Miracles in a Winter Wonderland

16 December 2013

This week was AMAZING! We had so many jaw-dropping miracles and I can’t tell you the half of it in the few minutes I have to type.

2 blue background snowflakeI got so many parcels this week – you’re spoiling me! 😀 One from Grandma and Grandpa Jones containing Christmas tree ornaments – thank you! They’ll be perfect for decorating for the concert tomorrow. And you’ll never guess what else: the pumpkin and brown sugar for Thanksgiving pies finally arrived! Haha! Just in time to bake up a storm this evening for the concert refreshments. Good timing all around!

So here is my week in brief:

Monday we had another walking tour of the city with the new additions to our District. All our meetings that evening fell through so we spent two freezing hours contacting. It was a productive experience in more ways than one; we found some really great people, and also I vowed to layer tights from then on. Since then I’m cozy warm!blue background snowflake

Tuesday we had lunch at Big Burger, attended an inspiring District Meeting (I love watching “The District”!), and held a final District singing display to advertise for our concert, as the Elders would be gone from that afternoon until Friday (they went to Brno for Elder Chri’ns Progressional Training. A lot of hours on the road and rails for them, but it worked out nicely for me – that’s how I got my parcels!). Our meetings fell through again (one of which we’d travelled half an hour for), so we returned home feeling a bit defeated. Not my ideal start to the week, but we were working hard, contacting on our way, and learning to have fun with it.

Wednesday was full to the brim! That morning during studies we received an unexpected call from Prezident McConkie, telling us to expect a phone call from the BBC! It seems that the local newpapers back home had recently published an article about my missionary service in the Slovak Republic, and now a BBC Radio religious news programme (Bwrw Golwg) wanted to interview me about it?! It was totally out of the blue, as until that moment I didn’t even know that there had been a piece in the newspaper! Sestra Bar and I were jumping up and down with delight, and buzzing with excitement at such a special opportunity.

blue background snowflakeRadio Cymru Bangor called us that very day – in the middle of a lesson with one of our recent converts, and right before teaching both our English classes solo, as the Elders were away. I picked up the phone, nervous and eager all at once. The lady on the other end had the Caernarfon accent I haven’t heard in nearly a year, and my heart skipped a beat for home. Then it skipped another beat out of sheer terror, because she said they wanted me to do the interview in Welsh. I haven’t even heard Welsh, let alone spoken it for 12 months! I tried to stammer back to her in comprehensible Cymraeg ,”Can you give me some sample questions? Can we do it next week so I can prepare?”, but I couldn’t summon a single fluid sentence. Kindly, she helped me to face the fact of the matter: “Wel, sut wyt ti’n TEIMLO i wneud y cyfweliad yn Gymraeg?” (Well, how do you FEEL about doing the interview in Welsh?) I sighed and said thank you very much, but we both knew my Welsh was not up to par for a spontaneous interview on the radio, and they weren’t offering for me to do one in English. I hung up and we finished our lesson, taught English (teaching beginners is a lot more enjoyable than the advanced class I find – maybe it’s just the novelty factor, but the beginners seem to have a special energy), and made our way home. I was pretty miffed with myself about the way things had turned out with regard to the interview. If only…  But I’m so grateful for the brilliant opportunity I was offered, and I have realised that it’s helped me prepare for interviews with universities or potential employers in the future: Step 1: don’t freak out! breathe! 2 blue background snowflakeBut the whole saga of “the BBC interview that never was” is only the half of our incredible day! The day up to that point had consisted of an impromptu lesson in a tearoom with a Buddhist monk (it’s amazing who Heavenly Father places in our path!) and a triumphant first meeting with a soon-to-be Catholic priestess (that’s what she’s studying for anyway). In the contact she said: “I’ve heard of you Mormons. You better be ready – I’m going to put your knowledge to the test!” She said she was putting her studies and career on the line even to be seen walking with us in town, but once safely in the church building she said there was a wonderful, peaceful feeling, she wants to come visit our Sunday service after the Christmas hols, and she was blown away by the fact that our faiths are more similar than she thought (her jaw dropped when she saw we use the same Bible). She thanked us up and down for being “WONDERFUL people who are passionate and sincere about your beliefs”. Prezident van D was a great help (he has a rock solid testimony of the Book of Mormon, which she has started to read) and he high fived us and practically did a little dance after we bid her goodbye. “Well done, Sisters!” It was a lesson to remember! Talk about an interesting day 🙂

Thursday: A gentleman named J who had previously shown some interest in the gospel, but had declined to2 blue background snowflake meet with us, texted us and said he was enjoying the Book of Mormon so much that he would love to meet and talk about it. He and Prezident van D hit if off nicely! That evening we met with Ro; he’s one of the cool people we ran into while contacting on Monday night. He is an amazing young man with an unshakable faith in God and the Bible – to the point that he said he left the church he was brought up in, and has been searching for the church that is closest to teachings of Bible, but doesn’t think a totally true church exists any longer. We taught with M, a member of the Church who has recently returned to activity (she has changed so much – it’s like the sun has come out in her life now that she’s back at church!). She was bold and testified that she knows this church is true through the Book of Mormon, 100%. He was wary, but when we gave him a Book of Mormon he was so grateful, and committed to read and pray about it. He said he will be baptised if he knows it’s true! 😀 I love teaching good people who are sincerely searching and asking questions: the Lord has prepared them carefully, and it’s so humbling to see how willingly they accept commitments.

blue background snowflakeFriday we met with P. He’s doing all right; we would love to see him develop a greater desire to study the scriptures, and worry about him when he doesn’t make it to Church. But when it comes down to it, he is a teenage boy who is living a good, clean life and has such good heart –we are proud of him, and feel so blessed to know him. We also met with Pani K’ova who has accepted a baptismal date for the 28th of December! She said it felt right, and we’re praying for her and know she has it in her to be ready and take the step. We had a miraculous evening: we did something new and took the bus up to the Zoo to tract in that village. The third house down a lovely lady with a gorgeous family let us in! We have a return appointment to bring her a Book of Mormon! We could hardly believe it! We have never been let in before when tracting. What a blessing.

R’s grandfather passed away this week, so we were especially mindful of serving him and his grandmother 2 blue background snowflakethis Saturday. The Lord loves their family very much.

In short, this is the Lord’s work and He is working here right alongside us. I am looking forward to Christmas, and can’t wait to speak with my family!

All my love,  Sestra Jones