Monday, June 29, 2015

A Bible Bash And A Blessing

Dobrý den Everyone!

It has been a CRAZY week here in Brno! I love it here! I loved Liberec, but it's just so different here and I love it!!

My first day here was nuts! I got to email, go to FHE, teach an investigator, unpack a little, etc. After we emailed, we went to the church to help the Archibald's (the senior couple that work with the YSA) get dinner ready for YSA FHE. Then we had FHE. It's pretty weird for me to have a YSA program. We only had two YSA girls in Liberec, so we didn't ever do anything just for them. It's also really new to have so many members my same age, it's really fun though, the YSA here are great!

On Tuesday we had an interesting lesson with a mom named Nataša (Natasha) and her family. Her husband had asked two of his cousins, who are leaders in another church, to come over and talk to us. We tried to get a member to come with us but no one could. So basically we went there, introduced ourselves and what we believe to the cousins, and then we got yelled at for two hours. We tried to just explain what we believe and share our testimonies, but we were just getting destroyed. It was like a bible bash but we weren't saying anything back. One of the cousins was just pulling out scripture after scripture and yelling at us about how what we believe isn't true. We kept trying to leave but he just kept yelling. So we sat and got yelled at for over two hours. 
Near the end he was talking about how they pray in his church and that they pray in angelic tongue, and we were kind of curious so we asked him if he would pray so we could see how he does it, and then we asked if we could show him how we pray afterwards. We were hoping that we could bring the spirit that way and maybe he would calm down. So he agreed and he said "I will pray and bless you that your eyes will be opened to the truth and God's will." So he put one hand on Ses. Holland's shoulder, and one hand on my shoulder and started to pray. At the beginning it was normal. He prayed to God that our eyes would be "opened to the truth" basically just saying that what we believe is wrong and he wants God to show us the right way (aka his way). Then he just started yelling gibberish! Not Czech, not English, just straight up random noises were coming out of his mouth. This went on for about 45 seconds to a minute, and then he ended with "Haleluja Jesus!" And it was over. 
He had explained to us why they use angelic tongue in his church, he said "I don't know what I'm saying, other people don't know what I'm saying, but God knows what I'm saying." Basically it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. Then we showed him the way we pray and tried to bring the spirit, but it really didn't work. He just went back to yelling at us about how wrong our religion is and how the Book of Mormon can't be true, and that there can't be any prophets after Christ. Just nonsense. 
If we learned anything from that visit, it's that the gospel is true. The only reason a grown man would yell at two 20 year old girls about what they believe for over two hours, is because it's true. People absolutely despised a 14 boy for saying he saw a vision, because it's true. I know it is, and even though we got yelled at for hours about how wrong we are, I'm only more sure now that we're right. 
Anyway, one of the miracles we saw this week was that as we were coming back from that lesson we just felt defeated (the mom and family that we were teaching ended up dropping us and gave us back their Book of Mormons) and we ran into President McConkie at the church building. He really helped us brush it off and just get back to work. He is amazing, he helped us feel so much better.

I'm only on Tuesday and this letter is already getting really long, so I'm just going to skip to another miracle we saw on Sunday
Sunday morning we're in church meeting and talking to everyone before sacrament meeting starts, when this teenage girl walks in. I didn't know her, but I don't really know anyone yet, so I just assumed she was a member of the branch. Ses. Holland greets her and talks to her and they end up sitting together during the meeting. After the meeting is over I go outside to talk with them and it turns out that this girl walks to school past the church building everyday and just felt like she needed to come. She told us how her parents wouldn't want her there, but she just always felt like she should come. She also told us about how her life has been really rough the past few years, she has a sister in the hospital and some other things, and that her parent's church doesn't ever help her feel better. She told us that she's been having suicidal thoughts and things, but that during sacrament meeting, she didn't have any of those thoughts or feelings. She really loved sacrament meeting and she sang with her heart and it was just awesome! She even started crying while we were talking about how good she felt during the meeting. We set up to meet with her the next day (which means later today!!) and when we went to say goodbye she asked if she could give us hugs! It's so crazy that she just decided to come to church all by herself! She's only 18, I definitely wouldn't have done that when I was 18!! We're so excited to talk to her and teach her more about how the gospel can bring us comfort! :)

Anyway, a lot of other stuff happened this week, and I'll send some pictures and briefly describe what they are. I'd write more but writing about the bible bash lesson really wiped me out, it was a very emotional night. 

