Another breathtaking perfect miracle week in Celje Slovenia! Life here gets better every single day. No matter how impossible it is, I love the people here more and more every day. It is greener, everything tastes better, the work is more fun, it is hotter, I am happier. Everything is better in Slovenia. I am currently in Ljubliana after spending a super P-day with the sisters here and having my foot looked at again. This email might be a little scattered... but I promise this week was amazing so it is worth reading! :)
Typically, if the topic of weather makes it into my email... it was a pretty boring week! Well, this is not one of those instances! We had some days this week where we were in 43 degrees Celsius and 100% humidity. I could feel my blood boiling haha. It was a warm and sweaty one for sure. I honestly cannot remember another time in my life I have been so sweaty. But heat is great and I am happy I am not freezing. I love sleeping with a fan! I miss AC! But all is well! You are all probably wondering... Sister Higgins, why are you telling us it is hot? That is not exciting! Well, here is the story! On Saturday, we spent the morning doing missionary work as always! It was not very hot at all! Maybe 38? It was a great day! We had a lesson with a member so we ran to the church to get her the General Conference messages that we finally got translated into Slovene. I had been having a pretty bad headahce all day but was ignoring it but i knew it would probably rain that night. We noticed some scary-looking clouds off in the distance and assumed we would be walking home from the lesson in rain so we grabbed a trash bag to wrap around my boot. The Elders met us in the alley and we talked about some finding activities (ways to meet people) really quickly. SUDDENLY the wind started to pick up and we could hear the sound of sprinkles of rain! WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? We all looked down the alley and watched as literally a wall of rain fell. One second, you could see the car parked on the street, the next... you couldn't. The thunder could have broken my bones haha. The lightning was PSYCHO COOL! So the Elders made a run for it because they were going home. Sister E. and I had a 20 minute walk but we new we wouldn't last a second in this CRAZY rain storm. So, we made the decision to stay at the church and wait it out since our apartment would be too far. Suddenly I rememberd... we left 4 Windows open that morning so it wouldn't be so deathly hot at the end of the day. UGH! Panic set in and we bolted out into the empty street. Within seconds, it was as if I had been in a shower. The rain drops were not falling on my head... they were smacking me. We ran (running on a boot covered in a trash bag.. not too shabby) as fast as we could to our apartment. No use in dodging puddles since the street was a river. We stayed close together since you couldn't see each other if we were too far apart. Car alarms started going off from the rain. The thunder was so so so loud. We made it to our apartment and opened the door and the water flooded into the hall way. We couldn't mop it up... we had 66 stairs to run up still to save our stuff. We had a plan on who was going to shut which window. I ran to mine and shut them and quickly evaluated my damaged things and ran to the other window. Once the windows were shut... we were just laughing. We both looked like we had taken a shower with our clothing on. I had a trash bag on my leg. There is a little pond in our house... hahaha it was so bad. BUT SO FUNNY! We got to work (since there was a lot to do) I got all the stuff that had been blown out of my drawer and onto the floor out of the puddles and into the other room and hung up my wet note books, and books... Yes my brand new Slovene dictionary included. We set up fans to dry the pages and soaked up the water on the floor with all we had (sheets) Our couches and beds got it pretty good too. SO MUCH WATER! Seriously, world's craziest rain storm. I am pretty sad about the fact that seriously only my stuff got ruined haha and a lot of it. I am thankful we were safe. I am glad it was funny hahaha. It was seriously so so insane. That storm lasted about 30 minutes and then we had blue skies and people were out again in the puddled streets. SO CRAZY! We too went back out and saw branches of trees and bricks off of houses in the street. It was such a crazy storm! I learned to never leave our windows open and just deal with the inevitable heat when we get home. I learned that paper dries ugly and things get ruined haha. I learned to laugh. I discovered my ability to run is still there! hahahaha. It was a really intense storm! But everyone is good and things are back to being blistering hot in Celje, Slovenia.
A light bulb went out in our house this week so we made a trip to the store to get a new one. The store is called DIPO. It might be my favorite store in slovenia. I wanted to cry the whole time I was in there. It is like... an Ikea? Hard to explain. First off... it had AC! I could have spent hours in there just for that. Second... the smell! It smelled SO GOOD! Like a new home or Home Depot in America. I was taking the world's deepest breaths in there just smelling how clean it was. THERE WAS CARPET!!!!!! We took our shoes off and felt how soft it was on our feet. What is carpet? Don't worry. It was such a big moment that we captured it in a photo haha. On our way out, we passed the kitchen displays. THEY HAD AMERICAN KITCHENS! I just stood there and touched the wood cabinets. It was awesome, guys. So yeah... my favorite store in Slovenia is just because it smells so clean, is cool, and has American stuff like couches, kitchens and CARPET. Pathetic, I know. But it was a tender mercy from the Lord that I got to go in there.
