Thursday, July 1, 2010

June photos - from Croatia

Note the little dog in the bushes sleeping, we call him our little dog.
On our way to finding a less active with my really good milka bar.

With the Thompson's two grandaughters that came here to visit them in Zagreb. This is in the back of the chapel.

Sister Fitzsimmons and I near the Babic' place.

Sister Whitaker and I practicing numbers because they are rediculous in this language. This is in one of the rooms at the church.

Photos from Croatia - June 2010

All above photos are at Plitvica.

This photo was taken after we arrived home from tracting in the rain.

June 14th through June 28th - 2010

June 14, 2010


First of all sorry to all those who may have written to me and I was not able to write back. I have less time than usual today because we went to a wonderful place called Plivička Lakes. I spelled it wrong to a few people already, oops. It was an amazing sight to see. There were a lot of waterfalls and beautiful green lakes everywhere. I thought I was in paradise, especially since the sun was shinning and it was a beautiful day too. It was fun to go with the Elders and hike around. My favorite part of the day way when Sister Fitzsimmons almost fell into the water. Actually my favorite was a dialog that went like this between elder Matson and Elder Pashce:
E. Pasche: "This reminds me of scout camp. Did you have a really hard core scout group?"
E. Matson: "Yeah we would go cliff diving and ...."
E. Pasche: "No I mean like did you have a really intense scout group."
E. Matson: "Oh! yeah man, we would go on camp outs all the time and...."
E. Pasche: " No, I mean was it really intense like...
E. Matson: "Dude what do you mean."
E. Pasche: "I mean, like did you wear your scout shirts all the time and stuff."

I started laughing and stopped listening after that, well they were laughing a lot too. Anyway, I will send pictures next week.

This week end was so much fun! We had Zone Conference on Saturday and then the next day we had District Conference. For both, Elder Sterri, an area seventy from Norway came. He said so many things that Sister Fitzsimmons and I really needed to hear. It was a Zone Conference better than others. Darija who was going to get baptized decided not to and it was hard for us to hear. It made us wonder what we are really even doing here. Elder Sterri taught us about the Faith clock. We read through Alma 32:27 ( I think it's verse 27) and we talked about all the things that we need to do to have faith. Then in the next verses it describes what the Lord does. From 12 to six it's our part and then from six to 12 the Lord does his part. It is a great way to show us that we and investigators go half way and then the Lord does the rest. I realized me being here is to help me, my companion and others work their side of the clock. When people decide to get baptized or become active etc it's not me and my success or my doing, it's the Lord. My success comes from doing my part and doing what I can.

So at the end of this week all our senior couple is going to leave and there will be none to replace them, therefore I am officially the oldest missionary in the mission, well starting now and especially July 7 when I will be 24. Ha ha, that is ridiculous. We had seven countries in our mission Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Macedonia. Only Slovenia, Croatia and Serbia are open to missionaries though. But since May, our mission is only these three that are open to missionaries. So this is a little piece of church history I get to be here for.

I was going to talk about District Conference but I will talk about it next week. Sorry I don't have much time! Thank you for the letters, support, prayers and financial help! I miss you all and think of you often!

s ljubavlju,
Sister Dillender

June 21, 2010

Bok svima,

I hope everyone finds themselves doing well. I miss you all a lot, especially lately. The past few days it has been raining a lot and it feels like the fall in Oregon and you know what the fall in Oregon brings....Halloween. I feel like it is the Halloween season right now, but it's the end of June. I can't believe it. I just feel bad for all the tourists I see walking around in the windy rain. Actually, after our English class on Thursday, we got caught in a thunder and lightning storm. By the time we got home we literally looked like we had just gotten out of a pool. It was a great missionary moment and so we took pictures. The week was topped off when we went out contacting on Saturday and got stuck in the rain again on our way home. We didn't look like we just got out of a pool but we did look like buckets of water were splashed on us. We took pictures again. It's nice that it was always on our way home and in clothes that are very okay to get wet.

We had district conference last week and it went well, as I think I mentioned. I just wanted to say a little more about it. Since there are only branches in Croatia, all the branches make a district and President Hill (mission president) is over the district and the District leader. President and Sister Hill came to our chapel in Zagreb (there is only the one) and so did as many members as could from all over Croatia and all the missionaries. It was great to see the chapel so full, I wish it was like that every Sunday. President Thompson and his wife just went home to Oregon. They were a senior couple here and President Thompson was the District President. Elder Sterri who is an area authority from Norway came and spoke in our Zone Conference for the missionaries and in District Conference. It was a great, but tiring week end. Those who only spoke English, gave their talks in English and there was a translator who stood up there with them. They would say a line and then the translator would translate the line. This is what they do for every talk that is given in English. The translator is usually a Croat because most of them here in Zagreb speak English better than I do.

