Happy “Day of Uprising Against Occupation” haha!

     Well, emails are late again this week. Maybe I just wasn’t paying attention back home… but there seems to be a lot of holidays here haha. Yesterday was the “Day of Uprising Against Occupation”, and so everything in the city was closed, including the library. Becuase of all that, we’re having p day today.

     This week was a good week, and for p-day last week we went to the lake just north of Celje. It was my third or fourth time up there, but I honestly never get tired of it. It’s so beautiful up there, and I feel so good just getting out into nature and enjoying some time not having to worry about anything. We brought up sandwhich stuff and had a nice lunch on the dock.

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     The rest of the week was pretty good as well, and there are a few things in the mix right now. One of those things is planning and getting ready for the Spring Concert we’re having on May 8th. The 4 of us are planning it with help from the Branch, and it’s looking like it should be great. We have the missionaries from Maribor coming (one of the sisters there is a great pianist), we’re all doing a varity of musical numbers, and we have a professional violinist scheduled to come and play as well. I’m really excited to see how this goes. It should be a great activity for members to invite non-member friends and family.
      This week we also had our exchange with the zone leaders, and so I spent a few days here in Celje with Elder Dearinger and Elder Petersen spent a few days down in Ljubljana. It was a lot of fun being with Elder Dearinger again, and we had a good exchange. One of the highlights was a lesson we had with a family we found tracting a few weeks ago. Our first (and only) lesson two weeks ago was just with the mom, but when we came this time, the mom and the 16 year old daughter were both on the lesson. The husband was sitting on the couch not too far away, pretending not to listen, but after a few minutes he couldn’t help but stop us to ask some questions haha. We taught them all about the Restoration and Joseph Smith, and it was just so great to actually teach a whole family.
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(While tracting, we found some ancient Roman ruins. Welcome to Celje!)
     On Saturday Elder Dearinger and I took the train to Ljubljana so that we could switch back, and because we were there, had the chance to go to a baptism in Ljubljana! An English Class student from the class there started investigating the church a few months ago and was baptized this Saturday. It was a beautiful service, and we 4 Elders did a musical number for them.
     All in all a great week in Celje!

I hope all is going well back home. I miss you all, but there is really no better work than the work that’s being done here. I feel so blessed every single day to be a small part of it.

     Have a great week everyone!
     Jack

Slovenia is GREEN!

Good morning everyone!

We had a pretty uneventful week in Celje, but it was (as always) a good one.
Monday was a very relaxed p-day, and Elder Petersen and I went to the mall to get a few things we needed for the apartment. It was nice to not really have anything to do and just wander around the mall for a bit.
On Tuesday we did a lot of tracting and contacting during the day, and then had a really great lesson in the evening with one of our investigators. We talked with her about the Book of Mormon, and she told us that even though she doesn’t really understand all of it, she feels something good when she reads. We talked about the Holy Ghost, and tried to help her understand exactly what she’s feeling. She’s definitely a prepared investigator, and told us she knows the Book of Mormon is from God and that she would be baptized. The only problem is that she lives in a little village about an hour and a half from Celje (she comes to Celje for school each week), and that distance would cause a big problem with coming to church. We’re still meeting with her though, and I’m praying for some kind of miracle!
On Wednesday we had District Meeting in the morning where we talked about teaching people the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and then spent the rest of the day doing finding. We decided to tract a few big apartment buildings in the center of town, and it was… well, it was tracting 🙂
Thursday was a much more exciting day. We got up at the crack of dawn to catch a train to Ljubljana, and then spent the rest of the day there at zone conference. Conference was great, and we focused a lot on helping investigators progress and on finding and contacting families. I got some good ideas for things we can do in Celje, and left conference feeling great. It was also a blast getting to see the rest of the zone again.
The rest of our week was fairly uneventful. Tracting, contacting, and all those other good missionary things. One thing that made the week especially good was the fact that Slovenia is getting VERY green. The hills look like someone laid a big green carpet over them, and I’m told it’s going to get even greener in the coming week or two.
Overall we had a great week, though I guess I just don’t have too much to report! Elder Petersen and I are getting along great, and we have similar personalitles and ideas. We just work together well, and I’m really enjoying the time with him.
Well, I think that’s everything. The Lord’s work moves forward in Celje, and I just feel so blessed every day to get to be a small part of it. I love you all, and hope you’re having a great week. I pray for you often, and can’t wait to hear from you.
Starešina Davis

Dobro jutro everyone!

I hope everyone had a great Easter week! My week here has been a pretty good one.

