Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Zagreb, Croatia December 29, 2013

Mom,

This week has been crazy! I finished up my time in Karlovac with Sister B and then was in Zagreb and got to spend some really fun time serving with Sister M, one of my MTC companions. It was so good to see her!  She is spectacular!

Before my flight back to Sarajevo, I had an interview with President and turns out, I'm getting transferred to Zagreb!  I'm going to finish training Sister M's new companion and Sister M is going down to Sarajevo to serve with Sister H. I don't believe it! In Zagreb I'm supposed to work on their English programs and get them up and running so that they can be more effective in finding more people to teach, like we've been doing in Sarajevo. Also, after I get it set up in Zagreb, I think I'm going to be traveling around to different cities to try to help them get set up and do a similar thing.

Another surprise on top of this whole thing is that I got to come back to Tuzla! I never changed my residence to Sarajevo on my visa, so I'm still registered as living in Tuzla and we have to cancel it before I leave the country. We drove to Tuzla last night (3 hours away) through bouts of really thick smog and gorgeous Bosnian country side. We got in around 8, so we had time to go teach a lesson, and we went over to J's home. I called her before we went over and apparently she was having a really hard time, and she just started crying that we were there. She kept saying that we were a blessing from God and that we came at just the right time when she needed us. She is such a sweetheart, and it was so good seeing her again.

I also got to spend a bunch of time last night just talking with Sister M, my companion in Tuzla. I love her so much and it is so easy being with her. I feel like I can tell her anything. I have made some incredible friendships on my mission. I love the sisters that I've had the chance to serve with. They are all so valiant, kind and strong.

This morning we went to the police station in Tuzla and it normally takes them a few days to cancel a visa, but we asked them to do it all today because I have a flight out of Sarajevo to Zagreb at 3:30... hopefully they can get it done by 11, because then we have to drive back to Sarajevo and make it to the airport and everything... ahh. We're a little bit tired and we don't really have a preparation day to decompress (I've been traveling for like 2 weeks straight), but it will be good.

My new companion in Zagreb will be Sister W. She's been out in the field for 6 weeks and is 19. I am excited to serve with her.
I feel changed in so many ways. I never want to lose how I feel. I know the way that I can keep this feeling with me is by consistently and routinely exercising my faith. I watched this video in the MTC and now it's on the LDS.org homepage. I think you'll like it. It talks about setting goals. http://www.mormonchannel.org/video/mormon-messages?v=910930409001&cid=HPTH122613304&im=true
http://www.lds.org/ensign/2010/01/the-best-is-yet-to-be?lang=eng

I love you!! Have a great week!!

Sister Orgill

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Karlovac, Croatia December 23, 2013

Hey Mom!

I'm currently in Karlovac, Croatia right now! The presentation went really well at the Christmas Conference and President asked me and Sister Hendricks to do an exchange this week to train other cities on how to use their English programs more effectively. I'm going to Zagreb on Thursday morning and then flying back to Sarajevo on either Friday night or Saturday morning... by myself! Ah. That will be really weird not having a companion with me.

We went to Zagreb earlier this week for the Christmas Conference and it was really great seeing everyone. The missionaries in Zagreb made some really great food and put on a great event for us. There were a LOT of missionaries, and by the end of it I was feeling a little overwhelmed... we're used to being pretty isolated, but it was still fun catching up with old companions and people from the MTC.

I got some sad news this week-- another elder from my MTC group went home this week. This was the third person from my MTC group to go home early. A lot of people suffer from depression out here, just because we have little contact with other missionaries and it gets pretty cold here in the winter.

Karlovac is great! It's small, but so pretty. I'm serving with Sister B, she's also 23, is a Sister training leader in Croatia and she is an all-star. We get along really well...  one more person I would just love to serve with. The branch is really strong here. All of the members who are married have been sealed in the temple; we have a few returned missionaries, and they're trying to make sure that everyone gets their patriarchal blessing and goes to the temple this year. They are so, so great! Out of all the branches in our mission, this one and the one in Zagreb are the strongest. There is a big push for the members to run the branch, not the missionaries. It was so weird being a branch where we didn't have to do anything on Sunday, other than just sit and talk with the members and investigators.

For Christmas, we don't have a senior couple here, but we are just going to stay here with the Elders and one of their investigators, make dinner at the church and then skype our families. We can only talk for an hour, so get everyone together, come with stories ready to be re-told, and be sure the Wispy Kitten is awake for me to see too! Have you gotten my package yet? I hope it gets to you by Christmas!

Thanks for the Gift of the Magi! I'll print it out and we can read it with the Elders and their investigator on Christmas.

I love you and I'll talk to you soon!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Katherine

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sarajevo, Bosnia December 16, 2013

Hey Mom!

