Autumn is Coming

09 September 2013

Jeseň príde – autumn is coming! It really feels like September now, with a crisp chill to the air, leaves turning golden, and school in full swing.

“I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 The fabulous President Van D took all the missionaries on a grand tour of the city; this statue represents the city's Crest. pictured, l to r: Elder Bar, Elder Fe'l, Sister Johns, Sister Jones, Sister and Elder Mil

“I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my
Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” Doctrine and Covenants 84:88
The fabulous President Van D took all the missionaries on a grand tour of the city; this statue represents the city’s Crest.
pictured, l to r: Elder Bar, Elder Fe’l, Sister Johns, Sister Jones, Sister and Elder Mil

I was blessed this week with edifying study, and my friendship with Sestra Johns is a source of daily strength and joy as her optimism, testimony, and good sense keep us on the straight and narrow. She is also what my little sisters would call a total Kitchen Fairy: this week she made peanut butter fudge, no-bake chocolate cookies,  pear crumble,  and Slovak foods called bublanina (a bubbly plum and peach cake) and halušky (potato dumplings with sheep cheese and bacon). It was so yummy! 😀

The onset of the academic year has brought many of our elusive investigators back to the city, and we were blessed to teach some Spirit-filled lessons with members present and others in families’ homes. I am repenting of my weaknesses and mistakes and feel I’m doing better with the Lord’s help – when I exert myself to reach higher than I think I can, I receive promptings on how to improve and receive little tender mercies daily.

One such mercy was a blessing in disguise: on Tuesday afternoon I suddenly felt exhausted, achy, and ill, so we stayed in the church building to make some phone calls rather than contact on the Namestie (town square). We called the Elders and asked them to come administer a blessing before we went home for dinner. To our surprise, while we were waiting for them, someone knocked on the chapel door. It turned out to be P.R.: a gentleman who had contacted the Elders just the day before, and had made an appointment to meet with them on Wednesday. Yet here he was on our doorstep on Tuesday, and he was bursting with questions for us (‘How do you know Christ is your Saviour?’ ‘Does prayer really bring you peace?’).  The Elders soon arrived, and were able to give him a tour of the building and a Kniha Mormonova (Book of Mormon) before he had to be on his way. It was a case of inspired timing, and we were glad that we were there when he knocked.

P.R. had come bearing gifts, too: his family farm had produced extra tomatoes, plums, pears, and goat milk that he promptly gave to us, dismissively waving away our offers of payment. Free food! A great blessing for us out here in the eastern-most outpost of the Czech/Slovak Mission, as money gets a bit tight with travel fares to mission conferences, etc.

Another little miracle came in the form of an electric keyboard: Sestra Johns plays the piano accompaniment for the hymns during our Sunday worship services and so thusfar we’ve spent a lot of time at the church building,  trying to call potential investigators while she practices on the piano. It’s been frustratingly ineffective despite our efforts to concentrate and muli-task. But on Friday, our neighbour N that we help practice English with, said ‘Do you play the piano? I have this old keyboard sitting around but never use it. You can have it!’ It’s solving so many scheduling conflicts to have the freedom to practice at home during meals and after Nightly Planning – Heavenly Father is absolutely ingenious, and the people here are so generous!

We went on a finding exchange with the Elders on Friday to do some bus contacting together. I’m trying to work on leading in with testimony when I speak to people, and letting them feel the sacredness of our message, instead of acting like a salesperson spouting a memorised spiel. My approach still needs work and it’s not easy to break out of old habits, but we sorely need to improve our contacting somehow: Sestra Johns and I didn’t get a single phone number this week.

However, the one new investigator we did find is gorgeous: she’s a young English teacher named V, and is probably the sweetest soul alive. I’ve been praying about where to find all of the people Heavenly Father has prepared for us to teach – I know they’re out here somewhere! – and I got the impression that many of them are in our Area Book, just waiting for us to call. Well, considering how ridiculously many phone numbers the Sisters gathered last transfer, that may well be. We’ve just got to dive in and start introducing ourselves and setting up appointments to meet!

P-day výlet: an aerial view of the walls of Spišský hrad.

P-day výlet: an aerial view of the walls of Spišský hrad.

I’m also hoping for the opportunity to talk to the students who are now flocking back to university – it will be wonderful to have more young adults to bring vibrance and life to the branch! Especially now that the splendid Elder and Sister Mil are here, and are hosting Family Home Evening meetings. There’s always such a great spirit when people gather together for fellowship, fun, and learning. We’re really looking forward to FHE with the Mil’s tonight, and two of our investigators are planning to come! 🙂

“…A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14) Spišský hrad/Spiš Castle. This 12-century castle is one of the largest in Central Europe.

“…A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid” (Matthew 5:14)
Spišský hrad/Spiš Castle. This 12-century castle is one of the largest in Central Europe.

We’ve had a great day so far! Our District caught a mild case of wanderlust, and got up early to make the trek out to Spišský hrad: one of the largest castles in all of Central Europe. It was brilliant!

Très belle! Sestra Jones next to St. Urban’s bell

Très belle!
Sestra Jones next to St. Urban’s bell

I feel so blessed to be in the Lord’s service in this time and in this place. I know that Heavenly Father lives, and that He loves and is mindful of each of His precious children. I know that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world and that only on the terms of His Atonement may we escape from the death and misery brought about by our mistakes. I know that when we exercise faith in His redeeming power, we may be made instruments to bring about much good in our own lives and in the lives of countless others. Only in living the gospel do we find eternal joy.

S laskou, Sestra Jones

 

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2 thoughts on “Autumn is Coming

  1. This Elder Ferrell’s father. It sounds like Kosice has been a wonderful place for our son to begin his mission. The district has been exceptional, and he has enjoyed the friendships of the sisters and the branch. We have followed sestra Jones’ blog since she went into the MTC. We used it to get our son ready for his mission. Sestra Jones and Johnson have posted more photos than our son has. So we always look on their blogs to see how he is doing. Best wishes.

    • Hi, and thanks for getting in touch! It’s lovely to hear from you. I’m really pleased to hear that Elder Ferrell was able to find the blog useful in preparing for his mission, and that you’re finding it useful for checking to see what your son looks like these days. He certainly seems to be doing very well, and from all accounts has such a positive attitude and a real knack for the language. The missionaries in their District do seem to support and look out for one another, and we’re thrilled that they are having such a great experience together! All the best to you and yours.

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