Family History, I am Doing It!

I don’t have too much time to write today, since we’re heading out with Sjoerd for a fun p day adventure pretty soon. I don’t have too many p days left, and I definitely need to be using them to their fullest!

     One of the highlights this week was a trip to the Maribor Archdiocesen Archives. They house nearly all vital records for the eastern half of Slovenia – including all of the towns where my family is from. We scheduled an appointment, made the drive from Kranj, and then spent a few hours looking through birth, baptismal, and marriage records. It’s somewhat tedious work, but each time I found a new ancestor it gave me the motivation to keep going. At the end of our few hours there, I had found 22 new ancestors.

Franz_Urek_Rojstna (1).jpg

(Here’s an example for you to see the kind of records I’m working with. This is a birth record for “Franz Urek”, one of the ancestors. If you think the writing looks a lot like Elvish, that makes two of us…)

     I scheduled a few more visits to the archives before I go home, and am excited to find as many people as I can. As I’ve done this family history I’ve gained a deeper and deeper testimony of how powerful this work really is. Doing sacred temple and family history work is so unique in the sense that it has tangible effects on both sides of the veil. As we serve our ancestors, they serve us, and everyone is edified together. I cannot wait until I’m able to start participating in the ordinances again. With these family names, I imagine that the temple experience will be more meaningful.
     Other than all of that, life is going pretty well. Summer started this week, and it’s been in the 80s almost every day. Combine that with 60-70% humidity and you’ve got a Slovene summer! It’s actually not that bad though – better than a few feet of snow.


(Slovenia the beautiful)


(You never know what you’ll see on the road!)


(There was a man in center with a pet pig. He got an ice cream cone for him. Your guess is as good as mine…)

     The work is going alright, and we’re just taking things day by day. On Monday we stopped by the house of a 24 year old who’s known the missionaries for a while to see how he was doing. His friend was there too, and the four of us ended up talking for quite a while. They had tons of questions about missionary work and the church, and we had a great time trying to answer. Although I may not be here to see them get baptized, it feels good to help people form a positive opinion of the Church and missionaries.
     Starešina Davis

Happy Father’s Day!

I hope everyone had a great week and a great Father’s Day. Sunday wasn’t a holiday in Slovenia, but I still enjoyed the time to reflect on all of the amazing fathers I have. I’ve got fathers on Earth, a Father in Heaven… I’m pretty much set!

     We had a good week, and this week I really have nothing much to say expect that I’m happy, healthy, and loving Kranj! It’s beautiful here, and on Monday we took a little trip to Lake Bled. It was a bit rainy and cloudy, so the tourists were few and far between – a lake to ourselves. We got pizza, ate some yummy Bled cream cake, and, of course, took pictures.


(Slovenia, my one true love)


      During the week we did the usual missionary routine of street contacting and tracting, and were able to talk to a number of people. Nobody new to teach yet, but we’re still hopeful! Church on Sunday was good, and the members here are some of the best. It may just be my Slovenia pride, but the faith and diligence of these pioneers is something that I wish members from wards and stakes all over the world could see.
     Anyway, I hope you all have a great week, and I look forward to hearing how everything goes. Love you all!
     Starešina Davis

T minus 9…

Today marks the official start of the transfer – my last one in the mission field. That means that I won’t have any more companions, any more cities to serve in, any more moving, and only 9 weeks until I leave. Yikes! It’s kind of scary how fast the end is approaching.


Kranj is great though, and I’m loving being back. There are four Elders in Kranj right now, and three of us (Me, Elder Wise, Elder Prososki) were in same MTC group. I never thought I’d be in a district where 3 of us would be going home together! But it’s a lot of fun. I especially love to see how we’ve all changed since our MTC days. Speaking of that, this week I went on an exchange with Elder Wise – the fist time I’ve been able to serve with him since the MTC.


(Elder Wise and I in the MTC)


(Elder Wise and I two years later – and probably 200 lbs lighter)

The rest of our week was pretty good and mostly consisted of “normal missionary” things like contacting and tracting. One thing I’m trying to do though is make one more big family history push. Although I’m sure I’ll be back in Slovenia at some point, I won’t ever have the same opportunity to seek out my ancestors like I do now. I have an appointment scheduled at the archives in two weeks and hope to be able to find as much as I can before I leave.


(Elder Prososki and I were stopped on the street by a reporter who asked about our opinions on soccer. Looks like he liked it enough to put it in the newspaper! Famous once again…)

It was a good week and I hope you’re all doing good. You’re in my thoughts and prayers always!
Starešina Davis

Good Morning Kranj!

I can’t say I ever thought I’d write a Monday morning email from the Kranj library again. But here I am! It’s definitely been a week of transition, but it’s nice to be back.


