Even though this week was a little slow, I loved every second of it. Serving as a missionary is the best part of my world... and serving in the best part of the world is just the cherry on top. I know I say this all the time... but I think I am the happiest missionary ever. Because Celje is perfect and I love working. MISSIONS ARE AWESOME!
I realized this week... it was about a year ago I received an answer that I was to serve a mission. I remember that drive SO clearly as if it was yesterday and my heart burns as I recall the feeling. I cried. I called my mom and dad and told them. I remember everything SO CLEARLY! Because it was the day my life literally changed. Receiving that answer was so cool. I am so glad I didn't ignore it. This time last year, I NEVER would have guessed I would be sitting here in Slovenia today. NEVER! And today, I can't ever imagine leaving. I remember the excitement behind not telling anyone I was going on a mission. I remember DYING to tell my siblings. AHHH That was SO much fun, you guys! But yeah, this time last year, my life completely changed. And I am SO happy it did. I love being a missionary.
One of the funniest things we did this week was learn how to make strudel! IT WAS SO MUCH FUN! I was on top of the world. I paid such close attention and wrote down all of the steps so I can do it some day for my family. A sweet member invited us over and showed us step by step how to make strudel. We started by hand-mixing the dough and then letting it rest while mixing up the cream filling thing. I now know tons of cooking words in Slovene. (My notes on how to cook it are half in Slovene, so hopefully I can figure it out some day when I am old haha) The way they spread the dough out to make it thin and flaky is SO AMAZING haha that was my favorite part. SO MUCH FUN! It was seriously so entertaining! I plan on making it within the first week of returning home from my mission. You will all love it! But it was so good to spend time with a member and have them show us something they love. I learned a lot about how to listen to their likes and how to not use so much sugar in sweet things (Slovenes hate sugar.) She let us help, which meant the entire world to me. I got to help hand make blueberry strudel in Celje on my mission. AM I DREAMING?? SO MUCH FUN! I am learning so much from these people... including how to cook! (You are welcome, future husband!)
While waiting at the Celje train station this week on our way to a lesson, a man walked up to me and said in English "Is this train going to Žalec?" I was shocked at first to hear English so he had to say it again before I realized that that was MY native tongue he was speaking in and then I quickly responded to help him. I invited him to sit down on the bench with me and my companion and we got talking. He was from Canada, but he married a Slovene! We asked him if he knew any Slovene and he laughed! He quickly informed us that he knew 11 languages -- including Russian, Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, Polish... the list goes on, but he could not learn Slovene. I DIED! He said he is fully convinced it is a fake language that is completely impossible to ever learn or understand. He knew quite a lot about our church because he had met many missionaries (the only people who will speak English with him haha) and he believes it is true simply because we are able to speak Slovene hahaha that and that we are nice. It made me realize I am only able to learn this seriously impossible language with the hand of God. He is so right. It also made me realize that my ability to speak this language might be why some people are first interested in the message of the gospel... simply because we have Gods help to learn their beautifully impossible language. It gave me a deeper desire to study and work harder at learning the language because you never know who is listening to my awful American accent and thinking... How does she know Slovene and why is she here?
Tender mercies are what get me through each day. On Saturday, we had 6 hours of straight tracting in 36 degrees Celsius and 100% humidity. I was SO happy because I love finding people to teach! No matter how many doors get slammed on your face, you can always get something fun out of it and you learn so much! Anyways... it was just hot. I was very sweaty. At one point, my companion asked to sit down for a second and we refocused and rested for a few minutes. While we were sitting there, I prayed that someone would let us in so we could get out of the heat and get some water. So, we got up and got back to work, and 4 doors later -- exactly that happened. We were welcomed into a cool home and given water and pineapple juice. You guys, I could have cried. I was so happy. I can see the Lords hand in my life every single day on my mission, but that one touched me. It was a literal answer to my prayer. I love water. I miss ice. Next time you see a missionary... give them water. I know God is so aware of us all, not just His missionaries!
I think one of the biggest things I learned this week is about the condition of our hearts. I am not sure how to explain it, but I will try. Sometimes I will pray for something and I won't get an answer right away. I have learned that God ALWAYS answers our prayers... but sometimes He has to check the condition of our hearts first. And that can take time since none of us are perfect. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father who will ALWAYS answer our prayers in His time after our hearts are ready. I would be in a whole other place if He had answered all my prayers when and the way I wanted them to be... and there is no place else that I would rather be than here.
Yesterday, we had branch conference (aka my new favorite thing.) I LOVE the members here in Celje and watching them learn from the Spirit is my favorite. The Spirit was so strong and I was so happy. President Grant came to it and it was good to learn from him. I don't know if any of that made sense... but the Spirit taught the members here and was able to touch some hearts of my favorite people -- the members. So yesterday was AWESOME! We talked a lot about relying on the Lord and turning to Him for answers. After that, we talked about branch unity which was exactly what we needed. It was so good for the branch.
I am happy. The happiest I have ever been. I am sharing the Gospel with people, how could I not be happy? This week was awesome! I wake up every morning SOO excited to see what will happen that day. I love being a missionary! Another perfect week in Celje, Slovenia.