Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 8

Hey everyone!!

This week has been great!!  It is so crazy to think that November is almost over!  It has flown by!!  It is also really weird to think that I will be turning 19 this week and quite honestly - I don't want to!  I love telling people here that I am 18 and seeing their faces, when they realize that an 18 year old boy is teaching them about God.  Kind of funny, and people are really surprised about it and a lot of them say that they thought I was in my 20's. xD
This week it has also been raining almost everyday here, but I actually really enjoy the rain, so that has been a ton of fun!!  Today the wind actually really picked up, and it reminded me of Cedar City, but I just laughed because it didn't even compare to all of those freezing days walking around in Cedar's snow and 1000 mile per hour wind. :)  But winter is definitely getting closer here and they are just starting to put up the christmas lights, which I am really excited for and I will send you all pictures.
The branch is also getting ready for winter her and we are putting together a Christmas Concert and we will be singing and have a nativity story.  We started this last week and meet every tuesday and thursday and one of the best parts of all is that the person in charge is actually a less active we have been working with for a long time now.  She is the music director for the branch here in Celje and two weeks ago she came to church for the first time in months and did her calling and lead the music.  She has progressed so much and now is so close to becmoning fully active again!!
We have seen some great strides of success here in the branch!  Lots of people are becoming active again, and one man that we have been working with has come to the last 3 sacrament meetings in a row!!  He has been inactive for the past 8 years and he is amazing!! We think that he is become solidly active again and now we are working on getting him a calling.
We then had an amazing lesson yesterday with one of our investigators.  Her name is Štefka and we also brought a member named Olga.  Štefka was completely and totally prepared when we got there; she had her Book of Mormon on the table, her pamphlets, pencils, and was completely set!  We then sat down with her and we had a great starting conversation and then asked before we go anyfarther if we could start with a prayer, and the greatest thing was that she offered to say the opening prayer!!  She has been struggling with prayer, because she is a little shy, but it was a great and her prayers are becoming better and better!  We then taught about Jesus Christs ministry and his apostles from the first lesson and surprisingly that was the whole lesson!  We were going to finish the whole first lesson with her that day, but we just kept going and answering questions she had about this and that and she even asked about children baptism and what we believed about that and she thought it was great.  And then throughout the lesson she even marked scriptures we used and now she is really dedicated in investigating.  She said that she would continue to pray every day and to read the Book of Mormon everyday and we feel really strongly that she could ready with a baptismal date the next time we visit!! :D  We are really excited for her and feel that she is really prepared.  

Some funny things for this week are that one night while we were trackting, we tracked into a potential that Elder Benson got before I came on my mission, and as we were talking with her, she really didn't seem to interested.  While we were talking I noticed, in a reflection of picture in her house, a man get up and start walking to the door and I just thought: "oh no, here it comes" - thinking that we were going to get kicked out.  Then all of the sudden the man looks straight at me and says:  "Utah Jazz".  I was so shocked and I just looked at him. At first I just thought it was something in a different language, because it was SO unexpected.  He then saw my blank face and then said: "your mo.. mo.. mo"  - "Yes, we're mormons!"  He then told us that right now wasn't a good time for them and asked if we could come on wednesday in the morning.  We said of course!! And then headed out!  It was such a funny moment and it was completely opposite - usually we set up the lessons, not the other way around! xD

This week I will be celebrating thanksgiving with Senior couple here and the missionaries from Maribor, and I am so craving sweet potatoes and marshmallows!!  I hope that you all will be having a great thanksgiving and I miss you all SO much!!

