Monday, October 7, 2013

Hey everyone!!!

I just want to say this before I get started:  sorry if the spelling is off on any of the words.  The keyboards here are really different and the y and the z are switched so it is kinda hard, haha! BUT anyways....

This past week has been so amazing!!!!!  I love Slovenia already and it is so cool!!  So gorgeous!!  I'll get to that later though and talk about my trip over here! :)

So we woke up at the MTC at 5:00 and left at 6:30 and took a bus over to the train station and took the train to the Salt Lake airport. Then once we got to the airport we checked in all of our bags and headed to our gate.  It was so weird, because it was so surreal to be out in the real world and out of the MTC!!  Felt like I was breaking
so many rules, haha!  But then I had the chance to call home and it was so awesome!!  Loved hearing from my family! :)  We then got on the plane and headed towards Chicago.  While waiting at the airport I was able to give a man and his wife some pass along cards.  Really nice people and had heard a little about the church from their uncle, but that was it, so we will see. :)

Nothing really special happened on the flight, because I was sitting by Elder Bennet (MTC friend going to Croatia) so I just slept the whole way there and did a little bit of scripture study.  But once we got to Chicago all sorts of things started to go wrong!!!  We went to go through security and once we got there we realized we didn't have our boarding passes to Paris, so we went over to Airline France to go print them off.

As we were doing this we gave them our passports and then the workers started to tell us that we didn't have any visas to Croatia (our final destination) and that we couldn't go.  They said that as soon as we got to Paris they would arrest us/deport us and send us straight back!

This was the point when we all started freaking out, because we were just a ton of young kids with no guide and that hadn't really had much experience with airports.  They then told us that there was one way and that was we had to buy return tickets and that it would be very expensive.

Lucky one of the sisters (Sister Burton) with us whipped out a pre-paid cellphone that her mom had mailed her so that she could call her in the airport instead of a pay phone, so she called the Church offices.  We started getting really nervous, because we were running out of time and our flight was suppose to start boarding in 10
minutes.  The church offices told us that they had never had this problem before and Sister Burton tried figuring it out with the Airline employees.  It didn't seem like it was going anywhere and we were almost out of time, so Elder Frederick look around and asked if we should say a prayer and asked me to say it.  We all huddled around
while Sister Burton kept figuring things out and I said a prayer asking for help.  Once we ended the prayer I'm not lying when I say this: literally 5 seconds after the prayer an employee came up and said that our flight had been delayed 20 minutes and then another 5 seconds after that Sister Burton came up saying that the Church
Offices had figured everything out.  We were set!  Then Sister Burton called her Mom and started talking to her and she started to cry and she told us that her Mom was debating a week ago whether to send a prepaid phone or a prepaid phone card to use, but she said that she felt prompted to send the actual phone.

It was literally a miracle and I am so amazed, and I want to let you all know that I have a very strong testimony that prayer really does work and that we have a loving Heavenly Father that cares for us whenever we call his name in need.  It was a great experience and we had truly been blessed! :)

After that we went through security and made it to the gate and it turned out that our flight had actually been delayed about 40 minutes before we got on, so I had the chance to meet and talk to a lot of people and it was pretty fun!  I even met a missionary from a different church and it was cool.  Everyone there was awesome and very friendly. We then boarded and headed from Chicago to Paris.  My flight was pretty simple.  I sat to next to a man named Muhammad and he was muslim and didn't speak very well English, so I didn't have the chance
to share the gospel.  So I just slept and studied the whole time.

Once we got to Paris we found out that we had missed our flight to Zagreb, Croatia and so we headed back over to Airline France and started talking to them.  They were very helpful, and it took about an hour for us to get everything settled again, but that wasn't the struggle for us. The REAL struggle was trying to figure out how to
work the pay phones, haha!!  We needed to call the church offices and let them know we missed our flight, but the phones were all in french!

Luckily we had two people with us that had taken a little bit of French before the mission and with the two of them together they were able to figure everything out in about.... an hour, haha! :) We then were rerouted to Frankfurt Germany and then got on our flight and headed there.  It was so cool to go there, because two of the
people with us were from Frankfurt!  Elder Uhlig and Sister Konec and they were both going to serve in Croatia, so it was so awesome having our own personal guides around the airport!  Sister Konec was so scared, because her Mom actually works at that airport and so she was scared that she would see her and break the rules.  I still noticed her looking around trying to catch a glimpse of her and I can't blame her!  If I had a chance I would! :) But she didn't see her.

We then finally made it on the flight to Zagreb, Croatia and it was so awesome!!  Everyone around me was speaking croatian which is close to Slovene, so that was really cool to hear that, but I still couldn't
understand anything!

We then landed in Croatia and we flew over Slovenia, but I couldn't see anything, because it was dark and we got there around 7:30. We then went over to the baggage claim and waited.  We waited about 5 minutes and then the bags started coming out one by one and slowly everyone was grabbing theirs and slowly everyone had theirs.  But for me I just sat there patiently holding my hands watching the baggage line go around and around.... and around.  And once everyone was gone there was nothing left on the belt.  Everyone else in our group had
theirs except for Sister Burton.  She had her carry-on, but that was it.  They didn't have enough room for all of the carry-ons so they had us check them in before we left Frankfurt, and my carry on didn't come
on the belt.  So we both waited there for 10 minutes and nothing came.

 They had lost our baggage!!  And the funny thing is that they told us to pack an extra pair of clothes and some other essentials in our carry-on just in case this happened, but, my carry-on was lost too, haha! So there I was in the airport in a foreign country that I knew nothing about with only a backpack on my shoulders and a set of scriptures in my hand and I looked out in the world and said: "Bring it on!"

I went back with all of the other missionaries and met our mission president outside.  His name is President Rowe and he is amazing!!  Me and Sister Burton told President Rowe our dilemma and he sent us with his 1st counselor and we went and made a report with the airport. After that we loaded up in vans and headed over to the mission home. It took about 20 minutes to make it there, but it was so cool to see Zagreb!  I couldn't see much, because it was dark, but I saw a lot of the city and buildings because of the lights and I loved it!! The architecture is so cool!  But what surprised me the most was that there was a TON of graffiti   Everywhere you looked there was graffiti and all over the building's bases.  It was still so amazing though to be there and it was still nonetheless gorgeous!

We then went to the mission home and ate an amazing home cooked meal there made by Sister Rowe, and then we talked for a little all together and then went to bed.  I managed to borrow some stuff from my companions for the night, like some shorts and an extra tooth brush, and then we went to sleep.

The next morning we had interviews and breakfast and I found out that I had been assigned to Celje!!! In Slovenia!!  I actually had a feeling that I would go there in the MTC and I found out when President Rowe closed the interview with a prayer and said to bless me as I go to Celje - really cool way to find out!  

Well I have to go, but I did get my carry-on that day and then survived the next few days with what I had and some stuff from my new companion (Elder Benson - he is so awesome!! And I will write more next week!!)  I got the rest of my luggage 2 days ago too! :)

I love you all so much and miss you all!!

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