Always Expect the Unexpected!

27 May 2013

Transfers is such an exciting, terrifying, stressful, delightful experience!
President Irwin called at 20:20 on Saturday night, and we were on the edge of our seats, with butterflies in our stomachs! He informed us that Sister Py is moving to a town east of us, and I am staying in Z. This is as much as we expected, but the next revelation caught us completely by surprise: Sestra B (my MTC companion)  is my companion again, and our trainers will form two threesomes with the four incoming Sisters! We were stunned! Threesomes are VERY difficult to work in. It’s hard enough training one new missionary let alone two, and Sisters have never been assigned to Sestra Py’s new area before.
I almost felt disappointed, because we had worked so hard to get me ready to train if need be, that by this point I kind of wanted a new missionary as my companion. For a brief moment I wondered if I hadn’t made the cut: perhaps President was compromising because I wasn’t ready to train?  But I very quickly felt assured that this decision definitely came from the Lord, and I’m so grateful for His wisdom and mercy. After all, Sestra Py and Sestra S finish their missions and return home next transfer, which means that in two months time, Sestra B and I will be the most experienced sisters in all of Slovakia, and we only just stepped off the plane in March!  We need to know how to work together, how to run an area, and how to speak Slovak. We definitely have enough on our plates just follow-up training each other for the final 3 weeks of our induction programme! (Induction Programme refers to the extra hour of companionship study undertaken by new missionaries each day, to give  them time to continue to develop their teaching and language skills).

So today I’m emailing from the normal spot in the Z public library, with my lovely French companion back at my side. 🙂 Oh, and Starsi C is staying in his current area too, so our little MTC posse is reunited in the same District.  Starsi U’s staying in Z to train the new Elder arriving from Finland! Starsi U’s only in his fourth transfer, so it’s a huge honour and responsibility – I’m so excited for them both!

Just like old times!

Just like old times!
Sestra Jones, Starsi C, and Sestra B at the MTC
“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be…there is no new thing under the sun. “
Ecclesiastes 1:9

The senior couples returned from a conference in Bratislava on Saturday carrying two ENORMOUS parcels for me, from my family: like gold in a bubble-wrap envelope! Thank you thank you thank you! I cannot tell you how much joy and gratitude I feel to know you love me and are supporting me. I admit I haven’t had time to finish reading all the letters so I’ll have to respond another time but thank you so much and I love you all to bits ! 🙂

I wish I had more time to write, but I’ll try to contain my excitement and just give you the gist of our amazing week.  Sestra Py said that as long as we work hard all transfer, we see miracles – especially in the final and first weeks of the transfer. She was right!

The week started a bit rough, with lessons being postponed or first lessons being unwilling to set up a second time. But by Wednesday things started to look up: Elders P and C had come in to Z for D’s baptismal interview, so we planned a finding exchange. It was a great experience, and even though the rain scared most people away from the town square, we learned a lot and enjoyed some success finding potential investigators to work with the coming week. That afternoon, Sestra Py and I stopped a gentleman who immediately expressed interest in learning more. He lives not far from Z, with his wife and gorgeous baby son. He has quite the reputation as a “missionary” at his work place (talking about the purpose of life, always doing favours, never getting angry, etc.) and a true desire to strengthen his faith in God. We had a lesson in a nearby tearoom (the Restoration). We explained that the good feelings he gets when he serves others are the Holy Ghost confirming Heavenly Father’s approval – he was literally thrilled. When last we spoke (Saturday) he and his wife “both want to read the Book of Mormon and already have questions for us. When can we come visit them?”

Another lady that runs a little shop in town has two gorgeous daughters and had met missionaries in the past. Last week , while “de-junking” the apartment, we found mysterious collections of Nerf guns and Harry Potter Lego mini-figs, which we promptly took round for the girls to enjoy (if there are any Elders reading this who used to serve in Z:  sorry, you forgot your stash of toys in the drawer in the laundry room. Don’t worry, they’ve gone to a good cause!). They invited us back to share a message, want to come to English class, invited us to a family barbecue, and have committed to start reading the Book of Mormon. Families – it’s just what the branch needs!

We also had first lessons with two wonderful young people: Ra and Ri. We hadn’t been able to meet with Ra for a few weeks, so weren’t sure if she still had interest: her mother died recently so we started with the Plan of Salvation. Since then, Ra has read bits and pieces in the Book of Mormon and asks super questions, but is scared to come to church because she thinks we might be a cult. We asked Sara from the branch to come teach Ra with us; bless her, she’d never taught with missionaries before and was so nervous! It could not have been better: Sara was warm and friendly (and normal and Slovak – see? we’re not a cult!); she bore testimony of prayer and helped us explain prophets, and Ra has agreed to meet again this week.

Ri’s family are members of a church, but he hates the corruption he sees: “When my friends and I go to the bar we sit and talk for hours about how much we hate churches!” He still yearns to develop his spiritual side though, and our explanation of the Apostasy and Joseph Smith had him stuck for words: “Wait, I never knew authority was lost after Peter!” We’re not sure he completely got it though: his parting comment was ” What kind of Catholics are you again?” We agreed to settle that one in our next lesson.

D’s baptism was just beautiful. None of our other investigators could make it (being on a weekday afternoon), and the weather allowed for nothing but a hotel-pool service, but D was just glowing and the entire branch was uplifted. I hope we can help many more to make this crucial step on the path back to their Heavenly Father.

We’re currently working with G, and when we spoke to him about it a couple weeks ago he said he’d already decided to be baptised in November (a year from when he first met missionaries) if it still felt right. “I get the feeling though that I need to stop hesitating and just go for it – actually try this Mormon thing for real.” He finally started reading the Book of Mormon seriously this week and the Spirit in his lesson on Saturday was so sweet! If he’ll keep reading and praying, and start coming to church I’m sure he’ll get an answer. He may well find it doesn’t take him until November!

S laskou,
Sestra Jones

 

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One thought on “Always Expect the Unexpected!

  1. I know our Branch is being blessed because of your missionary service Sister. Well done and keep up the good work! It’s lovely to hear of your work and adventures for the Lord. We continue to pray for you.
    Love from Sister Howlett

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