Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 65 / Beautiful Celje



Hey Family!

I have been studying a lot on forgiveness this week and it's really touched my soul and always opens my eyes to truly see what is the real true happiness and how I can be a better daughter of God. I know I am not the best and I know I falter and fall down. But, I also know that I can be better, I can be more. I can share more love, more time. I can be kinder, more wiser. We live in a world surrounded by people and things and I just want to say now. I hope you can forgive me. Who ever you are, I hope I can make up my wrongs, I hope I can give you my heart and tell you you're the world and you are someone special, you are real, and I love you. Too forward? I like to think so... But hey, I would like to work on it and it's a good thing too. I hope we see our wrongs as something inspiring to move forward from. That our eyes can be opened to see that those mess ups can magnify us and make us be more incredible than we were. I hope we can learn this throughout our lives.

We are born into this world and so many people are telling us who we are, what to be... What we are not. We get side viewed and feel that what we once believed and thought was true is now on the line of question and do we really know who we are? I want to take a breath... and really think... Who am I? What do I like? What makes me, me? With out the influences, without all the people yelling and screaming you- that you aren't enough. It is bologna! God loves you for being you. I love you only because it is simply you and you are strong, you are definitely powerful, and you are changing the world. I know this. I feel this. I love this. Thank you for being the bees knees, the cats pajamas. You rock, now let's rock it, today.

We ran into a fellow at the library who kept asking us questions about our church. He was really intrigued in who we were and what our faith believed. He wanted to get a drink with us downstairs, so we decided we would accept and meet with him there.We felt pretty good about him and his lively character. As we made it down the stairs and we began to talk of religion and our testimonies he began to beam. He is one of those kids (He is in his late 20's) who has the talent of smiling with his whole face. He is kind of quirky in the fact I was talking to him and he asked for a cup of water from the cafe and took several packages of sugar and just started ripping them open and dumping heaps of sugar into his water and chugging it down while listening to me contently. Sister Dutton's face was priceless and I just kept answering his questions as if it didn't phase me. He began to rip the receipt the waiter gave him and the waiter had to come over and reopen up the tiny spit balls he was creating. He was acting like such a kid and I was really surprised that he was such a goof ball. I loved it to be honest, but I didn't know if he was taking anything I was saying to his heart. I thought maybe we should go but I looked up at him and he began to be very serious with me and told me some hard things that had happened in his life and that all he wanted was just to be happy. He then asked if we could help him find this happiness. With all the courage and love we had in us we exclaimed yes and got to teach him. It is amazing to see the transformation in seconds, days, weeks, months, years of people who begin to feel the gospel in their souls. It is what I live for and long for - for God's children. The spark that they are finally beginning to realize and awaken and remember their title, their true self in God's eyes. I feel my best self when I am seeing this and I am helping my brothers and sisters to this golden horizon, the morning call. As we started to finish up with our lesson I turned over to see the biggest bluest butterfly in the world. I had never seen such a big one here in Slovenija or that type before. It was raining hard outside and in the grayish rain the butterfly colored the background, it was sticking out and made me jump out from my seat. I believe that was my family saying hi to me in that moment. I couldn't help but to think of my mother and how she truly was the vibrant color in my life that spiced up and brought color to my world. It was a good moment.

We had many encounters on the street this week with people we knew or new faces that we shared God's sweet message with. One of our new investigators asked us how we can know what we are feeling is true and if it is not just our body reacting to good and we make believe what we want to feel hopeful for. I believe that God doesn't come to us in alien ways, he doesn't send whirlwinds to blow us down and tell us we are in a fiery pit. He tells us through familiarity, through small in simple ways... He goes to what we know and he goes to what is good and that we love and speaks through it. He can't physically hug us but he can give us our mothers to hug us. In all he uses everything he can in every good way and thought that comes your way to prove that he loves you and he wants you to seek Him. God is an incredible being who knows us by name. He loves us so much and he sees the bigger picture. He paints us like strokes on a masterpiece and says, ''there that was the finally touch, it's complete.'' He sees us as incredible creations and wants us to be incredibly happy. He wants us to build our lives and to love what we are doing and he knows that sad days come and all the emotions we so thankfully get and He is there in each one of our moments weak or strong. I know if we pray to know, if we seek to be with Him. You will know with assurance He is there and we are never on
our own.

