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.

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