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.