Monday, April 27, 2015

Living in Paradise

Heeellllooooo Everyone!!
Well I made it to the Czech Republic!! It was crazy getting here, we had a 3 hour flight from SLC to Dallas (we said goodbye to Elder Oviatt in SLC, he flew straight to Atlanta, Georgia for his reassignment until his visa comes), a 9 hour overnight flight from Dallas to London, and a 2 hour flight from London to Prague.
One cool story from the trip, on our flight from SLC to Dallas, I sat next to this man named Eric. He was middle aged and really nice. He was from Pennsylvania (I think, I know it started with a P) and we pretty much just talked about him for the whole flight. Near the end he finally started asking about what I was doing, and I told him that I'm a missionary and I'm going to the Czech Republic for 18 months, and other things about the church. The whole time I was talking to him I kept thinking "Give him a Book of Mormon, give him a Book of Mormon" but I was scared, plus cool stories like that never happen to me. So I kept putting it off and eventually I brought it up, and I said "So, I happen to have a Book of Mormon with me, would you like it?" I had to explain to him that it was free and hadn't really cost me anything before he would take it, but he was actually really appreciative and told me how now he would be able to find out about the Mormons. I also gave him my email so that he can ask me any questions he has. He was such a nice man, and I can't believe I actually gave out a Book of Mormon on my flight to my mission, who does that???
Anyway, we landed in Prague at about 1pm local time, and then we went to the mission home to drop off our stuff, and then went on a tour with the APs. Prague is BEAUTIFUL! It was like walking in a dream! We walked up and around and everywhere, I don't know how to describe it, but I do have lots of pictures ;)
After the tour we did some contacting and had dinner at the "Czech Kitchen". It was really good, we got something, I keep forgetting the name... and then for desert we had trdelniky (I have no idea how to spell it) and that's just like a log of churro, that's the best way I can think of to describe it.
After the tour we went to this little hotel place, since there isn't a lot of room in the mission home, and went to bed at like 7pm (which is like 11am Utah time). We CRASHED! Sestra Ratcliffe, Sestra Bailey and I slept for like 12 hours! President was worried we would be up all night but NOPE! We were even supposed to meet the APs at 7:45am, and we either slept through our alarm or it didn't go off because we woke up at 7:40!! Best part though: We were perfectly on time! Even though we hadn't showered in like three days...
Then we went to the mission home and had breakfast with all the trainers and the McConkies and the senior couples, but we didn't know who was training who or anything, we were just all together. After breakfast President gathered us up and shared some spiritual thoughts before he announced the companionships. They were really awesome I love President so much!! He just looks at you and it feels like he knows everything about you! Anyway he announced the companionships and I'm going to Liberec!! It's this little city in the north part of the Czech Republic. And my trainer is Sestra Hamblin! She's so awesome! She's from Arizona and she's been on her mission since May I think.
Anyway so now I'm in Liberec! And something even cooler! Liberec hasn't had sister missionaries for over 8 years!! They've been hoping and praying for sister missionaries for so long, and now we're here!!

Everyone keeps telling me that my Czech is really good, but I can't tell if they are just being nice, or if they mean it. I mean I literally know nothing, but I try. Here in Liberec people talk with a really thick accent. My trainer, Sestra Hamblin, can't even understand them. She's been here for 8 months I think but she's always served on the east side of the Czech Republic, so she's even having a hard time with their accent. And since this is my first area, I'll probably end up talking with the Liberec accent for a while. We'll see. 

Anyway it's been a crazy few days here. Our apartment is right next to the Naměstí (townsquare) and there's this huge Radníce (don't know how to spell that, but it means town hall) right up the street from us. It is gorgeous here! I'm going to be sending lots of pictures! 

We contacted pretty much my whole first day. Since I don't know how to say a lot of things, I mostly just listened, it was really hard for me to understand their accents, it's taken me a few days, so that first day I didn't really understand anything. But we walked around a lot and talked to lots of people, and that was pretty much it. 

The next day was Sunday, yesterday. The branch is pretty small but it's awesome! The Branch President is sooo cool, we had a long meeting with him and he really understands missionary work because he went on a mission!! That's not a regular thing, and he's really excited to get the branch built up. 
Also, it was Sestra Hamblin's goal to get me to fall asleep in church but I DIDN'T! It was extrememely hard, but I resisted. I did fall asleep during our lunch hour though. 
The church building is really pretty. Well it's like a rented space above a phone store, but it has awesome chandeliers and things. It's beautiful inside and the branch is so cool. I'm excited to work with them.

