Sunday, August 31, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia August 25, 2014

Hey Mom,


This week was crazy for me, as well. We had six sisters staying in Zagreb this week who I had to keep busy, make sure they knew how to get around the city, and schedule in their doctors appointments, and various other meetings. There was a lot of splitting companionships and planning that went into it and at the end of the week when everyone left I just passed out and slept so well! We had the Return and Report meeting all day on Wednesday for the new missionaries, as kind of a follow-up to see how their first few weeks in the mission field was going. Then I had leadership council on Friday, and I went to that with a sister from Tuzla, Sister C (who goes home this next transfer and is such a wonderful missionary). It was really great. Sunday was the perfect end to the week. I love going to church at the end of a long week. The Jeppsons, this really amazing senior couple gave their farewell address at church along with Sister Sare. It was so sad saying goodbye to all of them. I couldn't help myself from crying, even though I know I'll see them again in just a few months.

This week we are working in both Zadar and Zagreb as a trio companionship, and we're also stopping in Rijeka for an exchange. None of all these cities are very close to each other. We were anticipating having a car to get around, but late yesterday afternoon we found out that we wouldn't be able to use one until Wednesday, so we got on a bus within an hour of figuring out that information, and didn't get into Zadar until late last night. But, we are here now, well rested, and had a chance to walk through the city center, hang out by the sea on the sea organ and eat ice cream. It's been a really nice, relaxing preparation day.

I feel that whenever I feel like taking a break and taking it easy, some situation comes up and I just either have to step up and handle it, or it won't get figured out. While I would really love being isolated in the edge of the mission, in a quiet city, and without a busy phone, I think maybe the Lord knows that I need to be pushed. I think he knows we all need to be pushed to our limits in order to really grow. I really know that when I am sleep-deprived, hungry, worked to the bone, my true nature comes out. I can see if I'm going to turn inward and focus on myself or keep trying to turn outward and serve others. It's been a blessing to be able to see how the Lord has slowly been refining me through growing experiences on my mission and in my life. 

I had a great interview with President Grant this week. While we don't have transfer calls for another few weeks, he told me that he thinks that I'm staying in Zagreb for my last transfer. That would make 11 months here! There are visa issues to consider when being transferred to a different country, so maybe I will be training in Zagreb again. I would love to go see Serbia or Montenegro, but I also love the members and our investigators here in Zagreb so much, that I think I will be happt either way. I know the Lord knows what I need better than I do.

Love always,

Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia August 16, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia August 11, 2014

Hey Mom,
 
We had a great week again! I cannot believe another week has flown by! We started off the week and we taught at Zone Conference with the zone leaders. I'm used to teaching the missionaries at Zone Conference, so I wasn't too nervous.  It was the first time for Sister B. She did such a great job! We prepared a lot for it, and it all came together really well. She said she didn't feel adequate teaching seasoned missionaries about how they could be better when she was so new, and I told her to just share the things that she had experienced and that she knew to be true. She bore a great testimony of finding! She shared this quote from President Benson in Preach My Gospel which I love, "We are commanded by God to take this gospel to all the world. That is the cause that must unite us today. Only the gospel will save the world from the calamity of its own self-destruction. Only the gospel will unite men of all races and nationalities in peace. Only the gospel will bring joy, happiness, and salvationto the human family."
 
We tracted a huge building last night. We were trying different approaches, but we weren't having any luck. I taught Sister Bradley a new phrase about the Book of Mormon, and she was a little nervous to try out a new phrase since she had mainly been sticking to one that I taught her when she first got here. Within a minute of practice, the very first door she tried out her new phrase. The woman invited us in for cake! We said we would love to come in and just have water, but she insisted on feeding us. She believes in God, but is just not a fan of churches. I completely understand that, and I think I would be the same way if I had grown up here. I think there is some great potential with her! We also met this really great guy in the same building who works as a sailor. He invited us in, but we couldn't go inside because he lives alone. He said he would love to meet up and talk some more, so we got his number and gave it to the elders. It was great!
 
I agree with what you said about compliments. We all just really need to build each other up more! We were doing companionship study two weeks ago, and I was talking about some things that I wanted and needed to work on. Sister Bradley turns to me and she says, "you are seriously perfect. You do this well, this well, that well, you always look great, you speak Croatian fluently (not true), etc. etc." She then said, you do everything so well and then there's me and I'm not good at any of these missionary things. I just shook my head and told her how impressed I was with her, and how wonderfully she was doing. I told her that I couldn't believe how much progress in the language she had made and in her confidence in teaching and in lessons. I realized that we had admired the skills and abilities of one another, and had failed to tell each other how great we really believed each other to be! I made more of a conscious effort this week to build her up and when I was mentally impressed with something she did, I made an effort to verbalize it. 

