Hello mom, I love you very much, I just wanted to start off with that :) . What do I want to hear from you? Anything that has been meaningful to you, really. Things that brought you joy, spiritual experiences, things that are hard so that I can pray for you. Thank you for the letter you sent, it was good to have something to hold in my hands like you said.
This week has been super busy with all sorts of experiences happening every day. Everyone loves to hear about weird foods, so I'll start with that. I ate pig tails one night, and goja (which is intestines stuffed with this potato-type stuff). It's not Slovak food or English food, but gypsie food. I expect I'll have more such things to come, seeing as that's who I'm teaching--the Slovak gypsies. Once again, these people are so awesome here! They have amazingly open and willing hearts, and are so prepared to receive the light of this gospel. I would like to mention a couple of the people we are currently teaching that are really quite amazing. One is Helena, the mother of Marek, who is the boy we baptized last week. She hadn't attended any of her multiple family member's baptisms prior to his, and hadn't been interested in the church. However, after Marek's baptism, which she attended, things changed in her heart. When we went over to follow up a bit with Marek, we ended up teaching her a full lesson, and have met with her multiple times since then. Here's the amazing thing: she watched the Restoration video one night on her own and loved it so much that she watched it 5 more times! since then she watches it 3 or 4 ttimes every night before bed, and she says that she's never slept better in her life. The crazy thing is, the video is in English because they lost their remote control and has no way to switch it to Slovak! So she understands none of what is said, but simply feels the Spirit that the story of Joseph Smith brings. Of course, when we found out about this we immediately taught her the lesson of the Restoration and explained what was in the video. When I related to her the words of Joseph Smith about his experience in the Sacred Grove, the Spirit was so strong in the room. She knows that it is true, and feels it so strongly. We asked her to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it and our message to know if it is true, and I can't wait to follow up with her about it. I feel that she soon will be joining her family as a member of the church, and we plan to give her a baptismal date the next lesson we have.
Another person we are teaching is named Martin. He just recently began meeting with us, but already his growth stuns me. After only a couple lessons, he accepted the commitment to live the Word of Wisdom and completely gave up smoking and drinking, just like that. He'd been smoking like 3 packages a day, but now nothing and he doesn't even want to. He soaks up everything that we talk with him about--his heart is so open. We took him to see a baptism of a different investigator from another district, but we ended up missing the actual baptism thanks to heavy traffic making the bus very slow. However, we took him to see the baptismal font, and talked with him about how the baptism works. He told us that his heart keeps telling him that he needs to be baptized, which was so special. He really feels the Spirit very well. We suggested a baptismal date to work towards, but he told us it was too late and that he wanted to be baptized the very next day. Of course, we have to teach him some things still before that, so we told him to think about a different day and we would talk to him the next day. We have him scheduled for the 26th now, and I am so excited to continue to watch him progress.
General Conference went really well with these people. We chose just a few talks for them to hear out of all of them, because we only had a single two-hour block to show them it. The people I talked to really loved President Monson and President Uchtdorf. To get to the building where we are meeting for church as the Slovak branch, we have to walk about two miles as the missionaries, because we go around and gather the people so that they can follow us to church. For them, it's more of like a mile and a half walk. We do a lot of walking here, and there are a ton of hills. I don't have to worry about losing my athletic abilities anytime soon, I guess. We also use the bus system a lot, but depending on where we need to go and when we need to go, sometimes we can't use it.
I haven't got much time left now, so I'll finish up now. I'm doing well, no worries about anything. Busy, busy every day. Love you lots, I hope things go well for everybody this week! you are a fantastic family, I am so grateful to have you. Truly, you bless my life so much.
The first are the pig tails that I ate. Yes, I ate it. No, I didn't like it. It had a ton of fat and the skin was really weird.
The second picture is goja, the intestine meal with potato stuff inside.
The third is of Marek's baptism, with a bunch of other Slovak children and some ward members. The Elder I'm standing by is Elder Williams' companion, that's just how the order ended up, I don't know why.
Me on the top level of a double decker bus! I can check that one off the bucket list.