A Colourful Week

14 October 2013

Bright smiles and pretty patterns: Sestra Johns beams under the colourful origami figures that still adorn the city after the recent Marathon

Bright smiles and pretty patterns:
Sestra Johns beams under the colourful origami decorations that still adorn the city after the recent Marathon

Ahojte Všetci! (Hello all!)

First of all, a big shout-out to my cousin, who has just received his mission call to the England Birmingham Mission: congratulations, Elder Jones! I’m so thrilled for you! I’m also excited for Elder C, who is leaving Wales this week to begin his training in the Missionary Training Center – a great experience awaits you!

Okay, getting down to what happened this past week: on Monday we went to the zoo with the Elders and the Mil’s. It was inexpensive (not a very big zoo) and fun. They wanted to expand the zoo this year, but went for the cheap option and imported life-sized plastic dinosaurs rather than real animals that need food and medical attention. 😉

"obrovský slide" Looks like Sestra Jones has just gone round the bend

“obrovský slide”
Looks like Sestra Jones has finally gone round the bend

Just as we were leaving, we saw an (and I quote) “OBROVSKY” (giant) slide next door: an 800m metal chute up the hillside that curved round and down – ridden in flimsy plastic carts with only a stick brake for a handle. The Elders were dying to ride it and it was only 2 euros a go, so we called Prezident for permission (we are supposed to avoid dangerous recreational activities while on our missions… we weren’t really sure where an 800m obrovský slide would fall on the safe-ometer). Sister McConkie  told us to go ahead and ride it, on the condition that we email her pictures. 😀  When we returned home, the town was still covered in origami decorations from the annual Marathon last weekend – very pretty! It was a fun day out.

And lest you should think that all we do over here is goof around on over-sized playground equipment, I am happy to report that we taught V another beautiful lesson this week. The Spirit was there and she felt it: the doctrines of the gospel brought joy to her heart. Coming to church is the big commitment she needs to keep in order to progress: she’ll be out of town this week, but promised to come next week!

P’s baptism is scheduled for this Saturday – can’t wait! We taught him about Priesthood service and he’s excited for it. He even told us he plans to serve a mission one day! We were ecstatic! We gave him a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and read together the standards that will allow him to prepare for that calling, and keep his baptismal covenant. P is such a good kid, and desires to do what is right.

I LOVED General Conference!! October sessions are the best – so cwtchy  🙂  (“cwtch” is a Welsh expression that is not easy to explain… it is often translated as “hug” or “cuddle”, but that’s not exactly right… it is a word that also implies deep contentment, comfort, security, and a certain cosiness. So you might say in English “October General Conference has me feeling full of joy and contentment, and wrapped up securely in its warm and familiar embrace”. Or if you speak a bit of Welsh, you can just say that it’s “cwtchy”).

P-day with the dinosaurs! Sestra Johns, Sestra Jones, Starší Fe’l, and Starší Guy

P-day with the dinosaurs
Sestra Johns, Sestra Jones, Starší Fe’l, and Starší Guy

One thing that has brought me some sadness this week, is that we may not be meeting with K and H for lessons much longer. Although we all enjoy our visits together, and will continue to be friends, they are not quite prepared to accept the full implications of our message: they feel happy where they are, and aren’t searching for anything more. This makes me sad because I know that only the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has Heavenly Father’s permission to baptise and seal families for eternity. Anyone can know for themselves whether the Book of Mormon is true and Joseph Smith is a prophet: if they ASK God, they can receive a witness from the Holy Ghost. I pray that this wonderful couple and their beautiful little family will be ready to do that in the not-too-distant future, but in the meantime we need to spend our time finding and teaching those who are already searching for us: those who are hungering for the gospel NOW.

graphic courtesy of ldsprintables.com

graphic courtesy of ldsprintables.com

I feel that’s what I learned most from Conference: we cannot afford to be apathetic or complacent in our quest for perfection and exaltation. I want to learn from my mission to be bursting with energy, and rejoicing in the fact that I have 16 hours of work that I get to put in each day! I want to reach for excellence: not just make a little plop in the pond but create a tidal wave to lift those foundering in treacherous waters, and carry them to safe harbours.

Our concert will be the 5th of November (it’s a concert to share the message of the Restoration in music and the spoken word). The B family, who have been members of the Branch for a year now, came back to church this week and have invited us back to teach them. They were welcomed with open arms! It’s a joy to see our Branch family drawing together again. 🙂

Well, that’s all from me this week, except to take some time to answer a few of the questions my  younger brothers and sisters sent me a couple of weeks back.

Lots of love, Sestra Jones x

Sibling Q and A:

Q: (from my 4-yr-old sister): When are you coming home? ‘Cause it’s taking a long time…

A: I’ll be home when Heavenly Father thinks I’m ready. I have a lot of important work to do here – people need help learning about who Jesus is so they can be happy. I’ll talk to you on the phone at Christmas time, then again on Mother’s Day, and then after your birthday I’ll be on my way back to Wales! I can still give you hugs through the computer like this: *squeeze* Love you!

 Q: What’s your fave Slovak food?

A: Slovak food is delicious, I love the Hungarian-style goulashes and Czech svickova (bread with chicken and carrot sauce), and halusky is a must (potato dumplings with ripe sheep cheese and bacon). Scrummy! It’s too chilly for it now, but ice cream is HUGE here and the Namestie (main square, like a high street but more open like a marketplace) is lined up and down with confectioners’ shops that open onto the street and ladle out ice cream cones of deliciousness.

Q: Have you ever been sick on your mission?

A: I’ve never really been sick, apart from one day last transfer I went to bed early with cold symptoms. Actually, I’ve been extraordinarily blessed health-wise and am enjoying feeling rather invincible. 😉

Q: Can you feel the Spirit in the Branch where you are serving?

A: Yes, I do feel the Spirit in the Branch. When I have prepared myself throughout the week to take the sacrament on Sunday, then listen to the testimonies of our wonderful members, and try my best to help investigators and others feel loved at church, I can feel the Holy Ghost regardless of whether I’m in Zilina or Brno or Riverton or Ewloe. Isn’t Heavenly Father great? His Spirit is exactly the same, wherever you are.

Q: Do you ever get to eat Mexican food?

A: Funny you should ask; we had Mexican food not too long ago at the van D’s home. Sestra van D’ova joined the Church while she was living in California, and so she REALLY knows how to make a good Mexican meal! Other than that though, not so much.

Q: What do you want to do with your life?

A: What do I want to do with my life? I want to serve the Lord! I love being a sister missionary for just that reason: it’s so much fun but most of all I get to be helpful to Heavenly Father in His plan for all of His children to return to Him.

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