Monday, December 30, 2013

Week 22 / Love is All You Need

Dear Family! I love you! Thanks for this awesome week!
It was super great this week to go around our town and give away treats and talk about the Savior with everyone. To share that sweet message always made the days brighter. While being on a mission it is kind of inevitable that you bear your testimony all the time, but how great you feel after you say it. Like you want to say it all the TIME, Even in my broken down Slovene, it feels so right and so complete.
I gave a talk this week on how love and peace grows our faith. I wanted to go all out in metaphors and words of wisdom that would blow their minds! As time came down to the actually speaking, the words that I spoke, the simple phrases I ended up doing were the strongest. It was an eye opener to me that this Gospel has simplicity but how deepening it is. That we don't need to elaborate and make complications, but simply state the truth and that is enough. I have much gratitude for simple words that can go a long way. Like, ''We are God's Children. He loves us.'' I find that so powerful. If we could just wrap our heads more around those words, I think we would see and do things a lot differently. 
We can learn so much about God, about Jesus when we just love. One of the gifts God has given us is to love and be loved in return. The plan that Heavenly Father gave to us was made because of the love He has for us as His Children. Jesus our Savior came down to this earth and died for us because of the love He has for us as His brothers and sisters. They loved us so much that it is just right to try to love that much back. To meet the world to love all God's children, you are meeting your whole family. Let them in. It's a nice reminder to me that we really do just need to love and love and accept everyone as our own. As one of the members said, '' When you meet someone new or old you love them no matter what. You accept them no matter what, even if they don't do it your way. You love. You treat them as Kings and Queens.'' It struck me. I love how true this member lives by this golden-ness. I want to be only that. I hope I can strive for that more and more.
We are all children of God. We all have a destiny, we all deserve happiness. We all deserve another chance. We can always turn to Jesus Christ for peace. When you truly remember the Savior you have the fullest love. We must pray to love people more. When it is done with love it is done right. If you will only allow God's love into your life, it can soften any sorrow, mend any wound, and heal any heart. I promise if we reach out to others with love, if we try to strive to live and be more Christ like. If we do what is right. We will find that peace, that love... Overwhelmingly. Sometimes it can come in a blink, sometimes it may take years, but I promise God and the Savior are always with you. They know your name, they know your needs, and how much they LOVE YOU. If we remember the sacrifices Jesus made, the atonement He gave, if we try to serve diligently, and keep His commandments. Serve with all we got, listen, be kind, pray, pray, pray, if we do this, our love will increase and our happiness will grow.
To find this ultimate happiness. The secret to it all is only by following Christ. I know this. I love Jesus Christ, I love Heavenly Father, and I love you all. Bodi ljubezen, bodi ljubezen, bodi ljubezen in mu sledi. ( Be love, be love, be love and follow him) I had to, just had to say that in my talk. It's my motivation, my motto.
I can't tell you how much it meant to me to see you and all the family. It made me realize even more that I need to work hard and that how little time I have here. I need to live it and share this gospel like crazy. It also made me realize I love you a ton. Not that I didn't already know that, but just the fact that I love you and I know I get to spend the rest of my eternities with you. I want everyone to have this joy. This promise. I loved hearing your voices and seeing your faces. I really can't believe I haven't seen you in so long, yet when I saw you it felt like you had been with me all along. It was really great.
It's nice to see people rooting for me.
Just know I am rooting for you too!
Christmas was love and all about Christ. There was a calm and there was just sweet hope in the air that night. Our Christmas didn't have snow or cold air. It was surprisingly really really warm. I really liked it.
Happy New Years! It's a bright year to come. To have faith in the Savior gives us strength to see a brighter future. We have power to change. We have power to move forward. I wish you all happiness and love. I hope it's wonderful and you have a toast on New Years Day at midnight, I will probably be sleeping. Woop Woop!
Love you.
Sestra Cuthbert

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas Phone Call

Holly called and talked to all of us this week, and she sounded wonderful and happy. She is excited to be where she is in the world and loves loves loves her mission. 

Holly's Testimony in Slovene

Monday, December 23, 2013

Week 21 / Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas this week!
Three Beautiful Ladies

I am more than excited to talk to my amazing family! How I love you all and am excited to hear and hopefully see your faces! I can't believe the time. It's been flying and the more I am here the more I get teary eyed. No joke. I am such a weeper. Jesus Christ lives. He lives and He is my Savior, my Redeemer, my brother, my best friend. I am so grateful for His birth. For His perfect example. For giving us hope and our most fullest joy.

Being here in this City- is a treat during this season. While we are getting ready some presents and chocolates, we are also preparing meals and sharing the message of our loving Savior. That is the best gift. I walk around and have this tag on that has His name. Jesus Christs Church is on the earth today! I can't help but reflect on the passages in the Bible of His birth and His life. The more I come to know of Him, the more my life feels happier. More full. I have to admit there have been times in my life I have felt just empty. I guess we all have our downs, but the more I have drawn nearer to Heavenly Father and the Savior the more I realize their hand in my life. Or rather their arms around me. How much they love us. And how much I love them. It is a beautiful time. Our Savior was born. Gets to me! You know!! Why Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ do everything is because of love and I believe for this Christmas we must love back. Love His Children. For Christmas Eve Sestra P and I thought it would be nice to cook for some people who will not have anyone this Christmas holiday. There is this 22 year old, out on his own who has no one... It's the least we can do. I just wish we could do more. You see a lot of that here and how much we wish we could just help everyone. I love this city. I love these people. I love that I get to be a Representative of Jesus Christ and warm the people's hearts up from this cold cold cold weather. I love. I love. I love.

For the White Christmas it was only Sestra P and I who had someone on date for baptism. So the Ljub event was no more and we were planning to have it here. So this last week we were trying to get the baptismal font prepared, but during the week the font was just having troubles. It wasn't going to work out. The member fixing the pool suggested that we could just go to Ljub for the baptism since they actually have a real font and that is where it was originally going to be. Sestra P and I thought that would be really good since the water won't be cold and our investigator won't have to jump in the pool by a ladder. She is the best and would have gladly done it! But she was nervous but so excited. She came walking into the church like a movie star. We read from the Book of Mormon and said a prayer. Then we were off to Ljubana. I just kept praying that she would have peace of mind and know how great this was all going to be. She put on her white clothes and looked beautiful. She sang her  musical number solo and Sestra P and Staresina H spoke. I said the prayer and I was wrapped in the thought that this is the best ''white christmas'' I ever had. When it was time for her to get in the font we led her to the door. I couldn't help but hug her and tell her how much we loved her. She was so ready. She was worried about bending in the pool because she didn't work out that day. :) We reassured her that she would be okay. When the prayer was said and she got put in the water - sparks were flying. She came from out of the water smiling so big. She was so bright. I remember telling her before the baptism started that she was going to be whole. She was remembering herself and who she had been and she was sad about that. The Spirit led me to open my scriptures and read Enos 1:5-8.
It reads..."And there came a voice unto me, saying: Enos, thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou shalt be blessed. And I, Enos, knew that God could not lie; wherefore, my guilt was swept away. And I said: Lord, how is it done? And he said unto me: Because of thy faith in Christ, whom thou hast never before heard nor seen. And many years pass away before he shall manifest himself in the flesh; wherefore, go to, thy faith hath made thee whole." She was teary eyed but hopeful. I told her... That was her. I knew how true it was. I knew that through the Atonement, through Jesus Christ she would be made clean. That through Him we are whole. We are finally at home. That day was full and amazing. We went home by train and we all sat down and sang hymns and a little Merry Christmas. It was the best day ever. She said something beautiful -  "I now face the sun and the shadows are behind me."  I love that. Quite an amazing 27 year old.

Guess what I really want? Everyday? Alma 27:17, ''Now the joy of Ammon was so great even that he was full; yea, he was swallowed up in the joy of his God, even to the exhausting of his strength and he fell again to the earth.'' I want to be joyful,to be so happy. That through Him, I am full. I need nothing more. Everyday should be so full of joy, overwhelming that when it's time for bed we will fall to the earth. Life can be just that good and it is. I love it.

The sausage who must not be named. We went to one of our in-actives this weekend and she brought out a "famous sausage" of Slovenia and it was huge. It wasn't what you expected and the taste was rather funny it was black and the more I ate it the more I realized I wasn't just eating normal meat. We asked her son what was in it and he said if I told you, you probably wouldn't eat it anymore. I just started laughing. We ate that thing and he looked up how to say it in English. Guess what I ate mom? I ate pig ear, intestines, and nose. Maybe a little more. But mom. I DID IT! Woo!

