The Best 2 Years

     There are a lot of little milestones and “checkpoints” you pass on a mission, but on Saturday I reached one of the most recognizable milestones of my mission. Exactly two years ago, on July 23rd, 2014, I entered the MTC and began my missionary service. It’s crazy to think that I’ve now been on a mission for two whole years. They’ve sure been good ones!
     This week was a good one, and we stayed pretty busy. One of the highlights was Wednesday night when we (the Kranj and Ljubljana missionaries) helped to put on a “Meet the Mormons” open house at the Ljubljana church. Members ran different “stations” where visitors could go to learn about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, Jesus Christ, etc. It was a really nice event. The best part was that my Auntie Jožica came! She is technically my closest relative in Slovenia (1st cousin 3 times removed, whatever that means…). She really enjoyed the night, and it was great to see her again. She is absolutely hilarious – 4 time Yugoslavian rifle shooting champion, avid mountain climber, and almost 90 years old. She plans to take a helicopter to the top of Slovenia’s tallest mountain next year, and I can only hope we share some genes that influence longevity and energy!

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(Teta Jožica and I in the Ljubljana church)

Since we were all dressed up and in Ljubljana together, the Kranj district also decided to take a few quick pictures at the Ljubljana castle.

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(Me, Elder Prososki, Elder Mangeris, Elder Wise – the most Kranderful district there is)

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(Slovenia!)

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(…and Austria? Oops!)

     This week I also made another trip to the archives in Maribor. This was probably my last trip to the archives while here (they close for the rest of the summer), but it was a very productive one. I found the information for previously unknown ancestors, including my great-great grandparents, my great-great-great grandparents, and so on for a few generations. I now have our Slovene family traced back to about 1780.
     Overall, it was a good week. I hope you all have a great week and that you’re enjoying the summer. Hear from you soon!
     Starešina Davis

Što da kažem…

     This week was a whirlwind of travel, and it honestly flew by. The subject line of my email this week is Croatian, and I feel almost like I’ve spent more time there this week than in Slovenia! It started on Tuesday. Elder Prososki had a dentist appointment, so we made the trip down to Zagreb. Nothing too exciting there – just driving. Even still, it took most of the day.
     On Wednesday we made a trip to the Ljubljana archives. I found another couple of names there, and I think the running total for the past few weeks is now 33 new ancestors. It’s so rewarding to be able to find these people who have been waiting for decades and centuries to receive their saving ordinances. I cannot wait to start going to the temple and actually doing them myself!

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(Some archive work. We have to go in “civilian clothes”, since the Catholic church isn’t the biggest fan of Mormon missionaries walking into their archives to do temple work…)

     Thursday was spent in Kranj, and we had the opportunity to teach one of our investigators. He’s 18 years old, and really enjoys learning about the gospel. Some people are like sponges, and just soak up every ounce of gospel information they can get. It’s so fun to be a part of that process. The next step for him is to come to church, and we hope to see him there next Sunday.
     On Friday and Saturday we had an overnight zone conference at the mission home in Zagreb. The meetings were great, but the best part was spending some  down time with the rest of the zone. We played volleyball, basketball, card games, and just enjoyed each other’s company.

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(A group game of “Mafia”)

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(I missed the folded arms memo. (from left) Elder Prososki, Elder Mangeris, Me, Elder Wise)

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(The Slovenian Elders!)

It was a somewhat sentimental two days for me – this was my last zone conference and was the last time I am going to see some of the other missionaries. I’ve grown to love these people, and will miss them a lot. There are five of us going home next month, and we all had the opportunity to bear our testimony at the end of the conference.

     All-in-all, a great week. It flew by, and I’m afraid that isn’t going to stop. I’m loving it here though, and am trying to soak up every moment I have. I hope things are going well at home, and I’ll try to write more next time I’m on the computer!
Jack

 

Happy 4th of July!

     First of all… happy 4th of July! Today obviously isn’t a holiday in Slovenia, but my companion and I are wearing red, white, and blue in spite of that. I’ve always loved the 4th of July – especially the BBQ!
     This was another good week in Kranj, and on Monday we had the chance to go on an amazing p day with Sjoerd and the other Elders in Kranj. We visited what is arguably one of the most beautiful places in Slovenia: the Soča river valley.DSC04792a.jpg
     The Soča river is known around the world for its stunning blue-green color, and was even the filming site for portions of the movie Narnia. I had seen pictures before, but when we actually got there I was shocked. It looks like someone poured a big bucket of food coloring into the water! Honestly, the river is just plain amazing.

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(This is in the town “Most na Soči”. It doesn’t even look real…)

 

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(The gang in the Tolmin Gorges. From front: Elder Wise, Elder Prososki, Elder Mangeris, Me, Sjoerd)

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     Despite the fact that I don’t have any pictures of the rest of the week (oops), it was good as well. We had an exchange with the Elders from Celje, and I was able to serve with Elder Eddington for a few days. He’s been out for probably 6 months, and we had a lot of fun tracting and contacting around Kranj.
     One experience stands out in particular. We contacted a teenager on a bench who was sitting and playing on his phone. We started talking to him about what we do here, and he proudly told us that he is atheist. After a few more minutes of conversation though, he asked us why we care so much about religion. I told him how faith benefits my life, and when he saw that faith impacted my life in an actual, concrete way, he looked genuinely shocked. It’s sad that people don’t even know what they’re missing when the decide to ignore God. That’s why we (meaning we members, not just missionaries) are here.
     On Saturday, the Kranj Branch had a picnic, something that has been in the works for a while. Planning a branch activity can have its challenges, but the picnic ended up turning out wonderfully. Almost everyone from the branch was there, and we all enjoyed each other’s company for a few hours (as well as a LOT of food). Elder Prososki and I were in charge of filling up the water balloons for the activities, and well… let’s just that we ended up soaked. It was a great day though, and it was like watching one big branch family.
     I hope you all have a great week, and enjoy the rest of your holiday. Eat a burger in my honor.
     Starešina Davis