Zdravo!!! 10 days is much too long to go without emailing! I have been smiling ear to ear reading the best emails ever from home! I love you all so much and hope you know I read each and every letter that I get! All is well in Celje Slovenia! The other day I was realizing.... I have never had a bad day on my mission!!! Some might think, "oh that's just a state of mind you are in..." but really, I think it is impossible to have a bad day on a mission. I LOVE learning this way! Every single time I open my mouth to teach, I am taught. I have learned more in the past 5 months than I ever have in my life, and it is so much fun! Celje still completely owns my heart. I feel emotional even typing about it. So thank you for your prayers for the people here. God is fully aware of Celje.
A question I seem to get a lot is "How is the language?!" It is sooooo good!! I am totally fascinated by the idea of languages now and I want to learn so many other ones now! I love Slovene because I love the people who speak it. I have a drive to learn it so I can better communicate with these people who own my heart. This week, I had to call all of the female members in our branch to see who all was going to a women's conference in Maribor. As I ended an 8 minute conversation with a particular member, a memory of my first week here in Celje came back. I remember sitting in her house on one of my first days here as she told me her conversion story and asked about my family. My trainer had to translate every single word. I understood about 2% of what was said and said a very short prayer and that was about it. 3 months later I was hanging up the phone after carrying on a 8 minute conversation with this member whom I have come to love so much. My heart was overwhelmed as I realized how much I have improved and how amazing it is to speak with the gift of tongues. It was such a cool feeling I will never forget.
As I mentioned, we had a Slovenia-wide woman's conference in Maribor last weekend. It was wonderful! We rode in the senior couples' car along the perfect Slovenian country side -- I was in awe, as I am every time. I will never get used to how adorable and green everything is here. I love Slovenia. The conference was so good!!! There were wonderful talks and I felt the spirit very strongly as I received multiple promptings. We got to take a little cruise along the cute Maribor river. It was so beautiful! All 8 of us sister missionaries got to come with our branches and it was so good to see everyone and meet the members. It was so cool to have 5 sisters from the Celje branch come! I watched as the spirit touched each of them and I know they were so blessed for coming! Maribor is wonderful!
At the conference, WE GOT MAIL!! (Because our Mission President came from Croatia so he brought it with him.) I was so happy as I read 2 letters from my amazing mom! She sent me tips on some things to cook! Such good letters as always mom! Thank you! 2 friends from home also wrote me! And I got the best little package from my best friend that made my entire day!! I felt so cool receiving soo much mail. As always, I am overwhelmed by the amount of love and support I receive from everyone. You all will never know how much it means to me.
This week I felt sentimental about Celje every single morning as I woke up to the birds in the wall. There are so many things here I never want to forget! Like the smell of the church building! Or the way the lights sound as you turn on the switch! As we were walking along the river on our way in from contacting for the night, we were walking by the beautiful river in the middle of so much green and looking at the castle that is always in view and listening to the jazz music coming down the stream... There were families out and everyone was speaking this beautiful Slovene language that I love... And it all just hit me that THIS is the Slovenia that I love. Everything about this place... Especially the people! I am honestly so blessed to serve here. What a cool mission.
I had the painful opportunity to learn about humility this week. I found myself bugged by things people were doing and I was in a prideful state of mind, thinking "why can't you just be obedient?" Or " don't you know love is the greatest commandment?" One morning, I was studying a wonderful talk and an individual came to mind who would benefit from the lesson taught in the talk. In the very moment that thought entered my mind, another thought - from a better place than the first - entered my mind and I realized " I could learn a thing or two from this talk as well." Instantly, I felt so much regret for the state of mind I had let myself get into! I had been thinking I was surrounded by people who had so many flaws and I didn't realize that I was in equal company. One of the coolest stories of humility to me is when Christ told His disciples that one of them would betray him. My first instinct, along with most, would be to look around and decide who would do it. But the scriptures tell us that in that moment "they were exceedingly sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?" COOLEST STORY EVER!! A talk entitled "Lord is it I?" By President Uchtdorf is one of the best talks ever! Go read it! He said "When we start believing that our contributions at home, at work, and at the church are greater than they actually are, we blind ourselves in significant and profound ways." What a dangerous state of mind to be in. Many of us have a difficult time seeing ourselves as we truly are. "May I suggest that the Holy Scriptures and the talks given at General Conference are an effective mirror we can hold up for self-examination. As you hear or read the words of ancient and modern prophets, refrain from thinking about how the words apply to someone else and ask the simple question: Lord is it I? We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachable minds. We must be willing to learn and to change. And oh, how much we gain by committing to live the life our Heavenly Father intends for us. Those who want to improve and progress, those who learn of the Savior and desire to be like Him, those who humble themselves as a little child and seek to bring their thoughts and actions into harmony with our Father in Heaven -- they will experience the miracle of the Savior's atonement."
I saw the Lord's hand countless times this week as always, but one day in particular was such a cool day. Sister E. and I were literally placed in the path of so many people the Lord wanted us to talk to! We ran into 2 families who I contacted last transfer and lost touch with, and were able to set up lessons with them. We finally ran into an inactive member we have been trying to meet with. And 2 investigators who have not been responding, finally responded!! It was seriously such a cool day to just watch the Lord place us on the right path.
It was really such a great week!!! I am growing sooo much and learning more than ever. I love being a missionary! I think I might be the happiest missionary ever. All is well! I love you all so much! Have the greatest week ever, because I will!
With all my love,