Called to serve in the Adriatic North Mission.

Friday, October 31, 2014

I asked Rina to send some pictures for her blog and I got an email that said
"blog pictures" and this was the only picture attached. I think she probably meant to add more and forgot.
I don't know who these elders are, but I would guess they are elders in her group.
 I do know that is the Provo temple behind them and that they go to the temple every Thursday.
Hey all!

What a crazy week. And by crazy, I mean not a whole lot happened, but what did happen was intense. I have watched several devotionals/talks/recordings of leaders with a certain theme; that of truly becoming a real missionary. They say some people go on a mission and manage to come back unchanged. Some people go and have a good time and strengthen their faith and teach lots of people, but they didn't actually become a missionary. Becoming a missionary is something that should and will influence the rest of your life. It only happens when I am doing my best to completely and unrelentingly immerse myself in the work with the purest intentions I can give. After seeing and hearing about all these things that I need to be doing better in order to truly become, I got pretty down on myself. I have never seen my pride or selfishness more clearly than in the past few days. 

And that's exactly when Satan started wiggling back into my life. Preach My Gospel, a resource book that is definitely a missionary's best friend, says that there is a substantial and critical difference between getting disappointed in oneself and discouraged. Disappointment leads to renewed determination and re-dedication; discouragement drives the person to give up altogether. I felt myself starting to get discouraged this week, and that's when I knew I needed to change my perspective.

The fact of the matter is, I was called on this mission for a reason. The Lord knows I can do it. Now I just need to know I can do it. And I do. Now. It's hard, but it will be soooo worth it. We have to rely on the Lord. He is the only one who knows us more than we do ourselves.

So anyway! I'm doing fine! Don't worry about me. I'm happy as a clam. Ether 12:4 in the Book of Mormon (my favorite scripture) says "Whoso believeth in God might with surety hope for a better world". We just gotta have faith and hope. I'm not here for myself, anyway. It's about the people.

Okay! This is it for me! Dang, these weeks go by quickly.

Time for the fraza dana-
Šteta -- (shtehtah) "gosh", "darn", "shoot", or any other severely mild outburst. 
Blagoslov -- (blah-goe-slove) "blessing"

Okay, love you all!

Sestra Watts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Moje prijatelji i obitelj,

Holy buckets, I've been here for 4 whole weeks! I'm, like, 1/18th done! Where has the time gone!?

This week was a real treat. I think I mentioned this, but we got new missionaries to the zone last Wednesday, and it has been a really good time. We played kickball (oldies vs. newbies) on Monday, and even though it was 18 of us against 28 of them, we totally crushed them! Not that we kept score. But you just knew. 

Ooh! To my Minnesota Mormons: y'all know the Driscolls from Medicine Lake? The Torontos' cousins? Elder Tyler Driscoll is in my zone! We had never actually spoken before he got to the MTC, but now we're friends. He's going to the Czech-Slovak mission, but they're in my zone because most of the Eastern Europe missions are pretty dinky. It's a good time.

This week in class we practiced contacting (talking to people on the street)! We started off in English and it was really fun, but then we had to do it in Croatian. Not as fun, but still a good time. Nothing like having to improvise an entire conversation to let you know how little you know of a language :)

We also got to host yesterday! Basically, we welcomed new missionaries as they pulled up and helped them get to their residences and classrooms. It was a blast. And we got to miss class. The sisters I hosted were wonderful and so excited to be here. What an inspiration.

So mom told me to send her pictures, but a sister from my district has my USB converter, so I can't send anything. I'll do better next week, promise!

The weather is getting colder, but we still spend as much time outside as possible, because that's just how we are. The world is beautiful, people!

Okay, now for the fraza dana:

"Što radiš??" : (shtoh rahdeesh) "What are you doing??" This is a popular phrase in our district. We do interesting things.

Okay, it's that time again! Gotta get back to the grinder. 

Love you all!
Sestra Watts

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bok, moji prijatelji!
Hi, my friends!

I don't know where people get the idea that the MTC is terrible, because in my opinion, it gets better every week. Sure, the food could be better, but can't it always? I'm happy.

It's still hard. It's always going to be hard. But that doesn't mean it's not fun. As I get better at the language, I have a better time teaching our simulated investigators. And I can feel the Spirit more every time, as I come to care more and more about the people that I teach, and worry less and less about what I'm going to say next. This place is invaluable. I'm so thankful I get to be here, even if it's for nine whole weeks, and not just shoved into Croatia and told to get to work. *shudder*

The longer I spend here, the more the lesson is being pounded into my head that this work is not about me in any way. Everything I do is in preparation for helping others come unto Christ. MY purpose is THEM. And I'm coming to love that more and more.

I'm sorry that this is so short, but know that I love you all! I'm so thankful for everyone that has helped me get here in any way. 

Fraza dana:
Nema veze: (Nay-mah vay-zay) "Never mind" or "it doesn't matter." I say this one a lot.

Have a good week!

Sestra Watts

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Bok, good people!

