Monday, July 27, 2015

Pioneer Day and Karlštejn!!

Hello Everyone!

This week has been pretty crazy! Lot's of thing happened and we saw lot's of miracles. The biggest event of the week though was our trip to Priest Hill/Karlštejn!

This is a summary sent to us by President and Sister McConkie : "July 2015 marks the 25th anniversary of the formal return of missionaries to the Czech Slovak Mission. After forty years of communism, the Velvet Revolution of 1989 prepared the way for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to be recognized again in February 1990. The first missionaries entered the country a few months later and the mission was formally reorganized in July of 1990 when my (President McConkie's) mission president and his wife, Richard and Barbara Winder, arrived in Prague. Last weekend, missionaries and members gathered to celebrate these things at the site where Elder John A. Widstoe of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles offered the July 24, 1929 dedicatory prayer of what was then Czechoslovakia. The dedication site is on Priest Hill, near the Karlstejn Castle. It is a small, beautiful, hidden spot where members and missionaries have gathered for many, many years. Elder Widstoe described the spot as a natural temple. For all those who attended this weekend's festivities, being at the monument site very much felt like being in the temple. During the original dedicatory services in 1929, it was noted that for the missionaries serving in this mission, "working in harmonie and in unison would bring success." Notes of Dedicatory Service of 1929, p. 1. Indeed, Elder Widstoe urged the missionaries to "conduct themselves in such a way that the Lord may be able to help them." Id. Thus, it has always been for the missionaries of this mission to access the Lord's blessings by choosing unity and obedience over disagreement and disobedience."

Friday was a super special day! Sestra Holland and I got up at 5:30am, and the elders drove us in their car almost 3 hours to Prague where all the missionaries in the whole Czech Republic met at the train station. It was so cool, we all got on one train and basically took it over! We went up to Karlštejn and had a picnic lunch, did some announcements, and then hiked up the hill to the spot where the mission was dedicated. And there was a surprise, a camera crew had come to film our celebration because they want to use it in a mormon message! I don't really know any more details than that, but we're excited to see what happens! 
At the top of the hill we had a really awesome, spiritual program. Musical numbers, testimonies, talks, and then a moment of silence at the end. I always get so re-energized by trainings, but this was a training like I had never had before, it was amazing! 
And then as everyone was walking back down, no one was really paying attention to what time it was, and then all of a sudden we only had 5 minutes to make it to our train back! There was just a giant hurd of missionaries running down the streets back to the train station, and we were all carrying packages and boxes from mail and our orders. The people we were passing were pretty confused, we all just thought it was funny. In the end we all made it to the train and safely back to Prague. Then Ses. Holland and I and the elders took roadtrip number 2 back to Brno. We got back just in time for dinner and planning and bedtime. It was such a great experience, I really hope my email can do it justice. :)

The gospel is true everyone. This is the Lord's work and he is behind it every step of the way. The Czech Republic has been preparing to have the gospel for such a long time, and I am so blessed to be a part of it now. It is amazing to see and hear the progress being made. I love this work, I love the gospel, and I love the people of the Czech Republic. 

I hope you all have a great week. Thanks for your love, support, and prayers, I can definitely feel them! Love you all!!

S láskou,

Sestra Schaerrer

PS - I'll send some pictures :)
 
Ses. Donaldson (visiting), Ses. Bailey and me with castle Karlštejn in the background. And a train full of missionaries on the way back to Prague! (right after we all just sprinted to catch the train!)

 

Monday, July 20, 2015

I'm meeellllttttiiinnnngggg....

Heeellloooooo Everyone!!

Well it's been another super hot week here in Brno! It's been pretty ridiculous, I just walk down the street and I feel like I'm melting!! And my skin has gotten a few shades darker, so there are pros and cons. :)

Last Monday we went to the Brno Zoo with the elders. It was really fun. It was super hot and we were all kind of tired, but it was good. Sestra Holland had never been to a zoo before so it was her very first time. I think she had the most fun out of all of us haha. After we walked around looking at everything, we ate lunch at the tiger restaurant, and it was pretty good. 

On Tuesday morning we got a text from Miroslav, one of our investigators. He's a tram driver and he had sent us what time he was going to be at our stop, so we could get on and see him. It had been a while since we last met with him, so we moved some stuff on our schedule around and we able to meet him. We got on and he told us that he would have a break at the end of the line, and that we could talk and have a short lesson then. So we waited and after everyone got off, Miroslav drove the tram to the end of the line and then called us up to the front. We got up there and he LET US DRIVE THE TRAM!! That's not a skill every missionary aquires ;). Anyway then we had a short lesson before he had to head back the other direction. He's so cool. He's come a long way in the gospel, and we definitely think he's ready to get baptized. :)

