Friday, February 6, 2015

Week 79/ I Found Home.

It is incredible to me how much one little place can fill me. How can a place fill up so much space within me? I feel as though my heart belongs to Slovenija. I would like to call it home. I feel as though faces I see in passing, or people I embrace, and begin laughing is all put in my heart and brings me courage for a new day. I felt like I would be coming back here to Slovenija, so the goodbyes weren’t actually goodbyes. I feel like I was chasing them out really. I look to my friends here, acquaintances, and people I haven’t yet met and I have a deep feeling for them. I never will get over that and I wouldn’t want to. I have talked with people and I would begin to explain to them just who they are to me in the past year in a half. It is hard for people to take… Maybe my perspective is off about them… Or maybe our minds like to do tricking and tell us we are not enough. That when someone says good things about you it is all just one big fairy tale that people just spurt from their lips and never think on again. Or mean anything by all means. 

I read this quote the other day and felt a deep thickness of meaning behind it, ‘’love yourself as much as you want to be loved.’’ I tell truth. I tell from the heart. I see the magic that lies within all of us. What God has placed in us. Sometimes I miscalculate and sometimes I misdeed a person but my thoughts rely on love to fill back a void of uncertainty. I know you can’t love everyone and there are going to be people in our lives where we just don’t blend well together. It doesn’t mean we are cruel, it doesn’t mean we didn’t try our hardest. It means we have something to learn from and loving everyone is a process that takes more than 100 years to grasp on to even the beginning of comprehension. 

I want to love and be loved and as I gaze at my experiences and the people I grew to love I feel as though it was worth it. It was worth all the hard, all the bad… All the times we wanted to crawl back into bed or give up. All the times we didn’t feel enough or wasn’t doing enough. I found that life isn’t perfect and we aren’t perfect, but we can take what we have and share it with others and enjoy the life that was given to us, together. I am harsh on myself; I sometimes feel I could be a little more… I get scatterbrained and I can’t recall who I was meant to be at points. I am not perfect by any means. But, I know that when that happens God is near me. He has His arms reaching to us. To shape us, build us, and polish us a little more. I feel the spirit work through me. I feel God’s love even when sometimes I feel as though it’s billion miles away. The feeling comes in as a soft wind and it gently puts us on the path we have been looking for. I want to always be coming back to this gospel. To rely on it and let my self lean on it always. I want to keep in touch with those precious friends that became something more to me here. I want to be a missionary the rest of my life, to love and to learn that love by giving it to others. 

We had English Class for the last time and one man came in that day and wanted to give me a gift to say goodbye. He is the sweetest old man and I treasured the time I got to be with him. I told him I was coming back to see him. He told me, "you are going to forget me.’’ All of me wanted him to know that I would never forget him. I told him, ‘’Just you wait. I will come back and I will see you again, I will see you again.’’ I will never forget these people. I will never forget what they did for me. I know so many days where I was having a rough one and yet, I would go out and try to talk to people. It helped me to realize we must talk and help others- to help ourselves. The people here in Slovenija are angels. Yes they have there own way of living or thinking but they made the experience worthwhile they opened my eyes. They taught me who I wanted to be. The members are few here, but how strong they are. 

The rain poured a lot this week. Our shoes became so soaked. I loved it. I loved that the sky even cries.

We made it to President’s house my last day and we had a testimony meeting. We talked a lot about our future. The next morning we were heading off to Austria and as we were half way on the flight they turned us around and got us on a different flight. We missed a lot of planes and stayed a night in Vienna. When we were finally in the United States- we were running to the gate to try to catch our next flight and I went in front of the others and raced to get it. I admit I was sweating and I was wearing the same clothes for two days and my hair was in a bun...(I looked rocking) I made it to the gate and the lady told me we just missed it by 2 minutes. It was a long 2 days. Yet, I met many people and bore my testimony. Maybe God wanted us to have a little more missionary life before we were home. I was grateful for the experience.

I didn’t expect myself to react as I did when I saw my family. I didn’t expect to look through the crowd and see my mom’s face. She stood there and smiled. My heart began to beat from out my chest and I couldn’t believe I was so close to her. I was finally in reach of her. My feet began to move at quicker speeds and as I closed the distance, I said, ‘’you, I want you.” I grabbed my mom. It was beautiful to see my family. It was beautiful to sleep in such a good bed that night.