On Tuesday for p-day, Sister Nydegger and I decided to truely introduce Elder Petersen and Sister Higgins to Celje, so we all took a trip up to the Celje Castle. We all spent a some time up there together, and tried hard to get a few good pictures haha. This was my third time at the castle, but I still love it.DSC00845

Wednesday was a day full of contacting and tracting, and it was a pretty long day. In those hours of contacting and tracting, not a single person listened to us. You know what though? It was okay 🙂 Elder Petersen and I were doing our part, and that’s really all we can do in the end. This is the Lord’s work, and as long as we are doing what we can, there’s no need to get discouraged by rejection. One thing that did result from Wednesday though was a lot of thought and discussion on missionary work and how we can be using our time most effectivly. I look at it in a “good, better, best” sort of way. Contacting and tracting all day are good – the question though, is what is the better way, and what is the best way? Those are still questions I’m trying to answer.

Friday was a much, much better day, and we had 3 really good lessons. One of the lessons was with a woman Elder Lyman and I met about a month ago. She’s a middle aged woman, and lives with her husband and teenage daughter in a pretty nice apartment. We talked about to her about the Book of Mormon, and about how the Book of Mormon and Bible work together to support eachother. We committed her to read 3 Nephi 11 before our next meeting so we can talk more about how the Book of Mormon testifies of Christ. Next time she also said her husband would come and sit in on the lesson as well.

Sunday was fast and testimony meeting here, and (at least for me) was an amazing sacrament meeting. The Spirit was strong, and there were some beautiful testimonies shared. All four of us (missionaries) shared our testimonies – even Elder Petersen and Sister Higgins on their second week here. They both did a really good job! It was just an all around good day. We finished off our Sunday by watching the Sunday afternoon session of conference, which leaves us with just the Priesthood session to watch. As always, conference was great, and it is such a blessing to be able to hear from living prophets and apostles.

All-in-all we had another great week in Celje. Nothing too exciting or different – just good ‘ol missionary work 🙂 I’m doing great, and feeling happy and healthy. I hope everything is going well back home, and my message for this week is to never forget the basics – praying and reading the scriptures provides me with more strength and spirit than anything else around. Until next week!DSC00893DSC00833DSC00860

(our cheesy "family photo" at the castle, haha)

(our cheesy “family photo” at the castle, haha)

Starešina Davis

Happy Late Easter!!

     Good morning everyone!!

     This has been a great week and I’m officially with my new companion, Elder Petersen, here in Celje. He’s from Duncan, Oklahoma, and so far we’re having a blast together 🙂
     After getting Elder Lyman all packed and ready to go, I headed down to Zagreb by train on Tuesday morning with a few other missionaries from Slovenia. There are 5 new missionaries from the MTC that will be serving in Slovenia, so it’s a pretty big group of trainers/trainees. We got down to Zagreb pretty early, so spent a few hours exploring the city. Coming from Celje, Zagreb is huge, and we had a blast just walking around, exploring, and then getting some amazing American style burgers. It was also pretty fun trying to use our Slovene to communicate with the Croatians.
     After the new missionaries got in on Tuesday evening, we spent Tuesday night andWednesday morning in the mission home doing some training. We talked about being trainers/trainees, went over some of the logistical things (visas, money, etc.), heard a talk from President Grant, and then were on our way back to Slovenija!
     We got on a bus headed for Ljubljana, from there hopped on a train to Celje, and after moving a LOT of luggage around, finally pulled into Celje at about 8:30 Wednesday night.
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(The first night in Celje right after getting off the train. Sister Nydegger, Sister Higgins, Elder Petersen, Me)
     Thursday we started off the morning with District Meeting where we set new goals for Celje, and then went out to do some contacting by the river. It was Elder Petersen’s first day in Celje, but he did a great job talking to people, and we were able to find 2 new investigators together. After getting some palačinke with the Sisters, we did some more contacting in Center, and then headed to the church to teach English class. After English we had a lesson with an inactive member who hasn’t come to Church in over a year. It went really well, and overall I thought we had a great first day together. This should be a great transfer 🙂
     Friday we started with off the day with our weekly planning session, and I got Elder Petersen up to speed about the members and investigators. I remember feeling a lot better my first week once I knew a little bit more about the area and the people. We also looked at the map together, and I tried to help him know a little bit more about where on Earth he is right now haha.
     Saturday after some contacting and tracting with Elder Petersen, we all met at the Church at 6pm to watch the Saturday morning session of General Conference live. It was a great session. We were able to watch the Saturday afternoon on Sunday morning, and then watched the Sunday morning session live on Sunday evening. I loved conference, and I appreciate it so much more now than I ever did at home. There were some amazing talks, and for the first time in my life I think I was sad when it ended! It’s just such a blessing to be able to hear from living, modern-day prophets and apostles. If only everyone in the world could see how much of a blessing that is. We still haven’t seen Sunday Afternoon or Priesthood, and are going to do that this week.
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(Conference + dinner on Sunday night)
     So that’s my week! We had a another great week in Celje, and I am really excited what we can do this transfer.
     This week was also Easter week, and my thoughts about the Easter holiday are simple. As I’ve spent the last 6 months sharing the Gospel with the people of Celje, I’ve come to understand that everything that we teach, everything that we do, and everything that we say boils down to one thing: Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if we’re teaching someone about the Book of Mormon or helping them quit smoking – all of it is becuase of Jesus Christ. During our tracting this week we got let into a house, and after just a few minutes, the woman who had let us in started to cry. She told us that her teenage son had died in a car accident only one week before, and that she had no idea what to do. With a lot of help from the Spirit, I was able to explain the Plan of Salvation to this woman, and bear testimony of the supreme gift of resurrection, a gift we will all recieve becuase of Christ. I know now, more than at any other point in my life, that Jesus really is the Christ, the Son of God, and our Older Brother. One of my favorite ideas from conference came from the Primary General President (I can’t remember which session). She said that we just need to take the simple truths we do know and then let them fill us. It’s okay not to have all the answers about the Church and about the mysteries of the universe – we just need take the knowledge that Christ is our Savior, and then let that fill us until there is no room for any doubt or fear.
     I love you all so much, and pray for you every day. Have a great week, and I look forward to hearing from you soon!
     Starešina Davis