Thanks for sending me that Christmas card in advance! Grandpa's note made me tear up. You are all too good to me. 

This week has been good. We didn't quite get our 50 lessons, haha, but we still did really well! We're traveling a lot this next week, but the week after that we're going to try for it again :) For some reason our Sister Training leaders canceled our exchange. I was really looking forward to going to Tuzla! It's fine though, because I love Sarajevo! This transfer has gone by too fast, but we got our transfer assignments on Friday and our whole district is staying here! Such a huge relief. I definitely don't know my way around at all yet, so I was worried about how I was going to survive without Sister H. I love that sweet girl so much! She really is such an angel.

We wanted to show the Christmas Devotional from this year to our branch and investigators, but the Church doesn't really ever translate those into Bosnian... so we ended up spending a whole day translating the talks! Holy cow. We had natives proof-read them before the activity and it made me realize how bad I am, again, and how much more work I have to do. It was an exhausting day, but it was a great event, so it definitely paid off! 

I'm really not that good on the computer, but our records for English classes frequently get lost because they're just in a stack in some of the closets randomly throughout church. After church cleaning, I decided to organize all of the documents. It was pretty inefficient, so I decided to put them in an Excel document and kind of use it as a live document that we would update every week with who we were going to focus on teaching, and we've gotten a lot of lessons out of doing that. President called us this week, and is having us give a presentation at our mission conference this week with Elder Croft, a senior missionary here. He's a former professor, and loves presenting, so I told him to just give the full presentation, since you know how much I hate speaking in large crowds, haha. I've spent a lot of time refining and updating it this week, but I thought that was pretty cool, because it's something that President wants to start doing on a mission-level. Also, Sister H and I are going to train a sister currently serving up in Slovenia next week about how to use it to find more people to teach. President said he was keeping me and Sister Hendricks together so he could "milk the cow" haha. I thought that was funny. I guess we've been leading the mission in terms of lessons taught every week. We work hard, but we also have a lot of fun, and we laugh a ton.

E, our taxi driver, and his family are great! His wife made us a beautiful dinner and we got to spend some time with their cute kids. After dinner, some of their friends showed up, another married couple with two children. They walked in with some beer and both couples started lit up and started smoking and drinking right away. I definitely wanted to get out of there, but they started asking us a lot of questions about our church, and so we just taught a full first-lesson right there with both families. It was a really powerful lesson, they progressively stopped drinking the beer and smoking, and then they both asked for copies of the Book of Mormon and asked us to write our testimonies in them. E's friend speaks fluent French because he used to live there, so we were also really able to bond and explain things a little bit better in French than I would have been able to in Bosnian. They are so sweet, and they all seemed really interested in meeting again, which is great! #blessings #twofamiliesinone 

We had a lot of crazy things that happened this week. The first, and probably the most dramatic of which: a person who has come to church before is a bit crazy, and he burst into our English class of 25 people and yelled some really inappropriate things. Sister H had to go talk to him, concoct the fib that I had a boyfriend, and then he threatened to kill himself. Ahhh. That was really stressful. 

Another sad thing, Sarajevo has really bad pollution right now, because of all the coal and the inversion. Our branch president's wife told us it was one of the worst in the world, currently worse than Beijing! 

I'm so excited to be going to Zagreb this week for the Christmas Mission conference! We get to stay with Sister M for two nights and we're going on splits while we're there. I'm so excited to be able to serve with her again! She is one of my favorite people and we're planning on living together after our missions at BYU since we get back at the same time. I already told Hannah, who's taking care of our housing when she gets back next year. I hope you get to meet her someday, Mom. You would love her.

As far as Skyping goes on Christmas day, let's plan on 4pm my time, 9am in the morning your time? I think that's the right time difference. We haven't received any information so far about how long we can talk for or anything on the 25th, but hopefully I can give you more information next week. I'll try to figure it out by then. So excited to see all of you! Are Grandma and Grandpa coming over at all so I can see them too? And Skippy? Be sure to hold him up to the camera for me too! I really hope you all get my package by Christmas day.

I found this scripture last night in Doctrine and Covenants section 64:33. I had read and heard it before but it really resonated with me when I read it yesterday. "Wherefore, be not weary in well-doing, for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceedeth that which is great." The little things we do everyday make the difference. I know that we sometimes feel so small and insignificant in this world, but I know that we have great potential and that those great things can happen with the Lord. Perfect scripture, right?

I love you! Have such a great week and talk to you so soon!!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sarejevo, Bosnia December 9, 2013

Hey Mom! 