Today was P day. We got up and studied, then we went shopping for groceries and things we need. Then we had a mini district meeting. Our district is just us and one set of elders. Elder Brittner and Elder Croney. They're really cool and I think we can really build up the branch here. Anyway we had a meeting with them, and then after that we had a meeting with a recent convert named Monika. She's so cool! She's from Cuba and just got baptized in February, so we met with her and got to know her. She's going to a university in Prague! And she's studying like BioChemistry or something and all her classes are in Czech! That's nuts!! But she's so cool and it was awesome to get to know her better. 

Then we went on this adventure with the Elders, we were going to go to this building on the top of a mountain (and by mountain I mean large hill), but we got all the way to the gondola sky lift thing and they weren't going up for another half an hour. So we just came back and now here I am emailing. Later we'll probably just clean our apartment or something. 

Anyway sorry for the long email, but hey, it's been a pretty exciting week and a half. I'm sending lots of pictures. I took some of our apartment so you can know what it's like living here. I forgot to take one of the bathroom though, sorry, I know you're all disappointed. Actually, the bathroom is probably the most interesting room in our apartment. I'll try to remember to send a picture of it next week. 

I love you all, and I want you to know that the gospel is true, even in the Czech Republic. Missionary work is so important and I can't believe I've been called to this amazing place with all these amazing people to share the gospel message!

'Til next week!!

Sestra Schaerrer

Pictures: One of Prague, one of our district standing in front of the view of Prague, and one of a giant cathedral in Prague that I know the name of but I'm afraid to guess how to spell it because multiple people will probably make fun of me...

 Sorry everyone, I forgot there were pictures from before we left the MTC that I need to send, so here they are. They're just a bunch of pictures we took on our last Sunday Temple Walk. Our district, our zone, our Australian/New Zealand friends, etc.

More pictures! Sorry if you're tired of getting these, I promise next week won't be this bad!

 More Pictures! 


 And more! One of these is the Radnice just up the street from us, aren't we lucky??

 I'm really sorry, I promise next week will be better!

 More! Sorry!

 Okay now I'm done! Sorry everyone!!


Friday, April 24, 2015

Czech/Slovak Mission

Hello Brother & Sister Schaerrer, your daughter made it safe and sound to Czech Republic, she looks beautiful and is looking forward to her mission here.  Please see attached letter from President & Sister McConkie and pictures.

Thursday, April 16, 2015



WE LEAVE IN SEVEN DAYS! Like a week from right now, I will be on a plane to Dallas! Here is a brief overview of our flight plans:

FLIGHT 5095 (2 hours and 44 minutes)
- LV: SLC - 8:59AM - 23 APR 2015
- AR: DALLAS/FT WORTH DF - 12:43PM - 23 APR 2015

FLIGHT 1505 (9 hours and 15 minutes)
- LV:DF - 3:40 PM - 23 APR 2015

FLIGHT 862 (2 hours)
- LV: LHR - 9:50 AM - 24 APR 2015
- AR: PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC PR - 12:50 PM - 24 APR 2015

We have to be at the MTC Travel Office at 3:30 IN THE MORNING next Thursday! I'm going to die, also we have a 9 hour flight overnight. I'm really hoping I'll be able to sleep through most if not all of it, and we get dinner and breakfast on the plane! We also have two three-hour layovers so that will be nice. 
I hate to break it to all of you, but there will NOT be a weekly email next week. I'll be airborne over the ocean soooo... sorry. Haha. I will get to read my emails on Wednesday, so if you want to say anything to me before I leave the country, you can email me before Wednesday. I won't be able to respond, but I will be able to read them. :)
I will get to call home at the airport, so if you have any questions you want to ask me, tell my family and they can ask me on the phone. 

I also found out that I HAVE MY VISA!! So I'm going for sure, no reassignment for me! Unfortunately everyone in our district has a visa except Elder Oviatt. He's from Canada so his is taking longer. We're all hoping and praying that he'll get it before we have to leave. They didn't reassign him because they are pretty confident that he'll get it in time, but since he's not reassigned, if he doesn't get it, he'll just have to stay and wait at the MTC. So we are hoping and praying really hard that he'll get it.

