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!!