Monday, September 1, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia September 1, 2014

Hey Mom!
It was so great being able to talk with you last week! You are so great!
We didn't end up getting a car to help us get around, but took buses between the three cities we were working in-- Rijeka, Zagreb and Zadar. The only bus that they offered from Zadar to Rijeka was this 5 hour bus along the coast, no highways or anything (otherwise it'd normally be 2-3 hours). It was breathtaking. Croatia is so beautiful! 

We are tired of traveling, but we're almost done with it. This afternoon I'm going to Beograd, Serbia to pick up another sister with President and Sister Grant, and then the two trainees that I've been working with this past week are going to stay in Zagreb for a day and work here. We have been working hard and traveling a lot, which takes it out of me. Weirdly enough, I know it was such a blessing that we had to travel so much and didn't end up getting a car. On our bus ride home last night I met this really great girl named Anna who lives in Croatia (been here for 4 years) but is from Texas. She's 25, has a Croatian boyfriend and loves living here; she has a Masters in Public Policy and she studied political science as an undergrad. She is so sharp and she was so much fun to talk to. I talked to her about the church and she talked about some friends that she had who were LDS in college who had served missions. We got her phone number and we're going to meet up with her. So neat!
Also, on another one of our bus trips down to Zadar from Zagreb, one of our English students, who we've been trying to teach, walks onto the bus with her 10 year-old son. She was sitting behind me and I was talking to her about her life and some problems she was having. She told me that she didn't believe the fact that we were on the same bus together was a coincidence. Soon into the ride, I started to get so car-sick. Ah! So, I had Sister Bradley trade seats with me, so they could talk, and it was so perfect because right from the start they just clicked. As the conversation went on, the things they talked about and the analogies they used were so different from the things I would have said. That was such a powerful reminder for me to see that we were all called specifically for these people; it's not enough for one of us to speak. Sister B has things to say in that will touch and help them in ways I never could. Our English student was locked into a 4 hour bus ride, and Sister B worked her way slowly through the gospel lessons. It was so perfect! N, our English student, left the bus with a Book of Mormon and a promise to read it while she was on vacation this week. When she gets back we're going to meet with her and teach her. It was also really neat because we have been praying to find families who we can teach. On the bus this week we found out N has 5 kids, she works as a vet and has a great husband. So wonderful Often times the people that we're looking for, and the answers to our prayers are already placed in front of us. God has already given us these opportunities, we just have to be willing to recognize and act on them.
Another great success was in Zadar this week. We were working through the sisters' area book there, and we found the names of a few people who had studied about the church previously and their addresses. We went to go find them a couple of hours before our bus left The first woman that we went to go find, lived pretty far out, so the further we got, the more I thought about turning back. We fortunately kept going, and then we realized that we had limited information about her--her last name wasn't listed. We started asking everyone in her building if they knew who she was or if she lived there. After about 12 doors, we all started to give up thinking that she didn't live in that building and were about to go go find another person before our bus left. I guess the sisters had tried her phone number a bit ago and she hadn't been interested. We ended up trying again, she answered, we told her we were in her building and asked if she'd want to meet and talk about the Book of Mormon. She said YES. We found her apartment, and had one of the most powerful lessons I've had on my mission. She was so strong and all the things we were teaching, she was really excited about and she said it made so much sense. She's a university professor who teaches economics, and she was also just so wonderful. She and I really got along and I was sad to leave, because I knew I wouldn't be able to teach her again. We left her with Alma 32 to read and the sisters are going to go back again this week!
We went back to Zagreb on Friday for the branch BBQ-- a lot of planning went into it and a lot of members, less-active members, and even more investigators and visitors showed up! It was great being able to visit with everyone, and it was so great watching all the missionaries just work so well with the members and investigators. We have such a strong group of missionaries here in Zagreb.
This week we also found so many great potentials and invited two new people we contactred to come to church. They both came! Also, so did 50 something German tourists! The church in Zadar is pretty small, so people were flooding out of the chapel, because there weren't enough chairs to fit everyone. We had 84 people I think, altogether. I guess the stake president in Munich organizes a big trip every year for the members/families in the neighboring stakes, and they get a big group together to come down to Croatia for summer vacation. It was so much fun practicing the few German words that I know with them. We helped out with Primary and I helped with these 4 super cute German boys, ages 6-9. I asked wie geht's (how are you?) and they all look at me and with huge smiles say GUT! The little German children had bright blonde hair and cute accents. It really was so much fun for me! We sang I am a Child of God in Croatian and in German and a few other Primary songs. That group of children was so pure and so sweet. It just struck my heart how close children are to the Spirit. 

This week will involve less travel. I get to see H (who was baptized) and Sister Hendricks again tonight in Beograd--the three of us from Sarajevo back together again! I'm so excited. We also have Zone Conference, so Sister B and I are teaching again, which will be fun. I cannot believe how fast the time is going! Every week just goes by faster and faster. Hannah just got home from her mission and gave her homecoming talk on Sunday! It's starting to hit me that my time out here is limited, and I'm just trying to give my all during the time I have left.
Sorry this was so long. I love you so much and I hope you have a great week!
Sister Orgill

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