Sunday, July 21, 2013

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 15, 2013-Košice

My lovely family and friends!

   So this week was great! On Tuesday we traveled to Zilina to meet President McConkie and his family. I love them soooo much! The President is really awesome and gave a great pep talk on how our mission is a mission built on miracles. He also gave a beautiful analogy about building the Kingdom of God. He said that we as missionaries are builders and all builders need to rely on the architect, or Chirst. I also really enjoy his teaching style. It's actually similar to yours, Dad. Then Sister McConkie is just wonderful and super sweet. We had a lovely conversation and she thanked me b/c I was talking w/her children like their cousins would.

     So our area is really blossoming from the 1st week when we had nothing. We have 2 on date for baptisms and a bunch of other solid investigators.... And our members are just lovely! The regulars are President Van Dalen and Sister Van Dalen, Sister Burdigova, Lenka (she's a YSA and our first Sunday told us she was excited to finally have girls in the branch), Daniella, and Eric (he is soo cool! He's from Kenya and is studying medicine here).

      Sorry this is so short this has been crazy. This transfer is my trainers last and we have so much to do and so little time! Also the weather here is ridiculous. and possibly jacking with the computers. Or maybe they're just really old.
I love you all!
S Laskou,
 Sestra Whitney Sarah Johnson <3

July 1, 2013-Košice

A few highlights from Whitney's week...
Hello Everyone!!
      This week has been amazing!!! By far one of the best, so here it is...

Building's really cool with 3 of us. We got permission from the President to be out of sight while doing tours so my companions lead the investigator through the building while I play hymns on the piano in the Chapel. The church building is small...only the chapel, a sunday school room, relief society room and entrance/hall. My comps use the pictures on the wall to share a's really powerful b/c the last room is the chapel and the spirit in the Kosice chapel is beautiful! The other great part of our building tours is that we get 2 commitments in and establish expectations before we sit down. It's super effective and sets the mood for the rest of the lesson. 
On Tuesday we also went to an opera. (Well part of one anyway).  One of our investigators (Titusz) is an opera singer and really wanted us to go. We weren't sure if that would be the most effective thing to do with our time or if we were allowed to go but we promised him we would try. We got permission to go during our dinner hour and so we got to Rigoletto (the fist half). The opera was in an old opera house and was sooo gorgeous!

Thursday, June 27 the zone leaders came from Zvolen (about one hour away by train). We had district lunch, district meeting, and (here's the good part) had a singing display!!! It was amazing!! So the 7 of us picked a spot on the Namestie and started singing hymns. There were always at least 2 people contacting and the rest of us would sing. I was a bit nervous...not about the singing, thats not really a big deal, but about the contacting. The ZLs were going to contact with Sestra Barid and I b/c we are new and I wasn't really looking forward to it. Sadly, my language skills are still poor (but getting better, I hope!). But the contacting was great! I was contacting with Elder Bateman and he was really nice/awesome about it. Normally I'd start contacts and he'd finish them or would bear my testimony about something whenever he told me what was going on in the contacts. I absolutely LOVE singing displays. Oh! another story from that day...I tried to contact a lady on a bus and as soon as I said "missionarka" she very adamantly said "Nie, Nie, Nie." I figured okay if you don't want to hear my message, the least I could do is practice my language but when I said "Môžem" (may I ) she started in with "Nie, Nie , Nie" again so that was my fun bus contacting experience of the week. It is really disappointing when they won't even give you a chance.

Friday, June 28, was also great! They were having a folkfest and I went and bought some super yummy gingerbread treats and two egg ornaments, which may have not been the best idea seeing as they are very fragile. I will  have to protect them for the the next 15 months!

Saturday June 29 was bitter sweet. It was President Irwins last day. We were over at the branch presidents house for lunch and President Irwin called us. He spoke to each of us and wished us well and encouraged us. I really love him! He is so amazing and cares a lot for each missionary in the mission. But I know President McConkie will be awesome! That night we sent the new Prez a text to say hello and welcome. We signed it "the Košice Sestry PBaJ." Also I really love eating at the van Dalens house. We get such good food there! Sis van Dalen made us fried cheese!! It was soo yummy! You take special cheese (the kind that won't get all melty in the oil) bread it, and fry it. Then you put tarter sauce on it and it tastes amazing!
Sunday, June 30 was beautiful. We had 2 investigators at church!! This past week we hit standards in everything! A first for us (and possibly our area). We taught triple the number of lessons than the previous week. It is truly a miracle.
Love, Sestra Whitney Sarah <3


July 8, 2013-Košice

Hello Everyone!