Today is Joseph Smith's Birthday. I love that man. We were watching a documentary on him the other day and just watching and hearing how much he went through. How much faith he had, how amazing he was and still is. I love how much compassion he had for the people and love he had for the Lord. It was very inspiring to watch him and his life works. I am so grateful for Joseph Smith for how much he did for each of us. For giving us the Book of Mormon, for helping restore this Gospel. For being our Prophet. Our Friend, our Brother. I really look up to him. I couldn't help but admire how happy he was. No matter what, he was optimistic. I take heart in that and hope I can somewhat emulate such a great person. I hope that you take some time out of your day today to read or watch something on Joseph Smith. Hey, Mom you could bake a cake? yeah? yeah!

The Christmas Party was a blast and I loved the musical number by President Rowe's twin daughters. There was great food and great reuniting with my MTC family. I loved embracing Sestra K. And at the end there was a spiritual devotional and President Rowe spoke about what we can give for Christmas this year... The spirit was very powerful and in it I could feel the love and strength of what President Rowe spoke of. This year we can give a contrite spirit and a broken heart. We must always be willing to keep trying. To keep moving forward. To be humble and realize alone we can not do anything. I thought it was a neat thought and something to think about.

I can't wait for Wednesday but until then I am keeping busy. I love you and I hope you remember the true meaning of Christmas. I hope you will "be love" this Christmas holiday and think of others. Give and give. Love you, wish you the best.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, December 16, 2013

Week 20 / Love Love Love to you all

Hey, Hey!!!

I have been loving the stories you sent me for each day of December. In fact, I like them so much that I have been sharing some with my investigators and in-actives. I just want to let you know- Mom and Dad, you are inspired. Sestra P and I went to this man's house and we were having a good conversation about Christmas and everything but then it was time for me to start off the spiritual thought. I didn't know where I was going with this or that and the story was in English but I reached down for the little envelope from my bag and took out the story of the man going to Jerusalem and holding the baby lamb. As I spoke the words and tried to conger up what I could in Slovene the Spirit took hold and warmed the air. Holy Cow... It was such a strong over powering feeling when I told that story and how Jesus is our Shepherd. I was testifying of Christ and chills were going crazy on me. How much I love this gospel and how it makes me feel, but more importantly how great my joy is because I know Christ lives.

Our investigator is doing really well. We have been going over just about everything we can. We have been praying so hard. Having mighty prayers of just total and complete asking for help, that we may have the spirit and that our investigator will take the things we are teaching into her heart. When we go for the lessons she has already read things that fit right along with what we were going to teach her and commit her to. So, she is so obliging and she will be baptized this week! Although, this is the most amazing thing ever, we must keep working hard and make sure she gets our love and care everyday. Pray for her this week Mom and Dad, she needs it. She has been a little scared but she knows full-hearted she wants this. It is changing her and I can see it in her face how much it is. I always feel God's overwhelming love for her when I see her and I make sure she knows how much that is true. We had just taught the Word of Wisdom and the next time we saw her she had just gone to a party and said they were all drinking and such. Sestra P's and my face dropped. Thinking NOOO!!! But she went on to say how good she felt when she was just drinking her cup of water and that she felt so strong. We seriously beamed out how golden and awesome she is. She loves church and soaks in what everyone is saying. I will take pictures of her this week. I absolutely love her.

Our branch Christmas party was on Saturday and it involved us missionaries decorating and cooking a lot... This is when I got a glimpse of what a relief society president or someone over a ward party has to do... I bow down to you all. Wow. You do so much. I can't tell you how much being on a mission strengthens but helps us realize how much people put their love and effort in. We need to learn how to be helpful and grateful. Because ward members do a lot. A lot, a lot. So shout out to all my ward members back home. Thanks for all you do. So grateful... And Mom you're a babe. Such a hard worker. I want to be more like you.

Also for the Christmas party I made that famous frosting, the one you always make mom. The Death by Chocolate. Ohh yea, always hits the spot. The people love it. LOVE IT HERE. The branch president wife says she tried it and then she craved it fortnightly. I gave her a jar of that goop for Christmas. She was way too happy. I love that woman. I was the angel for the nativity scene and I just wore a white cloth. It was actually really beautiful and I got to hold a big star wand thing. I kept messing around with it and leading the music with it. Everyone after thought we had done super awesome and practiced for weeks. Nope, we did it in one day! Boo-ya our branch is cool!

We showed the Joseph Smith movie to one of our awesome 22 year old investigator and he absolutely loved it. He is like already a member. Always staying after to clean up. Talking to everyone and when someone new comes in he bee lines them and gets them comfortable. He is super and I love seeing his progression in this church. He loves the feeling here. I do too.

I finally got my Visa! I went to go pick it up in Ljubljana and got to hang with Sestra B and Sestra B, two of my favorite ladies. Those two lovely girls are sweet and I love talking to them and catching up. They helped us get around and find the building we had to go to.

Transfers have come and left....wooooo - No one moved! YAY! Which makes me super happy because I wanted to be here for our White Christmas on the 21st, and because I love Sestra P. What's new? She is simply amazing.

This week we went down a weird, kinda creepy, kinda cool, street as we were trying to find someone. but we couldn't.  Sestra P wanted to get out of there, but I told her I had a really really good feeling about going down farther. We went down farther and nothing happened. So we turned around and started walking back and a man passed and stopped because he wanted to know about my tag. He had a mixture of Slovene and German going on. What was cool was I could understand so I started going half Slovene half German too. Sestra P was so confused as she was trying to get his number and he would be like, '' Eins, stri , nula, funf''. Awesome. I loved it. After we left. I just got way happy. I love German. Actually I just love languages... Yea? yea.

For our weekly planning we finally got to write we have 1 baptism this week. I got up from my desk and started boogieing in the kitchen and singing, '' I feel good!! Dun dun dun I knew that I would now! I feellll right, like sugar and spice So Gooooodd!'' It's going to be a great week.

I keep seeing the Hobbit signs. I am glad you loved it. I can't wait to see it with all of you.

By our house they made a huge ice skating rink and at night when we are going home there is so many people and excitement that I can't help but imagine my Ivy skating on that ice. It's good memories and it makes me miss you all. But not a bad miss. A good loving miss. I love you all. It's been hard news this week to hear about the struggles and the heart-aches. My heart and prayers were going to you fervently especially this week. It's hard to look passed things sometimes and sometimes it's hard to see the joy in the the sad. But I hope you find the beauty in the hard. I know that everything will work out. I want to hug you all and I am so excited to skype or phone call you soon. We must learn to love our fate the good and the bad. The struggles and beauty in life and to love it. Because it's leading to your final destiny, your final happiness. I will write you a letter this week. I hope you see God's tender mercies, I hope you feel His love, I hope you never forget to pray. It sounds so simple but it's so much more. We can talk to our Heavenly Father. How cool is that. What's even cooler is He answers back. He in on the other line. Just Listen. You all are amazing, and I love you. Can't wait for Christmas. Can't wait for you.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, December 9, 2013

Week 19 / Christmas is coming

Holly's new Peruvian Hats

I feel like the more and more I am here the more I want to be in comfy clothes. I keep passing hippie/gyspy clothes and fall in love. They know how to dress cool. Can I just say? They have bright colors and do-dads that I think is super awesome. Who knows, maybe when I come home I will just be some crazy haggard colorful Mormon hippie girl. That could be fun. Wow. Family. Do you know how much I love you. My sister is getting married. One of the most beautiful days of her life and I am missing those sweet moments. Man, I wish the best and I hope you know I will be loving and thinking of all of you. This December month is too good. I am excited to call Daniel my brother. Give him a hug for me. Mom, you better take a trip to tropical islands after. I bet you are working 110% You are the most loveliest mother and hardest working. How lucky we are to have such a sweet spirit as you.

