Called to serve in the Adriatic North Mission.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Hey! I don't have any time to write, since we were in ZADAR today (coast) and took a ferry to an island to hike a mountain to a castle. WOW! It was magnificent. But yeah. We're having an exchange this week (I'm taking Sis Yardley, a sister from my MTC group, back to Karlovac with me -- eek! 2 newbies together!), and decided to make the most of it.

So this week, you're getting a voice recording that we did last night. Enjoy! Maybe mom will transcribe it or something and stick it on the blog. Or just put this on the blog.

Merry Christmas, people! I love you all! The church is so true it's insane!

Sister Watts and her companion were going to Zadar on Monday the 22nd so they made a voice recording the day before instead of emailing, because they knew they wouldn't have time to email on their P-day. You can listen to it all here, or read some of the highlights and low lights of their past week that they talk about.

-They made sushi.
-Sister Watts saw an article in the Liahona on a family she met while she was in Sweden two summers ago.
-One of their investigators that had a baptismal date set is not talking with them any more.
-They gave the people that helped them with their Visas Christmas presents and a Book of Mormon.
-They also gave a Book of Mormon to a lady that works in the insurance office, and she said she would read it.
-Toma, someone that came to their English class, went to their branch Christmas party and to all of church on Sunday and had a lesson right after church.
-They had Mission conference on Friday and met up with people from the MTC.
-Friday night they went to follow up with some potential investigators on the eighth floor of a building, but they didn't answer. Then they were stuck up there because the stairwell door was locked and both the elevators weren't working.
-She and her companion sang two songs in Croatian at their branch Christmas party on Saturday.
-They introduced sugar cookies to some of the Croatian kids at the Christmas party.

Sretan Božić! Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Hey! The sun came out in Karlovac! Also, it has been 40s and 50s all week, and it will be this coming week too. I am in heaven. I would like a white Christmas, but I won't complain either way. 

This week. Was. Crazy. First off, the exchange in Rijeka was wonderful. The sea is nice, and I gained so much insight on how other people do the work. All four of us sisters involved in the exchange felt like it was amazingly rewarding. I needed it, for reasons I don't really know yet. It just made me more excited about the work. We had a really great meeting while I was there with the rest of the district, and the elders gave a fantastic lesson on faith. I can't even describe it to you, it was so intense. We all were inspired to be better people and rely more on the Lord after that. That's what being out here is all about, after all. I have no right to complain or to doubt my reason for being here. God put me here, and that means that there is something here in Karlovac, Croatia, that I need to do. 

Next crazy thing: while I was in Rijeka, the sisters here in Karlovac found a woman, Nena, who had met with the missionaries several years ago maybe once or twice, but nothing had happened since. She agreed to meet with them, but didn't show up to the meeting place. The sisters left, but then shortly after she called and had come after all! Apparently, something inside her told her to go to the meeting, even though she had guests over. Guess what that prompting was :)

Anyway, so they taught her on Tuesday, and asked her if she would pray and read the Book of Mormon to find out if it was true. And then, they asked her that if she did find out it was true, would she be baptized. And she said yes! And then when I came back we taught her her second lesson, and we asked if she would continue preparing and learning about the church, and if she was ready, would she be baptized on January 24th, and she said yes! So that's crazy. We're teaching her again tonight.

Then, on Friday, we were out contacting (talking to people on the streets), and a woman called and said she was in Karlovac for two hours and she wanted to meet with us. This was a woman we had tried to get in touch with before, but she was always busy. So we met, and she is wonderful! She is a strong believer in God and Jesus Christ, and she also wants to continue to learn more. We are very excited about Kristina.

So basically, Friday was a crazy day. We had 4 lessons. We were just running all over town! It was wonderful. Also, an elder in our district got bit when petting a stray cat, and had to go to the hospital in Zagreb to get checked for rabies! Then our mission president sent out an email telling us to not pet stray animals. Hmm... we thought the whole thing was hilarious, of course.

Also, my trainer and I discovered that we got asked out by the same guy at BYU. We spent a good solid 5 minutes freaking out about that. The Mormon world is small, and funny. 

Hey! Y'all are great! Stay awesome. Get involved. Serve people. All you LDS people, help the missionaries out. We need you desperately. This work is nothing without you. 

Fraza dana:
blebetati -- (bleh-beh-tah-tee) 'To chatter' -- Recent favorite word of ours, since since it literally sounds like you're blabbering when you say it.

Love you all! 
Sestra Watts

This is from a relief society activity we had. The two boys you see are both named Mihael, and are 2 thirds of the youth in our branch. Also, I made that hat I'm wearing! I couldn't be more proud.

Monday, December 8, 2014

My companion and trainer, Sister Walker by the steps of the sea organ.

Hey all,

It's crazy, tomorrow marks 2 weeks in Croatia. Before I know it, I'll have two weeks left. Just kidding, it doesn't really feel that fast yet. I'm still getting used to being here. I'm just taking it one day at a time. 

The good thing is, I love it here! I think I like it more every day. The work is picking up a little bit more, too. We've talked to more people, taught some more lessons, and I feel just a little bit more comfortable with the language. Slow and steady, and all that.

So last week was zone conference, remember? On the coast? It was SO nice. I saw the sun!! That was my first time seeing the sun in Croatia, and I haven't seen it since. Zone conference was really a treat, and I got to see a few of the missionaries that I was in the MTC with. It had only been a week since I'd last seen them, but it's crazy how much I missed them in that time. That was nice. 

