Zdravo in Dobro Jutro!

Slovenia is filled with so many random and beautiful churches. This is one in the town of Zalec.

Slovenia is filled with so many random and beautiful churches. This is one in the town of Zalec.

Enjoying some rare reading time in the Ljubljana apartment.

Enjoying some rare reading time in the Ljubljana apartment.

Well, I got chased by a dog for the first time this week! I can finally cross it off my mission bucket list:)

Well, I got chased by a dog for the first time this week! I can finally cross it off my mission bucket list:)

DSC00394     Well, another 9 weeks have come and gone, which means we had another round of transfers. Today marks the end of my second transfer in Celje (and Slovenia), and it’s crazy how fast the time is flying. 3 days ago was my offical 6-month mark, and I am shocked that a fourth of my mission is already done. How did that happen!?

But anyway – transfers. To make a long story short, Elder Lyman and I are staying together this transfer and we are going from working in Ljubljana and Celje to only working in Celje. I’m so happy about that! For one thing, we’re now back to being responsible for just one city, which is a big relief. Also, I’ve been praying and praying to stay in Celje, becuase I feel like there’s still work I need to do here. Now it’s just time for me to figure out what it is I need to do here and do it!

Other transfer news – though I have no clue how or why, I’ve been asked by President Grant to be the Zone Leader with Elder Lyman over the Slovenia Zone. For a bit of background, a mission is organized like this: you have a Mission President at the top, and he calls zone leaders, who lead “zones”. In our mission, each country is it’s own zone, and each country has a set of zone leaders. Then, the countries are further divided into “districts”, which have district leaders.

Anyway, President Grant called me on Saturday morning, and I was shocked! I’ve only been here two transfers, and somehow I’ve gone from junior companion to zone leader in just one weekend. How that decision was made… I will never know haha.

I’m honestly pretty intimidated by this new calling and responsibility. That being said, a calling form President Grant is a calling from the Lord, and I’m pretty sure He knows what He’s doing (: Still, I hope I can somehow figure out what on Earth I’m doing!!

One thing I’d like to share is a contacting experience I had last night. We did our usual Sunday night hot chocolate activity, and it was going great. Some members came, and I think the memebrs had a blast doing missionary work with us. That’s actually one of my transfer goals: get the Celje Branch really, really excited about doing missionary work with us.

Anyway, Elder Lyman was across the street talking to someone, and the Sisters and a member were talking to a different person, and I was manning the hot chocolate. I saw a girl walking down the street, and went up to her and started talking to her. She’s probably 23ish, and was super friendly. I gave her a Restoration brochure, and told her who we are and what we do as missionaries. I asked her if she had 5 minutes that I could explain what “Restoration” means, and she happily agreed. I went right into it, and shared a quick version of the Joseph Smith story. I recited the first vision, and after I said the words “Joseph, this is my beloved Son. Hear Him”, I stopped and paused for a second.

Almost instantly, the girl got teary eyed, and just looked at me and kept saying (trying not to cry) “Wow. I feel something. I feel something. I feel something so good inside”. I told her what she was fealing was the Holy Ghost, telling her that the Joseph Smith story is true. We talked for another 20 minutes there on the sidewalk, and I shared the entire restoration, introduced and gave her the Book of Mormon, and set up for a next appointment this week. I don’t think I’ve had such a powerful and distinct experience with the Spirit like that before. There is real and tangible power in the Joseph Smith story, and that girl felt something she had never felt before when I shared it with her. That entire experience was a real testimony builder for me.

Anyway, I love you all so much, and though I’m a little overwhelmed about all that’s going on, I am comforted by the fact that I have an unshakable testimony in Jesus Christ, His Church, and this missionary work. Last night I went to bed feeling such joy, knowing that I had touched that girl’s life. Whether or not she progresses as an investigator, she has felt the Spirit, and will remember that for a long, long time. I hope you are all feeling the Spirit in your lives as well, and I have learned that the small things we do invite the Spirit: reading the scriptures, praying always, and most importantly, having love and charity for those around us. Till next week (:

Starešina Davis

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Craziness, Zone Conference, and More Craziness!

Hi Everyone!

Well if the title didn’t give it away, this has been a crazy few days. I guess I’ll jump right into it.

We had zone conference in Ljubljana on Friday which was (as always) an amazing experience. We practiced teaching and contacting, got to watch “Meet the Mormons” (a new church movie you should all go see!) and had some great talks from President Grant. Overall it was a much needed spiritual boost, and I’ve really learned to love the chances we have to come together as a zone. As great as it was though, this is also where the craziness started.

About a month ago transfers and missionaries coming and going got a little bit messed up, and Slovenia was left with an odd number of Elders (7 Elders, as opposed to the 8 we had). Becuase we work in pairs, it’s so important to have an even number of people. Becuase of all this though, the Elder in Ljubljana joined the 2 Elders in Kranj and those three worked as a trio. Having a trio like that is really hard to work in, so President Grant has been trying to figure out a way to even out the numbers. Anyway, nothing was really working to even out the numbers, and we all kind of just expected the trio to continue for a little bit longer.

