I am writing this email completely overwhelmed by the many happy birthday wishes I just read. Mom, BEST SURPRISE EVER! I just wept looking at the photos of all the people I love holding a sign that says "Happy Birthday, Holly!" I am COMPLETELY overwhelmed by the love I feel from home this week. THANK YOU!!!!! I cannot believe I will be 20 on Thursday. I am also really excited. I love being at the "prime of my life" and in the service of our God. I would not have it any other way. For my birthday, I will wake up in Slovenia, but then will head to Croatia for a Christmas zone thing. I am excited for this! I wish I could do normal missionary work on my birthday, but I am also really looking forward to celebrating Christmas with other missionaries!
Shout-out to mom and dad for naming me Holly Noelle. Even though I have not gone by that name in quite some time now, I have been able to study the reason we use holly at Christmas and share that with others, including members, and bear my testimony on the atonement. I love my name. I treasure moments when I am called by it now haha. Holly berries are EVERYWHERE in Maribor and it makes me so happy. I think of my mom and dad every time I pass one and I remember my name and who I represent each time I pass one. Because of my name, I CHERISH this season. I love Christmas. I love my name, and this Christmas has brought on a whole new understanding of why we celebrate!
This week was SO. MUCH. FUN! We saw miracles as always! I love the new film from the church about discovering why we need a Savior. I don't know what it is about it but it touches me every single time I watch it! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! I was studying it one day last transfer and had this idea of sharing it with people on the street instead of just handing out cards with the website on it. So I made it happen. The work behind it started about 7 weeks ago but FINALLY we are out on the streets in Maribor helping people "discover why!" We have a computer playing the new Christmas music videos on the christmas.mormon.org website and we are handing out free hot chocolate and inviting people to watch the film. We then watch the film and bear testimony of our Savior and the reason for the season and invite others to "DISCOVER WHY!" Because of this, I have never been more excited for Christmas! Inviting others to "discover why" and bearing my testimony countless times about my Savior has brought the most precious spirit into this Christmas season!
I got to be in Ljub this week with a fresh new sister right from America who filled Sister C.'s spot. She was so sweet. Because of other things going on, I was her companion for her first day. I took her contacting -- mind you, this was in a city where I have NEVER served! -- and we taught the English class together. It was SO much fun to see Slovenia from fresh new eyes haha. I LOVE my mission, but I am also so grateful I didn't have my first day this week haha. I learned a lot from the time with a new missionary. I was able to recognize my own abilities in Slovene and also in being able to teach as a missionary. She was so cool. It was such a fun experience.
It was such a good week. I am so thankful to be exactly where I am. I love Maribor. I love Slovenia... with my whole soul. What a great birthday gift that I get to be here. Thank you for the birthday wishes, even if they made me cry. ( I promise, I cried with joy)
One year older... and wiser too!
Sestra Holly Noelle Higgins