Monday, October 21, 2013

Tuzla, Bosnia October 20, 2013

Hi Mom,

I'm so glad to hear that everything is going well. I cannot believe that our Cards are in the WORLD SERIES! That is wonderful news!!  

Also, I got Yayoi's package-- that was so sweet of her! I'm going to give one of the pictures that she sent me to little D this week. Tell her thank you from me!

This week has been busy. We've been working a lot on finding new people and we're also making another push towards getting our members spiritually self-reliant. In the past, members would rely on missionaries to text them passages of scripture that they should read at night or call them to remind them to pray first thing in the morning. We told them, we're not going to call and remind you everyday. We explained that they are meant to act and make choices, not to be acted upon.  We talked about the importance of taking charge of their life. It may sound a little harsh, but it was really powerful. 

I'm so proud of F. He still hasn't smoked. The branch president in Sarajevo wants him to wait another week before he can get the priesthood, but he's doing great, has stopped hanging out with his old friends, and has even moved homes to get away from that lifestyle. V smoked again. I was so disappointed. He works on the street washing windows, has no parents and no one taking care of him (he's 16), so he does what he wants, when he wants to. We're helping him design a life plan and are planning a really cool lesson about goals and progression. If we don't evaluate and set goals, we'll realize that we've changed very little over an extended period of time.

One of my favorite lessons that we taught this week about returning back to the basics was in Alma 47. Amalickiah is this really wicked man who in my mind just epitomizes Satan as he was "a very subtle man to do evil." We related Mount Antipus to bad, good, better, and best, where the base is sin and the top of the mountain is the best. We talked about how Satan will try to get us to compromise and come down a little bit, to things that are still good activities, but not the best, and will "poison us by degrees." I love in this past Conference, one speaker talked about how he remembered the exact day that his family went inactive. Going on a family car ride instead of going to church, was not the worst thing they could have done, but it was not the best, and that one compromise progressively led them to fall away from the church. We told B and her family that if they return to the basics and commit now to never compromise doing the little and best things everyday, then they will have promised strength and protection from Satan's traps. We need to stay at the top of the Mount Antipus! On our diagram that we drew, B drew herself at the top of the mountain with a huge smile and said she would beat F to read the whole Book of Mormon all the way through again. They both talked a lot about how excited they were to be missionaries. If they keep doing the basics, they can start their mission papers next summer! 

This week everyone here celebrated Bajrum (the equivalent of Christmas in America), so all the stores were closed, there were bands playing all day, so many gun shots and fireworks, and it also happened to be the day of the qualifying match for Bosnia to play in the World Cup. It was pretty eventful and everyone made us eat baclava, lamb and burek in the days following because they had so much food leftover. Also, Bosnia qualified to play in the World Cup next summer! Super exciting! Everyone has been wearing shirts with Brazil World Cup logos and sayings. Yay Bosnia! 

Best for last: we found some really wonderful new people to teach! One that I'm really excited about is this 20 year old named Selma. She's super down-to-earth, kind,  and financially independent. She took free English classes from the missionaries last year. We tracted into her and we've only had one lesson, but she's great! The spirit was really strong in our lesson and there's so much hope for all of our new investigators. 

We fasted this past Sunday for one of the Elders' investigators, Fe. He is such a good person. He's in his 30's, has a job, speaks English really well, read the Book of Mormon, and watched all of April General Conference and some from this session. He's so close! He would make such a great Branch President here in Tuzla! Pray for him to take that leap.

Mom, thank you so much for all of your suggestions. I showed one of the suggestions that you sent me to our District Leader and he really liked it. Sister Matthews also read that book that you were talking about back in Houston. She loved the idea, so during planning this week; we're going to come up with some ideas for an event like that. We showed Bednar's talk on tithing from this past Conference in church on Sunday and everyone really liked it. I think it helped make more sense to them. I'm glad to hear that everything is going well! I love you lots!

 And GO CARDINALS!!

S ljubavlju,

Sister Orgill

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tuzla Bosnia October 13, 2013

Hey Mom!


This week has been really good!! 

Zone Conference in Sarajevo was great. We have a new AP Elder Š and he is such a good missionary. He's actually from New Zealand, but his name is Serbian, and I guess he has some ancestors that came from here. He and President Rowe both talked a lot about time management and how we need to be more effective in the time that we do have--how we can not only work harder, but how we need to work smarter as well. It took all day, but it was great to be in Sarajevo with all the other missionaries in our zone and to get new ideas of how we can more efficient with our time.

Definitely the most exciting part of our week was that we ended up having a baptism!! We invited B for probably the 20th time on Monday night to be baptized and I told her that she needed to get baptized, not in a few weeks, but this Saturday. It was a really powerful lesson, complete with a random room full of people. F, one of the members, bore a  strong testimony, and we told her that she was going to serve a mission.  We continued to testify and she said yes.  She knew it was the right thing for her to do. Everyone cheered. We had her call and ask Elder S if he would baptize her that Saturday, and she was just glowing. We had a few more lessons with her this past week, she was baptized Saturday night and then was confirmed on Sunday in Sacrament meeting. 