Also on Tuesday, we were English contacting, and I ran into a young girl who was passing out flyers for another free english class! I was talking to her about what she was doing, what I was doing, and then she had to get back to work. As she was leaving she said to me "You should probably just speak English with people, your Czech is really hard to understand." Heart. Crushed. I had absolutely zero desire to finish the contacting block, or even talk to anyone the rest of the day. And unfortunately, I had told her about our English class, and she ended up coming to it later that night. I felt an inappropriate amount of negative feelings toward this girl. But I'm doing my best to do the missionary thing and forgive. :)

Wednesday we went and had dinner with Adam and Eliška. They aren't investigators anymore, but they had been meeting with the missionaries for a while. They are very strong catholics, and every once in a while they invite the missionaries over for dinner. We went and it was soooo good! And the best part, was while we were eating and talking. I said something, I don't remember what, and Eliška looks up really surprised and says, "What you said just now, if I hadn't known you were from America, I would have thought you were a native!" So that kind of made up for the mean teenage girl the day before.
After dinner we went to Petrov to meet Miroslav. We played petank (someone please look up how to spell it for me) for a while, and then read together in the Book of Mormon. We were talking and he said something that really touched me. I can't remember the exact words, but it was something like "I'm really grateful for the gospel, I wish I had found it earlier in my life, but this was God's will." I can't really explain why, but that little testimony just touched my heart. He is so ready for baptism, we are all so excited. It's been a long journey with him and now he's ready. 

Saturday we had a singing display in the morning, which went well except it was SO HOT!!! We were all just melting! And then after that, we went to Vilém's house with all the YSA and the elders, and a couple of investigators, for like a summer YSA party thing. We showed up and all the YSA were in the pool and it was super hot, and I don't think I've ever not wanted to be a missionary so bad my whole mission so far! But it was good. While eveyone was in the pool, the missionaries played basketball, and ping pong, and soccer, and tried to keep ourselves distracted haha. It was really good though and we all had fun. 

Yesterday church was really good. It was another really hot day and the chorister passed out in sacrament meeting. But she was okay. It just added a little excitement to the meeting. :) After church we had lunch and then went tracting up by the zoo. One thing about people in the Czech Republic in the summer is that they wear next to no clothing when they are at home, but they still answer the door! So we saw a lot more of the Czech people than we really wanted to, but we ended up teaching a few lessons so it was good. We also ran into our friend from Egypt again on the way home. It's been three or four times now that we've seen him around town, and we exchanged numbers this time and he's pretty interested in learning about what we believe. I don't know if he'll get baptized anytime soon, but he wants to learn. So we might meet with him sometime this week. 

Well, it's just been another week here in the Czech Republic. Sometimes excited, sometimes less than excited, but always hard work! We've been really pushing ourselves and we've been seeing the results, and we definitely see the Lord's hand in our work!

I hope you all have a great week this week, and I hope it's not as hot where you are as it is here!

S laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer

PS - I'll send some pictures :)
 
 At the zoo. I drew the Plan of Salvation on one of the chalk boards. :)


 
 

One more at the zoo, us driving the tram, and Sestra Holland pranking the elders by putting a really spicy pepper in their spagetti sauce!
 Oops, here's me driving :)

 
 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Miracles, Squash, and a Mild Case of Food Poisoning

Howdy Everyone!

It's been another HOT week here in Brno, it actually rained a little bit, and that cooled things down, but then it was even more humid! But I guess there has to be opposition in all things...

On Monday we went and played Squash with a man named Alan Wood. He's really cool, I think I might have written about him before, he isn't really interested in the church, but he loves missionaries, so we keep contact with him. So he invited us to play squash, and it was the first time I had ever played and I really liked it. It's hard, but I think I kind of got the hang of it. And at the end, since it was my first time ever, Al let me keep the squash ball as a souvenir! 

Tuesday we had lunch with the Baty's (the senior couple who work in the archives) and with a less active named Diego. Diego is from Italy and doesn't speak any Czech, which is kind of why he is less active, it's hard for him to really participate in the branch when he doesn't speak Czech. After lunch we went down into the archives with Elder Baty and it was SO COOL! I knew that they worked with family history stuff, but I didn't really know what they do. They take pictures of census records so that they can be indexed, Elder Baty showed us how they do it, and then bore his testimony about how important the work is, and how they receive a lot of help from the other side of the veil. It was really awesome!

On Wednesday morning, we got up, and then met one of our investigators, Miroslav, on a tram because he's a TRAM DRIVER! So we got on the tram he was driving, and he showed us how to do it. Then later that same day we went over to his house because he wanted to bake something for us. He made us lots of things. He made us sorbet, a cinnamon roll thing, and some juices. Unfortunately, sorbet has raw egg white in it, and he made the juices in the same machine he made sorbet in, and with that unfortunate combination Sestra Holland and I got pretty sick the next day. But on the bright side, the cinnamon roll thing was super good, and he picked his own baptism date!! 