This past week has been great! We had Zone Conference, which we hosted down here in Sarajevo, and it was so inspirational. President Rowe came and talked about what more we can be doing and how the time to act and expect miracles is now. He talked about how we need to be learning how to speak Bosnian in order to fulfill prophecy. In order to help God keep his promises to us, we need to work and be diligent, keeping up our part of our calling. I know a lot of the times in the past, our investigators can't feel or listen to the Spirit because they're too busy deciphering what we're trying to say. My Bosnian has gotten a lot better since I've been with Sister H! At Zone Conference this past week, we had to do a lot of role plays with other missionaries, and I realized that I was one of the more fluent ones, which made me feel really good about the progress that I've made. Sister H still kicks my bum in the language, but we are working at becoming better. It is so exciting being with her! We are always learning, constantly pushing ourselves to be better, and I just feel so happy! 

This week we have exchanges with the Sister Training Leaders, and I'm going back to Tuzla and I get to serve with Sister M again! It'll be weird being back, but I'm so excited to see everyone again, and see the progress that's been made there in these past few weeks alone. 

We set a goal to teach 50 lessons this week. We planned it all out. We have to go on splits sometimes, but even with English classes, the branch Christmas party, P-day, FHE, exchanges, church, etc. etc. it's completely doable! Just for frame of reference, the highest I've ever gotten is 22 lessons in one week. We have talked a lot about working harder and smarter, and while tracting and contacting are good things, we need to do our best to get as many lessons as we can, and that includes inviting people to learn. 

Mini-events of this week:
1) Discovered the best French bakery right next to our house this week. So yummy and healthy. Sister H and I are both losing weight and we feel so good!
2) Got "attacked" by this dog this week who we nicknamed Kori (Korihor); he just gets really excited when he sees us and he is huge. He got mud ALL over me and sweet older Sister C. He's such a stinker. I just had muddy paw prints all over me for the rest of the day and everyone kept looking at me really weird, haha. Ahh. We actually do have to keep a lookout for the dogs here, because they're so cold and don't have any food, so they get pretty aggressive in the winter and they travel in packs when it gets dark. 
3) We invited 3 of our English students to take lessons from us and they have been really receptive and accepting of all the things we've taught them. We had some great first lessons this week.
4) I had just been complaining about the Isaiah chapters one morning after personal study and how I just kind of endure through them, and then we went to go teach D, and he started talking to us, and he was like "I just found one of the GREATEST chapters in all of the Book of Mormon! Have you seen this?" It was one of the Isaiah chapters, haha. He made us read it with him, and told us he was going to teach US about all of it. It was really great and it made me want to go home and study those chapters more thoroughly. I'm grateful for his example to me!
5) E is a taxi driver we met this week and we have started teaching him as he's driven us all over Sarajevo. He is our go-to guy, and one day, because he wanted us to meet his family, he picked us up on our way to an appointment, and they were all in the car! They are so great! He and his wife are in their 30's and they have two really cute kids. She studied law at school and they both speak perfect English. She invited us over for dinner tonight, and we're so excited. They are really just such a perfect, normal family.
6) We are trying to be more electronic. We have a computer in our church and a lot of our records frequently get lost because there are just stacks of paper in a lot of the closets, so the senior couple has asked us to create some sort of database to organize all of that. We deep cleaned the church on Saturday (it reminded me of our time cleaning out our cedar closet in St. Louis, haha), and we found a bunch of old records, put in all the information, and it felt so good to have the church look so good and be organized. It also provided a lot of good contact information for people that are interested in learning more about the church, but the missionaries, never ended up teaching.
7) I have started reading the Book of Mormon in Serbian (syrillics); the translation is significantly better than the one into Croatian/Bosnian (they're coming out with a new Croatian Book of Mormon this year). I've forgotten a lot, but it is really fun being able to read and understand Serbian again. Every area in our mission is great, but Serbia is one place in particular where I would really love to serve.
8) I tried to send a package last P-day via the Bosnian postal service. It was going to be really expensive, so I didn't get it figured out until yesterday. One of our members works at the NATO base as a soldier and also works in their post office there. It is a lot cheaper to send stuff through there, so she is sending it for me tomorrow. She said it will take about 2 weeks for the package to get there, so I'm hoping that it will get to you before Christmas! I didn't have time to buy anything for Grandpa/I really couldn't find anything that he would like, so if you would just give him a big hug for me, I would really appreciate it.
9) We have transfer calls again this week. The time goes by too fast. Sister H has been here since the beginning of August, so I have a feeling she's leaving me this next week, although I hope we get to serve together for a bit longer.
10) Not this week, but next, we're going to Zagreb for our Christmas Conference! We get to see all of the other missionaries, and it will be so fun.

