Monday, April 28, 2014

Week 39 / Half-way Home, Half-way there.

Dear Family,

The pictures are beautiful this week! Tell Parker and Ivy they have got to stop growing up! For real!

The Easter Concert was very beautiful. A lot of new faces were to be seen. It was half members and half investigators or friends. We, the missionaries went around to greet and get to know everyone. When the songs began the spirit was strong and when we, the sisters got up to sing it, went really well. I really like singing and I had the largest butterflies in my stomach with so many people. But, when we are singing about Christ it is like bearing our testimonies. You look straight a head and you have courage. You sing the words with your soul. People can feel it! I really loved all the songs and the gathering. It was definitely a night to remember.

There has been a lot of rain and thunderstorms here in Ljubljana lately. Of course we thought the best of the sky and walked out with no coats and no tights. After a lesson was over we looked outside and the rain was just pouring. The lady in the house bent down and touched our legs and told us that we were crazy because we weren't wearing any tights! The husband told us to come to his garage and we followed a little hesitant, but we went a long. He brought out two big marshmallow rain ponchos. We laughed and he was serious and told us we need to be careful with our health. We immediately put it on and walked around outside. People double took us, but hey those things are literally the best thing in the world. Even if we look like hilarious creatures from unknown!

A day before, our friend who is having a baby - had us over. She has been doing really well and wants to come back to church with her daughter. You can just feel it when she talks about church. She is so ready. It makes me happy that all we had to do was to love her, to show her God's love and it brought her back. In the beginning she said she would never come back, but now she is always talking about how excited she is after she has her baby to come back. The members are reaching out to her too. So a major success and a real gem. I really love this woman!

Lately in lessons things have been really going great. The spirit is there and I can feel it guiding Sestra Brown and I. The lessons always go the opposite then what we planned, yet it works perfectly. I have been blessed and I know it isn't me when I flip the pages and I see a scripture that is exactly what the person needed. Or I turn right to the page that I need. Sestra Brown and I have seen miracles where she talked about a scripture and she forgot where it was. I immediately whipped out my scriptures and knew exactly where it was. Scripture study has power. I have never been one to know where certain verses are or memorize them for that matter, but lately it's becoming easier and easier. I say a little prayer of thanks everyday for that lightness.

Sestra Brown is such a blessing to me. I really love her and her spirit. She has a way of making my day. Either with her crazy hugs and funny stories. If I ever need cheering up or just need a breather I  ask her, '' so tell me about Africa?''. She has the best stories and makes me want to go there. When Sestra Brown teaches she has power and knows how to get to the point. She is a great teacher and we teach really well with each other. I love that girlie and it's nice to have such a comfort such as her in my mission.

We went to a non active members house and this man loves swimming he wakes up every morning to go swimming at 4 am. I asked him how amazing and devoted he was. I also said why does he do that. He said well it is because I love swimming and if you don't keep going you won't get better. I told him that this is exactly the same as church. Don't you love God too? (He really really loves God) And he said.... Oh, yea... Wait... Hey that was good! I told him you have to keep going to get better and better. You can't just stop and think the 'good techniques' will stay. He was stunned and Sestra Brown and I were doing high fives afterwards. They are coming back! I know it.

Things have been doing really well, we are trying to find more and it's been a little tough lately but I know the Lord will bless the people here and we will find! Got to believe in success! It's all in the Lord's hands. Let us be those hands. If you want to be like God, you have to be like Him now. We are very far away from 'home' but if you act like you are already home, you are fulfilling that gap between us and heaven. We must make this our lives. We can be better and better, we can follow the foot steps of the savior. We must be love and I can't say it enough... We must be that home. I love you all, can not wait to talk to you all on Mother's day! I have a surprise for you Mommy! Hey and happy Birthday Mom! I hope you got my cards! Love you love you!

