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June 1st: It was one of the best birthdays of my life. Hahaha. It was literally a party all day.
We had district conference yesterday!! Which means that every member and every missionary from Croatia ALL gathered together to have a sweet conference, and Elder Donaldson was the visiting authority there. It was so spiritually uplifting, and probably the greatest birthday present was the talk that Elder Donaldson gave... it was perfect for me. It uplifted me so much and I received revelation from it. And it gave such wonderful insight that we can use for our investigators. Basically, just all about prayer, and how Joseph Smith is the perfect example for prayer and receiving answers to our questions. He said "Think for a moment about what it took to actually get Joseph Smith to the foot of the Hill Cumorah. Think of what trials and tribulations he and his family went through. Think of his ancestors and their trials. Think of the continual failures they had. Think of the personal trials he was going through. Then, think in your own life, what it has taken to get you to where you are right now. Think of your ancestors. Think of the trials you are going through. And remember the tender merices of the Lord that have been upon you and upon your family, and like the promise in Moroni 10, as you receive these things, and ponder them, and allow your heart to be softened... go to the Lord. Go to him with your questions and concerns. And He will answer your prayers."
Oh man it was so good.
And BESIDES THAT. My companion, Sister Peterson is basically the biggest partier in the world, and she just loves to celebrate things. So we spent the night at the mission nurses aparment the night before, and when I woke up in the morning, they had this huge pancake breakfast for me, and Sister Peterson went all around the night before posting sticky notes everywhere that said really funny stuff like, "One Direction says Happy Birthday" and "BAKA!" (which means grandma) And that was way fun. And the rest of the day she was bouncing around to everyone telling them it was my birthday, so literally everyone wished me a happy birthday. They even sang to me!! And SISTER KROPUSHEK WAS THERE. Which is a big deal because I have not seen here since we left the MTC, because even though she is in Croatia, she is so far north that she is in the Serbian zone. Crazy, right? So THAT was amazing. And I got to see Elder Lamb too, because he just got transfered to Zadar!! So he was there :) And there was this HUGE luncheon and Elder Graham and I were convinced that the whole thing wasnt even for district conference, it was just for me and my birthday :) And people wrote me cards, and Sister Kropushek gave me this SWEET watch... I mean. It was a party.
Even getting back to Rijeka later on in the day, we just went straight to the Maedas house and they threw me a dinner party. It was all the missionaries, and they made this delicious pasta stuff, and (naturally, because they are Hawaiian) they made pineapple upside down cake, and we did the candles and everything :) Sister Maeda was like, "I know this wont beat being at home, but we just wanted to do a little something for you!" They are so nice. And I was like, okay, but seriously, this might be one of the more decent birthdays I have ever had. The Elders/Sister Peterson/Roberto gave me a birthday gift :) My favorite chocolate bar (shoko and keks by Milka. ommmmmg) and a Croation book of fairytales!!! It was so awesome. AND THEN President Maeda offered us a ride home, which meant we didnt have to sit on the stinky bus. It was such a good birthday. People were so nice, and the conversation/fun we had at district conference, and later on at dinner... it was so so lovely. I love this district, and the new arrival, Elder Graham. He seriously brings so much joy and peace to our district. With Elder Graham here, its like a breath of fresh air. Elder Radovanovič is so happy, and all the branch members love Elder Graham, and it just brings a happier spirit to the work. We all get along really well, and we were just having such a good time last night laughing and telling stories. . It was a really really great birthday.
Thats basically the best news of the week. The work was slow. We tried going to visit a referral, and she basically just told us we werent Christlike because we wouldnt give her money for cigarrettes. That was interesting.. and very uncomfortable. Everyone here believes in the concept of Christ, I think? And due to their heritage, if you say you are a Croation, that also means that you are a Catholic. So they all say they believe in Christ, but they dont actually know what the purpose of believing in Christ is. Its not just a thing to say you believe in. Its something that it is actually supposed to bring peace and joy to your life. There is a purpose in Christ. And you can actually use him your daily life. And no one here really grasps that.
And basically every day, we have a new crazy story. Maybe when I get home I will try to remember them all. But I mean... theres just to many to list in an email. Its crazy here in Rijeka. And the world cup is coming up, which is going to be HUGE. We also have a huge activity this weekend planned, where we are going to restart English class and set up a booth in Centar to tell people all about it, and a huge Sunday meeting planned as well. Cant wait to send you pictures of it all!! Its way exciting, and going to be a very busy week for us!!
Anyway. Thank you all for the birthday wishes. It was a very, very happy birthday to me.
Sestra Catherine Chauncey
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