Thursday, December 24, 2015

Baptism Celebration


Svíčková, or svíčková na smetaně (beef sirloin in cream sauce), is a typical Czech dish and one of the most popularCzech meals. It is sirloin prepared with vegetables (carrotsparsley root, celeriac and onion), spiced with black pepper,allspicebay leaf and thyme, and boiled with double cream. It is generally served with houskové knedlíky (breaddumplings).

Ludmilla and Michal's Baptism

From left to right:  Bro. Maska, Elder Belshe, Ludmilla, Ludmilla's son Petio, Ludmilla's son Michal, Ludmilla's mother, Ludmlla's daughter Daniela




Michal's CTR Ring...Conrad's Mom sent him several in the mail for just such an occasion

A Week of Even More Miracles (Veselí Vanoce)


The Lord has seen fit in his infinite mercy to bless us with lots of success in our branch! By a miracle we were able to have Ludmila and Michal's baptism, but not without a little bit of difficulty. Elder Galbraith and I searched around all of C-Bud and we could not find one open baptismal font, it was crazy! We were getting concerned and a little frustrated, so we decided to call President McConkie who, thankfully, helped us finally find a pool to use for her baptism. It was definitely a Christmas miracle and an answer to prayers for sure! We are so grateful that we were able to hold a wonderful service for them which they will hopefully never forget! 

This week we also held our missionary led Christmas concert where we had Brother Maska, the same man who baptized Ludmila :), read the Christmas story from Luke 2 as we played hymns and songs that correlated with it. Followed by President Chrdle giving an amazing talk about the true meaning of Chrismas! We had 9 investigators who came to the party, 6 of which were the Sisters, the others will Ludmila, Michal, and her mother. It was a great time for them to feel the spirit and it was quite successful! 

Then Sunday came along, and unfortunately it was sacrament brought to you by yours truly. It was a great meeting, but also a lot of stress going into it. Ludmila and Michal both asked that I confirm them, so I had the opportunity to do that which was really really stressful trying to do that in Czech, but thankfully all I had to do is follow the spirit! Then all of us missionaries had a musical number that we sang as a quartet "Angels we Have Heard on High" followed by a talk given by me as well talking about the true meaning of Christmas. Following that Elder Galbraith and I taught Primary. Needless to say after the meeting I could get a breath of fresh air! :) 

The coolest sight however was Zdenek who wore a white shirt and tie for the first time AND brought his three daughters to church, plus Michal was there with Ludmila. The branch was happily surprised to see kids running around during sacrament meeting :) Such an awesome week! And Christmas week will be even better and full of more miracles! Thanks for all of your love and support! My scripture for the week comes from 3 Nep 14:9-11 which describes how the Lord will always answer the prayers of his sons and daughters. This transfer has been full of lots of amazing miracles because of heartfelt and sincere prayers and I am greatful that the Lord sees fit to answer these prayers we have had this transfer! Veselí Vanoce! (Merry Christmas!) Have an awesome holiday! Remember Christ this season and the promises of blessings will come to those that follow him! 

Elder Belshe

Friday, December 18, 2015

Zdenek's Baptism - 12/12/15

Zdenek is next to me and Elder Galbraith and his brother in law, Jara Vojta, is the one on the end next to Elder Needham.



Branch Christmas Party

This is a sign: It says all visitors bring us joy, some when they come, some when they leave! I thought it was pretty funny so I took a picture of it! 

Week of Miracles

This week was amazing! We had a baptism in Prague for Zdenek which was incredible! You honestly could not wipe the smile off his face (even if the picture doesn't show it, he is not naturally photogenic). I had to give a talk, and I don't think I have ever been so nervous in my life. But I did it and Zdenek thanked me afterward so that made it all worth it in the end! Elder Needham was there as well and was able to participate in the confirmation after the baptism which was great! It was fun to see him again! Unfortunately though, we had to run really fast after to catch a bus to get us back to C-Bud just in time for the party. This is where the true adventure began..so we didn't make the bus we saw it drive away as all of us missionaries in C-Bud and our branch president wondered what to do. We saw a bus that was about to leave and we jumped on, it was heading the way of Budejovice so we thankfully got on and got into a town called Strakonice. Well, at that point we realized that we still needed to buy groceries for the party to make food, so we did that then as we were running to catch the connecting train, missed it. And again saw it drive away, so we sat for two hours in Strakonice, a tiny town that has very little people. Haha so after calling all the members and moving the party back two hours we made it back to Budejovice, exhausted from traveling all day, but had a great party! Us Missionaries performed a American medly of several different songs which everyone loved! Then we talked to all of the members, less actives, and Ludmilla who also came! :) Such a great party and a huge success led much in part by a less active the Sisters are teaching. 