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, April 21, 2014

Week 38 / Happy Easter People

Hello My Sunshines,

Happy Easter! Happy Beautiful Week of the Resurrection of Christ! I love you so much!

For Easter they paint, paint and paint eggs with red onion shells. It dyes the eggs really rad colors. Everyone does it, and everyone here is so giving that we received a lot of them this week. Deviled eggs here we come! For Easter the district gave beautiful talks on Sunday about Christ. We had our regular meetings and we got to go eat a little supper with the Senior Missionary Couple and then we went to go teach. We saw a man in a street and I told him Happy Easter. We kept walking down the street and up a winding road. The man again popped out of nowhere. I couldn't let him pass by again. I began to talk to him and bear my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Why it was my favorite book and the guide to life. That through it's pages front to back it was about Jesus Christ and that this book was now for him. He accepted it and we got his phone number. We ran a lot from one place to the other but it was fun to see the tiny miracles of Sunday. It was raining on Easter and it was very beautifully green. I got to be the Easter Bunny this year and hide eggs for the little kids. It's strange growing up and realizing how much our parents do for us. I can't wait to be one, but I can't wait to give a big hug to my parents and tell them thanks for all they do. We did some service at a non-active members house and we cut a lot of wood and I felt like a lumber jack. The Elders got to play with a Mulcher. They were having way too much fun with that. I love service, it's the best feeling in the world doing service for others.

This week we hung out with an American Family (who are members) a lot. They are this incredible family- that is staying a little bit in Slovenia for school. They are seriously the raddest people ever. They define missionary work by their whole lives. They need to be exalted....seriously.  They help us and are seriously helping Slovenija a lot. They asked us to join them to a world religion class to go and speak about our missionary work and the LDS church. That was a very cool experience and everyone was open and hearing about our church. The Branch President and the American Brat ("Brother" in Slovene) were amazing in explaining and answering the questions of our church. The spirit was present and we pretty much taught the Plan of Salvation. That was a great experience to get involved with students.

Today we are having a concert for Easter and I don't know what happened but I have to sing a solo. That will be hilarious. We will see how it goes. I feel like it's going to be great for our members and investigators coming and talking of Christ. They call it in Slovene ' the Big Night' for Easter. It is cool to look at and realize it was a big night. It was dark until Jesus came and brought the light of the world. I love my Savior. For all He has done for me. His way has been the only way I have felt whole, have felt peace in my life. I am so thankful to Him and want to follow Him in all I do. I want to be more like Him each day. I love Him and His light. I can't wait to fall at his feet and be in awe. We are so lucky to have this Good News about Jesus Christ - we will always have good news to have to share. I love you, I hope you have a wonderful week! You are at the cabin? right? That is great! I hope it's relaxing and gives you time to think of the life you have been given and the opportunity to become something more because of Him.

Love you,
Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, April 14, 2014

Week 37 / Never Give UP

 Dear Family,

We have been really trying hard to get our investigators to church and this week I woke up and thought this is it.... We are doing this. I am going to do whatever it takes to get these people to church. It's time! I called one of our investigators and talked on the phone for a good while. This investigator loves the bible and I began to express how beautiful that was and how great it would be to hear those prophets
profess truth here today. She agreed whole heartily and I began to tell her of our living prophet today. She then asked if she could hear the prophet speak. I told her of General Conference and she promised she would come. The next day I was going around the church looking out the window. When it was turning for the hour to hit for conference I still had hope. I glanced one more time before sitting down and there she was coming into the church! She loved the conference and our other investigator was thoroughly impressed and stayed for 6 hours. This is a beautiful success I believe.

We got to teach YW's last week and it felt great being back with these little ones. Of course I was telling stories and making sure that the girls felt comfortable. I miss teaching and being with my little
beehives. It was good to experience that here in Slovenia.

Last P-day I was in Kranj and we decided to draw the town and the gorgeous scenery around us. The architecture astounds me, but what gets to me are the church bells. The sound of them while passing in the morning is the best.

