Called to serve in the Adriatic North Mission.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hello, lovely people!

Welp. Two notable things happened this week. I'll start with the business-y one first.

So, we were notified about transfers Saturday night (for those who may not know: transfers= when they jumble missionaries around and move some people to different places. It happens every 9 weeks). My companion/trainer, Sister Walker, is going to Zagreb for her last transfer in the mission, and where she actually started her service more than a year ago. I'm staying here in Karlovac, which I'm actually really excited about. And my new companion will be Sister Derenthal! We were in the MTC together! I am so excited to serve with her. I didn't really get the chance to get to know her that well in the MTC though, since they split us Croatian speakers up into 2 different classes. So they were always in the room next door. But from what I know, she is hilarious and awesome. I am way excited. Another happy little tidbit about Sis. Derenthal: I actually joked with her several times in the MTC that we would end up being companions on our second transfer. And now it HAPPENED. How neat is that?? So she will be here tomorrow. Oh, another thing is that President Grant has decided to make me a Sister Training Leader (basically, I get to talk to the other sisters in my zone a lot and go to meetings in Zagreb once a month. That's the watered-down explanation). It's a big responsibility, and I am pretty nervous. I'm excited, though. I like people. I like having the excuse to get to know them better.

The other, more awesome thing that happened was that Toma got baptized! Toma was the man that the Elders here in Karlovac were teaching about the gospel, and he decided to be baptized on Saturday. It was probably the best baptism I've ever witnessed, if not just because now I understand more than ever before the eternal significance of baptism, and the blessings that come because of it. And afterward, Toma spoke about his conversion and why he decided to be baptized, and it was beautiful. I felt the Spirit so strongly. I am so happy for him.

So, yeah! that was my week! I'm excited to see how this transfer turns out. I'll keep you posted.

Fraza dana:
Što prije je bolje (shtoh pree-yay yay bowl-yay) -- They use it just how we say "The sooner the better." It doesn't really have a direct translation that makes sense. Maybe, "What's before is better."

Love you all!
Sestra Watts

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hi everyone! How is the week going in America? (or elsewhere, I guess) 

My week was great. Three of the days were really warm and sunny. One day I even took off my jacket and was just in a long-sleeved shirt! That was nice. 

Last week was also Zone conference, which was a blast. So good to get together with a bunch of other wonderful people and learn how to be better missionaries. I learned a lot, and we also got to watch Meet the Mormons! That's the movie the church released in theaters about our church. It was sooooo good. Everyone should watch it, especially people who aren't LDS. Although I'm not sure if it's out for sale yet. You'll have to check that. Watch it!!!

This Saturday, the 24th, the elders have an investigator getting baptized! I think I've talked about Toma before. He is so excited, and we are too. Even though we weren't even the ones who taught him the lessons, we feel like we were a part of his conversion too, since he was in our English class. We teach intermediate and the elders teach beginner, so Toma was in our class, and then when he expressed interest in the church, we let the elders teach him. He is so solid. He believes everything he learns so strongly. His parents are a little worried about him since they aren't members though, so Toma has brought his mom or dad to lessons sometimes. Last week his mother came to one, and apparently she was very against his getting baptized. It was so sweet, though, because Toma brought up a verse he had read in the Book of Mormon the night before, which was the prophet Nephi writing about how much he rejoiced in the gospel. It's in 2 Nephi chapter 4, where he says that his heart was "carried away on the wings of the Spirit." Toma pointed that verse out to his mother and to the elders and said, "That is how I feel about this gospel." He said he didn't really have a purpose in life before he found this church, and now he has never been more happy. I cannot wait until he is baptized and can receive the blessings that being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brings.

This year, President Grant (the president of the mission) has decided that the focus of the mission will be obedience. We have talked a lot about it so far, and I am very excited. I believe firmly that obedience to the laws of the gospel is the best way to be happy that our life on earth has to offer. Rules are not a constraint. They are a release. They make it so that my mind and body are free of the burdens of addictions, sadness, and general unpleasant things that come with the idea of "doing whatever you want" (a.k.a. "YOLO"). Because you don't only live once. You live forever, continually, and the decisions you make on this earth will affect you not only here but in the afterlife as well. I know this to be true. Do not sacrifice an eternity of happiness so that you can be happy for the next five minutes or even the next five months. Please. And I know that I am nowhere near perfection, and I struggle with certain things every single day. But I try and I try, and when that is not enough, which happens constantly, I trust and I rely on a Savior who is perfect, and who has overcome every single weakness. That is what I have dedicated 18 months of my precious life to teaching. I owe nothing less to a loving Heavenly Father who has literally given me everything. 

With that, I hope that all of you have a wonderful week. And I hope that you are happy. And I beg that if you aren't that you will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is not irrelevant. He is not old-fashioned. And even if you deny Him, He is there, and He wants you to come back to Him.

I love you all and miss you, and wish you all the best.

Sister Katarina Watts
A picture of the Karlovac sister missionaries on the Karlovac tjednik Facebook news page.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Hi everyone!