As for Ludmilla and Michal, they are doing awesome as well! They are looking really really good to be baptized this Saturday, not certain, by a good possibility! :) We are praying and hoping that we can get everything we need done before their interviews on Thursday! One of them being finding a body of water, yes, a body of water, didn't think it would be as hard as it is, but we are certainly having trouble! :) Things are looking up for us this week! We already had one amazing baptism, and we are hoping for two more this week! :) Thanks for all the hopes and love and concern! Here is my scripture for the week: "God, Aaron hath told me that there is God; and if there is God, and if thou art God, wilt thou make thyself known unto me, and will give away all my sins to know thee, and that may be raised from the dead, and be saved at the last day. And now when the king had said these words, he was struck as if he were dead." This is a scripture from Alma 22:18 and I love the part that explains how King Lamoni's father is willing to give up ALL his sins to know Christ, and I have been thinking about all the sins that still hold me back and have made goals to work on them. As I have been on my mission, I have strivied to always come closer to Christ and I have seen the blessings that come from living a completely, no strings attached Christ centered life full of service and goodwill for others! I am thankful in my life for my Savior and I know he lives and loves each and every one of us! Have an awesome week! I am Czeching out(see what I did there ;))
Elder Belshe 

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Elder Belshe Plays Tour Guide in Český Krumlov



Week of Travels

Things went better for us this week! We had 5 investigators at church which is an absolute miracle! Ludmilla and Michal were both there this week which is good they are really looking good for baptism here in 2 weeks! The Lord is really progressing the work here in C-Bud. I am just glad that I get to be a part of all his great blessings! Zdenek was also there with his daughter, so that was really great to see. He is really looking forward to his baptism! Which is for sure now on the 12th of December in Prague! :) I am little sad that some of our investigators wont be able to come, but Zdenek getting baptized is going to be incredible! He talks about it quite a bit, and how he hopes that he can now help his wife and kids receive the gospel! The next step after his baptism this week will certainly be to help him progress in the priesthood and get his family also working towards baptism. Then finally Vojtech was there! That was great to see! He is doing wonderfully! We are hoping that he will be ready in the first of the year! We also are teaching 2 really great YSA age individuals who would really help the branch! Jitka and Adam are both wonderful and on baptism date! Both are also really close to coming to church, but just need a little bit more push to get them ready to get over that hump! Things are progressing wonderfully, and Elder Galbraith is a wonderful companion to have! I enjoy his positive attitude and his abilty to handle stress well.

We also had an exchange this week that went really well with Elder Needham. It was really fun to be with him again over in Plzen! He is such a great missionary as well, and has a love for contacting that I haven't seen in any other missionary that I have been with! I hope I can really develop that skill as well as a missionary, and be as bold as he has come to be. Finally, it was really great to see all my old MTC group in Prague for Visa Work which from what I heard was a miracle that it got done so fast! Had a great week! I am extremely grateful and excited for Zdenek's baptism this week! :) Also, I got to teach Primary this week which included Michal, Ludmilla's son, and Tomas Chrdle, who is President Chrdles youngest boy. I decided that I want to teach Primary when I get home :)..it was way too fun!  

Sorry, no cool culture sites this week! We decided to stay back and watch the Christmas Devotional which was great! :) Lots of travels this week! Two days were dedicated to traveling around, but thankfully this week we can get everything ready for Zdenek's baptism and be able to meet with our investigators more! Can't believe that is almost Christmas! Time keeps flying by! My scripture this week is one of my favorites: Helaman 5:12- As we put our foundation in Christ we can never fail. Our branch president has been emphasizing a return to the basics of church, pray, read and I feel that it has been helping our members remember what is truly important and how to really develop a testimony! I know that as I have centered my life on Christ that I have found more joy and peace! I am grateful for him, and his sacrifice and teachings that I use in my life every day! :) Thanks for all the letters of love and concern! :) Talk to you all next week!
Elder Belshe 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015 - Dining with Ludmilla and her family



From left to right:  Elder Galbraith, Ludmilla, the sister missionaries, Michal and Verka.

Christmas Tree Lighting in České Budějovice Town Square


Ludmilla's daughter Vercka sang in the concert choir.

Christmas Season is Upon Us!

