An Ensign Moment

02 September 2013

It’s been a great week! Full of ups and downs as always, but I’ve just made up my mind to learn from, and then overall ignore the downs.  😉  I hope I never complain in my letters, I really am so happy to be here in the Lord’s service, living on the edge where miracles occur. I deeply appreciate all of your comforting words and loving support.

Fun fact: President McConkie’s ringtone on our phone is the Star Wars Imperial March. 😀 Predetermined by the elders who served before us…

The Elders wearing stylish crocheted booties over their shoes after mopping the floor of our meetinghouse

The Elders wearing stylish crocheted booties over their shoes after mopping the floor of our meetinghouse

Mission news: the Mil’s (missionary couple) have arrived safely, and will be starting their humanitarian service today. They are from Washington state, have nine children and a farm, and are just lovely. Elder Fre is unexpectedly being transferred out today – they need him in another area. Back to just 2 Starší then, but having our threesome of Elders here was fun while it lasted.

A visit from Ra

A visit from Ra

You’ll never guess who came to see us on Wednesday: Ra, a young lady that Sestra Pyšňáková and I first met months ago in Žilina! She traveled an hour and a half by bus from her little town to come see us. We had lunch and ice cream, and then taught her a lesson at the church building.

Training in Trenčín on Thursday was FABULOUS! It was a combined Zone Conference for all of Slovakia – and the first time we’ve had such a gathering as an independent country with Sister missionaries present. To quote some of the Elders, we’ve “broken up the Slovak brotherhood”.  😉 (Had they made a serious study of 2 Peter, they would have seen this day coming, as it plainly says that we must “add…to brotherly kindness charity” (2 Peter 1:7). Peter is obviously referring to sister missionaries there!)

We enjoyed such a spiritual outpouring: we were instructed, uplifted, and empowered by our good Mission President, and stellar Zone Leaders. President McConkie’s training on utilising creative finding techniques was particularly exciting. There are so many possibilities! We found out we’re allowed to teach lectures (eg Mormons settling the West), hold weekly Family History seminars, give up to 4 hours of community service (not including weekly English classes), and organise concerts and cultural excursions. It’s going to take energy to plan, but it’s a breath of fresh air and we’re excited about our work: breaking out of our routines and keeping the joy of our work alive in our hearts and minds daily.

Jacob's Palace, a very distinctive building near the offices where we have our Church meetings

Jacob’s Palace, a very distinctive building near the offices where we have our Church meetings

The entire day was such an eye-opener: Slovakia is nothing short of a land of miracles. When Elder Uchtdorf dedicated the country just over 7 years ago, 3 miracles were promised: the registration of the Church (legal recognition by the government of the Slovak Republic), the Book of Mormon in Slovak, and eventually the establishment of many STAKES (even the establishment of wards would be amazing growth, compared to the little branches we have now!) through the opening of hearts and homes to the restored gospel. The first two miracles have already come to pass (and President McConkie was personally involved in the signature gathering project which facilitated the registration), so there’s no doubt the Lord will grant the third in His own time. We’ve just got to see His vision and be His builders – what more exciting work can there be? 😀

After the training we were pumped up and ready to go! On Friday morning we were out contacting on the namestie (town square), and we had our own little miracle. We had been rejected again, but had slipped a pass-along card to the person we’d approached before they got away 😉 . Then a gentleman STOPS US and asks calmly, “May I please have one of those cards?” We were flabbergasted, and set up an appointment to meet that afternoon. He is so prepared, is searching, asks all the right questions, read what we asked him to, and has set a baptismal date for the 5 October! It made me wonder why we don’t expect miracles like that to happen: I’ve read about things like this happening in the scriptures and the Ensign, but find it hard to believe that it will actually happen to us! I need greater, innocent, undoubting faith!

Sestra Johns and I also had another amazing experience this week: we sat down and set some goals together to improve our companionship and work more effectively. Then IMMEDIATELY the phone rang with people we haven’t heard from in ages asking if they could come to church. We were overjoyed to have a grand total of 4 investigators at church yesterday (two of whom are our lovely investigator couple K and H) – what a blessing! The Lord surely took pity on us.  🙂

My family mentioned in their most recent letter that they did some work in the temple, and noticed that there was a lot of work being done for Slovak people. Other missionaries here have heard the same from their families back home: the temples are full of Slovak ordinances being done! President McConkie issued an amazing challenge at the conference: we are to pray morning and night for the Spirit of Elijah to be poured out on the people, that their loved ones on the other side of the veil will soften their hearts and prepare them to recognise us as the Lord’s servants. Elder Bednar has said that the Spirit of Elijah TURNS hearts and the Book of Mormon CHANGES hearts.

I’m already out of time, so lots of love and best of luck to those starting a new school year. Hugs!
Sestra Jones
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