10 February 2014
Bratislava is FANTASTIC! The branch here is the largest I’ve seen so far, with FAMILIES at church! 😀 For starters, Prezident B and his wife are practically superhuman with rock-solid testimonies, and have a fine family. The Ruz family are a couple from Russia with 3 angelic young children. The Val family have a special place in my heart; they have 5 children (one boy fostered, a pair of twins, all VERY energetic). Both Brat and Sestra Val served full-time missions in the UK (Brat in Aberystwyth! Cymru am byth! *That’s Welsh for “Wales forever”). Brat S is great: he’s in his 20’s, comes from Latvia, and is a super talented musician.
Sestra Seni and I both feel that our service this transfer is for the members of the Branch: while still aiming for Prezident McConkie’s vision of at least one baptism each transfer, we are also feeling focused on building a strong, happy Branch with active members sharing the load and ready to welcome more into the family.
I’ve already had some experiences which help me to know I’m in the right place: T was being taught in English, but during our most recent meeting with him I spoke to him only in Slovak, and at the end he said he now understands nuances that hadn’t been clear to him before about the Book of Mormon and its role.
Our District is well-balanced, and we’re all going to be great friends. Elder Roos is the new Elder (another missionary from the UK! Small world!). He’s Filipino/Dutch and hails from London. 🙂 Elder Lam was inspired to divide up the city amongst the four companionships for contacting and tracting purposes. We sisters were assigned Petrzalka (basically everything south of the Dunaj), and we’ve spent some time finding buses and scoping out good routes. We feel it’s a perfect fit for us, and Sestra Seni kept saying: “We’ve crossed the bridge!”
Our goal is to find at least one family there and end the transfer with strong, active members and a handful of baptismal dates to take the final step next transfer. Follow-up training is a privilege. Sestra Seni is ever patient and optimistic. She said to me on Tuesday after a taxing day of contacting: “I’ve never participated this much in contacts before. Thank you so much!” It was a moment in which the Lord let me know that He’s helped me grow and change over the course of my mission. I hope I can stay sensitive to her needs, and apply everything I’ve learned through all my experiences so far.
I’m also currently acting as District Language Study Co-Ordinator. I’m still trying to learn how to effectively share my talent for speaking Slovak. Just because I am able to speak and understand fairly well myself, doesn’t mean I can easily teach grammar to another missionary. 🙂 This will be another great opportunity to stretch myself a bit, and hopefully gain new understanding and skills.
Love you all so much, Sestra Jones