Another cool thing: we had a break after lunch, and so my companion and I decided we would walk to the coast real quick (it's like 5 minutes from the church where we met), but then it turned out tons of people wanted to come along, so our mission president pushed back the next meeting a bit, and we all got to go to the coast! It was gorgeous. You'll see pictures. One of the pictures, my trainer and I are standing on these steps by the sea called the 'sea organ'. The thing is, the vertical sides of the steps have bunches of slats cut into them vertically at diferent depths, and when the wind blows across them, it makes notes! It kinda sounds like a really low flute, or a marimba maybe. Maybe a mix. It's beautiful and eerie. It's always windy in Zadar too, so they make noise constantly. I loved it. 

My exchange in Zagreb was fun too! I was with a sister who has only been out here for 9 more weeks (1 transfer) than I have, and she just barely got placed in Zagreb the week before, so we got a little bit lost sometimes. But it was a good adventure, and we talked to some pretty cool people. Zagreb is beautiful, and the sidewalks are packed even in the winter! The square downtown is all decorated for Christmas with wonderful little stalls of delicious things and beautiful trinkets. Good times. 

And then tomorrow I leave town again for ANOTHER exchange, but this time to another coastal town called Rijeka. It's farther north than Zadar, so it will be colder, unfortunately, but still a coast! Man. Feels like I'm never home in Karlovac. This one is a normal exchange though, which means that a sister (or elder) from one companionship will switch places for a couple days with a sister (or elder) from another companionship. This is mostly done so that we can see how other areas of the mission are, maybe what they're doing differently that we can apply, and also because my trainer is a sister training leader (kind of the head sister in the 3 cities that make up our zone), and now she can see how the other sisters are doing, emotionally and mentally and linguistically and physically. Whew.

Okay, I think I've talked your ear off enough. Get back to work! 

Fraza dana:
'Jel?' - (yell) Doesn't have a direct translation. Kinda like when Minnesotans and Canadians end their phrases with 'eh?' Just a thing that you end a sentence or question with.

Your favorite sister missionary

Overlook on the way out of Zadar. Funny, the Elders just look
dang good, and we're over here just trying to keep our skirts down

Monday, December 1, 2014


This is it, people! I'm in Croatia! Finally! I got assigned to a little-ish town called Karlovac, just 45 minutes from Zagreb, Croatia. I say little-ish because in my mind it's not that little, but everyone says it is. Also it's winter so apparently no one is on the streets right now, even though I think there are bunches of people out and about in this dreary, rainy, foggy weather that has eternally permeated the air. Anyway. I love it!
My trainer is named Sister Walker. She has about two transfers (9 week periods) left on her mission, so she's really good at the language and knows what she's doing. That's nice. Except she just got transferred here from Serbia, so her grammar is a little messed up :) She's really really cool though.
Karlovac is super cool. The church has about 15-20 members that actively come to church, and then about a million inactive members, but even though it seems small, the active members are really strong. Apparently we have one of the strongest branches in the whole mission (which is comprised of 14 cities). Each city in the mission (typically) has one set of elders, one set of sisters, and one set of senior missionaries. Karlovac is unique because 4 months ago, they didn't have enough sister missionaries to fill it, so they put in a second set of elders, and then 2 months ago, the didn't have enough missionaries period, so they actually took a whole companionship of elders out and they've been running short since. Then me and Sister Walker showed up, and now we basically almost have a clean slate. Which is not something you want as a missionary haha. We came in with no one to teach, and anyone who had been taught 2-4 months ago is no longer interested in hearing what we have to say. Which for us means a lot of phone calls and street contacting and going from door to door. But it's been good, I promise!

Some things about the people here:
Everyone smokes. Everyone. I will develop lung cancer (probably). 
Everyone has the same name! You know how when you think of Russian people, they're stereotypically named Valdimir or something? That stereotype is not unfounded. The Slavic people repeat names like nobody's business. One familly has two children: Ivan and Ivana. Another married couple is named Željko and Željka. It's hilarious and I love it. Ivan is probably the most popular name.

I don't remember much about my first day here. The mission presidents welcomed us, we did some stuff, and then they tried to keep us awake so that we could go to bed at night time here and adjust to the time change better. They eventually gave in and let us sleep at 9:00! That's awesome, for those of you who don't know, because on the mission we are normally not supposed to sleep till around 10:30, and wake up time is 6:30 mandatorially. They let us sleep in till 7:00, though! I don't know that a full night's sleep has ever felt so good.

Anyway. I am loving it here. We're right now in a little internet cafe in the old centar of town. Tonight we go to Zagreb so my trainer can go to a leadership conference until tomorrow afternoon, so I get to work with a sister in Zagreb until she's done with that. My first exchange already! I'm excited. And then Wednesday is zone conference, which our zone is made up of all the missionaries in three cities of Croatia (out of 6), and it's on the COAST. Warmmm :) And I'll get to see a couple of my friends from the MTC! It'll be sweet.
Okay good people, it's time for the fraza dana:
Ništa - (nee-shtah) Nothing - they literally use this word all the time. You say "thank you" they say "ništa". You say "we're missionaries" they say "ništa" and they shut the door, haha. One learns to love it.
I love you and miss you all. Don't forget about me in good ol' Croatia!
Peace out.
Sestra Watts