Things moved kind of slow with our investigators this week. A lot of them couldn't meet, and we couldn't get a single one of them to come to church. Unfortunately, all of them got sick that were planning to come. Zdenek's baptism details are all decided which is really exciting. We are really looking forward to it! He is doing really well! Ludmilla hasn't been able to come to church the last few weeks which is really unfortunate, her mother has been sick and so she has been needing to take care of her as well as her own family. We are hoping and praying for her! One of the highlights of this week was the opportunity to give Jana Mestanova's(a less active in the branch) sister a blessing. It was the first time that I had ever had the opportunity to give a blessing, and I was really nervous, but it is good thing that all I have to do is follow the spirit :)..she commented after to Jana that she already felt at peace. She had a lot of different things on her mind, and was stressed about moving all the way from England with her husband. That was wonderful! Such a great experience and testimony builder! :) 

I can't believe it is already half way through this transfer! It is incredible! Things are continually moving faster! This week we were in Prague for training on how to use Christmas time most effectively including a Christmas video called "A Savior is Born" which we are excited to use! I am really looking forward to it in the upcoming weeks! :) I gave a talk for the first time (last week I forgot to mention in the email) here ever..that was also really scary! However, it went well and I am pretty sure that at least a majority of the people understand what I was saying...:) Also, a lot has been done in preparation for the Christmas concert that we will be holding the same day as Zdenek's baptism on the 12th. It will be a really crazy day, we are excited! 

As for this week for culture, we went to Cesky Krumlov again! Still as beautiful and amazing as before! This was first time for Elder Galbraith and Sister White, so I got to lead the tour! :D So much fun! This week also in the middle of the town square they lighted the big Christmas tree and Verčka, the daughter of Ludmilla's friend, sang in a choir during the lighting so we went and it was really fun! Thanksgiving here in the Czech Republic was led by us missionaries and we ate with Ludmilla's family! So much fun! They are all fun and great! They have been a really fun young energetic family that has really added so much to our branch! 

My scripture for the week comes from 2 Nep 9:39 "O, my beloved brethren, remember the awfulness in transgressing against that Holy God, and also the awfulness of yielding to the enticings of that cunning one. Remember, to be carnally-minded is death, and to be spiritually-minded is life eternal." l love this verse and the idea of using our spiritual eyes in every thing that we do! As we depend on the Lord and overcome the adversary we will achieve our goal of eternal life, or life with our Father in Heaven. Thanks for all the love and support we have received blessings from your prayers! 

Elder Belshe

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Branch Chapel in České Budějovice



Historical Sites Around České Budějovice




Winter Wonderland in C-Bud

Scarfs are awesome! That is one thing I learned this week! Being from a land where it is hot, ( and I really don't know what a scarf is) I have found it incredibly useful :) It went from barely needing a sweater to bundling up in the crazy cold snow! It was snowing pretty hard! It was fun up until we were in it for longer than 5 minutes...:) The true test will be to see if I survive ;) 
 
As for our investigators they are all wonderful! Zdenek is right on track for baptism, but since he wants his brother in law to baptize him (who will be out of town on the 5th) we will be doing it on the 12th! We hope..still figuring out the details :) As for Ludmilla and her family they are doing wonderfully, and we are eating Thanksgiving Dinner with them for our P-Day which will be on Thursday rather than today. They are excited for an American Thanksgiving ;) We had a new investigator come to church this week whose name is Vojtech. He has been meeting with us for a while, but had a tough time progressing. After a really really good lesson about baptism being a gate not an end, he is finally feeling prepared to work towards a date in January! We are really excited for him! Things are going well in C-Bud! 
 
We have training next week in Prague so that will be really fun! :) Other than that, we took a tour of C-Bud last Monday and saw all the sites I see each day, so much fun :), but now I actually know the meaning and history behind it! :) 
 
My scripture for the week is 1 Nephi 21:15 "For can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yea, they may forget thee, yet I will not forget thee, O house of Israel." As we follow the Lord and his commandments we are part of the House of Israel, and as we continue to strive to do our best we have his promise that we will ALWAYS be with us no matter what the situation or wherever we may feel we are in our relationship with him. He is there and loves us! Thanks for all the love and concern and the emails! I can see the results of all the prayers! :)
Elder Belshe

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Abnormal Weather

This week has been incredible weather! Highly unusual for this time of year, even for the generally warmer southern part of the country (Elder Galbraith is convinced I am going to Liberec next transfer the furthest northern mission city because I hate the cold :) ) 
 
The Lord is continuing to bless us with success here, and things are going really well! Zdenek is now on track and a baptismal interview away from baptism, but in Europe you have to give the 5th discussion (normally have to give the 1st four only) before baptism! Not completely sure why, but it is a rule. Ludmilla and her family have been consistently coming to church along with Zdenek which is awesome! They are both doing really well! Adam is doing good as well, reading and praying on his own, but he lives in a tiny village outside of Budějovice which is really difficult to visit and for him to come here, so he has absolutely no way of transportation for church until he gets his license, unless his parents can get him here until he gets his license. We are praying that he can so that he can also make his baptismal date on the 19th! I am emailing early today, so I have not yet done any traveling :)..today the sisters have someone they teach during English (a potential investigator) who wants to give us a tour of Budějovice so I am excited for that! Things are going really well for us here and I am really excited for what we have coming this transfer! Hoping for some Christmas miracles in the upcoming weeks! :) Thanks for all the emails and prayers! I can see the fruits of all the prayers I have received :)

