Monday, June 30, 2014

Week 48 / Love is all you need.

Dear Family,

Are you ready? I can't express how grateful I am to you and your e-mails. I really love opening up the website and getting to see each name that pops up. My favorites indeed, but seriously you mean a lot to me. Thank you for being mine. It means a lot when you write.

We have said a lot of goodbyes this week; to the Muirheads and the Rowes. We got the hang out with the Muirheads on Monday and it was cool to see how much they did for Slovenija. They will be very much missed.

One of our investigators canceled on us last minute and we began to walk to go down a different direction and we got a call. It was one of our young 19-year old investigators. He wanted to have a lesson and we brought him on over to the Muirheads for one last family night, as we were walking to their home. Our investigator was talking to everyone and going up to strangers and asking them questions. He was fearless and I was majorly impressed by how rad this kid was. I couldn't help but imagine him being a great missionary! He has a desire and I am excited to see where he is going. We had a lot of lessons this week and a lot of the discussions was baptism. It is getting there and I can feel it is about to burst and open up to a whole lot of possibilities for the next months ahead.

In one lesson the spirit was not there. Our investigator was going on about how she prayed and we asked if she would like to pray and she stood in front of a picture and was talking to it. She sat down and said she was finished and I was a little puzzled. I asked if we could say one of our prayers. She agreed and said yes but it has to be YOU who says it. The spirit was already working on me and I obliged and fully agreed. I began to pray and I wanted to teach her through this prayer. I had a heart that was full and I was putting it into the Lord's hands. I began to pray and the spirit rushed in. I said things I didn't even know I could say and when the pray had ended our investigator sat there in the spirit and was at peace. Prayer is so important and I feel as the weeks move forward my prayers in Slovene have become a lot longer and a lot more from the heart and spirit. I love it, and I love praying so often as we do. We had a baptism in Ljubljana this week and it was sweet to see and see all the white. I love this time and the time coming. Something big is coming I can just feel it.

My heart stirs and I feel love from my dear family and friends. I feel the love of God and I know that this next step of a new beginning of a new mission president will be an adventure. I loved the Rowe family. There was nothing like getting a letter from them or hearing about the news of what is going on in our mission. It would get us missionaries pumped and ready. They had the wisest and sweetest words. After we were done visiting with them, we would be ready and go out amongst the cities and give are very best and all. I know that President Grant will be awesome and I am excited to learn from him as well. This week has made me reflect of what kind of missionary am I right now and how I am and what I want to become. Our purpose is to be happy. To create and build our lives after the ways of our loving heavenly father's home. The way to eternal life is to know, to truly know the one who loves us most. Without Jesus Christ we couldn't have such a purpose, a change of hearts. To know that we all belong back in God's kingdom and we can. If we truly desire and show our willingness to make it so we can be a person of God, a child of our Heavenly Father. Do we truly know who we are? And if not how can we begin to know? I invite you to pray sincerely and enduringly. That you ask in faith and be prepared to see and feel the results of the spirit testify throughout your life again and again of God's love manifesting on the face of each one of us. I invite you to read the Book of Mormon diligently and realize that it is not just a history book, but a guide of God's words that brings peace and joy. That is undeniable. Let your desire be to trust in the Lord and lay your foundations with him and keep building upon it so you may not fall. If you want to know the secret, if you want to know the silver bullet. It is this Gospel, and it is by living it the trigger is pulled. You must live it, to feel it. The more we seek to have righteous desire the more we become qualified for loving others and bringing happiness unto them and ourselves. If we are righteous with the love  of God, and are sure to manifest this heavenly attribute in every thought, feeling, word, and deed in our hearts and let it sink in. Love, joy, and innocence will radiate from your countenances and be expressed in every look. This will bring the confidence and trust with others and those we love and in return they will feel that love for us back. That is a gift I want to obtain. This heavenly born emotion will continue to increase more and more until we are together with God once again and are in his fold and fullness of eternal, unfailing love itself.

