03 February 2014
Hope I can type all this fast enough; I’m feeling a bit groggy after getting up at 4 this morning. Can you guess why? That’s right! I had to catch the early train, because I’m follow-up training the lovely Sestra Seni in Bratislava!! I get to serve in the capital city of Slovakia, in the largest branch in the country, and see Brat M again! Happy days 🙂 *(Brat M was baptised in Košice in August 2013, and lives in Bratislava now.)
Like me, my new companion is 20 years old. She is so much fun! She’s from Salt Lake City, and loves reading, sports, films, and food. She studied for a year at BYU Hawaii before coming on her mission, and was in the MTC with Elder Chri’n. She LOVES the members and investigators here and is a wonderful missionary with great faith and confidence. I’m sure we’ll have a lot to learn from each other!
I’m going to miss Sestra Bar: she’s been such a champ and has taught me how to be happy on my mission (“it’s not missionary work; it’s missionary fun!”). I’m so honoured to have served with her, and feel sad that this will be her final transfer. It was a luxury to serve with a sister as kind and experienced as Sestra Bar, and she taught me some great lessons (all of which I seem only to have absorbed in our very last week together. Why?! :D) I had some eye-openers about patience and not forcing people to be ready now, but accepting the Lord’s timing for each individual. I also learned much more about relationships. Sestra Bar is so perfectly honest about herself and others – never aggrandising or exaggerating when recalling the past, but also perfectly balancing the need for privacy and never wanting to hurt anyone.
Sestra B will be serving with her this transfer, which is really cool as Sestra B has a lot of ancestral ties with that area. As for the fate of the Elders, Starší Chri’n will be follow-up trained by Starší C (they’re perfectly matched!), and Starší Fe’l just can’t resist making history, the young thing. He’s twice the legend now: training again, plus opening a brand new area here in Bratislava. So there’ll be 4 companionships serving here now – can’t wait to be a part of it!
By the end of this transfer, Starší Fe’l and I will have served in the same district for an astonishing 8 months. That’s almost half my mission. He jokes that he can’t get rid of me even by transferring. I have refrained from pointing out the obvious, which is: I was here first. So if anybody is “following somebody else around”, that would be him, not me. 😉 Really, he has no idea how grim and sad his life is going to be when he doesn’t have yours truly around anymore!
Parting with the Košice Branch members at church yesterday filled me with gratitude to know such astoundingly good people. We had a good turn-out, too: all the regulars (Sestra B’gova, the van D’s, J, E, and M) and the lovely L (just returned from studying in Spain) plus (miraculously) her non-member father! Add the 6 missionaries and 2 investigators and there’s quite the impressive group. Julius popped in just for Priesthood session declaring that the Book of Mormon is the best book he’s ever read – “better even than the Bible”! Alma is his absolute favourite, and he was convinced the book is true when he read Mormon denouncing infant baptism. He enjoyed himself thoroughly I dare say, but has no desire at present to commit to coming weekly, or be taught, or consider baptism. What a funny man! The second investigator was our lovely I, who is now working towards March 29 as a baptismal date! 😀 She came for Sunday School and absolutely LOVES church: she willingly participated in Relief Society and was so sweet in bidding me farewell. I’m sure the Lord will work miracles in her life as she continues on her path to conversion. She is in good hands.
Košice will always have a special place in my heart, but I am at peace about moving on now. I have felt for a while that this is what the Lord was planning for me, and when the long-anticipated transfer call came it just felt RIGHT.
So, quickly about what has transpired today: I’ve met the lovely MG, an 18-year-old convert who has immediately won a place of honour on my list of all-time favourite Slovak Church members. She studies animation (the 3D kind on
computers) and loves RPG and video games, etc. She was introduced to the gospel through online gaming: the girl she was chatting with said ‘I have to go to church now.’ Then MG waited for THREE HOURS for her to return! She asked her friend, “what church takes three hours?!” and her friend said, “glad you asked, let me show you”…Boom, so great. She loves teaching with the sisters and wants to serve a mission! My hero.
Starší Fe’l and New Missionary (don’t know who he’ll be yet!) are moving into the sisters’ old apartment, so we just moved into a spanking new one! It’s jaw-droppingly fancy! Like living in a hotel: complete with receptionist and gym and flat screen telly (not that we’re watching it, but still – posh iawn)! Thank you, parents, for raising me on flat-pack furniture, cause it’s IKEA assembly galore as soon as we return from this library. I think that’s about it for now, I love you all and send you big bear hugs!
<3, Sestra Jones