Thursday, March 27, 2014

March 24, 2014 - Zilina

I'm am sooo dead tired right now. This past week was crazy busy plus it's been raining which always makes me sleepy...

Tuesday: This past week we had our koncert in Trencin and it was awesome! Though somehow I ended up singing a bunch of solos which I sorta hate seeing as it scares me. I sang I Stand All Amazed while Elder Brousseou played the guitar (it's really pretty)! There were a few...sketchy parts but mostly we sounded great. The koncert in Zilina is tomorrow and I'm sure it will go well.

Wednesday: The APs came all the way from Prague to go on exchanges with the elders...which means we did a singing display! This is the day though when everything got suddenly cold and the poor APs didn't have coats! It was freezing during the singing display (I didn't have a coat either but I'm tough ;)).

Thursday: KONFERENCE DAY!! We had training in Bratislava and it was amazing! It was very intense...we had 8 different trainings, each about 20 minutes. It was very direct (mainly because there wasn't lots of time-they had to say only the important things). And most importantly, it was very helpful. We also received some new finding methods. Sister Baird and I actually shared a brief summary of our Family History workshops and we're working on getting them out to the rest of the mission. Then we went on a guided tour around Bratislava. It's a gorgeous city...very big though compared to Zilina. All of the Czech missionaries were excited because for most of them it was their first time ever in Slovakia. Quite honestly it's best to be a Slovak speaker...we get the best of Slovakia and  the Czech Republic! ;)

Friday:  Not much happened this day...we had an adventure and found a new area to trakt. It's a really cute area full of domceks and families. We also had Polar Bear (our district language study).

Saturday: It was Elder Clark's Birthday!! So naturally I baked a cake. We celebrated during game night and one of our investigators came with her two children. It's been a long time since any of our investigators have come to game night and it was so much fun.

Sunday: We ate dinner at the Wrightsons and Sister Wrightson made gulas. It was delicious...I'm going to have to get the recipe! Also we had visitors from Brno. I don't know if I told you but during 3rd hour Sister Baird and I teach the Se girls. This past week we talked about the Atonement. It went pretty well plus it's great cause the girls understand English (to an extent) so we can watch some of the Mormon messages. (Click HERE  if you would like to watch some inspiring and beautiful messages.)

We are teaching some beautiful people right now...a couple of families oh, and an atheist who has asked us to meet with him. 

A few people have asked about things such as clipboarding or family history workshops so here's a run down:
English Classes: Once a week we teach a free english class. Sister Baird and I teach conversational.
Family History Workshops: We have 3 workshops about story recording. The first one is "What's my story?". It focuses on writing your journal and how to record your personal history. The second is "What's their story?". It focuses on recording the stories of family members. The third is "What are the lost stories?". It focuses on find and recording stories and information of our ancestors. The point is to get people interested in learning more about family history and eternal families.

Clipboarding: This is how we get people to the above items. Our distict goes out on the namestie with clipboard and a giant poster advertising either English classes or family history or a koncert. Then we stop people and ask them to write their name and number if they have interest in receiving a text about the advertised event.

That's more or less my thoughts for the week. I love you all and hope everythings going well!
S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson<3

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's been a long time...but we received PICTURES! (March 17)

Beautiful Zilina!

Sister P made us gulaš and knedle - it was so good!

Time to study.

Marianske namestie

A really cool door with the Zilina crest.

With Siter Baird.

Life is sweet!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

March 17, 2014 - Zilina

Ahoj! Tak dnes len hovorím po slovensky...alebo nie**. Soooo first off Sister Baird and I failed at our SOL week. But we did set the record high of our transfer! Yay us! [**translation: "Hello! So today I speak only Slovak...or not". Personally, I'm thankful she chose to send the rest in English.]

Not too terribly much happened this week. Life in Slovakia per usual but this coming week is going to be crazy! We have a concert tomorrow in Trencin and training in Bratislava on Thursday and Elder Clark's birthday on Saturday. So here's what happened this past week...

Monday: We spent some time with the Elders, did some shopping (I bought a bible and a pravopis-it's a book to help out my Slovak.)