My scripture for the week comes from I Nep 19:9:
And
the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it. Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men.
This month I have been focused on the atonement and the importance of Christ during my reading in the Book of Mormon in hopes of being done by the end of Christmas Eve, and I feel that my testimony has really grown stronger and it has helped our friends understand his importance as well! He is our Savior and Redeemer!
Elder Belshe

Thursday, November 12, 2015

View from Klet


Week of Miracles

On the week of my birthday, the last week of the transfer, we hit a rough patch and had 3 of the 4 people that were on baptismal date drop; however, this transfer we have been blessed with many many miracles. 

Two weeks ago we found a lot of new investigators and in the last week we have seen the fruits of our labor come! We currently have again, 4 investigators on baptismal date, one of which is Zdeněk who is doing incredibly well, coming to church, and is still talking about how excited he is for baptism on the 5th of December. One of the people we found is an 18 year old named Adam who when we contacted initally didn't seem interested, but as we pursued he said that he has been looking to be baptized for a while and is excited that he found his way! An absolutely incredible miracle indeed! He is on date for the 19th of December! Then there is Ludmilla, who is a mother of 3 kids and takes care of 4 others who are her friend's kids, she is an amazing woman and works a lot! She has a lot of interest in the plan of salvation, and is on date for the 19th! Her son. Michal, is also meeting with us often, but we haven't met often enough to give him a baptismal date. Then there is Michal, he is a former investigator, who comes occassionaly to game night and plays the violin in the town orchestra! He is great, and we had an amazing spiritual lesson with him, with a bold baptismal commitment which in the past he was not ready for, and now he has accepted and is willing to work towards that date! We hope that he will continue to grow his desire! :) Finally, we met an awesome family named the Maskovi, who live in a city adjacent to Ceske Budejovice! They are amazing have 3 kids one girl who is 16, a boy who is 13, and a young boy who is 3. It was a really different, and fun experience teaching a family! They are quite amazing! They are Catholic, but don;t regularly attend, but they love the idea of the Book of Mormon and we are excited to see their progression! :) 

Lots of great miracles are happening here! We also had District (Stake) Conference in which President Chrdle, the man we run with, directed and gave an AMAZING talk about the importance of the law of chastity during the priesthood session (which I actually understood most of :D) and President McConkie is a very bold man, and he gave a really great talk about Joseph Smith and the evidences that he truly was a prophet of God! Overally an amazing conference and we had Zdenek and Ludmilla there with us!

Funny story from the week, for our Vylet, day trip, during Pday we went on a hike (organized by yours truly) hahaha..it was interesting to say the least. My english class had said that it was a "must see" place, so I decided to go. Little did I know that it was 22 km long, that is about 13 miles......so pretty sure my entire district hates me because in order to get our necessary work done for today we had to run, nearly all of it...so exhausting. Lesson learned. NEVER let a greenie (I am still a greenie for one more week) decide your Vylet trip! :) It was still fun, even though we are all exhausted! It had an amazing view at the top, the mountain was called Kleť. I have a cool picture! :)

As for my scripture this week I chose: I Nep 17:50: It describes the faith necessary to produce miracles, even changing water into earth. I have thought about how I could apply that to myself as a missionary to have the faith necessary to produce miracles. As I have learned from President McConkie, Faith is a concept of action so go out and work, and that is what we did. As we have worked hard the miracles have come! I know it can come for all of us as we strive to live to the fullness of the commandments and look each day in how we can improve our faith! Thanks for all your emails and support! :)
Elder Belshe 

Friday, November 6, 2015

Elder Belshe and Elder Galbraith


First Week of the Transfer

Awesome first week of the transfer! Since we had a lot of investigators drop last week, we had plenty of time to go and find and find we did! Elder Galbraith and I work really well together, he is 21 and has already studied a year at BYU before coming on his mission! He has been in the country for a year and a half and just came back from Slovakia! He is, like Elder Needham was, the district leader and the Branch Counselor in the branch as he was sustained this Sunday.

