Monday, November 8, 2010

November 8th, 2010

Bok Svima,

I hope that you are doing well! I hope you don't mind getting this email also, so just let me know if you don't want to get the mass emails that I send every week.

Anyway, on to business, I went to Zone Meeting in Zagreb last week where all the missionaries get together in Croatia for training and guess what! I was the part of the Zadar Sisters. It was so great, I know that doesn't mean anything to you but when I look back on this and read this I will know exactly what I mean. Well, Anu will understand....weird.....I keep wanted to say Sister Fitzsimmons. I'm A ZADAR SISTER! There are only four of us now and we had breakfast together in my old apartment right before the meeting. It was so nice to be together and we shared funny stories of the week before.

At the meeting Elder Jacobsen shared a scripture James 1:22 where it talks about not just being hearers of the word but doers also. A few scriptures after talks about how a man who is only a hearer is like a man who sees himself in a mirror and when he is gone from the mirror he forgets himself. Uh there is a lot of paraphrasing there, but I think of that in our everyday life. It is one thing to hear the word of God and be edified by it, but what is it worth if we don't make ourselves better by it. We know that Christ didn't do anything save it were to Glorify the Father and for the salvation of others. What is the point of having great words if we don't take it to heart and make ourselves better with them. I like the quote that Rachie sent me when she said, "If we want to talk to God, we pray. If we want God to talk to us, we read the scriptures." It is true, and I love that we are not alone but have a Father who loves us and is guiding us...if we let Him.

Speaking of Spiritual things....we had a Halloween party that wasn't a Halloween party. Some people think that it is worshiping the devil so we just had a party the day before Halloween. Elder Bachynski made an indestructible piƱata and by the time people beat it open the candy was all powder and sprayed all over everyone....well not everyone. We still ate it anyway. The only dressing up I did for Halloween day was when I dressed up like Elder Bachynski. I put his suit coat on and stood on a chair and said a couple of funny quotes that he said before. Yes he was still taller than me.

Sister Laws and I are so full of the spirit that we usually think of things at the same time or tend to put on the same kind of outfits, but the other day we were lacking in unity and I couldn’t understand the words coming out of her mouth. This was our conversation:

I put on my clothes for the day which was a sweater and a long sleeve button up. We had just finished making a cake for Rafaela's birthday.
S. Laws: "Aren't you going to bake in that?"
S. Dillender: "Uh are we going to make some more treats for Rafaela?"
S. Laws: "No! Aren't you going to cook in that!"
S. Dillender:"Oh, do you want to have lunch now?"
We are cracking up at this point.
S. Laws: "NOOOOOO! Aren't you going to be hot in that today?!"
We just laugh and I realized how dumb it was to winter it up in a not wintry city. So I changed so I wouldn't figuratively bake or cook.

The other great story for the week was when we were stuffing mailboxes with free language class flayers in the dark at 8 at night. We walk into this yard area and were looking for a mailbox in the dark. I start to hear a dog bark and growl so I say lets go and book it. I look to my left and see this BIG DOG running at us and don't even to see if my companion is following. We round the corner and some other dogs bark at us too and run half way down the street, realize the BACHYNSKI sized dog is not following us (must have been chained) and realize that we are not going to be eaten alive and stop in the middle of the street and keel over laughing. I can't believe that I had my first stereotypical missionary story...being chased by a dog.

I hope you are all well and I hope this letter makes up for the lame one I wrote last week!

Svako Dobro!

Sestra Dillender

October 25th, 2010 - I Am On The Coast Again! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I am sorry that I was not able to write last week and that you probably had a very sleepless week. But I will tell you the events of last week so you can sleep better this week. First off, not including last week, I miss you all very much and I think of you often, even if you think oh she isn't saying that to me, but I do think of you. I think of my family and friends all the time and how grateful I am to have the people in my life that I do. Thank you for how much better you make my life.

