car·pe di·em – Latin. seize the day; enjoy the present; lit. “pluck the day (while it is ripe)”
22 July 2013
I’m feeling more than a little nostalgic today: Transfers are on the near horizon (we will receive phone calls on Saturday night to see where we’re going!), and in just a week Sestra B and I will be the senior sisters of Slovakia. It’s all quite daunting really, but I’m so glad to know that you’re cheering me on; your love and support mean the world. Although the thought of transfers is thrilling, I’m trying not to let the nerves and excitement distract me from our work. After all, if I do leave Z I want to know I served the people here with all my heart, might, mind, and strength!
Happenings this week: it’s been another slow week, I’ve felt busy but in the kind of blurry, off-focus way. We had some fun contacts: one was with a French lady (she was SOOO French, it was delightful! It was so charming to hear her speak „eh ben, mais oui, et voila“) and we all loved our little discussion, but she had no interest in pursuing things further. Maybe next time! =D The other was with a Christian Rock band from the Czech Republic (they kept singing „Sister Act“ for us) . When they heard the Kniha Mormonova was FOR FREE they snatched up the copy we offered, and they couldn’t wait to show their conservative Christian / orthodox friends! 🙂
M is a miracle: a former investigator with a philosophical strain and enjoys „debating“more than we would like. In our first meeting with him he made it clear he can have a relationship with God without baptism. We challenged him to pray about it, and in the second lesson he still hadn’t had his answer. We taught about Christ’s gospel and at the end he blurted out: „I had a strong feeling just a moment ago that I want to be baptised.“ Prayers are miraculously answered!
We made cookies with the S family, and encouraged their youth to prepare for a great experience at the upcoming EFY by reading the scriptures daily before going, and we had dinner at the Wr’s place; senior couples and member families are a breath of fresh air in what could otherwise seem like a long week – we are so blessed to have them! *EFY = “Especially For Youth” – but might as well be called Epic Fun Yearly – an überconference for young people aged 14-18. One the most spiritual and highly anticipated weeks of the youth calendar, its awesomeness has to be experienced to be believed!
I love my companion! She has true charity, and is gifted with an instinct for dealing with people. She remembers people’s names and faces, smiles, shows enthusiasm, and warmth, and courtesy. It is evident to me that Sestra B was called to serve in Z this transfer for a reason; she sees people for what they can become and is bold and persistent when inviting them to reach that potential. Just yesterday, a lady we’re hoping to teach said she’d mentioned us to her friend P’ol, and he remembered a young lady who matched Sestra B‘s description surprising him by greeting him cheerfully in the street. Now P’ol will be joining her for our first lesson this evening, and my companion and I have determined to greet everyone we meet from now on!
It’s made me wonder about what impressions we give to observers in our normal, daily behaviour: would someone from this town recognise us on the street and say “Yes, I know you! You’re the girls with the zmirzlina (ice creams)”? I’d much rather be known as “the girls with the smiles and Kniha Mormonova (Book of Mormon)”!
I love exchanges, when we work alongside other missionaries – it’s so helpful to observe the way others approach their work, and to get some objective feedback on my own efforts. I learned so much in an hour or so of contacting with Elders Jo and C in Trenčín. I wanted to work on identifying people’s needs, but felt I was doing an awful job, groping for what to say. After one promising but seemingly fruitless contact (a lady who uncomfortably brushed off the idea of eternal families), I turned to Elder Jo to ask why he’d held silent when I’d struggled so much. To my surprise, he said “I was standing back in awe – you just connected with her so well, I didn’t want to ruin it.” I had felt the complete opposite; I guess it just goes to show that we can be our own worst judge. It is so valuable to have a trusted voice from outside the situation to share their perspective, and point out things we can’t see clearly.
I found this quote from Elder Hales (Priesthood Session of April Conference this year) and wanted to share it: “Use your agency to develop yourself personally. As you discover your gifts and talents, remember that parents and mentors may assist you, but you must let the Spirit guide you. Choose and act for yourself. Be motivated from within. Make a plan for your life…Explore interests and skills. Work and become self-reliant. Set goals, overcome mistakes, gain experience, and finish what you begin…Enjoy wholesome fun together. Above all, have faith in the Saviour! Fear not! As we diligently live the gospel, we become strong in the Lord.”
It takes courage to have the faith necessary for miracles: to set our sights higher than we alone can reach, and trust the Lord to step in to do the rest. I’ve determined to be more diligent and focused on my purpose, with energy and drive to fulfil it. I’m praying that I can develop more charity for those I serve so that my actions may be motivated by love for them, and for the Lord.
Love you lots!