I've been thinking a lot about how to be more diligent. I read in the end  of Jacob and in Enos this morning. I love how in Enos 1:12 he says "And it came to pass that after I had prayed and labored with all diligence, the Lord said unto me: I will grant unto thee according to thy desires, because of thy faith." The Lord wants to give us all the righteous things that we desire, but we still have to labor with all diligence and pray for those things. We've talked about that a lot in terms of success on our mission and with success in learning Bosnian-- it is simply not enough to just pray for it. We have to be diligent in living the gospel everyday, and only then can we expect to receive those blessings from God. It's the same with learning Bosnian and finding new investigators. While there is so much more that I can be doing better, I already feel so blessed. I love this gospel and the power that comes from studying the scriptures everyday. I am so grateful to you and Dad and for your testimonies which strengthen me. I love you!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Sarajevo, Bosnia December 2, 2013

Hey Mom!

I miss you and Steven more than you even know! I love you both so much! 

I'm glad that you had a great Thanksgiving. I bet it was nice to see Uncle Dave and his family! Grandma is so funny with choosing unorthodox recipes and dishes. Steven was not thrilled at the fact that there was no turkey this year. Ahh, remember the carrot cake with pineapple? Haha, ahh, grandma-- I love her!

The baptism on Saturday was great! Fwas pretty overwhelmed afterwards (kind of reminded me of how I felt after I went through the temple for the first time), so I talked to him for a while in the chapel, while everyone else got treats organized in the back. We talked about what would happen when he got the gift of the Holy Ghost and about how it's okay to not feel really different or to not understand everything that he was feeling. He is such a sweetheart. On Sunday he was feeling so much better, and we had the chance to talk some more. He found a house with his friend, Sanela, who is also a member! They are both so great and I know that they are being looked after.

Elder and Sister C are angels here on this earth. They are our senior couple here and are so great to us. They had us over for Thanksgiving dinner and somehow Sister C managed to make sweet potatoes, stuffing, turkey, etc. etc. with a lot of creativity and improvisation. It tasted so good! It really felt like Thanksgiving, which was definitely something I was thankful for. The Ls, who are an American family here working for the embassy had us over for Thanksgiving leftovers on Friday and she has a reputation in our mission for being a phenomenal cook. SO GOOD. With Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving leftovers, heavy baptism treats and a huge Sunday dinner, I've managed to keep my weight constant. Yay! 7.5 pounds more to go! I really think I can do it! I know you can too! 

We had a huge Thanksgiving party at the church on Thursday night! Sister H and I peeled and chopped 40+ potatoes for potato soup and also made 60+ snickerdoodles for it. It was a huge success! 50+ nonmembers came and we played Thanksgiving games, made a grateful chain (just a list of things we were all thankful for), took lots of pictures, and then ended up showing the Joseph Smith movie afterwards. We had around 15 people stay after to watch the movie and ask us questions about the church. It was really cool and Sister Hand I got up and bore our testimonies afterwards and offered copies of the Book of Mormon. While we have elders here, they're the Zone Leaders over all of Bosnia and Montenegro, so they do a lot of traveling and have meetings in Zagreb all the time, so we get to (sometimes is a "have to") do a lot of the translation, teaching, and organizing branch events on our own. The members here call us the Zone Leaders' mothers. We were exhausted afterwards, but we're so grateful for how it all turned out. :)

This week I have loved studying in 2 Nephi 2 and 4. There will be hard things in this life, but we are agents meant to act and not to be acted upon by the pushings and pulls of the world. I love how relatable Nephi is in 2 Nephi 4 and how he talks about the sins which do so easily beset him, but how he glories in the greatness and goodness of God. I know that I am so imperfect. I have so many things that I do wrong everyday, but I know that we can be pure, despite our human frailties, as long as we have our focus on Him. I love this gospel and the opportunity that I have to be a missionary. If I could just serve a mission with our whole family, then I would just stay out here forever.

I love you so much! I hope you have a great week!!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sestra Orgill

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sarajevo, Bosnia November 25, 2013

Hey Mom!

I cannot believe that Steven is still recovering from his concussion. Poor guy. I'll pray for him this week so that he can heal and get back into the swing of things soon. I'm so glad that he has you to take care of him. You're the best mother in the world! How's our little Dillet? 

