Ahh, Family! Those pictures were the best! Thank you for sending them. Looks like Scooter had a good Thanksgiving, and the Christmas tree looks fantastic, as usual. I can't believe my siblings taking advantage of the one year I'm not home, and putting my ornaments in the back. We all know my preschool ornaments are the best in the bunch.. :)
Alright, Mother, I'll begin with your questions today. I think you ask me about my living conditions every email you write, haha! The sisters' aparment in Brno is probably the best apartment I'll every be in. It's super, duper nice, with plenty of space, modern appliances, and everything. I even have a dishwasher. WAY nicer than anything I stayed in at college. I'm very happy here. The Francis couple lives just down the hall, and they are from Salem, Utah. They're a fantastic couple, and I love being around them and serving around them. We don't all live in the same building, all four companionships are spread all across the city, except for the sisters and the Fancis's. Being a senior companion - well, I don't know. If I didn't serve with Sister White last transfer, who was my same "age," I'm sure it would be a lot more intimidating or difficult. However, when Sister White and I were assigned to serve together, each one of us had to be a full-blown missionary, and every skill or missionary secret there is to figure out, we found some way to figure it out. Thus, serving with Sister Izatt, a younger missionary, hasn't felt too different. She's only two months younger than me, and so we're partners in everything we do. All in all, Sister Izatt is fantastic, and we're working hard to do the Lord's work! The people in Brno - they're great! I LOVE contacting in Brno. There's so many people here! I know what you're asking - what's the general attitude here... well, it was only until I got to this city that I came across people who wanted to really Bible bash with me. It's a goal of mine to never argue with a single soul on my mission. It's definitely a temptation, when you want so much for people to understand, and you don't want them to paint an inaccurate picture of you, or the church, or what we believe. However, as long as we don't dismiss the Spirit, things go okay, and we're able to deal with those conversations the way Christ would have us. It's a generally more intellectual city, more in touch with the world than Ceske Budjeovice was; thus, we're talking to people who think a bit more about what we're saying, and the implications of what we believe. I actually really enjoy it. It's just thrilling to talk to people all day, teaching and testifying of what I know to be true. I just can't get enough of it. I already know I'll miss it a lot. You asked last week if we face the kind of persecution we sometimes hear of with our missionaries in Russia or other countries. No. Never. People are very kind in the Czech Republic, and actually extremely non-confrontational. A Czech is more likely to ignore you, than to argue with you, but there are many who are willing to engage in conversation with us, and learn more. How big is the branch? I don't know, haha. There are probably about 100 or so members that come every week. Lots of children and beautiful families. It's wonderful, and a little overwhelming, as you want to get to know everyone. However, it will come with time. I love it here in Brno.
Ok, we had some fantastic moments over the weekend since I last wrote! On Thanksgiving night, one of the youth in our branch brought a friend to our weekly game night. He had found out that I was deaf in one ear, and that I knew sign language, and so he decided to get in touch with a friend of his who is also deaf in one ear. He invited his friend that night, and I was able to meet him. Turns out this young man goes to a school for the deaf which is just one stop away from the church building in Brno! Unfortunately, I think both of them thought that sign language was the same all across the world, and were disappointed to find out that even the alphabet is completely different, ha ha. However, since he only has hearing loss in one ear, he actually hears quite well, and we were able to just communicate in spoken Czech. Sister Izatt and I taught him that night about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and that we can communicate with Him through prayer. He's never had any exposure to religion or faith, and so everything is new for him. He actually lives on the complete other side of the country, and travels home (6 hours by train, one-way) every weekend to be with his family. He lives here throughout the week, so that he can go to this school for the deaf, and he's been doing that for about 4 years. He's such a sweet kid, and we're teaching him again tonight. I'm super excited to start learning some Czech sign language! He taught me a few things the first time we met, and I practice every night after Sister Izatt turns the lights out :) When I met him, I couldn't help but laugh at the situation, as I remember Abby telling me to find all the deaf people in the country and teach them! I guess I'll have to ask this young man for referrals! (Just so you know, Abby, the alphabet is pretty similar to British or Australian sign language (2-handed), but still has some slight differences)
Out of time, but hopefully next week I'll have to tell you about a miracle investigator we found. This weekend Sister Izatt and I had a lesson with a young man, where the Spirit was there in such abundance, that I felt cleansed from my head to my toes. It was my most favorite lesson of my mission so far. I know that Heavenly Father prepares people. I know that He loves each one of us. I know that even though tragedy surrounds us, and uncertainty of the future often weighs on our souls, that through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can find joy, peace, and most of all, hope.
I love you all.
Sestra Lucy Brimhall
P.S. The Christmas markets have come! Brno is DECKED out for Christmas already. You wouldn't believe the sight. It's absolutely beautiful - lights stringing the buildings, and all the streets, little wooden houses covering the city center, selling Czech food, pottery, trinkets, and more. Live music is out on a stage every night, with a huge nativity scene set up in the middle of the square. It's beautiful, absolutley beautiful. I will try my best to take pictures and to send them, like you asked