On a happier note I'm so excited for this transfer! I already love Ses. Holland (no relation to Jeffrey R Holland) and I already love Brno!

The gospel is true everyone, and Satan wants to stop us from spreading it. But I know that this is the Lord's work and that anything is possible with Him on our side. 

I love you all and hope you have a great week! Also, make sure to party extra hard this Fourth of July weekend for those of us that can't really do much! Happy Birthday 'Merica!! 

S láskou,

Sestra Schaerrerová

Pictures! We went to an investigator's daughter's ballet concert (sorry it's a really bad picture in a really nice theater), and we found that pirate cut out thing in the lobby. Our district: Elder Brittner, Elder Galbraith, Sestra Holland, and me. And a piano playing marionette on the streets of Brno.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Transfer Calls!!

Hey there everyone!!

So this past week was the last week of the transfer!! It was really great, we worked really hard and got a lot done, we also had a combined district conference with the whole Czech Republic and Elder Patrick Kearon of the Seventy was there and spoke to us and it was so good! Well, I know you are all dying to know if I got transfered, and if I did where, so I'll cut to the chase.... I'M GOING TO BRNO!! Well actually, I'm already here, I got here about an hour and a half ago, after riding on a bus for a little under 4 hours. 

I also wanted to explain something that I maybe and quite possibly forgot to say earlier, and that's that here in the Czech/Slovak Mission, we have 9 week transfers. So I've just completed my second transfer of my mission, and this next one ends like the last week of August or something. A few people asked me why I hadn't mentioned transfers before, and that's because, well, they hadn't happened yet! 

But now I'm in Brno, and my companion is Sestra Holland. It's actually really cool because Elder Brittner, my district leader in Liberec, is also now in Brno as a zone leader. So we traveled here together and we'll get to serve together for at least another transfer, maybe more! And I'm really excited because Elder Brittner is an amazing missionary! This transfer is going to be so great!!

Alright, enough of that. What happened last week? 

On Monday we had our last P day together in Liberec, so us and the elders went to Frýdlant to see a really cool castle. Frýdlant is about 30 minutes from Liberec by train, so we went, spent about an hour or so looking around, and came back. We couldn't go inside because it was closed on Mondays, but we had a lot of fun walking around the outside taking pictures. :)

On Wednesday after we taught English, the elders brought us a new kind of cheese to try (as has become somewhat of a tradition in our district. The elders buy all these different kinds of cheeses, and then they share it with us) and it was DISGUSTING!! I don't remember what kind of cheese it was, all I remember is that it smelled disgusting, and it tasted disgusting, but the kids that had come to English ate it like it was candy! I don't understand...

On Thursday we went to Jičín for interviews with President McConkie. I didn't get interviewed because since I'm a greenie I already had one, but the rest of my district was interviewed. Not a lot else happened, we just went to Jičín, had some kebabs (doners, not american kebabs), got interviewed and came back. Unfortunately it took most of our day since it was about an hour away and each interview was about 30 minutes, but it was a good little adventure. :)
Once we got back from Jičín, we went to the Jedličkoví and had Sestra Jedličková's world famous strawberry knedliky. I think I've already written about them, basically they are AMAZING! And since it was the last week of the transfer us and the elders and the Jedličkoví all got together to make and eat them, it was a lot of fun!