I feel really good about my time that I spent in Tuzla. I know that I did the things that I was supposed to and we got a lot of people on the path that they needed to be on, and that definitely helps me transition to being in Sarajevo. Also, Sarajevo's beautiful! Mom, it's weird to think about you walking these streets when you were about my age! It's a lot bigger than Tuzla, but everyone has been so sweet and we have a bunch of great investigators. I really love Sister H. It's nice being with someone who I already knew from the MTC. She is so good-natured and really calm about things that might stress me out. Also, she speaks Bosnian REALLY well-- there are a lot of grammar rules that we have to remember, but she loves learning and gets me excited to learn more. She has GREAT faith and always talks about how we can see miracles here, which I love. I'm learning a lot from her and I hope we get to stay together for a while. :)

For Thanksgiving we have the afternoon off to eat some turkey :) The senior couple here is having us over for dinner and it will be so fun to take some time to help cook (something we don't get a lot of time to do) and think about all of our blessings! According to the current transfer schedule, I could be home to eat some yummy pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving with you next year :) Ahh, where has the time gone?!

We had to move apartments this week, so since I had seen the driving video and have my license, I had to drive through Sarajevo for hours this week-- that was an experience! The roads are windy, narrow, and driving laws don't really apply to the local drivers...haha, ahh, I really hope I never have to drive here again. We receive a lot of real protection as missionaries. :) It was definitely worth it, though-- our new apartment is great, doesn't have mold growing all over the walls (I'm fairly confident that's a health hazard..) and has closets for our clothes. 

It's snowing for the first time this winter today and it's gorgeous! Waking up to that this morning and looking out our window, which is up on a hill, and seeing the snow fall on the Bosnian countryside was something we couldn't capture on our cameras! I'll try again this week to send you some pictures. We had a lot of time this week devoted to moving all of our stuff, which is unfortunate, but we were blessed and made some good progress with a lot of our investigators. We have a lot of people that are really close to baptism, and we're still working with Sabina, so that will be really exciting if we can get her ready.

F, the man I talked about last week, was diagnosed with kidney cancer this week. :( He can't afford treatment and he also lost his apartment this week, so he had to sleep on the street. So, so sad. I have a hard time keeping it together whenever he bears his testimony, because he's so strong. His baptism is this Saturday, which we are all really looking forward to. Pray for him to be able to find a place to live and to feel well. I feel like he's really touched me more than anyone else that I've met out here.

One thing that I've loved studying this week is simple, but how God never changes. He is constant in an ever-changing world. If we are truly anchored to Him, then we cannot be swayed by the beliefs of the day. Through more sincere and consistent prayer we can know His desires for what we should be doing. Often we rely too fully on our own intelligence and thoughts, but if we go to the Lord, He will help us to know what we should be doing and what we can do to be better. With a lot of our decisions this week, we have tried to more proactively think about Nephi's response to his brothers in 1 Nephi 15, "have ye inquired of the Lord"? I love that.

Have a great week and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sarajevo, Bosnia November 18, 2013

Hey Mom!

First, I'm in Sarajevo! I'm glad that Sister W gave you the update, she's a sweetie. She was so thoughtful and gave me this really beautiful scarf before I left.

It was so sad leaving Tuzla. Both me and Elder S left within a week of each other and I think that was pretty hard for a lot of our members. We have such a small and tight-knit group there. The members and our English students wrote me goodbye notes and there were a lot of tears, but another one of their favorite sisters is coming to Tuzla, so I think that will be good for them. It was crazy because when we started, Sister M and I were the first sisters there and we had virtually no investigators, and now they have so many people that they're teaching! We worked really hard, with 2x a week fasts, skipping meals, and lots of slammed doors. I really feel like I poured my whole heart into that city, so it's weird now being in a different place.

With all the sadness of leaving Tuzla, everyone here in Sarajevo has been super nice and has made me feel really welcome. The people that we contact on the street are receptive to just stop and talk, something we never had in Tuzla, and the branch here is a little bit bigger. 

Sister H, my companion is actually someone who was in the MTC with me and she is the best! I got along with her really well, so it was such a relief to know I'd get to be serving with her. She's 19, from Blacksburg Virgina, and is REALLY good at Bosnian. She studies Bosnian grammar a lot, and she's totally conversant, whereas I still have a lot of umms and mmms when I'm speaking/thinking. I'll learn a lot from her, which I'm really excited about.

Our branch here is great! Sunday was really fun getting to know some of our members and investigators. I had to get up and speak with virtually no notice in Sacrament meeting, which is still not my favorite thing to do, but I'm a little more used to that now than I was before. We had a lesson with one of our investigators and we committed her to get baptized! She's 27, is divorced and has a little daughter who lives in Tuzla, and she is really sweet. She's getting baptized on the 21st of December, so we're going to be meeting with her a lot this next month to get her ready. We're having a big baptism on the 21st of December for all the members/investigators in Bosnia to come down to Sarajevo, and then we'll have a Christmas activity and party afterwards. It is going to be pretty cool and it came down to us as an idea from the Area Presidency. We're hoping we can get a few more people on date for that day. Also, one of the women that we were teaching in Tuzla just got on date to get baptized too! She is in her late 80s and is a hoot. I'll send you a picture of her.

