This week has been so good! We have been anxiously waiting for our travel plans and they came this morning. Unfortunately, the elders in our district made us wait for our mail until this afternoon and sent us on this long treasure hunt (comprised of push-ups, running through the MTC, tracting and contacting) in order to get our flight itineraries. Agh!! I was not super thrilled, haha, but we just got them and here's my flight information: We are flying from SLC to Detroit, then to Paris CDG, then to Zagreb and will get there on the following day at around noon. I'm so excited that we're stopping in Paris, and it still is so surreal that I'm actually going to Croatia. Grandma just sent me a card and the NYT article about Croatia and it just looks so beautiful.
It's been a little crazy lately for our district. We have 14 people in one tiny classroom and there have been days where our sanity has been in jeopardy, haha, but I love all the missionaries so much! I cannot believe I'm not going to be able to see them everyday after the MTC. They're all so awesome.
I've been working out and there's this amazing gym here with these really good bikes that I like going to and they also play conference talks and Mormon Messages on big screen TVs. It is my new favorite thing to do. I understand the Word of Wisdom, but I love reaping the blessings and benefits from living it. So awesome! I have found that I feel so much better about myself, my mind is clearer, and I've found that I feel closer and more in tune with the Spirit.
I got more packages this week-- one from Sister Page and one from Aunt Janet. Aunt Janet's was super yummy peanut butter cups from Trader Joes (I don't know how she knew, but those are one of my favorite things in the world). I don't have her e-mail address, but please tell her thank you again from me! Sister Page (Hannah's mom) sent me this MASSIVE package full of every treat imaginable. I don't think I've ever seen a package that big at the MTC before. Haha. I just leave it in my classroom for everyone to partake. I'll attach a picture of one of my teachers and elders with it. You can't really see its depth/how packed it is, but it was amazing and so thoughtful of her! I now understand why missionaries get fat on their missions-- it's seriously from all the packages. ;)
We've been trying to do SYL (speak your language) everyday here and have been getting by with about 70% of our days speaking only Croatian. I make a million mistakes everyday, but the rate at which we're able to learn and retain new vocabulary has significantly improved. Phew! I've been praying for help with the language since day 1 and I know that I wouldn't be able to do this without a lot of divine help. Our teachers keep telling us that we will be blessed if we only speak Croatian all day everyday for the rest of our missions. "You've been called to speak Croatian, not English." We're working on it. I'll be so happy when I can get to the point when I can actually do 100% of my day in Croatian.
On Tuesday night we heard from President Hinckley's son, Richard Hinckley, who's an emeritus general authority. He was so great! I wonder if he's the same general authority who spoke while Jenny was in the MTC. He was so articulate, wise and had a lot of the same mannerisms as his dad, which was really cool to see and brought back some really sweet memories. I think the two things that stuck out to me was how he closed his devotional-- "Remember the greatest suffering a missionary can experience on their mission is regret." And he changed a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson to say "What wouldst thou have from they mission? Pay the price, follow the Spirit and you will have it." I know that both these ideas apply not just to missions, but to our lives... don't leave this life with any regrets! Heed every prompting, be a true and faithful person and all will be well.
This week I've been thinking a lot about my prayers. We extend a lot of commitments to our "investigators" here and I've made it a goal of mine to apply these commitments in my own life after a lesson. If I asked them to pray about Moroni's promise or the Plan of Salvation, then I try to do it too. In Preach My Gospel it says "You too should apply this (Moroni's) promise regularly to strengthen and renew your own testimony of the Book of Mormon. This renewed testimony will help you maintain a firm confidence that anyone who applies this promise will receive the answer." Pretty cool, huh? So, my commitment to you this week, is no matter how many times you've prayed about it before, pray about it again. One scripture that I've just really fallen in love with is in Alma 8:10. I didn't understand what it meant at first to wrestle with the Lord, but like Enos, Alma is such an example to me of someone with such sincere and meaningful prayers. He "wrestles" to overcome his natural man tendencies to be forgiven. I know there's a difference between praying everyday (can be trite and repetitive) and really bearing our souls to God.
In TRC this week (where RMs from our mission come volunteer for us to teach them member lessons), I shared with them that scripture in Alma and asked them how they could make their prayers more sincere. I first taught with my companions which is always awesome. Afterwards, there's a solo sister who got here a few weeks ago and who is also learning Croatian and we all take turns teaching with her, so I volunteered this week. I led the lesson and it made me feel really good about my language at this point because I could lead and understand everything (granted, I'm sure my teachers talk significantly slower than the Croats and I also know that gospel language is very different from day to day language, but still made me feel good). The new missionary, Sister Christensen, is one of the most humble and sincere people I've ever met. We were teaching an RM who got back a few years ago and at the end of the lesson Sister Christensen just spoke slowly and bore a humble testimony about how she didn't understand everything and didn't always know everything that was going on, but she felt impressed to tell this sister that she knew that God loved her and that He was aware of her. It was really powerful and the sister began to cry and told us after our lesson how she had been doubting God's love for her lately and how she really needed to hear that. Sister Christensen is always so in tune-- I love her awesome example! I hope I get to serve with her again.
I have 3 minutes left before my time expires, so I'm going to use it to try to attach some pictures. I love you!!! Have an amazing week!!