Tuesday, September 22, 2015
Most missionaries I talk to say that the first transfer goes by like a turtle, but I honestly can't believe that it is already a month! Transfers happen in about 3 weeks already. And if the time only goes by faster than I am really scared! Anyway, this week was disappointing in the fact that we weren't able to meet with any of our progressing investigators, but good in the fact that we were enveloped in quite a bit of culture this week.
As for the missionary work we have 3 people committed to baptism Daniella, Kata, and Zdenek and we weren't able to make any contact this week unfortunately so they were not able to progress. However, our finding has improved and we have two new investigators. One is named Sabina who owns a vine shop which we taught in while she was working, interesting nonetheless, but hopefully now that she is interested we can meet in the church building when she doesn't have work. More details to come. The other we meet just on Friday whose name is Sylvia, she was contact we made and she is about 25 and is very interested in our message. We also did calling for former investigators and established contact with a man named Jan Barat, a man who works in a nuclear power plant ( my companion definitely had to translate that one for me) who has meet many times with the missionaries. He is an atheist, but interested because he thinks that we are and I quote " weirdly happy all the time" and he thinks we are nice young men. We meet with a woman named Kristyana who is interested in family history, so we taught her how to begin her research, and hopefully next week we can introduce familysearch.org to her. However the real miracle came from her Husband, who has not only commited to come to our weekly English course that we give on Tuesdays, but has said that if we will give him private sessions he will hear the discussions. So, finding has been wonderful this week, hopefully we can get some more progress in the coming week with these individuals.
Culture for the week has been a lot. We had the opportunity to travel to a castle called Hubocka! Quite incredible and beautiful! The Prague branch members came and invited us to participate. Unfortunately none of our members or investigators could come, but the Sisters in our district were able to bring their investigator along. He hasn't taken discussions, but he also participates in our English class. Then České Budejovice has celebrated it's 750th birthday this year and there was a celebration in the namesti (town square), we were able to go and watch a performance by what they said was ACDC, but coming from America, I can absolutely guarantee there is no way that was ACDC. Something I have found interesting here is that all the songs are in English, and hardly anyone can speak English. So they don't really understand the lyrics hardly at all I suppose! It's definitely weird to hear the occasional Katy Perry "Roar"on the bus when you are contacting someone.
It's been another great week here in České Budejovice! Thanks for all your love and support and prayers! My thought comes from a quote by President Hinckley, the previous prophet, " Generally speaking, the most miserable people I know are those that are obsessed with themselves; the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others". This is a quote from his talk Forget Yourselves! I would I highly suggest reading it! :) I have found this principle to be true in my life as I have found ways to serve others I find that I am happier! A simple hello to helping someone new in the neighborhood feel welcome can ultimately change lives including your own! If everybody gave a random act of kindness a day imagine how much better the world would be!
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
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!
P.S. I got an awesome european bag (manpurse, but it is still awesome!)
Monday, September 7, 2015
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!