This week went by so fast!! I just don't even know where the time went! Anyways here is my week and whatnot. So Monday July 1 our district climbed Alžbety. It's this big catholic cathedral and we climbed to the top of the tower and WOW! the view is amazing.
Okay so I have some AWESOME investigators. Last Sunday (June something or other) we met this really cool older gent named M. He actually stopped us to ask for directions and after speaking with him outside for a very long time, we invited him to our building so that we could give him a BOM in English. We gave him the BOM which he was very excited for, gave him a building tour and invited him to church. He was so excited while we were talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He loves the last step "Endure to the End."  Then yesterday, he came and LOVED IT!! It was fast Sunday of course and he actually got up and bore a testimony. I'm told it was very beautiful and in line with the gospel (I didn't understand language is still beginner level)....he said he wanted to be baptized!
Another investigator is building his faith so much! We hadn't met w/him for a long time b/c he was performing (he's an opera singer!). But he came to a lesson this past week full of questions, one of which being how he should read the BOM and what should he be getting out of it. It's great to see him realize that we are teaching him something that should be taken seriously. 
We also went tracting this past week (for the 2nd time) and its not much fun. At one point an entire first floor, only 3 or 4 people, were yelling at us (all at the same time). But it's okay b/c we actually met a lady (in a different apartment building) who wants us to return. So that was my week more or less. Now for some questions.

1. When did missionaries first arrive in Kosice?
A. (I found this out for you, Mom) In 2006 or so. 
2. How many sisters are in Slovakia?
A. There's 8 of us now but when my group is done with our 1st transfer (here in a couple of weeks) there will only be 6. 
3. How many are in my zone?
A. My zone is all of Slovakia minus Bratislava...I'm not really sure how many that actually is. 25 to 30 perhaps.
4. Are you doing most of the cooking or do you girls take turns?
A.  I cook. Mostly cause if I didn't, everyone would fend for themselves. Also I don't think I'd be fed properly if I didn't. Its relaxing and a stress reliever.
5. Do you know if the new mission president is going to contact you soon?  Does he speak the language?
A. We actually are meeting the mission president this week in Zilina. He's a former czech missionary and does speak czech. 

Well that's it for now...I love you all!! 
Lots of Love, Sestra Whitney Johnson <3

Thursday, July 11, 2013

June 24, 2013 Kosice

Dear Family and Friends,
 Hello! So to start off...Zone Conference in Brno! The train ride is 8 hours and it was long! My entire district rode together (Elders Simcock and Barber and Sister Barid and Pyšňáková). 4 hours or so into the trip, we were joined by two more elders, Elders Utley and Calderon. They are in Zilina. Conference was the next day and was really great! The AP had a cool presentation on "using the whole buffalo" or using the members, investigators, less actives and recent converts, and potentials to the maximize your productivity. Then, right after conference, we went to catch a train to Zilina. The weather was so hot and some of the windows wouldn't open! I'm surprised no one passed out from the heat. We spent the night in Zilina and then went home on Wed.
(Then a paragraph about her being sick -her companions had her sit at an open cafe while they did contacts in front of her -- she was sleeping during morning study time so she caught up during this time-- luckily she was able to receive a blessing and her illness only lasted for a day).
Mom and Al asked about the ice cream. I'm glad our family is so focused on the important things in life. ;)
A. The ice cream is wonderful. On the Namestie, there are ice cream shops EVERYWHERE! Normally I'll get 2 scoops. They have great flavors. My favs are Chocolate, Citron (which is Lemon), and Berry. I've also had coconut (not my fav.) and vanilla with chocolate shavings. The bread is also everywhere. In the store, in the bread section, they have bins of bread. Loafs, pastries, doughnuts. It's so yummy!!
S Laskou, Whitney

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

June 17; Kosice

This weeks top comments from Whitney:

--Last week we were having floods and high winds and this week it's hot and humid. Just like Kansas!!

 --ZMIRZLINA!! (Ice cream!) I LOVE ICE CREAM! The ice cream here is sooo good! And they have the best flavors. A single scoop is 40 cents and so this past week we got ice cream a few times.

-- I'm really glad that we have mandatory exercise or else I'd get really fat from all the bread/chocolate/ice cream.

--So nothing too terribly scary has happened to me. Just one sorta weird thing. I was on a bus and I told myself I'd talk to whoever sat down across from me. I had my KM (Kniha Mormonova) and a pass along card all ready.  A roma guy sat down and I leaned forward. Then he pulled out a knife and whetstone and started sharpening it. I decided I didn't want to get shanked in Slovakia, so I read out of my KM.

--I don't really need anything unless you can send me some Braums milk!