Monday, September 8, 2014

Zagreb, Croatia September 8, 2014

Hey Mom,

We had a good week. Being able to be in Beograd was so much fun for me. It was a really amazing city and that was my first time there. I also got to drive through it (with my mission president and his wife in the car). I feel like now that I've tackled Beograd and Sarajevo driving, I think I can handle most things. It may not quite be Malaysian or Vietnam driving yet, but one day I'll get there ;) I didn't end up getting to see H while I was there, because we got there too late at night, but seeing Sister Hendricks and Sister Marks was really nice. I've been kind of far away from them lately, so it was good seeing old friends again.

We had Zone Conference this week and teaching went well. I talked with the Zone Leaders and we made a goal of everyone in our zone inviting at least 12 people a day to learn more, since finding people to teach is something our zone really struggles with. President Grant gets up and says we can be doing more. I agree with him. He told us a story of a mission in Europe right now who averages 30 new investigators a week per companionship. That means that they get 1000 turn downs a week. He said we need to be contacting and inviting 1000 people a week. At first I was kind of shocked, because when we're talking to people, we end up talking to them for a while, and getting 1000 conversations is a lot, especially since we are teaching full lessons throughout the day. He talked about the difference between having faith and being faithful (filled with faith). It was so powerful, and I know that if we plan to make it a reality, we can. The APs are going to try to reach it this week first. Sister Bradley is so great; she turned to me last night and says, okay, so how are we going to get our 30 investigators this week? Let's come up with a plan for how we could do it logistically and then take it to the Lord.

We went to a member's (Ljubica) house on Saturday night and she fed us yummy punina paprika again. It was so good. She told us her conversion story about her first missionaries and how they changed her life. Her son is serving a mission right now in the Adriatic South Mission. She got up on Sunday and bore her testimony of missionary work and how we need to be good examples of the gospel in our lives, because people notice and watch us. If we live the gospel and we're happy in the face of hardship and trials, then people will want to know why we are that way. She bore her testimony of taking care of the missionaries and of the sacrifices that we make to serve. She told them that everyone needs to cook for us and to be kind to us, because we're away from our families here.  The members here are so good to us, but it was so sweet of her to talk about the importance of the work we're doing here. It makes such a difference when the members want to be involved in missionary work. She is in her 60s, has some health problems, works everyday until 6, and lives far away from everyone, but she ALWAYS wants to come on lessons and to teach with us, even though it's a huge sacrifice for her. She gives us a hard time if we haven't called her to come on a lesson to teach with us! One time after one of our lessons with a less-active member she didn't get home until after midnight, but she loves doing it. I wish the missionaries in St. Louis would have called me up to go out teaching with them when I was in high school and college.

On Sunday our English student, (N from the bus ride to Zadar last week) ended up coming to church. We didn't even invite her because we thought she was still on vacation, so it was so neat that she ended up coming. There was a lull during testimony meeting, so she stands up and says, "well if no one else will, then I will!" and then walks up to the stand and bares her testimony. She talked about the struggles she had in her life and her experience with us on the bus. She talked about how she had been having a hard time, and she said, after she talked with us on her vacation, she knew that God was real that everything was going to be okay. She said that the problems she had in her life were all still there, but that there was a peace that came into her heart knowing that God was with her. I talked to her afterwards and asked her why she came to church on her own and why she shared her testimony. She said she knew that that was what God wanted her to do, and then she felt like He gave her the courage to do both of them. She is so great! She is a mother of 5, works as a vet, has such great desires, and is so in tune with the Spirit. We're going to hopefully teach her this week.

Also, M, the painter, is finally back from vacation, so we're going to go over and see him on Tuesday!! So excited to see him again.

We had a less-active member call us this week who I'd never met. A few months ago Sister Erbe and I had gone around and written down a bunch of names and addresses of less-active members and took a huge stack of Liahonas to go visit a bunch of them. Whenever we had access to a car, we would just plug in the addresses into the GPS and then stop by and leave Liahona's with a note if they weren't home. Out of like 100 people who we visited, she was the only one to call us back. She's younger and is in her 30s, but somehow we had gotten her address from an older set of church records and then she got lost in the transition to new technology and she wasn't on the branch roster anymore, so she hadn't been visited in years. She called us this week and was so grateful that we had found her and had contacted her. She said she loved reading the Liahona and invited us over this week for juice. She said she loves the Church, but has had a lot of health problems these past few years which has prevented her from coming. We're excited to meet with her this week and we got her records transferred back on the Zagreb branch roster, so she won't be lost again.

We get transfer calls this week (this will be my last transfer as a young missionary), so I'll find out if I'm staying in Zagreb for 11 months or if I'm going somewhere else.

I love you lots!! Hope you have a great week!
Sister Orgill

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