Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Pink Short Shorts, Training, and the Plzen Knedliky Challenge

Lots of stuff happening this week.

So, because Sister McConkie is the best, she gave us a referral for someone that lives in a small village outside of Plzen. She said that a tourist family had visited and wanted a Book of Mormon so we went to find him. The first thing that happens... we pull up and this man comes out.  He is about 85 and comes out with no shirt and these tiny pink short shorts and says "Caů kluci!!"..or "hey boys". It took everything.. and I mean everything in my power not to laugh my head off and maintain an attitude of a representative of Christ. Then he lead us inside and put on a shirt thankfully...and he talked to us about how he is the leader of the Wallakan Kingdom. I have no idea who this guy is..but I kid you not, he had about 80 hats, confederate hats, kid hats, baseball hats..he was a very interesting guy..and probably the highlight of the week :)

Then later this week, we visited this old member whose name is Sister Kamencová.  She has been a member for so many years. Every transfer she cooks for the missionaries these amazingly good "knedliky" (dumplings) The fruit kind with lots of butter, oil, all the healthy stuff..so here comes the challenge. She cooks 85 of these large stuffed apple dumplings and there are 6 missionaries and you have to eat them all, and you get 2 at a time while she cooks others...by about the 6th you are still enjoying yourself and these amazing knedliky. Then by about 10 you're stuffed beyond belief and you just want it to end, then you hear in the background this nice, kind old lady say " Bratře, pojďte. (Come brethren). At that point the food is bitter and one of the other missionaries is throwing up..not good. I survived. I did not throw up, but I can say that our district conquered the knedliky challenge. For what that is worth :)

Then the important spiritual stuff is we had training this week and as always it was such an incredible spiritual meeting. Because this is the second to last training the McConkies will be giving, they also participated and it was REALLY good. Such a spiritual event talking about how the spirit works, and how each of us individually can recognize it. Then the importance of your relationship with your companion, which is super easy for me since I have an awesome companion. I am learning a lot from him! We gave our training about church attendance and people liked it, and we are hoping that it helps them get more investigators to come to church. It is really sad to think that in 4 weeks the McConkies will be leaving, but the nice part is the first ever Czech Mission President will be replacing him. The epitome of bittersweet! 

So many amazing things are happening here in Plzen! From Toderas baptism, to Martin Sestak's reactivation this week when he received the Aaronic Priesthood. He will now bless the sacrament this upcoming Sunday. With the new stake, things are going at rapid pace! This is truly the Lords work.

I wanted to share today, Jacob 4:6 which discusses the purpose of prophets in todays world and how their teachings can provide us with an anchor of truth with faith that can move mountains, that even the very trees obey us. How grateful I am for a latter day prophet who leads and guides the true church of God on earth today. I know that Thomas S Monson is a prophet of God and that he leads this true church under Gods authority. Have an amazing week! 

Remember to lift where you stand!!

Elder Belshe

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016

Todera's Baptism

Well, it has been quite a week! On Friday, our Romanian friend, Toderas, was baptized by the Plzen branch president.  A little bit of background on him: Toderas speaks very little English and absolutely no Czech so teaching him has been completely through pamphlets and by the spirit. No other way could he have been prepared for baptism like he is. Elder Breyman found him, and it took a while before he started progressing but once he did, nobody could stop him. Such an incredible guy. He is here working in the Czech Republic, stuck on a visa while his daughter and wife are in New York, receiving medical care for cancer.  He talks to them through Facebook and through Skype, but he cannot leave the Czech Republic to be with her yet. For him, we truly emphasized the importance of family and how they can be eternal. He is such an incredibly humble and nice man, and with time, we hope he will make great changes for the members in Romania and help his wife overcome cancer. After his baptism, he told us it was one of the greatest moments of his life. Truly a man that was converted by the spirit! :)

In other news, we have been planning our training for next week which is on Thursday for the Prague Zone. We are really excited! Other than that there is not too much more news! As for the formation of the ward here in Plzen we still do not have a bishop...:)..currently the branch president is running the show with no real authority. However, next Sunday is a special conference where the Stake President will be in attendance, so I believe that a lot more callings in the new ward will be organized! 

