30 June 2014
“And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” 1 Cor 13:13
I love the church members here in Žilina. Absolutely adore them. It’s humbling to learn once in a while just how deep an impact our words and behaviour as missionaries have on others. Sestra Se travelled and taught with us a lot this week, much for the purpose of visiting teaching before June was good and finished. And on every train and bus we boarded, Sestra B and I held true to our resolve to speak with everyone we could. “We taught people in their streets, and in their homes, and [on their trams] and [waiting at their crosswalks] and [while asking for directions to a panelák]” (Alma 26:29). She later said what a spiritual awakening it had been for her, and said that it refuelled her commitment to be a member missionary.
Last week we took P (who is waiting for mission papers still, but going to the temple this week!) out contacting with us and she too said that although she’d been terrified, it was one of the most memorable spiritual experiences she’s ever had. Moral of the story is: nothing builds your testimony like sharing it, so pray daily for opportunities and then do all you can to teach and testify to those that the Lord places in your path. Then pass on the torch by lighting the courage of others in your family and branch. It will not be easy, nor may it yield immediate fruit, but missionary work will ultimately result in incomparable joy. (see Alma 26:35-37 “Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began…” )
What a week it’s been! We embarked on our first exchange as Sister Training Leaders, and learned our fair share about revelation in the process. We had a branch activity scheduled for Saturday, but felt strongly that that was the day we needed to go to Brno (Czech Republic) instead. We counselled and “wrestled in the Spirit” and in the end just decided to follow our first impression. Thank goodness we did! 😀
We left on Friday afternoon by train, taught a few lessons, and arrived in time to plan together. We had no lessons set up for Saturday, so it was the perfect chance for some morning contacting to refuel their finding. I was paired with Sestra R (the Canadian sister who was in the MTC with me), and we boldly went out first thing to teach three young adults lounging in the park. (The entire time we were talking together, they were trying to open a wine bottle, but it proved very unco-operative and would not budge! A bit of heavenly interference, perhaps? 😉 ). Plus we taught another student from Olomouc, who was leaving Brno that same day but accepted a Book of Mormon and said he wanted to be baptised. Sestra R stopped a gorgeous young lady from China, also on her way to Olomouc, who had tried learning about God before but felt she’d failed in her search. Not so! (the missionaries in Olomouc must need angelic assistance, cause it’s certainly flowing their way!). We then had great studies after lunch before a district singing display. Just in time for the World War I memorial musical parade to pass by as it happened, so perhaps not the best timing! But Sestry B and F had a fruitful day as well, so it all balanced out great. One of the less-active members of the church that they contacted came to church the following day! 🙂
In our call-in last night the Brno Sestry told us that in that single exchange the total of lessons they taught that week had doubled. Wow. Like Elder Teixeira said, we can break the patterns of the past (” Saturdays are dead to missionary work” = MYTH BUSTED). Revelation is a powerful thing, and the Elders and Sisters in this mission are just fantastic. The one little hiccup in our exchange was the trip back: we got stuck in Trenčín and had to spend the night at the sisters’ flat there. But then I never complain about sleep-overs. 🙂
I was privileged to give a talk in sacrament meeting this Sunday. I had prayed and thought about the topic to share, but it wasn’t until that train ride from Trenčín on Sunday morning that my thoughts finally came together – as something very different than what I’d first expected! I was myself amazed (but not entirely surprised) that D’s talk about faith led perfectly into mine about truth and obedience, almost as if it had been planned. We had another miracle that day in that our neighbour F (who I suppose could be described as a bit of a cynic – he adamantly claims he’ll never believe in God, but yet defends us missionaries to anyone he hears badtalking the church) attended sacrament meeting on a whim and ended up having a good experience. Sestra H’s elderly (and VERY Catholic) mother also attended for the very first time.
I’ve only got a little time left, but some exciting new investigators are N and her 82-year-old mother M. They are SO in tune with the Spirit. They welcomed us and Sestra Se into their home, gobbled up the teachings about prophets and revelation and just need to read the Book of Mormon to gain solid testimonies of the Restoration. A similar family – the O family- have been investigating for a number of weeks (maybe Sestra B and Johns are just magic, but they prove that tracting does work!). They believe that every worthy man can be a priest, but don’t yet see the necessity for belonging to a single church. They scoured the Restoration brochure thoroughly and handed back 3 typed pages of concerns with Bible references! How many investigators take the time to do that, I ask you? 😀 We’re fasting and praying that these elect individuals will have their hearts touched and softened so they may enter Christ’s fold and contribute to the building of His church here in this beautiful city.
I ADORE Sestra B. I feel that she is God’s gift to me in my last transfer. Our friendship is so rewarding and her example is so dependable. We’re working in unity to inspire each other to be our best selves. We’re still teaching more than ever before: 30 lessons last week despite a trip to Bratislava and 28 this week despite the exchange! Plus, I love getting to call the other Sestry every week and share in their joys and trials! We’re off to Leadership Council in Prague this week to plan the upcoming training. Eep! Training a room of 50 missionaries!? We remind ourselves that were born ready: “whom the Lord calls, He qualifies”. 😉
Love you all oh-so-very-much, Sestra Jones x