The streets are unwrapping with lights and Christmas decorations. The lights lull me into the streets. Where there are night markets with little trinkets and hot coco. A lot of Santas and a lot of drunk Santas wondering about. I just really love this Christmas season. I keep thinking how great it was when family would gather, when service would become more abundant and love was being shared to the max. But most of all my thoughts turn to the Savior. The birth of our amazing brother Jesus Christ. I have been reading the stories Mom has sent me for each December day. I read it out loud so Sister P can hear the stories too. I get wrapped up in my blankets and tea and begin to read the pages. It is a good prep for the day. It helps me remember to look outward and remember of Jesus's b-day. I just read the story of a college student going into the fields in Jerusalem where he would see the now a day shepherds gathering their sheep. A young Shepherd boy let the college student hold a newly born lamb and it was then that he realized how Jesus knew the life of Shepherds. That they would hold the baby sheep close to them until the long dark nights had passed. That Jesus is our Shepherd and he too holds us till the long dark nights pass. I really liked that analogy.

Dancing around their formers
Our investigator has been really getting into the scriptures and talking on light and dark. The storms and winds that may come but how firm we shall be if we hold onto God. I love it. Everything shines when we have God in our lives. The storms may roll on down, but we will dance and wait for the sun to return. Or the Son. Either way. I really love looking at the hard and finding the beauty, Sister P is really good at that. I really love her and all she has done for me. She knows my facial expressions too well. She calls me Winnie the Pooh, or Teddy Bear. I just give her a disgusted face but laugh hard. She really takes care of me and finds good in all. I really look up to that. We go pretty crazy some days. We were working on our former investigators papers and getting the area book organized. We placed it all over the kitchen and I put on my long Peruvian hat and just danced around it. Sometimes. You need a break. It was fun, Sister P puts up with my weirdness. She is so good to me.

We went to zone conference and it was like always - incredible to hear the words of our zone leaders and AP's. Can't forget President Rowe and his words of pure wisdom. It was focused a lot on the Book of Mormon this time and it was really a powerful meeting. The Book of Mormon is why I am out here. It gives me purpose and guidance. I read it like "my how to do for dummies".  I find inspiration and see the blue prints within. When I have a struggle or just don't know how to get about things I go to it and the answer is there. With whatever we may be wondering. With whatever we are dealing with it is in this Gospel, this book. It's the answer. I am so grateful for the love and peace I feel through the Book of Mormon. I get so excited to read the words and find the beautiful details that can help others and to give them strength. This book changes people. It has changed me for the better. I am happy because of the knowledge I have, for the Gospel I get to be in. For my Savior Jesus Christ, For my Heavenly Father. You can't get better than this.
Zone Conference December 2013

After zone conference we were running late and trying to get to the train. We were carrying packages and Elder S started to carry others so he had like four piled high and we started running. We probably all looked hilarious running and freaking out! Elder  dropped his name tag and I picked it up like in those cool movies with in slow motion and getting stuff done while running full speed. No stopping us! I told him to go! And we booked it. By the time we got there we were sweating and we had missed the train. So we had a good laugh and started going through our packages to get some sweets. I got a package from my amazing ward and I was really happy and grateful for the sweet notes and goodies. Thank you my lovely ward back home, you are the best.

We have been hanging and teaching with the members and investigators and it's been a real treat having some amazing people to teach. We have a lady who is absolutely fantastic and her friend that got her involved with our church is super lovely. She was a Hare Krishna. Whatever that is called. She really enjoys life and when we got on the bus to go teach her friend we just boogied and sang all the way. She was a hit! One day we were walking by McDonald's and saw her in there with her son who is not a member so we ran in and got a bite so we could sit down with them and talk about the Gospel. Such a beautiful family.

This week has just been a lot of bearing testimony and getting ready for our Christmas Party. It's amazing how much comfort and spirit I get when testifying of Christ. When I say his name it's like warmth takes over the air and I feel at home. Testimonies are so important to share with others. not only to help others but to help ourselves in realizing what is truly important to us. And when we bear that testimony the Spirit gives us the boost and lets us recognizing our worth, that we are Children of God, a Heavenly Father, who loves us. It's super great.

We are getting a lot more teenagers and it's great to see all their hopeful faces and longing to know truth. We keep hanging with our youth in our branch, they are the sweetest cutest little missionaries I know. We are blessed to have those YW in our lives. I hug on them and when they get down I make sure they have my shoulder to lean on. I think of you mom when I do this. How much I feel like a mom to these kids, how much I want them to have the best. I just love my parents for being my shoulder to lean on so many times. I am so lucky

We found on our play list the Moses movie song "Look through Heaven's Eyes".  Best song ever. That's on repeat 24/7 at our house. We love it.

I feel like Bear Grills out here. We have to eat everything and anything to Survive! And sometimes people feed us... Well I don't know what! But to survive this winter cold we have to keep our proteins and a lot of Electrolytes! Ya, grub here is like everything from nature. Their desserts are like bird seed, and nuts with no sugar. It's like where is the BUTTER? Just kidding. I really love the organic and healthiness of Slovenia. It makes me feel better.

I want to know how the wedding goes. You all better boogie it up on the dance floor for me and have 2 slices of some cake. It's the only way. Wish the best luck to Laurel. I hope she is alright.
I love you all, remember to have tons of fun. To love with all you got and the be those amazing people I know and love. Have wonderful Christmas/ wedding holidays. Do go crazy and love it.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 18 / It's Christmas Time!

Dear Family,

It's CHRISTMAS TIME! I am so happy for this December month... I can't believe the time and how fast everything is going.

Monday (p-day) last week, Sestra P and I wanted to have a chill day. So we grabbed our mattresses and set them up in the dining room and watched some awesome little bible videos from the 80's. So cheesy but super good. We had like a sleep over that night on the floor and the next day we had to do exchanges with Sister J and Sister F for 2 days. I was taking rule over our city for the days while Sister P would be heading south to Zagreb. Sister P got me all prepped and pumped to be on my own and show Sestra F.

When I was with Sister F it was really fun. I got to practice my teaching and contacting skills and she showed me how it's done to get into apartments. She was really sweet and dedicated. I used a lot of faith those two days. We would want to go somewhere... and in my head I would think... Oh, yea... I don't know where that is. I would laugh out loud and pray very hard. Hoping we wouldn't get lost. Some how every time we were led the right way. Always making it, I would always have a big smile and yet every time my jaw would drop when we would turn the corner and make it to our destination without any hesitation. The Spirit is incredible and it just helps me realize we really need to keep in tune with the it. It is amazing how at home in Utah, I would get too caught up with the world and things going on... I would get lost. Now recognizing the Spirit in everyday thinking helps the day go far more better. I feel found, where ever I maybe. I do not feel alone. I know I am protected and I know that the spirit will guide me. So much of the time on the exchange I kept praying for guidance to be led to people who needed me. Sestra F and I got on a bus and I sat next to a cute old man with the best smile around. I talked to him about our church and how awesome it was. He noticed the Book of Mormon I had been practicing reading out of and he asked for me to come by his house so that he could learn more. He gave me his address right then and there. It still amazes me how I can understand people sometimes. The Spirit was really helping me when Sister P had to leave on exchanges. I noticed  I could communicate a lot better. I am just so grateful the Spirit helped me have guts for me to be courageous. Without it I would be just sitting in my apartment eating nutella. Oh, my goodness they love nutella here. Just hazelnut is in everything...

In our English class we have some pretty amazing people. I was teaching them the word RAD and AWESOME and acting out a few things for them. Kind of been really weird. But it helped them remember the words. and now when I ask them how they are, they always say "I am doing so radddd." I love it.

We had to make dessert for the Celje Thanksgiving last week and we wobbled our way over to the train station with all our dishes. It was great to see my ''mom'' again after exchanges, Sister P. We reunited in Celje and had a great Thanksgiving. We all prepped together the feast and ate like ravaging beasts. Elder B made some delicious pumpkin pie. I was seriously impressed with how good it was. I also got to say the Thanksgiving prayer and it was weird saying it in English for the Elderly Couple. I think I am sticking with Slovene when I come home. ;) But I am, more than anything thankful for my beautiful family. It is for sure at the top of my list.

We brought an investigator to a baptism in Ljubjana on Saturday and during the baptism I was praying so hard that he would feel something. After the actual baptism was done and testimonies were being given he turned to me and said he had the biggest chills. He was aching to find out more. Sestra P and I jumped on that because he seriously is a goldie when it comes to the church. He loves that we all act as a family and he really has the sincerest heart. I love teaching him.

