Happy Monday!

Dobro Jutro Everyone!

This has been a great week, and I guess I’ll get right into it! On Monday we had an amazing Pday in the small town of Ptuj, where we got to see the celebration of a Slovene holiday called Pust. It is a very traditional, old, Slovene holiday, focused on scaring away winter and welcoming spring. It’s very… different haha. The tradition is to dress us as a “Kurent” which is something I would describe as a cross bewteen a yeti, a sheep, and something out of a Tim Burton movie. They tie giant cowbells around their waist, and then run around being as loud as they can. If I was winter, I would definitely be scared away for a few months haha (: Anyway, it was a blast to take part in some very traditional Slovene culture, and we all enjoyed.

The view of Maribor looking over the Drava river

The view of Maribor looking over the Drava river

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They had a Kurent costume that you were allowed to try put on, so I took this. t's me, as a Kurent, with a name tag, holding a Book of Mormon- haha)

They had a Kurent costume that you were allowed to try put on, so I took this. t’s me, as a Kurent, with a name tag, holding a Book of Mormon- haha)

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From Tuesday to Thursday, I had the chance to go on my first exchage this transfer. I went to Maribor and served there for a few days. I had a great exchange with the Elder there, and I think we both learned a lot. Maribor is a beautiful city right on the Drava River, and is much larger than Celje. One of Slovenia’s two universities is in Maribor, so there are also a lot of students. That made contacting pretty fun, and we talked to some great students. One thing that we did which I really liked was that we prayed to find specific types of people. Instead of just praying to find “someone” to talk to, we prayed to find “someone who will be able to feel the Spirit on the street when we talk to them” or “someone who will read the Book of Mormon every day”. This made the contacting much more meaningful, and we found quite a few great people. Right toward the end of the exchange, we met a young guy who lives in Celje, but was just in Maribor for the day. We went to a little cafe with him and his friend, and were able to have a great conversation about what we do as missionaries. Because he lives in Celje, I was able to get his number, and we set up to meet tomorrow.

Friday and Saturday were pretty uneventful, and we did a mix of tracting and contacting. We had our Branch activity on Friday night, which was another great success. It’s great that the branch is having these activites, since it gives the members, non members, and missionaries a chance to just have a good time and get to know eachother better, outside of a sacrament meeting setting.

Church was great on Sunday, and the Spirit was strong during sacrament. Sunday night was pretty good as well, and we had a great lesson with someone who we met about a month ago. We knocked on his door, but he didn’t have time then, and gave us his number to set up for a different time. Well, he finally had time, and we were able to go over and teach about the Restoration and Joseph Smith. Something we are trying to do when we teach new people is introduce the idea of baptism in the first lesson. Often, missionaries feel like they have to wait to talk about it, but by bringing it up in the first lesson with someone, it makes the idea of baptism something very normal. This way, we aren’t springing it on the investigator weeks or months into the teaching. I like it a lot, and it worked really well with this new investigator.

Well, that was pretty much my week! Life is great in Celje, and I’m loving the work. The weather is warming up and spring is on it’s way, and I’m just excited for another week here (: I love you all so much, and hope everyone is happy and healthy!

Starešina Davis

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Good Morning Everyone and Happy Pust!

Today should be pretty fun: we’re going to the little town of Ptuj again, this time to see the celebration of the holiday “Pust”. It is a super traditional Slovene holiday, and I’m excited to see it. Essentially the idea is that people dress up like giant yeti/sheep/monster things, and then scare away winter. It’s the holiday to celebrate the coming of Spring and you can google “Kurent” to see the yeti/sheep/monster things. The holiday is centered in Ptuj, and we’re all excited to experience some good Slovene culture.

We’ve had a good week in Celje. On Tuesday we did some tracting, and met quite a few people. One of them was a really nice 19 year old, and we talked to him about the Plan of Salvation for a while, and we’re planning to go back early this week.

On Wednesday and Thursday we did… more tracting (: Though tracting is great, and we can definitely find people that way, I really want to start doing something more. There is a quote that I really love: “If you want to achieve something never before achieved, you need to do something never before done”. Well, missionaries (and Jehovah’s Witnesses) have been knocking on the same Celje doors for 20 years, and I feel like though it works (sort of) it’s not going to be what will turn the work around. The answer, at least in my opinion, is working closely with the members. As President Hinkley said, members are the key to it all!

