This was such a wonderful week of missionary work! I think I'm starting to turn into one. Mom and Dad, I've been getting your emails. I get everyone's emails every Monday, so thank you Grandma and Grandpa and Andrea and Abby and everyone else that emails! I've been getting your Dear Elders and any other mail every time I'm in Prague at the mission home, which I've been there often, and I'm going again this Sunday, so yes, I'm getting your mail. Thank you! The best way to contact me is through email. I can print them out. However, letters are super exciting too, so whatever you like. Sorry, I don't have a personal address other than the mission home. The mission home is best.
By the way, Andrea - that's so awesome that David's sister is going to Bulgaria! I know the sister in the MTC right now that is going to Bulgaria as well. Wish her luck. Tell her to facebook Emily Schroeder (a really good friend of mine that goes to BYU) - she served in Bulgaria as well (in fact she might be there right now..), and she's incredible.
Ok, I can see you want some details.. let me tell you exactly what's going on, ha. We are still a tripanionship. This is Sister Glaus' last week, and we will be taking her up to Prague on Sunday afternoon. She flies out Monday. Super sad - we're goin to miss her, and a I know a lot of people here in Ceske Budjeovice as well. She's been here for I think 7 months or so. Then, it will be a companionship with sister Andersen and I. There will still be the 3 elders in the area, but one (Elder Darrington) heads home in a few weeks. Thus, we're losing bodies, so we'll need to kick it up a notch! However, I'm excited. I've been learning so much and getting so much more comfortable with everything - I feel like Heavenly Father's blessed me with such incredible companions and such a unique area in which to learn and grow so rapidly.
How do we get around? Here in Ceske Budjeovice it's not too large, so we walk most everywhere. We rarely take buses more than 5 or so minutes long. It's really great. I love it. We still haven't done huge amounts of contacting (I mean big blocks of time) since we usually have at least a few lessons throughout the day. And as far as tracting - we've done it twice, I think, for an hour or so, but that's a pretty rare thing here. I'm not sure if that will rise in the winter as people aren't outside as much. We'll see! It's fun to tract. Czech people answer by sticking their head out the window, and we yell up to them "Good day! We're here as volunteer missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ! We have a beautiful message about (FILL IN THE BLANK)." Ha! Tracting makes me laugh, especially since it's pretty common for Czechs to not really wear clothes when they're at home. If someone answers the door and they're not wearing pants - don't worry, it's just a Czech thing. If someone's flat out breastfeeding at a bus stop - no big deal.
Well, let's see. Stories from the week. I've become a contacting machine! Well, I've made a lot of progress at least, ha. I've been bus contacting, street contacting, every sort of contacting. It's wonderful! I love talking to people. We've had more time to contact this week (since we've had a lot of canceled lessons, unfortunately), and we've been able to teach a bunch of lessons on the street. I think street lessons are my favorite so far. We're always teaching people principles (about prayer, the restoration, anything else), but in order to count it as a lesson, it must involve a prayer. Earlier this week, Sister Glaus and I were walking up and down this park, contacting anyone who entered it, as Sister Andersen sat on a bench and made some calls. One man in particular was a super neat experience. I don't think I've felt the spirit in my whole 2 and a half week mission as strong as I did in that contact, with that man. He was a believer (In the Czech, people define themselves very simply as a believer or not a believer - it's super interesting, and it can mean a lot of things when you dig deeper into their beliefs). I started teaching him about the Restoration. I went through the whole lesson and quoted the First Vision. When I started telling him of the most important moment in this dispensation (!!), he listened and watched me very intently. I felt the spirit pour over the three of us. It was so beautiful. I wish I could feel that all the time. I wish that man could feel that all the time. After that, we asked if we could pray together, and so we did. Prayers on the street with Czech strangers are the best! Ahh! Unfortunately, we found out that he didn't live there. He lived an hour away, and he was only in the city to bring a hearing aid to his grandfather who's hearing aid had quit working. Ha! I got a kick out of that.
It's incredible to teach so many different people. Each one is so different. Each one. Everybody learns differently, the Spirit works differently with every personality and every heart. Every day I'm surprised by people. Some will pray right there with you right after you teach them how to pray for the first time in their life. Some people's hearts are stopped up with a bit of pride and perhaps a desire to disprove rather than sincerely seek. Some are just humblingly humble - they've had no experience with God or faith, and they just soak it in, nod their head, and embrace the "new horizon" they see rising before them. I love people. I love what we're doing here.
This weekend we have two baptisms in Ceske Budjeovice! One is an investigator of the elders. He's a sweet older man who just makes me so, so happy each time I see him. He's already been doing family history work and is going to the temple in Germany next month with a bus full of members from the Czech Republic who are making a trip out (super cool!). The other is an investigator of ours. He is the one I wrote about last week. He's so solid. He studies for hours each day - I wish I could just talk about scripture with him. He just eats, drinks, and breathes the scriptures, and it's one of my favorite things to hear his new insights and share what I've found as well. He is actually Roma, and lives in a building out a ways, with bunches of families of Roma people. He's quite a phenomenon for his building, as it's not usual for a Roma to accept God like he is, and to enter into something so hmm.. structured or mainstream or like something that you commit to. I'm not sure how to describe it. All the research I did on the Roma in school last year is coming back to me. But anyway, it's going to be an incredible week! Two new members in Ceske Budjeovice! The Church is true and it's growing each day! The Atonement is real and we must use it! Mom, good luck on your lesson - perhaps you can take a look at the Book of Mormon chapter in Preach My Gospel. We testify each day that the Book of Mormon answers the questions of the soul.
I love you all! I'll be sending pictures next week hopefully!