Monday, March 29, 2010

Week Five or Six, I’m a bit confused!

Hello my Dear Ones again,

I hope that you all are doing well and I miss you like crazy! I can't think of very many funny things that happened last week that would be funny even if you weren't there. Hmmmmm

Well the weather is getting warmer and warmer and one day we didn't even bring our coats with us. It was so nice not to look completely like a nun for once. We actually had a great week last week as lessons go. We have been able to teach some investigators, new members, and a few less actives. We have been doing a lot of less active finding. My favorite is when we always refer to them as lost sheep. "Where is this lost sheep," "What's this lost sheep's name," "What bus to we take to find the next lost sheep?" It's very fun and kind of annoying because we’re confused about who we are actually talking about. Unfortunately it's very easy to get lost in a big city.

I feel like the work here is starting to boom. There is always someone new who is interested and there is always something to do...outside of tracting. I actually haven't been tracting very much because we are always going on an appointment or....finding lost sheep. We have fun with our language classes and there is always at least one person that is interested in the gospel.

Last Thursday in my Spanish class, I was so frustrated with trying to teach it in Croatian and I felt like I was getting no where. But then Maja (maya) told me a day later that she has seen such a big improvement in my speaking skills just in the past two weeks. It was so encouraging to hear that. This language is so frustrating sometimes, but I still really love it and I can't wait till I can understand and speak it.

We were talking to a girl from France who doesn't speak Croatian so we were speaking in English. I didn't realize what a handicap not being able to speak or understand it is and how nice it is going to be when it comes and how much easier it will be later on. I can only do so much right now and sometimes it's so frustrating feeling so useless. I know I help in other ways, but you sit there blinking three lessons in a row and tell me you don't feel stupid :D! But I have gotten really good at blinking, so it's okay.

Last week I mentioned that Maja is getting baptized and we are all so excited. She is so happy now and is always smiling. She is getting baptized April 10. She is so inspiring and makes us all so happy when we get to be with her. She is on fire and is very special. I am so happy I get to be here at this time and get to see her change.

So transfers in our mission are every nine weeks because we don't get missionaries as often as others. So our transfers will be at the end of this month. We are getting a new Sister this transfer, actually she is the only one at the MTC right now going to Croatia....there goes syl-ing (where you practice speaking your language with others who aren't teachers). So, since she is coming we get to open a new city to sisters. Right now there are only two with sisters and there are five here. My MTC companion is on the coast in Zadar and my other MTC companion is in Czech....because she was the only Sister at the time going to the Czech Republik. So we have been making transfer predictions for the Sisters because now there are so many possibilities of what can happen. I have a feeling that Sister Fitzsimmons and I are going to stay here in Zagreb. That Sister Whitaker is going to go to Zadar with my MTC companion and Sister Cater is going to go to Vrašdin with the new Sister - if that makes any sense. I guess you could look at a map, that would be fun.

Well, thank you so much for the letters, they are needed on my behalf. I miss you all and I hope that you enjoy these emails. If there is anything that you want to know just ask because I never really know what to say. Also if you write me an email than I will write you one back, but otherwise I will just send this one (which I hope you like).


Sister Dillender

Oh and here are some fun phrases:

dobar dan- good day
doveđenja (dove-gen-ya)- good bye
Volim tebe- I love you
Nisam časna sestra- I'm not a nun

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Weeks 4 and 5

Hello Everyone,

Sorry for not sending a fun big letter last week, there was a black out in the library and we had to go somewhere else and we didn't have much time. I knew I should have done the big email first.

Anyway, I'll start with zone conference. Elder Causse from the seventy came and it was so great. He talked about widening our vision of not just here and now but how it is going to be. We are here while the church is just starting and just getting it's feet under it and we are working to get a good foundation here. Soon, in forty years or so, there will be stakes and wards here. Plus that isn't just wishful thinking that is what was in the dedicatory prayer that Thomas S. Monson gave when he dedicated Yugoslavia. Sometimes it's hard to keep the vision, but I just look around sacrament and try to envision the families and all the kids that will be there. Right now the church is made up of a lot of single members.