President Grant wants all these trainees that just came out a few weeks ago to be ready to train by the end of this 9 weeks, so this week, I gave Sister B the phone, the map, and the lead in all of our lessons. At the thought of it, she was completely overwhelmed! But every day she did it. We made it through this whole week with her guiding us where we needed to go, taking more of an active role in the what we were teaching, and her answering phone calls in Croatian! She is doing so great and is visibly more confident in the work we do and the things she says.
 
We fly out of Zagreb on November 25 in the morning, so I think I'll fly into St. Louis that night probably around 9 or 10. Right before Thanksgiving! I think you're going to get an e-mail in the next few weeks from the office about my travel plans. :)
 
We're going to the Zoo again so Sister B can see it. I love you lots and I hope you have a great week!!
 
Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia August 4, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia July 28, 2014

Hey Mom!
It was so great talking with you last week! Training is going really well! We have hit our Area Book (where past missionaries make notes of all their missionary contacts-- ours goes back to the early 2000s) and were able to set up a few lessons from that for this coming week, and in addition to that we found 3 great new investigators this week! Talking on the tram, from English class and from our Area Book. Woot woot! Everyone that we found was really open and really willing to take the lessons. A huge miracle of this week!
My trainee is Sister B! She is from Helper, Utah, she's 20 years old, she's really interested in geology, anime, and speaking in Shakespearean English. We get a long really well. She is a sweetheart! She works hard and is patient with me, for which I'm incredibly grateful. She was called up on the spot to bear her testimony in Croatian in church on Sunday and she just nailed it. I felt like a proud little mama, because we had been working on grammar and speaking in Croatian all this week and she was so composed even though she was nervous. Talking to people on the tram about the church, answering phone calls, or contacting people about English class isn't scary for me, but I forgot how scared I was when I first got here. It's a challenge for someone who is new and who doesn't know the language, so we're working on helping her face those fears. I think I'll be leaving Zagreb at the end of this transfer, because we have so many young missionaries coming in these next two transfers. President Grant said that these new missionaries will need to be ready to train either in 8 weeks or next transfer. Yikes! I know I wouldn't have been ready to train my first few weeks in, but I really think she'll be ready, she's already doing such a great job.
This week we have leadership council and it's going to be an extended meeting, so everyone is staying the night at the mission home and it's going to last for about a full day all together. I don't really know what it will be like, but the crazy thing is that I'm going to the meeting with another sister who goes home in September, and then her companion and Sister B will be together for a full day and Sister B will have to show her around and take her to all of our lessons. So I'm constantly quizzing her on how to get around the city, which trams to take, names of members, verbs, etc. etc. It's rushed, but she'll get it.
Our miracle this week was just having all these really wonderful people come out of the woodwork. Sister Erbe and I really had had a hard time finding new people to teach, and then all of a sudden this week, it seemed like everyone wanted to talk and meet up with us-- the guy in a kebab restaurant, a woman at the tram stop, another guy on the tram who had overheard us talking to someone else and comes out and says, "if I were to join any church it really would be yours!" I don't even know why it happened that way, but we ended up having to give two of our lessons away to the Elders because we couldn't make it to all the things we had going on this week. I've felt so grateful this past week for everything that I have and for how blessed I feel as a missionary. I love Zagreb so much and it is just insane to me that in a few weeks, I'll be getting on the plane again with the same people that I came here with and I know I'll just look at them and just say, "Did that really all just happen? Was that real life?" I know it will feel like a dream. :/

I'm going to give Sister Br a tour of center today, so we're going to get going, but I love you lots and hope you have a great week!!
Love always,
Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia July 14, 2014

Hey Mom,
 
I'm doing great! It is so weird to think about how quickly the time goes by. We are at the week-mark countdown until Sister Erbe goes home. Haha, she's so excited! We bought pounds of chocolate this morning for her to bring home to her family. I'm really going to miss her. She's a wonderful companion and such a powerful missionary. In my interview when President Grant told me that I would most likely be training next week, all I could say was, "Please. No." He laughed. Training is so hard. Most people say that being a missionary teaches you how to be a good spouse, I really think it teaches you how to be a good parent. You are put with someone who you did not choose to be with, someone who has their own predispositions, habits, and tendencies and because they're new and in a brand new environment, they get scared, and you have to really do a lot of uplifting, a lot of serving, encouraging, pep talks, a lot of patience, wiping their tears, you do most of the teaching and speaking in lessons, contacting, tracting, etc. etc. Haha ahh, growing experiences are great :)
 