Anyway other things that happened this past week.... On Sunday for the devotional BYU's Men's Chorus came and sang to us. It was really awesome and spiritual and super fun, they sang most of the soundtrack from Prince of Egypt and it made me kind of homesick, I love that movie!! They also (only some of them) bore their testimonies/shared mission stories and that was great.

Elder Lanham and I performed Consider the Lilies in Sacrament Meeting on Sunday, that went really well. That song always reminds me of my dad and grandparents. It was cool to be able to share that with our zone. (Shout out to Mom for sending me the sheet music, thank you!)

One cool spiritual story from this week, I was supposed to teach Relief Society on Sunday, and the lesson was supposed to be on the Book of Mormon. During Personal Study everyone was quietly reading and studying and I was on the computer reading talks about the Book of Mormon. I was looking for something, but I wasn't quite sure which direction I wanted to go. While I'm reading on the computer, Elder Oviatt turns to Elder Tingey and starts telling him about this cool section of scripture in 1 Nephi 13, and how it's about the Book of Mormon and the Bible and IT WAS EXACTLY WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!! It was crazy! He just so happened to be telling Elder Tingey exactly what I was looking for for my lesson! God answers prayers everyone, sometimes you just need to be eavesdropping to get the answer ;)

Ah the HIDA scan, I almost forgot. I got a HIDA scan on Friday. They wanted to scan my gallbladder to make sure its functioning properly. EVERYTHING IS NORMAL. I got to sleep for an hour while they took a picture every minute to see what was going on, my nap was great! They basically just told me to keep taking the pills when I have pain, and that's pretty much it. But I feel a lot better and I think everything will be fine. 

On Sunday I asked Elder Oviatt (he's one of the elders that I'm closest too, in case you couldn't tell we're pretty good friends) to give me a blessing about my foot and my stomach and basically everything that's going on with me. It was a simple blessing and it was awesome to get a blessing from one of our own elders, and I felt so good afterwards. My stomach has been growling a lot the past few days, but there hasn't been hardly any pain, my toe hasn't really been bothering, I've just felt great! The priesthood power is real!!

Well all is well here at the MTC. It's actually kind of weird. Sometimes it feels like a ghost town. I don't know if I said this already, but a few weeks ago, for the first time in the history of the MTC, the sisters outnumbered the elders! 51% to 49%!! So that was cool and then this week we made history again, this is the fewest number of missionaries that the MTC has had since the age change. I think next week when more come in the number will go up again. So there's that, it kind of makes it feel a little empty in here.

I hope everyone is doing well. There hasn't been a lot going on here except getting ready to leave. My next email will probably be either really really good or really really bad haha, we'll just have to see. I don't know how you will all cope without my weekly email next week, if you want to, you can read 2 Nephi 2:24, maybe that will help you feel better. :)

I love you all, I love this gospel, and I already love the Czech people so much! I can't wait to get to the Czech Republic and start sharing this amazing gospel!

Talk to you in two weeks!

Sestra Schaerrer

PS. Pictures! Number one: Elder Lanham wearing Sis. Donaldson's skirt (our teacher, she changed into a different skirt and left that one in the classroom). Number two: Elder Oviatt's catapult he made out of two tourniquets, and some medical wrap that we brought back from the hospital.

More Pictures: Elder Oviatt with a medical glove on his head... yeah... And the sisters in our zone plus some of the other sisters in our building. :)


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Hello Everyone! What an eventful week it has been!!

WOW! Just thinking about everything that has happened in the past week makes it feel like it's been an eternity!

First of all, I want to apologize for my incorrect grammar and spelling. I don't have a lot of time on the computers so I type really really fast, and my mind is being brainwashed in Czech, so bear with me :)

So conference. Amazing am I right? It was sooooo good. I was actually really scared and nervous to sit through 10 hours of conference in Sunday clothes on hard plastic chairs, but it was actually amazing! All we really did all weekend was watch conference, eat, watch conference, eat, I'm pretty sure I gained like 5 pounds... I had heard from multiple people that the MTC is the best conference experience you can get aside from actually attending a session in person, and they were right! It was so spiritual! I could go on and on about favorite talks and things, but that would take forever and I'd eventually talk about all of it! One thing real fast though, DAD!!! YOU DIDN'T TELL ME YOU WERE GOING TO BE IN THE CHOIR IN THE PRIESTHOOD SESSION!!!!! Can you even imagine the heart attack I had when I saw you on the screen???? (Sestra B, Sestra R, and I watched part of the Priesthood session on Sunday). I can't even describe how I felt, it was a weird mixture of happy and sad and excited and what the heck? Haha so yeah... Give a daughter a little heads up next time, my companions were pretty freaked out. :)

Sunday night, we were supposed to have a devotional, but since we had been listening to talks all weekend, the MTC presidency surprised us with a special treat: VOCAL POINT!!!! They came and sang to us and beared(?) their testimonies of missionary work and it was AWESOME!