- Starešina Lyman

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 7

Hey everyone!!
This week has gone by so quick!!  We have been really busy this week with a lot of lessons and nothing too out of the ordinary happened, so this letter might be a quick one.  Something that was amazing this week was that on Sunday we had three less-actives come and one visitor who is the girlfriend of one of the less actives we have been working with.  We also had 30 people to church and I know that probably doesn't sound that amazing, but let me tell you: it is!!  When I first got here I guess the branch was about averaging 15-20 people coming every sunday, so they has been a lot of improvement!  I love the people here and some of them have some of the strongest testimonies and are all some of the coolest people ever!  I am actually in Ljubljana right now and am at the University here, because we went in the morning with a member named Marko, because he was coming here for school and we hitched a ride, so we are waiting for him until his class gets out.  He is so cool and he is about 20 and he is the 2nd counselor in the branch presidency.  He is so young, but thats what happens when you have such a small group.  I hope you all love your wards so much, because it really is  a blessing to have a ward and especially a chapel!! :)
Something I should have probably done a long time ago is tell how mission is like here in Slovenia.  So we have branches and four areas that are open to misssionary work right now.  The four areas are Ljubljana, Kranj, Celje, and Maribor.  Ljubljana and Kranj are apart of the same branch and in Ljubljana we have a chapel there, that have about 60 members that attend weekly.  Then in Kranj there are 2 sisters serving there for the whole city; Ljubljana has 4 elders and 2 sisters; Celje has 2 elders (me!), 2 sisters, and a Senior Couple, and then Maribor has 2 elders and 2 sisters.  So in total we have 18 missionaries in Slovenia right now, and we are supposed to get more senior couples in january.  I lucked out and am in the same district as the only senior couple, so I get dinner ever once and a while, haha!  Then for the other parts of the mission are Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and I forgot to mention that we also had a new country added a while ago named Montenegro!  There one of my MTC companions is serving right now and there are only 3 members there for the whole country, so its very new and it will be hard work to get it up and going.  Most likely I will not be going to any of those other countries, because Slovenian is very different from their languages, but you never know what the Lord will need! :)
For our success this week we found one new investigator and it was completely by surprise!!  We originally went  to go teach a member, but when we got there his mom had a friend over and so we sat down and started talking with all of them.  Eventually we got into a very good conversation with her concering the Godhead, and now she wants to know more! We will be going over to her house this week with her member friend, so I am really excited to see what will happen! :)
It is so weird to think that I have been out for about 4 months already!! It really blows my mind, because it has gone by SO fast!!  Right now I am still with my trainer Elder Benson and I have only 5 more weeks left of training and it is so weird to think pretty soon I won't be a greenie anymore!  The langauge is still coming and I love it so much!  It's really hard, but I am so excited for when I can actually be fluent and that is where the real fun is going to be!
Well that is it for this week and I forgot my camera so I will send more pictures next week!  And now I am going to go party (sort of) with the Ljubljana elders and play basketball and maybe watch Johny Lingo, haha!! Čhao vsak, in lepo se imate! (Cya everyone and I have yourself wonderfully!)
- Starešina Lyman

Monday, November 11, 2013

Hey everyone!!

I have had another great week in Celje!! :)  It is definitely getting close to winter and it has been raining a ton here!!  But that is okay, because I love it!! :)  I want to mention something that I have wanted to for a while, but kept forgeting and it is that Slovenes are totally paranoid with weather here!!  My first 5 weeks here it was so warm and perfect (Utah) weather and so I was walking around in short sleeves, but... everyone around me had jackets and everything!  There were so many times when I would be talking to people and they would say:  "Why arn't you wearing a jacket, you'll freeze!!"  While it was about 70 degrees outside!  But it also started up a lot of conversations, which was good! :)  They are also very paranoid about breezes and drafts.  If they are in a building and they feel a draft, they will literally stand up and move somewhere else to get away.  They are a very superstitious people and they think that if you are even a little bit cold, you are going to get sick and die, haha!
  The first transfer just ended and I am on my second, but nothing too exciting has happened with it.  I am still staying in Celje and I am still with Elder Benson and will probably stay with him until my training is over.  The sad thing this morning was that Sister Legro (one of the other sisters here in Celje) was going home, so we had to help her with her luggage.  A couple of nights ago we went out with the sisters and some members after an activity and we went over to a Palečinke stand.  Basically palečinke is a crepe and they have them all of the time here in Slovenia and they are amazing!! They have lots of little shacks around that serve them, so we went with Sister Legro for one of her last nights in Slovenia.  I mention this, because I made a really funny language mistake while ordering mine.  As I picked up my Palečinke, the server said: "Dober Tek!" and I said: "Enako!" - Same to you - and he then had a very puzzled look as I walked away.  As I was walking I totally realized "Dober Tek" means "Bon appetite!", and then thought: "Oh no... I am Brian Regan..."  =  "You TOW!" (I hope you all understand that reference, haha!) ;D