I think I talked about the branches here last email but I will do it again. I am in Zagreb, the Capital of Croatia and the larges city here. There are about 30 people that come every Sunday which is sad because a few years ago it was about 90 who came regularly. But right now there is a lot happening in Zagreb and a lot of teaching and there have actually been baptisms!!!! For example, one of our investigators has decided TO GET BAPTIZED!!!!!! We are so happy and it is all we talk about. She is amazing and is truly going to be a huge help to the church here. She doesn't take crap and she has a good heart. She has been looking for the truth for four years now and has finally found it! It's so funny she can't stop smiling and she is so happy.

The language is still not here, but it's finally easier saying little things. I love the language but it doesn't make it any easier to learn or understand or speak. I am glad that I get to be humbled by it because I am learning so many things. I haven't really made any funny mistakes...well I make mistakes in the language all the time they just aren't funny they are normal. My companions jump in and save the day all them time.

Last week we went to a local zoo, and I am going to be was the creepiest zoo ever. For one, all the animals were weird creepy things and most of them kept turning their behind to us and pooping. Plus, we knew we were in for it when we, as in all the missionaries, showed up in sweaters and Kiki (a member here, KiKi short for Christian) was wearing a huge was freezing that day, I don't know what we were thinking. The Lions were cool though as they usually are and one started roaring, and I loved it.

We have been starting to tract more. The best part about Zagreb is there is a good sized teaching pool and it takes so long to get places that you don't have time for tracting....only contacting which is so much better to me. But the other day we went to these buildings and everyone said no except for this one guy named Igor. He got a restoration pamphlet before and read it and was interested in learning more. He is meeting with the elders this next week and we are so excited because they don't have anyone to teach right now, only the other set of elders who are the zone larders here do. Another time when we went tracting, this older guy in a tank top answered the door and we all just stared at each other smiling for thirty seconds, then Sister Whitaker broke the silence with, misionarke smo....and then he said ne hvala, no thank you and closed the door. It was really funny...because it was really awkward.

Oh I don't think I wrote this one home yet, we were coming home one night on the bus and it was a bit crowded. So our stop came and we couldn't get to the door fast enough, Sister Whitaker got out and was standing there looking at us and then all the sudden the doors closed on Sister Fitzsimmons. So I hope you get the picture, the doors closed ON HER! So she was trying to chicken wing her arms out so the doors would open all the way, but apparently she wasn't strong enough because the doors won and closed the rest of the way on her arm and her hand was sticking out the door. So Sister Whitaker was outside and we were on the bus still. Then Sister Fitzsimmon's hand is still out the door and waves to Sister Whitaker as we are driving off and sucks her hand back in. It was very funny because people look at us weird just being missionaries, but they got to watch this whole scene. Fortunately, the next stop isn't very far and we just walked back to her.

It is starting to heat up around here which is nice except today because it rained last night and now it is just humid.

Oh so there are a few other cities opened here in Croatia. Vraštin (vdashteen) has about 5 active members and it is to the north east of Zagreb. Then there is Pula, Rijeka (riyeka) and Zadar which is on the coast and all of those have about four or five members too. There are only sister in Zagreb and Zadar and we are getting a new sister next transfer so we get to open a new city up to sisters, wohooo! Oh and there is Karlovac (karlovats) which has about 15 members there. I have a feeling that Sister Fitzsimmons and I are going to stay here which will be fun and wonderful. We think that Sister Whitaker will go back to Zadar were she started, which she is excited about if that happens.

I actually bought jeans because I was missing wearing them so much during pdays and I felt like a bum walking around in sweats all the time. So right now I am wearing jeans.......and it's awesome!

I was reading about Ammon fighting King Lamonhi’s father the other day. It's has been so awesome reading about the sons of Mosiah as a missionary. It is just such a different perspective and sooooo helpful. I think they are amazing examples, even now in these days. I keep forgetting that having faith means exercising it and not just hoping. It's good to have hope, but then there comes a time when out right faith is required and I get the opportunity to practice that right now, everyday.

Well, thank you so much for your letters and all the support, I miss you tons and I pray for you and hope your are doing well.

Ask any question you may have because I always forget what to write.


Sister Dillender

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Week 3 in Hrvvtska

Hello my dear loved ones,

So last Thursday and I had a party, well we ate lots of pizza and goodies and it was fun. This Thursday will be my three week mark and we have zone conference where a General Authority or a Seventy will be there. His name is Elder Causse and he is from France. I don't really know what we do at Zone Conference but I heard it is very fun and all the missionaries in Croatia and Serbia come here to Zagreb and get pumped up to do more missionary work. Also, a person from a Seventy or someone like that only comes once a year, so this Thursday will be fun.

