Monday, September 10, 2012

The Last Ahoj!

Let's just get this out of the way: I have no idea how to start this email. So I'll just jump right into it.

Elder Osterloh and I had another good week. This transfer has just been kind of a breeze. We've been working hard and enjoying ourselves. It's kind of disappointing that I have to go home just as things feel good and natural. It really doesn't feel like this is the last email you will all get from me from Slovakia. But it is! AHH! Elder O and I are pushing for a miracle week. It is the last week for both of us in Slovakia (he has to go back to the Czech Republic) and we are determined to make the most of it. We both love these people so much. From the people we meet on the streets to our insane English class and down to every member here. They all have their quirks and I adore them all SO much because of them. They have left an indelible impression on me and I hope I can internalize and remember the lessons they've taught me forever.
This last week I had another visit to the foreign police. I don't know if I mentioned it in my last email, but Elder Bacon and Nichol had quite the adventure trying to leave the country; they were thrown in a holding cell, missed their flights and was banned from Europe for a year. We don't want that same experience for me so our attorney here has been working hard getting applications and everything for me to renew my visa properly. She was going nuts because she was sure they were 2 year visas. Turns out our visas were good for 2 years after all! It was just the sticker in our passport that expired at the end of 2011. So I got an official paper saying that my visa is still good and everything is just fine so I won't have trouble traveling home.
Church yesterday was great as well. I gave my last Slovak talk. Hallelujah. I hate speaking in church in Slovak. Everyone just listens and picks up on every mistake--at least that's what I imagine. Turns out everyone was surprised I was leaving already. They were surprised I stayed behind when Elder Bacon and Nichol left ("I thought it was about time for you to leave already!") and then they were surprised again when they learned I was actually leaving next week. ("Already?!")

It really hasn't sunk in that I am leaving these people.

This whole experience of a mission is impossible for me to articulate on a keyboard within an hour. It's been hard enough to describe week by week. I will be eternally grateful for the decision I made to go on a mission. I'm grateful for bishoprics who worked with me and helped me prepare to serve. I'll never forget the army of youth leaders who never gave up on me, even though I desperately wanted them to at times. I feel like I had a hand in helping some of God's children come to know Him better. To feel like they are loved and appreciated and that He has sent his restored gospel to save them. But like all service, I've come away with so much more than what I could have possibly given. I love these Slovak people, their culture and even their impossible language. I'm walking away from this incredible country with a sure knowledge that God still works with us and really wants us to be happy. He lives, isn't that great?!?

Look out for some more quick updates on my Eurotrip. I'm not really thinking about it too much. Members get a little annoyed when I tell them I'm not sure where I'm going or for how long-- so thanks for the itinerary Dad. Jana and Dagmar want to meet up for lunch in Blava when we go through.

Thanks for the emails Sister and Elder Williams! Glad to hear things are going well and that you are HAPPY!! That is always most important.

Love you all and talk to you soooon!

Elder A. Williams


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