I'm sorry, I don't really have a lot to say this week. We did a lot of finding again! Friday and Saturday almost completely consisted of us out on the street or going door to door talking to people! It sounds terrible, but it was actually pretty rewarding. We talked to a lot of people, and one girl was really interested in what we had to say. She was really cool and really open to reading the Book of Mormon. That's the best thing for us as missionaries, because no matter how good we sound, if they don't read the Book of Mormon and feel the truth of it for themselves, nothing will come of it! So that was nice.

Also, my exchange last Monday and Tuesday with Sister Lee in Zagreb was a good experience. I like seeing what other areas are like. Zagreb is a whole different ballgame compared to little old Karlovac. Just trams full of people who are all super busy and successful! I do love Zagreb and Karlovac. Just for different reasons :)

Well, I hope you all have the best of weeks this week. Make good choices, please! Think about others. Serve people! Go ice skating, maybe. That is always a good activity.

Fraza dana: 
Ovaj (oh-vie) -- Literally, "this," but it's also what they say instead of "um." Confused me for a while.

Be good!
Sestra Watts

Monday, January 5, 2015

This is the view from my plain into Croatia. I'm pretty sure this is the Alps.

So in the Balkans, January 6th is Orthodox Christmas. We will definitely still work all day though.
Hi! How was everyone's New Year? Ours was great. And by great, I mean normal. We went to bed at 10:30, and then at 11:45 we were woken up on account of a continuous stream of fireworks going off. And when I say continuous, I mean it. They didn't slow until 12:30. It was the final culmination of a whole month's worth of random gigantic bangs sounding at random periods throughout the day. We're grateful that it's done.
This email is coming at you from the mission office in Zagreb, by the way. Sister Walker has another Mission Leadership Training today and tomorrow, so I'm on an exchange here with Sister Lee during that. I never thought I would travel this much! It's a lot of fun.
Last week was alright. New Years Day was unbelievably cold (although definitely not as much so as Minnesota), and we still had to go out finding and proselyting. People weren't very receptive, I wonder why. We woke them up, probably.
I don't have much else to say, honestly! We did a lot of finding this past week. We were busy and worked hard, but I doubt any of it was interesting enough for you lovely people to want to read :)
That being said, I hope you all have made excellent New Years goals that include a lot of fun and service and being great member missionaries! Love you all.
Fraza dana:
Šta ćeš? (shtah chesh) -- Literally, "what will you?" but really means "Well, what are you gonna do?" Like when someone says something hopeless.
Sestra Watts

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Here are a bunch of pictures from Ugljan island that we hiked last week in Zadar.

Hey good people,

It finally snowed! After having a 60 degree Christmas, it was quite a shift to get 6 inches of snow throughout the day yesterday (Sunday). It snowed all day, so at about 4 pm we grabbed 2 snow shovels that we conveniently own (even though we live in an apartment) and set off around town, looking for people to help. It was a blast. So many families were out with sleds and dogs and shovels and skates and everything else you could imagine about winter activities. It's really cool because in Karlovac, the old part of town is surrounded by this huge star shaped moat that was used hundreds of years ago when Karlovac was a fortress thing. Now the moat is empty, and all along inside it are little parks and benches and such, and the sides are perfect for sledding. It was a beautiful night last night. We weren't gonna go outside at first, either, since I am feeling pretty sick, but I sucked it up and we had a great time. Little bakas (grandmas) loved us. One lady brought us tea and cookies (rosehip herbal tea -- nasty), and one of our member families brought us inside for these delicious cake things called mađarica. It felt so good to just serve some people.

Another bonus about yesterday was that a man that the elders are teaching came to church yesterday and handed Sister Walker and me two huge Milka chocolate bars and said it was for our lovely singing at the Christmas party last weekend. We already have eaten one. People are so great.

My exchange last week with Sister Yardley was thankfully, very successful. We were both pretty nervous since we came to Croatia together just a month ago, and we weren't sure if we could even communicate with people on our own yet. But we did! It was such a surprise. I am absolutely certain that the Lord helped us understand the people that we spoke with, because I have never understood that much of what people are saying here before. We had some awesome conversations that day. I'm grateful for the challenge that we were given, and I know that the Lord qualifies his servants in their time of need.

Christmas was wonderful too, and filled with food! It was so good also to be able to Skype my family. I miss you all, but it's okay. 

Okay, well, I'm out! Thanks for keeping up with me!

Fraza dana:
Sretna nova godina! (sret-nah nove-ah goe-dee-nah) -- Happy new year!

Sestra Watts

Aaaan this was how we spent our Christmas Eve... I have played Settlers of Catan about 12 times 
since being here, and 4 were on Christmas Eve and Christmas. You'd be so proud! I wanted to die.

Finally, our beautiful Christmas breakfast. We ate so much. And the last pic is normal in our apartment. The Ritter Sport was less than a buck, the fancy stuff about $2, and the Milka we got from an investigator of the elders. Probably also around $2. I love Europe!!!