We met with one of our investigators and members last night. They're gypsies, so they don't have a real home, they just move around from place to place every few weeks. We met up with them and Sister H talked with our member S, while I talked with F, a really sweet man who's getting baptized next week. I was able to talk for a long time with him about how he was feeling, how he grew up, some of his favorite memories, etc. He has seen some really sad things, but he has such a pure soul. He's in his mid-30s and has some sort of digestive difficulties where he can only eat certain things (I couldn't figure out the disease based on his description), he has a really hard time gaining weight, so he's REALLY skinny, and also has some problems with his knees. He is really intelligent and discerning of people. I tried to hold it in, but I started crying as he was talking about all the things he's been through just this week alone. He apparently never complains and his faith in the gospel is so strong and he is so excited for his baptism next week. He talked about the love he can feel when he's with the missionaries and at church and he bore his testimony to me about Christ. He is so pure and beautiful. He has never asked for anything from the church, but he lives in such dire circumstances of poverty that I just want to buy him cans and cans of peas since that's one of the only things he can eat. We're not supposed to do that, but I think we're going to talk to our branch president here and see what we can do. He is so skinny and his skin just clings to his cheek bones and eyes. His faith and testimony in Christ blew me away. He has a million and one hard things that happen to him all the time, but he is so strong and I'm so in awe of him. I know he will help so many people here. I've been studying a lot about spiritual gifts in 1st Corinthians, Moroni and D&C 46. I know that we all have been given gifts, but that we need to continue seeking after and praying to receive more gifts. We want to talk to F about recognizing his gifts and how he can use them to help those around him. He is awesome.

My friend Jenn wrote me this week and she's going on a mission! She's doing an internship right now in Japan for Disney, but she just feels like she needs to go when she finishes that up. It is so crazy and I'm so happy for her! She is wonderful. Hannah's been on her mission for 9 months, I've been on mine for 6 and hopefully we can get Jenn on hers soon, so we can all finish up school together.

I'm so sorry about Steven's concussion but it sounds like they had a really good season! The quarterfinals of state is amazing! He is amazing. I may not have time to e-mail him back this week because I overloaded my time on this e-mail (we're going to the war museum in just a little bit), but tell him I love him and I hope he's feeling better.

Lots of love,

Sister Orgill

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Tuzla Bosnia, November 11, 2013

Hey Mom!

That is great news about Steven's soccer team! They're so great! Yeah, Ladue!!

I'm proud of you for being healthy! We have over a month to get down to our goal weight- let's do it!! It helps me when I know someone else is doing it with me as well. Even though it's cold, I think Sister M and I are going to start waking up a little bit earlier to go running in the mornings.

We still don't know where we're going for transfers. It's so weird. The Elders all found out where they were going on Friday, but for some reason the APs said the sisters weren't going to hear back until this morning. It's now Monday afternoon and all the sisters are getting pretty antsy to hear some news. For the Elders in Tuzla, Elder S is going up to Zagreb because he's the new AP and Elder , who's been here 6 weeks, is training a new missionary! So sad and exciting at the same time. We're all so sad to see Elder S go, because he's such an awesome missionary and he loves the people so much. Everyone knows him here and he was such a saving grace when it came to translating and speaking the language here. We sang "Come Thou Fount" together on Sunday and he bore his testimony during Sacrament meeting. He's going to be so great up in Zagreb! Elder F is fresh out of high school, but he has so much energy and enthusiasm, so he keeps us on our toes. He'll do a great job training.

Zone Conference in Sarajevo was really good. We talked about how light cleaveth until light and how we can feel the Spirit if we too are pure. We were talking about catering our lessons to certain people that we were teaching, and President Rowe talked about how truth is truth; the Lord has designed His teachings so that they can resonate with everyone. While obvious, I still thought that was so interesting. One thing that I loved from President Rowe was actually about marriage. He was teaching the law of chastity to his taxi driver one day on a way to a meeting, and the taxi driver interrupted him and asked him about what specifically our church teaches about relations between a man and a woman before marriage. President Rowe said, "that's the best part. Our church teaches you to fall madly in love with someone, marry them, and then continue falling in love with them for the rest of your life." Often times in Bosnia when we teach about marriage, the plan of salvation or the law of chastity, we've heard comments that the gospel is too idealistic, it's naive, or it's a fairy tale. President Rowe and his wife love each other so much and are still like teenagers together. I thought about you and Dad, Mom, and how much you loved each other. I know that marriages that are lasting and happy are not just a fairytale, but are real and possible. I love that and I want that for my future family.

