Monday, February 17, 2014

February 17, 2014 Zagreb, Croatia

Hey Mom!

This coming week we have someone from our Area Seventy coming to talk to us. His name is Elder Charles and he's from England. We feel pretty lucky because we get to meet with him 3 different times-- he's doing a fireside in Zagreb, doing Zone Conference here the next day, and then is coming back to Zagreb for church on Sunday and doing a special meeting for all of the members. Really, really neat. We've known he was planning on coming for a while, and I think it will be a really great experience to have him come and talk to us. Somehow I was asked to play the piano while he's here... I have no idea how that happened, but I'm most definitely going to try to get out of that. I am not the person for that job, haha. It will be a great conference and everything that we're doing this week is based around his visit.

So, probably the biggest highlight of this past week was that we committed two of our investigators to live the word of wisdom! One of them has decided to be baptized. It was so exciting. I was so nervous while we were teaching them because they both are such heavy smokers. G, the one who I was worried about has not smoked in 4 days and M, the other one is having a harder time, but he's going to start cutting back from 4 packs a day to 2, then to 1, and just kind of wean himself off of them. We gave him a ton of candy that he can eat instead of smoking cigarettes, and he thought that that would be really good. I'm so proud of both of them! They are stellar and really are the salt of the earth.

So much has happened, I don't even know where to begin... I don't know if I should even try, haha. We just had so many wonderful experiences and just felt really guided by the spirit. I'll share three of the ones that I was really touched by:
1) We were walking to teach M about tithing and we were with a member, and I just kind of stopped. I felt really strongly that we shouldn't teach him about tithing or even bring it up. They said okay, and we went into the lesson, and he was having a really hard day and needed to feel encouraged that he can change his life. He  asked about if the fact that he has depression is a result of his sins. We talked to him for a long time about his feelings and it was not because he had done something wrong. We watched the talk by Elder Holland from this past conference and it was really good for him to hear. Really neat.

2) We had a lesson scheduled yesterday with a young girl who used to be an English student. We found her record in our area book, and an hour before our lesson we were invited to go help out a set of senior sisters to help teach a less active member. There was no reason why we should have rescheduled our lesson to go sit in on another lesson that was pretty far away, but I felt like we should. So, we set up an appointment with the young woman for another time. Apparently the sisters had been having a really hard time getting ahold of this member. Her daughter, who normally translates for them, wasn't able to come, so we walked in, and they were all really struggling to communicate. Something they weren't anticipating. Sister W and I translated between them and it was so great. We read from Mosiah 18 together and it was a really spiritual experience for her. I shared that story that Mike shared when he wasn't reading his scriptures and was in a bad mood, and Tammy asked him something to the effect... "did you read your scriptures today?" "No." "Well, that's why you're in a bad mood!" Our member laughed and said, "that's so true." She said she would come to church next week and would have lunch with us afterwards. So good.

Just a side note about this woman. I am so, so impressed with her. She has no money, and lives in a shelter with her daughter. She goes to a soup kitchen for food and she was one of the happiest people I've ever met. She just laughed and laughed while we were talking. She has saved up money and has gone back to school to be a lawyer and she is just so wonderful. I told her that my mom was a lawyer and that you really loved your job. She wants to see a picture of you, so I'll show her one of us at the baseball game next week when we meet.

3) A lesson with D (another less-active). She really needs a refresher on the importance of keeping our covenants, so that seemed like the natural thing to teach her and we were going to use a talk from the General Relief Society meeting. As we were walking out the door on our way to teach her, I just felt like we should actually grab a different talk, one about happiness called "Beautiful Mornings." We read it together and she just really opened up about everything that she was experiencing (she's 31 and both of her parents have passed away) and how she just wanted to be happy again. We talked to her about happiness and how it's something real and that we can have right now. It was really powerful and she recognized that she needed to come back to church and feel of God's love for her again.