My mind still runs to Slovenija a lot. I tend to think about it constantly. I miss it. I miss my service and feeling God’s love for the people there. I hope you know that Slovenija. I hope you know how much I love you. How much you became my home. I’ve seen this gospel transform you little by little, I have seen the spirit work through you... You'll keep growing. You are such a sight to behold. I cannot wait to see you again. 
Until then. 

Sister Cuthbert

Thoughts on the plane.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 78 / Coming Home

"See ya soon. Love you! Tell the family to get ready to give me big grizzly hugs. I am preparing!"

This was a quick message from Holly this morning. 
Holly has arrived at the mission home today and will be spending the night before she makes her way home tomorrow. She is excited and sad all at the same time and is having a hard time expressing what she is feeling.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 77 / One More Week

Hey You Guys,

I was just thinking, and feeling- and my first thoughts for this morning are better said by Paul. May I share?

Romans 1:8 ''First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world. 9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;10 Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.11 For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;12 That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.''

And then my cool man, Jason Mraz can take it away with, ''People get ready, get ready. Cause here it comes, it's a light. A beautiful light, over the horizon. Into our eyes. Oh, my my how beautiful.'' That is what is jumbling and dancing in my head. Can you dig it?

How beautiful is this life? Next week I will be seeing you. I feel prepared, yet unprepared. I feel happy but yet sad. I feel love for the future and yet my heart wishes to stay. Whatever comes and what is to come is right and it is a beautiful light and it's heading our way. I do long to see you, and I do pray that you are all making your rounds of sharing your hearts with this world. I love you and am
getting ready to jump into your arms very soon.

We met with two of our English class students this past week. It was really great to see them again because they haven't been to English class in quite sometime because of work. We sat down and began to discuss about their beliefs and what they want to do with their lives. I thought it was so intriguing and reassuring that as they began to speak of their faith and how they turned away from it because they didn't like how things were flowing down the path they had trodden on they began to feel this emptiness, but the beauty to me is that one day as our district was singing outside on a Saturday morning this couple had passed by and had seen our sign for English class and Sister Dutton and I stopped them and invited them to come to our class. It is amazing to me that the Spirit touched their hearts and the flow of love began to fill the empty parts. It is inspiring to me that as they came to English class, as they stayed for spiritual thoughts their hearts began to beat again, and they began to feel again. The man told me this past week that out of all the places he has been, the faiths he has seen this is where he felt something that he has never felt in any other place. That he feels it is truer than anything he has seen yet. My jaw had dropped and I just kept thinking... This church is true... It's true.

This past week, we went to an old folks home and gave out flowers. I loved going up to people and handing them a flower and wishing them a happy day. I felt really happy to walk along the river and be with my dear friend who is admitted at the old folks home. It started to rain by the end of our giving and yet I could not stop smiling. I felt like my heart too was being filled.

We had my last zone conference this week. We got to watch, ''Meet the Mormons'' it was really beautiful and I would love to see it again with the family when I get back. At the end of this conference I had the oppurtunity to bare my testimony. It was a different kind of feeling... Getting up in front of everyone for the last time. I have learned a lot about love. I know I was already about that in the beginning but it is a little different now. Life moves in layers and just like the earth and it's layers and our skins and the atmosphere and skies. I have gathered layer upon layer of love that has built more understanding, more gratitude for the love that our Savior Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father has for us. I have realized that giving is getting and there is so many ways we can be giving back our love to our Heavenly Father. The true thing is we need to be emptying our hearts everyday. That is the point and I will keep doing that for the rest of my life.

I have run into all sorts of people this week. We have been tracting like mad men and I have found a real love for this work and the message we have as missionaries. We are doing the greatest work in the world. I am grateful and humbled that I could serve. I believe that once we as little kids dressing up as super heroes we were not too far off of who we truly were and are. We believed we could conquer the world, we could learn how to fly, we could save someone's life. I want that kid mentality again, because it was so true. It is true. Do we realize what strength we already possess? What lies within ourselves? Children are the ones we should be watching and learning from. They teach us that we can believe that the seemingly impossible is possible. I yearn to believe in that, to be a child in God's eyes and see my life as He does.