So, I'm sure some of you are aware that I don't get very much time set aside for emailing every week, and although I hear there's a way I can just make a list of contacts and send them this every week, I haven't figured out how to do that since I haven't had time. So, in the interest of time, from here on out, I will be sending my mass email to my mother and some other family members and missionaries, and the rest of you can follow my blog, either on Facebook or by directly subscribing to it, to get the updates. Sorry for the inconvenience :/

Okay! Second week down, seven more to go here at the MTC. It went waaaay better than the first week, let me tell you. The language is coming along much better, which is a huge relief. I think our practice investigators might understand what we're saying now!

Oh, I sprained my ankle! I was playing basketball on Tuesday, and got too intense, I guess. Anyways, it's not that bad. It is all big and puffy, though, and might turn into a nasty bruise eventually. That would be pretty cool. I never, ever get injured, so I'm actually kind of excited, as weird as that is. I'm having a lot of firsts here at the MTC.

How many of you watched General Conference?? How wonderful was that!? I of course loved Elder Bednar's talk directed to non-members. All my non-Mormon friends HAVE to check that out. ( I also really loved Lynn G. Robbins' talk, and, naturally, Elder Holland's. He always has something powerful to say. Nevertheless, I'm appreciating more and more those speakers who maybe don't have as eloquent of words or aren't necessarily the most intense/dramatic speakers. Everyone has something valuable to say. That's why they were asked to speak in front of the entire body of the church.

Also, every time someone mentioned the missionaries, I veritably cried. I'll never get over the fact that it's finally MY TURN. And there's 88,033ish others doing the same exact thing! I cannot get over that.

I just want to give a loving shout-out to all of my friends that I've seen while here at the MTC that either work here, or just happen to be driving by :) Let me just say that it completely makes my day every single time. I sometimes forget this is real life, and then someone from my BYU ward or something yells "SISTER WATTS!" and it reminds me that this is so very REAL. I love it.

Okay, time for the Fraza Dana (phrase of the day!)

Mrzim te -- (pr. like Merzeem tay) "I hate you." It was very important that I learned this one, so that all those people who didn't appreciate "volim te" would have something useful to say. You're welcome.

I love you all, and I appreciate your prayers!
Provo Missionary Training Center

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Dear friends and family,

I finished the first full week of my MTC stay and therefore of my full-time mission! How neat is that? It has been a WEIRD week. I'm not one for cliches, but it has quite literally been a roller coaster of emotions here. The first few days were... rough. I prepared for my mission thinking I was gonna just breeze through the beginning without a sweat and I was going to show up all those haters that told me it was hard. Hahaha oh, man. When we first got to class and the teacher was speaking solely Croatian and we had to teach our first (fake) investigator in the language on the third day, I freaked. Or maybe I should say, we freaked. My companion and I have been in similar boats. The lesson went terribly, but we've had about 4 since then, and each time, the language gets better and we get more relaxed, and sometimes we actually feel the Spirit! Haha.

I fell in love with Hrvatski (Croatian) fairly quickly, actually. It's absolutely beautiful. I feel so cool when I speak it, too. We are also learning Srbski (Serbian), which is almost the same language, but with the Cyrillic alphabet, and that is equally as cool. Think of, like, if the Brits had a different alphabet from us. That's about the difference.

Speaking of which, we have a Welsh elder in our zone who is about the coolest ever. He's 24 and has a rock band that like tours the UK or something. And his accent is to die for. I know that dad would love to talk to him. He says there are castles by where he lives. Ahhhh. I'm so excited to go to Europe where everything is OLD! America can have its "Revolutionary War Era" brick or whatever. 

A really cool thing happened. So every Sunday afternoon, we take a walk around the temple, kind of as a zone. We were hanging out on the grass, when one of our branch presidency just fainted. He was out for a few minutes, and when we tried to stand him up, his eyes rolled back and he collapsed again. Happened a few times. But luckily, he got a healing blessing from some of the elders in our zone, and let me just say, seeing those young men step up to their duties as priesthood holders was one of the sweetest things I've seen. Probably ever. I don't think very many of them had given a blessing before.

Anyway, right after that, me and Sister Washburn (companion) ran to find a phone, and I got to call 911 and talk to the dispatcher! Whoa. It was kind of a rush. But when we got back to where Brother Robinson had collapsed, he was up and walking, with an elder on each arm supporting him. As soon as he heard the sirens, he said, "you are NOT getting me on that ambulance. I REFUSE." And he talked like that for a while. It was pretty funny. And he's doing okay now!

Guys, I have learned so, incredibly much since I got here, about the gospel and foreign language. I am convinced that I wouldn't have been able to without the help of my Heavenly Father in sending His Holy Spirit to aide me. I cannot wait to get out there and invite other people to know what I know. I can feel the urgency.

I love all of you, and I am so thankful for your emails! I'll try as hard as I can to respond individually, but just know that I don't have a whole lot of time allotted to do so :) Stay strong! I'll keep you posted!

Sestra Watts

P.S. I think I'm going to do this thing every week where I teach you some words/phrases na Hrvatskom (in Croatian), so here you go.

Tako -- (pr. like "taco") doesn't have a straight translation, but you'd use it in various situations like if you wanted to say "That's right", or "so," or something. It's a very diverse word. We as a class were very confused when our teacher first introduced us to it. He pointed to me and kind of shouted, "Tako!" when I said something right, and it was hiLARious.

Volim te -- "I love you," for all you romantics out there. Use it well. But remember, romance is gross.

Have a good week!
Katarina and her MTC companion, Sestra Washburn.