I teach Spanish every Thursday and I had my first class last Thursday. It was interesting and I think some people were bored. I hope I can keep it fun, but it's hard to do that because I have to teach in Croatian and still think in Spanish and want to shoot myself because there is this stressful lady in the back that keeps yelling out stuff and annoying other people in the class, Not Good! But we did have about thirteen people that came and ten of them were not members, so that was great. I hope our spiritual thoughts will prick their hearts and help them want to learn more :).

So my funny language story for this week is that when I was handing out flyers for Spanish class I was telling them that I will teach Spanish on Thursdays. So when I would stop and tell someone they would get this big smile on their face and I thought it was because I sound so new in the country. They were all really nice and took the flyers and said sure we'll tell our friends....well, after stopping about six people I went up to one of my companions who wasn't right next to me because she was handing out flyers too, and asked if I could practice my approach to see if I could get it better. So I started by saying, " Ja ću povračati tečaj španjolski četvrkom!" She looked at me and said what did you say? I said it again and she said, you mean podučavati not povračati and I started to laugh so hard because podučavati means teach, but I was saying povračati which means THROW UP! I was telling people that I will throw up Spanish classes Thursdays. I told like six people that and no one corrected me. But it was funny and they will always remember Mormon sister missionaries.

Oh Elder Matson who is the zone leader and serves here in Zagreb reminds me soooo much of Lynny, I mean the way he says things the way he looks and his humor. It's nice to be around him so I can get my lynny fill.

Thank you for all the emails I love getting and reading them. I'm sorry this one is so short but next week I will have more to say this week we are just a little short on time. I love you all and thank you for all your prayers and support.


Sestra Dillender

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sister Dillender Posts

Kristy is finally able to have some computer time to do emails, which is great for me, her brother Lynn, to finally be able to copy-and-paste her emails to her blog. Kristy will be sending pictures soon too, we'll be mailing her two memory cards back and forth so she'll always have one. I'll now be keeping Kristy's blog active as she send weekly communications home - and anything else we hear from her.

So, here are the last three messages in chronological order, straight from Kristy:

January 19, 2010
The mtc is so great, it's like a fairyland where you have a ton of friends and food spontaneously appears out of no where at certain times of the day. My companions and I still laugh all day everyday and everyone laughs extra hard just to see me laughing really hard at stupid things that aren’t really even funny.

I did loose FIVE POUNDS!!!! wohooooo! But they may quickly come back so I have to be careful and I got my companion sore by our leg work out, hee hee.

Croatian is so awesome and very funny at times. i keep making mistakes but funny ones like I cased the word god wrong and then accidentally took his name in vain oops!

I have three and a half weeks left till I go to Croatia and I am getting nervous. I love the mtc and I don't want to leave. I love the people here the things I am learning and just everything, but I will be excited later to leave to Croatia.
I got to call mom this week because of visa stuff. I didn't think it would be so hard on me, well, it was hard after I had to hang up, but fortunately I was busy. It was so good to hear her voice! Then I bragged about it all day to everyone because no one gets to call their mom.
So I leave Feb 16 but mail is Croatia is still pretty good if you still want to send me hand written mail. I will probably get to use my gmail account when I get there so I will have an hour or two maybe, I'll let you know later. but for now please dearelder :).
The apostle L Tom Perry came this a week or two ago and I sat a couple rows from him speaking. I felt like I was being blown away while he gave his testimony about the living Christ! It was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!
Sestra dillender

February 17, 2010
I am in Europe! Is this crazy or what? I am in Slovenia right now and tomorrow I will be in Croatia meeting my new trainersssssss, yes I said trainers. I am nervous but Heavenly Father blessed me to know that it is not only going to be great but amazing, that I am going to have two new best friends! One is from Finland and the other is from Pennsylvania. They both have only been here for six or seven months soooooo, they are still learning, but in a good spot. So it's pretty much going to be a party everyday!

Also I am going to be speaking a lot of Spanish and start to teach in my new area a Spanish class. I'm in Zagreb and Sister Nelson went to the ocean in Zadar! I'm going to miss her tons!

My mission president is amazing already and I am just so happy and feel so loved. I will write next Monday!

February 22, 2010

So I got into the country last Thursday and I am still tired, jako jako tired. (jako pronounced yacko means very) But do not be impressed with my language skills, and I will explain why later.

