Thursday, March 20, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia March 3, 2014


This week we had exchanges with Karlovac, so I got to go there again and spend some time with Sister E, a really wonderful missionary. Sister C (a sister who I actually had an English class with at BYU) came down here and served with Sister W. It was so much fun. While I was in Karlovac we met this PERFECT family. They used to live in Washington D.C. and they have one son who's 22 and then a daughter who's 15. They speak perfect English and are so funny. They made us palаčinke (crepes) and it was so much fun. We talked a lot about God and how we are all God's children. It was a slow moving lesson, but we just talked pretty in-depth with them IN ENGLISH! I often think that's why I was called to serve, speaking in a foreign language, so that I would be forced to teach simply. Whenever we get a chance to teach in English we get so much more over-complicated than we really need to be. I'm really excited to hear what happens with them.

One of my favorite lessons this week was with one of our members, Suzana. She is such a pure spirit. She works as a cleaning lady, is the only member in her family, she has had breast cancer twice, is married to one of the sweetest men I've ever met, has very little money, has 3 sons, and she is ALWAYS laughing. She talked to us a lot about how money does not buy happiness and how she was a testament of that. She has very few material possessions, but she says she has everything she could ever want, and she truly means it. She is in her 50s and is also one of the best cooks. She made us a lunch on Saturday (with the amount of food comparable to a full-fledged Thanksgiving meal), from things she had grown in her garden, and we practiced teaching a lesson about the law of chastity with her. We ended up talking about the importance of families with her and how there are blessings of protection and happiness when we keep this commandment. She broke down and started talking about how her husband didn't believe in God, but how he was one of the best men that she's ever met. They are so in love and are so cute together. We encouraged her to not give up on him and to share her testimony with him. He loves us and all that we represent. I am confident that he will accept the gospel in this life or the next. Their youngest son is 17 years old and he is so kind and funny. Every Saturday he goes by himself to spend time with his grandmother who lives down the road. He's such a good kid. I really hope they can all go to the temple together some day. Suzana got up on Fast Sunday and told the congregation about our lesson on Saturday and how she knows that families are sacred, pure and of God. She talked about her husband and how she wants to be with him for forever and how she wouldn't give up on him. It was so moving. She blows me away.

I am sharing a portion of Sister H's e-mail from this past week with you, because it was so powerful:

"All this week I've felt really strengthened in my understanding of the Abrahamic Covenant. I don't think we give enough weight and thought to this in the Church, but it should be at the root and heart of every Latter-Day Saint, and especially every missionary. We have to understand that God is a god of covenants- that the Lord's people are a covenant people, and that those covenants are necessary for salvation and exaltation, and they necessitate the Priesthood. We have to understand that the Lord scattered Israel, and that He has indeed spoken to his children across the world- but that it doesn't end there. We must realize that those portions of truth given to nations across the world are preparatory to a higher law, manifest in the ordinances of the Priesthood and revealed in modern days through the prophet Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon should be engrained in our souls not only as a testimony of Jesus Christ, but as the foreordained instrument of bringing to pass the gathering of Israel, the restoration of nations to the Lords Priesthood power, and the preparation of the world for the Saviors coming. We have to grasp what it means to be a part of the line of Abraham, and how we are grafted into the house of Israel through baptism. We have to feel the necessity and joy of the Lords invitation to renew the Abraham Covenant with each of us individually first through ordinances of salvation such as baptism, and ultimately through ordinances of exaltation such as the endowment and eternal marriage. We must internalize our responsibility as Abraham's posterity to bless all nations- to share the Gospel and to participate in the gathering of the Lords elect. We should rejoice in Gods great plan of redemption- mortal redemption of the House of Israel, and everlasting redemption through the Atoning power of Christs sacrifice and our individual commitment to follow Him.

I have a testimony of the Abrahamic Covenant. I don't fully understand it, but I know that it is central to my purpose as a missionary, and to our joy and responsibility as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I know that God lives, and that Christ is our Savior. I know that the Book of Mormon is true, and was translated by the power of God through His servant Joseph Smith, who restored the fulness of the Gospel to the Earth. I would add my voice to those who have come before me-- I feel the testimony of this truth "like fire in my bones" and I know that this work is God's work. How blessed we are to have the Gospel! May we ever cherish it and renew our understanding of Gods perfect love and plan for us, and our commitment to Him through covenants, and may we with courage and confidence go forth to bless all those around us with greater understanding of Gods love for them. "

She's incredible, huh? I miss her and hope we get lucky enough to serve together again. I know this is the Lord's work and that this is where I'm meant to be right now. I've never been more sure of anything in my life.

I love you! I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Orgill

Ouc church building in Zagreb

Funny dog at Suzana's home
In Karlovac by the river with Sister Erbe

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