My scripture for today is Helaman 5:12, a classic, but something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. As I have come to understand that the Lord is my Savior and Redeemer, I feel his strength each and every day as we walk (sometimes run) the streets of Plzen.  It has helped me come to understand that the Lord is my rock, a firm foundation in the times where it is difficult and also a reminder of how blessed we are as missionaries here in the Czech Republic. Seeing the formation of the stake, and the increase of faith for a better day has truly changed me and all the Czechs I have come to know! 

Have an awesome week!

Elder Belshe 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Elder Belshe, Elder Cardon and a member of the new Prague Ward

Elder Belshe, Olda and Amanda at the Stake Formation Service

Lift Where You Stand

So, this entire week we were basically in Prague. We were only in Plzen this week for a day and a half. It has been one of the fastest craziest weeks for me ever on my mission. This week to begin we had a P-day, then we went to Prague and had exchanges with the new district leader, Elder Beazer. He is doing great work there! It was a fun exchange. I was with his companion Elder Trythall and the both of us focused on how to improving asking questions. Using Preach My Gospel, we talked about how asking questions should help people think about deeply and apply what we are teaching.  We avoided yes or no questions as much as possible! It was good and I know I learned a lot! He is a stud! Speaks Czech so much better than I did my 2nd transfer, it is impressive! :) Then we stayed there the night for my first Mission Leadership Council where we discussed the needs of our zone and our mission in general, and we planned for trainings. We are given the topic to train on how to help people come to church. Should be awesome! :) Then we came back for an online missionary work training...I think we are getting Ipads soon..stay tuned :) After spending the night Thursday in Plzen scrambling to meet with all our investigators and prepare them for conference. Then Saturday we went back and were ushers for the FIRST ANNUAL STAKE CONFERENCE OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC!! It was SOOOO cool!! Yes, I did usher President Utchdorf into the building, but no unfortunately I did not shake his hand :/, but it was such an incredible spirit filled meeting! He did give me a personal "Take care Elder" on his way out! :)  Here are the details:

In a stake there is a president, who is now Martin Pilka, a man in Prague that is incredible and has an amazing testimony!  I totally called it, along with all the other missionaries ;) Then they call a Patriarch who gives special blessings for people. He is Bratr Canek, another very special member in the branch . (also totally called it :) Then he calls his counselors and they organize branches into wards. The new wards are Prague, Plzen, Hradec Kralove, Jicin, Ostrava, and Brno! Others will remain as branches. There was such an incredible spirit! Such a special feeling when the name of the new Stake President was called. It was one of the most spiritual experiences that I have had in my mission. What a day for President McConkie as well. He could not hold his emotions back as he conducted and for a man that has spent so much of his life here and has seen it grow. Amazing day! If you have any other questions please ask me! But due to lack of time I will go onto what President Utchdorf talked about:

He said one thing mainly to the Czechs, which applies to all of us "Lift where you stand". In all our situations we all have some important calling to fufill, someone important to bless, and something important to learn. As we strengthen ourselves and others around us we build stakes of Zion. I hope that we as missionaries and as members can apply that as well. As we lift where we stand, then we will be successful, strong, and on the correct path to God.

 I love this work! I love the Czech Republic! And I love all of you! Have a great week! Remember to lift where you stand this week in all that you do!

Elder Belshe

Monday, May 9, 2016

Where is Hell?

Ok, so the title is really funny story, but for now..I have other news. So I can officially say without any reprimands that THE CZECH REPUBLIC IS FORMING ITS FIRST STAKE HERE ON SUNDAY MAY 15TH AND PRESIDENT UTCHDORF IS GOING TO CONDUCT A NATIONWIDE SESSION FOR US TO WITNESS THE TRANSFORMATION!!!!! If you do not believe that I am excited..then you can just ask my parents about skyping yesterday :) 