(In case you forgot what Kranj looks like!)

On Monday, Elder Hughes and I moved around most of the day, and by Monday afternoon I was finally in Kranj with my new companion, Elder Prososki. Elder Prososki is actually in my MTC group, and we never thought we’d have the chance to serve together in the field – especially so close to the end of our missions. So it’s been fun having the chance to do some work together in Kranj.

One of the benefits of being in Kranj again is the fact that I’ve been able to reconnect with a lot of the people I knew and taught a year ago. For example, I took this opportunity to text a former investigator that I found last July, and told him I was back in Kranj. He was excited to get together again, so we met at the church on Friday for a lesson. After catching up for a few minutes we started talking about faith, and I asked him what’s changed in the last year. He talked about how he really wants answers and direction about religion, and wants to start meeting regularly to find those answers. It’s cool to see the change that can happen in a person over the course of one short year.

Getting to catch up with Sjoerd and Jasmina has also been a lot of fun. It’s now been about seven months since they were baptized, and I feel like a proud dad returning to see all of the great things they’ve done in that time. Missionary work is simply such an amazing and life changing work, for the missionaries as well as those being taught.

On Sunday instead of a regular sacrament meeting we watched a Western Europe Area broadcast from Salt Lake and Frankfurt. Elder Christofferson presided. One of the main themes of the day was the Church’s three-fold mission: proclaim the gospel, perfect the saints, and redeem the dead, and how we can work as members to further that mission. They also talked about our responsibility to reach out to the refugees in Europe as well as any others that may need our help. It was a nice conference.

All-in-all I’m enjoying the chance to be back in Kranj. We’re still not sure if this is permanent – we’ll find out on Thursday – but it’s been fun in any case. As a interesting side note, this weekend was the “International Organ Grinders’ Festival” and Kranj was alive with street organs and participants from all over Europe. Honestly I didn’t even know what an organ grider was, let alone that they have their own international festival. All I know is that Kranj looked, sounded, and felt even more fairytale-esque than ever  before. Not a bad place to be a missionary!


(A nice guy from the Czech Republic let me try out the organ. I’ve never felt so European!)


(The Kranj old bike club was out in force this weekend)


(It just goes to show that there is a hobby out there for everyone!)

and this..

Starešina Jack

Come What May and Love It!

There is no such thing as a dull week in the Adriatic North Mission, and this week was a prime example of that. Keeping a balance in the number of missionaries here is like a tedious game of dominos, and this week a few of them were knocked down… The Johnsons have been moved to Banja Luka, Bosnia (I’m really going to miss serving with them), Elder Hughes is moving to Celje, and I am going back to Kranj. And this is all happening today! Needless to say we’ve been busy this week with packing, organizing, and setting everything in order to leave Maribor. I’ve really grown to love Maribor and the people here, and am sad to leave so abruptly. But Kranj is fantastic, and I’m excited to once again be serving in the shadows of the alps.

Packing wasn’t the only thing we did though this week. On Monday Elder Hughes, the Johnsons, and I all took a trip up to the beautiful Logarska Dolina. It is “must see” for anyone in Slovenia and Elder Hughes had never been! It was even greener this time around, and I tried my hardest to exercise self control and not take 200 pictures again…DSC04561.JPGDSC04551.JPGDSC04553a.JPG

We also squeezed some missionary work into the schedule. On Wednesday Elder Hughes and I were able to go to the University of Maribor and speak for 45 minutes to a comparative religions class about Mormons. Few things are better than a captive audience, and it ended up being a blast! We talked about Joseph Smith, the start of the Church, the Book of Mormon, missionaries, the Word of Wisdom, temples, families, etc. etc. Not only that, but we brought Ines and Gaja along who talked to the class about what it’s like to be a Mormon in Slovenia. Overall a really good presentation, and the students had a lot of questions. I wish professors would invite us to their classes more often!


(We had Ines and Gaja try to snap some pictures during the presentation)

The rest of the week was just plain busy. Zone conference in Ljubljana on Wednesday, a meeting in Zagreb on Thursday, and then packing and cleaning on Friday and Saturday. Church on Sunday was nice, but it wasn’t fun having to say goodbye to the members. I’ve built some great friendships here, and it’s always hard to leave those behind. It was especially hard saying goodbye to Ines and Gaja! We’ve become a little Maribor family in the past few months, and I hope to see them again soon.
I guess the moral of this week is that change is simultaneously the best and hardest thing that can happen to us. I don’t like change any more than the next guy does. But God knows what He’s doing, and if the change is coming from Him we can trust the it’ll be good change. If I’ve learned one thing on my mission it’s that God has a plan – a real, practical, involved plan – for all of us, and that we are always happiest as we allow Him to let that plan unfold.
Starešina Davis