On Friday we had a pretty normal day, but then Sestra Hamblin found a bug in her food in the fridge, so we had to go out to eat dinner. So we went to the Radnice (we have a habit of walking in without a reservation on Friday nights...) and the workers looked at us like we were crazy for coming without a reservation, but then the manager sees us, walks over, and is like "Come, I have a place for you" and takes us to a table and takes our order. He's basically the real MVP, perqs of being a regular! I also had halušky for the first time that night, so good!

Saturday we went to Prague because I had a doctors appointment (don't freak out parents I'm fine!) and then we had the combined district conference. We got on the tram to go to the doctors, and it just stops half way there and tells us to get off, so long story short, we missed the appointment. So instead we got some lunch and waited for conference to start. 
Conference was so good!! And it was amazing to see so many members from all over the country! I talked to so many people and the talks were so good, it was so much fun!! I also met two of the people that I skyped while I was in the MTC, and they are both from Brno and now I'm in Brno! Miracles are real everyone! Also I understood a lot more of conference than I though I would, so that's another miracle! 
Then after we got back to Liberec we waited for transfer calls. I'm going to Brno and Ses. H is staying in Liberec, but guess who is replacing me in Liberec? SES. BAILEY!!! Isn't that nuts?? So when I moved out this morning I left notes all over the appartment for her to find. I'm so happy for her!!

Sunday was more conference, can I just say how good it was one more time? SO GOOD!! And there were a lot more people at the Sunday session than Saturday. On Saturday is was just at the Prague building, but on Sunday it was in a big conference center, so that was really cool! After we got back from conference we just contacted some more, then I packed up all my stuff, and now I'm here! 

The week was pretty crazy, but we found a lot of good people and I think Liberec is going to do really well this transfer. And I'm super excited about being in Brno! I don't really know a whole lot about the area here yet, but I'll let you know when I find out!! 

The work is moving forward here in the Czech Republic! Sometimes it seems slow, sometimes it seems like it's flying by, but it's definitely moving forward! And we're getting closer and closer to forming a stake! We're so excited! The gospel is true everyone, and I can't wait to share it with the people here in Brno! 

Have a great week everyone! Talk to you later!!

S laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer
 Pictures!! Our trip to Zámek Frýdlant!

 More Frydlant!


And our brief trip to Jičín, strawberry knedliky, and my last pic of Liberec!