I've been thinking a lot, I think mostly because Sister Erbe goes home so soon, about how we are constantly being influenced and influencing others around us. We listened to a talk this week by Sheri Dew and she talks about the importance of monitoring where we're getting our information from. Which sources are we receiving the majority of our daily information from? Whether we're aware of it or not, we're being influenced all the time. She gave this example from her own life-- she loves watching the news, so typically when she's getting ready in the morning she listens to political pundits battling back and forth. She had a thought one day "you have the tv on too much." She said, the kind of tv she was watching, wasn't bad or on the line by any means. She thought it was an interesting thought, and then that Sunday in church she was listening to some of her young women talk about how they listened to a Conference talk every day in preparation for the next General Conference. She said that she resolved to listen to a Conference talk or 2 every morning while she was getting ready. She testified of the shift and the change that came into her life, by modifying something so minimal-- she felt strengthened and more spiritually uplifted every day. I thought that was so interesting and I've been reflecting on the sources that I used to get my information from-- tv shows, Facebook, TED talks, the news, and minimally in comparison, the scriptures. None of those are inherently bad, but they were simply not the best influencers in my life. The talk is called 4 Things That Will Wreck Your Life and 4 Things That Will Save It. I think you have to buy it if you want to listen to it, becauase it was done through Deseret Book. Still, so good.
 
Thanks for sharing your spiritual thoughts too, Mom. I love hearing those and sharing those with the people we're teaching!
 
I love you lots! Hope you have a great week :)
 
Sister Orgill

Zabreb, Croatia July 7, 2014

Hey Mom,

So, we're going to Lake Bled and Ljubljana today! The Russells, the senior couple in Karlovac asked President Grant if they could take us and the Karlovac sisters (since both Sisters Erbe and Krump are going home soon) up there for the day and he said yes! We're really excited.

President Rowe left on Tuesday morning! For P-day we played a huge game of basketball at his house and it was so much fun. President Oštarčević, the first counselor in the mission presidency, and a former scout for the NY Knicks was there and he had us all running drills and training us. Haha. It was pretty cool. Sister Rowe had ordered a ton of pizza afterward, we took lots of pictures, and said tearful goodbyes. President Grant is here and we had Zone Conference and interviews in Zagreb this week. Everyone loved the Rowes so much, but I know that President and Sister Grant will really do a great job here and everyone will grow to love them too. 

This week went by too quickly I don't even know where the time went. We had a great lesson with a less-active this week and we brought one of our members to come and teach her. It was so good, and she even end up coming to church!

We are still working with J's son, T. We taught him the gospel of Jesus Christ this week and he gives the best answers and prayers. He is such a great kid. J did such a wonderful job raising him. Him and his brother, Seb, 6, give the greatest answers in Primary. I helped teach Primary yesterday with Sister Hobbs, a senior sister.I have so much respect for the people who are called to work in primary. At the endnd of the lesson, I asked the children one thing they had all learned about Christ and all of their answers were something like, “He was good.” “He was kind..” Seb says, “I know that Christ lives, and I know that if we pray to Him than He can help us to do anything that is good.” Wisdom from the mouth of a 6 year old. His mom J has come to church every Sunday for the past month and yesterday she got up and bore her testimony. She brought her Spanish Book of Mormon and was highlighting and reading along during all the meetings. She is such a cutie.

I really liked what you shared about M. I will print off that talk and share what you said with him. I think that will be really nice for him to hear that other people are rooting him on. He needs to believe more in himself. 

Sister Erbe is going to Rijeka and Sister Peterson is coming here tomorrow, so we're going to go teach him together.

While we were on the tram this week, I started talking to this man who was from Indonesia! He and his family were going to the Indonesian embassy for the elections. I practiced what little Bahasa I was able to remember and I told him about Mike. Him and his family were so nice and we ended up talking the whole tram ride. He told me I really needed to practice my Bahasa and that Mike should help me, haha. 