We went to a non active member this week where we felt needed a visit. I had never met her but as soon as we did she began to cry I couldn't help but reach out to her and hug her. There is a lot of hardships here, a lot of tragic, dark things. I know this is anywhere you go in the world, but meeting with her just made me wish I could do so much more for these people. I bore testimony and told her of the good. The support and the light of this gospel. She began to suggest that she was only seeing darkness around her that if she went to church it would only be a few moments of clear sky and then back to fog. I began to tell the scripture story where the people were in a mist of darkness, they could not see any thing, but when they prayed and put their thoughts to the Savior the dark cleared and the light shone. I told her that it would not be for mere seconds but an ever lasting light. This gospel isn't temporally, it is infinite. It is a sun that is beaming for eternity. She was touched and I could tell she was gaining hope. There are tough things but I love what Elder Uchtdorf said about gratitude in the good times and the tough. That we must be thankful in all circumstances. That they are opportunities to have and see our great blessings. I am so thankful for the hardships, for the scraped up knees. Without them I would not be the person I am today. Without the gospel I would of never fully experience the love and light God has for us. That we do not have to wait for the rainbows to be grateful as Elder Uchtdorf said. But we can love the rain as well. We can love the stars but also love the dark that surrounds it for that is what makes those stars shine.

We can really make the best out of things, we can really find gratitude anywhere. Sometimes things get broken and we can get frustrated or mad but that will not make them whole and fixed again. We can use what we have and make something beautiful out of it that we can all enjoy together.

Thanks for being the beautiful you. I am a little short on time because today we woke up early to go to a castle and some caves that I felt like I was in Lord of the Rings the whole time. but I want you to know that I am very very very thankful for you and the time you have given me. It goes by in a blink and I wouldn't trade our time together for anything. Excited to hear from you next week. Much prayers to you with heaps of love.

Yours truly,
Sestra Cuthbert

Predjama Castle
Predjama Castle
Holly and her Sweet Companion

Monday, April 7, 2014

Week 36 / Coming in Like a Lion

Hello Dear Family,

This week we taught one of our investigators that I have never taught before until now. He was very keen on not giving up his other beliefs. He told us some of the things he was concerned about or that contrasted with his own traditions. We addressed them and the Spirit was working with us. We began to teach, to promise, to testify... The Spirit just made me want to jump up and do a dance. We asked him if he would pray to know if this was the right church. Right then as we asked him to pray, another thought entered my head - and I asked him instead to pray right now with us, to kneel down and ask Heavenly Father with us there.  I told him before we did this, that he would feel the Spirit, and that he would know that it is true. We knelt down, and we prayed and the Lord answered just like we told this man He would. The Spirit moved like waves from the ocean. Our investigator kind of stumbled out of the room in bewilderment afterwards. The Lord hears and answers, sometimes softly and in his time and sometimes swiftly and without doubt.

I think we are doing good, here. We went to do service for a non-member's mother where she hadn't done her garden in 10 years. The roots were deep and everywhere. We ploughed it like crazy and worked on it for several hours. I miss working in the garden. I actually really like it. Afterwards this sweet mother made us popcorn and we taught her a lesson. She was more receptive because she trusted us, she knew we were only wanting to serve her and do good for her. This is important in doing missionary work. I feel we need to be always looking for service opportunities to show we are only here for the people, to help and build them up. I love it, I really do.

I heard that General Conference was amazing! I am excited next week to watch it. I got to watch some of the Saturday session at a in-active members house and it was truly rad. I loved what was said and I had a lot of personal eye openers that just put me in awe about our Beloved Father in Heaven. Here are a few of my thoughts:

I was reading a beautiful talk given in a last conference entitled "Ye are My Hands" by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf. It was about a statue of Jesus that lost His Hands in a City Square during World War 2.  The townspeople loved this statue, it was a symbol of their faith and their love of God. In the end the hands were never repaired and today below the statue there is a plaque that reads 'You are My Hands'. Think about that. Such a beautiful way to live. 'Our hands can become His hands; our eyes, His eyes; our heart, His heart.'