I love the people here, I love all that it is and all that it will be in Slovenija. I know the church will keep growing. That the people here in Slovenija are true pioneers, that we have such strong members and people serving the Lord here. I hope to always be a part of this work in Slovenija and different parts of the world. For Slovenija has taken my heart. This Gospel has really made me whole. It has filled the empty spaces and the parts that I didn't think could be. The Gospel has become a telescope and helps me to see the deeper and real picture of what life is really about.

I love you all. Good luck this week and may God bless you in your talents to serve others around you. Do what others think are impossible!

Sister Cuthbert

Monday, January 12, 2015

Week / 76 - Still, so much to do.

Dear Raddest Family in the World!

I think a lot, as you all know- and I have been feeling a longing to keep working hard to keep giving my all as the days begin to finally close. There is a lot of love in this work and a lot of learning. I have been noticing many things that I need to still work on and many things I am excited to face. I also realize how much I have aligned myself with God now. My heart has been beating a lot faster lately. Seems that the time you think you have goes by in a blink. But, it is glorious. I couldn't sleep the other night and feelings were battling in my head. I prayed for guidance and comfort to know what to do, as I wondered if I could really become who I truly want to be and maintain it, to be who God wants me to be.  I don't want to be good, just because. I don't want to be a missionary, just because. I want to be a missionary because I love the Lord, I love my God... I love this work... And I especially love His children. Anyway, I will admit... It was a hard night... But it was a beautiful one, in the end.  I laid there in my bed and let the warmth from the blankets hold me in like a cocoon. I had a restless night of staring at white walls. I didn't want to sleep, I didn't want this feeling that was inside me. But finally my eyes rested and the light from the morning danced on my bed and I felt peace, I felt like I could be more than yesterday, I was more now. I was hopeful by the feeling I had that morning. And I knew as I got out of my bed, something stirred inside me. A hope that today I was ready to fly. A great feeling that only God could provide.

I went to Leadership Counsel this week with Sister Brown and it was a really good opportunity to get a view of what a leader must look at and how we can be better examples and have more successes in the work. I really felt like the most important thing I learned from that meeting was from the Spirit and it was telling me that we need to do what we love... We need to love and love... That it's about the people and that is the focus. I really felt strongly that we need to always love... to learn that more.

I love how God works and how He answers our prayers even through other people at points. I love the members here. I love how strong they are and how they have a major influence on all of us, even us missionaries. I would do anything for them, I really look out for their welfare and when I don't make it, if I don't show enough of God's love to them and the people. I want to try harder, go longer... Just to make their day a little better.

Sister Nydegger and I have been working really hard to contact, tract and do all we can to find people to love and to hopefully teach and we have been having major successes. I know the Lord's hand is in our work. When you really turn yourselves over to Him, when you let the spirit be your guide and let the Lord's time be your own- Everything is set. The successes are coming, they are here and we must believe it. We were looking through names and ran across one in particular. We felt really prompted to go and visit this particular woman as soon as possible. We walked to her house and knocked on the door and her son answered it. We told him who we were and this little boy's eyes lit up and he smiled big. He told us to come in and brought us to his mom. The mom told us to come in and as we sat I began to notice her eyes and the way she held her hands so tight with hope. She would look at me and I could swear I knew her from before and as I sat there thinking ''have we met?'', a feeling of love came raining down and immediately I was drenched in love for her. Although, I knew her not. I could see her in this stormy world and she was warm and left us speechless. I never have paused for so long in a prayer. I gave one before we left and as the words came out of my mouth, I stopped... Not to find what to say...but to hold onto that moment a little longer. To let God hold onto this child a little longer. As the prayer closed I lifted up my eyes to realize this was what I always wanted. This is the feeling everyone dreams of. This is the love you crave for. The love that is never forgotten. In that moment it was a love only for her. A Father's love for His daughter, which I had been privileged to feel.