I am stationed in Zagreb the country capitol. It is so fun to be in a big city there is so much going on and there is something new to see everyday, since there is something new to see the past four days. It has been cold but not too bad and the snow is melting a lot. But the sun came out for Sunday and I didn't have to wear my rain jacket. So my outfit was more colorful and people didn't think I was a nun, so that was good. Everyone thinks we're nuns because we dress in dark colors and have a sister title, it's kind of funny. Then I want to say nacho libre style, "Can't you see that I am a NUN!" But that wouldn't make any sense to do that so I don't. And Sister Whitaker and I keep quoting dumb and dumber saying, "Harry your hands are freezing." So when one of our investigators was choking me with her cold hands on Sunday I told her exactly that way the her hands were freezing.

Anyway, onto my awesome trainers. I think it's so funny everyone will always think of one person and I will think of two. One is from Finland her name is Sister Fitzsimmons. Her dad is American and her mom is Finish and she grew up in Finland. She speaks English like no ones business and looks like a super modern and hot version of snow white. ha ha ha, if she saw that she would blush and tell me not to send that. But I am..... Anyway, Sister Whitaker is from Pennsylvania, I know I spelled that wrong but I am in Hrvatska and I can't spell state names anymore. She is awesome and went to BYU and she speaks French. So Sister Fitzsimmons teaches a Finish class and Sister Whitaker teaches French and starting next week I will teach Spanish. That pretty much takes up the service portion for each week.

I only talked to one person in Spanish and it was at church and I am pretty sure that she isn't a native speaker but I can't be too sure. I wish I could speak more but it's good not too because I need to practice hrvatski.

Teaching wise, we actually have a lot of people to teach so we stay busy. Going from place to place takes a while so it eats up time, but it is nice to have places to go. The best part is I usually actually never know what people are saying until we talk about gospel subjects then I sometimes understand. I am a true missionary, I only speak gospel and don't have much vocab for anything else.

I have to remember not to get frustrated with myself when it comes to Hrvatski. I know the language will come, it's just a matter of patience. I could know everything all at once if Heavenly Father wanted that but fortunately he is blessing me to go through the painstaking and invaluable process of learning a new language process. I get to grow in so many ways by learning how to do spread the gospel and learn a language. I am glad that he blesses me for my effort and I get to learn to be patient and rely on the lord. It is so hard to contact people on the bus or anywhere because I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE SAYING, so that isn't too affective, but my companions are really good at jumping in and helping me out. I wouldn't chicken out on talking to people so much if I could speak hrvatski. But that is my courage task because I can speak to anyone at anytime, but not in this language, and for my companions they speak the language but it's hard for them to just go up to people and talk. I wish I was in the airport again contacting.....It's all a growth process and I'm grateful for it.

The new chapel has been build and dedicated for almost a year. It's nice to have it even though there aren't many people in it, but we'll fix that. We also have a baptism, well the elders do, this Saturday and I am so excited for it. Hopefully, well, no we WILL have another baptism soon from one of our investigators :).

I had to bear my testimony in sacrament this past Sunday, yesterday. I knew I would have to so I was practicing during the week and I kept saying "ja sam jako jako gladna da mogu biti ovdje." But gladna means hungry not glad. So I was afraid I was accidentally going to say, "I am very, very hungry to be here" But I ended up saying happy. Plus people say I speak so well and they are so impressed but the funny part of that is they usually say that after I say a prayer or give a testimony, which is ALL I HAVE BEEN PRACTICING THE PAST TWO MONTHS IN THE MTC, ha ha, I can't really say anything outside of the gospel.

Oh and a very funny thing that happened at church was there is this man in his 70's who is just so funny and weird. So Elder Matson tells us that earlier that week he was with this man, his name is Martin. Martin said he's really wants something sweet to eat so he goes in the kitchen and gets an orange (just wait it gets better), then he cuts it in half. Then he grabs out a big thing of sugar and gets a big spoon full (I know you think you know what is going to happen but you don't). The he takes the orange and squeezes a few drops on the sugar and EATS IT, then he did that FOUR TIMES! Then the best part was soon after i heard this story I got to know him and he started talking to me and I had no idea what he was saying and clearly looked like i had no idea but he kept going. I just kept trying not to laugh because all I could think about was the sugar. Oh and the best part is that he was wearing a bight yellow button down shirt.....yes he is my favorite so far.

