Dober Dan Priatelji!
It’s been a great week here in Slovenija, and I hope life is equally good back home for all of you.
After emails on Monday, we had a zone p-day, and all the missionaries in Slovenija came to Celje. The 16 of us just spent the day together, playing Ultimate Frisbee, Football (American football of course!), and more at the big park in Celje. Our zone is GREAT, and with only 16 missionaries here in Slovenija, I know that these people will definitely be friends that I’ll have for life. After p-day was over, I went with one of the zone leaders back to Ljubljana on the train while the other zone leader stayed in Celje with Elder Lyman.I ended up staying in Ljubljana until Thursday and it was great! Coming from Celje, Ljubljana seemed like New York to me, but it’s actually pretty small compared to anything back home in America.
While in Ljubljana we had a few lessons, and it was really nice to be able to be a part of all of these lessons without having to work to set them up 🙂 We spent the exchange doing mostly normal missionary things that Elder Lyman and I normally do: institute, English class, lessons, etc. We also did a lot of contacting in the city center, which was a lot of fun. We have trouble sometimes in Celje finding people, but there are ALWAYS people out and about in Ljubljana which was really nice. Also, most of them were younger, college aged people, which was a lot of fun. Ljubljana is a really pretty city, and the closer you get to the center, the cooler and older the buildings get. One thing that I really enjoyed was seeing all of the governmental things that nobody else really cares about haha. I got to see the parliament building, different government buildings, the American and Russian embassies, etc. I think it just goes to show how big of a nerd I really am 🙂
While on the exchange, we had to bring one of the senior couples to the airport, so I also got to spend a little bit of time in the city of Kranj! It’s the fourth largest city in Slovenija and is about 40 min north of Ljubljana. It’s a nice little town, and we had lunch there after dropping the couple at the airport (which is in Kranj). There are tons of mountains that far north, and Slovenia is SO pretty right now. The entire country is orange, red, and yellow, because of the trees. I’m not sure if you can see it in my pictures, but I tried to take some that show the fall colors here.
Another very cool part of the exchange was preparing for a baptism! There’s a man in Ljubljana who got baptized on Saturday, and since I was there during the week, I got to spend some time helping prepare for the baptism. We had a lesson with the man, helped him try on baptismal clothes, prepared the program, etc. It was a lot of work, but it was a really good experience to be able to help prepare for that. Baptism is such a beautiful ordinance and such a special experience for people, so I’m really happy I had the chance to be a part of it.
On Friday (I was back with Elder Lyman by this point) we had a conference in a Celje for all of the new missionaries and their trainers. It was called the “Return and Report” conference, and was focused on how the training is going. It was fun to see everyone from the MTC again, and the conference was great. President Grant was there and we talked a lot about how training is going, and about now moving forward. It’s crazy that our first transfer will be over in two weeks! Every 9 weeks in the mission, we have something called “transfers” which is when everyone is moved and switched around. They put together new companionships, assign people to new cities, have new missionaries come in from the MTC, and old missionaries go home. This transfer we’ll be getting one new Elder and one new Sister from the MTC, but other than that we have no idea what’s going to happen. I’m hoping that Elder Lyman and I will stay together here for at least another transfer. But we’ll see what the Lord has in mind!
A highlight from the week was also on Friday. We had a lesson with two 18 year olds that we found and it was SO fun to teach people our age. They seem genuinely interested, and set up another lesson for next week. We have a few people in our branch in their 20s, but for the most part, this is an older branch. We definitely need a little bit of youth and vibrance!
All in all its been a great week. We’re really happy with how the work is going, and I’m just feeling really happy overall! Celje is great, the work is great, and I hope I’ll get to stay in Celje another transfer at the very least. I’ve really seen the Lord’s hand in my life this week, and it has strengthened my testimony that the Lord WANTS to help us. What’s more, the Lord wants to help us with our small, specific, and personal challenges. All we have to do is exercise faith in Him.
I hope all is going well back home! I love you all so much and think about you every day.