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!!
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!
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!