This week was a week of miracles! Zazracny tyzden! [note: Miracle week] Love you all!
Elder Nye [note: senior missionary] shared with me how he’d always wanted to go to Africa since he was a little boy. He gave up on that dream since he felt like he’d never make it over. Then his wife and him put in their papers and were called on their first mission to Africa. While there one day they were on a Safari and Elder Nye was just marveling at the beauty and the thrill that his dreams were fulfilled. But then a little while later he found himself under a tree sharing the Book of Mormon with the tour guide and suddenly he felt how, even though he was so happy to be in Africa, nothing could compare to the thrill he felt when sharing the Book of Mormon with someone. It was worth much more to him. I’m glad he shared that with me. As great as things are in life, as fun as it is to do sports or be with friends and what not, nothing compares with the thrill of sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with someone else. Not everyone will accept it, but when they do it’s so worth all of the rejection.
Jano is our less-active. We had a lesson with him our first week here. He was quiet and didn’t seem like he wanted to be there with us. We found out he wouldn’t read the Book of Mormon or come to church. But we loved him and I guess you can say we loved him back in to the church. It took some time, but as we met with him more he began to trust us and we found out he wouldn’t read in the Book of Mormon because he started having bad dreams and he felt like they were a result of reading in the Book of Mormon. We continued to work with him and one day there was a switch. He received a priesthood blessing from Elder Nye for his nightmares and ever since he’s rapidly progressed. Today, he is laughing and talking and I am amazed at how the spirit can touch people’s hearts. Jano came to English this week and was just amazing. He bore his testimony and prayed at the end. There was an older man who came to English for the first time and Jano apparently invited him to church. He called us on the phone so excited and said “I invited him!” Sister Izatt was like “Who did you invite?” He was like “That man in English, I invited him!” “Oh, to sports day?” “No! I invited that man to church!” We were shocked! Jano hasn’t even been to church himself yet and here he is with the missionary spirit. He feels the spirit more and more. That’s why he is so so happy. I am so so amazed at how he has changed. He loves coming to church things, he loves the Nyes and the members. He’s reading in the Book of Mormon! Wow! Never give up on anyone. If we’d given up on Jano, well I can’t even imagine. I realized how big of a miracle that was! There are miracles everywhere. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to it.
I like Ivan a lot! He’s almost 70, but looks so healthy and is SO happy. He always says he’d doing “vyborne!” [note: amazing] and his hand-shake is so firm. He has investigated for years, has read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Nauka a Smlouvy, the gospel principles manual and who knows what else. He knows everything and yet he’s missing something because he isn’t baptized yet. Anyways, he comes in and we had on plan to teach him ordinances for the dead and missionary work in the duchovni svet [note: spirit world]. We didn’t know how inspired we were, until we started teaching Ivan about Christ in the spirit world after he was crucified, using 1 Peter, and then baptisms for the dead using 1 Cor 15:29. We read them together and wow! I’ll never forget Ivan’s countenance. He just sat there in utter astonishment. He reread the verses after we explained their meaning and said “I have read the bible for 50 years and not once have I ever read these passages in this way or understood them. I must have read the bible wrong, all these years...” He was so humble and so teachable. We told him he hadn’t read it wrong, but that God had much more for him to learn. He told us he wished he’d been born later in life and met us earlier so that he could have learned all this stuff earlier in his life. He was a different person. Ivan admitted that the Book of Mormon is true and then, through the spirit, he admitted to us that his wife didn’t know he was meeting with us and that if she did she wouldn’t let him come anymore. We realized the concern in his heart with getting baptized into our church. We now know what to pray for because we need a miracle!
Our new investigator is Jan-Ivan. After I prayed at the beginning of the lesson, Jano said “I don’t know what it is, but when you prayed and when you prayed last time, I was filled with such peace. In fact, all evening after our last lesson I was filled with such peace. I’ve never felt that before. Why? I’ve prayed my whole life and gone to Kostel [note: church]. Why have I never felt such peace?” It’s the spirit that matters, not the language. Later as he talked more about his feelings he mentioned the first day we met on the Namestie [note: town square]. He told us that if someone had approached him like we did about religion; he’d normally have laughed and walked away. But for some reason he chose to stay and listen to us. He felt something different. He told us “There is something different about you. Something comes from within.” It was really neat to hear that. A testimony, that this is Heavenly Father’s work.
Our next lesson Jan-Ivan said he’d been up last night until 5:30a.m., thinking and pondering about our message. Said he couldn’t sleep and the thoughts kept coming and suddenly things began to click for him. He wrote down his thoughts and then turned to the verses in the Book of Mormon that we’d given him to read before our next meeting. Since he’d wondered about how to recognize impressions that come from God, I’d felt like we needed to recommend a few verses in Moroni 7 about how we can discern if something is from God or not. So Jan-Ivan, after pondering and praying all night and writing down his thoughts, turned to the Book of Mormon finally and reads these verses and it touches his heart and confirms everything he’s been feeling and pondering. He LOVES the Book of Mormon! He was so happy to read it and said “How did you know to recommend me this chapter? How did you know my thoughts? Those verses were perfect!” At the end of the lesson when we talked to him about church we said “Do you have a tie?” and his response was “Sisters, I read the brochure! I already know what I need to wear to church tomorrow. Don’t worry!”
We walked out of the church building and Sister Izatt felt impressed to go to the Namestie [note: town square] and so we did and saw Jan-Ivan again. We talked to him for a few minutes and then this random man comes up. He then told us that he was Czech, got baptized into the church in Prague in 2000 and then moved to England where he attends church! We had him bare his testimony of his conversion to Jan-Ivan and he did and talked about baptism. Then Jan-Ivan started asking about baptism and that was a blessing as well. Nothing is coincidence! That’s for sure!
Jan-Ivan came to church in a full-on suit and tie and looked so good! After church I taught him with Sister Dobiasova. You know what he said? He said “I know I’m not going to understand everything the Sisters teach me, but I’ve decided that I’ll just believe everything they tell me and I have faith that the understanding will come later!” Oh my King Lamoni! I felt like Ammon. Anyways Jan-Ivan LOVED church and the members and everyone was so good about welcoming him. I’m so grateful for the members! Members make all the difference. We can’t do missionary work successfully without them.
We drove to Zvolen after, ate lunch and then drove to Buca for church. We had 6 investigators show up, 2 of which were children so I got to teach primary! I’ve always wanted to teach primary since I came and it finally happened today. I love helping and serving and working. I love getting out of my comfort zone. That’s a weird thing to say, but it’s good! I love being a missionary.
This week we had miracle after miracle. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It changes people! I know that Christ’s message is one of love. Love we feel from our Heavenly Father changes us and I am so grateful because as a missionary I feel God’s love for others. It’s the best! It’s beautiful!
S laskou, Sestra Mel Pysnakova
In Levice with family friend Klara Pisnakova and her grandaughter Viktoria.
With beautiful Viktoria.
Our first halusky that we made!:) We are real Slovaks now:)
Ice cream with Pavol and Simona.
Yesterday we were so hungry after church that on the way to Zvolen we took out the crepes we made and started dipping them into the Nutella.
Teaching primary in Buca, a village outside of Zvolen.