This week I had my first time as a Sister Training Leader, and I'm sure I didn't really teach anything, but I learned a lot. Sister Lefler came from Sarajevo!! I was SO happy to see her again. We had such a great time. Sister Lefler is actually quite sick, however. She has had vertigo for about 5 months now, and it really is physically debilitating. So we had lessons, and in our free time, I insisted that she rested. She is so inspirational, in spite of it all. She is a mental and spiritual missionary giant. I love her and learned so much from her and her insights into missionary work. She is so wonderful :) We spent lots of time talking and laughing, and - of course - singing. We spent our entire last night together singing christmas carols. It was so fun. Weve decided we want to do a musical number for the Christmas Conference we have every year... and we will probably get Elder Graham to play for it, lets be honest. One question I asked Sister Lefler this week was, "Do you think that other mission's missionaries are this close?" Every one of the missionaries here feels like family to me. I'm not sure how its like in other missions, but... we are a pretty tight nit group. I love my mission.
HOW TO TEACH MUSLIMS
I also learned a lot about Islam. Sarajevo is predominately Muslims, and Sister Lefler knows how to teach only Muslims. She has witnessed miracles, and they have incredible members in Sarajevo, and all of them with a deep love and respect for the Islam religion. I do too, honestly, after hearing all of the similar beliefs they have to our faith. It was just fascinating to hear about, and she gave me tips on how to teach Muslims. When I was in Croatia, and contacting people on the streets about the Book of Mormon I would say something like, "Ova knjiga može ojačati vašu vjeru u Isusa Krista" "This book can help strengthen your faith in Christ", but we can't say that to muslims, obviously, because they don't believe Christ was the son of God (although they very much believe in him as a prophet, and believes he will come again to the Earth to ressurect the dead... its interesting) So, to a Muslim, you would say "Ova knjiga je druga sveta knjiga, I punina s pričama o proricima." "This book is another holy book, and its filled with stories about prophets." Because the Quran is filled with stories about prophets, and they can connect with that, and they are encouraged to read other holy books. So I just learned a lot how to teach Muslims, which came in handy, when Sunday came...
THE BEAUTY OF BOSNIA
But one more quick thing about the exchange. One other surprise blessing was the drive from Banja Luka to Travnik (the halfway point between Sarajevo and Banja Luka) and getting to see the beauty of Bosnia. It looked like a fairy tale. We drove through mountains and hills and across rivers and lakes and even took a 30 minute pit stop in a city called Jajce, which has waterfalls flowing through the city, an old cathedral equipped with catacombs you can adventure into, and a giant fortress in the center of the city, at the top of a hill. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. I fell in love with Bosnia from this drive. I have struggled leaving Croatia, because it really did feel like home to me, and it really helped me to love this country when I saw its beauty. It was awesome :)
Okay. So now about Sunday. We had SUCH a great experience on this one, little, beautiful road here. Apparently, the missionaries in the recent past have done service for these people after the terrible flooding happened, and this road really needed a lot of work done, and these people fell in love with the missionaries. This little road (and community) is nestled into the corner of a Bosnian mountain, and has a little stream running through it, which means that the houses need bridges if you want to get to their front doors. Sister Peterson wanted to introduce me to all of these people before she left, so we go to meet this people, and they are the nicest people I have ever met. They were so friendly with us, and as we walked down the street, this girl who we were talking with would yell at all the houses "Anna!" or "Tea!" and a face would pop out and say hello. It was one of the coziest places you have ever been. We also met a man, who was this girls uncle, who has family in Florida, and tried very hard to speak English with us, and we tried very hard to assure him that we spoke Serbian. He had a friend over, and we started talking to them about the church. He was from Florida, we asked if he knew about the church, and he said "Yes! Mitt Romney is Mormon! I love Mitt Romney! I do not love Obama." It was funny, that'S exactly what he said... I chuckled to myself thinking how Mitt Romney is affecting people all over the world. Here I was in Bosnia, and a man knew about the church because he knew about Mitt Romney. Anyway, we start talking with the both of these people, and we find out they are both Muslim. Sister Peterson started talking to the woman, and I started talking to this man, and I basically used every tip that Sister Lefler gave me about introducing the Book of Mormon to muslims, and asked him if he would like a copy. He was so excited. We started talking about that, and his friend leaned over and she asked "Do you have one more?" It was such a great experience. It was just an hour filled with meeting really nice people, and teaching and finding new investigators. I just walked away and I was so happy. Missionary work is just the best.
Also, our recent convert Marija just gave a talk in church. It was about service. It was the best talk I had ever heard... probably just, ever. It is SO cool to see people growing in the church here. She is a very successful, normal woman, who loves the gospel. She is just... amazing.
So, this is my last p day, and my last week, with Sister Peterson. It is so crazy to me. Its the last week of her mission!! I just cant even imagine the end of my mission. I dont WANT it to end. I am just learning and growing so much right now, and I just can't imagine going home... but Im already more than halfway. It seems so short, and yet I feel like Ive been here forever. Anyway... it is going to be a really busy week because basically Sister Peterson needs to fill me with all of her knowledge about being an STL, about Banja Luka, and about how, whenever she seems to enter a city, the work explodes. She is just really good at what she does. Its going to be a big week. I feel sort of like I am white washing the city... at least, thats what I felt like last week. Sister Lefler and I had a list of people to go visit last week, and I just looked at all of these names and thought "I have no idea who these people are" and it was kind of uncomfortable for me. So... yep! It will be a busy week. It was a good week, and i have some pretty great pictures coming soon :) One week to go, and then I am basically in charge of all of Bosnia. Haha.
I love you all!