I am excited to see my mom, my dad, my brother, and my sisters. I am excited to be with them and know them once again. I want a deeper relationship and love for them. I know it isn't always perfect and things get rough... But I just want to be with you in all the new moments, all the new adventures to come. I am happy and ready to learn from you. I love you family. Have a good week!

Love, Sister Cuthbert

P.S. we were able to go to Lake Bled today, it was beautiful to see it in the winter with the sun shining so brightly.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Week 75 / A Blanket of Snow

Dear Gracious Family,

Many thoughts have been dancing around in my head lately... First off...A lot was focused on finding new people this week. We spent many hours contacting and tracking. We went far and beyond to try to reach someones heart and as we spoke to all those around us in the streets my heart was filled with purpose and love for those who wondered onto our paths. I have prayed a lot this week for more love, patience, and for the Lord's will. For only in Him we receive the miracles. My eyes have become softened to the Lord's tender mercies here in Slovenija. I have seen that through our actions, through our words, and through our hearts we can speak of God's loving message to the world and become apart of God's loving arms to reach out to His children.

For New Year's Eve, we went to a member's house and he fed us a 6-course meal. My stomach grew a large amount that day, but it was a nice way of starting off the new year with plenty of Slovenian food in our bellies.

We walked to a member's house on Thursday. She lives pretty far out, over small mountains and behind the castle where dizzy roads loose their directions and maps even become lost in unmarked paths. We got on our snow boots and big coats to set out for the day and as we walked outside the air was sweet with winter. It was actually a really beautiful sight. The sky was majorly blue. We began to walk and as we got into a valley where not many houses stood, but many trees had grown... I could of sworn we were completely alone and as I turned around to look at the view- I stopped, I gazed, and I listened.  I felt one with the earth. Snow had just fallen the night before and I too wanted to lie down with it. To let the snow hold me as a blanket and let the sky become my dreams. I like those moments when the peace in those quiet times comes humming in. Where you seem to look at the world at eye level. Never above it, but with it. It puts things into perspective when the snow covers everything in white and paints the ground with it's clarity. It helps you see farther, more clearer. You feel the earth breath and you recognize in awe how surreal it all is...Your mind for those meager moments realizes that all the heartache, all the joy, all situations are good and were made for you. And there is just peace. If you ever go to Slovenija you will be amazed by the sunsets and sunrises here. God has ways of touching the world with his colors. The peace and love you feel for this world is incredible and sunrises really feel like it is God opening His eyes.

A member and I were discussing about the ending of missions. We talked about how I felt and what did I get from my mission? We talked about how some missionaries who didn't get much success in baptizing could be a little saddened. Maybe they would say to Heavenly Father, '' I got nothing Father...'' And Heavenly Father would look to them and say.'' Now, wait a minute. Look at yourself. Your experiences, everything you have done has changed you. You are not the same person you were, the people around you are not the same as they were.'' I have been praying a lot for God's will. It's only through Him we can receive anything. I know that if we look to him and show Him our desires he will grant us fully. I know that the Lord's time is the time we need to always be trying to become in sync with. We all have a divine purpose that is working on God's time. We all have a major influence and all have a individual path to help intertwine it with others to help build something far more greater than what we can imagine. I know the success is only through the peace and love I feel at the end of the day knowing I helped someone, that God lended His loving spirit and touched the lives around me. I don't think at the end of our days, especially on our missions we should be down. The successes are here, the miracles are already here, God is not changing. It is but us changing to understand and finally see those miracles are here.

I am excited to see the miracles ahead this coming week, talk to you all next week!