I want this love that is unfeigned, no pretending but sincere, honest love without reservation, openly given even to those who seem unlovable. I want to see the best in everyone and make sure they feel and know just how truly important they are. I wish to listen to the humblest or youngest person and open my eyes to what beauty they have to give. I want to always be willing to conform my will to God's will. To trust in Him in all I do, being His instrument all my days. I want this happiness that the Gospel offers. The fullness it offers. Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether they deserve it or are even worthy to have it. That is not up to us. What we are asked is to love, and this love itself will render both us and others worthy. To be this is my desire and to make every one feel this, but in no way could I have it, if I didn't have my Heavenly Father and Savior to help me along. I know this is the true and living church. I cannot deny what I have felt, what I know. I hope to be the person God wants me to be that I can be a teacher and example in all my duties. That I can always grow in these stages of life and make myself more for my children and family.

I love you all very much have a good week. May God bless you and your efforts to serve and become more and more like Him.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, June 23, 2014

Week 47 / Finding Beauty in the Hard

My Family!

You mean the world to me!  I love you all and I am so proud of you!

This week we were going to a potential that we had given a Book of Mormon to a little while ago and wanted to check up on him to see if he wanted to talk more about it. We went to the house and he bluntly said "NO". We walked away and I was praying that we could find someone who just wanted to hear Heavenly Father's words. We passed a man working in his garden and I felt prompted to go up to him. I headed over and just began to have a regular conversation. He was a nice man with a beautiful family. I exclaimed the good news of the gospel and talked a little about the plan our Heavenly Father has for us and he began to tell us that he wants to learn more and that we have to come back! When this little miracle happened I was so happy. We had to run home though because we didn't have much time, but I was skipping to the bus stop with my head held high.

We have been very blessed this week with a lot of new investigators and potentials. We made it over to someone's apartment and we were ringing the buzzer to let us in, but nobody was answering. This older couple outside near to the door and they were just staring- but let us do what we do. I noticed near the front doors there was a car with Starwars on it. I began to look at it with my jaw dropped because I never get to see this in Slovenija! And the older couple called us over. We sat down and began to talk with them. They were a cute couple and they wanted to hear what we had to say. We gave them a Book of Mormon and I began to bare testimony and show them verses that applied to their situation. They loved it! We had to go- because it was getting that late time again but we offered a prayer. It was beautiful, when we closed the prayer I looked up and the woman was in tears. We are going back to them this week, but wow... The Spirit is strong in this one! I loved teaching this week. It was very wonderful to see the reactions on peoples faces and how they could feel the truth and love we had for them.

On my birthday we went over to our in active who has finally came back to church! She was so excited for us to come over to tell us how much she loves being back at church. She said there was such a love and warmth there and she is now bringing her whole family! She wished me a congrats on me being 20 and did this tradition they do here where they say, "I wish you a lot of love, success, happiness, everything good... " Beautiful words and then 3 kisses on the cheek while they shake your hand. I wasn't expecting that. But, we carried on. Then her boyfriend found out it was my birthday and he came over and was shaking my hand. I began to pull away. And was giving him the, NOOOOO - my face probably looked bizerk and the member and Sister Brown were just laughing their heads off. The boyfriend was confused and I was like I am sorry but NO! Not again! It was hilarious and we all had a good laugh about it. They are a really cute lovingly family and I am excited for them all to be in the church! We then made our rounds I got some ice cream. Taught lessons, and we went to English class and I got a bunch of presents from my students. It was really cute. I wasn't expecting that. One of my dear students gave me some crazy shirt, that is a babica shirt. Old lady to the max, but I love it and I told her I would wear it if she came to church this Sunday. Guess what she came! and I wore the shirt... It was really awesome and we have been having wonderful lessons and she loves the words from the prophets in the Book of Mormon. Things are looking up! At the end of the day we went home and I made some broccoli for myself and lit a turtle candle in the middle I found somewhere in the house. We didn't have time really to make anything special. But I got to think a lot about what I want to do while I am 20... It is so weird.... But, I know what I want and I know I want to be serving my mission my whole life. I was thinking about those things and about my dear family celebrating at home. I must admit, it is crazy to be far away on a birthday. But I knew you were close and thinking of me as well. I love you all, I am so happy you had a celebration and ate a bunch! That is how I like it! haha
This Sunday, a lot of our in actives are coming back again and again. We made our goal for the whole mission to get 500 to church! We got 502... BOOYA! We are doing wonders and it is all because the Lord is working with us. A lot of beautiful moments and still a lot of growing up to do but I know if we put our trust in the Lord and let him teach us -we will grow in our desires and talents and become a strength to His work. I have bore testimony after testimony. And it's sometimes short and simple, but it means the world to me. I love this gospel. I love it and I never will stop loving it and proclaiming it's truth. Thanks for all you do family. I hope you feel the spirit abundantly this week.

