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