Sister Cuthbert

Monday, December 29, 2014

Week 74 / A Week of Christmas Thoughts

Dear Loves of My Life,

On Monday we went to a beautiful lake in Celje. We walked for about an hour to get there and the scenery was incredible to breath in and really take mental pictures. I am really loving the view of the forestry here. It's very much a fairy tale and makes you realize the magic that is here on this earth and how much God puts details and love into everything. Everything has been touched and created by His hands and I really am grateful for His beautiful works here and the creatures living on this earth. We had a really good time at the lake and I got to eat a peanut butter sandwich with bananas... Who knew that I would consider that so heavenly? We made sack lunches for our trip and it made me appreciate and switch back to when I was going to school and mom would make billions of sack lunches for us kids. I am so thankful for mom and all her sweet efforts of giving us her all. I actually have been thinking about you a lot, mom. I wrote a sort of poem or shall I say rather thoughts for each day this week. I dedicate it to you, for you were a lot of my inspiration. Thank you for being my mom who has kept my world at flight, who has given me so much reason to be brave and love through out my life. Your example and the family's example are the endless flow that circulates in my heart. I Loved talking to you this week. Emotion has been getting the best of me lately and I thank Adam and Eve for that. I love that I can be open with you and tell you anything. Feelings really matter to us as humans. If we don't feel right, or bad... we walk away, we can't stay. We can't handle being in that particular place... But the feeling of goodness, unfeigned love that replaces the hardness of our storms is the only feeling I receive when I am in your presence and I want you to know it. You are the feeling that keeps me, that helps me stay and keeps my feelings of non-worth at bay. Thank you.

December 22, 2014 ( I was getting really excited to talk to you all and my thoughts turned to you in the early morning studies.)

Could you imagine holding me close?
Could you imagine I was at home?
I imagined it hundreds of times 
when I missed you like crazy.
And it gave me hope, it shook my heart.
It let me know I was still there with you
you with me.
Even with this ocean to keep us.
I have felt home in a far away place.

December 23, 2014
Today we had district meeting and it was a really uplifting one. Our district leader talked about the importance of who we are and here as missionaries. Someone said that our mission was a beautiful gift that we get to build on our strengths and weaknesses and how much it will be a blessing for the rest of our lives. We talked about how a lot of missionaries go home and then fall away and how badly I felt I wanted only this gospel and that I was not going to be one to fall away. All our lives we need to keep fighting for our faiths, or desires, what we truly hold dear. I know that it will always be that way, but how great is our reward if we keep to who we truly are. We really grow into something incredible. If we love and love and love we are conquering and our souls are in deep gratitude for the love we are fighting for.

Even after we die we are still fighting. 
We are still conquering. 
We are never ending. 
We never have to say goodbye. 
Our souls just keep... 

December 24, 2014
We went with the Branch President around to houses of our members and investigators to give Christmas baskets. It was such a touching spirit to sing to those people we have grown to so dearly love. I felt the Christmas spirit and was happy to take time to go and do that. It took quite a bit of time because our branch is quite spread out. We got on the free way and I was astounded to what I saw and really let the night fill me with a greater love for this holiday season.

A beautiful night paved with stars
as we searched for homes.
The black spilled on the earth
and the light dripped droplets throughout the fields that weave
cities like constellations.
Who knew we had such a view from the ground,
who knew we even had magic in our very own souls.
We drove on through the streets
and I stayed quiet,
wordlessly looking at the Christmas Eve 
that hung before me like the moon
and gave me a sky
to breath it all in.

We went to a member's house and I had a Manger/Nativity for their mother. I had never met the mother and I was wondering if it was a bit weird to hand her a note and a manger from a complete stranger, but as time went on and I looked to my badge and the name of Jesus Christ shown bright, I knew that I was no stranger. It was my last manger and when we knocked on the door I felt a connection with this woman. She immediately went soft when I explained to her what I was doing and giving to her. She was sweet and it was really a great moment for a memorable Christmas Eve.

We went to midnight mass and it was really interesting to see the perspective that they had of Christmas and being spiritually fed. I was fascinated with how much work the Priests and Bishops have to do and the timing and memorizing they must act out. It looks like a lot of time and effort is put into their meetings and I love them for that. That they take what they know best ( like us all) and give their full selves. I felt appreciation for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I couldn't exactly tell you how much a warmth difference I feel when I walk into our building, our church. I really would describe it as walking into God's loving arms. I love that I got to celebrate Christ's birth with all sorts of religions and people. That I got to experience the love of Christ and recognize His beautiful gift to us and His birth to all of God's children.

December 25, 2014
After I got to see you all I was complete for the day. I felt a very peaceful vibe and I felt a strong love from God for you. I love all and each of your beauty. Although, you were in PJ's and bed hair... That was real and most beautiful to me. I believe that when you see someone you love, our faces change. It's like the Gods and Goddesses we are meant to be switches on for a split second,  because the love that fills us is the power of our loving Heavenly Father we become the true and purest beauty. All of you were glowing and beautiful today.

