Monday, August 27, 2012

"Do Your Duty, That is Best. Leave Unto the Lord the Rest"

Our two remaining roommates:)
Getting to see Elder Rogers at the temple!
Surprise visit from Darin Hillyard whose now teaching Polish at the MTC:)
Dobro Jutro Obitelj i Prijatelj! (Good Morning Friends and Family! :) )
I can't believe another Monday is here! We only have 3 weeks left in the MTC and time seems to be slipping through our fingers. It now is feeling like we might ACTUALLY leave the MTC someday! (For part of our time we felt like this was our destiny. haha) It's been another week of ups and downs, but learning all the way. :)
So, I have two language moments today. Sometimes you think you're getting better, but then you just know how to say more words in the wrong that's awesome. The first experience I had was on Wednesday when we were with our teacher, Sister Carter. We were learning directions, so she thought it would be a good activity to have us go outside and have one person telling the other two of us where to go. We took turn being the leaders. We had been taught all different directions and how to say "quickly" and "slowly" and "stop" and "go". Being as prideful as I am, I didn't want to review all the words and what they meant at the beginning of my turn being the leader. So I started directing them. Things were going really well and I thought I was being the most hilarious as I was telling them to go slowly and turn in circles, etc. However, I thought it would be pretty fun to make them go really fast and then tell them to stop and go fast and then stop again, etc. As I said "Brzo!" they both took off speed walking. I was behind them and walked with them. Then I said "Brzi" (which means faster)! They took off. As I was chasing them I realized that I has forgotten any words for "slow" or "stop" or "end" or "finish" and they were still running! I was yelling in English, but especially since our teacher was with us, they didn't respond. Finally they took pity on me and stopped. I was sweaty from running after them and my pride had been handed to me. For the record, "stanite" is how you say stop, and I will never forget it.
Second language moment was in a lesson with our investigator Srdan. We have been trying to teach more by the spirit and our lesson that day was on obedience! Automatically I felt like I should talk about the strippling warriors and theĆ­r practice of exact obedience. As I had Srdan read the story of the strippling warriors I stopped him and tried to explain to him my testimony of obedience and how I love the strippling warriors. As I started to explain I realized that I had no idea how to say "strippling warriors" or anything to that effect. I stumbled and mumbled through some lame explanation using my kindergarten vocabulary and when I was done my teacher had this amused look on his face. Afterwards, between hysteric laughter, he told me that I had explained to him that I like a young boy and that I like a story of a young boy. Yipee. Creepy missionary on the loose. hahaha
Also, this week we got to hear from Elder Neil L. Andersen in our devotional on Tuesday. It was a very humbling experience to be 7 rows away from an apostle. He gave a great talk about "The 10 things President Monson Would Tell Us If He Were Here Tonight". He gave great advice, but one thing that he said really impressed me: "Do you duty, that is best. Leave unto the Lord the rest." I am continually reminded that the Lord has a plan for us. All we need to do is keep His commandments and strive to be like Him. That is ALL! He has promised us SO many blessings, but we just need to do those simple things that help us to be happy anyway. I know that as we keep the Lord in our lives and keep ourselves worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost that He will bless us. Our lives won't be without trial or loss, but as we turn to Him, He will help us to know the best way for us to deal with those trials.
I love you all. I pray for you and think about you A LOT!
Volim te,

Sestra Giles

Monday, August 20, 2012

"I'm Not Sure if You Know This About Me, But I Like To Talk"

In our classroom with our missionary chapstick:)
District Goals!!!
Hello all you lovely outside-world people!
Well, first big news is: WE ARE HALFWAY DONE! We leave 4 weeks from today. :) We haven't gotten any of our travel plans, but we have been told that we will be leaving on Monday, September 17th. I cannot believe that we have been here for half of our time! The first half definitely dragged on, but now I'm feeling stressed that I don't have enough time to learn all I need to learn! Sestra Compare and I are getting down to business and cramming all the language into our brains that we can.
Funny Language Moment: We were asked to introduce ourselves in an online course and sadly, that's not something I've really been focusing on. I can teach you the first three lessons EASY, but telling you what my hobbies are is a whole different issue. So the only thing I could think of was a phrase that my teacher had said the other day and so I intoroduced myself by saying, "Ja sam Sestra Giles. Volim dobar dabari." (I am Sestra Giles. I like good beavers). Yes people, I'm going to be one of those missionaries that can't have a normal conversation, it's fine. haha
Tuesday was our first SYL day. SYL days aren't required anymore, but they are highly reccommended, so we thought we'd try one! It was HARD. I really had a hard time with it because, I'm not sure if you know this about me, but I like to talk! haha We pretty much had to carry around our dictionaries all day to be able to communicate with each other. We pretty much dismissed talking to other people, they don't even know where Croatia is anyway! haha
Also this week I recived the calling to be the coordinating sister of our branch. The Coordinating Sister acts as the sort of "Relief Society President". I'm definitely humbled by the calling, especially since we have 4 new sisters coming in this week! They are going to the Talahassee, FL and Billings, MT missions. Sestra Compare and I have really wanted to connect more with the sisters in our branch because we don't get to really spend time with them besides at meals, and I'm hoping the service I've been called to do will help! It's definitely exciting to have a calling and have an extra opportunity to serve. :)
This week I've been thinking a lot about faith and prayer. As I've been able to focus more and more on things here in the MTC I have been able to feel my faith in Jesus Christ growing. As I partake in the Atonement daily and strive to become more like Him, I understand that there is a plan for me. There is a plan for each of us! Heavenly Father wants us to be happy and to turn to Him in every hour of need. As I've been praying and asking questions sometimes I feel redundant, like I'm thanking him for all the same things and asking for the same blessings. I was a little lazy about praying for a bit becuase I felt like a broken record! Then this Sunday as we were sitting in Relief Society, a line from all those years in Young Womens popped into my head: "If it's important to you, it's important to Heavenly Father". No matter what we are praying for, no matter what answers we are seeking, no matter what hardships we are having, He cares. I know that we can pray about anything. ANYTHING! He will comfort us, answer us and guide us as we continue to exercize faith in Him.
I love you all. I hope you're having a great week! I think and pray for you often.
Sestra Giles
PS:   We are still just working on Croatian right now. They keep giving us little tidbits about Serbian, how they say different words, what the differences in sentence formation are, but no hardcore Cyrillic (sp?) yet!


