16 June 2014
We’re emailing and then rushing back to work today: we’re moving our Preparation Day to Saturday this week, so that we can attend S’s baptism in Bratislava. 🙂
This has literally been the best week of my mission so far. EVER. Sestra B is a tender mercy from the Lord. I feel that her companionship and consecrated, Christlike example have given me new wings to fly and be the best that I can be. Sestra B is great about emulating charity: greeting everyone with a smile, sincerely seeking to share their life by asking inspired and thought-provoking questions. One of my favourite things is that she seeks to leave everyone with a prayer. She asks “what are you grateful for?” or “what do you need help with today?” and then she prays for just that. Service is like breathing to her – she just yearns to help everyone and spiritual power is the result. It is an answer to my prayers to learn from a Sister like her.
From the word “go” we’ve been trying to spend every waking thought focused on the work of salvation. Tuesday we had no lessons set up, so we went out contacting in the morning and taught several good bench lessons. By the end of the day we’d taught 7 lessons and helped a distraught mother calm down and feel the peace that comes from prayer. She and her boyfriend and daughter had a great next lesson with us on Wednesday. In addition to careful planning and seeking frequent guidance from the Spirit, we’re applying the age-old principle of just getting out and working our socks off. The Lord has been so good to us: we taught a whopping 36 lessons! That’s the mission-wide record this week and my all-time high! We were blessed with 13 new investigators (including three families) that have great potential to accept baptismal dates and make immense progress in the coming weeks. We’re teaching a group of people in a Roma community, and thus far they seem very sincere (taught them family prayer and Word of Wisdom). Some of them are even related to a less-active member of the Church that the Sisters tracked down last transfer. We visited with his wife and daughter yesterday and hope to help them progress to baptism and reactivation as a family. *Sheffield miracle, please! 🙂
*Sestra Jones is referring here to the rapid growth of the Church amongst the Slovak Roma in Sheffield, England, which continues at a tremendous pace. Last year (2013) saw the formation of the first Slovak-speaking congregation of the Church outside of Slovakia, the Sheffield 4th Branch. You can read more about the exciting work taking place there on the mission blog of Starší Zachary Brown, a Slovak-speaking missionary of the England Leeds Mission.
It’s so exciting to see what we can accomplish together (granted that we haven’t had to travel outside of Žilina for an exchange yet), and we’ve a firm confidence that we can work effectively throughout the transfer despite leadership demands. We’re still striving for temperance in all things: cutting meals and studies short to squeeze in another accomplished goal is not healthy over an extended period, and we can’t afford to be frazzled when we’re meant to minister to the other Sisters.
Quick FYI: As Sister Trainer Leaders we are responsible for Sisters in Košice, Trenčín, Bratislava, Uherské Hradiště, and Brno. We have a weekly call-in with each
companionship and one with Prezident McConkie (so when you add the weekly call with our District Leader, Starší G, we have a call-in with someone from 21.45-22.00 every night). We check up on their areas and personal progress, and conduct a 24-hour exchange with each sister once per transfer. Exchanges are discouraged on transfer and training weeks, so our first exchange won’t be until next week after the Teixieras’ visit. (Elder José Teixeira and his family are from Portugal. He is currently serving as president of the Europe Area Presidency.)
Sestra B and I are so excited to get a lot of work done this transfer, and we feel we will. This week we’ve proven to ourselves that we can get bench lessons and new investigators, and that basically: missionary work works. But we need to ensure that our service to people doesn’t become distorted into a numbers game to top old statistics. We could be teaching 100 lessons a week, but if no one is brought to Christ because of those lessons, then we’re not fulfilling our purpose. (See Russell M. Nelson ‘Protect the Spiritual Power Line’, 1984 – great talk!)
The mix of missionaries here in Žilina is refreshing. It’s such a privilege to serve around both senior couples and new missionaries (like Elder Garn, who is from Bluffdale, Utah – he’s great!). It’s as if our District has an anchor of motherly love and father-like counsel, plus all the energy and adventure of limitless horizons and a mission ahead of you.
I wish I could write so much more, but there isn’t time enough to process let alone recount everything that’s happened. Remind me if I forgot to answer questions and I’ll try to cover them next time. I know that the Saviour is anxious for each of us to become the person we’re designed to be, and that through His Atonement we have the means to do so. I know that the power of the Priesthood is real and that the Holy Spirit can lead us to accomplish miracles if we will tune our heart to hear His voice.
Love you all to bits, Sestra Jones