Sweet faces I have seen,
voices I recognize and love.
As we gather, and as we connect,
let me reach across, stretch as far as I can
so maybe you can feel my warmth,
maybe you can feel my love
as my hands reach out
to yours.

For Christmas we had a breakfast and I got to make some french toast. We spent time talking and eating and it was more of a day to ponder and to think and pray for our thankfulness for the Savior. We went out and talked to a few people and got a few pictures of our district. The lights in the city are a real treat and makes things really something special.

December 26, 2014

If it can grow, 
it can change, 
and if it can change 
then it can be some thing more than it was. 
And that is something remarkable. 
Change is a miracle that I like to see in everyday.

December 27, 2014
We went to 'Return and Report' which is for the Trainers and Trainees. It went super well and the things we learned are going to be applied to this week and forever. I really liked what one missionary said about having faith in our investigators. We really need to have faith in the people we love and want to grow. If you don't have faith they will not change and become something more. I really loved what Sister Nydegger said about learning to be brave. We need to remember to always be brave and we don't need to let our fears keep us hidden. We can be honest and open with God and He will help us be fearless.

The frost glazed over the forest last night. We looked out the window of the train and the honey from the sun made the grass sparkle as the rays hit the earth and drizzled down to give the world a white chandelier. 

The train rumbled and my mind took a breath and held it's memories, as we went through the tunnel. I wished for one thing and as the scenery came back to our view, my eyes blinked and the wish went with the blackness and I held on to that darkness as if it was my
deepest secret. 

The sun now took it's turn and opened my horizon and thoughts. I felt brave in the light's presence and knew that I didn't need to hide my desires in shadows, but rather to let God see them. To let God reveal my heart's wishes.

December 28, 2014

As the storm blows her winds, I am breathing.
As the stars twinkle, I am constantly blinking.
I know the seas cannot divide us, 
the mountains are not our curtains to hide us.
When the earth moves, I stumble around.
And as I walk the earth begins to tumble before me.
But I think of you and the world
and I remember it is because of you I am standing.
It is because of you my heart is still.
And the world becomes quiet and looks to us and simply smiles.
I knew that love would be enough. I knew that it was you.
you were already and always enough.

Hope you had a beautiful Christmas and that your New Year's is something completely rad. Best wishes and prayers.

Love you,
Sister Holly Cuthbert

Monday, December 22, 2014

Week 73 / Merry Christmas

Greetings Comrades,

We had our free hot chocolate activity last night. Every week we do it and each time we get a little more fancy. This time we had lights, a Christmas tree, and some funky Christmas music playing in the back ground. Some of the members even showed up and began passing out hot chocolate and cards with us. It was really fun and we all had a good time watching our missionary district leader be a fearless tyrant. When we would give him pamphlets and cards to pass out he would start to straighten his back, lift up his chin to the heavens, and walk the streets of this little town. He would stop everyone and wouldn't let them leave until he got to bear his testimony and the people's hands were filled with brochures and goodies. He even would stop Christmas sleighs that were passing by on roads to talk about Christ. I have seen a lot of courage from those around me this week. Everyone has showed me in someway that we are all afraid of something... That we all have something trying to push us back from being who we are meant to be, but with the Lord we can push back and find the courage that keeps us moving. My district and the friends and family I have made here give me courage. Sister Nydegger helps me so much in realizing why we are out here and gives me that extra boost to go out and begin again, and again. I love her and what I am learning from her and my ending time here.