Monday, June 15, 2015

Starting to See Flowers

Good morning everyone!
This past week was pretty crazy. Sestra H and I already always work hard, but this week we decided to try and push ourselves and just get work done, and it's finally started to pay off! The work here in Liberec has always been kind of slow for us. We'd work really hard, and then still not have any new investigators and we'd work really hard, and then everyone would cancel on us. This transfer has been really rough, of course we've been planting seeds everywhere we go, but this week we finally started to see some flowers.
Last Monday we didn't really do anything spectacular. We just had a relaxing P day and did some shopping and cleaned the apartment. We also taught Natalka (our 14 year old investigator) English at her family's apartment, which was really good because we were able to meet her mom, who doesn't want Natalka to be baptized. So we met her and hopefully we'll be able to work with her too.
Tuesday was good, we had a ton of lessons and meetings planned so we were running all over town. We got to visit this awesome family who sometimes have a hard time coming to church. The mom is single and she just had a baby girl, so they are kind of struggling, but the youngest boy just turned 8, and pretty soon the oldest boy will turn 16 so he's going to baptize his brother. That's such a cool experience for their family and the branch.
Also on Tuesday we had our "Culture night." We get one culture activity to do per transfer, and we decided to go see Popelka (Cinderella) in the form of ballet. Turns out it was actually a super modern version, where Popelka was a drug addict, the ball was just a birthday party, and the "prince" found her by her old clunky cell phone. It was really interesting, but I would never want to see it again. Memories am I right?
Wednesday we got to go visit this really awesome family that lives and works in a hotel on a giant horse farm! They live in a beautiful countryside and they have everything they need right on the farm! They just go to town to by some groceries every once in a while. They are so awesome, the mom was converted and baptized when she was a foreign exchange student in America. The dad has a strong testimony too and their two little boys are so cute! The mom played volleyball at BYU-Hawaii, and she's also a professional singer! They are all so cool!
Friday I had a really cool experience. We had a surprise lesson with a man we had met on the street over a month ago. His name is Ivan and he's actually from Ukraine, but he's live in the CR for 5 years now. He is a really strong Christian and for the first half of the lesson he was convinced that we believed a lot of the same things, but the things that we believed that were different than him were wrong. He was not buying it at all for the first half of the lesson. Then we were wrapping up and Sestra Hamblin asked me to say the closing prayer, and I didn't say anything special, I didn't do anything amazing, but the spirit was there and after the prayer he was a lot more open to what we had to say. So we talked some more and he was definitely more willing to listen and he actually committed to read the Book of Mormon and pray! We're pretty sure that if we had asked him to do that before the prayer he would have said no. But, the Holy Ghost works miracles!
Saturday there was a huge celebration here in Liberec called Jarmark. We still don't know what it's for exactly, but the naměstí gets filled with just shop after shop, and they set up two giant stages and there was so much going on! It was so cool! People were dancing and singing, there were tons of people selling homemade items, it was a lot of fun! It wasn't our P day so we couldn't stay long, but we went during lunch and then came back during dinner. It was so fun!!
Sunday I gave a talk in church. That's right I spoke in church my first transfer. In other places in the world that wouldn't be a big deal, but the language is so hard here, I think it's a miracle that it went well. I just spoke about the Holy Ghost. It was supposed to be 8-10 minutes, but then I got nervous and talked so fast that it probably only took about 5. Oh well, I think I did a good job.
Well I hope everyone is doing well, I hope you're all enjoying summer break. Fun fact, kids aren't even out of school yet here, they still have like 2 more weeks!
The work is hard but it's moving forward here in Liberec. We've been pushing hard and now we're starting to see results and it feels good. The transfer ends on Monday, so we'll see if I'll stay here in Liberec, or if I'll get shipped off to another area.
The church is true, this is the Lord's work, and I know that I'm where I need to be right now. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
S laskou,
Sestra Schaerrer
Here are pictures from this week! Us at Popelka (Cinderella) :)

 One more, here are pictures of Jarmark! All the shops and activities :)


