Monday, October 1, 2012

You All Need to Come to Sarajevo!!!

The scary elevators that we ride up to the 18th floor:)
These are our favorite kinds of buildings to tract. Luckily they are everywhere!

Sestra Trumbo and I!!!
Wow, it is crazy to think that its already been another week! So much has been happening here in my beloved city of Sarajevo. We are tracting like CRAZY and loving every minute of it. Its funny because people are really taken aback when they open the door and see two smiling 21-year-old girls from America speaking to them in broken Bosnian. It usually takes us a few seconds to help them understand who we are and why we are knocking on their door. People are really nice here and listen to our introduction of the Book of Mormon without slamming the door in our faces, which is really kind of them! There are quite a few who we set up a follow-up appointment with from just knocking on their door! Thats probably my favorite part of missionary work is that I get the opportunity to bring the gospel, literally right into their homes. Right where it is the most needed and where it will help them the most. Sometimes its hard for me to not just burst into their front room and tell them that I love them and they should be baptized tomorrow. haha

We have met with a lot of potential investigators this week. It is INCREDIBLE how some people are just prepared for this gospel! They have an innate feeling that something is missing from their lives and when we start to teach them they really feel something. We have most recently been meeting with a woman who has cancer. She is Muslim, but since her prognosis isnt looking too bright she has begun investigating different ideas about the afterlife and religions, etc. When we visited her this week it was the second time Sestra Trumbo had taught her. We presented the plan of salvation (which the Muslims have a very similar idea of in their religion) so it wasnt anything she hadnt heard before until we started talking about General Conference. Sestra Trumbo and I both were able to bear solemn testimony that we have a prophet and apostles that are on earth to guide us and help us with the things that we struggle with in our lives today. She really took this to heart. It was cute because she had invited a friend over to hear our message as well (she sounds pretty prepared huh?!) and after we talked about General Conference and when and where it was her friend piped in and said, Okay and after you go to the meeting you need to call me and tell me everything they say! haha I loved her enthusiasm for the new guidance and advice that we will be able to hear from our prophet and shes not even a member! How many people do we know that would call their non-member friend and tell them all about General Conference because they wanted them to have that good advice in their lives?! 

I'm the Bosnian Betty Crocker!
Another new favorite part of my week is our English class! We hold english class on Wednesdays from 17:00- 18:00 and Saturdays from 14:00-15:00. We have about 30 students in each class. THEY ARE AWESOME! This week we set up an obstacle course/scavenger hunt for them to practice giving each other directions to different places in English. One partner was blindfolded and it was really really fun! They are very eager to learn. At the end of each lesson we have a spiritual thought and have gotten a lot of interest in the BOM through the ideas we have been able to share. We have 3 lessons this week from people in our class. This week I also baked Lorna's Chocolate Chip cookies and they LOVED them! (And so did the Elders. haha) They dont have cookies here so they were so excited to have something from America! Im going to try out pumpkin chocolate chip cookies for Wednesdays class. I have to subsitute some different ingredients, but it is so fun to play around with and see how they turn out! The best ingredient that we have to subsitute is the chocolate chips. They dont have chocolate chips here so we get to smash up a delicious Eurpoean-made chocolate bar and put it in the cookies instead. (Dont worry Dad, I will bring some home and make some for you!) If anyone has ideas for lessons or activites for teaching English to intermediate english-speakers I would love to hear them!!

Our District! Elders Brown, Shillabeer, Mecham & us!
The work is progressing so rapidly here we can hardly keep up. The Elders tracted into a family on Saturday, invited them to church on Sunday and right at 10:00 there was a Mom, Dad, 15-year-old son and 8-year-old son sitting in their seats ready to hear their first Mormon sacrament meeting. They were so precious and loved sacrament meeting. We already have 7 lessons set up for this next week and it hasnt even started. The Lord is really blessing us here.

On the cultural side of things: 1) I have been kissed on the hand probably 30 times since Ive been here and all by men age 70 and older. 2) There are wild dogs everywhere! The other night Sestra Trumbo and I were walking through the market on our way to our apartment and were lucky enough to have 4-legged, furry body guards all the way home! They didnt bother us at all, but just made a little circle around us and escorted us home! haha It may be the only time in my life I have actually liked a dog! 3) I am officially a regular on the public transportation system now. I have a bus pass and everything! haha There are a lot of friendly people on the busses and trams here, but also a few interesting ones. 

In my studies this week I have been studying a different Christlike Attribute from Preach My Gospel. As I am trying to be the best representative of Jesus Christ I am realizing how far I still have to go! One of the attributes I especially loved studying was obedience. In mosiah 15:7 it talks about the will of the Son being SWALLOWED UP in the will of the Father. As I am trying to live and be obedient I can feel the Lord more prevelantly in my life. I am able to speak Bosnian a little better, I can understand what people are saying during lessons, I have the courage to stop someone in the street, not knowing what I am going to say to them. With General Conference coming up, I think this is something that each of us can apply. Our leaders in this church are going to counsel us on how to lives our lives so that we can be the most happy. I know that as we listen to the spirit as they are speaking, stay humble and trust in the promises that we have been given for our obedience that we can become better people and better examples of our Savior Jesus Christ. We all can let our wills be SWALLOWED UP in the will of the Lord and become increasingly blessed in our lives. 

I love you all! Thank you for the emails and the mail and prayers and the love.
Volim vas,

 Sestra Giles

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