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, June 16, 2014

Week 46 / Happy 20th Birthday

Dear Family,

Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! I am so incredibly lucky to have all of you as my family. Loved the Star Wars dress up. I was getting pumped and laughing hysterically when I saw the pictures. Totally not expecting that! Thank you all so much. I love you! Also want to make a shout out to Daddy-O. Happy Father's day! I have an incredible father and hero to always look up to, to always geek out with, to always have the deepest conservations with, to goof around with, to always have someone here is there for me no matter what. You rock my papa! Thank you for all you do, I hope your day went well and you are well!

This week I had exchanges with Sister Burton. It was quite nice to meet up with my first (MTC) companion again. We were in my area, so I took her around and found potentials and taught our investigators. I don't think there was one moment where we weren't working, but there wasn't one moment where we weren't talking. It was good to catch up and realize how much we have grown. I was kind of in awe with that and how much I truly love my companions I have had. All of them have taught me something and all of them I deeply care about. I have been very blessed. Sister Burton and I were trying to find a in actives house at one point and we started going out into the boonies where one little house was standing in the middle of the field. The sun was very strong that day, so we were looking kind of gruesome. We made it to the house but it wasn't the one we were looking for. We taught about the Book of Mormon anyway to these folks and people kept giving us cherries on the streets as I was contacting anyone near me. I don't know if it was their peace sentiment to get me to be quiet, but I thanked them politely and then went on to say, 'By the way I also have a gift for you... It is called the Book of Mormon!'

This week we were on fire! We were just talking to everyone and anyone and getting random contacts, great lessons, and openly loving anyone that we could. We were working hard and it felt good. We would come home exhausted and I would lay on the floor and couldn't wait for the next day to go out. Sister Brown and I taught one of our investigators who was struggling to find a answer. We brought one of our members on the lesson who has been reading PMG (Preach My Gospel) with us. The man said he didn't know how to get the answers. We testified to pray, but he just wasn't understanding. Our brave member, who is quite shy. Spoke up, she bore sweet testimony and let the spirit teach. Our investigator was taken back by her words and committed to pray and that he really did have a desire to know this church was true. Our investigator's prayer changed and you could tell his heart was in a right place. Afterwards, our member told us she knew what to do and how to teach because she had been reading PMG. I thought, how cool is that? Not only missionaries should be rooting for this book, but it can be a great help to members as well. Members are so important in missionary work. We need them so much, and when we work together... it turns out even better than if we were to do it on our own.

We met with another investigator who came to family home evening with us and had been nervous to do church activities, let alone go into a church. She has a strong desire, being she use to be very active in her old church and the youth group. She just had hard experiences. But when we met with her something had changed. She was more open to us and wanting to hear what we had to say. She told us that she is done with being scared. That she wants to learn from us and hear about our message. She knows it is going to be a big decision, but she says she wants it. I was shocked by her change and I knew that Heavenly Father was working on her. I was so grateful and could feel the impression that she will get baptized. Our zone has been sky rocketing having a bunch of baptismal dates, more and more coming into the fold. It's been uplifting and energizing to see how much we all have been giving our all and believing in the success that is happening and waiting for us to grab.

