12 August 2013
Saturday was sports day: football. A group of local boys were already playing, but let us (missionaries and 1 investigator) join in. I’m not sure I was any great help to my team (my performance on the pitch might be summed up nicely using only the words “Sports” and “Fail”), but by the end they were using me as a “secret weapon”: opponents went easy on me and tiptoed around when I approached to take the ball. “Pass it to Sestra! Go on, Sestra!” I even scored a goal, although I think they let me. 🙂
Another week has slipped by so fast! We found a brilliant “inspirational talk” CD in the apartment this week, and listened to it over lunch: John Bytheway’s ‘How to Be An Extraordinary Missionary’. He said ordinary missionaries count time, but extraordinary missionaries make time count. They keep an eternal perspective, realise how very little time they have to serve, and are filled with a sense of urgency to magnify their calling every day. I often feel I take this sacred time so much for granted – in the day-to-day motions of mission routine I sometimes fail to recognise what a privilege it is. For one thing, what a huge blessing it is to have an entire 60 minutes blocked off for feasting on the scriptures every day in Personal Study – I want to take advantage of it while it lasts!
The summer clothes my family sent me have arrived! On Friday, the Elders arrived at the church building for our District language study lugging an ENORMOUS burlap sack full of parcels that they had hauled all the way out here from Brno. Our new Elder (Starší Fe’l from Phoenix, Arizona) does a very good Father Christmas impression. 😉 Sestra Johns and I were just wriggling with excitement the entire evening, and could hardly wait to get home and unveil the lovely treasures my family had sent. I’ve enjoyed new, cool summer outfits for the past 3 days and feel I may be in heaven! Thank you thank you thank you!
This week has again been less productive teaching-wise than we would have liked: two of the key investigators that the Sisters were teaching regularly last transfer have decided to discontinue meeting with us, and many other investigators are either on holiday or struggling to show commitment and progression. It’s a challenge to find people who have real intent to hear and act on our message. Sometimes I wonder if it’s our job to show them how the gospel is the answer to their questions and problems, other times it doesn’t seem like it was quite the right time for them: they’ll grasp its importance once they earnestly seek and desire it (in other words, when they’re prepared). I’m praying we’ll be led to those who are searching for us – that we’ll recognise each other and they can have their hurts healed as they come unto the Saviour.
We had a contacting breakthrough this week! We were stuck in a rut: we’ve been contacting in the streets as soon as our language and scripture studies and lunch are over (14:00), but that means we’re out in the hottest part of day, and when the people we’d like to meet are still in the office. We got to be President McConkie’s guinea pigs this past week, and reversed our schedule to hit the streets as soon as we could be showered and dressed. On Friday we arrived on the namestie (town square) at 07:45, and a new crowd of people awaited us: business people and shop-owners rather than tourists. We had prayed hard that it would be a success and worked hard to match our prayers: the miracle fell into place and we gathered 6 phone numbers in a 3-hour block! We’re hoping this trend will continue and are looking forward to more early-morning contacting.
I met another of our awesome Branch members, a recent convert. E is from Kenya, and he was baptised in Bratislava but is studying here. He is so laid back and optimistic, he is outgoing, runs marathons, helped us teach English class this past week (the Elders were in Brno), and gave a beautiful talk on repentance on Sunday. He is so cool! I really admire his positive and courageous attitude.
We taught Sunday School and Relief Society, and performed a musical number in Church (these are all shared out on a rotation, but our assignments happened to overlap this week) – it was great! I’m concerned that I’m not follow-up training very well: I have the advantage of 2 months’ linguistic experience over my companion, so it’s tempting to step in when contacts are hurrying away, or take over in lessons. I need to learn to step back and let Sestra Johns shine!
Onward and upward – always room for improvement! 🙂
The gospel is true – now let’s go act like it!