We have got 2 people on date now for the "white christmas" and they are super excited. It was hard for both of them at first but the more we teach and see them the more they become strong and realize how badly they want this gospel. We went to one of our investigators that is on date and I found out he is a kick boxing teacher. I was asking how it is done and we began to draw our poses, me doing some karate pose and he pretended to hit me in the face. We sat down to do our lesson and he kept on pretending to hit me showing all this moves. So while we were teaching about church and baptism he kept pretending to punch my face and karate chop my leg. I couldn't stop laughing and I started making action noises after awhile. He is very great and sincere. We calmed down after a few minutes and had a great lesson. He wants to get baptized in a lake in the winter... We told him it would be way cold and he just said wear coats then (Poor Elders).

We hung out with another investigator and her family. I really love this family and their daughter is  so similar to me. It is really crazy weird. Every week they go up to the mountain forest to gather water from the stream to drink and sing. We went with them and it was beautifully peaceful. I can't believe how much I love these people. They are really amazing.

I saw Sestra Br...  and goodness I LOVE that women, I cannot wait to see her again on Tuesday/tomorrow for Zone conference. She is one tough woman, and I admire her a lot.

I realize to find happiness is in loving, even when it's the hardest thing to do. TO see God's love we have to show and give it to others. I really love to love. I can't get over it. If we fear, if we are scared, if we feel alone. God is there and His love over rules it all. I love 1 John 4.. It is a lot about love and one of the verses, 18 I believe, says there is no fear in love. But perfect love casteth out fear. We are but in the heart of God, and we have no need to fear. Hope you all love more and be the courageous lions that you are. I am excited to hear how the wedding goes.

I love you all so much. Tell dad he is sweet and I bet his testimony probably would of made me cry. Love you once again.
Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 17 / Thanksgiving

Dear Family!
On December twenty-first we will be having a "White Christmas" where every one comes together and all the people that are ready to get baptized do it together. It is going to be one happy, spiritual day. Sestra P and I have really been working towards that day, but we want our investigators to be ready and have a true desire, and not pushed. We have this one investigator who is incredible and it’s amazing to talk to her and know how much she truly wants this gospel but how hard it is for her to change when her family who are Catholic - are totally against the idea. But she is trying and we are building her faith and reassurance. Really it is up to the people to make that choice and all we must do is accept and love them and help them as much as we can. Whether they come into our fold or not, we just need to love them. This investigator wants to meet more and it took Sestra P and I back, before she decides. We went to church on Sunday and she just was there. We were not expecting her because she says she has to go to mass at those times. So it made me super happy and pumped. I sat proudly next to her and got to admire her awesome voice while singing the hymns. Did I mention she is an awesome singer? It is beautiful.

Also this week we have another lady who is starting to pray and every time she is done with saying a prayer with us she looks up and is just beaming, asking if she did all right. She is fantastic... it is sad though how much they do not believe in hope here. She has a hard time understanding that we need to be happy in this life even when no one can find a job, especially her son. Slovenia has gone through a rough time. She really wishes her son to have job. When she prays she never thinks of herself but prays so much, so sincerely for her son to find joy. We pray super hard for that too. It is interesting how you walk into a lesson sometimes preparing for a certain lesson but you end up teaching something completely different in the end, that happens a lot. The spirit guides and the needs of the people are what should guide the lesson. I am so lucky for the gift of tongues because it turns on when those moments happen, because it takes a lot of faith when the room becomes silent and you know it is your turn to speak and you have no idea how to say what you need to say in Slovene. But some how, some way, words flow, prayers are answered and hearts are touched. It puts me at awe every time that God being God takes our small and simple needs for each individual and blesses us. I am grateful for that and ever humbled.

Can I tell you again that I love my companion. At the end of the day we tend to sit on the floor with our peanut butter and apples and just talk. She always asks me what good I saw in the world that day, or what changed me, and what did I love. She has a very positive attitude. It keeps me strong and makes me always have the reassurance that even the rainy days, the hard days, can have  tiny miracles in between. And how we are just so small compared to everything, yet we mean so much. That we are but ordinary people who do extra-ordinary things because of our faith. Faith is what makes anything happen, and we all need a little help growing that. Even me, well especially me. It is nice to get on my knees everyday and pray to have an open heart, to have open eyes, to seek more faith. To repent of what we could of done better and than to get up and start a new day, a new slate. We are so lucky to have that knowledge that we always have a chance. Although, it is sometimes hard to see. We know it is true (most of the time, we remember that). 
We went to one of my favorite investigators this week... It is hard to choose my favorite because they all literally become one of them, but we went and sat as they sang to us some hymns and folk songs in Slovene. I could just lie on the couch and close my eyes. I don’t know why but the mom’s voice would remind me of your voice mom and it makes me feel at home... and warm. It is nice to be across the world yet I can still get little patches of memories of you. It makes things better.

Our members are doing wonderful and are really excited for the Christmas party coming up. One of our members invited a young 22-year-old man and he now comes every time. He told us how he just likes the feeling that we are all one big family. He told us he doesn’t have a family so it is nice. It is sad how many people here have lost their families or have had serious tragedies. There is a lot of hurt and poor here. But yet when you go to them they give you their all, their everything. It is incredible how good these people are.

The scenery is beautiful when you get in the countryside. It is hard to see when we are cooped up in a city. But the buildings are colored and the cobblestones work out your feet a lot. They are starting to put up Christmas things and they are really vibrant and warm in the center at night when things are dimly lit. One night they had just a bunch of candles out; it was enchanting like a fairy tale. The church bells here are my favorite, we pass by a great big red church everyday when going to our church and when I hear the bells I feel my heart ringing with it. I don’t know why but I just really love those church bells? 
Franciscan Church, the Big Red Church she passes.

Oh yeah, Sestra Br is in Ljubljana with Sestra Bu. I will see them probably in a week. I called her up when she first got here and talked to her. It was funny, Sestra Bu was like “Hey, Sestra Cuthbert is on the phone” and Sestra Br was like... “No way... SHUT UP”. We talked and it was good to hear that girly.  I love her a lot.

We were at another investigators home this week and he was smoking his cigarette on the balcony, it was really quiet and all of a sudden he just started going full out, singing Phil Collins “You’ll be in my heart” from the Disney movie Tarzan..... He was singing it in like opera form though. I didn’t know what to do with myself. He just looked at us and I just started singing with him. Why not?, I thought. That song reminds me of my brother when he was a little boy and singing it. It made me smile thinking about my best brother, my best friend back home.

No worries Mom - I bought boots for 30 Euros, they are pretty comfy but they are like mini combat boots. Our mission leader calls me a strong beast woman. They are just black short boots like my dr martens at home, just a normal boot... I didn’t realize how BB (bad butt) I looked though.. Opps. Still your daughter, I know…

Hah but ya no worries - I love you. And man we have such great kids in our family - Parker and Ivy. I love you, Mom. Glad you are happy and well especially with new calling. Ivy is going to be so much older when I get home... Weird... And Parker sounds like a man. Holy Hannah Batman. I just really hope and pray that they both will be strong, cuz it’s a crazy world out here.
Can I just say be happy because you have a testimony of the Savior. How can you not smile when you know this? If you understand this... Then honestly, there is no stopping us from having the fullest joy and the fullest smile. I am so grateful what this gospel brings and the dear family I have. I know I talk about that every week but it is true. I cannot get over that fact. We always hope that one day we will wake up and say I want nothing more. But with this gospel I can wake up now, everyday and say... I want nothing more. This gospel gives us what we need, it nourishes, it heals, it strengthens. It gives me the hope I didn’t think was possible, and it gives me the courage to move forward. This gospel is all about family and love - what is better than that. I want nothing more because it already is my “more”. May you see that in your life, too. May you see the light and not be blind. It is sometimes dark and even I get scared. But whether its in wisdom I see light or whether I see darkness all the days of my life I will be eternally grateful for the truth of this gospel, which I now see and which provides the light of my life. I am so thankful and full of heart. I wish you a very grateful Thanksgiving. I hope you realize how much thanks there is to give, but how much thanks I have for you, dear perfect family. I love you so.
Love, Sestra Cuthbert

P.S. We are going to be in Celje for Thanksgiving, with one of the Older Missionary Couples, we need more of them out here. They are so great and good to us.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 16 / I Won't Give Up

Love this Photo on the Hills of Solvenia.
Dear Mamasita, Dear Papa, My Siblings!