This last Saturday I called our two in actives that haven't been to church in over 10+ years. We have been working really hard, but they seemed to not want to edge their way over to the church anytime soon. That wasn't stopping us. We knew in our hearts that the spirit would work with them. We talked on the phone and I am use to them having a response of 'no'. But this time was beautifully different. 'Ya, I think I am coming'- I couldn't contain my joy. I asked if they needed us to pick them up, or help with their kids. But they were both like, ' no I can DO THIS!' On Sunday, Sister Brown and I sat nervously, prayerful in our seats waiting anxiously for these people to come into the church. When it was about to start the door swung open and there they were. We got about 10 in actives from our part of the zone to come back in the past two weeks. Just counting Sister Brown and my area. We are living the dream... And how beautiful it is. I sat there so happy and filled with the Spirit as we sang the opening hymns. This is why missionary work is so worth it. It's this moment right now, when you know you have brought your brothers and sisters back into your loving Heavenly Father's arms. Beautiful, hard last week and I am excited to see what else is in store. So grateful to serve!

I can't believe I am turning 20... Crazy to think I be so old! Treat yourself this week. That is my birthday wish. Much love!

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, June 9, 2014

Week 45 / Having a little Faith, can go a long way

Dear Family,

I am always thinking of you and how much you mean to me. Especially this week. How are you all? I hope well! Love you.

This Week - We went to one of our in-active's house and her baby has been really sick. We were trying to help with everything we could around the house and in the garden, but you could tell that she was a little overwhelmed. She told us her baby had been crying all night and all day for the past few weeks. The whole time we were over at her house the baby would cry and cry and wouldn't stop. We felt so bad that we couldn't do anything to help. It was hard too because we were planning on having her come on Sunday for the first time in a long time! We sat down to have our lesson, but she didn't want us to pray until her baby would stop sobbing, but it wouldn't. I felt so strongly impressed to pray at that moment. I couldn't help but feel that no matter what, we could help this woman and her baby. I asked if I could pray anyway. Our investigator said yes and I began to pray. The baby started crying even louder. I didn't think anyone in the room could hear my prayer... But I knew God could, I knew Heavenly Father was listening even more so now. I began to say the baby's name, to bless her. As I was saying her name the baby immediately stopped crying and went fast asleep. After the prayer we all looked up in amazement. Our investigator was crying. I love how God blesses His children with the Spirit. That it warms our hearts and calms even the tiniest baby to sleep. I love that even the simplest things, and the things that you think wouldn't matter to the Lord. Does. That whatever is important to you is important to Him and he will always help you with his loving hands. That names mean so much to Heavenly Father as well. He knows us all by name and personally by doings. He knows if we pray for specific things, and even specific names. Miracles will happen. It touched my heart and grew my testimony even more that- God does watch after us. He answers our prayers and we are never alone. God is not giving up on us, He loves us immensely.

One of my favorite things about missionary work is feeling the incomprehensible love of God for these people. It's real and it is fulfilling. I could be dooring, or contacting on the street, or in a lesson. I could meet this person for the first time and yet feel this love that only God could muster up. We have God's love in us and that means we always have a little more to give. We never need to replenish, because I realized that even when I am working so hard and I get home exhausted. I still have a little more I could give, someone taught me that and I see it more and more as I am out here. So you go out the next day and try a little harder than the last. You never have to stop, because we always have enough. It's crazy when you realize this and realize if we have the faith... the faith of success in any situation and are prepared for the successes that are coming, that are waiting for us. The Lord will bless you immensely. He will grant you success and much happiness. I realize more and more that we are never left to our selves. The Spirit is always working with us.