I am really grateful for my mom and my sister for picking out those small and meaningful mangers that I have had the pleasure of giving out this Christmas. I gave some away in all the areas of Slovenija and it's always had such a sweet Spirit in giving them the little baby Christ and seeing the eyes of those I love, flicker with a warmth of peace. I gave one to a Ukrainian family and their little boy who is three opened it up. He looked at it in amazement. He usually is full of energy and swinging on the trees like the wild monkey he is, but as he held up the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph his gaze shook him with a smile so bright and fervent. He looked up at me and said in Russian, pointing to the figures on the statue. ''Mommy, Papa, and baby... BABY!'' How precious it is to look at this manger and see the family as a whole. The mom and dad and their efforts as well to raise up baby Jesus. I got to see the beautiful perspective of a small child, who can see the importance of such a small statue, a small manager... Even if he just saw it as just a mom and dad and a baby. He hugged it and kept it. I believe it proves how important God wanted Jesus to have loving parents, parents that loved Jesus so dearly... Not only in Heaven but down here on earth. That families are so important to Heavenly Father and especially now we must remember this, this holiday season, and forever.

We had our branch Christmas party on Saturday. All the members and people began to gather in and make their ways to their sits. Members that hadn't been to church for quite some time even came. This gathering was something quite beautiful. The electrical power actually went out in the beginning of the party and yet the Spirit of the room was still rich with cheerfulness and love. I found in the dark we began to unfold ourselves and relax and realize that all of us were bright from the hearts and love that we had for each other. The missionaries did a musical program at the end and the Spirit was strongest when one of our sweet members bore testimony of Christ. We had traditional Slovenian food at the party which contained sour kraut, sausages, and buckwheat mush or something. Whatever it was... I swear to you it gives me weird dreams at night.

One of the members who is a newly returned missionary has been waiting for his missionary name-tag replacement for quite some time. He didn't have one because it was lost on his mission and he requested a new one but it never made it to him in time before his service ended. Months down the road he was still waiting for it hoping that one day he would get it, but he was losing hope that he would as days went on. When we, the missionaries went to Zagreb this last week we received unexpectedly his name-tag and our district was happy and excited to give it to him finally. We wrapped it up and stuck a ribbon around it and brought it to our branch Christmas party. When the time was right we gave it to him. He was really happy to finally have it. It was really cool to see such a cool kid like this member wanting his name tag so much. All the history behind that name tag, all that it is and what it meant and what it still brings to his recollection of dreams and miracles that came to life because of a decision of a young man wanting to go on a mission to serve the Lord. The next day he gave a talk in Sacrament meeting. As I was listening to him speaking I looked at his white shirt pocket and noticed embedded in that pocket was the familiar shape of a missionary name tag. I am not sure exactly why but that moment my heart had a lot of gratitude for being on a mission and seeing this member wanting to remember and still be that example too. It touched me that we all are missionaries and we all need that reminder from day to day that we are all serving a master. I love my Savior Jesus Christ. I am so honored that he is my master, my healer, my joy, my salvation. He never gets tired of us asking for his loving hand or guidance and he is always willing to listen and get us through anything we may be challenged in. I know this is the only path I want to be on the rest of my life and I have seen the many blessings I have received because I have chosen Him. I feel a deep relief and peace, a courage that anything is possible. I cannot believe in impossible anymore... because I know with Him anything and everything is. I know if Jesus says, ''Come follow me'' he won't just help me in the beginning but he will help me till the very end.

At our Zone Conference Party, the Slovenija zone got to sing a specially number after President Grant spoke. The song was called, ''Peace, Peace, Peace'' It was such a beautiful experience to gather together as a zone and sing such a really pretty, real song. I think that is the biggest gift that Jesus gives to us. Peace... If we have peace we can do anything. We can know that everything will be okay... Good or bad. It's one of my favorite gifts I have learned to feel in every aspect of life. I want to strive for it in everyday situations and hope to give it to those I can. Christmas is coming... Jesus was born. That day is so rewarding and can help us reflect on what we did this year for Jesus, and ask ourselves -how did we return our love to him? There are so many ways to give back, there are so many ways to lend your time and talents to people that need them, there are so many ways to brighten the day for other people where ever you are in the world. I hope and urge you to find those ways, to lend your time, to brighten the days of all of those around you. Life is so short, the point of it all is to empty our hearts out each day for those around us. When you close your eyes at night, let those lids be fueled by a heart that has never stopped beating for other people.

Happy Christmas Family and Friends!
I hope you serve and remember with all your hearts that Christ was born now let us rejoice.

Sestra Holly Cuthbert

While in Ljubljana, Holly got to see some of her most favorite people!