Monday, August 13, 2012

Singing at the MTC

Bok priatelj i obitelj! (Hello friends and family!)
Alright, I cannot believe I have been here for 4 weeks! We have our halfway point coming up this Saturday and I seriously can´t believe it! Time moves so slowly...until you realize it´s been moving the same speed the whole time! haha I´m getting a little nervous now because I feel like 5 weeks isn´t enough to learn all I want to learn here, but it will be so exciting to finally get out there!
Learning the language is DEFINITELY getting better. I am starting to better understand the concepts of Croatian and be able to use them as I am speaking and writing. I am much better at writing it all out because I can see exactly what is supposed to be where in the sentence, etc. I´m really working on speaking and using the right verb conjugations and case-endings. Blah. It's getting better! I've really caught the vision of learning this language and I just want to know everything there is to know! I'm starting to have a hard time sounding out words or names in English because I'm so used to sounding them out with Croatian vowel and consonant sounds. haha I guess that's what's supposed to happen though, right? :)
The funny language moment that I chose for this week was during one of our lessons with our investigator named Daniel (Brother Rubisch's alter-ego). We were having a really good discussion about the BOM and he had said that he was reading it and praying about it! Sestra Compare and I were bearing testimony of the blessings that will come from reading the Book of Mormon and praying. As we finished testifying I started giving him the commitment to read and pray every day. I meant to say, " We want you to pray and read the Book of Mormon everyday....." But there are a few different principles that I disregarded and ended up saying "We want you." His eyes got all big and he tried to hold back the laughter but he just couldn't do it. It took me about 15 seconds to realize what I had said and needless to say, I was pretty embarassed. I will not be using that sentence again EVER! Trail and error. haha
This week I have been feeling even more dedicated to the work and have felt the Lord's blessings. As I keep trying my hardest and don't get too prideful to ask questions or ask them to explain the newest principal we learned one more time I can feel myself progressing very quickly! I am so lucky to have the BEST teachers that keep things new and exciting to help me stay on task and keep learning all that I want to learn!
I also had the chance to sing in our MTC Relief Scoiety meeting on Sunday! An elder in our district accompanied me and I sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". It was intimidating to try out in front of the mission presidency's wives, but later that day I got this cute (and very official-looking) note in my mailbox stating that I had been invited to sing this Sunday in sacrament meeting! We did a soundcheck before the meeting and my-oh-my was that different! I realized how much I missed my Noteworthy sisters. The song went well and it felt SO good to sing. The speaker from Relief Society was Sister Rosemary Wixom, the Primary General President. She gave a beautiful talk about the power of music and love in our missions. She challenged us to love the children in our mission and make sure that they know they are children of God. You all know how obsessed I am with tiny humans, so neednless to say I was touched. It was a GREAT meeting!
I've continuously felt the impact each of us has as an example of Jesus Christ. We never know who is watching. We never know who is having a hard day or who may need a smile. Don't forget that we are each children of God and we each have the power to change someone's day or even someone's life by the way we live ours.
I love you all! Thanks for all of your prayers and your support.
Do vijenia!
Sestra Giles
PS.  We got another new district in our branch this week and guess where they're going........ALASKA!!! I've been telling them all the things Jordan has told us about his mission, etc. Our Branch is english, I don't know why were not with other language speakers, but that's just how it worked! The different districts in our branch are going to Everett, Washington, AK, Mesa, AZ and Albequerqe New Mexico!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Pictures from Sestra Giles

Sestra Compare & Sestra Giles

Croatian Book of Mormon for Martina & Katarina (Croatians who stayed with my family last week)

Our District:  Sestra Giles, Sestra Compare, Elder Burdette & Elder Benson

I love doing laundry!!!

