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 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 :) 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