I feel like often times, we have feelings throughout the day that are actually spiritual promptings, but we never will actually know that they're promptings unless we heed them. These ones that I had this week were probably not life-changing or really loud feelings, but they were quiet impressions.  I know that they were given to us to be able to help the people that we're teaching in all the things that they're experiencing right now. 

K and K have been two other really sweet surprises. They keep wanting to meet with us. I think when they realized that we wouldn't meet with them unless they were going to act, then they started to try and experiment on what we were saying. K will randomly say, oh yeah, I'm coming to church on Sunday. Wonderful, wonderful.  We're going to keep working with them.

We need to get going but here are two quotes that I read this week again and I loved, again:
I always think about Elder Uchtdorf when I feel that I'm not taking the time to be with the people I'm around. "Isn’t it true that we often get so busy? And, sad to say, we even wear our busyness as a badge of honor, as though being busy, by itself, was an accomplishment or sign of a superior life. Is it? I think of our Lord and Exemplar, Jesus Christ, and His short life among the people of Galilee and Jerusalem. I have tried to imagine Him bustling between meetings or multitasking to get a list of urgent things accomplished. I can’t see it. Instead I see the compassionate and caring Son of God purposefully living each day. When He interacted with those around Him, they felt important and loved. He knew the infinite value of the people He met. He blessed them, ministered to them. He lifted them up, healed them. He gave them the precious gift of His time." We can get really busy with such silly little tasks out here. This time goes by so quickly and every month I look back and cannot believe another month has gone by. This is something I have to keep working on again and again, but this week I tried to re-focus on taking the time to be in the moment with the people that I'm around. 

Also, I read a talk from conference this week where President George Q. Cannon was quoted. He said, "There is not one of us but what God's love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save. There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given his angels -invisible beings of power and might- charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping."

Mom, I love you. You are my angel. Thank you for all that you do and for your wonderful example. I love you so much and hope you have a wonderful week.

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

                                                               
                                                                                  At the Valentines Day party

                                                                         Sister W and I at the Valentines Day party


Saturday, February 15, 2014

February 10, 2014 Zagreb, Croatia

Hey Mom!

This week was so good. I feel like I say that every week, haha. But that's a good thing, right? Transfers happened so we saw a bunch of the missionaries from around the Balkans, and because Sister H was training she was able to come and stay with us for a night. It was so great seeing her! 

We worked again with two of the people are teaching, D and D, this week, a cute couple who work as doctors and are both inactive and they are doing so well! They need to come back to church. It's just that first Sunday hump that is hard for them. At Correlation Meeting, someone discouraged us from teaching D and D. I was so sad.  I guess I showed it on my face, because Elder K, who was sitting next to me, leaned over, smiled and said "Don't let his lack of faith, tear down yours." I don't know why that was so powerful in that moment, but it immediately made me feel calm and assured.That night we went to a lesson with one of our members and she mentioned that she was in need of a spiritual boost-- the missionary who baptized her, who was always strong in the gospel, now is married and goes to ASU, wrote her a long letter.  He is no longer active in the church. He had read a bunch of stuff in really old talks in the history of the church and he said he didn't know if he believed it was true anymore. It really shook her. I told her that she's not anchored to another person, but that she's anchored in Christ. I told her what Elder K told me and she seemed more comforted than when we started. We went with her to teach our investigator, I,  a lesson about the plan of salvation with the elders and it was perfect. No better healing balm than going out with the missionaries and bearing your testimony with all the power and conviction that you have.

I and A (tattoo artist from Texas) came to church this week and it was such a good experience! Elder C was delaying going back to Sarajevo, so I had him sit with A during sacrament meeting, and they were instantly best buds. I'm so grateful for him. I sat with I and convinced him to stay for Sunday school-- something we've been trying for the past few weeks! In class we talked about the nature of God and he loved it and asked so many questions. He couldn't stay for priesthood, but next week, we'll get him to stay for all three hours :) Church was so good. I love being able to go and take the sacrament every week.

