We are at the Davisons to
We had some good moments this week. We went to the Nizols on Tuesday night for a sort of Family Home Evening. We made burritos with the Elders there and tried to convince Rada to give a talk in sacrament meeting. She almost said yes! Its okay, baby steps. The burritos werent too bad, actually. Although it seemed too spicy to the rest of them. That is one thing that does not exist in the Balkans - spicy food. As you can tell, I am excited to have mexican food again. That was a good night.
We also had a kind of "talent show" activity. The Davisons danced, Elder Bennett played the piano, and I sang. That was fun. Elder Davison accompanied me. I have not really sung in a while, and I enjoyed it. I sang, "Smile", by Charlie Chaplin. Well, its originally by him, but Josh Groban also did a really fabulous cover of it. I think it was less for the people I sang it for, and more for me. The lyrics are this:
Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking.
When there are clouds in the sky
you'll get by.
If you smile through your pain and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide every trace of sadness.
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying.
You'll find that life is still worthwhile-
If you just smile.
Its not technically a hymn, but there are certainly gospel principles in that. Much like Ezra Taft Benson said, "Be cheerful in all that you do. Live joyfully. Live happily. Live enthusiastically, knowing that God does not dwell in gloom and melancholy, but in light and love"
Being happy actually invites the spirit to be with you, which invites the presence and power of God into your life. Pretty neat stuff. And that is what I am focusing on this next transfer. Its a new start. I am focusing on the joy of missionary work, and the Spirit of the Holy Ghost which will accompany it.
We are at the Davisons today, waiting for my new companion. Sister Berrett. She was in the MTC with Sister Lee, and I heard all about her -- only good things! I hear she is practically perfect in every way and such a sweetheart. I am really excited to work with her. It will hopefully be a good transfer for the two of us. We will be STLs together in Banja Luka. Sister Lee is also now STL in Zagreb, so I will get to see her next week when we go for Mission Leadership Council.
I also made lunch for everyone today. Its Australia Day, you know. (okay, so maybe I didnt know either). Anyway, we made chicken alfredo with a salad. Pretty delicious! Elder Davison asked if I was a cook, and I said no (and then I laughed to myself because actually, yes, I am called Cook all the time) but then he mentioned, "but you love to eat! And people who love to eat make the best cooks." Maybe I have an undiscovered talent... we will see.
We had a lesson with Milica. She is still perfect. Haha. She said she has been sick and busy the last month, but she also admitted to Sister Vasica that she felt kind of awkward because she didnt know how we would react to her negative response to tithing. She is so amazing, though, and it is really understandable why she struggles with it. She and her family were really well off before the war, but during the war, her parents were in a concentration camp, and after it they had to start from the ground up, rebuilding their lives. She really takes care of the money she has, and she uses most of it to care for her mother and son anyway. She said "I understand that tithing goes to a good use, but doesnt the money I use go to a good use too?" She is right. It does go to a good use. We will have to help her understand more the blessings that come from tithing. She knows the church is true. But, like everyone, she has come to a trial of faith. Keep her in your prayers. I know she will get baptized, but it will be in her time, and the Lords time. We dont want to push her. She even told us that she has told all of her coworkers that she has found the best church ever, and the best people ever, and has been inviting everyone to come, but that they just won't listen. She also said that she knows the missionaries will come and go, but she can stay here and do more missionary work when we leave. She is basically already a member. And she finally met our member Marija!! Which was so great to see them get along. Im excited to see how they progress together.
So our adventure in the woods happened because we were visiting one of the Vasicas family friends in a distant little village, and on the way there we happened to see a really gorgeous park with beautiful woods and a little river running through it. On the way back from visiting, we took our lunch break there. It was really exciting. We meandered through it and took a little adventure. It was really pretty and we took lots of pictures. You know how you both keep telling me that the song "Just around the riverbend" reminds you of me? I took a picture that I thought was pretty funny, and in tribute to that song... Im at the corner where the river bends. :) Im not sure if you will laugh or cry at it, but I hope you like it. The visit with the family went well too. They are too far away for us to actually teach them, but it was mostly for the connection to be made. They were both pretty shocked to meet an American. They kept on asking Sister Vasica to translate questions for them, even though I understood perfectly well (although sometimes their words were mumbled due to the lack of teeth). The little old lady kept on referring to me as the American Princess. I liked that. They were both really sweet.
Anyway, so transfers are exciting! Our Elder Bennett got called to Montenegro, and Im still a little jealous, but I will get over it. Sister Kropushek will keep it up in Sarajevo, and I will be here with Sister Berrett, Elder Unice, and Elder DYER!! Im excited about that. I love that guy. Also, Sister Lefler is going home this transfer, two transfers early. She is just too sick. That will be hard for me, but it really is the best thing. I have felt like I still have an older, more wiser sister to rely on when things get tough, but now... its really just me and Sister Kropushek. At least I still have her.
Okay thats about all I have for today. I love you all.
P.S. I watched the Restoration video in a bunch of different languages. Sister Vasica told me that Russian is a lot softer than Serbian (she studied russian in college) and it sounds like someone trying to speak Serbian while also speaking French. So I watched the Restoration in Russian... she was so right. It blew my mind. It was really funny.