Tuesday: We had an awesome district meeting! Starsi Clark invited P, one of the members, to share about her conversion and it was beautiful. She talked about when she first met missionaries and could sense the goodness from them and they asked her the exact question that had been on her mind. She said her advice to missionaries is "Rely on the Holy Ghost and let him guide you."

 Wednesday:   We did some morning contacting for Family History and while doing so ran into a less active member originally from Kosice. We had been trying to get a hold of her (what a miracle).  I talked to her for a long time.

Thursday: This day was very busy, a little weird and slightly disappointing. In the morning we went to Vrutky to visit a member and returned and went clipboarding with the elders. We got a call from the Elders in Kosice. They told us they'd received a call from someone trying to get a hold of us and this person was now waiting at the church building . We quickly went to find K, our investigator. He was cancelling his lesson with us which was frustrating and disappointing because one of our members who lives outside of Zilina was coming to teach K with us and he was already on the train. I think K was just uneasy with meeting someone else. On the plus side, we were finally able to show K the church building.

Friday: Well Friday was beautiful! The weather was perfect and I wore short sleeves (but took a jacket b/c Sister Baird told me to...). Trencin district came and we practiced for our concert. Somehow I'm going to be singing three solos...I'm not really sure how it happened. I just kinda got assigned to do it. I'm slightly scared out of my mind...but I'm sure it will be fine in the end. We did a singing display and then Sister Baird and I contacted the university. It wasn't the best idea b/c we forgot it was Friday and thus no one was there but we found an awesome area to tract in! Plus we got a good workout-the walk to the university is mostly uphill and hard!

Saturday: This was our awkward day. We finished tracting a building and ran into a man who we taught once and it was incredibly awkward (mostly for him--he was really uncomfortable and Sister Baird and I just ignored the awkwardness and asked him how he was doing and what not). But Sister Baird and I set up two return appointments in the building so chances are we'll run into him again. Also the weather was rainy and cold on this day which was no fun.

Sunday: I taught Relief Society. It was really hard. My language skills were...lacking to say the least. Luckily everyone is really patient and most of them speak English so they helped me out when I needed it. Sister Baird and I did LOTS of tracting! It was fun and we set up two (more like 1.5-one is really shaky) return appointments.

So that was more or less how everything went this past week.
I love you all so very much and I miss you oodles!
S Laskou,
Sestra Johnson<3

March 10, 2014 - Zilina


      Well this week was...different and yet the exact same as every other week. We did our normal studies and the normal things (like church and contacting people). But there were some interesting moments...

       On Monday we celebrated A's birthday. (She's the youngest in the Se family). It was really fun and sorta bizarre to be at a birthday party. In fact this entire month is birthday month. On Tuesday Elder Ferrell had a birthday so as tradition dictates I wrote a song on my guitar and Sister Barid and I sang him a unique birthday song! It was a little's always hard to do without laughing.

     We were also suppose to visit our new family on Tuesday but when we called to confirm he told us he didn't want us coming...something about him being Catholic and us Mormon. It's really sad because he didn't even give our message a chance. But we haven't given up on him.
   We also taught K about the Word of Wisdom this week...and he's living it!  We also taught him about temple marriage (he asked some questions that led to this topic) and set it up to talk about eternal families this upcoming meeting.

      On Thursday our district went to Trencin to prepare for a concert. It was fun but a little stressful because no one was prepared. Trencin has planned and organized it which you think would make it easier but I'm not so sure. The concert will be on the Plan of Salvation and will be really pretty. There's some great songs we're singing plus Elder Brousseau is in Trencin and is more or less a musical genius. He can play practically any instrument and is like concert pianist status.

    On Saturday, S had his birthday. He turned 18 (mission age)!! He's an amazing person-strong in the gospel and a great example. He's always helping us missionaries out (teaching with us, giving language tips or corrections, playing the piano on Sundays, coming to activities) and probably one of the best things about Zilina.