Sister W is doing awesome! She works so hard and is also such a hoot. Sister W shared this talk with me this week that I love. I wish it was translated into Croatian so we could just share it with all of our less actives.http://www.lds.org/liahona/2013/09/young-adults/his-grace-is-sufficient?lang=eng&query=grace
I really like this part: "Too many are giving up on the Church because they are tired of constantly feeling like they are falling short. They have tried in the past, but they continually feel like they are not good enough. They don't understand grace.
There should never be just two options: perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and development take time. Learning takes time. When we understand grace, we understand that God is long-suffering, that change is a process, and that repentance is a pattern in our lives. When we understand grace, we understand that the blessings of Christ’s Atonement are continuous and His strength is perfect in our weakness (see2 Corinthians 12:9). When we understand grace, we can, as it says in the Doctrine and Covenants, “continue in patience until [we] are perfected” (D&C 67:13)." Perfect, right? 

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Love always,

Sister Orgill

P.S. I attached a picture of an example I used when teaching English class this week.


February 3, 2014 Zagreb, Croatia

Hey Mom!

This week was really good. We had transfer calls this week and Sister W and I are staying here in Zagreb together! Sister M is going to Banja Luka, Sister Ms is getting transferred to Osijek Croatia, and Sister H is staying in Sarajevo and is training a new sister. She'll have been in Sarajevo for 8 months by the end of this transfer. She is such a blessing to that city and the people there. Her district is basically all changing, so she's going to be pretty on her own in terms of support from other missionaries, but she is wonderful and is so cut out for it!

President called us during our studies and was like "Oh, I forgot to ask you this last week, but can you come and give a presentation on English classes and advertising today in an hour for the mission leader conference?" Ahh haha. We live about 40 minutes away from his house, so I was just writing things down the whole cab ride. It actually went really well, and it was just in front of a bunch of missionaries.

We had some really good lessons this week:

I is one of our current investigators and he is going to be a leader for the church here one day. We found him out of our area book and he loves us. We called him this week to change the time we were going to go visit him that weekend and he had had a really bad day. He went on and on about the corruption in the system and how bad people can be. He was really angry and shaken up, and didn't want to read or pray. I talked to him about the power of prayer, and those moments when we don't feel like praying are the exact moments where we need to take the time, drop on our knees, and plead to our Heavenly Father to help us. We prayed together over the phone and I bore my testimony as strongly as I could to him about the power, peace and comfort that comes from prayer. The Spirit was really strong and he kept talking about how he feels such positive energy whenever he talks with us. I told him that was from God and it was called the Spirit and that it testifies of truth. I told him that sometimes we have a tendency to separate our church lives with our daily lives, but the scriptures were written for our day, and the tools that we have to get closer to God were given to us to use in our everyday lives. Later in the week we went over to teach him and his wife was sick, so we walked down the street with him to his parents' house and his mom and his cousin sat in on the lesson with us! It was so good and we taught the plan of salvation with J, one of our members. It was so powerful. His cousin wasn't too receptive of it all, and our investigator, I, got really defensive of the church to his cousin and asked him to just question his beliefs just for a minute. It was really powerful. His mom loved it and even though she's a pretty devout Catholic, she wants us to come back and teach her more. 

We had a lesson with another family this weekend, who we'd been having a hard time meeting up with since I got here, and they are so wonderful. They have two daughters and the mom works for the EU and the dad works for some local company. I've been praying to find more of a connection between what I'm studying and how to apply it in the lessons that we teach.  It was the perfect example where I was able to study the introduction parts to the Book of Mormon and the different plates and how they were compiled, and I was able to answer one of her questions that I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. I felt so blessed and so guided. We actually were able to teach them in English and address a lot of their concerns with a senior couple that we have here, the Js. It was so good and we're going back this week.