We have been going to all our in-actives and members houses this week to invite everyone to come to church this month. We were led to each house and knocked on many doors. Members that hadn't been seen in 5 or ten years- we had the opportunity to get to talk to and invite. We ran into so many dogs on our way to their houses and at points I would hold onto Sister Brown because I thought they were going to bite off my head. But, I knew it would be all okay, because the time is NOW. The miracles are now. We must believe that. That we don't need to keep waiting on things, or think maybe one day this person will come back. But now! I called all the members one night. (I am beginning to like the phone-never used to) I talked to one of our in-actives we had been working with and she told me she wasn't coming on Sunday. I told her that I would do anything to get her there, that I knew what God wanted most of all for her and that I and He would be with her every step of the way. She still was discouraged and replied 'no", but I said 'okay. Well you never know. I just can't wait to see you. Especially tomorrow!' She replied, 'I just said no?' But I said  I know, but I am not giving up. So I will see you tomorrow, see you soon! Love you'! This inactive has been getting so many signs to come back and has been wanting to but for some reason excuses keep arising. I know though she will come back. I KNOW IT!

When we go to an in-actives we have to knock or contact 10 people around the in-actives house to invite them to the church, after you have contacted the member. So after we went to a house we began to walk and find people. We saw a family outside and decided to contact them. As we were walking over... I began to think... Oh, this will be weird, they are all playing outside and probably don't want interruptions. I think sister Brown was feeling the same way too as she started turning the other direction. I then stopped and said 'no... I am doing this. We are doing this!' I walked right up and invited them. Sestra Brown and I had a good conversation and they were super nice and seemed genuinely interested. It's good to build our faith and work with these people here. It's been really great.

President Rowe came for his last zone conference and it was incredible - like usual. We all are going to miss him. He told awesome stories and experiences and things that touched our hearts, and things that got us pumped and ready to give always a little more. 'We must keep the dream alive.' he told us, it is going to be crazy to have a new president but I know that it will be great and I am excited to work with him. We need to all have a vision of what we want, what we truly desire. We need to see it and remember- what we truly want out of this life and not go for anything less. Because we can achieve it and probably even more. I love being a servant of the Lord, I love that I am out here serving. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ for all he did so I can be transform and help others become who Heavenly Father intended them to be. 

On Sunday we had our last interview. I was a little nervous but as soon as I got in the room everything went away. There was so much of the Spirit and love that filled the room. I thought maybe this is a tiny bit how heaven feels. Afterwards I sat alone in the chapel as Sister Brown had her interview. I was alone and it had a great calmness in the room. I felt such a peaceful spirit and I gazed around and imagined all the members gathering later today. I was in a deep awe about this Gospel how far I have come, how far everyone has come in this voyage. The pioneers, especially the pioneers in Slovenija. I began to sing alone there in the chapel God be with you till we meet again in Slovene. I felt the spirit so strongly. I am so excited to see my Heavenly Father again, to see all my family there, and my family here. All my brothers and sisters.

A lot of in-actives that haven't come in a while came that day and we got a few new investigators from the meeting. A lot of miracles on that special day. I must say I am so thankful and know I am doing the best thing in the world right now. I love you all,  keep looking up and letting God lead you.

May God be with you till we meet again.
Have a good week
Love always,

Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, June 2, 2014

Week 44 / Small Miracles

Hey, Mom!

I love hearing and seeing all the kids! You and Dad are such incredible parents, thank you so much for being who you are and making my life so much more. You have been on my mind a lot and I keep praying for your safety and well being. Let me know what I can do!