Speaking of the members, we had a Branch activity night on Friday, and it was a lot of fun. We all played ping pong, fuzeball, board games, and just had a good time together. I’m really happy to see people coming to the church to have a nice time together, and I hope we can do more of these.
On Saturday morning, we did a special missionary project for Valentine’s Day. We went around in the car and “heart attacked” all of the active members. Everyone liked it (I hope haha), and it made for a fun morning.

The last event of the week though, is probably the biggest for me.

We were leaving our apartment after lunch one day, and I saw that we had a missed call from a number we didn’t have in our phone. I assumed it was someone calling about English class, and I made a mental note to call them back. Well, I promptly forgot that mental note, and we went about our day. Later that night we were walking through the city, and all of the sudden the thought came rushing back: you never called that person!

So, I called them. A woman answered, and I said who I was and said I was sorry for taking so long to call back. She told me her name, and as soon as she said it, I knew that I knew that name, but just could not for the life of me remember where I knew it from. Maybe someone we talked to on the street, and gave them our number?

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Possibly the best breakfast I've ever had!

Possibly the best breakfast I’ve ever had!

"Heart Attack" selfies

“Heart Attack” selfies

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Celebrating the holiday of Pust

Celebrating the holiday of Pust

After a second of talking with her, I realized who it was: it’s one of my family members!!! This woman is part of my “Zidarič” family line, and is the main family contact we know of in Slovenia! We ended up talking for some time, and she is VERY nice. She is going on vacation with her family soon, but will be back at the end of the month. She said that as soon as she gets back, she wants me over for a visit to meet the rest of the family. She also offered to drive me down to the town of Brežice to see the old Zidarič family farm. I’m so excited to finally get to meet the family. I feel like meeting my family is one of the purposes of me getting sent to Slovenia, and that it’s all finally coming together.

Anyway, have a great week, and I love you all!

Starešina Davis

A Week of (Good) Craziness!!

Hello Everyone!

This has been a good week, but it was one of those weeks that just leaves you dead… physically and emotionally. We had so much to do this week, and I’m really looking forward to a p-day where I can just lay on my bed, write in my journal, and do nothing!

I’m not sure if I mentioned it, but we had Mission Leadership Council in Zagreb on Monday and Tuesday. It’s a council that’s made up of the missionary leaders of the 5 zones (Slovenia, Serbia, Bosnia, and 2 Croatia Zones) as well as President Grant. In MLC we discuss what’s going on in the mission, how it’s going with our goals, who is close to baptism, how we can help the branches, etc. It was a great meeting and I loved being a part of it.

We left Celje on Monday after writing our emails home, and then the 4 of us drove down to Zagreb. It’s about 2.5 hours, and is a BEAUTIFUL drive through the Slovene and Croatian countrysides. Becuase it was our p-day, we also decided to take a slight detour… Since we didn’t have to be in Zagreb until 5, we stopped in a town called Ptuj (in Slovenia). It’s a really nice little town not too far from Maribor, and is very “European” in look and feel. We took some pictures, had lunch, and enjoyed ourselves before continuing on to Zagreb.

Anyway, we finally got to Zagreb, and then spent Monday and Tuesday in meetings. We all stayed the night in the mission home Monday night, and then were back home by Tueday evening. I was the one driving, and as luck would have it, we got stuck in a big snowstorm after crossing the border back into Slovenia. But, we made it back okay. It’s snowed a lot this week, and schools were even closed on Friday. But, with a combination of scarfs, gloves, jackets and hand warmers, I’m staying toasty warm.

Wednesday was zone conference! (Not much of a break between meetings haha). We held it in Kranj this time, so everyone could have a chance to see the new church there. I know we all left very happy and uplifted. Zone conference are really great events for the missionaries.

