Sunday, January 15, 2012
Baptism of Vladmir
Brno District and Vladimir!!
Well, I forgot to tell you last week that it's actually transfer week! Thus the reason I am emailing a couple days later. The happy news is that I am staying in Brno! The other happy news is that Sister Izatt is staying as well! The OTHER happy news is that we're having a "baby" together.. Sister Smith, who has been out for 2 months, has come down to join us, and we will be follow up training her together. No new sisters came in this transfer, so not too many things changed. For the next 3 weeks we will be finishing Sister Smith on the new 12-week training program that the church has begun. She already did 9 weeks with her official trainer, and will now train us on how we are supposed to train her :) It basically involves an extra hour of companionship study, and a specific curriculum that you follow. I'm excited - it should be interesting. While it does take an extra hour of work time out, and even though we have 3 hours of study every day, I feel like we only make a dent in the studies we need each day. Missionaries need their studies! I'm super excited - Sister Smith is another fireball just like Sister Izatt, from Thatcher, Arizona, who graduated from BYU Provo in Art History. She's wonderful. I guess President likes to give me the ones with all the personality :) We'll be quite the force in Brno.
A few comments on emails - Mother and Father, I'm so excited for your scripture study plans you told me about. A couple transfers ago, I don't know if I told you, but we read the whole Book of Mormon together as a mission, highlighting everything that taught about the Atonement of Jesus Christ. It was a beautiful experience. The most glaring thing I learned from my study was that while Christ performed this magnificent, beautiful, loving Atonement for us, it has absolutely NO POWER unless we CHOOSE it. Acknowledge it. Apply it. We truly can be forgiven of our sins, strengthened through trials, and comforted through sorrow, when we turn to the Savior and apply his Atonement. If we do not choose him, that precious gift profiteth nothing, and is tossed aside.
Danny, CONGRATULATIONS ON MAKING LAW REVIEW! Say congrats to Aaron as well! That's so exciting. THANK YOU FOR THE PICTURES! Sister Izatt and I were amazed at the photography, Danny. Those pictures are absolutely fantastic - something you and Michael will treasure forever. I can hardly wait to see the book you made for Michael, and to travel Southeast Asia myself someday. The Qatar pictures were outrageously cool as well. It was so much fun to get that package. Thank you!
Mother, I'm so glad to hear you heard from Petru. Did your Christmas package make it to him after all?
Michael, I'm so excited for you to be starting that mission prep class. I have no idea where you'll go, Michael, but wherever you serve I know you'll be a powerhouse missionary for the Lord. I'm so proud of you, Mike. Stay strong this last semester, and keep your focus on the Lord. Your mission is the most important thing to be working towards right now. I hope you could tell over the phone how much I love my mission - it is already a very special part of me. I can't put into words what a precious time of life it is, and how blessed we are to be given the opportunity to serve the Lord, and help people come closer to their Savior, Jesus Christ. Nothing beats it, little brother. You will absolutely love it. I know it. Good luck! Study hard. Pray hard. Listen to Mom and Dad :)
Michelle Alejandra, I received your Christmas letter. Thank your sisters for their contributions! That was such a precious letter, haha. Thanks for taking the time to write me over the holidays! Mam te moc rada.
Whoo, as for other news - Brno is blossoming! I'm so, so excited about our pool of investigators right now. With the holidays fading away, and final exams coming to a close for the students, things are starting to pick up again.
I do have one request. The investigator who accepted tithing a couple weeks ago, and has been progressing so beautifully and miraculously towards baptism, almost dropped us this week over the phone. There was a piece of doctrine that he didn't understand the first time we taught it, and that we didn't notice, and it had been eating at him for several weeks. It tore him down so much that he stopped reading the Book of Mormon, and started making excuses not to meet with us. I talked to him for almost an hour on the phone right before we had to go to bed, trying to clear some things up, and reassure him of the truth and testimony he has gained. That night, he didn't sleep all night as he struggled to resolve the conflict he had in his heart. He didn't drop us. We haven't lost him. But he's struggling, family, and I need your prayers. We love these people so much. It was a very emotional week for the both of us. He knows he's found the truth. He needs prayers and support right now.
In other news, we picked up another young girl, who was a referral from one of the youth in the branch. She is 20-years-old and such a sharp, thoughtful, beatiful young girl. She already has a baptismal date for the 24th of March, and is reading diligently in the Book of Mormon. Ah! I love it when the members help us find. Refferals are the most effective way to do missionary work. All members who are at home, if you aren't working on sharing the gospel with someone right now, pray hard tonight and think of who you can share it with! Call someone this week! The people we love, who are just right around us, are searching as well. Talk to them about the most important thing in your life! Share the blessings that the Lord has blessed you with.
The young man from Syria returned from a long trip over the holidays, and we are teaching him again. Want to hear something cool? The first day this young man arrived to study in London, he had all his luggage and had just found his new apartment, after looking for a long time, and right then, just as he was about to walk in, the missionaries contacted him. From them, he started meeting with them, until he went home to Syria. There, in his small village, he was talking to his local preacher, who asked him if he happened to know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The preacher said people happened to be coming that week to talk about the church in their city. He was astounded that he rain into them there. He then moved to the Czech Republic to continue studies here. I don't know how long he had been here, but it was only a matter of a couple weeks that he had been here, and Sister Izatt and I contacted him on the street! This young man knows that Heavenly Father is guiding his footsteps, and he's determined to find out what exactly we're all about. We're excited for him! Pray hard that he will find the truth!