Also, I talked with V, another member, after our lesson with B about how he needed to be worthy to pass the sacrament. He said he knew it and that he hadn't smoked at all that weekend and then he didn't smoke at all this past week. Elder W interviewed him on Sunday morning and said he was worthy to bless the sacrament. He showed up to church in a suit and white collared shirt and looked great! F, another member, says he has not smoked for a little over three weeks, which is wonderful. He's such an example to those around him. He's getting interviewed next week to see if he can get the Aaronic priesthood. 

Tuzla is making a ton of progress! One thing that we keep hearing about is how traditional methods like contacting and tracting are only so effective. We're trying to be more creative in terms of things we could do to find and attract future missionaries and families. What class or activity could someone on the street be advertising that would make you want to go and participate? We have started really brainstorming and have come up with a ton of ideas, but we need more. If you have any, we would love to hear them!

On a bad note, the Elders kind of got attacked last night and got their phone stolen. It made me so sad. Elder S got punched in the face so he's pretty bruised and then Elder F got hit in his stomach :( Sister M and I have the safer side of town and we're more in the suburbs and the Elders are more in the city. They're champs. Pray for them to feel better. 

Love you lots! Hope you have a great week!

Sestra Orgill

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Tuzla Bosnia October 6, 2013

Mom,

This week was so great! I just felt so completely overwhelmed with love for my birthday. Elder S picked up his new companion, Elder F, from Zagreb and then brought back all of our mail and I got tons of letters from everyone and your HUGE package, Mom! That was so thoughtful of you and Grandma, thank you so much!! Everyone loved all the candy and the members devoured the flaming hot cheetos in just a few minutes, haha. Love you!

Sister M was so sweet-- she quietly reminded everyone that my birthday was on Wednesday, so everyone knew about it. I had no idea! We went over to J's for a lesson and they surprised me with cake, balloons, and presents, Sister Rowe and all the new missionaries from the MTC called me;Sister M woke up early and decked out our apartment with nice sayings and scriptures that she found that described me and made crepes; the Elders decorated the church and and gave me my favorite chocolate; the Ws had us over for yummy dinner and gave me a beautiful scarf. It definitely was one of the nicest birthdays I've ever had and it was totally unexpected. Again, I just felt totally overwhelmed with love!

Presents and everything are so thoughtful and kind, but I always love how I get to watch Conference on my birthday weekend! It was so good this session! We only got to watch the morning sessions for Saturday and Sunday, but WOW. Uchtdorf's talk, Bednar's talk, Oak's, President Monson.... all of them so wonderful! Elder Uchtdorf's talk was so powerful and his was actually the talk I was going to write you about, and then you wrote me about it-- so in sync!  Throughout Conference I loved the focus on strengthening ourselves and increasing our level of personal conversion. We always need to be working to become more converted through increasingly sincere prayer and scripture study. Also, families. We talk a lot about families as missionaries and I know that I just want to have such a sweet and kind husband. I don't care what he does, but as long as he is kind and faithful in the gospel, I'll be so, so happy.

F has not smoked for a week and a half now! He has been reading the Book of Mormon non-stop and he finished reading all of it this week, reads in Preach My Gospel every night, bore his testimony yesterday in Sacrament meeting (everyone here says that he "testifies like a boss"), and he encourages J's family to do daily scripture study and prayer together. He is so different and is just full of the Spirit. He is wonderful and is going to make the best missionary if he keeps it up. We're so proud of him!  Also, we had 18 people at church yesterday!!! It was so great!!! That's the most we've ever had while I've been here. We had a bunch of non-members come and the Spirit was so strong throughout all of testimony meeting. Everyone was smiling, crying and laughing together :) Wonderful, wonderful! I can't stop smiling as I'm writing this e-mail.

V, who is F's younger brother, still has a lot of work to do. He's not really strong in the gospel right now, but this morning we were studying President Eyring's talk about him this morning: "The priest will invite others to join with him in the tiny group of Saints (Tuzla, Bosnia!) where he has felt the love of God and the blessed peace of the Atonement. If he continues faithful in his priesthood duty, he will see the group become a branch, and then a stake of Zion will come to his city. There will be a ward with a caring bishop. It could be one of his sons or grandsons who will someday take a servant of God to a nearby hill and say, “This would be a wonderful place for a temple.”" It's so interesting that even with all of our promised blessings, they are always contingent on our obedience and faithfulness. We're going to share that with Valentino this week and hopefully wake him up again and re-ignite his  desire to be obedient in keeping all of the commandments.

Our baptismal commitments. Ah. We invite everyone to be baptized and have really powerful lessons and experiences led by the Holy Ghost, but there's so much fear to act and commit to be baptized. I love what Joseph Smith said about how "fear and faith cannot coexist in our hearts at the same time." We are so close with so many investigators to get them baptized! Pray for them to doubt their doubts and act on the faith that they do have. We can't give up on people!

Overall this week has been great! English classes are going well. We had some great lessons this week and Sister M and I are still working and teaching really well together. We are always trying to be better. I love her! We have Zone Conference again this week in Sarajevo, which takes up a whole day, but is worth it. President Rowe is so inspired and is always on the mark. We're really excited!

I hope you all have a wonderful week! Look for missionary opportunities and strive to become more converted everyday.

S ljubavlju,

Sister Orgill