Well I am so happy to be here and I am so blessed to have the companions that I have had, wow I have had four companions so far. Cool I just thought of that. Most have just had two by now.

Well, prayers are always helpful and so are emails. I now have up to three hours for email, so email me as much as you want. I love you!

sister dillender

March 1, 2010:
Okay the subject reminds me of Aladdin when somebody says for princess Jasmin another suitor for the princess and it makes me laugh.

Anyway, that you for the letters they are sooooo great. I love that i now have time to email it is so much more convenient. I can't spell sorry. I still appreciate everyone so much who is helping me and supporting me to be here, thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity!

The letters I got today were very inspiring and so encouraging and they make me want to do better and better. I love to hear how people are doing and that people are happy and well. I don't mind hearing the bad stuff either so i know to pray for you.

So I don't remember when this happened but last week i think, the bus door opened and pinned my back pack against the wall. it was sooo funny yet so awkward because people kept staring at the crazy young nun whose backpack is stuck. It was so funny because my whole body was free just not my back pack and wiggling around didn't help just made people stare more. I think people not laughing and looking at me weird made the whole situation just that much funnier. Finally I slid down and my backpack came free and I walked toward the back of the tram red faced and laughing. And yes people still think we are nuns all the time.

This experience goes along great with the whole nun thing. A lady on the bus looked at my tag and asked if I was a sister and I said yes. I asked her if she knew about the church and heard of the Book of Mormon and she said yeah. So I couldn't think of what to say that wouldn't take ten years because believe it or not I'm not fluent yet, so I look at her and say, "um.....Nisam častna sestra." Yes I looked her in the eye and said, "um....I'm not a nun!" It was great and then she smiled and said I know. I laughed hard afterward and so did Sister Whitaker because she was listening.

I'm starting Spanish classes this week and haven't gotten many flyers out still, so i hope a lot of people come. I will be great because a lot of people want to learn but they.....just don't know where to find Spanish language classes that are free....hummm sounds like the gospel. :). There are a lot of investigators that come from the language classes so I hope we get a lot of people from them.

I got to be here for a baptism already. This is such a fruitful time to come and be here I am so happy and blessed. Robert was baptized this past Saturday and had to be dunked twice it was really funny especially his sense of humor. He was so calm before the baptism and was the same after ward to. He knew it was right and was happy to be baptized. His brother was baptized in December, and spoke at his baptism, they are just amazing and hilarious.

The chocolate here is so good and fortunately I haven’t gained any weight but I haven’t lost any either, too bad. But it's been fun trying all the different kinds and splurging.

A lady in our ward is from the states and she works at the American embassy here. She went to a military base and got us peanut butter root beer chips and salsa, it was so good. It was better for the other sisters because they hadn't had that in almost a year and I haven't had it for two weeks :). It's great to be a greeny sometimes.

They call trainers moms or dads. I was laughing because I have two trainers being in a trio (which is a party everyday). I informed Sister Whitaker last night, " you know that I'm from San Francisco and i have two moms". She laughed pretty hard...its just funny how things work out sometimes.

My Croatian is really slow and I'm learning it really slow ,but I got a huge complement at the baptism. we talked about prophets and priesthood while Robert was changing and I got to talk about Joseph Smith. Afterward a new member who is soooo cute and I think Mikey should marry, was talking to me and she told me that my accent sounds like a Croat. I dropped my jaw I was so surprised. I work really hard to say things right and it felt good to hear that. She was like you sound so good and you are going to be amazing. Another one of our investigators told me that and it was amazing. I think enunciating and speaking clearly is really what they think is good not my accent. It was so uplifting though.
I am so blessed here with my trainers the two sets of elders and the ward. Everyone here is so great and I feel so spoiled. Even our investigators are amazing. They are such great people. I love Croatia, and I didn't think I would like it so much so quickly. The language is so beautiful and sounds so Russian which is fun. The weather gets sunnier and sunnier everyday and I keep wondering when this honeymoon phase is going to die off and I'm going to see things in less brand new eyes, but i have a feeling that it's going to stay for the whole mission and I'm going to have a hard time coming home to job searching and loans when all I will want to do is tell people about the free gospel!!!!!

Well, I hope you are doing well and you are happy. Until next week my friends!

Sister Dillender