We had more great lessons that we don't have time to write about right now, but it was a great week! We are working hard and I think that's why we're so tired. President Rowe says that when we get off the plane that our families should pick us up on stretchers, because we've really given it everything we have. So, be ready with the stretcher in a few months ;) 

 
Love,
 
Sister Orgill

Zagreb, Croatia June 30, 2014

Hey Mom,
 
The Rowes have been wonderful. Leadership council on Thursday was one of the most powerful meetings I've ever been in. It was just President Rowe teaching us for hours and then we had a testimony meeting. You can just feel his goodness when you're around him and he makes you want to be better because he's filled with so much light and hope. On Sunday it was their last day in church and their kids got up and bore the sweetest testimonies. More tears from the congregation and so many less-active members who rarely ever come, came and talked to us afterwards about how the Rowes changed their lives. Last week we hit our goal of 500 people at church across the mission! It was around 300 when President Rowe came here. So exciting!
 
Sister Rowe was talking about how when they were in Belgium, they had just settled there, and the kids really loved the school and they were making good friends. When they got their mission call and they had to tell their kids (ages 16, 15, 9, 5 and 5)  that they were moving back to this part of the world; they told all of them separately, and both of the boys (15 and 16)  had the same reaction. They just put their heads in their hands and cried. A few days later, Sister Rowe said the kids agreed and said that they would do it if this is where the Lord wanted them to be. A month or two later, their oldest son was asking questions and said, "Mom, I don't know if I can wake up at 6:30 every day and then do 2 more years of 6:30 every day on my own mission." She said she started laughing, and said "You agreed to come on this mission thinking that you'd have to keep all the rules of a missionary?" He said, "Well, yeah..." What great faith, huh? Her kids really are the greatest. I had no idea it would be such a sacrifice for their family, but they never ever let it show.
 
I really liked in President Rowe's talk on Sunday, he spoke about how repentance is hard, but how often times forgiveness is even harder. He spoke about an experience he had a few years ago where he was really offended by something someone did to him. That night he said he knelt down in prayer and prayed to Heavenly Father to bless that person and to help them repent. He said he felt like he was being a good man because he was praying for the person who had hurt him. He said, all of a sudden he felt like a big stick just came and wacked him in the head. The feeling that came over him he said was one that he said he'd never forget. He said in his mind he heard "I have forgiven you for things much, much greater than this, and you're having trouble forgiving them?" He said we must always, always, always forgive. He said when we truly forgive people, we are healed. We often say, I'll forgive, but I won't forget. He talked about imagining what if God did that with us? "Of course I forgave you for all the stupid things you've done, but everytime I see you, I'm going to remember what stupid things you did and make sure you know I remember it." Haha. He said we have to leave the judgment up to God. That we feel the weight of carrying hard things around with us, and they ultimately just negatively affect us, not the other person. He testified of the power of forgiving and how when we give our pains and troubles over to God, then we allow God to be a God of miracles for us, and we allow Him to really change us. I wish I could put into words how much I love his family. They all truly live what they preach. They don't really watch TV or know how to work Facebook, they just play, cook, laugh and love each other. You feel so safe in their home. He said, "If I lost everything in the world, and all I had was my family, I could never complain."
 
We're going to play basketball with him for our last time today, even though it's pouring rain. It will be really fun. We are also so excited for President and Sister Grant to come! We can already feel their energy through their e-mails. He is planning on touring the whole mission, being in a new city everyday for the next 3 weeks. I literally get worn out driving to and from another city in Croatia for an exchange... They'll be great!
 
This week was really wonderful! M is still working on quitting smoking, and he is down to 2 cigarettes a day, but is having a hard time giving that last little bit up. We decided we're going to actually participate in the 12 week program with him. We need to think about what our addictions might be out here on our mission and then quit them? I don't know, haha. I think ours are probably going to be related to going to the local bakeries here. The missionaries have been working with him for 9 months! He'll get there and he still really wants to be baptized. He's so smart and he understands so much of what we teach him, better than a lot of our members do.
 
We met with 2 less actives, who I hadn't met in my whole 7 months in Zagreb, for the first time this week! It was a huge success! Perseverance brings forth blessings We had two wonderful lessons with the one and the other one we're going to see next week. Also, J, another less-active member, agreed to let us start teaching her 10-year old son, T, the lessons. We had one great lesson with him and the family. It is pretty different teaching kids. And they came to church on Sunday! Wonderful, wonderful.
 