This week we have received a lot of blessings in our finding efforts! We were able to find two families this week, which is really difficult in this mission! Both of them are great and are excited by the message of the Plan Of Salvation! We also have lessons this upcoming week with several YSA age people that will really help the branch. As of now we have one, and she usually is living in Brno :) It has been a good week of finding, and I am excited for the upcoming week! Thanks for all your prayers and support! I can see the blessings of all the prayers! :)

My scripture for the week comes from Mark 12:41-44. I have thought about the woman that could only cast in two mites, and what that means for us. I related it in a way to our talents where at times we may feel that we only have two mites to cast in in our lives where so many people around us are doing better, but as the Lord as said "She has cast in more than all they who have cast in of their abundance into the treasury". As we give our all, focusing only on what we can do, rather than compare ourselves to others! We will be happier and see the blessings of the Lord showered upon us! Have a good week! I am Czeching out (see what I did there ;) )

Monday, October 26, 2015

Transfer Week

Man, oh man, what a week! This week has been really really busy for us! First we had a training, which happens each month in Prague as combined zones from HK and from the Prague District. We had a training on what makes a successful missionary! It was so amazing! :) The spirit hit me really hard, and I feel that it was definitely an answer to prayers! We talked a lot about overcoming perfectionism, and the idea that all success in a mission is controlled by your attitude, obedience, and work effort. So many great things that I would love to share, but don't have the time for. The most important thing is the challenge that has been extended to the mission, which I now extend to all of you:
 
“Dear Sisters and Elders,

On Tuesday and Thursday of last week, we enjoyed zone conferences with all of the missionaries currently serving in the Czech / Slovak Mission. They are all wonderful missionaries and are working hard to move the work forward. We think of all of you whenever we are with them. Your influence amongst the Czech and Slovak people continues by and through the missionaries you knew, served with, encouraged, trained and blessed. At the conferences we talked with the missionaries about Nephi's last words. See 2 Nephi 33. His last and most important message was an invitation to find spiritual power in the Book of Mormon and to believe in Christ. As Nephi explained it, "hearken unto these words and believe in Christ." Id. v. 10.Now is an important time for the Church here. We challenged the missionaries to read the Book of Mormon between now and Christmas (Dec. 25th). About nine pages a day should do it. We have also invited other return Czech and Slovak missionaries to join in prayer and fasting on November 1, and December 6. Out intent is to collectively express our thanks for the creation of a new district in Slovakia and to ask for the Lord's blessing as we draw closer to a stake in the Czech Republic. Please consider joining us in reading, praying and fasting. Your love and faith on behalf of this great mission will help realize important blessings among the saints and missionaries of the Czech Slovak Mission. Know how much we love and admire each of you. May God continue to guide and bless you in all that you do.
With love,
President and Sister McConkie”
I have taken the challenge and look forward to the opportunity I have to reconfirm my testimony of the Book of Mormon and share it with others as well! 
 
This week was also transfer week, and I am staying right here In C-Bud with a elder named Elder Galbraith! He is a great elder who has been serving in Slovakia for the last transfer, and speaks great Czech. He is originally from Michigan, and is in his second to last transfer. He will be follow-up training me here in C-Bud! I am really sad to see Elder Needham leave, but he has become our zone leader and is serving in Plzen. I look forward to all the work we have ahead of us! As for things here in C-Bud we had a bit of a rough patch. We had 2 of our 4 people on baptismal date drop us this week, and a 3rd that we no longer have been in contact with. However, on the bright side Zdenek is doing really well! He came to church again this week, and has been talking about how excited he is for baptism! Thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes and emails! It was so great to have all your support like always :) My scripture from the week is in Moroni 7:45-> I have focused on each individual quality of a charitable individual and have seen that as we continue to love others which is the ultimate feature we will be blessed! I have seen that loving others has made me a happier person! Charity is the ultimate pure love that saves us in the life to come!
Elder Belshe

Friday, October 23, 2015

Forward, Ever Forward

Awesome week here in the Czech Republic! We are working closely with 4 people that we have on baptismal date, 2 of which are progressing at this point! And one of them finally came to church :D! Zdeněk came to church this week, and has been praying and reading really well on his own! He is doing really well and is on track for his baptism early in December! Our little branch had an all time low since I have been here, and after calling a lot of the members a lot of them were sick since it has significantly dropped in temperature! One morning we woke up for a run, and overnight it had dropped like 20 degrees Fahrenheit (still not sure how to measure Celsisus at all). 
 
Another highlight from the week is we had exchanges with the Zone leaders again because our district is so small and we don't have other elders we can exchange with, so I was with Elder Petty this time in Plzen while Elder Vernard came and stayed with Elder Needham in Budějovice! It was great, and I learned a lot about focusing studies on my investigators and how to improve transportation contacting which has been working well towards the end of the week! The only weird thing was that I felt so uncomfortable outside of Budejovice, and once I got back I almost felt relieved! Budějovice is starting to feel like home for me! With the transfer coming up this week I really really am hoping I get to stay here in Budejovice!
 