    This past Sunday, I gave a talk which was exciting and terrifying all at once. I spoke about having happiness and joy while enduring to the end. I used a bunch of awesome KM scriptures (2 Nephi 2:25, 2 Nephi 31:20, Mosiah 2:41, Alma 27:17-18, Alma 40:12) and a talk, Strength to Endure, from Elder Richard Maynes. You're welcome to try to piece it together if you want. ;) It went really well in my opinion. I think it's a skill that everyone have an ever optimistic attitude. Most things could be fixed with a smile and hard work. On Sunday, Sister Baird and I taught the girls Sunday School. It was really fun and made me miss my primary class!

     Sister Baird and I are super confident (or maybe crazy). This week we're trying for 100 hours of SOL. We were counting up how much we'd spoken the past week and it was depressingly low so we loudly declared "ENOUGH!" and now we're trying for 100 hours this week...

     That's all I have time for this week! I love you all!

S Laskou, Sestra WhitneySarahJohnson <3

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

March 3, 2014 - Zilina


Ahoj Everyone!!

This past week was miracle week!! It was amazing and I have some excellent stories for you all! ;) 
So Monday was busy, busy, busy as every pday is. I got a haircut which looks awesome, might I add. I knew my hair was super long but I didn't quite realize how long! They cut off 4-ish inches and I still have a crazy amount! We also made burritos at the Wrightsons (the senior couple) and with Na. It was the first time idea--months and months, since I've had Mexican food.

Tuesday was fun, we had a singing display. Sadly I was too optimistic about the weather. It's been hovering between winter and spring here and so I've stopped wearing my fat coat. And sometimes I don't wear a coat at all!  But Tuesday was chilly and I didn't have my coat with me and I was freezing the entire time.

Wednesday was a little stressful. We've been trying to get permission to do other types of finding/displays. We went to City Hall with one of our members to get permission to do a chalk drawing on the namestie but they won't let us draw directly on the cobblestone. We can draw on paper but of course it will cost. I'll let you know what we decide...

So Thursday was our miracle day...We had a meeting on plan with a young man who didn't want to give his number which means there's the possibility he'd skip the lesson but he came! And it was an awesome lesson! We've met with him twice now and have a lesson on plan today. He knows the Bible very well and asks great questions. Plus we'll be teaching with Sister Se and she's just awesome! Really members are the greatest! Lessons are always better when we have a member present.

 After that we went trakting...we rang a zvonček (which I don't think I've explained the apartment buildings have buzzers on the outside which are called zvončeks and we have to ring and deliver a message through the intercom that catches their attention so they'll let us in for we can teach them).   I started in with a message, "We're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we talk to people about how we can strengthen our faith in Christ through scriptures" (or something like that). The man on the intercom replied, "okay come in" and buzzed us in. Sister Baird and I were more than a little shocked. I've never been let in that quickly and often times as soon as we get to their door, they are all like, ohhh missionaries...we don't have an interest. We get to the man's door and he invites us in and Sister Baird and I are all like, "thanks but sorry we have this rule that we can't be alone with a man." And he says, "no problem. I have a daughter"  and this adorable girl pops out from around the corner! We go in and talk to them and they are an awesome family!.... They are both super musical! We sang I am a Child of God with them and they sight read the song!  They are our little miracle family!

So then the next day (Friday) was exciting as well but less...rewarding. We'd gotten a call from a young man who said he wanted to meet and get help finding direction in his life so we set up a meeting and he said he was bringing a few friends. We thought they might be prank callers but everyone deserve a chance to hear the gospel....they were late so we called and they said they would be there in 10 minutes. 15 minutes later I called them and they were all laughing but said they wanted to meet. Because they were wasting our time (which really isn't our time at all--it's the Lord's), I was a bit firm (which is really hard to do in Slovak). They met us....and we tried to talk to them about their expectations and needs and share our message. They said a few things...and didn't even try to mask the fact they were lying.  Two who were pretending to be German didn't say much, even though one of them answered his phone in Slovak once. The meeting ended abruptly when I invited S who was in the other room (he served a mission in Germany) to join our conversation. The boys quickly got up and out the door. It was amusing but also a little sad because they don't what they just threw away and they were wasting time which we could have used to find those who are prepared and want to hear our message.

I think that's everything. This week was fun and amazing! We are looking forward to an amazing week! We have lots on plan and lots to accomplish. I love you all so very much!!

S Laskou,
Sestra WhitneySarahJohnson<3