Okay last week. Here in this mission, I may have stated before that president calls each companionship and tells us what is happening to us during transfers. So that is only about fifteen calls to have to make every two months. So Monday night president calls all of us missionaries. Unfortunately Sister Whitaker and I were in French class and the Elders were all doing some class too at the church. No one was able to answer, but since we all had a miss call from President Hill, we knew! So the frenzies started. He finally called Sister Whitaker and I and asked if we were home. We of course did not lie and said no. Well to make a long story short I had to wait forty five minutes before I got home to find out what was happening to me. As you know I wanted to stay in Zagreb. I felt like I was understanding the city and the branch better and I really wanted to be with Sister Stratton a while longer. I thought that Heavenly Father was preparing me for this.....well, I pretty much knew when he wanted to talk to all four of us that it meant I was leaving to Zadar. I was so sad and frustrated (I mean who isn't when they are hungry) but by the time I was home, I realized how much I didn't want to go. When we got home, he called us and told me that me and my MTC companion Sister Nelson will be switching. Since Sister Whitaker and Sister Fitzsimmons were already packing I started that night. I woke up the next morning so excited to go and so happy that the Lord is in charge of where we go and not me. I realized the only reason why I wanted to stay was because it was comfortable and I was used to it. Plus I wanted to prove the Elders wrong because they all thought I was leaving to Zadar, because that is how I am. But I have been excited all week for this new change and now I am HEREEEEEEE! AHHHHHH I get to see the water again and not just a river! You can look up Zadar on google. What I have seen is a friggin paradise and is great. My companion sister Laws is amazing and I already knew her from before and so are the other two Elders serving here. Elder Rhodes and I served four months together in Zagreb and he is like a brother to me. Oh my gosh is that guy funny! His companion who I already knew is elder Bachinski. One exciting fact is that no one will bother us down here because he is 7 feet tall. Case in point last night when they were helping me home with my luggage one guy started to get in Elder Rhodes face and probably say something....not nice. But right before he looks up and sees Elder Bachinski and the guy just walks away and it made my day. Plus the other upside is that Elder Bachinski single handedly; well two handedly carried two of my bags weighing literally 90 pounds. I am so grateful for people that are bigger than me and willing to serve. We all played Frisbee this morning and my team had the height advantage.

Many people have asked me about Halloween and they don't really celebrate it of course but we are doing some little fallish activities together in our branches. Plus I am not going to let Halloween let me by with out some decorations. Unfortunately they are all in the Zagreb apartment, but we will make some today too. I will tell you more about the city next time since most of the last 24 hours of me being here has been me sleeping and it hasn't even been 24 hours yet.

Just for something a little spiritual I have been reading a lot about how when we pray we should pray with the Holy Spirit because he will guide us to know what to pray for. I love that our Heavenly Father really is our father and knows us better than we know ourselves. I am grateful that He wants to bless us and he wants and needs us to ask. I love how is says in Mathew 7: 7-11 if ye being evil know how to give good gifts, how much more willing is your father who is in Heaven? I had been praying to be with Sister Stratton and when I realized that He knows better than me, I started praying to be prepared to do what I need to. Well guess what, I am not only prepared to be here, but I am more than happy, I am on cloud nine when I walk around. I love our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and I am so grateful to know of His mercy and how to live back with our father in Heaven again.

I love you!

S ljubavlju,
Sestra Dillender

October 11th, 2010 - Living Up My German Ancestry

Bok, Hallo, Bonjour, Moi, Hola, GUTEN TAG!

I just wanted to write all the languages I am learning and exposed to while out here, Croatian, French, Finnish, Spanish and German. Oooo I feel so multicultural right now! I get to learn French while Sister Whitaker teaches her French classes and I get to learn very important things to say like, Je suis desole, mais je dois partir, I am sorry but I have to go. I also got to learn Finnish from Sister Fitzsimmons, and when I say Finnish I mean really important phrases like, Elat hattarassa, you live in cotton candy, aka dream land. And our cutting board had some German on it that I could understand thanks so Herr Stehr and having to learn the accusative prepositions, ohne dich ist alle doof, with out you everything is stupid! I know I am so 80 million lingual right now. Just kidding obviously. Right now actually I feel that my language is really bad and I am quite embarrassed how not far I have gotten in Croatian, but now that I am sufficiently humbled I can maybe get better as I work harder. Work Work Work! I'll just keep practicing my 7 cases, enclitics, three genders, imperfect and perfect verbs and just plain old speaking.....sometimes I wonder why Spanish was ever hard.