Monday, June 8, 2015

Fighting fire with fire

Well hey there everyone!
This week has been pretty great! We did a lot of stuff outside which was really nice because the weather has been pretty good.
So as you know on Monday we got stuck in Prague. Good news, we made it back to Liberec, after the Holts fed us a really good dinner. :)
On Tuesday we had a service project for another church. We (Ses. Hamblin, me, and the elders) went to this small town with Zdeněk (our member friend that took us to the 3 corners) and helped clean up a kostel (church building, cathedral I guess is a better word) that had burned down like 30 years ago or something. We worked up in the bell tower cleaning out all the dust and dirt and rocks that had fallen off of the walls, and carrying downstairs and outside. It was hard work and it got really dusty and pretty hot up there, but it was really cool to be up there because it's definitely not a place where just anyone can go.
While we were working, we noticed a bunch of stairs/ladders going up even further, so naturally we had to check it out. We went up one stair case, then another, and then there were 3 more rickety ladders. We went all the way to the top by the light of our phones (there wasn't any electricity up there) and poked our heads out the very top of the tower! It was so cool, we were up so high! Then we came back down and kept working, but it was a really cool adventure. The people we were helping also gave us some kolač (kind of like an apple cake/fritter) and told us that we were going to be in the newspaper! We also got to wear the yellow helping hands vests while we were working, which is cool because I found out my mom also did a service project this week and wore the same vests, so we were wearing them almost at the same time!
Also on Tuesday we tried tabling for the first time. We just set up a table in front of the church entrance, and put all the stuff we do on it. Posters for family history, free english, Books of Mormon in different languages, all sorts of pictures and other stuff. Then we would contact out in the street in front of the table and try to get people to sign up for things. It was our first time but I think it worked pretty well, we met some pretty cool people and I think the elders even got a few new investigators.
After tabling on Tuesday, Sestra Hamblin and I went and taught a FHE lesson to the Jedličkoví, and to our surprise, the Brandoví boys were there too. We read the story of Nephi building a boat together, and then we made sail boats out of newspaper, and saw whose boat stayed floating the longest. It was a simple lesson, but I think it was really good for the boys.
On Wednesday we went to lunch with the elders and one of their investigators and I got "smažený sýr", which is literally "fried cheese". Basically, they deep fry a block of cheese, and then serve it with french fries and tartar sauce. It was soooo good, but definitely not healthy!
Later on Wednesday we talked to an old, Slovak, Catholic man for over an hour on the street. First of all, I was surprised at how much I could understand, since he was speaking Slovak and we were speaking Czech, and second of all, it was really interesting talking to him. He was rock solid on catholisism. He was not interesting in changing religions, but he was really interested in what we believe. It was cool to talk to him, but it was a little frustrating because I could tell it wasn't really going anywhere.
On Thursday we did a singing display, and let me just tell you, miracles happen at singing displays. At least for me anyway. I definitely do not know enough of the language to talk to and teach someone by myself, but whenever I solo contact at singing displays, there is either some serious gift of tongues going on, or I find someone that speaks English. Thursday I found a lady who speaks English and she was just so excited about pretty much everything I was saying. I showed her a Book of Mormon and she asked me "How much is it? How can I get one" obviously I just handed her one right then and there. I also gave her a Restoration pamphlet and a Family Proclamation. She was really excited to meet, but she's going out of town for the next few weeks, but really wants to meet when she comes back.
Also on Thursday we played soccer for FHE with an investigator the elders are teaching, Romana. We gave a spiritual thought about the Atonement, and her son, who is 8, didn't really understand because he doesn't even know who God is. But we tried to explain and I think he felt the spirit during our prayer.
Saturday it was really hot here in Liberec. We also went and did service for the aunt of one of the less actives in the branch (we've done service there before). We were working outside raking leaves and pulling out trees and stuff, and the guy we're working for, decides to start burning all of the wood and weeds and things right in the middle of where we are working. So we're raking weeds and working really hard on this hot summer's day, right next to a bon fire. Sestra Hamblin and I would just look at each other through the sweat running down our faces and just say, "it builds character." That was probably the theme of the day. It was hard work but it was good and we helped them a lot.
Later on Saturday we had branch sports night. We went to a place were you can play ping pong for free outside, and well, played ping pong. It was really fun, the Jedličkoví were there, and also the elders' investigator Tao. Tao's from China and he was really good at ping pong, but so was Elder Brittner, so it was really fun to watch them play together. I'm a lot better at ping pong than I thought I was. Still not very good, but better than I thought.
I also got to practice my sports medicine skills because during sports night Elder Croney tripped and twisted his ankle really bad. It was swollen so bad, it was HUGE! But I got him all wrapped up, told him to take some anti-inflammatories and told him I'd check it before church in the morning. It looks much better now.
Well that's pretty much what happened this week. We're working hard, even when it's hot and humid outside. Thank you everyone for your love and your prayers. They are much needed and greatly appreciated!
This gospel is true, Christ is our Savior and knows exactly how we feel, in good times and bad. I love this gospel and I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to share it everyday!
Have a great week everyone!!
S laskou,
Sestra Schaerrer
P.S. I'll try to send pictures this week, but it's not looking like we're going to have time today.

Here are pictures, one of our lessons was changed so we had time to send them! :)

Pics of the church we helped clean up, that bell is 400 years old! Also it was pitch black up in the tower, the only light is from the flash on my camera!

Monday, June 1, 2015

P day in Prague

Hello Everyone!