I love you dearly, I cannot wait to check my email every week and see the pictures and what is happening next. You always inspire me to see the beauty and happiness but realizing that life is real and there are hard things, but staying strong, breaking through it with love is the only way to live it. I really cannot wait to sit down on a couch and just snuggle up next to you. Mom, can I have a rain check for some Indian food with you? It will be our little date. They have some mean Indian guru food here. I live for those days we get it.

How is Papa doing? I hope he knows that every letter I get from him is inspired. There are situations that are happening with investigators and I do not know which way to turn. Dad's letters are always the answers.

What is also really amazing is I use songs to connect with people here. I am a walking juke box. I sing a lot, but in a lesson there is always a point that I feel I need to sing some tunes that really inspires me for the better. The people here in Slovenia love to sing. Usually when we hop on over to houses they bring out hymns, or like an amazing grace song. It not only touches them, but me. Because music... Is so... beautiful... It makes me the happiest even on the lowest days. One of our investigators was having a rough time with trust. She was asking why we do not just give up. That we are not enough. It touched me so hard that when I talked to her I began to cry because I knew how much God loves her. So many people here think they are alone. That God is not with them, that they turn hardened and distant. They get so scared. They want hope. It hurts because I know how it feels. We all know how it feels. We are so caught up in life and many times go through hardships where we feel so alone, that Christ is not walking with us. But what we do not realize is Christ is carrying us. Our burdens, our afflictions... He takes it away and gives us tender mercies of peaceful mindedness or calls to a friend to come cheer you up with a smile. We are so lucky, so privileged, and so worth it. So enough to God our Heavenly Father. I cannot tell you that enough. He won't give up on us, so never give up. I love absolutely love my investigators here.

I really cannot handle them having rough times and when they are down. I never thought I would hug so much. I love them and I want them to know how much God does too. It is truly a blessing to be out here and do that. To gather the children and care for them as our own. I am so lucky to have this gospel and to feel inner peace. I am so lucky that I have a family that never gives up on me, even when times get rough. I am so lucky that I have the best book to read and ponder on. That the Book of Mormon is my long life book that I will keep reading, keep scribbling in little revelations, little helpers that help me with each day. I am so lucky, so privileged to have my brother, my savior die for me, for us, so that we could receive the fullest joy and that here in this life we need to learn to be like him and love with all we got. I really liked what an elder said in his testimony. He said he was here....He was only existing because of families. It is true we are,  all of us families and we secure and help each other. We love each other. Well hopefully. Yes, we can be dumb... Yes we are not always our best. But we are working on it. We are trying and that is what counts. I am so lucky to call you all family. If you think about it, we are lucky for a lot of things... We have so many blessings. So many things to be thankful for. I know I do. And all of it is because of families. Heavenly and earthly. I hope you know how much gratitude I have for you.

We had transfers this week and Sestra P. and I are still together. Which is awesome I love her and she is like my mom. Always taking good good care of me. I owe her a lot. We work really well together and are on the same page. It is nice to know that God puts us with people, even across the world that is perfect for each other. It is too good. I have been a little sick but I keep strong and head out, we walk a ton and it is nice to have fresh air. Winter is coming so I drink a lot of herbal tea and am trying to stay as healthy as possible. But no worries. It is always looking up.

This week is exciting because we got one of our investigators on date for baptism! He is hilarious and I swear he is the most hyper-est 50 year old you will meet. He talks so fast, we had to like yell his name to get a word in but I love that guy. He is a really good man and gives his all. You can tell he just wants to be closer to the Savior. He told us he cannot cook and then this week he said he cooked for us. We went over and it was breaded so Sister P. couldn't eat it because she is gluten intolerant. So he told me I had to eat it all...Most interesting...Weirdest dish... I have no idea what I was eating, what I was tasting, but God blesses you. Truly even not to have taste buds and to have a hollow leg.

There has been a lot of rain. But it has been really good. A lot of wet clothes and shoes and we come home every night and just get warm clothes on to plan. Hot chocolate is a blessing and tea... Oh, their tea here is fantastic. Mom, I will make you try a lot when I take you back here.

One more quick story. The Holy Ghost is incredible. It is amazing how in tuned you get with it. Sestra P. and I have the same thoughts and are just on the same spiritual brain wave when it comes to teaching. Like exact. We have had a lot of incredible experiences with it. But one is where we were sitting at a bus stop and wanted to get on because it was so cold, there was a girl next to me and the spirit was just egging me on to talk to her. Sestra P. was feeling it too. Without telling each other or looking at one another we both walked up to her and began to talk. We gave the Book of Mormon and she was so excited and wants us to come over. We need more teens in this church!!! And it is really hard to talk to them here because they just do not want anything to do with it. But this particular teenager was intrigued. It is such a testimony to me that God prepares the people and prepares us to find them. I feel like Sherlock Holmes or a CSI detective when we are navigating out people and looking at where formers live and such. It is all fun but serious work- that I really love and my feet are still getting the hang of. We walk a lot... And run a lot.... my calves burn. SO I guess when I get back I will just have solid rock leg muscles. Eh? Eh? win. Win. Anyway love you. Cannot believe Laurel is about to get married, exciting stuff. I hope all is well. Love love you.

Sestra Cuthbert

P.S. I am so much at peace... I have not had that in a while... It is so good I just do not know what to do with myself.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 15 / Love Fest

Draga Najlepsa Prijtelica, Ljuba Mama,

I love all the pictures you send me. All the little details and great stories that are happening back home. I love your words and what Parker, Ivy, and Laurel are up to. It makes me smile to know things chaos-ly go, but how great it all is. Tell the family I absolutely love them and their brilliance. Also, let the ward members know I have been receiving a few letters and it's been really the best to receive an abundance of love from around our neighborhood. Thank you. You all help me press onward.

I'll share a few quick things that happened this awesome week. A lot of thought process too. Vsem: The hot chocolate here is not what you think. It's divine, it's sure holy and it ain't watered down. No. Hot chocolate here is like a thick soup. We all went to get some on P-day after our hike to a church. We were all feeling very tubby afterwards. Fat but totally happy. Did I mention I eat like a hobbit here! I have my pre-breakfast, breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, brunch, lunch, afternoon snack, dinner, supper, before bed time snack. The Slovenians feed us like kings... I can just see my future now... When I am getting off the plane and you all see me and stop clapping because I will just be slugging along being Jabba the Hut. Great times though. I really love the Celija Sisters and Elders. It's hard to see Sister L. go home because she is seriously the best, most funniest woman I know. I really loved going on exchanges and learning from her. She was very true to herself and honest. I absolutely love her. 

We had Zone conference this week and it was incredible how much the spirit was there. President Rowe is an inspired man. We talked a lot on how we can get the members involved. He also brought up the fact that we need to be persistent in our work. To never, ever give up. To love with all we got. That when we are down we have to pick our self up and dust ourselves off. Try again, and again. We talked about contacting and to never get discouraged. That we must replace fear with faith and trust in the Lord. Which I fully agree, you can't do anything with out Him. He also brought up what holds most value in this life... Throughout history it has been Gold, Oil, Coal, Diamonds, resources of this world... but also beliefs too. Beliefs held a lot of value and dictated a lot of how things were brought about. Religion... how it was and still changes history forever. This Gospel is worth more than gold. Our testimonies our worth more than anything. It holds our values, we can't just dust off the foundation of the old and call it good. But, we must grow and build on it. We can't just spout off words and expect it to hold someones attention as missionaries... But rather, we need to live it. Let it dig in our souls, thrive in our hearts, develop as our language and shine through our eyes. We have to, it is the only way. Great conference though. It really inspired and keeps us on our feet. 

When we were coming back from the meeting there was a man was sitting on the train near us... I felt very impressed to talk to him but he was reading and seemed like he didn't want to be bothered. We told him hello and such but I just didn't know how to start. I asked Sister P. for her Book of Mormon because mine was already given away earlier. She had a bunch of papers in it and I asked if I could take it out. I knew for some reason that this book was not going to be ours for very long. She asked for what and just leave it in. I told her "I feel it, Sister. I feel something huge is going to happen... And I won't take no for an answer." I said a quick prayer and then turned over towards him and began to ask if he knew of this book, which I was showing him. I told him it was a awesome book and began to bear my testimony. He took it and said he would look at it. He did and was trying to give it back but I knew I would not take it back. I wouldn't let it happen. I began to promise him that it will change his life, that it has changed mine and how happy I was because of it. Sister P. got in on it and helped out. And I showed him some verses and it seemed like the light just opened up in his face. He eventually and gladly thanked us for the Book of Mormon. We chatted a little more and after he got off... I could not wipe the smile off my face. Persistence... We have to be persistent, and do it with much love.