This past week we had Zone Conference and we went to Ljubljana and were there for the whole day.  It was so great and President Rowe came and talked with us!  Another really cool thing that I would like to mention is that one guy me and Elder Dearinger ran into last week on exchanges came and handled the lunch for Zone Conference.  He came and delivered the food and met all of the missionaries and then President and Sister Rowe, which I think was a really good experience with him.  He then said goodbye and said: "I hope we can do this another time!" and I thought to myself: "OHH, we most definitely can!" ;)  After that I think President and Sister Rowe went and showed him around the church.  He is such a cool and nice guy and I am really excited to see what happens with him! :)

I have talked about my bike "The Legend" before and again I would like to talk about it more.  You just cannot win with this bike, haha!  So as I said before, that it had completely broken down a couple of weeks ago, but we took it into the shop.  I paid 28 euros (more than what it was bought for) and repaired it.  After that it was amazing and it was basically heaven on wheels and the "The Legend" was back from the dead.  Well... while I was on exchanges, Elder Wilson was riding the bike and the back tire exploded! Haha, he then had to carry the bike all the way to the apartment.  Once I got back we then had to replace the tire, which was pretty painless.  So everything has been totally fine now.  But another funny story happened this morning while I was riding it.  We were riding to the library and we went down a hill and I realized that there was a person in front of us riding their bike, but they were going really slow, so I tried to go off to the side and go around.  As I was doing this, my tire didn't make it over a little tiny bit curbing and it totally wrecked.  Miracuously, and I don't even know how,  I ended up just running and ended up on my feet.  Kind of a surreal experince, but "Hey!" Everything worked out.  Kind of a dumb story, but I just want to mention again: you can't win with "The Legend"! ;D

This week we have had a lot of success.  Yesterday we had a less active that we have been working with come back to church!! He is so awesome and has such a strong testimony and belief in the gospel, but he just needs the little push to come back out.  He then has a non member girlfriend that has been coming with him to church.  They both came to district conference a couple of weeks ago, and she seems interested.  She sits and listens to our lessons, but she doesn't want to be involved in the lessons, so she is observing, so we will wait and then teach her when she is ready. :)  We then are also teaching two other people (a brother and sister) and they are doing very well.  They are so nice and at first the brother said that he is not interested in switching religions and that he is comfortable with his (meaning he doesn't go), but they are both becoming really interested.  They are also really excited that we are from America, because people over here LOVE us!  The sister that we are teaching has a son and he went to school and told all of his friends that he met American's and they all thought it was SO cool!  Haha! :)  
We then are also teaching two other investigators that are friends with that less active that I mentioned earlier and we have had amazing lessons with them.  And they are the same people that I mentioned were rolling cigarettes in our first lesson.  Still happened in our second lesson, but it was a lot less this time, haha!  And then we are suppose to have another less active come to family home evening tonight and he says that he will be coming back to church this Sunday.  The work is really coming a long here in Slovenia and we are getting more and more people to teach! :)  Sorry if this was all a little confusing, but I'm trying not to use names, just to be discreet. :)

Well I have to get going, but I hope that you all have an amazing week!!

Se vidimo!!

- Starešina Lyman

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Hey everyone, our Zone leader wanted us to send him our testimonies, so I thought I would send it to all of you also! :)