The rest of the week was less exciting, and we did a LOT of tracting. We both felt like we’d been sitting in meetings all week, and that we just needed to get out there and knock some doors. We found quite a few good people, and we’re really excited to follow up with them this week. One of the funnier experiences was with a middle aged woman that let us into her apartment. I had gotten to the point of the lesson where I was saying Joseph’s first vision. Right in the middle of it, the woman stops me and says, “Wait, wait. Before you continue: do you believe in guardian angels?”. I had to laugh a little, and we ended up just talking about her questions for a while. One thing I’ve learned here: lessons never go as planned, and you have to just be ready for anything.

All in all, another amazing week in Celje, and I feel so blessed every morning to be able to wake up and serve the people here. Even though many of them don’t listen, we’re doing our best, which is all we can do. I hope you are all happy and healthy, and I’ll hear from you soon!

Love,

We had some time at the Kranj train station before heading back to Celjie, so naturally I made a snowman

We had some time at the Kranj train station before heading back to Celjie, so naturally I made a snowman

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Look at that town!! I don't think I'll ever how picturesque Slovenia is...

Look at that town!! I don’t think I’ll ever get over how picturesque Slovenia is…

Elder Davis

Zdravo in Dobro Jutro!

Hello Everyone!

We’re sitting here in doing our emails, getting ready for an exciting few days. After we finish here, Me, Elder Lyman, Sister Nydegger and Sister Brown (the two Sister Training Leaders) are heading down to Zagreb for two days to meet with President Grant and the rest of the mission leadership for Mission Leadership Council. It’s going to be an amazing chance to get together with the mission leadership from all over the region and share ideas, talk about what we can do better, and help the work in the mission move forward.

This past week has been a blast. On Mondays we go to the Branch institute class, and right now we’re in Isaiah. I’m loving it haha. The more I study Isaish, the more I find how beautiful and filled with doctrine it is. One point I loved from institute was that the Lord gives no commandments to us unless there is a way for us to accomplish them. The Lord would not command us to study the words of Isaiah unless He also prepared a way for us to be able to do it. So anyway, I’ve really been loving my Isaiah study (even if the institute class is in Slovene!).

On Wednesday, we has our follow up lesson with the girl I contacted last week. She came to the church, and we talked a lot about the Book of Mormon and the Holy Ghost. We read Moroni’s promise out of the Book of Mormon, and she seemed to really like that. The Spirit was definitely present during the lesson, and she liked it enough that we are going to start meeting every week. At the end, she even asked if she could take a Book of Mormon for her friend! Just another testimony builder that the Lord really prepares people for us to teach.

Another fun experience we had was while tracting on Saturday. To provide some background, online we have a spreadsheet with the names and phone numbers of people interested in English class, and so I sent out a mass text to all of them telling them that class would be starting soon. I didn’t get much response from that though. But anyway, we were tracting a big apartment building and had done most of the building with little success. We knocked on the very last door, and a man answered. He told us to wait, and went and got his wife to talk to us instead. She looked at my nametag and then said, “Hello Elder Davis! I got a text from you two weeks ago!” I had NO idea who she was or what she was talking about, but after some explanation, we realized she was one of the people on the English class list, and that we had just randomly knocked on her door. She was very friendly, and invited us in for some tea. As we were walking to her kitchen, I looked over at her TV, and saw that she actually had a “Restoration” DVD sitting there on her DVD player! What!?!?! Well, it turns out that she met the missionaries a year or so ago, and had a few lessons with them. After they got transfered though, she sort of just got lost in the mix. We ended up having a great conversation with her, and we are going over again this week to start teaching. What are the odds of me sending her a text, then us happening to knock on her door and finding her like this. This is the Lord’s work, and He directs it 100%. We’re just the imperfect helpers that try our best to follow His direction (:

Other than all this, my week has been fairly normal. It’s been a lot of fun though, and I’m loving it in Celje right now. I’ve been praying a lot about what the focus of this transfer should be, and my mind keeps coming back to the members. No matter how bad people want it to be, Slovenia is not South America, and we will not be having baptisms by the dozens. But, since our numbers are small, we have the unique opprotunity of really bonding with the members and helping them draw together. So, my goal this transfer is to help transform these 20 or so members from a congregation, into a family. If I can do that, I’ve more than fulfilled my purpose as a missionary.

I love you all so much, and hope all is well!

Starešina Davis

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