We did some contacting with the two young women we have in our branch. I love them both but the one that went with me is super feisty and I really do love her. So... we went on splits with these two lovely girls and We were contacting everyone and it was a challenge because well, Slovene is still coming. But it was fun. We got a lot of rejections but nevertheless we still kept our heads high. By the end we had just had so many no's that we sat on the bridge and the girl was feeling sad that she didn't get to place a Book of Mormon. Since it was just her and I, I told her that we've got this.. and that we should just pray... To let God guide us to someone. After we prayed we looked down under the bridge and noticed a very old lady needing help taking out her garbage. We both looked at each other and booked it down to her. I think we startled the old lady because we were running down the hill  so fast and grabbing her bags. It was quite funny and she was happy to stop and talk. We talked about the gospel and of the Book of Mormon and placed the Book of Mormon in her hands.  She and I were just smiling, as we walked away. Always be the first to rush and help, it totally pays off.

Our Elderly Couple are leaving and we had a party for them. It's hard to see them go because they were just very awesome but it's been really great to have them, they have been like our grandparents out here. We ate with them and they have been was absolutely incredible and funny. It's amazing how many others devote their life to God's work and it was cool to hear their stories and for them to hear ours.

We went to the Goat ladies house again she couldn't hear us knocking at her door so we were going all Romeo and Juliet on her from the window. She came out and told us to go visit her daughter in the barn. We sat on haystacks in a tight room with the biggest cows ever, which surrounded us as we taught a lesson. The cows were just licking us and trying to eat our clothes. I must have looked confused and distraught because the cows just kept pooping and I couldn't keep a straight face. We got home for lunch break and we laid on the floor trying to figure out what had just happened and laughed it off. It was Good day.

From my favorite artist, Jason Mraz... (but let me take it out of the context of the song and put it right here on this e-mail as something I feel and that we all need to hear as individuals, as His children) "God knows we're worth it" Do you know that? Sometimes it's even hard for me to believe. But it's true. We should always be reminded of that. So let me tell you how much you are. Especially to me. I love you all. I see us as music and at some points we can't hear the rhythm and with God we have harmony. Life is full of sound and tunes and that makes us rejoice, sing, dance. But when we fall or mess up in life... it just feels empty... The harmony breaks... and the music stops. You notice something is missing, we carry no tune, only the buzzing noise of pause on a boom box. Only when we live through God will our song be loud. Only when we have the courage to press the play button and let the music play on. The music is within us, we all have that light, and you all are making a symphony and making the best tunes around. Let us dance, let us sing, let us be happy.

I love you all. I realize we need to say it more. I've decided I will say it more.. Even here in Slovenia. We went to one of our investigators that is in the hospital and she is very old and the cutest thing. We sang "I am a child of God" and I told her that God loves His children that I love Him and that I love her, too. It's true though... We all our family. Might as well love. If we do: burdens will be lighter. Times will be easier and smiles will grow brighter. I truly believe that. And with all that in mind. I wish you all a happy love-saying-fest week. I love you. Be good.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 14 / Loving this Life

Family, MOM!

Here in Slovenia, we sound like a funeral march when we sing. It is the most hilarious thing ever. I love it. We have ward choir every Tuesday and I am usually just laughing at how interesting we sound. But it's still quite good despite my misgivings. There is one guy in the choir who apparently can only sing soprano (he looks like Bane) who gave me a "sweet" but disgusting sweatshirt that is tiger print this week. He told me to be tiger woman. I got strange looks wearing it today - but hey,  I was very happy.

They don't celebrate Halloween here so during English class we brought candy and made them trick or treat. They were eating it up, literally. I can't believe the time is flying though. Soon it will be Guy Fawkes day! Remember Remember the 5th of November.... So have a good one for me alright? 
Anyway this week is like the week of dead and they take candles to the cemetery and clean it up. We went on Halloween and it was quite peaceful and everything was just glowing. We had a Halloween party afterward where we had to stuff our faces with whip cream to find the gummy worms and make each other mummies with toilet paper. One of our members brought a friend and he could only speak Serbian. He singled me out and was going off about how I looked like his daughter in Serbia. I just used it as an opportunity to invite him to church since we are already like family. Aye? aye. It worked! But it's been really fun talking to the members about being bold in talking to their friends and just bringing up the church in small ways. It's making progress here. 

This week we were looking for former members and we are going to all different kinds of apartments and knocking on a bunch of doors. They are hard to track down and sometimes we feel like just big stalkers. But hey, it just makes the work more fun. 

It's amazing how much I can feel the emotions of the people I teach. When one of our investigators walked in I just had a deep feeling of stress rush over me. We went along with the lesson and yet it was still pounding at me. I stopped the lesson and asked how she was and that I was having this feeling that she was just hurting. She admitted how much she was hurting and needed our help! It was nice to see the Spirit prompt me and even though I didn't know at the time if it was just me or not - I went with it and it made the rest of the visit so much more peaceful that we could help with her needs and go in the right direction. The Spirit is fantastic and we are so lucky to have it in our lives, we really just need it to let it illuminate the way. The Spirit we feel is a reflection of our own strength, our devotion, and our goodness. If we are seeking the good and being the best... We will feel the Spirit wrap itself along our path. I know this and have felt it in my life. It's amazing how sensitive you become to the Spirit. I get the chills even on the slightest of remarks... like "families are forever". It's a great hope and not wishful thinking that brings me peace that I can share with others.

We walked in to another house yesterday when it was pouring hard, Sister Porter and I were hugging each other and were drenched. A man let us in and led us to his mom who was dying to see us. His mom was not looking so good - healthwise. The man didn't know why this was happening to her because she has so much faith, prays and reads scripture everyday. He asked "Where is Jesus now?" It hit us because we knew even especially now Jesus and our Heavenly Father is always with us and actually even here in this room. We asked if we could pray and try to help. During the prayer the room got brighter and the Spirit began to pour out to him. He took great comfort when we talked about the Plan of Salvation and how we are a big family and that God and his servants will take good care of him. That Jesus is taking good care of them. He was unbelievably happy and was glad we randomly stopped by.

If you are ever thinking about giving up... As Elder Uchdorf said -stay a little longer, there is room for you here. Hold on. Hold on. God is with us.... and loves us a ton. 

The parable of the Prodigal Son has been coming up a lot this week. After the son left, after squandering all of his inheritance and then realizing later what he had done and how much he wanted to come back, and thinking that he would do anything to even come back even as a servant to his Fathers house. Is humbling. (How often do we as children do this to our parents.) Then as he returns, his father sees him and has compassion and runs to him, and falls on his neck and kisses him. I love that because the father was already waiting for him, and when he could see him even when he wasn't close - he was still a far way. "great far way off" and the father doesn't just walk to his son...he runs to him.  I feel like that brings so much love in my heart. That he runs to his son. How much do we do wrong in our youth. How much we can hurt and disappoint our parents. But all we have to do is just turn around and want to be better - they have such compassion for us - such love, ready with open arms. Already forgiving. How much we need to know that our Parents here on earth do that but also knowing that our Heavenly Father is running to us as well. We need to Let him in. Letting us find in that space, His peace. It brings me such comfort that our Savior has given us the Atonement and we can always turn around, that we can always come back home. We may be lost at times... but know that - we can be found. Hope springs eternal.

I have been focusing a lot on light this week for one of my investigators and it's amazing to know and to feel that everyone has a light, that we all have the spark of Christ in us. That all religions have a beauty, a flame. That its up to each of us to grab that light and see the beauty in it all.  The Gospel is the source of the greatest power and the brightest light in the world, it is amazing and the best thing ever. But what is so cool about it, is that we, mere mortals can reflect that light, and whats more is we can and must magnify that light.
Looking down in to the valley in Celje...see the light

Family you magnify the light... never just merely borrowing the light, but letting it grow brighter and brighter, showing Heavenly Father's radiance and your own beautiful radiance. I love it and Thank you for letting me grow in this Gospel.  It's a true blessing - to have you forever is all that I ask. I love you, and I love my Savior and Heavenly Father. Thank you for all the wishes and prayers. 

