it is firm and simple. Sand, though it may seem appealing and intricate, is made up of so many tiny grains that you cannot find a beginning or end to it, and when you stand on it, you sink. Sometimes we think our testimonies are built on the deep mysteries and secrets of the gospel, but those things wont hold strong when we are faced with opposition or a trial. The simple, concrete things of the gospel are those things that will keep us firmly planted on the foundation of Christ when hard things come. I am so grateful for the strength I find in these simple things every day!

s laskou,

Sestra Abbott

Monday, January 18, 2016

Real Recognize Real

ahh beets
This week has been one of those weeks where we really see Gods hand in our work. I have never been so consciously grateful for my situation, the people around me, and for the relationships I have ever in my life before! Even sitting here in the library I cannot imagine life without having to go to the coffee and cigarette-smelling library to pay to use the internet. God is so good!

We had a great family night last monday, where our recent convert really had some remarkable things to say. We talked about opposition--about how, if we want to see anything good at all, there will always, always be an opposite. He talked about how in life, when he has hardships, he always has hope that there will be something better because he knows this is a heavenly law that is as sure as gravity. For every downward force there is an upward. We talked about Satan and about God, about the roles they play in our conversion. He very profoundly told us that, in his opinion, "Satan je klamstvo a Boh je istota." Or, translated, Satan is lies and God is surety. How incredibly true that is! We can always rely on God to be that certainty in our lives. Sometimes Satan and worldly temptations try to disguise themselves as certainty, but if we consistently try to find the certainty that is the Lord, we will not be decieved.

I learned a second excellent lesson in our english class this week when we talked about finding a job
sister ratcliffe lookin great on an adventure
that you love. Another profound thought comes from our romanian english student--"The dream job is the job where you dont want to take any vacations." In that moment, it hit me. I HAVE THE DREAM JOB!! Literally I have not taken a vacation in almost a year and a half, and I could do it for a whole lot longer. I feel so incredibly blessed. I dont really know if anyone ever finds their dream job but I have already found mine!

Another piece of advice came from our cool gardener friend, who made a commitment to study and pray every morning before work. He said that in slovakia they have a saying, that your wine or drink will always taste like whatever you pour into the wine barrel first. (Because, the wine barrel is wood, so whatever you put into it, the taste sort of seeps in). SO, when you start your day with prayer and study, the rest of your day will "taste" Like the spirit! So very true! Second miracle that he experienced was that he decided to read in the Book of Mormon. He has not had a ton of success understanding and reading from the beginning, so he just decided to open to a random page. He opened to Jacob 5, the parable of the vineyard. And get this--he fell in love with it! As a gardener, he found so many applicable metaphors. Turns out, there is really something in the book of mormon for every person who will read her!

We and the elders helped a young man build his house this week. BOY, that was an adventure. Sister Ratcliffe and I are really, really strong sisters.

Our good old widow friend took us this week to the Hotel Alžbeta for fruit tea and desserts. Tea at a four star hotel with a woman in a fur coat? Class, we have class. Fanciest tea I have ever drinken. Dranken. Drunk. What is that WORD

Lastly, the wind of bitter cold seemed to freeze all of Trenčín this weekend. You look out the window, and it looks so deceptively warm, with clear blue skies and little to no breeze, and then you step outside, and it is like BOOM. -10 celsius. Every liquid in my body frozen. It is actually okay if we are walking around, but when we were going door to door yesterday night, my feet and ankles were just about ready to break off and Sister Ratcliffe was about ready to leave me on the side of the road. SO COLD

So, this is the week in a really really small nutshell. I am amazed every day at the love I feel for these
still fat because WOW CHOCOLATE
people and for this gospel. Studying the life of Joseph Smith this week has really opened my eyes to the types of opposition we feel and to the incredible trust God has in each one of us. Truly, He works with us to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of His children. If each of us can find the strength to humble ourselves and listen to His voice, truly we can be led to do His work, just as the Prophet Joseph did. I know he is a prophet and that he saw God and Jesus Christ! How grateful I am for that.

ukrainian candies and šišky
s laskou,
Sestra Abbott
When our electricity went out. AGAIN. Such good friends with our neighbor the electrician now.

Beautiful Trenčín!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weather and Such

birthday at sister alžbetas
What an exciting week we had over here in Trenčín! We started out our monday with the most miraculous way to begin a week. We talked with so many people who were so open and willing to listen to us. We got invited to tea three times in two hours! I have never had so much mint and fruit tea, and never needed to use the restroom so badly. But each person was incredibly prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel. The Lord really is in His work and puts us in the path of prepared people.