Enough of that, now on to why serving with sister is so great. (other than we eat bullets, please refer to the previous email) For district meeting every week we have someone who is player of the week. Wait I think I already described player of the week. Okay well it's pretty much that last time I got a coconut and had to break it open with my BARE aka BEAR HANDS! Moving on so I gave player of the week to The Elders Padley, referring to the companionship of Elder Pashce and Hadley (one time I accidentally called them Padley and then we made it a title). I gave it to them for yadi yadi yada reasons, but the important part is what I gave. We can't have pets while on a mission, but I am pretty sure President will approve of my egg carton made Caterpillar. We made it a sisterly group effort by decking her out with eye lashes, legs and everything. Then we made life easy on the Elders and made a home for her from a shoe carton with a blanket and feeding box. I was going to get them pringles but this was, for obvious reasons, a lot better. All four of us sisters laughed hysterically and they laughed out of shock. But I know they liked it and I know they won't throw it away....for a while anyway.

But I have moved on from making pets to Halloween decorations. (what else am I going to do between 9:30 and 10:30?) You know that old saying, "you can take the girl out of America, but you can't take America out of the girl" and when I say America, what I really mean is Halloween. So we have pumpkins, drawn ones and ones made out of old toilet paper rolls, and signs, and the best.......VAMPIRE PROTECTION! I found a Stake! So I carried it home with me and wrote Vampire Protection and directions on how to use it on the back. The other sisters laughed and said I can't believe you brought it home, but they won't be laughing or thinking it was silly to bring home when they have to use it. Don't worry they are familiar with the system of how it works.

Enough of the nonsense, I got to enjoy my German Heritage this past week. For Zone Conference Elder Schutze came down, and he is an area authority from GERMANY! I met him the night before Zone Conference while he was eating ice cream. He shook my hand and I said who I was. Then I said, I think my last name is German. He says in his German accent, "oh yes it is, where is your family from?" .........uhhhhhhh.......... I didn't know so I said so. He was jokingly appalled and said, "What is the purpose of the church?" again....uhhhhh..... so he said, "1. Proclaim the Gospel!, now what is number 2?" ....uhhhhhh...I never felt so brain dead in my life. So he said, "2. Perfect the Saints. Now what is the third?" I don't think I have to write now what was in my head because I think it is more than obvious, so he moves on from my blank stare and said, "3. Redeem the dead. Now what are you going to do when you get home?" I thought quick and said, "perfect the saints!" Then he turns fully toward me and says loudly in the best German accent I have ever heard, "NO! REDEEM THE DEAD, YOUR GERMAN ANCESTRY!" We all had a good laugh and the next day in Zone Conference he went to write the purpose of the church on the white board and made me look really smart by asking me to say it. But beyond how funny he was, he really helped a lot. He is amazing and I really admire him. He helped the church grow in Germany when there were only few members and is a true pioneer.

I read Elder Bednar's conference talk from 2007 and he talked about clean hands and a pure heart. We can learn to better glorify our works for our Father in Heaven (Clean hands) and make ourselves better through the redeeming love of our Savor (pure heart). I am so grateful that the Lord speaks to us today through prophets and He wants us to be successful and happy. I am sorry if you are looking for missionary success stories, but my success story is watching all of God's creation go around me and realize I am part of a bigger picture. The Lord loves His children!

I hope you are happy and healthy and well!

Sister Dillender

October 4th, 2010 - The Way It Is

The Mission President:
Leaps tall buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a locomotive,
Faster than a seeding bullet,
Walks on water,
Associates with God.

The Assistants to the President:
Leaps short buildings in a single bound,
Is more powerful than a switch engine,
Is just as fast as a speeding bullet,
Walks on water if the sea is calm,
Talks with God.

The Zone Leader:
Leaps short buildings with a running start and favorable winds,
Is almost as powerful as a switch engine,
Is faster than a decelerating bullet,
Walks on water i a n indoor swimming pool
Talks with God if special request is approved.

The District Leader:
Barely clears a mud hut,
Loses tug of war with the locomotives,
Can fire a speeding bullet,
Swims well,
Is occasionally addressed by God.

The senior Companion:
Makes high marks on the wall when trying to leap tall buildings,
Is run over by locomotives,
Can sometimes handle a gun without inflicting self-injury,
Dog paddles
Talks to Animals.

The Junior Companion:
Runs into buildings,
Recognizes locomotives 2 out of 3 times,
Is not issued ammunition,
Can stay afloat with a life jacket,
Talks to walls.

The Greenie:
Falls over doorsteps when trying to enter buildings,
Says, "look at the choo choo!"
Wets himself with a water pistol,
Plays in mud puddles,
Mumbles to himself.

The sister Missionary:
Lifts buildings and walks under them,
Kicks locomotives off the tracks,
Catches speeding bullets with her teeth and eats them,
Freezes water in a single glance,
Knows God.


Sister Dillender