Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Šťastný Nový Rok!

(Editor's note: This blog post is out of order. We didn't have time to create a blog post last week. We think you will love this letter!)

^^^Isn't that the BEST expression? It's like ciao, but diminuitive, so it's like a cute little bit of ciao, cause I only wanted to send a cute little bit of ciao home to you...anyway...

New coat and scarf by Tracy
So this last week has been just crazy. I honestly don't know where to begin, I guess Monday...So we found this store that has a suit that's normally 450 Euros on sale for 130, and I'm thinking that might be a worth-it investment for a missionary to make in his mission, but at the same time I'm thinking, "it's the beginning of your mission, why aren't you waiting till the end to spend the Christmas money on things like this?" but then I think it's 100% wool for crying out loud! So yeah, that's a dilemmna, but I'll ponder and pray on it so not a big deal at all, especially, like why am I even thinking about money at all, this should be a spiritual mission. While we were walking away from the store and I was thinking all that, I caught a glimpse of something I had yet to see here in Slovakia. Someone was drinking a Sprite on the namestie! Just a regular normal Sprite! I couldn't believe it, I wanted to go ask them where they got it, but we had an appointment to get to and I wasn't able to, so I'm still without regular things like that from America. Sorry for this first paragraph, I'm still trying to get my thoughts together cause everything's just crazy right now. Um, so I didn't get the suit, but I'm still considering/wanting it really badly, any advice? But on to better things that are far more important, like church in Zvolen! I heard once that cigarette smoke was the best smell you can smell during church but I'd like to submit that it's actually Christmas Punch. In Zvolen we had a congregation of entirely investigators, it was SO cool, and I honestly could see each of them being a member there, it would just be amazing, and I hope sincerely that it plays out that way.

Chess board made with post-its
So Tuesday was P~Day for us, and we got to head to Zvolen and watch a bit of a movie at a missionary couple's apartment! We watched like the first hour of 17 miracles, it was cool, but I didn't watch any of it. I was sitting at the table writing New Year's letters cause I felt like I'd seen that movie too many times back home anyway. But the celebrations here are massive! Every day literally is a holiday, like yesterday I didn't get to email because everything was closed because it was 3-kings day, and there's another holiday every day of the year, the just obviously can't close down everything for every single one, only about 1 of every 4. But they sell huge fireworks year-round because they set them off for nearly everything--they did on new years eve, and new years day, AND the day after that, and yesterday, AND Christmas and every other holiday, there's just fireworks constantly going off. Through all of this, it's pretty difficult to get any work done, we hardly got any lessons last week, which meant we were finding...all the time...When my trainer went on an exchange in Brattislava last week, another elder and I had a 5 hour block where we just tracted. Not even because we planned it that way, we just had 3 lessons cancel, and man do I HATE tracting. What this is all coming to, (I promise I'm still positive and happy) there is that a good thing came from all of this. During weekly planning, I expressed to my trainer that I am sick and tired of "finding" and we need to start getting some referrals, and I gave a good 20 minute monologue of just how this all needed to happen with things like finding at colleges so we can get some younger, more connected people interested and stuff like that and we really have taken it to heart, and we are working our TAILS off in order to get a branch ASAP now. While we've been doing this, I've really felt this feeling of boldness come upon me and you know what? It's working. I can't wait to have call-in's this week and tell the AP's that we have 6 new batismal dates, yeah, that's right, SIX! We have one lady and her son set up for the 1st of February, and we've only had 1 lesson with them! She's brand new and just golden. I can't wait to see what the Lord has in store for her. Then we're working on getting 2 families into the branch, either of which would allow us in Banska to move from being a group to an established branch and then the work would really just shoot forward because we'd be able to issue callings and not have to worry about keeping our members motivated as much any more. That's my vision for Banska this year. I need to have a self-sustaining, and self-motivating branch that gives referrals to missionaries and positive peer-pressure to each other! I really hope that I don't get transferred away, but I know that that very well could happen. Transfers will be issued February 3rd, and I'm sort of dreading it, but we'll see what happens, I know I just need to "let go and let God" at this point.

Walking around town
So, a little more about these investigators: The first family: they are an older couple, he's 66, and his wife is like 50, and they have a house in Banska, and he built his own little cabin up in a teeny village about an hour away called Latky. They're taking care of their 8-year old granddaughter and wow is she just sassy, the main phrase I hear out of her is yes, AND???, it's so funny. But they're just amazing. The first lesson we taught with them was the plan of salvation, and you should have heard the man at the end of it, he was like, "I have something to say...the catholic church has been around HUNDREDS of YEARS and they have all of this mixed up, and here you 2 young boys come in here and just explain it all so SIMPLY!" exactly like that, and then when his wife gave an our father at the end of the lesson, he was just like, "I hate that prayer, it's useless, why can't you pray more like them, they talk about specific things and don't memorize anything, that's how I want to pray." And Money in the bank at the end of our 2nd lesson with them, he prayed! I'm so excited to keep teaching them, the husband was made for this gospel, he reminds me so much of my grandpa, it's wonderful. And the second family are this adorable little family that were found a long time ago but dropped because they didn't really have time for religion at that time. They speak english to us but it's really slow, and so we keep speaking Slovak back, but they insist that they want to speak English with us so that's how it works. They're a Christmas miracle, where we were in their neighborhood during Christmas eve visits and we just on a whim went over and asked if we could come in and share a spiritual thought, and they said yes! It was so cool, they like hunkered down and were ready for a big hour long lesson with their 4 daughters all in their pajamas and just looking at us so intensely, it was so cute. The oldest is 10 by the way, and all of them were really disappointed when we ended after just 15 minutes, and I can't wait to go back this week and teach some more, they didn't have more time to meet until after the new year so we actually have them on schedule, and it's just going to be SO great.
Library where they send emails

There are a lot of people where this is the first email from me they're reading and I just want to apologize real fast that it's taken this long. A quick shout-out to my MTC teachers, thank you SO much for all of your help, I really felt prepared to work coming out here. Thanks so much for what you told me about your MTC experience, it really helped me to see all of the good things that were happening and that I was learning and helped me see that I didn't need to focus on what was hard or what I didn't like. Thank you so much for all of the listening you did, it really helped me to de-stress, and just the fact that you weren't scared to go off topic or be silly I know didn't only help me feel comfortable. Haha, I think I'm getting to know you better out in the field than I did in the MTC because everyone still has stories about serving with you, especially because my trainer knew you so well! Anyway, I'm so grateful that I was able to spend time with you in the MTC as well, and that you got all of my video-game references, but were able to stay focused on teaching, that's been a big help out here in the field and I've been doing a lot of looking back at your example of how to laugh and joke for like 3 seconds and then be back in teaching mode. Thanks again to all 3 of you, I wouldn't have had half of these exeriences if I hadn't learned how I should act and how to speak from you first.

Iconic church in Banska Bystrica
So that's about it, everything here is going great, my new favorite food is fried cheese, haha. I'm having trouble figuring out how people here live, because everything comes out here so much later than it does in America, like at a resteraunt the other day I say a huge premier commercial for Harry Potter 7 part 2, which is coming out here in theaters later this year, and I just couldn't believe that people just wait that long to see it, when it's been out on the internet and in other countries for (how long now?) months and months, and also how they don't just get sick of American culture just being all over the place. It's just crazy, but I wouldn't want to be anywhere different.

Milújem Vás,

Starší Chris Brousseau

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