I was sad to hear that some people were going through a hard time back home in our ward. I know that bad things happen to good people. One thing that I really like from a talk by Elder Holland was when he was talking about when people asked him "Why me? Why do I have to go through this?" He talked about how this life is not and can never be easy, because salvation is not easy. It's not easy, because it was never easy for Him. It cannot be a cheap experience. In order to call ourselves disciples of Christ, we have to experience some minute portion of what it means to go to Gethsemane and suffer with and for Him. While life has its challenges and trials, I also love what Sister Marks' dad says, "ignore the fear, embrace the faith." We don't always know what will happen next, but if we cling to what we know to be true, we can experience peace, even if we don't always have understanding.

This week has been really good. We've been teaching some of the same people and while progress is slow, we've had some really great lessons. Our Bosnian has improved and I translated again for part of Sacrament meeting yesterday, which definitely helps me make faster connections between Bosnian and English. Sister M and I will have to do that more frequently now that Elder S is gone. 

Mom, I love you so much! You are so great and I talk about you all the time to the people we're teaching and our members. They all, especially S, send their love! I hope you have a great week!!

S ljubavlju,

Sestra Orgill

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tuzla, Bosnia November 4, 2013

Hey Mom!
I'm sorry to hear about the Cards... still super fun that they got so close! And I cannot believe that Uncle Dave and Mitchell saw Matt Damon at the game in Boston!! I'm maybe a little bit jealous. They're so good to us and always get us such good tickets. I loved what you said, life goes on despite the loss. On to hockey and Steven's soccer team :) Steven said our Blues are looking pretty good this year, which will be really fun. Also, Steven being one of the fastest and highest goal scorers in St. Louis?! I'm so proud of him! Go Ladue!!
This week has been great! We had some great lessons with our investigators and found 3 new ones while were tracting this week! Fortunately, people are good-natured and patient with our poor Bosnian. Little by little we're making progress! Halloween was a little anticlimatic here. Because the majority of the people here are Muslim, they don't really celebrate it. Even the Catholics were sponsoring a "Holy-ween" night, discouraging people from doing anything associated with Halloween, but instead inviting people to come and worship. We tried to find places with pumpkins for our English class, but we couldn't find a market that sold them. We were a little disappointed, but then one of our younger English students, Igor, who's 13 and is hilarious, brought two to class because he remembered it was Halloween. He is the sweetest! It made us both so happy and reminded us a little bit of our Halloweens back home.

We ended the "term" for English classes last week and are going to start them up again this week. We had a little graduation for all of our classes together on Saturday night, had dinner, presented certificates, and then showed the shorter Joseph Smith movie. A bunch of people stayed after to watch the film, and Elder S got up and bore his testimony about why we're out here and the joy that comes from living the gospel. We also ended up giving out a few Book of Mormons and it was really good. We had the Fs in town this weekend from Kaysville, Utah and they came to church this weekend with the Ws. They bore their testimonies and were so sweet. I think Sister F is going to call you when they get home, Mom. Sacrament meeting was really wonderful! F blessed the water, B led the music for the first time in her new calling, and it was a great testimony meeting. We have a new senior couple here in Tuzla, the Ss. They are replacing the Ws, who are leaving in 3 weeks. They are really excited about missionary work, learning the language and to start teaching. They came to FHE this past Wednesday, taught our members Murder in the Dark and have just jumped right in. We love them already! 

This week is our last week of this transfer, and Sister M and I are both pretty aware that our time together may be winding down. :( We find out on Friday.
We watch Conference talks every morning and I just have grown to really love listening to them while I get ready. They're such a great way to start off the day and it's something that I want to continue doing when I get home. I just watched this one on Saturday night before bed, but I really love Elder Uchtdorf's talk Of Regrets and Resolutions from two conference sessions ago http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/of-regrets-and-resolutions. Mom, while you're doing your makeup or picking out your clothes, you should try playing a Conference talk in the background on the iPad. :)

We need to get going (we're trying to play more sports on P-days as part of our new workout plan), but I'll just end with this scripture, Helaman 3:34-45. Not that this week was particularly trying, but it really struck me when I read it this morning. I know it's true and it's possible for all of us to have that joy and consolation from living the gospel more fully.
Thank you so much for reading my letter to Skillet. He is the sweetest dog in the whole world. I love him so much. Also, thank you for being such a good example-- you strengthen me and make me want to be better. I love you lots! Have a great week!

Love,
Sister Orgill

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tuzla, Bosnia October 28, 2013

Hey Mom! 

I cannot believe that the Cardinals are 2-2! Ahh, know that I'm rooting for them this week all the way from Bosnia! Also, Steven's soccer team! I really hope they beat Kirkwood tomorrow!! Steven said if there were ever a year they could win state, this could be the one! Cheer a little louder for me at his games this week. 