It’s Transfer Time Again!

Hi everyone!

I appologize in advance – this will be a pretty quick email.

Every 9 weeks the entire mission gets uprooted, and today, tomorrow and Wednesday, missionaries will be traveling all over the place to their new areas. Elder Lyman is headed to Ljubljana, and I will be training a new Elder from the MTC here in Celje! So, today we’re getting Elder Lyman packed and ready to leave Celje and everything ready for the new Elder. I’m taking a train early tomorrow morning to Zagreb, will spend the night there, and then come back with my new companion on Wednesday night. So it should be an exciting few days!

But let’s start with the week we just had 🙂

On Monday we had an awesome p-day. It was Elder Lyman and Sister Brown’s last real p-day in Celje, so we all went Šmartinsko Jezero (a really pretty lake north of Celje) and just spent some time there together. We brought stuff for sandwiches, and sat on a dock eating, talking, and enjoying the beautiful Slovenian spring. It was a really nice (and very relaxing) p-day.DSC00731

On Tuesday and Wednesday we spent a lot of time working on moving apartments. By the end of Wednesday we had finally finished the last stages of moving our stuff and cleaning the old apartment. We’ve given back the keys, and are officially moved out, and are now in the new apartment in Center.

On Wedneaday we also had a great lesson with one of our investigators. She’s progressing well, and in this lesson we introduced the Book of Mormon to her. We challenged her to read 1 chapter a day until our next lesson, and she seemed excited to read. We’re meeting with her again today, and I’m excited to see what she thinks of the Book of Mormon. There’s real power in the Book of Mormon, and I’m seeing more and more how important it is to build an investigator’s testimony on the foundation of the Book of Mormon.

On Saturday we went out to visit a member named and his family in a little town about 30 min from Celje. He is from Peru but married a Slovene, and now they have a family here (the world is a small place haha). They are maybe the nicest, most humble people I know, and their family is just a bedrock of faith. We went over to visit them and see how they were doing, and they suprised us by buying food and teaching us how to make a Peruvian dish called Lomo Saltado. We had an amazing time with their family.DSC00776

On Sunday we had chuch, and it was the first day with the new (temporary) Branch President. Church went really well, and the themes for the whole day were love and missionary work. We had some amazing talks, and then in Sunday School talked more about how members can work together with the missionaries in finding and teaching. We even did a role play! It was a lot of fun, and was a great Sunday overall.

I feel like Celje has reached a real turning point in terms of missionary work.

We’ve spent the last 6 months building a foundation and now ready to really begin building on that foundation. This is going to be an exciting transfer, and I cannot wait to see what the Lord has in store for Celje.

I wish I had time to write more today, and I’ll try to include more next week! I hope everything is going well, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Starešina Davis