This week was probably the most bizarre of my whole mission! It started out pretty much the same (except that we didn't have our pday on Monday). We worked hard as usual-contacting, tracting, teaching. On Thursday, though, things changed quite a bit. We had exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders (Sestry Kane and Krauel)! On Thursday, I went to Trencin with Sister Krauel and Sister Baird stayed in Zilina with Sister Kane. Sister Krauel and I had a good time together again. It was one of the first times I felt exchanges really helped me learn and grow in some little way. Sister Krauel and I had a weird day. Our lessons fell through but we ran into the Nyes (a senior couple...they go home in about 2 weeks) on the Namestie with the Elders and the Nyes bought us all ice cream. Then we helped the branch prezident's wife make pinatas for the celebration of the dedication of Slovakia for missionary work (the party's on May 10).
The next day Sister Baird and Sister Kane arrived and we switched back. Sister Baird and I headed straight for Bratislava where we had a service project planned. When Sister Baird was serving in Bratislava, she met the US ambassador's wife, Kate. Kate organized a service project in a children's hospital (painting murals on the walls) and so we (along with the Bratislava district) helped paint. It was really fun and kinda weird to be away from Zilina. The project lasted 2 days. We also went on splits with Sister Jones and Sister Wilson briefly. And best of all we had a huge singing display!! There were 10 missionaries and 2 members there! It was amazing and we stuck out so much!
The next morning we had district conference in Brno so we got up early and caught a bus. It was great and of course in Czech. Luckily my Slovak is much better than last conference so the Czech was understandable. It also helped that I was sitting near the ZLs (Elders Boysen and Ferrell)...Elder Boysen is originally a Czech elder and sometimes he'd translate if we were too lost. After District Conference we had Zone conference!! It was really great to see everyone and it was cool to see how much we've all grown! The STLs (Sister Training Leaders), who are from my MTC group gave their first ever training and it was awesome!
The training ran long as usual, which meant we ran for a train, but didn't make it so we caught a later train. We caught a train from Brno to Bratislava and we only had a five minute layover! Our train was running a few minutes late so we were a little stressed. If we got stuck in Bratislava, it would mean an uncomfortable night in the Sister's tiny apartment with all the Slovak sisters. as soon as the train stopped we ran for the next one. We must have been an interesting sight-10 missionaries with all sorts of luggage running through the crowds. We caught our train just in time-it was about to pull away right as we got there. we still arrived home late but at least we got here!
Something I forgot to tell you about last time:
So while contacting, especially contacting older people, I'm often asked if I'm Polish! I think it's because they recognized I'm not from Slovakia or the Czech Republic due to my accent and broken Slovak. Plus apparently I look Polish or Russian (or so I've been told quite a lot this past month). When I tell them I'm from America, they are always so surprised and then ask if I have ancestry from the area. It's been a great conversation starter!
That's all I have time for today but I love you all soo much! To close, this week Elder Boysen shared a quote with Sister Baird, who shared it with me so I'm sharing it with you! ;)
"To profess to be a saint, and not to enjoy the spirit of it, tries every fiber of the heart and is one of the most painful experiences that a man can suffer" --Brigham Young
This quote is awesome. It's wonderful to be a member of the true and living church, to take part in the Lord's work among the people of the Czech and Slovak Republics and this week I challenge each of you to ENJOY LIVING THE GOSPEL! Truly, it blesses lives. Go the extra mile and be lead by the Spirit. My mission prezident always says to us, "You are spiritual people!" and I know that you are spiritual people too!
Sestra WhitneySarah Johnson <3