We had a great day at church yesterday and had 4 investigators end up coming! It was fast Sunday, so it's always kind of luck of the draw with what you're going to hear. One of the investigators I was sitting next to, K, actually dropped us right after Sacrament meeting because of some things that people said. Ahh. It wasn't his time, right? He's older and he kept asking me about the older ladies in the branch, so he kind of had an ulterior motive for being there, anyways haha. The other 3 investigators were so good. I told some of the people we taught this week,who haven't come to church yet that there was absolutely no way they were going to know if this is true unless they come to church and are really willing to experiment in the way that Alma talks about in Alma 32. One man that we have not been able to get to church showed up to church! He loved it, and a bunch of the little kids totally charmed him and kept walking up to him during the meeting. We'll go see him this week. K, an English student was the only one who stayed for all three hours and then for the break-the-fast afterwards. She was a little bit tired afterwards (she kept checking her watch during a pretty intense talk about pornography in RS), but we found out that one of our members lives in her same building and she wants to come on lessons to teach her! So cool. We have given her a Book of Mormon and we have plans to teach her twice this week, before English classes.

Also, we had a lesson with M, the artist, this week and it was so good. Sister W asked if he thought the Book of Mormon was true and he responds, "Of course this book is true. Obviously Joseph Smith was a prophet! These words are clearly from God." Yes, yes they are. Haha. He wasn't feeling well, so he wasn't able to come to church this week, but we'll get him there next time. He has two kids and a really sweet wife. 

A, another investigator, loves the church, the members and the Book of Mormon, but she got really sick this week, so we weren't able to meet with her. Her baptism date is for this Saturday, but we are going to have to move it back so we can finish teaching her the lessons and help her gain a stronger testimony.

Such good lessons, but not enough time to write about them. We got home on Saturday night and we were just so exhausted from the week we had-- there was a lot of traveling all over the city. As we were walking inside our apartment we just kind of looked at each other, and were like "days like the ones we had this week make it all worth it." Sometimes we don't see a ton of immediate success, but really, every door slammed, every laugh in my face, every mocking look, I can take because of the little bit of success that we get from weeks like this week. It really felt like we weren't seeing any fruits from our labors, but as we got more diligent in doing the little things and experienced the joy of missionary work, we found more success.

I love you so much!

Have a great week!!

Sister Orgill


Saturday, February 1, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia January 27, 2014

Hey Mom!

I love hearing about what you're studying (I actually listened to that same talk last week by Elder Oaks and thought about our family) and that you are so motivated to be healthy. When I'm taking care of my body, I feel better, more motivated, and confident. Physical and spiritual nourishment are so important and I know it really contributes to our happiness. Keep it up! 

It snowed a bunch here this week (currently is -3 degrees) so we didn't go running this week, but I decided to work on my eating habits and then in addition to our morning workout, if we were just at lunch or about to go to bed, I do some exercises. 

So, these past few weeks we thought we were off the hook for a cold winter, because we really haven't had that much snow and it hasn't been that cold, but then this week starting on Thursday it just snowed, and snowed, and kept on snowing! For the first few hours it wasn't sticking at all, but then on Friday we ended up shoveling the church with the other missionaries and two members (8 of us total) and it took a few hours. Yikes! It is nothing compared to what I hear is going on in New York and other places in the states, but it still was a shock to wake up to this week. Everything has kind of frozen over right now, but even though I don't love the cold, I love how beautiful and white it is outside. Bittersweet blessings. :)

This week has been really good. We have talked a lot about working harder, but also working smarter. So, just because we're out walking around and making ourselves busy, doesn't mean we're really using our time effectively. We have started using our area book more (just where old missionaries who served here keep records of who they taught in the past with names, addresses and phone numbers) and we found a guy, D, back from 2006 who the missionaries taught for a whole year, but he didn't feel ready to get baptized. We called him up and he met with us this past week and it was such a good lesson. He talked about how he didn't believe in coincidences and that he was meant to meet with us. He obviously has some concerns, but it was so good meeting with him and he wants to keep meeting with us. He is so prepared! 