Both you and Steven always sound so busy! I'm so glad that you are both involved in such good things. I hope both of you start feeling better soon! Just take an off day and let your body rest up-- so much better than to drag it out for a week and to just work at half-capacity.

We kind of have themes of the week, but we talked a lot about the tree of life this week and also Alma 49 with our members and investigators. We talked about how we can pray to identify our weaknesses and what we need to be working on now, that will best prepare and strengthen us for the future. W

e went through our Area Book and Sister M randomly decided to call this one woman named Z. We were at lunch and we weren't even calling people at the time, but she just kept thinking about this woman, so she called her and set up an appointment. It was such a great lesson. I feel like we were meant to find them. She has such a sweet little family with 2 younger daughters and a really nice husband. They don't really practice any religion now, but they pray every night and they said they wanted to learn more about God. We showed them the Joseph Smith movie and taught the first lesson about the Book of Mormon and how we can pray to know that it's true. We have another appointment with them this week-- pray for them! 

Another great lesson that we had was with this other family about the Plan of Salvation. The Elders brought us with them to teach since the Grandma just lives with her two grandchildren, while their mom works in Afghanistan. They live about half an hour outside of Tuzla so they have a harder time coming to church, but it was really great meeting them. When we started to teach the lesson the 17 year-old granddaughter just said that she didn't believe in God or anything she couldn't see, nor did she really have time to try experimenting with different religions. I told them about Dad and I can feel him watching over me. I told them that if they shut their eyes, they would know that we were still in the room with them. I told them it was the same thing with our Heavenly Father, that even though our eyes are shut, so we can't see Him, God is there and he is mindful of us. That we are all His children and that He loves us. It completely changed the tone of the lesson, and we talked about the feeling that she felt was from God. It was a great lesson and was such a good reminder that God is always with us.

We have been working hard and our bodies were so exhausted this week. It seems like everyone that could have had a breakdown this week, did! We came up with so many uplifting, "you can do it", lessons this week and we were totally drained by Saturday night. Fortunately, we had daylight savings where we got an extra hour of sleep and we went to bed right after planning, so we ended up getting 10 hours of sleep. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it was such a blessing. We're grateful that we get some time to decompress a little bit today.

Sunday was wonderful. The Gs were in town from Beograd, Serbia and they gave the Sacrament talk and taught Sunday school. Everyone loved them! They're the ones who are in the same home ward as the Rs, who we knew from Malaysia, Mom! She gave me a big hug when I first landed in Zagreb from Sister R (her and her husband are also serving a mission right now too but they correspond often). They are wonderful. Elder G talked about how we're like little kids learning to walk; how we will fall down and then try to wobble around and stand back up, but God is our Father, encouraging and uplifting us every step of the way. He talked about how sometimes it's hard to see that we'll really be able to walk when we keep falling down over and over again, but how we have the ability to one day, spiritually run. He also talked about exercising our faith-- how we can't really expect true results if we read from the Book of Mormon once a month, just like we can't expect to grow physical muscle if we only workout once a month, but it takes continuous and routine exercise to develop spiritual muscle and strength. Sister G talked about desiring to go to the temple and how "yougottawanna." 

ALSO, F got ordained to the office of a priest in Sacrament meeting, he wore a suit, helped pass the Sacrament and he was just glowing. He said he felt so good. It was so wonderful seeing such a drastic transformation in him just from our lesson with him a few weeks ago. The first time I met F he was smoking. He introduced himself to me, I realized he was one of our members, then I grabbed the cigarette out of his mouth and stomped it out with my foot, haha. Now, he says if he ever falls asleep on the couch watching TV, he'll wake up in the middle of the night realizing he forgot to pray before bed and he reads his Book of Mormon everyday. I'm so proud of him!! He's setting such a great example for V and the rest of our members. They're all rooting for each other and are working on going to the temple together next summer. It's so great!

One thing that I loved, was a letter from Sister M's little sister who was talking about service last week. She said something to the effect that often times there are simple acts of kindness that don't really take any effort or hinder us in the least, but we withhold our love because we're too lazy, or because we decide we simply just don't want to. I thought that was so sad, and I've been thinking about that a lot this week and how I can be better at doing simple acts of service for those around me. Her sisiter is only 13, but so wise! I love hearing her pure and simple thoughts that she writes every week to Sister M.

It's not too cold here anymore, it's been really warm these past two weeks, which we're grateful for. Sister M is wearing sandals today, so hopefully we get a few more days like this before the cold sets in again. I don't think I'll need anything, I packed really well for winter :) Also, they have some pretty inexpensive clothing stores, so I'll be good either way. Thank you! 

Love you lots! I hope you have a great week!!!

S ljubavlju,

Sister Orgill