13 May 2013
Time is a fickle element: the more I want, the less I have, and while every day drags its feet, the weeks all fly by in a blur.
What exciting times we are having here! The last few days have been a spiritual feast, as we took part in a very special event in Trencin. There was a free concert on Friday evening, and then the next morning we attended an early-morning devotional held by members of the Church and missionaries, to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the dedication of Slovakia (President Uchtdorf dedicated Slovakia for the preaching of the gospel in May of 2006, the same year that the Church gained official recognition from the government of the Slovak Republic). It was an experience I will treasure: so many people invested so much time and effort to produce such an uplifting event. Saturday morning’s procession from a memorial gravesite to the dedication site presented a sobering contrast, and stood as a stark reminder to me that only the gospel enables us to establish true peace, to heal the hurt of injustices done, and to keep us from repeating misdeeds of the past.
Z Branch is also growing in exciting ways: Just this week Elder Cl was released from his service as Branch President with a vote of thanks, and Elder Wr was called as the new Branch President. Next Saturday, the congregation will grow in number by 1, as a young woman that the Elders have been teaching is going to be baptised! You can just feel the buzz in the air at Church!
We’ve been able to work with many of our fellow missionaries this past week, as a consequence of training meetings and the events in Trencin. Sestra Co from my MTC district, and her companion came all the way from Praha to share their musical talents in the concert. They stayed over with us, and we did some contacting together in Trencin. And we found out that Sestra Co’s aunt actually served here as a missionary in the 1990s! We looked in the area book, and sure enough, there was her signature. We had some excellent training meetings earlier in the week, and Z was overrun by missionaries, eager to proclaim the gospel! We are still following up with contacting all the people who expressed an interest in hearing from us; I think there were around 15, which is quite an impressive response.
If you don’t mind, I have a little gospel question for you: why is the Book of Mormon important to you personally (and to the Church/the world)? One of the fundamental things we missionaries invite people to do, is to read and pray about the Book of Mormon. But all of the people we meet are different, and many have a hard time seeing what value this book would have for them. Some people don’t believe in God and so don’t think scriptures are important at all. Others already go to a church and say that the Bible is enough for them: if we already believe in Christ, why would God need to give us more scripture? I’d love to hear your thoughts about what the Book of Mormon means to you, and how you would respond to the comments above.
Time is a bit of a sore topic for Sestra Py at the moment, as her time in the mission field grows short. This next transfer will be her last, and I’m determined to ensure that our time together in Z will be a sweet recollection for her, and not a regret. We were really inspired by our training meeting this week, about presenting the Book of Mormon to people in such a way that helps them find within its pages the answers to the questions of their souls. We made a commitment to use greater sensitivity and creativity in determining what people need, or what truths they are searching for, so that we can help point the way to discovery. As part of this effort, both Sestra Py and I decided to test Moroni’s promise once again, and renew our personal testimonies of the Book of Mormon. It was a sweet experience and I am more assured than ever that the Book of Mormon is truly the word of God, and the keystone that locks our testimonies and our lives in place.
Young people from Eastern Europe share what they have learned from reading the Book of Mormon and writing down their impressions.
Enjoy the time of your life this week – you’re in my prayers!
All my love,