Where do I begin?
My inspired friend, in her letter this week, wrote "Adversities are the evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more." from Elder Scott. God is ready for me to grow!
This Thursday, I celebrated my year mark in a way I didn’t expect!!!
On January 28th 2015, I packed my bags. I nervously got into a car with all my things for a new adventure. I cried. I was soooo nervous about learning a new language. I felt so much peace knowing I was going exactly where the Lord wanted me. I cried leaving a place I love. I cried leaving my family and the people I love.
On January 27th 2016, I repeated the process. I packed my bags. I got into a car and sobbed, not knowing the next time I would be in Maribor, let alone the beautiful country of Slovenia. I cried. I wept. I was SOOOOO nervous about learning yet another new language. I felt so much peace knowing I was going exactly where the Lord wanted me. I wept the most bitter tears leaving a place and a people I LOVE!
Said very simply... I am no longer a Slovenian missionary. I am no longer serving in the beautiful fairy tale land of Slovenia. I am on to a new adventure! I am in Osijek Croatia with the world's cutest missionary fresh from America.
How did I get here?
Last Monday we had probably what will go down as one of the funniest P-days. Sister Nydegger and I hit up the gym. FELT SO GOOD! I miss the gym. Then we met up with the Celje Missionaries and our elders to play some soccer at the city park. SO MUCH FUN! I was literally on cloud nine. I missed soccer and it was good to play again. Great P-day.
Tuesday morning during studies, I received a call from President Grant that completely changed my life for probably the rest of forever. He announced the Lord needed me elsewhere and that I would be leaving the next day. The initial shock was nice... until it started to lessen and I realized and FELT that I would soon be leaving Slovenia. I cried..... I don’t know how else to put it. My heart literally felt pain. We had an interview with someone and the whole time I was speaking in Slovene and answering her questions, my heart felt my Slovene. I felt God tell me I had done something hard that I never expected to do. I learned a different hard language. At the end she asked me how I like Slovenia, and I held back tears as I told her my feelings about this land I LOVE! The rest of the day is kind of a blur. I didn’t say much. The amount of emotions that have been with me this week has been overwhelming. I am still not sure how to feel about it all. That night at English class I bore my last testimony in Slovene for a while. I was sad. It all started to hit me that I was leaving. That night I didn’t sleep a wink. I was nervous, excited, so so so sad.... so many emotions.
Sister Nydegger drove me to Zagreb. I cried on and off the whole ride haha. Emotional wreck. I had to say goodbye to my trainer and my really good friend in Zagreb, and then she was gone. I was officially without Slovene! Being back at the airport in Zagreb brought back memories from last April when I felt the spirit SO strongly confirm to me that I was where I was supposed to be. It really felt like a complete and perfect new start. I felt the excitement I felt last April entering the field. I felt again the spirit confirm to me I was where I was supposed to be. I cried. After some time in Zagreb, another new sister made the trip with me to Osijek. She was so cute and really helped me feel comfortable in Croatia. She is new to the mission and made me remember how much power new missionaries have. Later that night, we pulled in to my new apartment and met my new companion. Sister Rollins is an answer to so many unspoken and spoken prayers. She is perfect for me. I love her already. I look up to her so much! She is such a good missionary! We will be fine haha. She told me we had a lesson to get to... in Croatian! STRESS! So I got my stuff inside the apartment and we jumped on a tram to our lesson. The good news is.... I can understand pretty well.... I don’t know how. But I really am understanding just fine. Tender mercy... our investigator's wife is a Slovene, so I was able to teach in Slovene and then she would translate into Croatian for her husband and my companion to understand. I even read in Croatian the first lesson haha.
Church here was so cute. Our church is bright and happy and I feel the Spirit there so strongly. The branch president asked me to translate the meeting into Croatian haha. No. So cool. I had the lesson for Sunday school. One of my favorite things about being a missionary in this area of the world is how involved we are in the branch and how we get to actually teach and lead by serving. SO MUCH FUN! I love teaching Sunday school! Nephi is so cool.
So yeah.... that was my week. I don’t know how else to put it into words. My heart was torn from Slovenia. I never expected to feel so strongly about leaving. I love Slovenia. I know that it will always own a part of my heart. I learned and grew there in ways I never expected. The gospel became a part of my life in the shadow of the rolling beautiful green hills. Where I am at in Croatia... it is flat. SO FLAT! It is completely different. It looks different. Boy does it smell different. It is like culture shock all over again. BUT I LOVE IT! Osijek already has my heart. I am so happy here. I am so thankful for a Heavenly Father who is helping me in this haha. I am so not alone. I have felt the Spirit countless times confirm to me that this is where I am supposed to be.
The Spirit was my companion this week. I was prompted to fast for Melanie, and turns out she needed it. Welcome baby Ella. You are so precious. I already love you. I felt the Spirit as a comforter so much. In the most tender ways this week, He has carried me to Osijek. I have felt the gift of tongues. I am receiving so much help with Croatian. I have learned 80 new words haha. I am understanding. I am not walking here but being carried. I am seeing miracles. Many of you sent me emails saying you felt to pray for me this week..... I felt them. I cherish my family and friends that you were all inspired to pray for me this week because I sure did need it.
My heart is full.