At the end of zone conference, President and Sister Grant got up and sang happy birthday to Elder Dearinger (it was his birthday on Friday) and at the end of the song, President said “Well, I’ve got a bit of an announcement! After conference is over today, we will be taking Elder Dearinger with us and he will be moving to Croatia!” He did this to leave Slovenia with an even number of Elders, but we were all SHOCKED, since this rarely happens. I don’t think a Slovene missionary has been transfered out of the country in a while. It was such a strange feeling to have my companion transfered like that with no warning!

So, on Friday night we went back to Celje, Elder Dearinger packed his stuff, and was off to Croatia within a few hours of the announcement. But now that my companion is somewhere off in Croatia, where does that leave me?!

As it stands now, I am companions with Elder Lyman again, and we are now living in both Celje and Ljubljana. We’ll be splitting the weeks in half, and trying to do missionary work in both places. It’s a bit insane! There are now 2 Elders (Elder Lyman and I) responsible for probably two thirds of Slovenia. We also now have to work in two different branches at the same time. So needless to say, it should be quite an adventure! (:

One of the upsides of this is that we now have a car, since we have to make the hour trip between Ljubljana and Celje fairly often. This means I finally had my first experience driving in Slovenia last week, and it was GREAT! It’s strange how much you can miss something so mundane like driving a car… But I definitely missed it.

Another upside is that I can now spend some time getting to know Ljubljana and it’s members. The people there are amazing, and the Branch President (President Ringer) is such a hard worker. He’s actually an American, and his family is so nice. He works at the US embassy in Ljubljana, and they called him to be Branch President while he’s here. We had a meeting with him on Sunday to talk about some of the things going on in Ljubljana, and I’m excited to start working with him.

Anyway, that’s my crazy missionary life right now! I love and miss you all, and hope everyone is healthy and happy. We have more transfers this coming week, and with all the craziness that’s going on right now, I have no idea where I’ll be emailing from next week!! But regardless of where I end up this week, it’ll be right where the Lord needs me (:

Love you!

Starešina Davis

The Celje District and all of our inside jokes…RIP best district ever!

The Celje District and all of our inside jokes…RIP best district ever!

The Slovenes

The Slovenes

Another Fantastic Week in Celje

Dober Dan Vsi!

We don’t have a whole lot of time today for emails, so this one may be shorter than usual. The reason for this is the amazing p-day we had today. As I’m sure you can already see, we went to Lake Bled! This is probably one of the most beautiful places in the world, and is a picturesque lake in the Slovene Alps. Anyway, it’s such a beautiful place, and we went with 5 other missionaries from Ljubljana and Kranj. And let me tell you, it was QUITE the adventure. We all wanted to do something fun and adventurous, but we didn’t have a car or anyone to drive us anywhere. So, Sister Nydegger and I convinced Elder Dearinger and Sister Cuthbert to wake up at 4AM and take a train up to Lake Bled. I’m glad we did, becuase we had a BLAST! We walked around the entire lake, hiked up to the Bled Castle, ate some of the famous “Bled Cream Cake” and just had an alltogether great time. I’m a firm believer in using p-days to their fullest, even if it means waking up at 4AM, and today was a success in that regard (: (Check the dropbox folder to see the million photots I took!)

The rest of this week was great, but not much can top Lake Bled…

I felt like we needed to spend some time tracting (going door to door) this week, and it was a great success. Usually, tracting is thought of as the “last resort” method of missionary work, but we were able to find quite a few new people this week through tracting. Two of them were a really sweet older couple who let us in and fed us cookies and juice and talked with us for over an hour. It just goes to show that there really are people out there willing to talk to us and hear our message.

One funny tracting story: we were tracting in a neighboorhood and rang this doorbell. Like often happens here, the woman answered by going out onto her balcony, instead of coming to the door. We talked to her as she was up on her balcony for a second, but she quickly told us “sorry boys, you won’t find a new member here!”. That was fairly normal, but before we could walk away, she quickly followed it up with “but, would you like a donut?”. We gladly accepted, and expected her to come down and open the front door. Instead, she took a bag with two donuts and threw it off her balcony for us to catch haha. It was a hilarious sight. She went pack in and grabbed juice boxes and apples and threw those off her balcony as well. I had to just laugh at the idea of this old woman throwing donuts and juice boxes off her 2nd story balcony to two missionaries… Well, in any case, we found a bench and ate!

I’m feeling all better (health wise), and am back into the regular swing of things. The winter weather isn’t bad at all, and after that big snowstorm, the temps have actually gone back up. So we’re doing just fine here.