Over these past few months while being on my mission I have realized just how amazing the gospel is, and that I have been so blessed to have it in my life.  While at the MTC I was amazed to see that my whole perspective of the gospel was completely changed and before I thought that I had already known why/how it was so important.  A mission really does change your life and my has already been changed over these past few months and I am so excited to see how it will change in the rest.
This gospel is a gospel of change and everything is based around us is to help us change.  We are in a current fallen state and our purpose is to try the best we can and change our hearts toward God and become like him, but I know that we can't make it alone, and our Heavenly Father has sent so much to help us along the way.  The gospel is evidence of this, and then we have the scriptures, and prophets, apostles.  With these testimonies we can develop the faith/hope necessary that we can accomplish this change. (Jacob 4:6)  But we still need more, and our Heavenly Father knows this and has given all of us everything that we need to make this possible.  One of these things is the opportunity to have a constant companion that will help us along the way as long as we are honestly and sincerely striving to obey and have our hearts constantly turned to God.  This marvelous and miraculous gift is the Holy Ghost, and I have seen him bless my life so many times.  I can testify that he is real and that he can lead and direct us to know what is right.  He can protect us from danger and he can comfort us when we are sad.  He is one of the best friends we have and is also the humblest, because a lot of the times he is unnoticed.  I know and have seen miracles happen, because of him these past few months and they are what I like to call "little-miracles".  There are miracles all around us and so many times they go unnoticed.  If you look in the scriptures it says that "by small and simple means can great things come to pass".  
This is where I have greatly appreciated keeping a journal, because that is how you catch these "little-miracles" and one of my favorite scriptures for this month is 1 Nephi 16:29.  The scriptures are journals of ancient prophets and that is how they have so many amazing stories and miracles in them, because they recorded them!  Everything that happened, whether it was small or big they recorded them little by little..  And now people look back at all of these events and are amazed at "what the Lord hath done".  And becuase of the scriptures or these spiritual experiences, we can understand the ways of the Lord.
And now there is the other side of the spectrum and that is in Alma 37:41.  And this talks about how because people thought that because these "works" (miracles) were done by small means, they didn't perceive them to be much and they eventually just forgot about them.  It then tells us that these "marvelous works" ceased and that they stopped, and that happend because people stopped looking for the small miracles of this life.  Miracles don't have to be big and surprising - which do happen - but it is by the spirit that we feel that determines what a miracle is.  I want to say that I have a testimony of the Holy Ghost and that miracles happen and they are still happening in this day and age.  Like I said, he is our most humble friend, because he can be hard to be noticed, but he is only noticed by those that are looking.  But you have to be quick about it, because he doesn't want to be TOO obvious, because we are on this Earth to "walk by faith and not by sight".  But I can testify of the importance of journals (like the scriptures), that when you write down every spiritual experience or "little-miracle" - you can catch him in the act. :)
Now with all of this we still need more help to make it back to our Heavenly Father and then He sent us the ultimate gift of his son, Jesus Christ, to perform the Atonement.  It is because of him that we can change, and that we can become better, and become - God Like.  It's because of him that we can change our hearts and change from our fallen state, and be born again through repentance and become again the righteous sons and daughters of God.  (Mosiah 27:25)  This is our purpose in life and our purpose is possible through Christ, that we can climb that ladder up from our fall, step by step, and return to live with our Father once again.

I know that this church is true and that Jesus Christ is our savior and that this gospel blesses each and everyone of us, in ways that we sometimes don't even know.  Miracles still happen, and this church being restored through Jospeh Smith, was a miracle. 