This week we went over to one of our dear members house and she gave us a referral and told us that we could teach him the next day with her. We were so happy and so grateful how much the members are helping us with missionary work right now. The same member has been helping me write my testimony in Croatian, since she is Bosnian and making sure I know what I am doing since we have a potential who we want to give a Croatian Book of Mormon to. She was speaking Croatian apparently to me and Sestra Brown was confused as I spoke to this potential and as we walked away Sestra Brown said, ''You do realize that lady was speaking Croatian and that you totally understood her, right!?'' I didn't even notice! It's crazy how ready these children are and how ready God makes you. I whispered to God, ''Thank you so much.'' Because that is not my doing. It is for sure the spirit. This week has been really full of the spirit and full of faith and trusting what the Lord has in store for us. I have been letting my fears go and letting the spirit really build a fire to say what I know and believe. When we were in a lesson I felt prompted to ask a certain question, a question that was a hard question that I was a little bit worried to ask, but I was prompted and said it. The man we were teaching was stunned by the question and began to state what he really thought about answers from God and how he really does want it. We got his concerns and bore testimony of Prayer and focusing a lot of the Holy Ghost. I really feel good about him and I know soon he will come forward into this gospel. Although as a missionary I want him to have it now, I still need to learn that it is on God's time and it will come. Which I am ever so thankful for.

We had to go visit someone out in the boonies and we had no way of getting there, so the Elderly Couple took us on up there. We got a little stuck on the mountain side but I was just wanting to get out of the car and look at the view we were seeing. In the end Sestra Brown and I got out and walked to the houses we needed to go but I couldn't help but look out over the valley. We climbed up these mountains that were a door to see God's paintings. The golden fields down below, where the wild flowers never cease to grow, tired but beautiful and fill the grounds with all their colors. The mountains (Julian Alps) are tall and are such a deep blue they could hide in the sky as the drapes of snow lay like clouds on their very tops. The dark greens, the light greens are all catching my eye as it is breath taking, but also walking up these large hills is for sure taking away my breath, but we put one foot after the other and made it to our destination. The wind is a cool warm tempeture and our hair begins to do a waltzs as the earth breathes. It is the best when we get out to more of the country side and near Austria. You feel as though you belong there and everything is so alive. We had wonderful visits and invited everyone to come this Sunday to church since it is a open house for all on the 8th of June. It was such a beautiful moment in time.

Another day we were on the bus and we had been working really hard that day. I was a little tired and the bus was filled to the brink with people. I stood by something to grab on to because the bus drivers here go crazy and I seem to fall around a lot from one side to the other. Which is major fun and a skill you learn as a missionary. I was looking at all the people about me and a sudden urge came in my head and heart. "You need to talk to someone here on the bus." I looked around but I was thinking in my head, "But I am almost to my stop!" I began to walk deeper down the bus, but no one was catching my eye. Then the spirit rose again and said" you need to talk to someone! AND they are going to talk to you." All of a sudden a young girl called to me. I looked over and she was a teenager, very nice, very welcoming. She wanted to talk. I began to and was so happy to get her information and that she wanted to meet with us Sisters. It made me realize, I really just need to be listening and trusting. Going with it, because God will lead us.

I had another experience with my dear friend named the Holy Ghost when we went to someone's house and they were not home I wanted so badly to talk to this person but it was a no go. We began to walk back to the main street and I began to pray that we would just see them. We began to walk past a ice cream shop and I thought hey, go get some ice cream. "But my belly!", I thought-then "okay fine!"' So we went and as we were ordering our bus left without us but then as we exited out of the ice cream shop there was the person we wanted to see! We talked to them and invited them to the open house.

The perks of being a missionary or rather being a child of God is you never have to fear. That if you let Him, He will guide you to the right places. I know that without the Holy Ghost I wouldn't be able do my part. That I wouldn't be able to have the power and love I need to share the truth with my fellow brethren and sisters. That without the joy of this gospel I wouldn't feel whole. I feel wholeness and the peace within this gospel. I know how true it is and how much I have been blessed because I am living it. I know that if I keep growing and keep transforming myself to being better and better- I can be better for others and I can be better for God. I want to be ever proving and showing my trust in myself and that He, Heavenly Father can trust in me. I love my Heavenly Parents and their outward love to me. For giving me strike ones back everyday. For giving me the oppurtunity to be their hands and beginning to comprehend their love for us all. I am excited and ready for this next busy week ahead and hope it is filled with much happiness for you as well. Love you so much! It's weird that it is almost my birthday... Trying not to think about it too much.

Love you once again,
Sestra Holly Cuthbert