Monday, December 30, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Hello everybody!!! 

It has been an amazing last week because of Christmas and having the chance to be able to see my family!!  I was able to skype them at the home of a less active (for 8 years!) that we have been working with and we are almost at the point that we can say that he is fully active!!  He is so amazing and has such a strong testimony of the gospel and he has been coming very regularly to church, he just had got distracted among the years.  And then he was so kind to let us come over to his house on christmas day and to give us a slovene dinner!!  He is so awesome! :D  
For the rest of christmas day we were at the Senior Couples home in Celje and the Elders and Sisters from Maribor stayed the day with us and we just relaxed and played board games, pretty dang awesome, because it reminded me of basically what I would do with my family for christmas. (besides the fact that I had to wear a shirt and tie instead of pajamas all day, haha!)
I hoped you all had an amazing christmas day with all of your families!!  That is definitely something that I have noticed so much while being on my mission is how special family is and how the gospel really does bless peoples lives!  All I can say is to love every second you have with your family! :)

For this week it has been a little slow, because of the holiday, but it is still going great! We have been seeing amazing improvements with one of our investigators and we are becoming very excited for him.  This past week we have had about 3 lessons with him and all with members present.  The lessons are always good and he always enjoys them and always HE notices the spirit.  In almost every single time we have met with him, he has noticed the Holy Ghost and he has mentioned this good feeling that he has all the time here in the church.  That was actually one of the first things he mentioned when we had contact with him.  He came for english class and we went on a tour of the church and at the end of the tour the spirit was so strong and he said out loud: "There is a really good peaceful energy here" and he has held onto that always.  We have told him that it is the Holy Ghost and we have taught him that it testifies of God and truth and that is something that he really liked.  Just in our last lesson he told us that he believes in truth and then he believes in pure truth and he totally agreed with us when we told him that the Holy Ghost will teach/testify of that "pure truth".  Also with our last lesson with him we went in expecting to tach about the 3rd lesson, but as soon as we got in he started asking us about questions from the Plan of Salvation, like: where do we go after this life and why do we have trials.  He told us that his Mom has been bed ridden for a long time and she asked why this happened to her.  We instantly switched to the Plan of Salvation and he loved it!!  He agreed with everything and then at the end of the lesson he prayed and told us how much of the spirit he was feeling and how amazing it was!! :)  We are really excited and he is coming along very well.  He also came to family home evening last week and he brought refreshments without even being asked! :)

We then are making great progress with another investigator that we have and at our last lesson she really started to notice the Holy Ghost.  We talked about it alot with here last time and that she said she always has this great feeling with us and is so happy.  At the end of the lesson she also prayed and asked to have this feeling stay with her.  We told her that it is a gift from God and we plan on teaching the 3rd lesson with her next time and put a lot of focus in the Gift of the Holy Ghost from baptism.  We still haven't have been able to have a lot of contact with her family, but her husband likes us and he is completely fine with staying for lessons, the only problem is that he has a really difficult work schedule.  Then her two sons have not been very interested, but she told us that they always ask "When are those two guys coming back again?" and they have really started to become use to us that it is almost a routine and they really like us, and now we are going to start trying a lot harder to get them involved and we are bring a Book of Mormon Stories next time, which is tonight!! :) 

I hope that you all will have a great week and Happy New Year!!  - That is another thing here in Slovenia.  New Years Eve is I guess one of the biggest (if not biggest) holiday here and they go crazy!! They have already been shooting fireworks for the past couple of weeks and this last week there have been lots every day.  My companion Elder Benson still tells met to "just wait", and that New Years Eve is insane, and I pretty much expect it to sound like a warzone with how it is already like now.  I'll keep you all posted!! 

Love you all and remeber to enjoy every day and if you ever are having a hard time, kneel, and I promise it will get better.  That is something that I can definitely testify to that when you need the strength, a simple prayer is all you need.  "When life gets to difficult to stand, kneel"  I have been baffled with the results, and I know God is watching over us and is wanting to help us if we only ask. :)

- Starešina Lyman!