So other than that, the rest of my news will be really lame compared to the fact that historic things are happening here..so sorry to disappoint you :) But in other news, I have been transferred to Plzen and I have become a zone leader! It has been a very interesting adjustment getting used to not having to worry about office work, or training, or being a district leader..but I really have enjoyed our first week here. I am with Elder Breyman, he is a stud from Texas, around San Antonio, who has been on his mission a little over 6 more months than I have. He has served in Uherske, Hradiste, Prague, Ostrava, and now in Plzen. No, unfortunately he does not have a Texas accent..that was kind of a bummer :)..but he is really good at finding new investigators! I have a lot to learn from him! We have a few people close to reactivation and to baptism in our area. Martin Sestak, an older man is about to be what is called "reactivated".  It is when someone that has not come to church in a while begins to regularly attend church again and accepts a calling or a job in the church. He should be reactivated in the next 2 weeks. Also we have this AWESOME Romanian named Tonderas that was found last transfer by Elder Breyman. He speaks little English, and speaks no Czech, so teaching him has been interesting. Mostly we have been teaching him with his Romanian friend over the phone who will soon be coming to the Czech Republic (he is in the bishopric in Romania). Awesome stuff. He should be baptized either the 20th or the 28th of this month. 

As a zone leader, we help train district leaders, conduct exchanges with missionaries within the zone as needed, and at least one with district leaders. We also participate in the Mission Leadership Council once a month in which we determine the needs of the mission and what we will give for training for the zone. It is definitely a lighter load than I had last transfer, so we have been able to get a lot more done as far as missionary work goes. It has really shown this week which has been interesting for me to see. Next week we will be in Prague for the MLC and an exchange with the new Prague District leader. 

As for the title, this week we helped in what is called American Day here in Plzen, or the day of liberation of the Czech Republic from the Nazis.  So they had lots of little activities for kids we got to help with, so that was really fun. The center for information for all the people volunteering was called peklo, or in English, "hell". So, because I was on splits with another missionary who is new to the area we had no idea where we were going and we spent an hour asking people where hell is...never thought I would do that on my mission :)

Missionary work is awesome! I love it! Keep coming unto Christ, it brings ultimate happiness. Sorry no scripture this week...I honestly forgot. I will repent and do better next week :) Love you all! Have a great week!

Elder Belshe 

The Miracle of Baptism

TThere have been so many great reliefs this week in the office for me! I have FINALLY resolved all the issues that were surrounding visa work! That was WONDERFUL! Then we also finally were able to have a lesson with Viktor and Vera this week when we visited them over at their work! Definitely need to continue with that! We had a great week at church with 2 less actives in attendance, Viktor and Vera, and both of our recent converts! That was a really good week for us! It has come down now to the point that if they get married, they will be baptized! It has been incredible to see their progression, and everything that they have done to get to this point. Also in other great news, I do not remember if any of you remember Vojtech, one of the first people that became an investigator for me in C-BUD, but he is getting baptized on the 7th of May in C-Bud! Way too awesome! I am hoping that wherever I am transfered, if I am transfered (yes, and transfers are this week) I will be close enough to attend! 

Some of the best memories I have on my mission are when I've seen the light and joy in someone's life increase based on their decision to follow Jesus Christ through baptism.  This week we had an amazing training, my most favorite that has been given thus far, about what it means and how to do it. We talked about working with all of our heart, might, mind, and strength, how to explain the doctrine of baptism and also what our true potential is! It was such a great meeting! It was sad to hear departing testimonies with even more of the missionaries that I have been really close with the last few months, but it is fun to see the growth of all the younger missionaries that are around us as well! President gave an incredible last thought that made me bawl like a baby when he talked about the history of the Czech people, the history of the church and how hard they have worked to have what they have now. Then he announced that on May 14th and May 15th, several General Authorities and area seventy will be in attendance to hold a quote on quote "monumental ceremony for the people of the Czech Republic" now I have been forbidden to use certain words; however, it is INCREDIBLY LIKELY that will have its' first... (homonym of something that is very juicy and delicious to eat). It is an amazing time to be a Czech missionary! Now it will be our job to keep the good work going! Have an amazing week everyone! 

Love you all!

Elder Belshe