12 May 2014
“Every day, if you will ask in prayer to be shown where the hand of God intervened in your life that day, I bless you that you will see that.
It will be made manifest to you… you will see that He is leading and guiding and lifting you, and that He knows you.”
– President Henry B. Eyring, “A Steady, Upward Course”
This week was full of interesting ups and downs. We started off with heroic effort and a determination to consecrate our ALL. We collapsed into bed that night with nothing left to give, and Sestra W mumbled as she drifted off the best words I could wish to hear: “I don’t remember when we started working hard, but it feels SO GOOD.” Despite the occasional wobble, our studies are improving as is our effectiveness. It’s a good thing too, as there are challenges ahead: 4 investigators successively dropped us in the space of 48 hours, so we were only weekly planning for 2 investigators: S (still on date for baptism) and J (we’ll have our second meeting today).
Other areas are looking up though: Brat S picked up his phone and not only met for a lesson, but also brought a friend and went contacting with us! He was in his element and really helped Sestra W to initiate contacts with a goodly number of people. In fact, many of the most meaningful conversations we’ve had together this week have been started by Sestra W. 🙂 Her skills are constantly improving and it’s wonderful to see! However, we both feel that we’ve still got a lot more to improve in a short space of time, in order to be ready for next transfer.
And that’s where our Sister Training Leader exchange came in! I went to Trenčín (surprise!) on Thursday night, and Sestra Ka and I had a miraculously powerful lesson about the Plan of Salvation and Holy Ghost with an entire train compartment full of people (one of whose family the Trenčín Sisters tracted into just last month – there are no accidents!). I LOVED Friday in Trenčín! I’ve been in and out of that pretty little city since my Žilina days, and it was an adventure to actually give a day of my mission to build that branch. Serving with Sestra Ka has been one of my secret
dreams since she arrived in the Czech/Slovak Mission, and it was a blessing to learn from her faithful and capable example. She has a presence and confidence that stops people in their tracks when she addresses them as they walk by. That’s what I call teaching with power and authority. We had great experiences of working in unity with each other and the Spirit in the lesson we were able to teach. It’s a powerful idea that one can receive revelation for whatever area they are assigned to, regardless of previous experience.
On Saturday, missionaries and Saints gathered together in Trenčín for a special event: a commemoration of the dedication of the Slovak Republic for the preaching of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. President McConkie had asked Starší U (who is a really superb vocalist; he’s got a voice like liquid gold) to organise some musical items, and I was invited to sing in a quartet, which I really enjoyed. I’ve included some inspirational remarks that President McConkie shared with us in his Nový Hlas (New Voice) missionary newsletter from the event:
“Dear Elders and Sisters,
Today marks the anniversary of the dedication of Slovakia by Pres. Uchtdorf in 2006. The original event was attended by 56 individuals. Pres. Uchtdorf, his wife and daughter, the mission president and his wife, and a strong group of Saints were all present on an early May morning in Trenčín up near the Trenčín Castle. For those of you that have visited the site, you know that it is a beautiful place. We joined many of the missionaries and members to commemorate the dedication last Saturday. It was a beautiful and spiritual day. When I got up Saturday morning, I took the time to read the dedicatory prayer as part of my morning studies. A few things impressed me. They are things you should consider as you go about your work this week.
At the time of the dedication, there were only three branches in Slovakia (Bratislava, Trenčín and Žilina). Elder Uchtdorf promised more groups/branches in his blessing and pronounced a special blessing on the youth of the Church. Today we have branches and groups in many other cities (Nitra, Banská Bystrica, Košice) and we have welcomed many good people into the Church. J K, for example, was baptised a little over a year ago in Trenčín and has now submitted his mission papers. He and B Se, and T V and P V will all enter the mission field this year.
In all this, we see God’s hand in the work. Pres. Uchtdorf prayed that Slovakia would be blessed with “many congregations, many units, many branches” and that “the Church and the restored gospel will be instrumental to raise great leaders over the years.” These new congregations, new missionaries and the other young people (S Se, P Sa) who have already served and returned home represent answers to Pres. Uchtdorf’s prayer.
Elders and Sisters, we testify that God keeps his promises. Take the time this week to consider His promises to you. Read the mission blessing from December. Share it with the new missionaries who were not there. Ask God to honor the blessings sealed upon each of you in that and any other blessings you have received as a missionary. Trust that the Lord will bless you and then go about your work with full purpose, faith and effort.
S Láskou, President and Sister McConkie”
It was a beautiful day! One special joy for me was being able to visit with members of the Church from Žilina that I’ve missed. It has been one year since I was last there, and I was so happy to see their growth in so short a time. I know that the Lord has even greater things in store for Slovakia according to our collective faithfulness. Isaiah 41:10 “…I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Love you lots! ❤