So this week (Sept 1st - Sept. 7th) was definitely an unusual week for us. We had zone conference right after preparation day, so we basically had two party days in a row. I love zone conference. We get spiritually uplifted and we are led to help us better fulfill our callings, we get to go on a fun adventure across the border, (from Croatia to Serbia) and we get to see our missionary friends! :) Have I told you about Sister Marks? She's this totally hilarious sister that everyone looooves, and I met her when we went on the exchange to Novi Sad, (Serbia) and she is just the funniest/happiest/friendliest missionary. And she is such a good missionary too. I only met her once, and secretly thought she was the coolest, and then I was really happy going to zone conference, cause she made me feel cool and was happy to see me too. :) She was a fun friend to see. So that was a great day.
WE ARE GOING TO BE IN A NEWSPAPER
We also had a newspaper interview this week!! The reporter has known a pair of missionaries who served here a long time ago, and he has always been fascinated with what we do, but he has not ever talked to sister missionaries, so we met at Hotel Osijek with him and Sister Russell (The senior missionary Mom who's husband is the Branch President) and we chatted about what we do, how we got here, all that stuff. It was an interesting experience. A guy came and took pictures of us and everything. We are going to be famous!!... Okay, probably not. But hopefully people will recognize us as nice people now, not people who want to annoy them. He says he is going to send us a copy to send to you both. I know you wont be able to read it, but it could still be fun to google translate or something, right?
We also went to go visit a referal the sisters here had gotten a few months back. (We NEVER get church headquarters referrals, so it was really really exciting) She is this really nice woman with a 14 year old daughter, and she had the discussions in (get this) SWITZLERAND quite a few years ago. She lived there for a long time, and Sister Brothersen and Kropushek went to go visit her, but she was going to Switzerland for the summer, so they lost contact with her. Yesterday we really felt like we needed to see her, and when we showed up last night, she said "You caught me at the perfect time, we literally just got back today." I felt like we were lead right to her. She loved the dicussions and she loved the Book of Mormon, and the way she felt when she read and met with the sisters, but she just never thought she would get baptized. We talked with her about her experience with the missionaries for about 45 minutes, and she invited us to come back later on the in the week so we can meet her daughter. Im excited. :) This could be really, really good.
We have also been trying new contacting skills of talking to people in grocery stores. Thats a new contacting activitiy we have. Either, "market finding" or "bookstore finding" or "bakery finding" and just going in and having casual conversations with random people we meet. We just think it could potentially be a better technique than walking up to random people on the street, because those people are usually in a hurry or not ready to talk. Its been a good experiment. I was brave and even talked to a girl while we were buying bus passes last week. THAT was impressive. That one lead into an English class discussion and an "our purpose" discussion (because when they meet nice American girls who are speaking Croation, usually the first question is "So what are you doing here?" which is a great segue into talking about the church) Im still working on the whole "talking to random people" stuff. Ive gotten really good at tracting and just stopping people, but like we said, it isn't yielding very good results. So we are having fun with trying new techniques.
I read through my journal to look for stories to tell you this week, and every journal entry was half filled about the language. One day, feeling great about it, the next day feeling terrible at it... Every story from this week can involve something with the language. Examples:
1. Having an interview with President at Zone Conference, and him telling me that he has heard from a lot of sources how great I am at the language. And me thinking to myself "where have you gotten this information..."
2. In the interview, when our interviewer was telling Sister Russelll a story in English, and then he not being able to think of the word for "izvor" so I said, "source" and he looked incredibly impressed, and then me feeling embarrassed because I knew that the next words he didnt know, he would look to me to translate, and I wouldnt know the rest of the words. And what happened?... exactly that.
You know? Its a work in progress. I think I need to calm down and not stress so much about it. I go one week being really stressed, then the next week feeling lighter than air. Like I said, its a work in progress. I really can't imagine my mission without the language challenge. Sometimes its fun, and sometimes its the worst. But it definitely adds a spice to the mission that I can't imagine being without. :)
Im learning a lot about faith this week. I need it! We are a mission that can only get by on miracles, so trying to develop the faith for miracles is what Im working on. I love the scripture in Mormon 19: And if there were miracles wrought then (referring to the times of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) why has God ceased to be a God of miracles and yet be an unchangeable Being? And behold, I say unto you he changeth not; if so he would cease to be God; and he ceaseth not to be God, and is a God of miracles.
Our God is the same God written of in the Old Testament. He was a God of miracles then. Who is to say he will not be a God of miracles now?? Reading the scriptures definitely strengthens my faith, especially powerful ones like that one.
I hope you all have a good week. :) I love you all a whole lot.
This English Bulldog is a fixture at my favorite shop, Lega Lega.
Sestra Chauncey was singing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" at English Class. She sang it, to the tune of, "If You Could Hie to Kolob." Sestra Peel is quite a pianist.