So transfers are upon us once again. I think I said already, but transfers here are nine weeks because we don't get as many missionaries as other places, so that means that Sister Dillender gets to serve a 19 month mission ;). First off for me I get the best situation possible, I get to stay here in Zagreb with Sister Fitzsimmons. YAHOOOOO! I am glad that we will get to have at least one more transfer together before she goes home in October. Sister Nelson, my MTC companion, is going to get Sister Laws (who is on her second transfer now) in Zadar (which on the coast). Now this may not be a shock to you, but to those who have served a language speaking mission...this is huge. Sister Nelson and I can only understand about fifty percent of what goes on since we are starting our fourth month and so Sister Laws who is starting her second obviously doesn't understand much either. I talked to Sister Nelson yesterday and asked her how she feels. She said the first day she was thinking, "Okay I can do this" the next day she was freaking out and the third day she was numb. Ha ha! I am just laughing because I am not in the situation, ah! She is a wonderful missionary and is going to do so well. Their language is going to go out the roof especially with all the blessing that are going to fall on them.

I feel like every Sunday we get to see the fruits of our labor. If we didn't work hard it shows in sacrament and no one came and we have nothing to do. But when we do work hard our Sundays are sooooo busy and it's so nice. I feel like this week our fruits showed and it was so nice to feel really busy. Most of the people that come aren't even directly related to us and what we did, but the Lord blesses us when we do our part. I know I mentioned this last week, but it is hard to go on each day wondering why you are here when no one is interested, but then you get that one person who is. Even if that interest doesn't last, it is such a nice high and it makes every thing worth being here. Then we trudge through the next weeks still on the high, until the next one comes a long. It's a hard mission in the sense of just looking all the time and it's not rude, but common to ask do you have any investigators? It's nice to have a great companion and have this time to learn and grow. Ha ha just for fun you can see how much different our mission is from Mexico where Sammy Ray is serving and here are some stats:

Lesson taught in a week
Croatia: 8-15 Leon Mexico: 45-60

Contacts a week (which is going out and talking to people on the street or tracting)
Croatia- 140-200 Leon Mexico- 13

We all have our challenges in a mission!

I love you and I will talk to you next week. Thank you for all your letters and love, I am so happy here and I hope you are happy too!

s ljubavlju,
Sister dillender

June 28, 2010

Hello everyone!
So this has been a very slow week. We usually teach four language classes a week and it takes up four hours each week. But this week we don't have them and we are starting over with the seven weeks again. We have been giving out flyers like crazy and dropping them on a bunch of trams. So without our four extra lessons last week, it felt very looooooong. But on Wednesday, we went out and hit the town going crazy on the flyers. It was so fun to be doing that with Sister Fitzsimmons, she is such a good missionary and we always laugh at all the awkward moments. It was such a good feeling too to be working extra hard and the joy that comes when Heavenly Father says well done. I obviously wasn't perfect at it, but with extra effort comes extra joy.

Yesterday President Hill came for interviews and it was so nice and needed! He told me all the things that I needed to hear and now I feel like I am so much more stress free! I realized that it is more and more the perfect mission for me. A few weeks before I received my mission call I was reading preach my gospel. I realized that the selfish reason I was going on a mission was to know my Father and Savior better. It's funny because when I opened my mission call and saw Slovenia/Croatia I was so excited to learn a Slavic language and I couldn't believe that He was giving me exactly what I wanted. Now that I am here and learning, I can't believe that He really is giving me exactly what I wanted, just not on a superficial scale like I thought before. What a perfect mission this is to know Him better!

Just a funny little side story that I thought was hilarious was when Sister Fitzsimmons and I were walking home. We always walk by our neighbors chickens and we realized that recently some of the chickens had some babies, but they are not babies anymore but not full grown chickens yet. They were running around all together and I said, "Look it's so cute to see teen-ager chickens. I haven't really seen this stage before, only a chick and a full grown chicken." Then Sister Fitzsimmons adds with her dry humor, saying under her breath, "Yeah look at them running around flirting with each other." I laughed so hard. You have to hear her voice and it just came out of no where ha ha. You see why I love serving with her!!!!!!

Again, as usual, thank you for all the letters. I am so happy to hear how you are doing and I am so happy that I have email to keep in touch! I love you all!

Sestra Dillender