This week we had  a plan to go on a hike to an awesome place called Kleť, but unfortunately it was pouring rain so we decided to stay back and we got a chance to clean our apartment really stinking well before the end of the transfer which was nice! It made me happy at least...:) 

My ponderized scripture for the week (as from the challenge given by Elder Durrant) is 2 Nep 31:20 and I learned a lot about the process of faith, hope, and charity and what it means for us in our progression to eternal life. The part I want to focus on is the aspect of hope. Hope is an abiding trust in Christ and his teachings striving through acts of faith to completely trust in him! As I have studied I have found 4 indicators of someone who is hopeful. They have confidence, endure well, are enthusiastic, and continually exercise faith in Christ even in the midst of difficultly and don't stop when the blessings begin to come! As we have faith unto hope we begin to develop Charity, loving others as Christ did which ultimately perfects us as individuals to be worthy to live with God again!
 
Love all of you! Thanks for the letters and concern!
Elder Belshe

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Beautiful Tabor






Tabor, Czech Republic

http://www.pragueholiday.cz/czech-cities/mapy/map-pr-ta.gif

Conference, Conference, Conference

This week my companion and I really pushed general conference. Every contact we made was about conference and we just really wanted someone to come listen to a prophet's voice and so we did! And unfortunately not a single person that we invited actually came, but the Lord blessed us in a mysterious way. Two less actives, one of which we had not even talked to during the week and who hasn't come to church in over a year, came to conference! So that was absolutely amazing! We are hoping to meet with him this week!
 
The work here as been rapidly progressing, and we have been immensely blessed with quite a bit of success! We currently have four people committed to a baptism date that we have been working with, and are set for baptism, but no date with another investigator! After a lot of prayers and fasting, I believe those prayers have really been answered here! Most of these investigators are new, but a lot of them seem eager and are really going to begreat for our small branch here in Budejovice! :)
 
This week we visited Tabor, which is a small city north of Budejovice that has quite a bit of young families. A little bit more modern than Budejovice, but just as beautiful. We visited a couple of kostels, and took pictures of the namesti! Absolutely beautiful here! Can't get enough of the wonderful architecture, and designs! :)

As for conference, as a missionary, you LOVE conference! You live for every moment of it! And this conference was absolutely amazing! Lots of great talks and thoughts shared! (I will make sure to use some great quotes in upcoming emails ;)) If you haven't had a chance to watch Conference! Watch it! We have such a blessing to hear from latter day prophets, and I sustain them as prophets, seers, and revelators! My favorite quote from conference was given by Larry R. Lawrence, of the Seventy, in which he said "What lack I yet?" and how we can apply that to our prayers in learning to make continuous repentance. It is truly is the only way we will be worthy to live with God again! Thanks again for all the prayers and support!

Elder Belshe

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Schwarzemberg Family Tomb (Trebon)

Trebon


Near Ceske Budejovice

Being a Branch Builder

t has been a really successful week here in České Budějovice! We have been working with two investigators one is named Daniella, and the other is a miracle that we found this week and both of them have a set baptismal date! This week after teaching our English class a man came in and asked about English, and we told him it had just ended, but that we would love to talk to him in English for a little bit after the lesson. We gave him the first discussion in English, and committed him to a Baptism date on the 11th of November! It's amazing how the Lord works miracles when we are spirituály prepared and able to receive them! As for our other investigators we have two others Zdenek and Kata who we have been working with for a while. Kata had lost contact with us for about 2 1/2 weeks because she was sick and lost her phone, but she came to church randomly this last Sunday and we were able to talk to her thankfully! She is doing well, and we are working with her more to a baptismal date. She still has concerns, but she is very close. As for Zdenek he lives quite a ways away from us, and it is hard for us to set up with him. He is busy with work, but he is religiously reading in the Book of Mormon and praying. In a matter of 7 weeks he has nearly completely finished the Book of Mormon! We hope to be able to meet with him more in the coming weeks!

We also have been working to strengthen the branch a lot more as far as getting people active, and progressing in the priesthood. Basically, we have on average 15-20 people including the four missionaries. It is a little different here, we start out with Sunday School and then do sacrament meeting. We rotate Sunday School and Priesthood/Relief Society so one week we have Sunday School and then Young Men and Young Women and the other week we have Priesthood and Relief Society. Two hours of church total. We have several priesthood holders, but I normally will bless the sacrament and they have two young men in the branch that can pass. We are working with another young man,  his name is Vasyl and he is great. In the times we can encourage him to participate he comes with us and blesses the sacrament. Otherwise another kid named Stephan, the son of the District President who we run with on occasion in the morning, if you remember that from earlier emails, he passes normally. The Chrdlový are the only family in the branch, so we have been working to find families and found a newly built neighborhood. Not even on the map yet! Haven't had success yet, but as far as the branch building part of missionary work we have one recent convert we work with, Brother Rybak, the sisters teach Vasyl, and then we work with a couple of other less actives. Most Sundays are spent visiting less actives around the city or the connecting cities. Most reject our visit, but some have let us in. None are progressing at this point, but we keep working with them.