I love you family have a one good week! Can't wait to hear about the reception!

Love,

Sestra Cuthbert
This picture comes from Holly's companion. Apparently is was a scary elevator.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 64 / Darth Vader, Flowers and Stairs

Greetings Comrades,

Today, while I was studying I looked up above me to see my parents picture, (The one where mom is dressed up as Darth Vader and dad is a Jedi Knight) and thought, ''Yep, that is my parents.'' You both rock my world and I am so happy to hear from you right now and hear the good news from this past week.

I admit lately I have been listening to Prince of Egypt CD and it is literally the best music in the world! Especially when I listen to the song, ''Let My People Go''. It gets me so pumped, I feel like that sometimes walking on the streets of Slovenija. Let my people go, devil!

Sestra Dutton and I found out this week that we have a juicer in our house. I began one morning to just start juicing everything in sight and began to reenact the juice weasel clip from Jim Carey. I couldn't help myself. We were just laughing and laughing. I really love our companionship because we laugh a lot, we fall to the floor and our stomachs ache afterwards and it always is the best moments. We have a lot of those moments through out our days here.

This week we were given flowers and we decided we would go contacting with them and give it to someone. We saw a young girl sitting on a bench and she looked about our age. We walked over to her and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, '' Somebody out here loves you.'' She was surprised by us and she began to talk to us and we actually sat down and got to have a discussion with her. She was warmed by us reaching out because she had missed her train and she didn't know anyone or what to do. We were happy to help her and we walked away feeling full of love and discussed that love is what people need here and if you speak it to them you already start off by meeting new people like you have known them all your life. It clicks, it connects. You will find someone who was searching for you, for God. For His love that is building inside us. God works with us and is preparing us day by day with love and once it grows and we seek for Him more and more we become sensitive to others, we begin to want to help others, and love one another. Because we begin to over flow and we can't contain and hold it for ourselves. Our cups are not meant to be half full or half empty but over flowing that we begin to distributing to other people, and other cups in our lives. The small drops of goodness do make a difference. We fill our glasses, we empty them, but with God they can always be filling. I truly believe this. I have been encountering many sorts of people and different lives and perspectives that help me see the true beauty of each individual. I see the good and the bad and I just feel like all of it is a gift, what ever comes my way I can become stronger, I can experience new things, see new places, and love new people. Some days are hard and some days we want to turn back but the courage and love of moving forward towards the sun is the best choice I have ever made in my life. Not that now I turn to the sun and this gospel that things have now been easier or relaxing for any matter, but that it has been worth it. It has awakened me, it is showing me  who I am and that we are all simply adored by our Savior.

The autumn here is incredible, it feels surreal and the skies and air are something to look forward to everyday. The sun has been kind and lighting our days with warmth and it feels good walking outside and realizing it's the start of something new. I can feel the sunshine from you, my dear family and I can feel the love that is beaming my way. It is real and it is good.

The Lord thinks we are cool kids and he is really proud of us. I was really happy to go to Ljubljana this week to see a lot of members at district conference. I got to hug my dear friends and the families I taught when I was in their designated areas. We also got our two investigators to come up with us and it was incredible to see the growth in them as well. One of our investigators told us he would never dress up and never come to church in nice clothes. But, lo and behold the man shows up in nice clothes for church. Sestra Dutton and I were beaming from ear to ear.

