Sunday, October 11, 2015

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

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