Monday I went to the podiatrist again and picked up my orthotics. They both help and hinder. When I wear them I can tell that they help the broken bone pain go away, but they kind of replace it with there's-a-hard-piece-of-plastic-in-my-shoe pain. They're going to take some getting used to, but I think they'll help a lot, and hopefully I won't need surgery, or at least until after my mission.

Another thing that happened on Monday, during companionship study at about 10am, I got a side ache. That's not too weird and I didn't think anything of it, except then it lasted ALL DAY. So after dinner we talked to the MTC doctor and he said to just go to the ER to be safe. So Sestra B and I went to the ER and that's where we spent the evening. They did multiple blood tests, a urine test, and an ultrasound of my entire abdomen, and didn't find ANYTHING. While that's a good sign, I was pretty disappointed that they couldn't tell me what was wrong. Also, they gave me this painkiller in the form of a shot in my butt, and it was probably the MOST PAINFUL THING I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED!!! GAH!
So the next day we went back to the MTC doctor, and he looked at the tests the ER did and decided to take some more tests. So they drew a lot more blood and did another urine test and still didn't find anything. So the doctor ordered a HIDA scan (no idea what it stands for but they're scanning my gall bladder I think) for Friday morning. So we'll see how that goes.

A really special thing that happened is that a few days ago, Bro. Knapp brought pictures from his mission to class. He showed us pictures of people and places and lots of things. He shared with us how much he loves those people, even if some of them may never get baptized, and it was just a really sweet experience. He bore his testimony to us and the spirit was so strong. I can't wait to get to the Czech Republic and meet real people, and help them change their lives. 

One last thing, we found out on Monday that our departure has been delayed. Instead of leaving on the 20th of April like we originally planned, we've been moved to the 23rd. I guess there is a mission presidents conference thing, and if we left on the 20th, Pres. McConkie wouldn't even be there when we got there. So we're leaving on the 23rd. 

Well that's pretty much it. I hope everyone is doing well and had a great Easter and Conference. I know this church is true, I've seen God's hand in my life soooo many times since being here! I can't wait to get to the Czech Republic and teach people the good news of the restored gospel. 

Until next week! I love you all!

Sestra Schaerrer

P.S. Here are some pictures, our district with the "presents" Sestra Bailey brought everyone from our trip to the ER on Monday, and the most I have seen of my dad in the past two (almost) months. Enjoy! :)

P.P.S. We got our flight plans!!! We leave the 23rd, our first flight is at 9am from SLC to Dallas, then a 3 hour layover, then from Dallas to LONDON!!, then a 3 hour layover, and then from London to PRAGUE!!! It will take two days of traveling to get there, the Dallas to London flight is overnight! So excited!! Love you all!

P.P.P.S. Sorry I forgot to put a subject for this email, I've run out of creative things anyway... haha

Thursday, April 2, 2015

I'm really just out of puns...

Ahoj Everyone!

This week was pretty mellow, but it was good. Nothing too exciting happened, but it's just been dandy. 

Last Thursday after our P day was over, we went to class and had our LAST TRC! To be completely honest I don't know what TRC stands for, but it's just a program where we teach members in Czech, they're usually returned missionaries since they need to speak Czech to understand and communicate with us. But we had our last TRC lesson, and it went well, but we're not terribly sad it's over. It was fun to meet returned missionaries from our mission, but teaching them was stressful and intimidating. 

Since we had our last TRC, this week we got to Skype. That's right. Skype a real person in the Czech Republic RIGHT NOW! It was so hard! We did it yesterday (Wednesday) morning, since the Czech Republic is 8 hours ahead of us we did it relatively early in the day. It was kind of hard for me, because even though I speak better Czech than Sestra Bailey, it just seemed like the people all liked her a lot more. They would laugh and speak back to her, but when I talked I swear I could hear crickets chirping in the background. That was rough and I don't really know what I did wrong. But I'm glad Sestra Bailey enjoyed it. It was cool to hear natives speak, even though it was super hard to understand through the speakers.