A little bit of christmas from Slovenia!  I got Pajamas and Mocassins!! (That is not how you spell that...)  Haha the funny thing is that my family sent me mocassins and then I sent them these special slippers from Slovenia called "Copati", haha!  I don't know how to say mocassins in Slovenian, so I have just been telling people I got "Indajski Copati! (Indian Copati)

More Christmas shops! :)

"Fairy Land" :)

More giant pine trees everywhere!! Merry Christmas!! :D

Monday, December 23, 2013

ZDRAVO!! Vesel Božič vse!! :)

ZDRAVO!!  Vesel Božič vse!! :)

We had an amazing week full of lessons.  We have been so busy, we have had very little, to no time, because of all of our lessons we had.  Despite we had the Christmas party this week (which was amazing and super fun!) we still had 13 lessons, and yesterday was an amazing day!  We had lesson literally right after another and they were all with investigators!  In total we had 4, and then also at sacrament meeting we had two of our investigators at church.  Which was the first time that I had any investigators come, so that was special.  We had a man named Bojan, who is not a member, but he comes every week, and we had just started teaching him as an investigator, so we will see what will happen.  Then we had another man named Vlado, who is just amazing!  We found him through English class and he was one of our few students that came to every single class and also to every spiritual thought.  Once this round of english class ended, we asked him if we could still meet at this time every thursday and friday, and he said yes and that he would enjoy that.  And then he also came to our Christmas concert and he is coming to Family Home Evening tonight, and then we will have another lesson with him tomorrow.  Yesterday we had a lesson after church and we offered him the baptismal commitment.  He was a little confused, and he said that it was a big promise, but he didn't give a straight answer, but he really enjoys meeting with us and he still wants to.  I believe that he will get baptized, but it will just require a little bit of time to learn more, but he has a very deep knowledge about Christ, and he is interested.  He also has a really cool story how he got involved with our English Class, which he told us yesterday in our lesson.  He said that one day he was in the library and said that he saw me and Elder Benson in the library on the computers.  He didn't think much of it, so he continued on.  He said that when he left the library to go home, he decided to go a different way then he normally did.  While he was going he then ran into the sister missionaries and they stopped him and gave him a flyer and invited him.  At first he said that he thought: "Meh, I don't think so."  So he kept going on this different path and then a little while later he said he walked past our church with the sign for english class in the front.  He then told us he thought: "Okay, NOW I have to at least give it a shot."  Haha, it was a really cool experience and we all know that it was a sign that he was lead by God, so I am very excited to see what will happen. :)
Like I said: the Christmas Party was a ton of fun!!  And I had the chance to see my old MTC group, which was so great!  Also me and Elder Benson, and Sister Jones sang a song that Elder Benson had arranged and it was all acopela (pretty sure that's not spelled right) and it was all in parts too.  We also had our christmas concert with the branch, which was a huge success!  We had about 50 people show up!

Well that is about all right now, but before I go I will leave you with a small funny language mistake I made.  So last sunday I called one of our less-actives before church and I asked "Ali hodiš z Milko v cerkev danes zjutraj?" Which literally translates to: "Are you walking with Milka to church in the morrning?"  Well as I said that, our less active (Konstancija) kept saying "Kaj? Kaj??" (What?) over and over again, so I kept repeating what I said, over and over again.  Elder Benson then stopped me and told me to say a different way, so I did and it all worked out.  Well once i got off the phone Elder Benson told me what that phrase really means, and it means: "Are you dating Milka this morning?"  Haha!  Just wanted to let you all know about the adventures you get to experience in the missionary life!! XD

Well I hope that you all have a wonderful christmas this week and I hope that you all enjoy this precious time with your families and remember what this holiday is all about. :)

- Starešina Lyman


Just some christmas photos that I got, I will try and get some more.  This is how center Celje looks.  We have tons of huge christmas trees everywhere and then a ton of little christmas shopping huts! :)

Then the trees are all lit up at night! :)

Missionaries in Slovenia

Funny Story:  Our lightbulb is out, and we are too lazy to go buy a new one, so.... yeah we use our christmas lights for light, haha! XD

And then just ya know... another castle.  They are everywhere in Slovenia!! :D

Waiting for the train:  Slovenia is a Magical Winter Fairy Tale!! That's all folks!! Marry Christmas!! :D

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hey everyone!