One really cool experience we had this week -- as you all know, I am a part-time English teacher, full-time Missionary hahaha. Just kidding. But yeah, we teach English class here two times a week. I love my English students and I really love teaching English. So this thursday, I splurged and bought myself a slovene dictionary (I was way more excited about it than I should have. Seriously... I love this language too much. I was SO EXCITED!) and Sister E. and I decided to go to the church where there is AC and do language study. So our students started showing up and we hear one of the members who comes to English speaking in really slow Slovene and explaining that we have language classes upstairs... SO sister E. and I go over there and we all walked up the stairs. I asked the typical questions and quickly realized she could not understand me like at all so I said "Od kod ste?" Which means, "Where are you all from?" and she said "Bosnia." She quickly explained that she thought we were teaching a Slovene class here and that is what she and her kids were looking for. So frantically, I start figuring out if we could teach this family Slovene. But the French teacher didn't have any students and she is a native Slovene so she was going to understand her better. Anyways, she volunteered to teach them Slovene! My class with Sister E. was empty (thank you summer) so we joined. We quickly learned that they had lived here in Slovenia for 4 days and have moved here to live now and were looking to learn Slovene before school starts in the fall for her kids. I immediately felt overwhelming love for this family and such a strong desire to help them. I was seriously thinking of everything we could do to help. So, we taught them all of the helpful phrases in Slovene and explained we would have something worked out next class so she would have a teacher who would understand her. After class, I quickly called a member here who served in this mission and is from Serbia but served in Bosnia and Croatia and now lives in Slovenia. Anyways, I called him and explained the situation and he is one of the most sincere and genuine people -- he of course was all over helping them. When he said yes, I almost cried. I was so excited. We found help for this... amazing Bosnian family. I know I can't really call them amazing because I have met them once and the conversation was not in Slovene or English haha but from what I was able to understand -- they are AWESOME!
The other day, I was kinda missing home? Not home, but the feeling of sincere and genuine love people have for me there. I expressed this concern to my companion and she listened. I told her I kinda forgot what it is like to have someone like genuinely excited to see you and just love you. That night, I prayed for just a friend or to feel some love! The next day (Friday) we developed some photos at the print store under our house. The man who works there LOVES the sisters, because we give him an opportunity to speak some English and we always print fun photos haha. He is awesome! He sometimes gives us our photos (VERY expensive to print here) for free and will even set them out for us to grab since he is always closed when we get back from working all day. I was happy to talk to him and get some photos. Then, we went to a members house who lives pretty far away. She is a doll. We always sing "Love at Home" with her and I always loose it about half way through and laugh. That song will ALWAYS remind me of this sweet member. She loves it when I ask to take a photo with her so I always do, and I can't wait to print them out and give them to her so she can add it to her photo book (a very Slovene thing... everyone will show you 10000 pictures when you come over) I love her. On the walk home, we were walking past a bus stop and I see a guy sitting there waiting. He LIT UP when he saw me and Sister E. and waved us over, as we got closer, I recognized the man as someone I have spoken to MANY times haha (Celje is so small). He informed us that he had hurt his leg and showed us his bruises. We compared leg injuries haha. I LOVE HIM! He will always be someone I remember from Celje. I took a seat by him on the bench and we just sat there and talked about life for a while. He giggles at everything I say haha. I probably lit up more seeing him then him seeing me. I sincerely love that man. Then, while we were contacting along the river, another one of my favorite older men on a bike stopped us to check up on my foot and talk about life. I invited him to church. The best way to describe this man is... a lawyer? I don't know why but he reminds me of one. He is so much fun and uses big words haha. I like him. He always has the BIGGEST smile. Then, in center, we ran into the cutest lady who lives a building over. She was on her way to my favorite pakarna and greeted me with a huge hug. She asked about my foot (as all do) and tried to teach me how to tell how far away things are using km. I Will probably never understand that. I asked her how many donuts away something was and she looked at me so confused until she realized that I was serious and then she just laughed! Hey! It was something we both know how to measure with hahaha. We laughed in center about that and many other things for a while. I love my friends here in Celje. Sister E. told me some things that day-- she talked about how everyone can feel and see the love I have for the people here... and likely, everyone can feel and see the love the people have for me. As I thought about that and looked around at all my friends I had talked to that day, I realized that I have been feeling love all along. I was expecting it to come from... I don't know, my companion, or Mission President or someone like that. But my eyes were closed to the people all around me who love me too. I love my friends here in Celje.
Last Monday, we had a lot of success contacting people! We got 3 new potential investigators! A few days later, we planned to call them and there were two we were really excited about and felt good about and one who we thought just gave us his number because he didn't know what else to do. Well, we called and one picked up and said they don't know anyone by that name, the next number was a dead line... and that left us with the guy we were not sure about. SO we called him and he set up to meet with us again! The next day, we went to the spot to meet and saw him down the way send his wife down the river while he came to talk to us. I was a little bummed and thought -- well now he won't want to stay long! To my faithless surprise haha he wanted us to come teach his wife as well! So we walked to a shady spot on the river and taught. He had read the pamphlet we had given him and they had the most PERFECT questions. like "What do you believe will happen after this life?" and "What is the difference between your church and ours?" It was SUCH a good lesson! We read the Introduction page to the Book of Mormon with them and gave them each a copy. They told us they would need a week to read it so to call back in a week to set up again. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson and the gift of tongues was working overtime. I love teaching this gospel! Especially to people who are searching for hope.
So yeah. I live in a perfect mission. I love everything about it. I honestly cannot believe how happy I am. I love working and teaching and sweating and serving and loving and learning and growing. This mission thing has my heart. I love you all! I hope you have a great week! Go work hard and make things happen!