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

Monday, October 7, 2013

Week Ten / Holly in Slovenia

Dear Family,

It's so good to hear all that is going on. All the pictures were great! Everyone looks like they are having fun and just living the moment. I am so glad! I really love you. The letters are hilarious and inspirational... Give my love to each one of my siblings. I AM IN SLOVENIA!

The airplane trip was way awesome. Very tiring but we did hit up 5 airports, only because things were going down... But I should say rather UP  because we went to Frankfurt! People in the Paris France airport didn't really know English and a lady was trying to get help to use the pay phone. For some reason she picked me and I conjured up some random French... God is too kind to me. He blesses us with so many different people. I love how many people we got to talk to and experience, the airplane food and 8 hour flights. 

Okay, I have to tell you about this one. SO I get on the plane and sit next to a 19 year old guy from Romania and he was way sweet. I slapped down the Book of Mormon and read it up to my face so who ever passed would have to see it. Or who ever had to talk to me had to look at the book before they saw my face. I really wanted this kid next to me to look at this book. He began to say "hey, I have seen this book before." I showed him a few verses and gave him a pass along card. I told him to look at this pass along card of Jesus and to remember to always be like him. I didn't know he was going to take it so seriously. He just looked at me in awe and said that I was giving him a gift and now he had to give me one. I was taken back by that... We are giving a gift to people. The gift of this gospel is the greatest gift of them all and it's meant for everyone. I liked that. He was seriously the best.

It was awesome going through Frankfurt and everyone talking in German... I just went along and was smiling. The two other sisters I was with were way tired. We were all just a sleepy but happy happy mesh.

When we made it on the Croatian Plane everyone was speaking our languages and that really pumped us up. We really just were having the best time on the plane talking about the Gospel and Jesus Christ. Giving out our first Books of Mormon!

When we made it to Zagreb we saw President Rowe and got a warm welcome. It was so nice to get to go into their home and have amazing home made food and just meet the family. Sister Rowe was a sweet heart and the twins are absolutely adorable. We went to bed right after dinner because we got to Zagreb at 8ish.

We woke up to the most beautiful breakfast. Everything just tastes better here. I've missed it.
We then went to the Zagreb Church where we had a training meeting. Jet lag was making everyone loopy but we were just so happy to finally be where we were meant to be. Everyone was so welcoming and such a big family. All the missionaries here are just great and seem like the best... I am so excited to learn from all of them. I got my package and I know you said only read like one per day... But ya. I just got so excited I read all of them.

Sister Rowe gave such a good thought about the story of Peter coming on the water to walk to Jesus, he had to go pretty far out and when he got scared and started to sink into the sea Jesus came and helped him. And it kinda stops the story there but what it doesn't say is that what happened after that? Peter would have to walk back to the boat... But he would walk back with the Savior. And we can apply that to life how we may be faithful and strong but waves will come... We may get scared and fall but the Savior is always reaching for us, always helping us up and then once we allow him to help us, humble ourselves and entrust in him. We can walk forward with Jesus Christ back to the boat, back to our home. Awesome. I loved that. Aren't the scriptures glorious?

Okay, so I had an interview with President Rowe and he is amazing. The spirit is so strong with him and the love of Heavenly Father is there. he gave promises and guidance.... I seriously want to be my best here. This work is incredible. I got called to - of course, Slovenia. My companion is Sister P.  She is the best Trainer ever. I seriously look up to her. She has the best out look of everything. She just wants to have so much love for the people everyday... To let it grow. I found her astounding. She is just so bright and her love does show for the people. I am so lucky I get to work with her.
Holly and her Trainer

She got to drive us home which was like a two hour journey... The scenery was surreal and I was just aching to get out of the car and go teach. She told me I was her little Calhoon (The Best Two Years). I thought that was hilarious.

We made it to the senior couple home. They are so cute and made me feel right at home. Right when we walked in the door they made us banana splits. Yay!

We then walked with my luggage to the apartment which is across the bridge 30 minutes away. Yes, our area is big! The elders helped us and they are just.... Amazing. Elder H and Elder S are just fantastic missionaries and I just really love our district already.

We just say hi to everyone we pass. Apparently here you have to wear tights or they think you will get sick..They are really really big on being healthy here. They are hilarious. So we went to bed after planning and prep-ing for the next day and it was the best bed ever... I married that bed. The best sleep ever.

On my first day there, my first contact was with a drunk... Which was hilarious. I just talk to everyone and on the bus I don't sit next to my companion, I go sit with others, I just try to speak to everyone. It's really funny since I don't know a lot. But my companion really helps me. We had English class and we hang with the members a lot. There isn't a lot but they are the best people ever. There is a member who is like a Mr. Beans and is just hilarious... 

We also had a baptism and it was an amazing experience to see that and talk to the investigator and help her get ready for baptism. She was so sweet after her baptism she was just saying "I am back home." I will never forget her face. She was so happy.

Sister P says I have GOLDIE POWER because things that never happen are happening. Like we do church tours on Saturday and no one shows ever but someone did and we gave a Book of Mormon and taught the first lesson!

One night I was like I want ice cream! And then later on we were going home but a lady stopped us and asked why we were eating ice cream when it is cold outside... so we talked and she began to explain how curious she was about us and how she wanted us to come over. It was cool to see the spirit just guide people, us to each other. I love the holy ghost. I love the scriptures... I get so excited to read those glorious verses.

The grocery store!!"-best two years.
Ours was Ice Cream... The work is exciting and I keep thinking I want to do this forever.

I love this place. Maribor is just beautiful and I wish I always want to be this diligent in living the gospel. There is so much joy and a new fuller happiness. We are told to pray to have a vision of our mission or life what we want. What we desire. But I feel we should be praying for God's vision, for the vision he has for us. I want to look through God's spectacles and notice the beauty, the soul in everyone. These people have such beautiful testimonies. It was exciting on this last Fast Sunday to hear them. I love you all and hope you are well... Thank you for the support and the love. The letters are awesome reminders I have some awesome people back home. We can look back and think look at how great! But we must always look forward and realize we have great things to look ahead to.

Where are we willing to go? Saturday morning session
Because of His love, we can change.

I can change. I can become. We all can become. The transformation this Gospel brings is incredible. To believe in success and love these people in Slovenia is the greatest joy.

Love love love
Sestra Cuthbert

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Leaving the MTC / Arriving in the Mission Field

Yesterday, Holly left the MTC - headed to Slovenia via Chicago, Paris, and Zagreb. Luckily she made it and arrived safe and sound. According to her quick email, she says.... "Hey I got here! It was all good and I had a lot of good chats on the planes and met many people. It was the best. Just know I love you and I am safe! I'm praying for you and love you. I will write you next Monday- love love love..."
Holly on her first day of training in the Mission Field

Holly meeting her trainer