The First Steps
I am finally here in Slovenia! Isn’t that crazy? I am still feeling the jetlag, but it’s getting better. It has been rainy since I got here, but it’s not too cold yet. It’s supposed to snow soon. I am wearing tights all the time since that is what you do here. All the days since I have been here have kind of blurred together, but I will try to recount what happened since last p-day.
I am proud to say that our district successfully got through every airport safely and with all our luggage. At the end of the trip we were all pretty tired because we had been up for around 36 hours. I only got pulled aside in security once in Frankfurt because I had a power converter in my pocket. The mission president, President Rowe, and his wife were at the Zagreb Airport to greet us. The airport is pretty small. After loading all of our stuff into a van affectionately nicknamed “the box”, we headed off to the mission home.
Zagreb looks much like you would expect any Eastern European city to look like. It was particularly beautiful in the rain. We were informed that our trainers would be at the mission office to greet us. I was told who my companion would be right away, as it was no surprise since I was the only Slovene speaker, and there was only one Slovene speaking companion waiting at the mission office. However, they did not tell the Elders who their trainers would be. They didn’t tell any of us where we would be going.
Once we got to the mission home, we dropped off our stuff, took a shower, and then headed to the mission office. Once there we had an orientation concerning health and stuff. It was all pretty funny because everyone was trying so hard to stay awake. I wasn’t feeling too good at this point but I decided to suck it up. We then emailed our families and had interviews with President Rowe. He told me that I would be going to Ljubljana and he advised me on how to make the best of my mission. Then my new companion and I went street contacting, which is pretty hard to do considering we don’t speak Croatian, but it was fun and we told a bunch of people about English class. Then we made our way back to the mission office and eventually we all went back to the mission home. We then ate a very delicious meal provided by the Rowes. At this point I was feeling pretty sick. So I took some medicine and went to bed. I didn’t sleep as I had hoped because I wasn’t feeling well, but in the morning I felt a million times better. We then went to the church in Zagreb for more training. I also got a blessing so I could feel better. I took an afternoon nap before leaving for the train station with my companion.
The Croatian Elders took us to the station to catch the train to Ljubljana. We discovered that our train had been cancelled and we had to find another one. Eventually the Elders left because they had to go. Luckily, we found someone who told us what to do and we got on the train for our 3 hour ride. When we arrived in Ljubljana, we got picked up by our Elders and they took our stuff home. It was nice to be in a country where I could understand 50% of what was going on instead of 10%. Ljubljana has lots of Soviet style apartment blocks, but the center of the city looks like Austria. We have some back woods country in our zone that will be fun to see. Many of the houses are grown over with ivy and are cute. There are a lot of cats and dogs. You see graffiti everywhere because it isn’t illegal. The graffiti is kind of fun. We take buses everywhere.
The next couple of days we spent tracting and getting my visa and paperwork taken care of. Church on Sunday was awesome and the members are all really great. They had me bear my testimony. Everyone in the branch told me it was good Slovene. But I don’t know how to talk to people other than sharing my testimony. One couple had us over for breakfast on Saturday and it was really awesome. The bread and yoghurt is sooo good!
Last night was amazing. My companion and I had been fasting, and after some planning we decided to go to tract an area and visit some members who hadn’t been to church in a while. None of them were home, so we decided to just tract. We “randomly” decided to knock on a door. When the lady opened the door, we introduced ourselves and she said, “Wait, I know, the Mormons, right?” We said, “Yeah!” and explained that we just had a short message to share. Then a fly, probably the most beautiful fly in the world, flew into her house. She said, “Oh come in, come in!” because she didn’t want flies in her house. My companion says that she will never kill a fly again. It turns out this family had friends over and their grandson and daughter were also visiting. They offered us traditional Slovenian homemade apple pie. We declined, but they insisted. It tasted soo good…nothing like American apple pie. It had apples, powdered sugar, a flakey crust, and dates. It reminded me of a pastry I ate in Italy once. We got to talking and they had some questions. We ended up teaching the restoration. It was the biggest miracle!!! Needless to say we were walking on cloud nine after that.
I am feeling much better now. I am pretty much over whatever I had the first couple of days and I am starting to get adjusted to the swing of things (like it getting dark at 5pm, etc…). Today we are going shopping for groceries and I couldn’t be more excited!
Both my companion and I have decided that we are going to work super hard and have no regrets! I am so lucky to have her as a companion! Even though we are both so new, we feel like we really have the diligence to do a lot of good work! We make a great team; she is all about working hard and obeying exactly. She is always happy and enthusiastic, which is what I need when I get sarcastic and cynical. She is good at the language and so smart. We have high expectations for what we are going to do with the Lord. I love it!!!
Now if only I knew more Slovene!! But I have been promised it will come! Well, thanks for all the letters and news! I am happy to hear the missionaries in the Philippines are doing well.
Have a good week