Thursday, Sestra Holland and I were sick all morning, but we were feeling better by lunch time so we still did everything we had on plan. It was hard, but we did it. Thursday was also my 1/4 mark, isn't that so crazy? I'm 1/4 of the way done with my mission! It seems like so much, and so little all at the same time.

Friday was Elder Brittner's birthday! I got him a pistachio chocolate bar, he loves pistachios, but it melted since it was so hot. I basically gave him a bag of pistachio flavored hot chocolate, I don't really know how it turned out. 

Saturday was kind of crazy. We had lessons fall through and reschedule and stuff all over the place! We had a lesson planned with a member, but the investigator didn't show up. So we went and got ice cream with the member, and while we were walking we ran into an investigator who we had a lesson with later in the day. So we asked him if we could do the lesson then if he wasn't busy and he said yes. So we sat on a bench and started the lesson. In the middle of the lesson, the member with us was bearing his testimony and sharing his experience with baptism, when the investigator just bursts out "I gotta go!" and straight up runs away from our lesson! We still don't know what happened but we're not planning on seeing him again...

On Sunday we had church. It was mine and Elder Galbraith's turn to translate in sacrament meeting, so we were sitting together at the back. Then Elder Galbraith gets asked to pass the sacrament. So I translated the whole first half of the meeting. Then Elder Galbraith was going to translate Ses. Holá's talk, but I knew the story she was talking about and he didn't recognize it, so I translated the story she was sharing and then gave the mic to Elder Galbraith for the rest of the talk. Then Elder Galbraith was supposed to translate the next talk, but the guy was talking really really fast and he just sat there for a second, not saying anything, and then just says "I can't do it" and gives the mic to me! ME! Elder Galbraith has been here for like a year and a half and I've been in the Czech Republic for TWO MONTHS! He thinks I can translate this guy? Anyway I did my best, and after the talk was over Elder Galbraith told me, "I don't know how you just did that." I was pretty proud of myself, but THE GIFT OF TONGUES IS REAL!!!!!

Then Sunday night, we were coming back from meeting with a less active, and we really really wanted to find just one new investigator. We were on the tram home when I told Sestra Holland, "We should get off here, take a different tram, and then walk through the park to get home." I just thought it was a good idea. So we do, and on the way I told her, "there's a new investigator waiting for us in the park." We got to the park and talked to a few different people, and they all blew us off, and then we were walking when we hear "Ahoj!" We look over and there's a guy on a bench, and we had talked to him before on the street, but he also had kind of blew us off. We walked over to him and he asked if we wanted to sit down. So we sat down and talked for a while about a lot of different things, not necessarily gospel related, when we see two members of the branch walking through the park! So we yelled hi to them and they came over, and they started talking to Honza (the guy on the bench) and they started talking about the gospel! Basically we had a really impromptu member lesson! Then, for him to count as a new investigator, we had to teach a lesson (done) and then set up for a specific time to meet again. So we asked him if we could meet again and he said "I don't know, I don't want to promise anything..." and we asked if we could exchange numbers, he said okay, and then he said, "How about Thursday at 5?" MIRACLES HAPPEN PEOPLE! It was soooo crazy!

Sorry for the long email everyone, so much is happening in Brno, this isn't even half of it! I know this gospel is true and our work here in the Czech Republic definitely isn't in vain! We've been seeing so many miracles, we just have to keep working hard!

I hope you all have an awesome week and I'll talk to you later!

S laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer

PS I'll send some pictures :)
 
My first squash ball, learning how to drive a tram, eating a cinnamon roll thing and raw eggs, and some yogurts I found at the store. :)
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Hot, Hot, Hot!

Hello Everyone!!

Hope you all had a great 4th of July!! We thought about it, but we didn't really do much. Ses. Holland and I bought a watermelon and some Coke to celebrate America's birthday, but that was pretty much it. :)

Well it has been a busy week! I've been noticing this mission phenomenon a lot more lately, where the days seem really long, but the weeks go by really fast. And I just love it here in Brno, this city is so amazing and exciting!

So this week, on Monday us and the elders went to a big church on a hill here in Brno called Petrov. I'll add pictures, but basically it's just a really really big church/cathedral. It was really cool and really old. The architecture and the art work are all so elaborate, it was really cool to walk around and look at everything. We even got to go up into the bell tower and look out over Brno!
Later we met with Bara, the miracle that walked into sacrament meeting last week. She is so amazing! She just belongs in our church and we can tell she can feel that. She's going camping for like a week and a half, but we gave her a Book of Mormon and we're going to meet with her as soon as she gets back!

On Tuesday I had to go to the doctor cuz I've had a rash for the past few weeks. Nothing big, but no one at the hospital spoke English, so it was kind of an adventure explaining what was wrong and understanding what they wanted me to do. But in the end it all worked out, #missionaryblessings.

