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,