I want to be a guide to the path way to our 'home'. On the Saturday session it talked a lot about our promises with God. What we must do to keep and uphold our calling in life. How to keep the Spirit in our homes. To feel this unconditional love from God at all times, to be an example. Loving God will influence everything we do in life. It will be paramount in our lives. It will lead us to become our full and capable selves. Every time I am in a lesson and I feel though it is spiraling, my mind goes straight to thinking -how can I just show who we are teaching- that God loves them. I am filled with God's love for the People of Slovenija. He does care about His children and He will always, always have a way to help. We are all going along roads and pathways, and it is often that we all take wrong turns, and before we go too far we must realize and speedily put ourselves in reverse. We can ask why, we can blame others. But really we need to realize we are meant to do tough things, we are meant to do hard things, and make wrong choices so that we can learn how to become better. There is such beauty in the hard, there is such beauty in what we are all becoming and recognize what we already are - what has been in us all along. We all have a divine nature and we must all recognize it. We are God's children. I hope I can love at full capacity, I hope that I can see the good in everything. Even the past, even for the future. It is guiding us to our final happiness. I notice so many people out here are so hard on themselves. We all want perfection, we want this wholeness of knowing we are doing everything correct, never to be sloping downward on a wrong path. Each day that passes we become weary of our mistakes and the little things we forgot to do or could have done better. Saying to ourselves "Why aren't you trying? Why aren't you loving? Why aren't you here or there or everywhere... breathing, living, loving God, loving His Children? It can be overwhelming. But we need to understand that if we aren't doing everything we know to be right -we can start now - little by little. That is the beauty of Heavenly Fathers plan, You can start again, and again, and again. You can be who you want to be. This life is for growing, about learning how to go about doing things, about learning what we truly desire. We are okay. At the end of it all - God will have His opened arms waiting for us and once we get into His fold he will say, "I told you it would be okay, I told you it would be alright, I told you... I told you  that you were worth it."  Don't forget this. Don't forget who you are. What you are becoming. You are queens and kings. This Gospel doesn't just make us a lighted matchstick in the dark, but makes us a sun... A sun that will take away any darkness any shadow of doubt. Grow your faith, grow a comprehension of Heavenly Father's and the Savior's love for you. If you feel His love, if you let it take you, you are then already changing. Already becoming what God intended you to be.

I love you so much family, I love who you are and who you are becoming. Every time I am in a car here or in a train and we go under a tunnel... I hold my breath... I hold it for so long and hard and I know it's such a childlike thing but I wish and only pray that I will be with you forever. That is my biggest wish and my biggest desire. Family matters so much to me. I love my family who reside all around the world. I am excited to meet my brothers and sisters I haven't met yet. I am excited to get to know Ivy, Laurel, and Parker again. I am excited to share tears, to share laughs, and just to be able to say "That is my brother. These are my sisters". I can't wait to jump into Mom and Dad's arms. You are going to have to catch me!
I am grateful for my time here in Slovenija. For the opportunities that I have to grow and understand more fully each day just what our lives are about, to understand how we can have the fullest of happiness, found within the walls of our church, our temples, our Books of Mormon, our prayers, our homes. We have a lot to look forward to, but we must remember it's in these moments- that will echo throughout the eternities. Let us be the hands of our Savior to touch each others lives.

Like what President Rowe told us this week during our zone conference, ''How does God see us?" If we were to put in a category of an animal?  What would we be as young missionaries? We would be Young Lions. We have the inheritance of becoming the kings of the jungle... in the kingdom of God's jungle, that is. Let us be Bold, let us be Courageous, let us Roar.

My best wishes and prayers go to you. Love you. Have a great week and remember who you are.

Sestra Cuthbert