Happy Den Matek Everyone!! (Mother's Day)
Well this week has been a good one. I got to skype my family yesterday and that was great! 45 minutes goes by so fast!! It was so good to see everyone, even though I was able to call them from the airport, it's just a different experience getting to see them. It's going to be a much longer break this time, 7 months until I can talk to them again, hopefully it goes fast, I have a feeling that it will!
Life here in the Czech Republic is great! I've actually been having a really hard time the past week or so. Just homesickness - which I never really experienced at the MTC since I was only 20 minutes away from my house and I could see my dad's office window from the MTC - and frustration with the language. I'm doing a lot better now, but for a while I was just always frustrated and I felt bad because I didn't have a good attitude about missionary work. It was hard. Especially the language. If you don't know what Czech sounds like, look it up. People talk with such a thick accent in the area I'm in right now, so it can be really hard to understand. Anyway enough of my ranting, I'm doing much better now. I'm beginning to understand more, and speak more, and I'm overall just doing much better. Now I can really get into the work and just love it!
Let's see what happened last week...
On Monday we had our P day, and we went on this really awesome vylet (trip) to the Three Corners!! We went to the place were the borders of Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic all meet. It was really cool and really fun. A member named Zdeněk took us, he's awesome! We took a train to the nearest town to the borders, but then we had to walk FOREVER!! But it was totally worth it. Each country has a flag on their side, and then there is a European Union flag right in the middle of the three corners. And each border is marked by a river (or very small stream in Poland's case). You could literally just walk into Germany or Poland and no one would look twice at you, but as missionaries we aren't allowed to leave the Czech Republic, even though Zdeněk really wanted us too haha. But I did throw a rock into Germany, and another rock into Poland, just for fun. It was really great, if we have time to send pictures today I will. :)
On Tuesday we went to Progressional Training in Brno! It was really awesome, I love trainings. The only problem was that Brno is 5 hours away from Liberec, so we had to wake up at 4am, and we didn't get back until around 7:30pm. So it took up pretty much the whole day. But totally worth it! President and Sister McConkie and the APs taught us and just gave us tons of advice. It was a progressional training so it was only for the missionaries that have arrived within the last two transfers and their companions. It was also really cool to see my whole MTC group again (minus Elder Oviatt, he's still in Georgia).
On Wednesday we got incredibly and completely lost in Jablonec (a smaller city outside of Liberec). We were going to visit a less active lady's home, and we didn't know where it was so the elders gave us directions. They told us to get off the bus at a certain stop, go towards Kaufland (a grocery store), and then cross a bridge. So we do all that and when we get to Kaufland there isn't a bridge anywhere in sight. The elders didn't answer their phone so we just call the lady we're supposed to visit. She has us describe where we are and it turns out we are on the complete opposite side of the city! And we had been walking the wrong way for over an hour! So we had to get on a bus and do all these other things to find her house. We finally got there like 2 hours later than we were supposed to, but she was really nice about it and still had time to meet and everything. When we told the elders what had happened, and how there are actually TWO Kauflands, they just said, "Yeah... we were hoping there was only one..."
On Saturday we went and did service like all day at this non member family's home. It was actually really interesting, the elders have been doing service for them for a few weeks now, and we don't really know how they even found them, but we went with them this last time. We did all sorts of things, we washed windows, trimmed bushes, pulled weeds, swept, stacked wood. It was actually pretty cool because they have a much larger yard than is normal here. They fed us lunch, I don't know what it's actually called but the woman spoke English pretty well and she just kept calling it a "Cezch hamburger". It was pretty good but I was soooo full afterwards. Here's a lesson in Czech missionary manners: You eat whatever they give you. No matter what it is, how much it is, or what it looks like, YOU EAT ALL OF IT. We were stuffed! And then we went back to work. It was a long day of hard work, but it felt nice to get our hands dirty and do some physical labor besides walking around and talking to people. At the end of the day the elders gave the woman a Book of Mormon and asked her to read it, and I think we're going back this Saturday to help again. Hopefully she'll have read a little and we can teach them some more.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had Branch Conference! It was awesome! President McConkie and the other members of the district presidency came and spoke, and President Hanzal, the branch president spoke too. Their talks were sooo good. It was harder for me to understand the native speakers, but I think I got the basics from their talks. I could understand President McConkie a lot better. Don't get me wrong, he speaks phenomenal Czech! But you can still tell a difference, and it's easier for me to understand him than the others. I think I actually understood his whole talk! Which is cool both because it was a great talk, and because I'm getting better at understanding Czech!! It was such a good meeting though, I think the branch really liked it, and I think what they said will help a lot of people.
The rest of the week was just pretty normal studies and contacting or lessons. We met quite a few really cool people this week, so we're hoping to set up with them and start teaching. Overall I'm just really excited to get better at the language, and to get better at teaching people. Lately I've just been feeling like I wasn't progressing, and that my lack of language skills were holding me back from teaching people and helping people. But recently I've been noticing more progress and it's been getting me excited. The more I can understand, the more I can say, and the more I can say, the more I can help the amazing people here in the Czech Republic and in Liberec!
Well everyone, it's time for me to go. Sestra Hamblin has to get a haircut, and then the elders are going to help us clean mold of the ceiling in our bathroom.
This gospel is true, and missionary work is amazing! The gospel has changed so many lives here, and it's going to change so many more. I'm excited for all the work we have to do here, and I know that Christ is behind it all, and that He helps us so much. We couldn't do anything here with out His help and the Holy Ghost. Our message would just sound like crazy talk if we didn't have the Holy Ghost testifying of it's truth while we speak. I love the Lord, I love this gospel, and I love missionary work!
Tschau! (I don't actually know how to spell that it Czech, so the German spelling will have to suffice for this week ;).)