Love to you all
Sestra Holly

P.S. they love spiritual energy and yoga here. We do it a lot with friends and members and it's hilarious how I can't do the positions. 
It's been a really eye opening week.  
I miss american peanut butter and hispanic food. Mucho mucho chupaccabre'
Beautiful Slovenia

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 13 / Love at Home

My Dear Family, 
Today -  Holly and her Companion at the Celja Castle

"Yo' family, I'm not dead!"- quote from Sister P. (this was said because their email was so late in coming).
We had a chestnut picnic with all the members in Slovenia today, which consisted of eating a lot... and by that I mean a lot of meat. It was fun just chilling and talking in Slovene getting to know the members and snacking on roasted chestnuts. All the members are really sweet here. We ride a lot on trains and buses to our far away destinations and going to the picnic we had a hour to kill. So Sister P and I sat next to a teenager on the train. We pulled out our Books of Mormon and started reading from it. But you know how it goes. We made eye contact, kinda showed off the book, got all smiley and started making small talk. We found out she lived kind of by our church  and she said she would drop by for one of our activities for Halloween. Then we gave her the Book of Mormon. It was an awesome train ride. We brought one of our members with us on the train and he calls me his crazy child.  He was going all crazy because he thought he did not buy enough chocolate for the train ride for us. We just have a really great branch with some super amazing members that just stop people and say come to church with us! And when you go over to their houses you better have a hallow leg! They feed you like kings here. Slovenia is just very giving here, even if they don't have much. They give and it amazes me. I love them.

On the train ride over its really hard not to stare out and look at all the beauty of the countryside. It's so green here and the trees, the acquaint little homes, the sheep, and little farms. There is so much to take in, you really just get lost in it.

So remember when I got ice cream my second night being here and we met that lady that lives really close. Well we have been meeting with her and I absolutely adore her. We gave her the obnova lesson (church restoration) and I gave the first vision, it never fails to wrap us with the loving spirit. She is definitely an awesome lady. 

Yesterday we were trying to find a former member and we had no idea where they were in this huge apartment building - but first we had to get in. We just started walking and stopped, Sister P just stopped looked at a guy sitting on a bench and we felt prompted to say hello and talk. Once we did he asked if we were needing to get in the apartment. Then he went over and opened it for us. After we went in  I just felt  like it was a video game... You talk to certain people to get in certain places. Like Lara Croft... Or something. I think it's cool though, that the spirit always helps us out. But mind you it was later in the evening and it was super dark, and the insides of the apartment building was looking like a old hospital or jail. And.... the lights were sensitive - so they would turn off randomly. It reminded me of some zombie game building. I was kind of creeped out to be honest. But we knew we had to find these people. I notice if you feel good about doing something and then you start to doubt... Do it anyway. Every time Sister P and I felt good about doing something we started going for it and then stopped half way on the stairs and thought should we? And we stood there and I thought... Lets just do it, and when we made it to their door it was an awesome experience and we got asked to come back. So never doubt yourself! 

President Rowe showed up to our area for interviews and it was awesome for him to tell us stories and talk with us all. He has such a strong spirit, it's impossible not to feel good around him. He gave us some great advice on how to work with our city and grab people in. We will definitely start acting upon his words of wisdom. Incredible man. 

When there's love at home.... The story of my life. It's been brought up a lot this week: in church, in lessons, in the heart. It's been revolving round and round. I wrote last week about how love at home cannot just be in our own home, but has to be shared. We were at one of our investigator's homes this week. She is so spiritual and full of love. I walked in her house the first time and had the feeling of  "I never wanted to leave". I adored that lesson, she was such a cool cat about it all. To be honest we had been struggling on what to teach her beforehand, but as we stepped foot in that house and the spirit unwound, the words spilled. She also loved our church hymns so we asked if she wanted to sing any. And guess what song she wanted to sing. Love at Home! It was a great discussion and I tried to explain my scattered brain to her. Love at home is something I look more and more at. The more I'm out here, the more I realize I want to see the world. I mean I have the dream of being a mom, having a family, loving them bunches. I can't wait to meet them but I want my kids to know our family doesn't just stop at our home. That our family is also out there too in the world and we need to go find them. I want to meet the world, my big family. I never took that so literally before until I came out here - we are all brother and sisters. We are all growing together, working together, loving together. There are so many people out there waiting to have you be their friend, their family, their home. I want to be that home, to anyone I run into in my life. To love with all I've got whether they will only be in my life for a single day or a trillion years. I hope to be more and to love God's children - to become the very essence, to live it always, to be the original edition of love at home. Thank you family for being my start... For letting me grow up in a home that was such a example of love. I look up to you and love you dearly. Enjoy your week and what God has given you. The work is beautiful. I keep on thinking of Mom dancing her fingers across the piano playing For the Beauty of the Earth. One of my favorites. Slovenia truly lives that song. All is well in Slovenia. Hope you have the best week ever. Tell everyone Hi and I miss them! 

Love Sister Cuthbert

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 12 / "I am the King of the Bus"

Dober Dan Mom!

Holy cow! Zion's National Park looks absolutely stunning! All of you look like you had an amazing time! I love it. You will have to take me there sometime? Parker of course is the entertainer and Ivy is looking so much older! Ahh! I am really taken back how you all are so beautiful though. It's great to hear you are all so well. I really can't wait to get to spend time with you and get to know you all over again. I seriously love you way too much. If too much is even possible! Never enough! 
This week has been very fast and busy.

Celja, Slovenia

On Monday for P-day we were wanting to go to Celja for a celebration for my awesome companion's Birthday but we had missed the early train. So we decided to hit up the city and it's thrift shops. It was hilarious and Sister P and I are planning on getting a ugly sweater for Christmas. It's a done deal. We also had Kebabs and ice cream which actually tasted amazing! It was really more of a relaxing p-day and just getting all the little things done. That night we had Family Home Evening and I gave the spiritual thought. I really am starting to feel more and more comfortable with the language. Not saying I am pro by all means, but rather I am getting there. When I was buying something one time this week I told the cashier, "muchas gracias". I was like wait... I mean, "hvala lepa, ne spancina!" The cash register guy was just laughing his head off. I feel like I am understanding better than actually speaking but it's the best to learn such a beautiful language. I was on the back of the bus and it's higher than all the other seats and you feel like royalty back there. I yelled out, "I am the king of the bus" in Slovene. It is funny how just being open and showing you are having a good time really gets people to turn around and want to talk to you. What makes us so happy? Well... Glad you ask. .. It's this gospel! This gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing I am a child of God. That makes me happy, and hopeful.

I did exchanges this week with Sister L in Celija. It was weird being away from my part of Slovenia. It's like my home! And away from Sister P... I love that girl! But Sister L was hilarious and we were like two peas in a pod. We went street contacting (first time fully in to it) She started off doing it first to show me the ropes and next it was my turn - but before she could say go and.... I was already off contacting some lady. I love the old school missionary work. It was so fun to contact literally everyone and hand out Books of Mormon. We went to Mickey d's and it was actually pretty good. Sister L loves that place so we got kids meals. We taught some lessons and hung out with the elders to did service by fixing a back porch and cutting and canning pears. Sister L was joking around the whole time and we were really just having a hilarious time. We went and got palachika, slovene pancakes that... I swear are crepes... But they say oh no! Hah! It was super good and I got to witness Elder B and Elder L bless an investigator's son and it was so cool to watch the priesthood being used and the spirit was so strong. I really love the missionaries here in Slovenia, we really are just a big big family. And the people... Oh the people you really can't get enough of. It's so fun to see them and teach them. The members are so sweet and such examples to non members. You can tell the difference in how happy they are and people notice that too. The members are the teachers and they really our extraordinary. Although, small right now I know that it will progress because of them. They are great. Anyway Sister L and I had the most awesome time, but it was so nice to hug and see my trainer again. I call her my mamasita  because she is my trainer. And Sister L is my  grandma she said because she trained Sister P. It's really weird but we all our family. Seriously.