This has been a great last week and it has flown by! And you can tell that Slovenia is getting ready for Christmas!! It is so cool here in Celje; they have all sort of decorations all over the city and especially in Center. They have gigantic pine trees that they cut down from the mountains and brought them down and then put them around the city and put lights around them. Then all over the center buildings they have lights going up and down and across, which makes the city gorgeous! Then also on the streets they have all sorts of little huts outside on the streets selling all sorts of stuff like: meat, cheese, chocolate, funny furry hats, pastry's and pretty much everything else that you would imagine that would be in a fairy tale land, haha! ;) Slovenes really know how to celebrate christmas!! Strangely though we are still waiting for it to snow. It's only about 0 C here, and about every morning we have a ton of fog, but still no snow, so we will see what will happen.
Also the branch is getting ready for christmas too! For the past few weeks we have gotten together a branch choir and we will be having a Christmas concert this friday! One of the in-actives we have been working with (Konstancija) for last few months is actually incharge of the choir and she has been doing a great job! Also she has came for the last 4 sacrament meetings and now I think is fully active!! :D The other members then talked to her yesterday and asked that maybe after the concert we could continue doing choir practice every sunday before sacrament. It's an idea that is going around and I think that it would be so great for the branch. One problem that we have here is having members being unified and friends with each other, but I have seen miracles with this and it is really helping them to strengthen their relationships and best of all it helped Konstancija to come back and she now feels needed and this is the happiest I have seen here since I got here. :)
I also kind of left you all on a cliff hanger last week, so I am sorry for that, but now I will tell you about my experience that I had last week. It was last Sunday and we had just gotten home from church and had lunch. Elder Benson was doing calls and getting the weekly numbers for our district and while he was doing that I had nothing to do. I was sitting on at our table and as I was sitting I felt that I should pull out Preach My Gospel and look at chapter 4: recognizing the spirit. As I was reading some of the chapter I felt all of the sudden that I should write down some scriptures about feelings of spirit on a piece of paper. It seemed to me simple enough, so I thought "why not". So I searched and got a good list going, and once I was done I decided: "ya know what: I'm going to save this", thinking that maybe it would come in use later on in the week. I then put it in my Slovene Book of Mormon and then went on about the rest of my business.
We then had a lesson later on that evening with a less active that we have been teaching for a while. At first we wanted to talk to him about his personal progression, and how he could continue. We then kept talking with him and listed some things that help us to progress such as: reading, praying, church, and then the last one we got to was revelation. We asked him how do we receive revelation and he then told us he didn't know. He was baptized very quickly and doesn't know all of the gospel very well, so we told him that the Holy Ghost gives us revelation. I then felt that I should ask him: "Do you know how the Holy Ghost feels". He told me: "Honestly, no". Right then when I heard that I slapped my knee and said: "Well I have something for YOU!" I reached into my back pack and grabbed my Book of Mormon and gave him the piece of paper. Elder Benson who was right next to me was completely in shock, because he didn't know what this was. I then told them what had happened this morning and that we as missionaries can receive revelation for those that we teach, and that we receive it from the Holy Ghost. It was such a cool/amazing experience, and I want to/can testify that we can receive revelation from the Holy Ghost to bless our lives and those around us, any time that we need it. The only thing that we need to be doing is one: asking for it, and two: looking for it. God is there for us and he is always ready to bless us with the things that we need and I know that he will be there for all of you. :)

I am so grateful for all of you and all of the impact you have all had on my life, and I pray that you will all keep striving to choose the right and helping others along the way! That's all for now, but I will talk to you all next week and tell you more about Christmas in Slovenia AND if you are all REALLY nice: maybe Santa will sneak a few pictures on the computer for all of you! ;)

Love you all!

- Starešina Lyman

p.s. Last week I finished my second transfer here in the mission and I will be finally done with my training this next week! It is kind of crazy to think about how fast time has gone! For transfers absolutely nothing happened in Slovenia and it all stayed the same! I am still here in Celje, with Elder Benson and that is how it will be for the next 7 weeks. :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Zdravo in Dober Dan!!!

This past week has been so amazing! But really quickly I will try and catch you up on what happened the week before, because I couldn't send an update.

For thanksgiving we had it at the senior couples home with the Maribor Elders and Sisters. It was so much fun and it was SO good!! I am so grateful that we had a "Grandmother-experienced cook"! It brought back a lot of memories and made me miss you all a ton! But me and Elder Benson cooked a ton of pumpkin pie, so that lessened the pain. ;)

