A Week in the Spotlight

Oh boy, there was a lot that went on this week… It was an exhausting few days, but has also been one of the funnest and most fulfilling weeks I’ve had in a while. I’m sorry in advance if the email is all over the place.

     First things first – it’s hard to believe I’m actually 20 years old. It sounds like such a milestone in life, but I don’t feel any different, and I think it’ll take some getting used to… My birthday was a blast though. Elder Hughes made me palačinke (crepes) in the morning, and then in the evening we had our district meeting where we had a nice group birthday dinner. We had a great time.

(Pre district meeting dinner with the Ljubljana and Kranj districts. From left: Sister Nydegger, Sister Robertson, Me, Elder Hughes, Elder Prososki, Elder McKee, Elder Frandsen, Elder Lewis, Sister Duffy, Sister Rhodes)

(Pre district meeting dinner with the Ljubljana and Kranj districts. From left: Sister Nydegger, Sister Robertson, Me, Elder Hughes, Elder Prososki, Elder McKee, Elder Frandsen, Elder Lewis, Sister Duffy, Sister Rhodes)

     Other exciting news from this week? The Kranj district is famous! On Thursday, we had the opprotunity to do a news interview – a first and probably last for me. The woman who did the interview runs a program in Slovenia that focuses on spirituality and lifestyle topics, and she decided she wanted to do a feature piece on the Mormon missionaries. So, she came with her crew to the Kranj church and interviewed us and the sisters. She asked about why we came on missions, how we understand our purpose as missionaries, what the Book of Mormon means personally to us, how faith helps us in our lives, and what sort of message we would send to people still searching for their purpose in life. I think (or maybe just hope…) that it went okay. After the interview we went into the city where they filmed us talking to people on the street. The feature will be airing on Slovenia’s national television channel on the 19th. In the evening. All over the country. What have we done haha!
     Just when we thought the excitement was over, we had another experience toward the end of the week which ended up being one of the more spiritual experiences of my mission.
     I got a call this week from that woman and she told me that her and her sister (who live together) have been having some problems in their apartment with “bad energy”. They wanted us to come over and bless the apartment. I’ve never gotten a request like this before, but when we got there I was surprised to see that it was a beautiful family – two adult sisters and four kids, and they were some of the kindest people I’ve met here. We sat down at the kitchen table and the two sisters started to describe the problems they were having. We prayed with their family, and then we dedicated their home to be a place of peace and safety, and a place that would only be home to the Spirit. I then gave the woman a Priesthood blessing. By the time we left, the difference was night and day – their home burned with the Holy Ghost, and they could all recognize it.
     We came back the next day as a follow up and I was floored to see the change that had taken place. There was a light in all of their eyes that wasn’t there the day before, and they told us that they had started praying as a family just like we taught them. They had also started reading out of the Book of Mormon, and were loving it. We taught them the message of the Restoration, watched the Joseph Smith movie with them, and they all committed to come to church (which they did). At the end of the lesson the 12 year old son asked me if I would give him a blessing for health. When the blessing was over he gave me a big hug, and everyone in the family was crying. Right before we left we gave the family a framed picture of Christ to have in thier home, and one of the sisters just broke down crying out of happiness. It took everything I had to not cry, and there are few times in my life when I’ve felt the Spirit like I did with this family. I cannot wait to see them progress in the gospel.
     This week my testimony of the power of the priesthood grew immensely. I’m not sure if we always understand how amazing the priesthood is. It isn’t some theoretical energy or just a nice idea – it is an actual and literal power that we have to perform the works of God on the Earth. With the power of the priesthood, the dead have been raised, the sick have been healed, the seas have been parted, and the universes have been created. How wonderful of a gift is this! Elder Ballard said: “The same priesthood power that creat worlds, galaxies, and the universe can and should be a part of our lives to succor, strengthen, and bless our families, our friends, and our neighbors.” I have a firm testimony that this is true. Let’s remember to take advantage of this gift that we’ve been given.
     Well, that’s my scattered email for the week! I love this work so much and couldn’t be happier. The time is flying like crazy (at least on this end), but I’m loving every miunte of it. I love you all so much, and cannot wait to hear from you soon!
     Love, Jack
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