As far as culture we traveled into Trebon (see map above), a connecting city close to Budejovice and visited the Schwarzenberger tomb (see pictures above) the family that owned Hluboka (the castle we visited a few weeks back). I have pictures of both finally! :) I will send them with this! The Schwarzenberg family were a very prominent wealthy royal family here in the Czech Republic! Such an amazing sight!

My thought for the week comes from one of the most famous scriptures that has really had a special impact on me this week: John 3:16-17. "For God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son that whosever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." As we have taught people my testimony of Jesus Christ has been strengthened. Amidst the rejection of people saying there is no need of a christ, I have come to learn more how happy I am truly when I come to rely on the Atonement. Every day I have regrets and things that I would change, and as I do I feel comforted and know that we have a Savior that knows personally each of us, and each of our own personal sorrows and regrets. Learning to rely on him brings a fullness of joy which I know now cannot be described, only experienced. Thanks for all the letters, love, and prayers of support!


Elder Belshe

Friday, October 2, 2015

Crazy Week

SO, weird week we are emailing on a Tuesday after we had a St. Wenceslas
Day yesterday where I think there may have been 8 people in the center of
town that morning. Czechs také their holidays super relaxed which I think
is awesome. Lots of places were closed, including all the tourist places we
could visit, and so after studies and cleaning and other prep day
activities, we made a movie to help promote General Conference in the
upcoming 2 weeks(it happens a week later here so that it can be translated
into Czech.)  Unfortunately, unlike other districts, we only have one tv
in our church building so we will be watching it in Czech rather than
English. (I won't understand vůbec, but that's ok :) The video took us most
of the day, but it turned out fantastic! We are using it during building
tours to promote our upcoming lecture. This Saturday we have a lecture
about Introduction to Mormonism as a combined member and missionary finding
activity. It happens once a transfer, and we made this video of the
highlights of last general conference! I am excited to see if it is able to
bring others to come and see it. I will make sure to mention how it goes
next week!

This week we had a training in Prague with the Mission President conducted
by the zone leaders, and in it we were able to learn about talking baptism
early and often with our investigators using baptismal calendars to give
them something they can use to remind them day to day what they need! It
was great! We practiced how to introduce baptism even in the first contact
with the people we meet on the street! President bore his testimony at the
end about the importance of loving the people, and it touched everyone in
the room. Such a great training! We get to have one every month, this time
it was small with just our zone, but normally it will be combined into two
zones.

As far as the work this week, we still haven't been able to maintain any
appointments with investigators or our potentials we find through the week,
but we also found 2 new families and a couple of new investigators this
week that are YSA age which is what this branch really needs to build and
grow!

My thought this week is about prayer: I was reading in preparation for a
lesson and found a favorite Scipture Mastery scirpture 2 Nep 32:8-9 in
reading that scripture I found something I hadn't caught before when I read
it. In verse 8 it reads that Satan wanted them not to pray, and tried to
convince them that they should not pray. I have thought about all the times
that I have felt unworthy or too tired or too busy to pray, and have
realized that it is Satan's tool to take away one of our most powerful ways of
revelation and peace. Never let Satan convince you that you are unworthy to
pray! We are always worthy to pray, and Heavenly Father always wants to
hear from us! No matter where we are! Pray always! And feel the peace and
love that comes from prayer! Thanks for all the prayers and letters of
support and concern!


Elder Belshe

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Additional Photos of Hluboká Castle




Conrad and Elder Needham at Historic Hluboká Castle 9/19/2015


It's Already Been A Month

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"Awesome" European Bag (Man Purse!)


Week 3

Thankfully this week has been a lot better in terms of getting appointments locked in, and visited! Rather than having only 3 lessons we were able to have a little above 10 which is a significant improvement and blessing. This week we had quite a bit happen, first we had a new investigator through our English class which I got to teach for the first time this last Tuesday night. Kind of interesting teaching English in Czech when you don't even really know Czech...but English class has brought us quite a few investigators, and Zdenek came as a referral from someone in Prague. We had meet a couple times before, but with no real success, but after watching the Restoration video with him, we talked about baptism. And he accepted! I was incredibly nervous, but I was able to extend the commitment, not perfectly in Czech, but enough that it made sense...:) 

We also have been working with Kata who's only barrier is talking to her parents because she is 17 we have been praying and fasting for her, so we will see how it goes! We also found another investigator this week named Daniella who I took charge of teaching because we were on exchanges, and the zone leader had no idea who she was. She has agreed to work towards baptism, hasn't accepted but says she will work towards it, and to read the Book of Mormon! :)