When I got home back with Sister P we ran to an appointment with an investigator. Apparently she was really stubborn and would not pray or participate but we bore testimony and explained how God can help bless and strengthen her weaknesses, to not fear but be hopeful and she wanted to pray and let us come back and it was amazing! Sestra P and I were so pumped to have her progressing and letting the spirit teach her. We whipped out the scriputures and both were thinking of the same one to share. That's when we know for sure the spirit is really there with us. How can we deny it? It keeps on happening with us, thinking of the same thing and we know we have to act on it if we both are feeling it. It's so incredible and it's those little miracles that bear witness to me how much Heavenly Father knows us personally, knows what we need and he will grant us and show us the way if we truly desire and look for it.

We had English Class which is two times a week and it's literally the funniest thing because we are all just so close with the people and they always cheer after we talk in Slovene and are way too nice saying we are amazing. But... most importantly it's amazing because we are talking about this gospel and the spirit is so apparent. They all say they just feel happier and always stay for the spiritual thoughts.

We have met some crazy people and some guy walking around with a huge bag. We just started talking to him and he brings his bag out in front and started opening it - I was a little worried what would be in there but it was all these berries. And he was just so excited to have just picked them because he was going to make tea. And then he went off about the mafia and Pres Kennedy. Ya, people are really random here. Love them though.

We went to this cute old ladies house this week. She had a bunch of goats and I swear they were looking in my soul... They would just stare and stare. But she was hilarious and cute. And gave us a very very old dress and it's so funny looking we will send a picture when we wear it!

One night we wanted Chocolate so bad after a lesson with a member so we ran to the store and each bought two chocolate milche bars. Best night ever.

Last Sunday night we met up with a lady that lives by our apartment and she was so interested in us that she looked "mormons" up online and we taught her about the Book of Mormon and how we pray, she was eating it up and asked for us to come back again.!! Which was awesome!! 

On Sunday we traveled to Ljubljana and went to district conference for all of our little branches in Slovenia where Pres. Rowe came and was there and shared some amazing words and just pumped up the members to be able to stand up and be the light to others in this church and without it. It was great listening and seeing the excitement but also seeing how much they looked all up to President Rowe.
We live in a world that craves the sun. We all have a light, and we all shine. We are all striving to be the brightest we can be, we need to let our rays dance on others. let our beams light the way. We crave what we already have. Let us realize we are the suns (sons, daughters)  we are the warmth, the gleam, the silver lining.

"We are commanded to be the light to these people" - President Rowe said. "We are commanded to be happy!"

How do we let our light so shine though? Share... Be happy, keep commandments. Read the Book of Mormon not only in the home but out in public. And people will ask what you are reading and you simply say the best book in the world! It helps me be happy. Let people know we are members of the church. Simply let our light shine through the small things. Pray for others. Love at home is not just enough in "our" homes but others as well. I love this Gospel because it shows how to be selfless.  Once you have the joy and the happiness of this gospel you cannot keep it all to yourself,  you must share it. Don't we want others to be happy, too? 

I simply love this quote we saw on the wall of a building and it just said, "Shout, I LOVE YOU!"  I love that. We must shout to let everyone hear, everyone to know they are loved! so... I LOVE YOU ALL! I am praying for you. Go out and tell someone you love them. I sure will.
This gospel and you as my family help me feel whole. Helps me be happy and I don't know what I would do without it... Without you. Thank you.

Love LOVE LOVE you,
Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week Eleven / The Best Two Years


First off I want to apologize for the emails not being as detailed. There is so little time but I'll try my best and send letters tomorrow. I love you and want you to know how much I respect you and ya...

It's been crazy how much you think about your own family out here... Like what kind of mom I'll be and how I want the best and being the best mother and letting my kids grow up in this Gospel and hoping they understand and treasure these principles and understand how much the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for them. I hope I can be the best for them and you. 

This week has been crazy and full of little miracles! On Tuesday we were just walking and we were a little early going to a lesson so Sestra P. had turned down a different way to a park and we were talking and she stopped and she was saying "see all these people walking their dog or sitting on a bench. You are going to go talk to them. So which one is calling out to you?" I was a little nervous seeing that my Slovene is so caveman but I was looking around and never so much in my life I ever thought I would be living the Best Two years. If you ever wonder if a mission is like that movie... It totally is. A man with a dog was coming toward us and I was like freaking out.. Asking Sestra P.  if he was coming cause he kept stopping. But then he went the other way, we got nothing so we walked next down to the river and some cute old lady was sitting there, I rolled back my shoulders and took a gulp of the cold Slovenian air (seriously its so cold.... I love it!) and walked over and sat and talked to her.  It's funny when someone is talking to you and you just smile and nod your head then turn to your companion and ask what they just said. It's crazy how much I already understand though, I know the only reason I do though is because of the Holy Ghost.

We have family home evening here and it's so funny to see all the older people playing games and absolutely loving it! They like our American games. They just love that we are American and trying to learn their language.   We had our English lesson party and it was hilarious because we played mafia and they were taking it way to seriously. When they asked if they were the mafia.. Their faces were priceless... 

We are so lucky to have prayer can I just say? We were driving to our first lesson and it was like a 30 minute drive to it and we didn't realize that we had absolutely no gas. I kept praying for Sestra P and I to make it there safely and actually get there. We did and the lesson was absolutely amazing! We bore testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith, we handed her the Book of Mormon and let her read some and she would not put it down she just wanted to keep reading! Sestra P. and I had the same feeling of we should ask her to be baptized... Ya first lesson right? But the spirit was so strong and we knew this woman could feel it too... So we did and she was like "yes, but I need to go slow!!"  We were so happy! I am so glad the Holy Ghost uses me for good and I can actually say the right things, but Sestra P... She is like amazing! She is truly just the sweetest most loving person ever, she takes care of me and makes sure I am learning and speaking out. It was her birthday on Sunday so we made her apple crisp. Crumble? It reminded me of you mommy so much! It was super great. We cook a lot here in Slovenia for members and just everyone... We are kind of in charge of Maribor and what goes into the activities and such since we don't have a bishop. But it's seriously so fun and gets you over the fear of talking because you have to talk a lot. I love it.

There is bakery's on every corner. We haven't gone out much to eat but I will have to go try it! We had roasted chestnuts which were crazy good it's like a specialty here. And they love like pumpkin oil here on every thing. It taste pretty funky but it's pretty rad!

We watched some general conference in Slovene with the members and it was hilarious to hear C snoring and waking him up,  C is like the most funniest German ever... He looks like Bane when he wears his sick mask around. He is crazy funny. 

I can't tell you how much I love these members. I really don't want to leave them!! It's really just a big family. We had a big district conference,  it was super awesome and getting us all pumped and ready to be better missionaries then we are!

In Slovenia, it's pretty awesome. 

They love these little slippers here that just feel like overnight mitts on your feet. I want some! But they walk around only with those in home. Side note but still.

It's so good to hear the wedding is coming along. I hope Laurel is having a good time! Not stressing cause she is beautiful and it will simply be the best.. And mom don't push yourself too hard you are way too good, the best really!! Always giving your all.

So Sestra P and I were hungry and thirsty and we went to a store and a bought a box of chocolate milk and chugged it right there. It was awesome and tasted amazing I was really happy... 

I want to bear testimony to the best book in the world. The Book of Mormon is my own little guide book to life. The small and simple teachings are profound and touch every aspect of life. I finally finished it the second time out on my mission and it never gets old we can always learn something new. The Holy Ghost sheds light through verses when I need comfort or need to know what to do. Because even on a mission we get lost and sometimes we need that extra reminder. I love how happy and how uplifted I feel when I read the scriptures. Every page is being scribbled with thoughts and things I have to remember. My book looks very much used but how much I love them. I was reading a little in the Doctrine & Covenants and 98% of it talks about how no many times we must always forgive. With all your heart forgive again and again. If God expects this of us don't you think he is also willing to do the same? God is always always having open arms no matter how much we fall or stumble or get lost... His love is unfailing and he forgives us again and again. We just need to remember how much our Savior and Heavenly Father love us and we are their sky, their stars and we must shine bright. Understand we all are in this together and we need to forgive ourselves. Again and again.

Remembering is a beautiful thing. I can't tell you how many times I forget how much we mean to Heavenly Father. Always pray for his love to surround you. To be a part of that movement and turn out and love back. Love everyone and find those in need. 

I love you so much and hope everything is great in good old Utah. Thanks for being the strings that hold my universe together. Always praying for you. Have a good week!

Love Sestra Cuthbert

...Also no one can say my name here... Ahaha