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