Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Hello Friends and Family,
Monday: Interviews in Prague, and dinner with the mission pres and his wife.
Tuesday & Wednesday: We're not really sure, because the Pohorelicti are going to Kosice. Probably just work and contact?
Thursday: Fly home.
So Friday is our last day in our area, and then it's a lot of traveling. I'm a little bit scared and nervous, but I'm sure it will all work out. There are four of us going home from Slovakia, so all of us and our companions are probably travelling to Prague together.
Moral of the story is that I don't know if I'm going to be able to email next week or not before I go home. But if you still want to email me, you can, because my missionary email account will stay open I think 30 days after I get released. So whether in Prague or in Utah, I'll still see emails next week. :)
So since this is the last "real" email, I better make it good.
This past weekend was amazing. On Saturday we went to Bratislava for a district conference, and President Kearon came! It was really cool because I was here last year when he came too! Well, in Prague. We heard some great talks about faith, charity, and enduring to the end.
Before the Saturday night session started, President Kearon was walking around talking to everyone, and he came over to say hello to me. We started talking and I told him that I saw him last year, and that now I only have two weeks left on my mission. He got kind of quite, a little teary eyed, and looked at me and said, "Just think where we would be, without the last two weeks of Christ's mission." It was probably the most spiritual 10 seconds I've ever had. That man is so inspired. Since he told me that, I've been studying the last couple weeks of Christ's life in all of the gospels and Jesus the Christ, and it's been pretty powerful.
Then, during the Sunday session, there was kind of an awkward situation, and it was 100% my fault haha. The missionaries were asked to sing a musical number during the conference (I was in charge of putting it together), but about half way through the meeting, it didn't look like they were planning on us singing. So during the rest hymn, we all stood up to sing, and I went up to the front to tell the man who was conducting that we had prepared something, and if it could fit in the schedule, we'd like to sing it. So after a few other talks, the conductor gets up and says, "Now we'll hear from Ses. Schaerrer, and the missionaries." So I walk up to apologize (because we actually had sung the hymn that was the musical number already as a congregation) and the conductor comes up behind me and says, "No, first, share your testimony, and then the missionaries can come up and sing." So I ask, "Wait, what? I'm supposed to share my testimony??" And he just looks at me and looks like I'm crazy for not knowing that, haha. So I apologize to everyone for the awkward series of events that just took place, share my testimony as best as I could (I was a little caught off guard, understandably, this is a district conferene, all of Slovakia is here!), and then the missionaries came up and sang and I played the piano and it was fine. So, I got to share my testimony during district conference in front of President Kearon (in Slovak).
Then yesterday, Monday, we had our training also in Bratislava. The Brno zone missionaries came and it was really great. We talked about how to explain foreign gospel terms simply, and to really teach to the individual. Ses. Pohorelicka trained us on how to know if we were successful missionaries. She told us we already were, but that we can be even more successful. :)
Then, because it was the last training of the transfer, all the "dying" missionaries shared their testimonies. A lot of tears were shed, and a lot of pictures taken. It's all really weird. I still feel like it hasn't really hit me yet, and I don't know if it will until I'm actually stepping off the plane in Salt Lake. The missionaries I'm going home with are all really amazing, and I'm grateful that I've been able to serve with them throughout my mission.
Well, to end my last email, I'd like to share with you a poem and a testimony. The poem is one I got in a Christmas card from some members in Ostrava. It was in Czech, but I'll type it in English for you. I like this poem a lot and I feel like it's pretty fitting to my mission experience.
I wanted strength, so I received adversity to strengthen me.
I wanted wisdom, so I received problems so I could solve them.
I wanted wealth, so I received a brain and strength so I could work.
I wanted courage, so I received trials so I could overcome them.
I wanted love, so I received people in need so I could help them.
I wanted success, so I received opportunities.
I didn't receive anything that I wanted, but I received everything that I needed.
I feel like I wanted a lot of different things when I came on my mission. Some I received, and some I didn't, but looking back, I really did receive all the things that I needed. I especially feel this when I think about how unique my mission really is. I never thought I would be the one to serve in Slovakia, and that I would serve here 6 months, but I can't think of any better way my mission could have turned out. I've learned so much from serving in both countries, with lots of amazing people and I wouldn't change it for the world. Maybe I didn't become fluent in either language, and I didn't help baptize thousands of people, but I have learned lessons, and created relationships that will last eternities.