And I say these things, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 5

Hey everyone!! I can't believe I have hit my third month already and my first month mark here in Slovenia!!
This past week has been so amazing and being out here in the mission is so amazing!!  I am learning so much and a mission really does change your life!! :)  I am really beginning to love the people here!  Last week we had a Chestnut picnick with all of the branches of Slovenia (3) and Celje was hosting it.  We had about 40 people show up and it was so much fun!  Our Branch President (Predsednik Stojanovič) put so much time and effort into it, and he has such a big heart.  The people are amazing and have such strong testimonies, despite the struggles of being in such small branches.  They also served SO much food at the picnick, which was amazing!!  The food here is really good!!  On another note I also found out I not allergic to chestnuts, haha!! And then I also found out I'm not allergic to Nutella either, so.... I have been eating a ton lately, catching up on everything I have been missing out! XD
This last Tuesday we also had an exchange and I went to Ljubljana with Elder Dearinger.  He was in the Older group of Slovene missionaries in the MTC and me and him became really good friends and so I was SO excited!!  It was such a fun excgange!!  When we got to the apartment my heart pretty much dropped!  It was like a mansion/palace compared to our apartment in Celje!!  Our apartment is so small, and I'm not sure if I have sent pictures of it yet, but I will next week.  But it was like heaven to me!  It had 2 rooms, a kitchen, a big entry hallway and then 2 bathroom, AND they actually had a real shower curtain and not a poor man's curtain, made out of trash bags (haha I hope you all saw the picture of ours from my last email! XD)   But literally the best thing of all was somehow the Ljubljana Elders had......... a guitar!!!  It was amazing!!! And I was so happy and I played it so much while I was there!!  It brought back such great memories and it amazing to see how such simple things can bring you so much joy, haha! 
Throughout the day we did lots of different things like preparing for English Class and then we teaching it and then we went out and went contacting on the way back to the apartment, because it was late and almost time for to end the day.  A lot of the day was taken from traveling from Celje to Ljubljana by train, so we didn't have much time to proselyte, but we tried to do about an hour after English Class. 
As we were contacting, nothing was really happening and there weren't a lot of people out on the streets, so me and Elder Dearinger went and prayed and asked for help and guidance to find someone that needs this gospel, and after that we continued.  In those last 15 minutes we still didn't find anyone to teach, which was disapointing, but we decided to walk back and go to the apartment.  As we got to the apartment, we stopped, and I felt that we should go for just a little bit longer and when I asked Elder Dearinger how he felt, he agreed.  We then turned around and walked down the side walk and as we were walking we saw a car driving by with a kid sitting on the drivers lap.  Elder Dearinger then pointed it out to me, kind of disapointed in the man, and then all of the sudden the car turned into the parking lot right in front of us and stopped.  Turns out it was a really good friend of Elder Dearinger's and that they met him at his restaurant the last week.  We started talking to him and we met his young boy, who he was having some fun with him and "teaching him how to drive" the little bit before home.  He wasn't in any danger, because they were going slow and his son loved it!!  He was just beeming with smiles! :)  We kept talking to him and then he asked us what we are up to this week and if we were working, and we said "Actually..." and then told him that we were missionaries and what we do.  He had never before heard of Mormons, Joseph Smith, or the Book of Mormon.  So we kept talking with him and then we got a little off subject, because we started talking about where he was from (India).  Then he had to go and said that we were welcome anytime to come over to their home and have dinner!!  We then walked back to the apartment and Elder Dearinger told me how great that was and that him and his companion have been wanting to bring up the gospel with him for a really long time, but that they were just waiting for the right time and if we hadn't have turned around we would have missed him! :)  I want to testify that the Lord really is involved in this work and that "little-miracles" are all around us, and I have actually noticed a lot more around me this week, but ya gotta be quick, because Heavenly Father doesn't want to be TOO obvious. ;)  But if we're looking, we'll see them. :)
Another thing that I would like to mention is that this Saturday we got 5 new investigators all in one day!!  It was crazy!!  Our goal was to find 2 for that week, but we found them all in one day!!  One is a family of three.  A brother and his sister and the sister's son.  They are atheist, but I think they mainly just know what to believe in.  She believes that all of the churches are just corrupted, and we told we understand and we would LOVE to teach our message. ;)  But for the first lesson we mainly focuesed on God, and who he was.  And then we got a feel of who they were.  And now we have another set up! 
Then the other investigators were a man and a woman (boyfriend and girlfriend) and we taught them the first lesson.  They are kind of in the same boat as the first family, and the woman asked the question why are there SO many churches and faiths.  So we talked about Joseph Smith and the first vision.  It was really funny, because in the whole first half of the lesson, they were actually rolling up cigarettes and smoking them in front of us, haha!  He smoked two and she smoked three and had a glass of wine, all in 30 minutes! The spirit wasn't really there until they stopped and were done and then that is when we got to the point of Joseph Smith and I recited the first vision to them.  The spirit was really strong then and it just shows that the spirit will not dwell in unholy places.  They took the lesson pretty well and we have another set up with them later. :) 
Well today I am in Maribor for P-Day and am currently in the Library there, but I am going to get going and go have some fun!  Thank you all for all of your letters and they are such a joy!!  They really help a lot and give me a boost, when times get hard.  I love and miss you all!
- Starešina Lyman