Happy Easter! I’m so glad everyone is doing well back home and has their hearts centered on this wonderful holiday. I feel lucky to be here during this time of the year as we will have a special Easter devotional tomorrow highlighting an Apostle (Don’t know who yet) of the Lord! I’ll do my best to recap the devotional for everyone next week + I’m stoked for General Conference as well next Saturday and Sunday! It’s going to be one spiritual week here in the mtc – Can’t wait!
We had a great week as a district! All sorts of highs and lows. Everybody is healthy, working hard and quietly counting down the days til we board that plane to eastern Europe haha!
As far as some of the lows go, I’m going to try to stay as positive as I can… This week instead of teaching return missionaries on Friday we had the chance to Skype local “members” from our mission. As a district we were all pretty psyched/anxious for this day to see where we were at with the language and most of all, to meet members from our mission! Every companionship was assigned a computer and all we had to do was hit the video chat button when we were ready. As we pressed the call button, immediately this 48 year old man from Zagreb named Zvonimir popped up on the screen drinking the biggest bottle of coca cola in his pajamas (I, of course, laughed). This guy was a character. haha. We taught him the importance of being obedient while centering our message around our Savior, Jesus Christ. He thought it was vital we talk about Zagreb though, and the other countries, which was fine. He had great pride in the country of Croatia and where he was from, while also hinting at some hard feelings for members of other faiths and countries, which frustrated me quite a bit. He also seemed to think that he needed to get on a plane and come teach our Mtc district the Croatian language because our grammar just wasn’t cutting it haha. Our teachers really took that well. Ha I don’t think he understood we have only been studying this crazy language for 6-7 weeks, but oh well, it motivated us. A sister companionship in our district taught a less-active old lady from Serbia that doesn’t believe in the Book of Mormon at all and was very frustrated with the sisters’ ability to communicate with her. Haha I felt horrible for them. Anyways, our teachers were pretty disappointed as we were supposed to be teaching and getting to know nice members from our mission and we got the polar opposite. Our teachers, being the best, each bore their testimony of how the people of this mission are so wonderful and how much the mission has blessed their life. They promised to set us up with their favorite members from the mission next week haha!
As I reflected on this Skype session all of yesterday, I couldn’t help but just laugh. I have always heard eastern Europeans were very stern, blunt people but apparently, I had no idea. Zvonimir didn’t laugh at any of my jokes, which was devastating. He barely smiled. haha oh man. It was an experience and a half. Aside from a little shock, I learned and took away something really important – These people have a story. There is a rich history in this area of the world that I need to be aware of and soften my heart to. Although I may think I understand, I dont. Aside from that, I really am excited to meet so many wonderful people, hear their stories, learn from them, be their friend, and most of all, invite them to feel of the eternal joy that lies within the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Please know It was a positive experience. I’m so grateful for my mission call and I know that as I keep my heart focused on the gospel of Jesus Christ, that I will be able to see these people as they really are – Children of our Heavenly Parents. Go Eastern Europe!
I wish you all a happy Easter! This week I have been able to read the book of 3rd Nephi when Christ appears to the Americas. What an enriching and powerful record. I bear my humble, yet powerful witness that Jesus is the Christ. He is the Son of God and the Savior of the World. I know that in some way beyond my own comprehension, in the Garden of Gethsemane, He ransomed us from the pains and miseries of sin, and made mercy available to each and everyone of us, so far as we will come unto Him and repent. I know that shortly after, Jesus Christ, nailed to the cross in Calvary, and after He had fulfilled the will of the Father, uttered the words “It is finished”(John 19:30) and voluntarily gave up the ghost. Most of all, I know that after appx. 3 days, in some unfathomable way, He rose, crowning the miraculous Atonement. Because of this, death has no grip. Death is not the end. We can live with our families eternally! What a pure and hope-filled message this is. I know that the power of the Atonement is real. I know that because of His incredible suffering, He can help us along in our mortal journey, so far as we allow Him to. I testify that his Hands are still out-stretched to you and I – all we have to do is reach. I love my Savior. He is my best Friend, and my eldest brother. I love my Heavenly Father, that has provided such a wonderful plan for you and I. May we all partake of this wonderful gift, come unto Him, and partake of the eternal blessings that are promised as we do so.
I love you all and pray for you daily! Have a great Easter/General Conference Week! What a great time to be alive!
With all my love,
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” – John 15:13
“You can’t interview Judas to understand Jesus”