Because of Skyping I was kind of down yesterday, but Brother Knapp (one of our teachers) told me something that really helped me feel better. I had coaching with him last night, coaching is just like a one on one evaluation type thing where our teachers can teach us alone what we need to work on. I had been working on pronunciation with Bro. Knapp. So last night we were working, and after we were done we left the room we were in and started heading back to the class room when Bro. Knapp told me he had one more thing to tell me. So we went back to the room we were in and he told me that about 90% of the Czech sister missionaries never speak as well as the elders. He told me that for some reason, the sisters are just never as good. But he told me that I have been doing so well, that I have the opportunity to really run with the language and become really good at it. He told me that the things we had been working on coaching are way more specific details than he hardly ever gets to with missionaries while they are still in the MTC. That made me feel really good, and made me want to just work really really hard so that I can be better than the elders!!

Well, the Slovenes, Croatians, and Bulgarians all left on Monday. It was sad to say goodbye, but we're really happy for them. The new Croatians and Slovenes came yesterday, but we haven't really had a chance to meet them yet. 

Alright, let me clear one thing up, and I apologize for not making this clear earlier: Our investigators are our teachers. Crazy I know, you might be thinking, "but they all have different names and are different people." Well, they are. Kind of. Our teachers take turns acting as a real investigator that they had on their missions, and we teach them. At first I thought this was bazar, role play was one of the things I absolutely hated in my mission prep class, but here it's different. Our teachers are so good at becoming these other people, that it's not like role play at all, we really are teaching Petra, Viktor, Jitka, and Lucie, even though they may be Bro. Knapp, Sis. Roubicek, or Sis. Donaldson. It's kind of weird, but it works.

I'll finish off this week's email with a funny story:

Once upon a time Elder Tingey received a package from home, and in this package were a bunch of dollar store toys. One of these just so happened to be a snake that if you let it soak in water for a few days, would grow like 6 times it's size. So we did this, in our classroom. When Bro. Knapp found out, he was a little upset, so he took Malcolm (for thus was the snake called) and threw him in the trash in the men's restroom. Without Bro. Knapp's knowing, the elders in our district snuck in and got Malcolm out of the trash. Later that same day, we put Malcolm in Bro. Knapp's backpack right before he went home. The next day, Bro. Knapp still hadn't found Malcolm in his backpack, but he did find him there before he left class. So he took Malcolm and threw him in a trashcan in a random classroom on our floor. Little did he know, we found Malcolm in the Norwegian and took him back out of the trash. We then kept Malcolm hidden for the space of a few days and waited until April Fool's Day. So yesterday, we put Malcolm in an empty Pringle's can (thanks Mom!) and put the can in Bro. Knapp's backpack. Before he left, Bro. Knapp found the Pringle's can and knew that there weren't Pringles in it, but when he opened it he saw Malcolm and just yelled, "HOW?" We had a great laugh, but unfortunately Bro. Knapp planned to take Malcolm home and dispose of him there. We then knelt and prayed to end class and I had the fortunate position to be right next to Bro. Knapp's open backpack (we kneel for every prayer). So right after the prayer, while the rest of the class was distracted, I pulled Malcolm (still in the Pringle can) out of Bro. Knapp's backpack without his knowing. It was really funny because no one in my class noticed either, and had no idea until I told them about an hour later. So Malcolm is still in our possession, and will probably make a reappearance sometime before we leave. 

Anyway, sorry for the long weird story, but Happy April Fool's Day! 

I love you all and I hope that through my weird emails you can see that I know this gospel is true. It has been such a blessing in my life and I can't wait to share it with the people in the Czech Republic. I'll end with a quote from Elder Teh of the Seventy, who came to speak to us on Tuesday. He said, "All of you are here at the MTC having the most spiritual experience of your lives, yet you are all looking forward to one day. The day that you can leave the MTC, and go out and share the gospel with those that don't have it." I thought that was awesome because it's true, we can't wait to get out of the MTC, but I hadn't really thought of it that way, that we are looking forward to the day we can really get to work sharing the gospel. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! :)

Nashledanou! (Goodbye!)

Sestra Schaerrer

P.S. Here are some pictures from this week. Our companionship with another threesome companionship, each of us matched up with our twin. And our whole zone the day before we lost 10 elders and sisters to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bulgaria/Chicago (they are in Chicago visa waiting, the others went to their countries though).