Tuesday, December 17, 2013

December 16, 2013 - Zilina

Hello Everyone!! 
      So yes, I know my letter last week was awful! Jaclyn, thank you for being the only one who didn't comment about it ;). I'm sorry and here's a super good letter to make you all super happy! :D

        I had an excellent week! I really love this city! So first off, the branch! The branch here is bigger than in Kosice. We have about 10 active members (half of which are the Se Family...They're so great! They have 6 kids, though two of them are away for school. There are 6 missionaries here-us, the elders, and the Wrightsons (Starsi Wrightson is serving as Branch President right now).

Silly faces for the ugly hat contest
 We had the branch Christmas party on Saturday. It was super fun. Us missionaries put on a short program with musical numbers and what christmas means to us (with only of week of preparation might I add). Starsi Hammond played his gutair and I had Tibor. We all sang (all six of us) and I did a few (terrifying) solos. Lucky for us though the branch from Banska Bystrica joined us, so their Senior couple (the Nyes) also sang with us. Then we played White Elephant, had an ugly hat contest and ate lots of food! 
      We went to the Chirstmas Markets this past week (and we're going again today)! There are some really cool things there and the food is sooo yummy! I'm also really glad we have someone in our district who was here last Christmas (Starsi Hammond) so we know which drinks are alcoholic! But we had Detsky Punč (children's punch) and it tasted like wassail...just not as strong.

        I absolutly adore Sister Krauel and we do great things together. We get along and balance each other well. Sister Krauel is crazy organized which means we make plans and accomplish our plans. We had a wonderful conversation with President McConkie about our area. We've decided we know what we need to do (or rather who we need to find) to grow the branch here. We are searching for a pair who are settled here and are raising or will raise a family, who are solid kingdom builders! We've been doing lots of clipboarding, planning Christmas concerts and visits, and building good realationships with members! We're having a great time! Plus CHRISTMAS IS COMING!!!! YAY!! Another reason I love Sister Krauel is because we are the same...everything. We are the same size so we occasionally share clothes. We are the same in humor, so pretty much we think we're the funniest people here. And we're the same in VISION! We have a vision for Zilina and we know we can accomplish all sorts of things here because we are the Lord's Missionaries! :)

       So now to talk about some other things, such as the Slovak Language! I'm improving (I think and hope). I still don't understand a lot but I'm working on my language levels and feel like I'm progressing. The disappointing times are when I feel I've said it right and whomever I'm talking to doesn't understand and I don't know how to say it differently or better. The cool thing is Sister Krauel and I are both working on our levels and we're pretty much at the same level (she's better than me but denies it).

    I suppose in closing, eat some yummy christmas treats from me [Sister J sent some home to us!], blast the carols and remember: I love you all and wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!! [follow the Merry Christmas link to see a beautiful video on The Nativity]

S Laskou,
Sestra Whitney Sarah Johnson <3

December 9, 2013 - Zilina

Hello Everyone!!

     So did I really not tell you who I was with?...well, that's awkward! :P  That's okay though! I'm with Sestra Krauel. We get along so well and she's just awesome! Well so I have at least two things to tell you about this week...
     First off this past week Mikulas came! Tradition here is that on the night of December 5th, Mikulas comes and leaves oranges and chocolates in shoes (of good children). So Sister Krauel and I played Mikulas and left oranges and kinder eggs in the pockets of Elder & Sister Wrightson's and the Elder's jackets. It was really fun! 
     Right now there are Christmas markets in the Namestie. (We're going to look at them today...) Some of it's really cool but more than half of it seems to be alcohol booths which is awful because there are a bunch of drunk men. Sometimes it causes problems because Sister Krauel is a pretty  redhead. This week a couple of men tried to touch her hair...   [Sister J and her mom love the Christmas season - follow this link  for a short video reminding us of what is truly important.]
     I've had a really good week...Church was cool and the area/branch feels like home already. I like  working with Sister Krauel...she's a lot like me in personality and in behavior (but not in age! One of our jokes...I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest sister in the mission and she's the oldest). We have so much to do here but we have a plan!! 
     I'm sorry this is an awful email. I don't have much time nor much to say.  I'll write a really long message  next week!  
Well pretty much I love my mission, I love my area and I love you!!
S Laskou,
Sestra Whitney Sarah Johnson

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013-Guess!

From: Kosice, Slovakia To: Zilina, Slovakia
Kosice to Zilina: 3 Hours 14 minutes
Hello everyone!

     So first off I´m not in Kosice anymore! I am now serving in the beautiful city of Zilina!!!! YAY!!!

 So this past week was crazy and I don´t know if I can remember it all...also I forgot my notes at home (my new home in all the business of transferring).

For Thanksgiving we went to the Millers and had a feast. The van Dalens, Millers and Elders were there. It was wonderful to spend time with my wonderful mission family! I just love these people so much!!

On Sunday, we had a visitor, a former missionary (Elder Tenney) and a few of his friends. They are teaching English in the Ukraine. Also we had an amazing amount of people at church. A few less active members came and it was just a beautiful fast a testimony meeting.  Elder Ferrell was super sick on Saturday and Sunday (like Emergency room sick). On Sunday, we called them with transfer updates and to check up on them (they came to church to pass the sacrament and then left) and Elder Ferrell was told (by the doctor) to drink orange juice diluted with water and salt and to eat bread. Sadly the elders didn't have any of those things. Lucky for them we sisters did! We told them we´d bring it by but forgot the bus schedule on Sunday is different than normal and so we didn't arrive until 40 minutes later. Sister Jones was on the phone with them and we were trying to find their byť. She was saying something along the lines "we´re here by Fresh and we see a brown byť with someone hanging out the window." Well turns out the elders being bored out of their minds waiting on food decided to get...creative. They took all the bedsheets in the apartment and tied it to a bucket and lowered it down to us! (Keep in mind they live on the 5th or 4th floor)!  It was so silly and just wonderful! I really love my district! In fact I wrote a farewell song to my district (everyone is staying...Sister Jones is receiving a Czech comp, Sister Barney and Starsi Ferrell is training with the assistance of Starsi Guymon who goes home at the end of the month). I´ll send it too you...

      Another excellent thing that happened this week, was contacting exchanges with the elders. I learned so much and I so admire Elder Guymon and Elder Ferrell. They are just amazing missionaries! Starší Guymon committed me to do a few things to improve my mission and become the missionary I want to be. One of which is to accomplish Key To Their Hearts, a program created by a past mission president to improve our language and communication skill. There are 3 levels and  Starší Guymon committed me to do it in one transfer. Pretty much that means I´ll be immersing myself in Slovak for the next 9 weeks. I´m really excited.  Also, I'm doing well reading in the KM (I´m in Mosiah).

      Our investigators are wonderful per usual. PK came to church and loved it. She is growing in her testimony...slow and surely as she progresses through the KM and attends Church and meetings. She is ready for baptism even if she doesn't recognize it. I´m really excited for Sis Jones because during contacting exchanges we got a bunch of numbers from really cool people so I dare say her teaching pool will be growing this week.

      I don´t have much time (we shortened our time because of transfers) but I love you all and I´m so excited to hear of all the wonderful happenings at home!

S Laskou,
Sestra Whitney Sarah Johnson