This gospel is true. There is no power in heaven or hell that can beat the power men and women have when they worthily live the gospel. God is our Father and our Creator. He is all-powerful and all-knowing, and yet He takes the time to care about you and me individually. Jesus is the Christ, He is our Savior, our Redeemer, and our older Brother. He came to pay a price He didn't owe because we had a debt that we couldn't pay by ourselves. Joseph Smith restored the gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness again to the earth, and because of that we have the authority to perfom saving ordinances that last into eternity. God has a plan for each of us, and all we have to do is trust Him. He gave us the Book of Mormon, so that we could learn and grow and to become more like Him. My testimony and my relationship with God have both grown trumendously on my mission and I am incredibly grateful for the experiences I have had.
Thank you everyone, for your love and support throughout my entire mission. I'm grateful for all of you, and your examples to me.
I love you all, have a wonderful week!
I forgot, we also went to a castle last week! The biggest castle in central Europe, Spišsky Hrad!
6am this morning (with the castle in the background)
Monday, August 22, 2016
Hello Everyone!Time really is flying here in Kosice. It feels like our week goes like this: Monday, Friday, Monday Friday, Monday, Friday. And before you know it the transfer is over! I can't believe that I only have two and a half weeks on my mission.
Our district on a city tour today from Prezident Van Dalen, us in Mat'o's car, Sestra Burdigova, and us mushroom hunting with Mat'o.
Monday, August 15, 2016
Hello Everyone!!Soooooo much has happened this week! I don't know if I have time to write about all of it. Sorry these won't be very detailed explanations, but I'll try!
It was a really great week, so much happened. And I really feel so completely blessed to have been able to go to Bratislava and back for the baptism. The church is true and God loves us, a lot!
Have a wonderful week everyone!
Monday, August 8, 2016
Hi everyone!Everything is so crazy right now, we're always pretty busy and I never have enough time to write a good weekly email. I'm debating on whether or not I should just do little ones until I go home, and then write one big long one about my last month. But then again, who wants to read one really long email? Haha
Ses. McPheeters turned 20 on Monday! She's so old! On Tuesday we went to the Ukranian restaurant again, but with the elders this time.
The Indian restaurant we went to on Monday for Ses. McPheeters birthday, and the secret room in our church building, we call it the primary room... there's a dead bird on the floor. (There's no doors into this room, only windows, or else we'd do something about it.)
Monday, August 1, 2016
This is going to be really short because we're out of time.
This last week we had exchanges and training in Bratislava so from Thursday until late Saturday night we were in Bratislava. The exchange went well, and training was awesome. Then on Sunday President Pohorelicky and his wife visited us in Kosice. The Bowens (CES senior couple) also visited so we had a lot of people at church. For sunday school Ses. McPheeters and I taught a really powerful lessong about missionary work and I think the branch got really pumped to do it.
On Wednesday last week we also went with the Van Dalens to a disability center for a little party they had in honor of the Van Dalens because they have helped and worked with them for a while now. We sang there and it was a lot of fun.
I wish I had more time to talk about it because it was a great week, but I gotta go! I'll send some pictures though.
God has been with us this week. We learned a ton at training, and I was able to see one of the investigators that I taught when I was in Bratislava (Patrik) accept a baptismal date! We've also seen many other amazing miracles!
Have an amazing week this week everyone!
Travelling, Me and Patrik in Bratislava, and our branch and all the visitors on Sunday (two also came from Spain)!
Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Happy Pioneer Day everyone! Hope you had a great time celebrating the amazing people that helped get our church off the ground!
This past week was pretty normal overall. We had a few raining days, a few really, really hot days. And a few days in between.