So, funny story about today. This morning Sestra Hamblin and I had to go to Prague for a doctor's appointment because her ankle has been hurting her a lot. And... long story short, we're stuck here indefinitely. We had a bus back, but because of X rays and just how long the doctor took, we missed it, and now I'm emailing all of you from the church building in Prague. This also means that my journal, which I use to write my weekly emails, is back in Liberec, so I'll try to wing it and remember what happened.

Last Monday, we didn't even going on any vylets, so you're not missing anything there haha. We just ran errands, had a couple of lessons, and did other P day things.

Tuesday we went to Zelezný Brod to visit a member. That was a really fun trip. It's over an hour away, so it was really cool for her to have us come, since she doesn't have people travel that far just to see her very often. It's also awesome that she's a completely active member. We see her and her husband every week, and it means so much more to us now knowing how far they have to come. It is BEAUTIFUL where they live too! So green and just a bunch of little cottages. She also made this really yummy strawberry cake thing, and you guessed it, Sestra Hamblin and I ate the whole thing ;). 
Fun story about our trip to Zelezný Brod: First of all, we almost missed our bus out there we ran all the way from the mall to the main bus station, which is a lot farther than it looks. And actually we did end up missing our bus, but we found another one that left like 2 minutes later going to the same place. Second of all, we didn't really know what we were doing, like at all. So we were talking to people and found this one guy who helped us A TON! He told us which bus to get on at first, and explained where it was going and what we would have to do. Then he like disappeared for a while, we thought he just left. Then we get to the place where we have to change buses, and we have no idea where the next bus we have to get on is, and this guy just shows up again and tells us which one to get on! And then, he disappears again! It was so crazy! He was like our guardian angel because we seriously would not have made it without his help! And it was probably a blessing that we missed our first bus, because we wouldn't have found him in the first place. Little miracles for dayz. 

On Wednesday, our district did a singing display. Yup, all four of us. So one person would go out and contact while the other three would sing. I went out by myself for a while and I actually think I did okay. I gave out a Book of Mormon and actually taught a few lessons. I don't know what any of the people said when they responded, but I just kept on teaching haha!

Thursday we had TRAINING! I love training, it's so fun to meet all together and to see everyone, and we always learn so much and have so much more energy about missionary work afterwards! And this time Elder Kearon came and talked to us. He was so cool! He just talked about doing our best and always choosing to be happy. It was really awesome and Sestra Hamblin and I are really excited to use the things we learned this week and we really are hoping to meet standards again!

Saturday we went and did service at the Jedličkoví. The mom is like a manager of the apartment building they live in, so we helped her move out a ton of junk from the basement storage place. Like a TON of junk! It was a lot of work but pretty fun too. Then we did some studying and some English contacting. English contacting was super fun, we normally just go around telling people that we teach free English and try to get them to come, but this time the elders had ordered a GIANT SIGN, so Sestra Hamblin and I went around with the sign telling people about English, and then the elders followed us getting people's contact information. It was super fun and worked really well! We got a lot of numbers and now we just have to see who shows up on Wednesday

Well, that was pretty much my week here in Liberec (and Prague). Hope you enjoyed it! They announced in sacrament meeting yesterday that Elder Perry passed away, that's so sad he was one of my favorites, but I'm happy for him, he's in a good place :). 

I hope everyone is doing well. School's out! So I bet that's fun :). This gospel is true, Christ is our Savior and Redeemer, and this is His work. There are a lot of crazy things going on right now in the Czech Republic. We're really close to becoming a stake, but Satan definitely knows what's going on and he's trying so hard to destroy it. I can't say everything, but there is some definite (and pretty crazy) opposition going on here, all we can do is pray and work hard! Thank you all for you're love and support, it means lots!

I love you all, talk to you next week!

S laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer

P.S. I'm sending pictures. Not a whole lot happened this week, but I did take some pictures of our church building, so enjoy those :). 
1. Our chapel, it's so pretty with chandelier and big windows!
2. The bright pink Relief Society Room, I don't know why it's pink, but it is.
3. I have this new hobby of taking candid shots of Sestra Hamblin, this one is a favorite ;).