We also have started to try to use the English database that I made for the mission more regularly and we only made 10 phone calls from it this week and we asked them all if they wanted to learn more about the church, and 2 of them agreed to lessons this week. Such a higher success rate in contrast to tracting or contacting (where if a 100 doors are knocked on, 1 person lets you in). We have like 150 people we need to call, so I'll see if that ratio holds up. That would be wonderful. We'd have more investigators than we'd really know what to do with! 

Da, one of our members, had a going away party for his mission this week at the church. There were a bunch of investigators there and it was such a good activity. Everyone in the branch is so proud of him and he will be such a great missionary!

We had some really great lessons this week, and more of our focus is shifting to working with our less-actives. I cannot believe how many we have! So many of them were the pioneers for the church here and then fell away. I have thought a lot about Oliver Cowdery and the other early pioneers of the church who also fell away. Unfortunately, a lot of people here have fallen away for a comment someone made, because they didn't keep exercising their faith. President Rowe talks a lot about building the faith of those around us and how we can help people to be more deeply rooted in the gospel, so that's one thing that we always think about before we go into a lesson. Will their interaction with us help them to build their faith and help them feel the spirit? I've started to think about that in terms of all my relationships with members, other missionaries and my companion-- will their time with me help to build their faith and strengthen them? It's been so good for me to think about and I'm trying to be more proactive about doing that in every situation.

Yesterday in Relief Society we had a lesson about the importance of forgiveness. R, a university student here, taught about how it's important to let go of any pain, anger or frustration we may currently be feeling towards another person, because that hurt ends up just eating away at us over time. I thought about how it has taken me a long time to forgive that one girl who was really mean to me when dad was sick and when I was in high school in France. Just before he passed away, she found out that he was sick and she told me she felt awful for being so mean. Still, for a long time after that, l felt so angry at her and I held onto a lot of that frustration. I love the example of Nephi in the scriptures, after his brothers have bound him up, abused him, and mocked him relentlessly, after they ended up releasing him, it says that "Nephi frankly forgave." Such a good example to me! I think that we can still remember those experiences that we went through, but, like Alma the younger felt after he repented, we are "no longer harrowed up" by the remembrance of them. I have come to know that forgiveness is a form of repentance-- that we actually change a part of ourselves in the process and come closer to God through that experience. We let God take our burdens and pain that we may be carrying around and we choose happiness and relief.

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

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia January 20, 2014

Hey Mom!

I'm glad you guys had a good week! Everything is great out here.

Zagreb is great! I really can't tell you how much I love being here. A little bit of a slower week in terms of lessons and new investigators, but we kept trucking on and it was such a blessing at the end of the week when we actually had a bunch of our investigators come to church on Sunday! I didn't even know how to divide my attention! We're working on having the members develop relationships with our investigators at church and just being more proactive about making people feel welcome and comfortable staying all three hours. It was a great meeting; we had a missionary farewell, a member named D is going to MTC on Friday and he's going to serve a mission in Albania! How cool! He is stellar and was the Elders Quorum President in the branch here. After his talk our branch president asked all the full-time missionaries to come up and sing Called to Serve as the closing song on the stand. It was really powerful and I really feel that a lot of the members here are starting to catch the vision for missionary work!

I love how you're working on being more diligent in every aspect of your life (exercise, scripture study, prayer). That really has been the attribute that I've been working on as well these past few weeks as well. Diligence is the key to our success-- in our personal goals, our relationships, in our testimonies, at work, etc. Even in my scripture study I keep noticing the word "diligence" in the scriptures and I'm like, "Okay, I get it already!" Haha. I'm working on being more diligent about being diligent. :)

We were on the tram this week on our way to go visit a less-active member and at one of the stops I was looking out the windows at some people around my age, one was smoking a cigarette, one was periodically checking his phone, I think to see if anyone had texted or called, and another one just stood there with kind of a blank look. I had eye contact with all of them and their eyes all just looked so sad. It broke my heart. I wanted to jump off the tram and just hug all of them and tell them that it's going to be okay. I think that's how Heavenly Father feels about us when we're sad or lonely. We came to the church after our lesson and we watched this video: http://mormon.org.nz/ryanwatts. I know that our families can be together forever. :) It made me feel so happy and warm, and I know that so many people are just trying to find a way to be happy in this life. I wish everyone would just talk with us, so that they can see that this is the way to be truly happy. We don't have to do it on our own. When we live true principles, we have God's promise of lasting happiness and peace even in the face of tribulation.