On Wednesday it was sooooo HOT!! This whole week has been really hot, but Wednesday was bad because it was hot and we got lost! We were trying to meet with a guy named Albert, he's super cool, he's from Ghana and he looks like he's maybe 25, but he's actually 39!! And on Wednesday we found out he's engaged! Which is cool but we had no idea!! We also found out his friend Michal, who we had also been teaching, is married! We had no idea about that either which is really awkward becuase we think this girl in the branch likes him. We haven't found out how to break it to her yet that he's married... 

Then we had a lesson with one of our investigators, Miroslav. He's really cool, we went to his daughter's ballet last week, but we've been having a hard time with him. He's super nice in person and a great guy and stuff, but whenever we teach him with a member, he ends up fighting with the member. No matter who it is or what we're talking about he ends up fighting with the members. And it's really frustrating because if he's going to get baptized, he needs to get along with the members!

Thursday we had training! I love training, and it was here in Brno so we didn't have to go anywhere. It was also cool because all of the missionaries in Slovakia come to Brno for training. So I met a lot of people I had never seen before. And Ses. Ratcliffe was there, and it was really good to see her. Her companions kept telling me, "Oh, you're Ses. Schaerrer, I feel like I know you already, Ses. Ratcliffe has told me all about you!" So I hope it's all good things! Haha
After training we had game night, and we playing Petank (no idea how to spell it but it's like Bacchi ball, don't know how to spell that either) and we also played Ping pong. I'm getting pretty good at ping pong, maybe by the time I come home I'll be a pro. :)
After game night we had a ton of stuff to carry to our apartment, and Vilém, a member in the branch helped us a ton, he carried a box of Books of Mormon all the way to our building for us, which is a pretty long walk. He also has helped us a lot with Miroslav. Vilém is so awesome!
Also on Thursday, the Archibald's went home. They were the senior couple incharge of FHE and YSA stuff and they were so awesome! We're so sad they are gone but happy for them to be home. I'll send the last picture we took together before they left. 

Friday was another really hot day, and we spent pretty much the whole day tracting and trying to find less active members. So we were outside for just hours and hours in the hot sun! We were dying! But it was good, we found some good people and we know where some less actives live now, so I guess it was worth it haha. 

Saturday was the 4th of July! We did a singing display in the morning with the Baty's (another senior couple, they're incharge of family history and they work in the archives) and that was really fun! Then we went to lunch together afterwards, the Baty's are just so fun to be around!
Then we had a lesson with one of our investigators named David. He's a really strong Catholic, and teaching him can be super hard. We actually should have dropped him by now, but we pray about it and just feel like we can't get. So this lesson we committed him to live like a Mormon for a month. The hardest part for him is not drinking, but he can do it. He's going to follow all of the commandments and come to church every Sunday for a month, we're hoping he'll be able to tell a difference and find out that our message is true. After that, if he really still doesn't think it's true, we'll drop him. We've pretty much done everything we can.
Then we had weekly planning and Ses. Holland and I ate a whole watermelon together. We also had weekly planning in the Archibald's old apartment because ours was so hot and we had like 12 flies in there and it was just bad, so we went to the Archibald's haha. 

Yesterday, Sunday, was fast Sunday and boy was it hot! Again! We did our best to fast all day, and we didn't eat food, but after church we just had to have water, for being outside that much and everything we do, we would have had some serious health problems if we didn't have water. David came to church, and a little girl named Fernanda. Fernanda's mom wants us to teach her, even though neither of them are members. 
After church, David wanted us to go to a Catholic mass with him (one of his conditions for his month-as-a-mormon) and that was interesting. We talked about it afterwards and I told him that it was all good and everything, but I just feel like something is missing. And I related it to Joseph Smith and how a lot of churches had truth, but all of them were missing something. We had a pretty good discussion and he's still going to live like a mormon for a month, so we'll see how that goes. :)

Well that's pretty much all of the major events of the week. It's not too exciting, but I hope it wasn't too boring either. 

I just wanted you all to know that the church is true. I've been kind of tested the past couple weeks, especially teaching David because he askes such deep questions, and all I can say is I don't know all the answers, but I've tested it and I know that our church, and the Book of Mormon are true. I really do know that it's true. 

I love you all, I hope that you have a great week wherever you are, and I hope that wherever you are, it isn't as hot there as it is here!! On the bright side, I'm getting a nice tan complete with embarrassing tan-lines. ;)

Talk to ya'll next week!

S laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer
 
Pictures! From our trip to Petrov.

 


Our last picture with the Archibald's, crashing their apartment for weekly planning, and some other pictures around Brno.
 
 
 


 And here is a video of the fountain on one of the Naměstí's! I had a better video, but it was too big to send, sorry!
video