On Tuesday, Ses. McPheeters and I went tracting in a new area just outside of Kosice where there are some really nice houses. First of all disclaimer: tracting isn't the most effect form of missionary work in the mission. But I give it a chance every now and again because with God and faith, anything is possible. Anyway, we were tracting and we ran the zvonek (like a doorbell, but from outside the fence) to a really nice looking house. A woman answered the window on the second floor, and said she didn't really want to talk, but that her husband is a pastor at the apostolic church and if we want she'll send him down to talk to us. So we said sure and he came down, and we had the most pleasant conversation I have ever had with a leader of another church. He didn't bash with us, he didn't tell us we didn't know what we're doing because we're just young girls. None of the normal stuff. He was very nice AND! AND he let us give him a Book of Mormon and our card! Never in my mission would I have ever thought that a pastor of the apostolic church would #1: talk to us without arguing, #2: Take our card, or #3: Take a Book of Mormon. I was a little bit in shock. Miracles really do happen. We just need him to get baptised and then convert his whole congregation and we'll start the Kosice Stake! :)
Then on Thursday we saw another miracle. We had been finishing our studies in our apartment, when we had to hurry to the church building for a lesson, and we get to the building and realize that we left our phone in our apartment. So our lesson doesn't come on time, and since we can't call them we decided to wait extra long, in case they are running late or something. While we're waiting (almost 25 minutes after our lesson was supposed to come, just to be sure) a woman (not our lesson) walks into the building and tells us, "I met with missionaries about a year ago, and I thought today would be a good day to come back." MIRACLE! If we hadn't have forgotten our phone and waited extra long, no one would have been in the building and we wouldn't have met this woman. AND while we were talking to her, our original lesson walked in, and since they were both women, I was able to teach this lady while Ses. McPheeters taught our planned lesson in the other room. God definitely has a divine plan!
Then on Saturday we were able to help a really cool guy and his girlfriend clean up the yard around their house. They had a lot of wood palets that they were cutting down, and they also have sheep. So Ses. McPheeters and I helped the girlfriend clean out the sheep pen, and the elders help move around wood palets. They also had a green house that we helped with after we finished with the sheep, and in the greenhouse we found the BIGGEST WASP I HAVE EVER SEEN!! I think it's even too big to be called a wasp! I'll send a picture. Other than that it was really fun to work on a little farm and they were so happy we could help them. They also gave us a life time supply of tomatoes (the tomato plants grew taller than me!!).
Then, as part of our Sunday, we went on a wild goose chase. A man had called us during church, but we didn't have his number in our phone already. So we called him afterwards and he told us he wanted to meet and talk to us. So we set up to meet with him on the namesti (town square). We get to the namestie and can't find him anywhere. We're calling him, and searching for him, and in the end we figured out that we are in Kosice and he's in a city called Banska Bystrica. We have no idea how he got our number. We were about to offer to send him the number for the missionaries in Baska, but then we found out he was homeless and only wanted money, and he had already asked the missionaries in Banska for money. Anyway, we literally ran all over the namestie for like 30 minutes and it was so hot!!
So pretty much that's what's happened this last week. This week we'll only be in our area for a few days because we have an exchange and a training in Bratislava, so we'll be gone Thursday, Friday, and get back late Saturday night. So we have to work really hard these few days to make up for being gone.
The gospel is true, and I know that the Lord is watching over his little branch in Kosice (on Sunday in church it was 6 missionaries, 2 visitors, and 1 member). There is a lot of potential for growth here, we just have to be creative and find out how to do it.
Have a wonderful week everyone! Be safe if you are traveling, and don't get sunburned!
Us tracting (Ses. McPheeters' first time!), the wasp! that's my ring next to it!, and us at service :)
More service pictures :) The sheep pen is all clean (the white stuff is like a sanitizer)
Monday, July 18, 2016
Hello Everyone,Well, I have no idea what the weather has been like wherever you are, but here in Slovakia for the past 3 days it's been rainy and cold! Which is really weird because I was reading in my journal about this time of year last year, and it was so hot I thought my shoes would melt to the side walk!
Pictures :) Us with our sweaters and umbrellas in the middle of July, the sunset the other day, and our completed service project (almost, it needs more wood chips).
Monday, July 11, 2016
Hello Everyone,So basically, this last week went by really fast. Ses. McPheeters and I are doing really well together, it's just like old times except this time we actually know what we're doing!!
Eva, the service lady, she also took us on a hike today! I'm realizing I don't even have very many pictures of this week. Oh well, next week I'll do better!! :)
Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Hope you've had a good, hot week, and a wonderful 4th of July celebration! (We went out for burgers.)