I love you so much, Mom. You are my hero. Have such a great week!

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia January 13, 2014

Hey Mom!

I'm so glad that you guys got snow this week! That makes it really nice for Steven and Jen Jen :) I'm glad that you got to soak them up. That was so sweet of you to think of R, I know she appreciated you thinking of her. I think those simple acts of kindness are so important-- they really don't take that much effort and are so wonderful because they mean so much to the person that we're serving. Sister Marks and Sister Walker when they were here together were so good about making cookies for people or anonymously dropping off a bag of groceries for someone who they knew was going through a hard time.

I'm loving being here. Zagreb is gorgeous, serving with Sister W is great and we have so many members and other missionaries around, which makes it really fun for the work. Working with members is something I've never had the chance to do before! We always try to bring them on lessons with us.  When I was in Saint Louis, I never remembered having the missionaries ask us if we could go on lessons with them. I love it and it's definitely something I want to do when I'm back in the states-- as a member you just bear your testimony and you just teach people what you know about the gospel with the missionaries. Have they passed around a sign-up sheet or anything for members in the ward to go on lessons with them? I wonder if Steven would be interested in going out with the elders one Saturday morning and teaching a lesson or two. I know that would have been such good mission prep for me before and is definitely something I would seek out if I could do it all over again.

This week we had Zone Conference in Zagreb which was really, really good. President Rowe called me up to do a role-play with him in front of the zone and he played a really tough investigator and I was the only missionary teaching him. Haha, oh my intimidating. It actually went pretty well and also was a good learning experience. :) Also, this made me feel pretty good, our branch president here asked me to get up and speak on Sunday right before church started (ahhhh! I'm still working on just loving being put on the spot to teach a last minute RS lesson or speaking in church in a foreign language by the time I leave here...) and I got up, and I really just felt so blessed and capable in the language. After the meeting a lot of people came up and complimented me on how well I speak, which just made me feel really good. I think it kind of scared me a few months ago when I realized that a lot of people who serve here, if they don't work at learning the language out here, can go home without ever really learning it (sadly, we've had a few people like that recently). I just always kind of expected it to come really easily and naturally to all missionaries in the world. Since that point, I decided that I just wanted to speak as well as I possibly can. I've been more diligent about studying it these past few weeks, so I've felt a noticeable increase in how well I'm able to speak. Yay for goals! 

For P-day today we organized this big ultimate frisbee game behind the church. We invited missionaries from different cities to come play with us and one of our investigators and his friends to come too,  We woke up this morning so excited for it. Exercising really helps us decompress and it will be really great to just run around and let loose instead of just running errands, like we normally do. Mom, I'm so proud of you for exercising! It just makes you feel so good! 

This week we fell out of contact with a lot of people-- whether they just didn't show up for lessons, their phones are shut off (that happens a lot because they don't have money), or they say they aren't interested in meeting with us anymore,. We had something like 25 lessons planned for this week and only ended up getting 7! If that tells you anything. Fortunately, even last night when we realized how low our numbers were this week, we were just so happy. It was so, so cool. We couldn't stop smiling and laughing. I know that feeling of inner peace and happiness comes from working hard and from doing the things we know we're supposed to be doing. Being obedient to those little and simple things, like you were talking about Mom, make the difference in our daily lives.