I have been walking a lot on stairs lately and one day I just stopped and thought - Some of my most favorite memories are on stairs. I remember my mother singing to me, ''You are my Sunshine'' on the stairs, or where my brother needed comfort, or when my dad held me close when I was a sick child and he was helping me take my medicine, or walking up some staircase at school and looking up and seeing a long lost friend, or the time I needed a lift and someone came running down to the rescue. Those stairs were God's tender mercies. Memories that I hold dear. I find it funny how the most tiniest details in life that we seem to let go by unnoticed - like stairs could mean so much to a person. But, it does. Everything holds value to someone, and everything holds someones heart. Be kind to those around you, be kind to the table that stubs your toe, be kind to the bee that danced your way, or the rain that falls on our crowns. Each part, each detail is loved, we are loved... and how remarkable it all is.

Love each one of you and all the details that make you, you. Have a good week.

Loads of love,
Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 63 / Charge is Hard, but Change is Good

Dear Family,

As I was glimpsing at the photos today of Laurel's wedding I felt a utter peace and joy for my sister. I looked at each one and felt like the man she was marrying was hers. He was made for her and her for him and I looked at them both and couldn't help but have a love for him already. Hope they are well and happy! Send them my love, please. I am excited to meet Laurel's new hubby someday!

This past week was really full of laughter. We were walking one night and we passed by a young lad who was trudging a long with his bike in the dark. We called out, '' Dober Večer'' and then kept walking making our way back towards home. When we were a little distance away I couldn't help but get a feeling to turn around. I looked back and he had stopped, still in the same place we greeted him at, staring at us. I started walking some more, but again I was pulled back to turn around once again. I called to him asking if he needed help and he yelled back a decline. So I turned back again, trying to understand what my heart was telling me. I began to start walking again when I still had a tug at my heart, ''Go to him''.  We immediately went back to him and began to talk. He was interested what we were doing here and his friend came up to us too and wanted to talk. We all began to start talking and bearing our testimony. These two kids were 17 year-olds and they wanted to hear more... I was blown away with gratitude that the Lord was blessing us. After we met them, Sestra Dutton and I were very happy and doing a boogie in our apartment!

We got to see a lot of new faces this week and learn a lot from zone conference. The work is moving forward here and it's nice to see the new ideas and strategies that are making us more effective as missionaries. It's nice to see the growth of our zone and it's love here with in our zone. We are all one family and it's nice to see how all the missionaries are doing and gathering miracles everyday.

We helped with one of our members with her garden and doing service for our rocking members in different ways. I seriously love the members here. I really want to work more with them in bringing more people into the church. They are so prepared and ready and I want to show them how great they are and how much I believe in them, but also how much God believes in them. This Sunday we got some of our in-actives to come back that haven't been to church forever. The other member's faces when they saw one of them walk through the doors was priceless. They all warmly greeted and smiles beamed throughout the room.

It was Elder Davis's birthday this week and we got to make him a cake and buy him a kebab. It was fun to celebrate his birthday and be thankful for these small but huge moments when we realize we are alive that we were born into this beautiful world and where we are at now. We have come so far and it's cool to see how much we are really growing and becoming one with God's love for us.

This week in the scriptures I have been reading a lot about faith and particularly the seed analogy. I thought we must go and know for ourselves. We are the seeds and the soil is the nourishing love of God. That once it surrounds you, you are safe, you are enveloped in God's love and it fills our souls and lets us grow.