Olympic goal wall:)

The "she-leaders" with the zone leaders.

Twinners! We love Croatia!!!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ups and Downs at the MTC

Well hello sweet family!
It's so good to hear from you! I love reading your emails and DearElders. Thanks for being so thoughtful and always keeping me in your prayers as well. I know the Lord hears our prayers and answers them!
This week has been great! I have definitely had a few bumps in the road, but Sunday is always a great way to finish out the week. And as always, without Sestra Compare I'm not really sure I would be even standing right now. She is such a caring and supportive person. We both had our first breakdowns this week, a day apart. haha It was great that it worked that way because then each of us could be there to support each other. Something that we realized is that we both are prone to compare ourselves to each other. Her strenths are my weaknesses and vice-versa. Luckily we're such good friends that we can talk about this all to each other and realize that we can learn so much from the strenths of our companion, and the adversary is definitely trying to use that part of us to pull us apart. It's been a topic of many prayers we have had and we are going to keep buildling each other up!
One of our districts in our zone left on Wednesday and in that district were our Zone Leaders. Since the Branch Presidency didn't want to call new Zone leaders until they had met the new missionaries on Thursday, Sestra Compare and I were asked to give the new orentation meetings to the new missionaries in our district, like the Zone Leaders would have done. It was a daunting task, especially since two of the new sisters didn't show up until 30 minutes into the meeting! You really don't realize how nice texting/calling is until you don't have a phone! The orientations went really well though. The new missionaries are going to Mesa, AZ, Everett, WA and the four sisters are going to temple square! We have one sister from New Zealand and I could listen to her talk allllllllllll day. It was fun to get to teach them about the ways of the MTC. It felt like EFY all over again. It's funny to see the new missionaries faces when we tell them that we will welcome them into the MTC and say goodbye to them here because we still have 6 weeks left. haha We're going to know the ins and outs of this place!
So, my funny language moment for the week (don't worry there are hundreds of others during the week too.): We were teaching a new investigator (one of our teacher's aler-egos) and I volunteered to say the opening prayer. I was a little flustered because I didn't exactly feel ready to teach the lesson so I quickly bowed my head and began the prayer. "Drago me je.." then I stopped. It didn't sound right. I opened my eyes and my teacher was on the verge of tears he was giggling so hard! "Drago mi je" means "nice to meet you". I was meaning to say "Dragi Nebeski Oce" but I had just gone into auto pilot after the first word! I was SO embarrassed. I let out a little giggle but for the rest of the time I couldn't look at my teacher because he was having a hard time keeping composure. hahaha Seriously, I say things like that everyday, but man. That's when I felt the dumbest.
Sestra Compare and I got your Croatian package in the mail and LOVE IT! We've been running a mile or 2 every day and we got your package right before gym time so we wore your shirts running together and everyone kept trying to read it and not know where Croatia is. :) THANK YOU! We seriously are so lucky to get packages from you so often. Both of my teachers keep saying that I've gotten more packages in the last 3 weeks than they ever got on their whole missions. You're the best, Mom!
In this week of ups and downs, I've really had time to think about why I'm here and what I feel when I'm here. I'm being humbled EVERY DAY. That was something that I prayed to recieve here on my mission and I am definitely experiencing it. I'm realizing the importance of the Atonement and the real significance it has for each of us. It's not that we just need to turn to Him in trials, we need to turn to Him is every fear, in every want, in every pain. When Sister Porter came and talked to us in Relief Society she talked about "wearing out" the Atonement. We need to not let it just hang on our walls and be grateful for it. We need to use it until there are tears stained on it, holes worn through it and we have felt comfort come from it. I've been thinking about that a lot and realizing that I really need to work on that! Whenever we are feeling weak, or discouraged, or alone, or afraid, we need to humble ourselves enough to fall down to our knees and pray to the Lord for His help. He wants to give it to us, we just need to be willing to submit to his help: Swallow our pride and turn to Him! Muliple times a week we sing "We'll Bring the World His Truth". They have changed the words to "We are as the army of Helaman, we have been taught in our youth. And we are NOW the Lord's missionaries to bring the world His truth." My time is now. OUR time is now to share the gospel with all the world. We have been sent to the world in this day and time for a reason. We have people we need to share the gospel with and we have the tools and resources to do it!
We all just need to remember what the stripling warriors said, "...Behold, our God is with us, and He will not suffer that we should fall.."
I love you all! Miss you!
Sestra Giles
A few things: I don't mean to not send you pictures, they have disabled the ability to attach pictures on the computers here! They don't even have somewhere where we can print them! I'm going to be sending my camera memory card home soon so you can upload all the pictures from it and then just send it back to me. I'm sorry!
I love all the blessings that have come from the Croatian sisters staying at your house. I'm glad they felt the spirit! Make sure I get their contact info so I can find them!
Also, We've been told that the baptism rate is EXPLODING all over our mission, so we're really excited! Also, our teachers are really suggesting that we will probably be in Serbia, so that would be crazy!!!!