In two of our lessons this week we shared a scripture in Alma 37:46-47 which I have loved, maybe mostly because it was a scripture that I really needed to learn in my personal study. This is Alma talking to his son, Helaman: "O my son, do not let us be slothful because of the easiness of the way, for so was it with our fathers; for so was it prepared for them, that if they would look they might live; even so it is with us. The way is prepared, and if we will look we may live forever. And now, my son, see that ye take care of these sacred things, yea, see that ye look to God and live. Go unto this people and declare the word, and be sober. My son, farewell." I heard this yesterday from the mission president, President Hill, who served before President Rowe. He asked the missionaries in a mission conference to stop reading their scriptures and to actually start knowing and living the scriptures. Perfect, perfect.

I love you guys so much, you mean the world to me! Have such a good week and give the freshly-bathed Skip-monster a hug for me :)

Love you!

Sister Orgill



On Mon, Jan 13, 20

Zagreb, Croatia January 6, 2014

Hi Mom!

This week has been great! Zagreb is so big, there are a bunch of members, and there's a lot of work to do. We have about 40-50 people who come to church every week, but we have about 300 members on the branch roster. Some on the roster have passed away, but most are just inactive members. It's crazy! There is not enough time every week to get everything done that I want to... if we could just work on reactivation that would be one thing, but we also have a bunch of investigators and members that we're working with, as well.

My companion, Sister W is awesome! She's from Tucson Arizona, is such a good cook, which would normally make me really nervous, but she is also whipping me into shape. She makes us get up early (almost) everyday to go running and I lost 2 pounds within the first 3 days of being here! Haha. She's only been out in the field for 7 weeks, but she is SO much better at the language than I was when I was there. I do a lot of the talking in lessons, but we're going to try to practice speaking Croatian with each other in our in-between time, something she's not looking forward to haha, but we'll both learn a lot! It's her 20th birthday this week, so I'm trying to plan for some fun lessons and treats that we can have throughout the day.

New Years celebrations kind of slowed us down a little bit, but for our New Years celebration we ate some chocolate, went contacting, finished up some English stuff at the office, and went to be at 10 :) What did you guys end up doing to celebrate? Any Martinelli's this year?

One of my favorite lessons from this week was with a man named Ig. We read from Alma 36 with him and talked about how we don't need to fear meeting God, but how we can look forward to that day, because we can truly be free from anything we've ever done through sincere repentance. He came to church the next day and really loved testimony meeting! He promised he would read and pray every day this week and we're going to meet with him twice this week. He received all the lessons a while back, but we're planning on re-teaching him and I feel like we're just going to need to be really patient with him to help him progress.

One thing that I think we really need to work on more is more unity with the missionaries and the members here. We met with one of our members last night and she talked about how there are two groups in the branch: missionaries and members. We were really united in my past two areas. I think, but it made a big difference. There is power that comes from just being more united in goal and purpose with the people that you're working with.

I feel so blessed to be a missionary and to be serving with Sister W. When I first found out I was being transferred, I prayed really hard to love it here and to not miss Sarajevo, and I fell in love with Zagreb and the people on my first day. One thing that I also really love about being a missionary, is because we made ourselves busy with the work, you don't have time to think about yourself. This time is not about me, so my personal problems and concerns don't matter.

I have loved studying in Alma this week. I love thinking about his example of a powerful missionary, through wearying the Lord in prayer and pouring out his whole heart and his whole soul in the work. When he was at a crossroads and didn't know what to do, he immediately turned to God and poured out his thoughts to the Lord in prayer. I want to be such a great missionary. Someone that others can rely on, in good and bad times, because I'm anchored in Christ and because of my strength in the gospel. When I was in the MTC, one of my teachers said this quote and I think about it periodically: "Live your life in such a way that those who know you, will want to know Christ, because they know you." I love that :)

It was so great seeing you on Christmas! I love you so much and I hope you have a great week! Drink an extra cup of hot chocolate for me with all this snow that you guys are getting :)

S ljubavlju uvijek,

Sister Orgill