Change is hard because it's the most realest thing you ever have to do. You feel like you can't make it, but you can. We still stumble and sometimes we switch back to our old ways. And yet, it doesn't suffice because we are stopping ourselves from growing.  Stopping ourselves from being who we truly are. We think if we give up willingly that then there will be no pressure, no conflict, but you will have the conflict in you. We must be honest with ourselves. Heavenly Father is happy with you and that you are trying. You are precious to him. And he knows you deserve the best.  So these hard experiences are only magnifying you. These experiences are giving you opportunities to conquer and achieve something greater. To see the positive to and fro and to grow more as the sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father. Who we are.... Is probably the question we will spend forever trying to answer and comprehend ourselves. We just need to be us. You just need to be you. You are loved. You are adored. You can grow... Trust in Heavenly Father. He will always come through. Why are we nervous or scared? Because we are close... That is why. You are so close to making something happen. You have angels near you, among you. You will be protected. There is sunshine in everyday. I know this to be true and I know that through the Savior we can see with different eyes, we can humble ourselves and lean on him to guide. We have hard experiences to show us that things aren't perfect and we can't change it to be perfect, but we can change how we view it and view it with compassion, love, and a positive outlook. I am grateful for all the moments of my life both good and bad for it's taking me to my final destiny, my final happiness. It has been a real gift to me and I hope my roots get deeper and deeper in this gospel.

I love you all so much family, thank you for your support. I'd like to welcome in Alexander to the family. "The force is strong in this one." I like him! So happy for the married couple and you all! Be happy and look at change with all your love!

Love,
Sestra Cuthbert

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 62 / Let there be Light

 Hey Everyone,

My heart is full of gratitude.

Here in my new area we have really amazing members. They are very incredible individuals that have the biggest hearts and have the spirits of giants. During this last Sunday meeting I felt God's love so strongly for these people and for me. I couldn't help it during the closing hymn, I closed my eyes and gave thanks for the opportunity to serve here in such a great district. A few members we had met earlier that week- bore their testimonies and expressed their gratitude for Sestra Dutton and I - for showing them love that week. I whispered translation to Sestra Dutton as they expressed to her (specifically) gratitude over the pulpit and before the meeting started that she was doing an incredible job and I felt so lucky and blessed to have her. That she is doing already so much here. I hope she knows that.

We sang on Saturday with the Elders and we drew people's attention on the busy little streets in the center. We felt good about our efforts and saw again someone we had met before from the previous day. The very next day he walked into the church and sat in for Sacrament meeting. I beamed at my companion knowing her "Goldie powers" were working up some real miracles. One of the members that bore his testimony on Sunday stated he had been baptized ten years ago and how he was so grateful for this church and how he wouldn't know where he would be without it. He is such a strong member and powerful teacher and when he bore his testimony I was so grateful that he had come into the church because I don't know what we would do without him.

Sestra Dutton had her first Kebab this week and she is absolutely in-love with it. I couldn't help but laugh as her face got so messy from that giant thing!! Kebabs are beasts and it is really great to spend time with her and get to learn more about her and I love her a little more everyday. I really love our companionship and how we both go off of our feelings and how the Spirit touches us in the same ways.

In our apartment we have a billion pictures of the temples and I am literally in awe of it all. It seriously just makes me believe that we are the luckiest people in the world to have God's temples in our lives. I'm pretty sure it's going on my bucket list to try to visit every temple in the world. I love the thought of that and how good it will be to go inside again someday.

I got to hear a few talks from General Conference yesterday and I was so excited to hear about Elder Uchtdorf's talk and how he described about space and it's glory. It was nice to know we were rocking the same kind of metaphors and I could relate to what he was saying about stars and light. I thought about if anything seems dimmed, out of focused, and dark in our lives.. It can be looked at again. The Gospel is our telescope and all the actions of good and love will turn the lenses so that we can see the picture of our lives more clearly, we can see more light, we can see more stars, and realize the universe is full of light. It's enough and always more coming. The future is bright with the light of Christ. When Jesus was crucified on the cross the world became dark and it was hard to see as clearly as they did before, but when Jesus was resurrected the light again appeared into our world and again we could see. The sun and the light that we see is a good reminder that God and Jesus Christ are our light. That as long as we see the light's beams we may always have the knowledge that Our Savior lives and He is showing us our greatest future by lighting the way.

I love you all so much. Have a good week and give Laurel, Parker and Ivy a big kiss and hug for me! I am happy for you all and pray for your hearts to become ever so full daily.

Sestra Cuthbert