Another exciting turn of events was when the electricity shorted (lets all remember the tragic events that occured in the first week of july), and we were powerless for a morning. This time I simply was not having showering in the dark so we went and asked our neighbors for help. I love how people here always live the "love your neighbor as yourself" commandment. Our sweet french neighbor ran out to help us at 730 in the morning and her french dad helped us as well. We felt pretty trilingual when we said "Bonjour" and "merci". In the end, our other neighbor came home from work for a minute because he is an electrician and helped us out. YES. Light returned and the food in the fridge remained fresh!

The weather here has been a little crazy, for those of you looking for a forecast. We had some nice snow at the beginning of the week, pretty magical falling on the trees and everywhere, and then it
brutally turned to rain by sunday and turned everything to ice. I am literally a grandma tiptoeing around the streets of slovakia while Sestra Ratcliffe slides around the ice like a pro winter sport olympian. I am just so scared of falling! Anyway. Today it got really warm and everything seems like it is becoming spring. Do not worry--I still have my guard up, and I am still prepared for the ice rain.

THEN Sestra Ratcliffe reached the humble age of 20. We celebrated jubilantly and she was such a great birthday princess. We ate a ton of food and got to go visit Sestra Alžbeta, who of course made us a birthday feast and sang "Heppy Birthday" with all her little heart. Seriously the greatest role model for me in the whole world. They had, coincidentally, peanut butter in Lidl and so we got to make peanut butter fingers! Oh glorious things I forgot how much I love them. So addicting. SO american.

kofola in a peanut butter jar for lack of a bigger cup.
Besides that I think this week has been full of little miracles and of Gods hand. Is it not miraculous that God cares so much about each of His children? I want so badly for each one of His sons and daughters to feel that indescribable love that I feel so frequently, telling me that I am truly His daughter. God is so real and so involved in our lives. He always knows how to help us even when we do not know how to help ourselves. I hope that every one of us can have experiences for ourselves where we can say, " I know I am a child of God" without a doubt.

Love you all!
sestra abbott

Monday, January 4, 2016

Jan 4 heppy nový rok!

Oh, oh, I love Trenčín. Day after day it truly proves its love to me in every way. I think I could just stay here forever and camp out under the castle and sing slovak songs and eat halušky and potato pancakes and be forever in love with this little country. The people here are some of the most hardworking people ever and sure do know how to live life, even if they think it is the hardest thing.

We had a very miraculous week this week. In the blustering cold, we certainly found a way to have a very happy new year and find those elect people in Trenčín who needed a little bit of light. We trekked our way up the the southern part of Trenčín called Juh, and visited one of our friends. She is a single mother with three daughters, but we have never met her daughters. This time when we rang the bell, her little daughter answered the door and let us up. We got to share with them a wonderful message about Christ! I love the hope in childrens eyes when they hear us speak (now that they seem to all finally understand me...). They are so close to God and so pure and wonderful. I really really think it is always a huge miracle when we can talk to a family all together.

WOW then we had a crazy week trying to figure out new years and whatever was going on with that!
We were trying to make Christmas visits still and running around all over freezing cold Trenčín and there were just fireworks going off at every corner and my poor weak heart was so excited and jumpy that things were getting a little crazy! We had a meeting with someone on on side of the city, and they are so wonderful, but we went a little overtime and there were no busses, so we sprinted back to the building in order to have waffles with the elders (good reason to sprint? I think not.) SO we had great waffles and then we went home to wait for midnight..and BOY I love slovakia!! I forgot how wonderful the fireworks are here! We so enjoyed the craziness that happened at midnight and I love being in a place where everyone still yells Happy New Year! But in a different language.

On New Years Day we had a great time when IT SNOWED!! Finally! We were so happy to start the year out white and clean. We wanted to go to the mall but turns out none of the busses were running, so we had a half hour to talk to people on the street, and we found three really great spiritual people who talked with us for a good long time! We could not believe that out of the probably five people walking on the street all day, three of them wanted to talk to us. God sure works in mysterious ways but we really appreciate it.

WELL then it was Sunday, and what a beautiful fast sunday we had. We were able to go to church on sunday morning in some more freshly fallen snow, and our wonderful members were there to welcome us. We had a fantastic testimony meeting about Jesus Christ and every member had a strong testimony to share. All of their experiences are different and they all have found such lasting happiness in the gospel. I have learned so much from the members here in Trenčín and am so grateful I am still here to follow their examples.

All in all, I am so grateful for the week that I have had here in Trenčín! I have come closer to Christ than ever in the last month and am so grateful for His Atonement. I am even more grateful for the examples of his Apostles--mostly for Peter, who was a man with a lot of fear that was quickly dispelled by his witness of the Living Christ. I know that each of us has fears we have to overcome in life, whether they involve standing alone or pushing through a trial--but I also know that when we receive that witness of Christ for ourselves, each of us can be healed and can gain a courage that is nothing like we have ever felt before. I am more grateful than ever to be a missionary and hope that I can continue to be a witness of Christ for the rest of my life.

s laskou,
sestra abbott