29 July 2013
The time has finally come: I’ve been transferred! I’ve left my beloved Žilina, and have moved to a distant city.
Starší U and I sang a duet, and I bore a parting testimony in Žilina Branch on Sunday, with such a mixture of emotions in my heart. I felt sad about leaving, but SO happy and excited too! (And a little guilty for feeling happy – is happiness appropriate, when you’re leaving the company of such kind friends?). I am really looking forward to exploring new horizons, but will treasure the friendships and memories I made in Žilina . I met so many special people there, and I’m going to miss them. But I am not the only one on the move; big changes are afoot for others, too. A lovely young sister there has decided to serve a mission (whoohoo!), and some other young people are moving on to university. Including our friend D, who was recently baptised. She is coming HERE for uni! (Heavenly Father gathering His forces… she will be such a strength to the Branch here!).
(Click the highlighted text, if you would like to hear Sestra Jones and Starší U sing “Cítíme Lásku” in Czech. The song is called “Love Is Spoken Here” in English, and is a beautiful children’s song about learning the gospel and feeling love at home. The sheet music and an mp3 download are available from the Church’s website free of charge, provided it is for non-commercial home or church use).
It’s GORGEOUS here! 🙂 I stepped off the train not two hours ago with dear Sestra Pyšňáková, and my new companion Sestra Johns to greet me. My suitcases were SO heavy – I really must downsize before I get transferred next, but it’ll take courage to get rid of any winter gear, despite the fact that it takes up a lot of the space and weight. I know I’ll be needing it in a few short months, if we don’t melt first – it’s so hot right now!
This city is Slovakia’s second-largest city (population of about 250,000. That puts it on par with other global urban centres, such as Lincoln, Nebraska or Newcastle-upon-Tyne 😉 ). The branch here is led by President Van D from the Netherlands, whom I have yet to meet but I hear he’s fantastic. There are about 5 active members of the Church, with more than a dozen additional members on the branch records. I’m the 4th sister missionary ever to be assigned here; Sestra Pyšňáková, Sestra Johns, and their other companion (they were in a threesome companionship) were the very first, and they began their service here last transfer, in late May. Sestra Pyšňáková has now completed her mission, and will be leaving tomorrow for Prague and then home, so I will be follow-up training Sestra Johns. Which really just feels like a formality at this point – I’ve barely got any more experience than she does!
We’ve got three lessons on plan for today – it’s going to be a beautiful transfer, I can just feel it! Can’t wait to get started.
I’ve been thinking lately about being pure in heart – is my eye really single to God’s glory? I want to develop love for the Lord and others so my motives will be pure and I’ll be actually listening for the Spirit rather than my own appetites / opinions to guide my actions. No time like the present: new city, new transfer, new Sestra Jones. As Pres. Irwin liked to say, our best should always be getting even better. 🙂
I also want to learn to teach more simply, clearly, and effectively. Although my language ability has its limits, still I realise that it means more to people when you can share specific, personal experiences rather than general principles and truths. The latter are still powerful and good, but the glory of the gospel is in its application. I want to help people understand how the gospel applies to and will bless THEM specifically, not just Heavenly Father’s children in general. It takes preparation and trust to open up personal thoughts like that and make them relevant for others, but I feel that would bring more power to the testimony I bear. One more item for the to-learn list! (to-dos are too short-term) 😀
Love you all so much, I know the Church is true and that we can do more than we think to help our spirit brothers and sisters to come to know this truth for themselves. Have the faith to roar like a lion: open your mouth and it shall be filled!
Sestra Jones ❤