Called to serve in the Adriatic North Mission.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hello everyone! 

The only thing I can remember about last week was the fact that we probably tracted more than I ever have before in a week. It was awesome. Friday was an interesting day. All we had planned for the day was to go out and find people to teach. It was really hard to get out the door, but we prayed a lot and went out there anyway. The first several hours were pretty bleak and by dinner time, we were not looking forward to going back outside. But we prayed again and set off to knock on some doors in search of the prepared. It was probably the one of the funnest/funniest nights I've had in a loooong time. First of all, we met a really cool couple that were slightly older with a perturbed teenage granddaughter that let us in to teach them. I don't think they'll get baptized, but the old man was hilarious and gave me marriage advice (he told me to NEVER marry someone shorter than me, or else I'll have to kiss his forehead goodnight) and really liked the Book of Mormon. So you never know.

Then we knocked on the this one door, and the woman took a pretty long time to answer. When she finally did, all we saw was a wet, shampoo-lathered head poke around the door, and we already knew we were in for a fun experience. The head in question turned out to be a really nice woman who would probably have loved to talk to us, had she not been momentarily occupied. So Sister Marlow handed her our card, and she took it with a sopping arm that appeared from behind the door. It could have been a lot more scarring of an experience; nevertheless, I'd still have to rate it on the awkward level of your average colonoscopy. We said our goodbyes and hurried on to the next door.

Our third interesting encounter was actually a little miracle. It was a young man who told us that he'd actually just barely run into the elders down in Podgorica, Montenegro about 3 days prior, and had received a Book of Mormon from them! We told him those people were our friends (they're in our same mission), and asked if he was interested to learn more. Even though he wasn't, he promised he would read the whole book. We're hoping he realizes how true it is! 

Our final tender mercy for the night was accidentally ringing the doorbell of one of our English class students! She was so excited to see us, and let us in for some kolač (little cake treats). She's actually 7th Day Adventist, so it was cool to talk to her a little bit about living in a predominantly orthodox society. 

The Lord hears your prayers, and He answers them, if not in the way you'd expect! I know that more than ever before. I also know that He has a really good sense of humor. 

I hope you all have a great week! 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Beautiful Bosnian countryside.

You know when scientists are growing bacteria in a petri dish and they take a swab of it so they can put it under some tests and see what the little germs are doing? I feel like that is the nature of my weekly emails home. There is no way I can write about all the amazing or not-so-great things that happen in my day to day life, but I hope that the sample that you do get is a good representation of my life here in the Balkans, and through that, you can conclude that my mission as a whole is the best thing that ever happened to me. 

Last week involved a very good combined zone conference in Belgrade, Serbia (I got to go back!) with special guest Elder Charles, of the Seventy, and his wife. They are a delightful British couple with an amazing conversion story. If you want to see some pictures of the event, go to: 

I don't think it will be in English, but you can still look at the pictures. You should probably like the page, too. 

Oh! Yesterday, we met this fantastic couple who invited us into their house so we could teach them about the Restoration of the Gospel. We had a happy time, and then they told us that we should teach their grandson, too! He's been having some health issues lately, and they think this would be really good and lift his spirits. We're pretty excited about that. 

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon and share this really great scripture with you that has been circulated throughout the mission today. It comes from 2 Kings 6:15-17:

And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.

"...they that be with us are more than they that be with them." We, every one of us, are surrounded by heavenly people who are helping us every step of the way. I pray that the Lord opens my eyes so that I never forget how supported I am. I know that we are loved by God and by His Son, Jesus Christ. They want us to succeed! 

Have a blessed week.

Monday, October 12, 2015

My week in a nutshell:

Monday: scrambled around trying to get stuff clean and done for transfers. Had a beautiful lunch with one of my favorite Americans from the embassy as a goodbye. Bought a jacket for like 16 dollars from a china shop (best things ever) that will hopefully be thick enough for the winter. 

Tuesday: DROVE ALL DAY from Beograd to Tuzla, Bosnia to meet with like half the sisters in the mission and switch people. There I found my new companion, Sister Marlow, and we drove to Banja Luka safely. I was a little nervous because people tell scary stories about the roads here, but they weren't even bad. Bosnia is gorgeous. The drive was so scenic, hills and trees everywhere. 

Wednesday: Taught English at a rehabilitation center for kids. It was the coolest thing ever! They were so cute and we traced one of them and labeled the clothing/body parts. One of the girls told me I look like an actress from the films, but she couldn't remember which. It's funny because balkan people tell me that seriously all the time.

Thursday: Taught regular English at the church (a small, rented flat with two levels) and met a ton of really cool people. English classes are always hilarious. You just get so many different types of people with varying levels of English skills. We also met our elders, who are Elder Swink (he's been out 4 months) and his brand new trainee Elder DeLeeuw (pronounced Dih Loo -- it means "The Lion" in Dutch). They are also hilarious. I forgot how crazy it is to be a new missionary. Just a deer-in-the-headlights look constantly.

Friday: District meeting. Nothing too crazy.

Saturday: We showed the Sunday morning session of General Conference at the church and the mother of our most recent convert showed up, and she loved it! It was a great day. It was hard to watch President Monson speak. This time we watched it with a Serbian translation (last week in Belgrade was in Croatian because the Serbian doesn't get translated live), and the lady translating choked up at the end and of course I started crying too since I'm a sympathy crier. But all was well.

Sunday: I got to meet a lot of the members, and I gave my second talk ever! The branch has an average attendance of about 5 minus the missionaries, so we get asked to speak a lot, apparently. I talked about good works and following the pattern of service that Christ showed us.

It was a good week! I love Sister Marlow a lot, and we are going to work really hard so she doesn't even think about going home in two months. Čućemo se!

Sestra Watts

Monday, October 5, 2015

I have finally gotten the ability to send pictures, so I'll just do a few snapshots from the last few months.
 These are my favorite people, the Raičević family.They are always all talking at once and they are the funniest people ever! I call Sister Raicevic my Serbian mother, but she could never replace you, mom!

 Me and Sister Derenthal on the exchange, 
and me with my American food from one of our embassy families!
 They got us taquitos!!

ATTENTION: I am serving in Banja Luka, Bosnia (technically Republic of Serbia, but Bosnia) as of tomorrow,Oct. 6. I'm torn apart to be leaving Belgrade, but the Lord has something in mind for me in another land, I suppose. I'll be with the magnificent Sister Marlow, who finishes her mission in 9 weeks! aka I will be her last companion. Hopefully. You never know. I'm really excited to see new things and meet new people (except let's be real, I meet new people every day anyway regardless of where I am) and be a missionary still. I love being a missionary. It's really hard. But it's better than anything else I could be!

My last week in Serbia was a delight. Sister Derenthal and I were on an exchange together (see Karlovac, Transfer 2)! We still love each other a lot and got to catch up on 6 months of mission, and we've both grown a lot. I love her and am so happy for the stellar missionary she is!

Also, what about General Conference?? I think that every time I find more and more excitement in watching our inspired leaders speak the words of the Lord to us. I found so many things I need to work on, and instead of being completely overwhelmed, I am grateful for the opportunity to improve myself and be more what my Heavenly Father wants me to be. He knows best and He loves me!

I'll try to keep you all more posted in the following weeks. We've had some busy p-days these past couple transfers :D

I love the gospel. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ and His sacrifice. I am overwhelmed at the thought that He pleads for me with the Father, and that He wants so badly for me to return to live in His presence forever. I love the fact that I can share this message of hope with everyone I meet. The church is true!

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