We had exchanges this week with the Zone leaders who are great, and we had a lot of time to talk about the different aspects of missionary work that I have struggled with, and we set goals to improve them as we went into Plzen, a city that loves Americans. We went there first thing in the morning, and did what is called a singing contact where you have half the elders sing and draw attention while the others go contact.  It worked great and we got the zone elders two prospective investigators! Then Elder Vernard and I came back to Cesky Budejovice, and I became the senior companion for the day, took control the phone, studies, everything..it was definitely interesting..we only managed to get lost once and for any of you that know me well we would call that a success :) The day went really well, and we focused a lot of our time on how to improve our contacting other than the lesson we had with Daniella! 

Overall, really productive and progressive week! We have been working with an active member to give up smoking, and he has had a difficult time completely withdrawing, but this week he says he has, and is now on track to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood! Obeying the word of wisdom he has said has made him feel so much healthier, and happier! I feel that my testimony has been strengthened through his experience! Quite incredible! Haha one funny story from the week, we went tracting Sunday and met a man named Josef, and he let us in. The first house we tried! It was great, we began to talk about the restoration with him, and then he explained he was a Catholic, but then he invited us inside because it was cold. He then proceeded to give us this fruit tea (i promise, completely word of wisdom appropriate) and it was absolutely gross, and both my companion and I were trying to gulp the stuff down as fast as we could. At that point we tried to proceed with the lesson, but he decided to show us this video he made about his dog, and in the background was playing none other than the song straight from Napoleon Dynamite "some say love it is a river...", and my companion and I trying to get back to the lesson, explain that we couldn't be watching the video, and at the same time try to not die laughing we nearly cracked, but thankfully we didn't...:) He was nice, but showed no interest! That was our week here in the Czech Republic! 

Thanks for all the emails and support! My thought from the day comes from Moroni 7:45. I like to consider the difference between bearing and enduring in learning about the Christlike attribute of Charity. I have to come to realize it is about our attitude, as we rather endure valiantly as it tells us in the scriptures rather than simply bear it. As we strive to develop the quality of Christlike charity our lives will be immensely happier, and full of purpose and service to others!

Love,

Elder Belshe

P.S. I got an awesome european bag (manpurse, but it is still awesome!)

Monday, September 7, 2015

A Visit To Český Krumlov (45 minutes SW of České Budějovice)





First Full Week in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is quite an amazing and beautiful place! This week we started with a progressive training seminar with President McConkey, and he shared his vision for the mission and related it to Mark 2, the parable about the man with palsy, and how we all have our duty to lift our end of the pad that the man lay in, and we all have to work hard in order to produce the results that we want to see. It was great! The next training will be in Prague in 3 weeks! 

This week has been quite difficult in the fact that all but 2 of our scheduled lessons have fallen through which means we have done a lot of finding on the streets, buses, etc. Something interesting here is that everything, and I mean everything, shuts down right at 8 o'clock on the button, so most of our proselyting time happens during the afternoon and then we have dinner at 8 before planning for the next day. As far as the efforts go we have 2 progressing investigators, one that I haven't met yet that has a baptismal date but has not talked to her parents and is not completely sure she wants baptism! Her name is Katia and she is 17, and the other is Tamara who is 23 and just barely started meeting with the missionaries. The two lessons we had were with her, and are working with her to read from the Book of Mormon. 

This Sunday was Fast Sunday, and also my first opportunity to share my testimony in the new branch which was incredibly scary, but was complimented by a few people afterward. Also we had quite low attendance, more than normal about 12 rather than the normal 25, so I also blessed the sacrament. The great blessing that I have seen this week is although this language is really difficult for me to understand at this point, and also to speak it the spirit is always the same no matter where you are! It can touch anyone's heart anywhere at anytime.

As for the cultural and things I have learned is that Czechs are obsessed with health, it is actually kind of funny they spend a lot of time worried about their health, and the weather. This week it went from high 90s and 80 percent humidity to low 60s and wind chill overnight so I got to wear a jacket and it is a rather nice change! I visited Cesky Krumlov today, and I have lots of pictures! Easily the most beautiful place I have ever seen! 

Here's my thought for the week: It comes from my favorite scripture (I hope I haven't shared this before) Isaiah 53:3-5 and the section that strikes me most is the phrase and "the chastisement of our peace was upon him" or in other words my interpretation "The price of our sins was upon him" and with his stripes we are healed. No matter the difficulty in life, the trial, the disappointment, the sadness, the Lord is there to bless and sanctify all those that will simply Come to Him, follow him, and rely on him. As we do that his infinite peace will be with us! Love all of you! Thanks for the love prayers and support!


Elder Belshe