Caves, Castles, and Choices
It has been a crazy week. But I feel like I write that every week. Mostly I say that because we had some amazing experiences this week. First of all we were able to watch General Conference with the members here in Ljubljana on Sunday. It was amazing to see Conference in English with Slovenian subtitles, which were translated by the members, put into a PowerPoint, and then overlaid on the projection of the broadcast. It really made me appreciate the efforts of the members and the Church more. How great is this work that here in Slovenia we can get the words of the prophet like that. It was also wonderful, because I could read the Slovenian along with the English, and see when the speaker added something that wasn’t in the written translation, or when they worded things a little differently. It was wonderful!
We also had amazing lessons with less actives and investigators this week. And although we don’t have any baptismal dates, I could feel the Spirit testifying through me to the people about the divinity of the Book of Mormon and about the reality of its translation. I also discovered this week that my companion has what I like to call: “Magic feel-y powers”…aka, she is really intertwined with the Spirit. It is really a wonderful talent that she has. She gets distinct impressions to talk to certain people and then she follows them. She has a way of connecting with people and they respond by opening up and sharing their concerns. Needless to say, I have a lot to learn, and I am learning a lot from her. We are really working together to master the language and find people who are prepared to hear the gospel.
Today was also amazing because the Senior couple invited us to go with them to Predjama Castle and the caves that are 9 km from it. When you Google “Slovenia”, it’s probably the first thing, besides Lake Bled, that you see. It was truly amazing. But like most castles in Europe there is not much inside, it made me think of that castle we saw in Bavaria that I can’t spell… insert name here (It’s Newschwanstein, Sarah). But it was really cool because this castle was built on a cliff and it is so green here; just picture Lord of the Rings. The castle has multiple floors and an atrium inside that has natural light from the cave in it, then it continues back into the caves as an escape route, it was pretty cool! Supposedly the caves go on some 21km around that area and you can go scuba diving in them etc… The cave that is directly behind the castle leads all the way to the coast. So this Duke could go to the coast and get his favorite cherries, while the castle was under siege. So that was pretty cool! We also got to see the famous caves and ride into them on a train, which was pretty much just a seat on a conveyor belt. It was beautiful and weird to hear so many people speaking something other than Slovenian. But it is an experience I will never forget.
The caves and the castle have much less security than any site would in America. They pretty much let you just walk around and do what you want because there is no tour inside the castle. I was thinking about how I felt like I was in a fairy tale, and how beautiful everything was around me. In the cave, looking at all the stalagmites and things from the different world wars etc… I couldn’t help thinking about how long it took to form those caves and how it is like our lives. I just kept asking myself, how has God shaped you? Like through the slow, sometimes powerful, sometimes delicate erosion of limestone by a river we too are being shaped and molded everyday by the things we do. But one big thing separates us from a stalagmite. We have the freedom to choose. Over the past couple of weeks I have been thinking a lot about this. Freedom to choose is really the biggest blessing and symbol of trust that we have. It is the power that we can wield to become whoever we really want to become. In this life we will obtain what we ultimately desire most. How wonderful is that! It just inspires me to be more diligent in making good choices, and not just good choices, but the best choices that I can, each and every day.
Hope that everything is good!