My spiritual thought this week is from something I studied. I was reading out of Exodus about Moses, and really loved reading about his initial encounter with the Lord in the burning bush. In Exodus 3:11 it says “And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt?” It further says in 4:10 “And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” Moses obviously had some trouble speaking, and was expressing his fears and lack of confidence to the Lord. What I love though, is the Lord’s response. In verses 11 and 12 of chapter 4 it says “And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach theewhat thou shalt say.”

I can almost see the Lord up in Heaven just giving a little sigh as He says this to Moses. Moses (like us today) often see life’s problems as things that are just absolutly insurmountable. (I can’t speak Slovene, I’m addicted to XY and Z, I don’t have a job, my family situation isn’t good, etc) But, he (and we) need to be reminded of who created all life in the first place. If the Lord can create the human body, surely He can help with a speach problem, as in Moses’ case. If He can create the heavens and the Earth, surely He can help us with our problems as well.

Remember this week to keep your trust in the Lord, becuase I know and have seen that He can and will help us with all of our trials and problems. All we need to do is exercise faith and ask.

I love you all so much, and can’t wait to hear from you soon!

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(Straight out of a fairy tale)

(Straight out of a fairy tale)

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(sometimes I think Slovenia isn't actually a real place…I mean, come on, look at that!)

(sometimes I think Slovenia isn’t actually a real place…I mean, come on, look at that!)

Starešina Davis

Hello and Happy 2015!

Hello Everyone!

I can’t believe it’s already 2015, and I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by! I feel like it was just last week that I got dropped off in Provo. I suppose time flies when you’re doing the right thing (: (and having tons of fun!)

I hope you all had a great week back home, becuase Elder Dearinger and I had a fantastic week in Celje. The Spirit was just so strong this week, and we were able to find so many new people to teach.

Last Monday was a blast. Me, Elder Dearinger, Sister Cuthbert and Sister Nydegger went over to the house of one of the young adults in the branch. The rest of his family are not members, but they love the missionaries and wanted to cook us lunch. His mom and grandma made us a huge traditional slovene lunch: sour cabbage (essentially sauerkraut), sausages and meats, bread, dessert, etc. It was so good… I’m really loving traditional Slovene food – it tastes amazing and it’s all so fresh and natural and healthy. Anyway, we had a great lunch, and then the four of us played some board games with him. It was a great p-day, and I love getting to spend time with the branch members – esspecially the people closer to our age.

During the middle of the week we decided we needed to find new people to teach, so we spent a lot of time contacting on the street and tracting out in the neighboorhoods. The bummer was that I picked up the flu on Tuesday night, and ended up having to spend all of Wednesday morning in the apartment hopped up on NyQuill. I was so bummed since I thought this was going to ruin the amazing week we had planned, but the Lord blessed me with the strength and energy to get out there and still knock on some doors by Wednesday evening (:

The knocking really payed off, and we had quite a few people let us into their house. One older man let us in to talk to him, and he ended up feeding us homemade bread and apple juice, and let us warm up by his heater. Slovenes are so friendly. We also found another older guy who was really cool. He lived in LA for 25 years (for work), and so him and I had a blast talking about LA and southern California. We’ve begun teaching him, but he’ll be going back to LA in a month or two. I’ll definitely have to get in contact with the missionaries out there to follow up on his teaching!

The biggest news of the week has to do with one of our investigators. He just turned 20, and is a really smart guy (speaks perfect English). He’s really interested in the gospel, and is already 80 or so pages into the Book of Mormon. He prays with us in each lesson, and comes to church every week as well. He also loves to come to activities and help pass out cards and brochures. He’s awesome! Anyway, last night we were meeting with him in the church, and I explained a little bit about what baptism is. Well, he loved the idea, and has decided to get baptized!!! I am so excited for him. This is the first person we’ve had who’s really committed to be baptized, and I’m confident it will happen. He will be an amazing addition to the branch, and I think he would do great as a missionary.

So all in all this week has been fantastic. Even though I was a bit sick, I emotionally and spiritually felt so good all week, and am working on trying to have the constant companionship of the Spirit.

Another thing I’ve seen this week is how much God cares about me, and answers my prayers. We were tracting out in a neighboorhood one evening, and hadn’t found anyone yet. I said a little prayer, telling Heavenly Father that we had made the goal of 3 new investigators and that we needed His help to accomplish the goal. Within the next hour, we had found exactly 3. On Sunday I fasted for that investigator, and asked that our lesson with Him would go well, and that we’d be able to have good progress. Well, he’s getting baptized now! I guess all of this really built my faith and knowledge that the Lord hears and answers our prayers, and that we can pray for simple and specific things. I love the power of prayer and faith.

I hope all is well back home with work and school, and I pray for you every day! I love you so much!

Group lunch with Sandi

Group lunch with Sandi

Taking the suburbs by storm

Taking the suburbs by storm