We need to get going, but thanks for your e-mail and that part from Elder Holland. It just resonated in me that it's true! There's a quote on our wall in our apartment from a talk of his that I really love called Cast Not Away Therefore Thy Confidence: “Don’t let your guard down. Don’t assume that a great revelation, some marvelous illuminating moment, or the opening of an inspired path is the end of it. Remember, it isn’t over until it’s over."  http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=795
 
I love you a lot and hope that you got home safely! Have a great week :)
 
Love,
 
Sister Orgill
 

Zagreb, Croatia June 23, 2014

Hey Mom,
 
We've had a good week. I went to Zadar, this really beautiful city on the coast, this week for an exchange. I was with our only German sister in the mission, Sister Konietz, and it was really fun working with her. I kept having her teach me funny German phrases. We met a wonderful potential investigator while we were talking to people on the street, and we were able to have a really powerful lesson with a member there. We also got lost on our way to Zadar (the GPS mixed up two cities) which tacked on a few extra HOURS of driving onto our trip. Yuck. 

I really love other cities, but there is something about being back in Zagreb that just feels so great. I love all the members and the other people that we get to work with. We're having a car wash this week with everyone, and that will be a fun service/finding activity to do with them. So many of them are really involved in missionary work-- they know the names of our investigators, come on lessons with us on a weekly basis, and are really invested in strengthening the branch here.
 
President Rowe and his family go home a week from today. We have our last leadership meeting with him on Thursday which I'm sure will be really special. He has truly changed my life. It is so crazy that his full-time mission is over. Sister E only has 4 weeks left, so we're working on helping her endure to the end, haha. She is such a marvelous missionary.
 
We're going to Trakošćan today for our preparation day with all the elders. It's about an hour away, but we hear it's one of the prettiest castles in Croatia, so we're excited.
 
We need to get going to the office.

I love you lots and hope that you havea  great week!
 
Ajde Hrvatska!! (Go Croatia!!)
 
Сестра Оргил

Zagreb, Croatia June 16, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia June 9, 2014

Hey Mom,

This week was great! We have had a lot of things happening. First of all, due to some mission illnesses, Sister Erbe is in Novi Sad, Serbia this whole week and she won't get back here until Friday or Saturday. I'm serving with Sisters Matthews and Sare right now who both work in the office, and I go out with members, the Karlovac sisters, and the senior couples during the day to teach, translate and find. It's a little bit different, but fun. The members love being able to go out and work and see what it's like being a missionary. One member that I'm going out with this week has said she's free to go out all day with me-- so, we're meeting at 10 and she'll be working with me until 9. I hope it doesn't wear her out.

As a mission we're trying to get 500 people at church and this week we got 491. We worked so hard going all over Zagreb visiting less-active members this week and we met some really great people. The area seventy has designated this month as the month of invitations, which means we're encouraging all of our members to invite someone that they know, whether they be a friend or a less-active member, to come with them to church. It's such a leap of faith for members to invite someone that they love, but it's really neat to see how much we're strengthened when we truly exercise our faith and trust in the Lord. A lot of the less-active members who we visited have asked for no more contact from the church, which is really sad, but we've also found a few people who are ready to come back and who we can work with. I was reading in Alma this week about Aaron and how they "preached the word unto many and few believed on the words which they taught." And then right after that they were cast into prison and "suffered many things." I love studying their missions and think about how we often have a tendency to idealize them, when they had really hard times too, they were discouraged, and then resolved to move forward.

I was talking with Sister Matthews this week and we were talking about how in the face of our adversities and hardships we choose how strong we will be. We were talking about in those moments where you feel like you have nothing left to give and you are stripped of all energy and motivation, how our real natures and character is revealed. Whether or not we will turn inward and give up, or trust and continue on. I guess her dad told her that as she was dating someone, that it's easy for someone to be polite, kind and charitable in air-conditioning, a couch, a nice room, but that he wanted her to take the person that she was considering marrying hiking, and see how he acted when they ran out of water, with 4 miles left to the top, was hot and exhausted. For me, I think about how deeply sad we were/are after Dad passed away, but I remember your strength and all that you were able to accomplish in the face of hardship. How it would have been easy and understandable to stay unmotivated, in bed, tired and sad, but the things that you were able to accomplish, going back to school, re-taking the bar exam, buying a house, getting a job, getting us in school, etc. etc. was an example to me of miraculous strength in the face of hardship.

My guess is that we're going to have another transfer for the sisters, even though we just had one a few weeks ago. It's hot and people are really tired. I never realized how hard missionaries work until I became one. Fortunately, I'm doing great and feeling good! No sickness or too much fatigue. :D I still love this quote: At the end of the day, it doesn't matter so much where we have been, or the things we have done, but so much more the person we have become.

I love you lots! Keep sending me the things that you're studying in your scriptures. You inspire me and your spiritual thoughts and insights help those we teach in our lessons. :)

Hope you have a great week and that your interview at WashU goes well!!

Sister Orgill