Then for my birthday I had some fun experiences. The first thing I did in the morning was open the package that I had received from my family, which had been sitting in the corner daunting me for the past 2 weeks. Well, the first thing I opened was..... Leather work gloves!! Hurray!! Haha, I'm not going to lie when I say it was a surprise, but it was funny little reminder telling me that: this day is still dedicated for the Lord and I am meant to go and work. Which I did. :) Sadly though that evening, we had all 3 of our lessons cancel on us which was the saddest thing ever. They just kept dropping one after the other. So that cleared up all of our time for that night, so we decided to go to an area and start trackting. It was dark at this time and we had been trakting for about 30 minutes so far and pretty much nothing was happening. People weren't home or weren't listening. But we kept on going.
As we were going I noticed that we had walked past a house (it was in a complex, so easy to miss), but all of the lights were off and it seemed empty. I thought "Ehh, we should just keep going - no one is going to be home", but I knew that I had to try it and give that same house the same opportunity I gave to all of the other people. So me and Elder Benson went up and knocked, and we sat there for a while. Then a light flickered on and an older woman came to the door. We told her that we were missionaries and that we had a message about how we could receive the most joy in this life and in the next. She was so nice, and kindly told us that she was not interested, but we were persistant. She then asked us where we were from, because obviously she could tell. We told her that we were from America. Then she asked the most perfect question: "How old are you two?"
Elder Benson first told her and then I replied with a grin: "I'm 19 and actually, today is my birthday!" She said: "Joj! A res??" (Really??) Then said: "Well I have to do something! Would you like to come in for some toast and some juice?" As a missionary you learn never to say no for an invitation to come in, so we said "sure!"
She served us home made bread, jam, and juice and we had a great conversation with her. She was just one of the nicest ladies I have ever met and we talked about her and here family, etc. She is jewish and she has lived in Celje here whole life. We then just kept talking for about an hour, but sadly not much of the gospel was brought up. As it was about time to go, she told us to hold on and that she was going to go grab a picture. I thought "okay, she's going to go grab her camera." Then all of the sudden, she comes walking back around the corner holding a box and she told me to look through it and pick one. They were all hand made paintings of landscapes of Slovenia that she personally made from water colors, and they were gorgeous! I told her that this was too much and she told me no and that it was my birthday and that she had to do something! I then eventually picked one and told how thankful I was. And then we went on our way.
Another thing that we also talked about with her, was how we really wanted to go to this museum here in Celje, but we couldn't because all musuems are closed on mondays. She told us that we had to go and that she has friends there that she would call and set everything up for us. Well that is what we did today!! She called us later on in the week and told us that it was all ready and it would all work out! She was such a kind person and I am going to call her this week and thank her for everything she did! And then I am going to ask when her birthday is, so I have the chance to stop by again to return the favor and hopefully this time have the chance to speak more about the gospel. ;)
But yeah this musuem thing... So basically Celje is city that is built upon another city. The museum is called: Mesto pod Mesto. A city below a city. And there are tons of ancient roman ruins under celje and they find all sorts of new stuff every year. What happened is that there is a river by Celje and over time there were multiple flash floods that eventually built up sediment that covered the whole city. So we went there and it was so cool!! We saw all sorts of cool things and we had a personal tour guide too! Hopefully I will have the chance to send some pictures.

For this week though we found another investigator who is 17 years old and I also went on an exchange to Ljubljana. There I went to a Catholic mass (weird huh?!) But the night before we were contacting and we ran into a girl and gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. She was really interested and also told us she was singing in the choir the next day and asked if we would come. We said sure and that we would try and meet up after. This was my first time ever going to any other church service, it was very interesting to see what catholics believe and it was a big learning experience. We then met up with her after and spoke with her, but she didn't have much time to talk, so Elder Wilson was going to try to meet with her later on in the week.
Also we had the coolest experience and I kind of got my first baptismal date randomly, haha! While I was on the exchange, we were in the church and a man called Elder Wilson and said that he wanted to be baptized! He told him that he could meet us in the church in an hour. It was one of the most interesting visits I have ever had, and maybe it will just have to be a story I will tell at home, becuase I don't have a ton of time. But he told us that he wanted to change his life around and that he wanted to do missionary work. He's 33, so that won't work, but there is always different ways to do missionary work. He is very ready, but he has a lot to learn. This was the first time he has ever had contact with the church, other then online, and he has a little confusion on some things... and then a lot of different theories on life. But he is very prepared and I am really excited for him! Sadly I won't be teaching him, because I am in Celje.

I also had an amazing impression/prompting with the Holy Ghost yesterday, that I will try and tell you about next week, because I am out of time. I love and miss you all and I wish you the best. I know that this church is true and I am so grateful to be out here!

- Starešina Lyman

Monday, December 2, 2013

Week (something!)

Hey everyone!  I am really sorry, but now update for this week. :(  Today was really busy and I didn't have any time for emails.  We helped a member at the church today, because he is renovating the whole church and only him and his wife have been working, so we decided that we would help him today.  He is awesome!!  I will tell all about this last week, next week, and we had an amazing thanksgiving and I had a really cool/funny experience for my birthday this week! 

I love you all and miss you so much!  Thanks for all of the support!! :)