This week has been a tender one for me. I have probably changed more in the past 7 days than I have in the past 12 months. I know I will never forget this week. Every single one of my prayers has been answered. I have felt the Spirit in ways too sacred to put into words. I didn’t know missions could be like this.
Some visa issues had me in Slovenia for a moment at the visa office there. I really loved showing my companion that Europe has mountains! Slovenia really impressed her and I enjoyed sharing such a big part of my heart with her because she also has such a big part of my heart... we will get to that later. Crossing the border into Slovenia, I was so excited. I could speak the language to the people and read and understand the signs.... it was so good. After a while in Slovenia and having some frustrations with my visa, I said to my companion "Wow, I just want to go back home!" She sweetly questioned "You mean Osijek?" I realized I had just referred to Osijek, Croatia as home. I felt an overwhelming amount of love for my new home in Osijek. Yes. It is home. My trip to Slovenia 100% confirmed to me that I belong in Croatia. Though I will miss the green mountains this summer, the people there, the members there, the food there, the amazing views, the castles, and the language... I belong here.
Something cool about missions: you discover a lot about yourself. It is rough sometimes. One thing I know is I LOVE hard physical work. I love it so much. It is something that really brings joy to my life. We were able to help a member move this week and my soccer companion and I ran stairs like I haven’t done since high school. Our calves were in knots the next day... but it really brought such a sweet spirit into our week. I LOVE SERVICE!
One of the highlights of this week was a culture thing I have to get used to. The food here.... I mean it’s kind of the same but no. It’s different. Like a lot. I really feel culture shock again. I remember shopping for groceries my first week in Slovenia...I feel that here. BUT! Something pretty much every missionary just raves about is something called Sarma. It is basically like a meat mixture? Wrapped in pickled cabbage. You eat it in a soup with potatoes.... SO GOOD!!!!!! I was excited to try it and it did not disappoint at all. We already have a date with the member to learn how to make it. Dad would love it.
I am unsure I will ever be able to share even the slightest amount of how I feel this week. It is one of those things I really don’t think I will ever be able to express. This week was very tender and sacred to me. I was prompted to speak 2 times. My heart was racing and... I can’t even explain the feeling. Anyway, Croatian came out! That was a really powerful moment for my companion and me. I have dwelt in the Spirit and God’s love this week in a way I never have. Honestly... if I knew missions could be like this 12 months ago... I didn’t know what I was missing until I found it.
Let me just take a second and express my love for my new Sister R. She is probably the most evident example God has ever given me that he answers my prayers. We go running every morning and talk about soccer days together. Her family is the most darling thing in the world and I love when she talks about them. I can hardly wait to meet them someday. She loves the people here. She is so good with them. She is just pure. I am so blessed with her as a companion. I taught the Sunday school lesson in English this week and let her translate for me. She is such a champion with the language! She translated so well! I am like a proud mom haha. Anyway...I didn’t know a companionship could be like this. It is seriously wonderful.
Probably the main feeling I have felt this week (watch me attempt to put this into words) is love. SO much love from my Father in Heaven. So much love from my companion, and the people here who are so patient with my Slovene accent. Love is the great commandment and should be the center of all we do. I found two quotes this week that I loved. The first one says "What we love determines what we seek. What we seek determines what we think and do! What we think and do determines who we are and who we will become." I love the music from the "Lamb of God" album and it has been stuck in my head all week. I am also reading the New Testament for studies right now and the question this week that has stuck with me is "whom seekest thou?" It has been a powerful thing for me to ask myself that question frequently. I am so thankful for a companion who is seeking the same person I am. It is just a really tender mercy to be serving with her in Croatia right now.
I love you all! Thank you for the prayers and fun responses to my move. I love it here. No worries. All is well in Osijek. I love it!