So this past week was the last week of the transfer, I feel like a lot of things happened, but I can't really remember very many of them because I just got transfered to Košice!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
If you don't know where Kosice (Koe-shee-tsa) is, then I'll tell you. It's the farthest east city in the mission, which means it's in Slovakia. AND I don't know if you remember but it was an extremely rare situation for me, a Czech sister missionary, to ever serve in Slovakia at all. THEN it was an extremely rare situation for me to stay in Slovakia for a second transfer. THEN it's even rarer, so rare that I should buy a lottery ticket, that I, a Czech sister missionary, would serve a THIRD transfer in Slovakia, and that all the way over in Kosice!! Can you taste the rarity?? OH! I forgot, another rare thing. Czech sister missionaries rarely repeat companions, but who am I serving with in Kosice? Sestra McPheeters. My "daughter" as we say in mission life, because I trained her two transfers ago in Bratislava. Now she's "killing" me in Kosice because this is my last transfer. It's pretty weird, but we're excited to serve together again, and Kosice is gorgeous, I'll make sure to attach some pictures. :)
So basically last week was spent visiting as many people as we possibly could, because Ses. Van Langeveld and I knew that one of us would be leaving. On Friday we had our Meet-the-new-mission-president meeting in Bratislava and it was super cool! President and Sestra Pohorelicky came and the whole training/meeting was in Czech/Slovak. It was really great and all the missionaries were pleasantly surprised that they could understand everything. The new president is going to bring in a lot of good changes, I'm really really excited. :)
On Sunday in Relief Society, they asked me to bare my testimony, since I didn't get a chance to do it in sacrament meeting. I told them how over the weekend my testimony of God's plan had been strengthened. And that it was strengthened in how God knows what we need, even when we think that we need or want somethings else.
I was convinced that if I left Bratislava for my last transfer, that I would return to the Czech Republic to finish my mission where I started it. In the language that I started it in. BUT God knows better than we do, and he sent me in the complete opposite direction, to learn a different dialect of Slovak, and not Czech, to a branch which is the smallest that I've served in since I left Liberec at the end of my first transfer, and obviously to learn some lessons that I haven't learned yet. I don't really know what's waiting for me here in Kosice, but I know that I'm here for a reason, and I'll figure it out. :)
This church is true everyone! Have a wonderful week, and enjoy some pictures of my last week in Bratislava/first week in Kosice!
Last pictures in Bratislava, and first pictures in Košice! :)
Monday, June 27, 2016
Hope you've all had a great week! It's been really hot here in Bratislava. Ses. Van and I had a 3 hour contacting block this week and we thought, "It's so hot, where will all the people be?" And we thought a lake park by our house would be a good idea. Bad idea. We got there and basically had to just keep looking at the ground because the amount of clothing at the lake was very minimal. You could say we won't be contacting there any more. :)
On Sunday, Pepo passed the sacrament! It was kind of cute because he was really excited, but also really nervous. He did a great job though, and he was smiling ear to ear.
This is going to probably be a short email. A lot happened last week, but it all went so fast that it's kind of a blurr. On Friday we had our concert. It wasn't as well put together like our last concert, but it worked. It was more like a talent show. Ses. Van, Elder Brown, and I did the cup song with missionary lyrics, and that went well. Pepo played guitar and sang, Elder Bednar played his harmonica, Elder Boam played his violin, and we all sang together. Pepo even wrote a small skit for him, Ses. Van, and I to do together, so that was interesting. I'll try to send pictures and videos.
Other than that it was just really hot. And since we had training on Monday the week went by pretty fast.
Tomorrow President McConkie and family go home, and on Friday we'll meet the new mission president. He'll do a mini training to get to know him, and then we'll all have interviews with him. Then the next day we'll get our transfer calls, and on Monday everyone will move. I could either stay here in Bratislava, or I could go back to the Czech Republic. Really anything is possible, so we'll see what happens.
Have a great week everyone! Drink lots of water and wear sunscreen because at least here in Bratislava it's going to be another hot one! And the church is still true, even when it's hot outside. :)
Sestra Schaerrer :)
pictures from Devin castle, fireworks out our apartment window, and Pepo before he passed the sacrament