Tuesday, April 26, 2016

District Conference and Training

Ahoj Everyone!!

So you might have noticed that today is Tuesday, and not Monday. That's because yesterday we had training, and the few days before that we had District Conference here in Slovakia. It was a super powerful weekend!

Earlier in the week though we had an awesome Relief Society activity. The branch celebrated the birthday of Relief Society, even though it was in March. And then the Hardwicks, the senior missionary couple, explained what a temple dedication is like because we'll get to watch a broadcast of the Freiburg Temple Re-dedication in September, since it's the closest temple to our mission. The sisters afterwards made handmade white handkercheifs for the dedication. Ses. McPheeters and I also got to make handkercheifs and mine turned out really well, I'm really impressed with myself haha. It was a super fun activity.

Then Saturday was the adult session of district conference. In the morning I had my interview with President McConkie, which is always awesome, I love interviews! In my interview he asked me, "So, Sister Schaerrer, do you like it here in Bratislava?" I told him of course I do, it's a great city with amazing members, and he asked me, "So... you wouldn't mind staying here another transfer?" and I said, "No..." haha. He told me that he still hadn't figured out the transfer yet, but that he would keep that in mind while he was working on it. So we'll see what happens. :) 

Anyway, Saturday evening we had the adult session of district conference, it was super cool. Lots of missionaries and members from all over were there. Elder Jouttenous, an area authority seventy was there and he talked a lot about unity in our branches. I think it's really what the branches everywhere in our mission need right now. 
Sunday morning we had the general session and it was equally as powerful. Lots of good talks that I think will help the branches to work more in unity and with love with one another and with investigators and missionaries. It was truly inspired.

Then yesterday we had our combined zone conference. It was SO GOOD!! The Czech-Brno Zone came to Bratislava for it, and of course all the slovak missionaries were there too. It was really nice for me to see my fellow Czech missionaries. I love being here in Slovakia, but it was good to see some old friends. :) Actually, my whole MTC group was there minus one elder, Elder Terry, who is serving in the office right now. So we all got together and took a picture, I'll make sure to send it. It was really fun to catch up with everyone. The training was super powerful too. President McConkie is such a powerful teacher. We talked about a lot of different things, and I know that every one of us missionaries needed to hear those specific things. Especially Ses. McConkie's training on potential. It's pretty easy for us to get down on ourselves, especially after being rejected all day, but that shouldn't make us lose sight of our potential. We also have to see investigators and members with God's eyes to really see their potential. It was so good.
And as a surprise for the visiting Czech missionaries, we had Halušky catered to us for our lunch. It was the most halušky I think I've ever seen in one room, it was really fun.

Anyway, it's been a pretty spiritually uplifting weekend, and it kind of made me freak out that I'm going home in just over two transfers (and Elder Oviatt kept bugging me about it, he told me his goal was to make everyone as trunky as possible). But it just made me want to get out and work as hard as I can, our time is already limited as missionaries, and my personal time is even more limited. There is no better work than missionary work!

Have a wonderful week everyone, the next time we talk it will be May! Can you believe it? 

s laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer
Tatarak (raw beef mixed with raw egg on toast, so delicious!), giant singing display on sunday, our MTC group, and my new Slovak name tag!


Monday, April 18, 2016

Good, Better, and Best

Hello Everyone!

So I if you might remember, last week we had an interesting problem with finding new investigators, and helping them stay investigators. So this last week, when we were doing weekly planning, we really analyzed what we were doing as missionaries and what we could be doing better. Turns out, there is a lot we can be doing better. 

This past week I really strengthened my testimony about good, better, and best. As missionaries, we realized that we had been making good decisions, but not the best decisions. And definitely not the best decisions. It was a special experience to sit down together as a companionship, and talk about what we did wrong, and how we can improve. It was kind of hard, and a little awkward, but a lot of good goals came out of it, and I'm really excited to put them into action this week. 
After we had finished weekly planning (on Saturday) we went out and worked hard, and then we worked really hard again on Sunday, and we saw a lot of miracles. I'm not really sure that we deserved to see the miracles that we did, since we hadn't been the best missionaries that we could have been earlier in the week. But it was a sweet experience to realize that God loves His children, and He loves His missionaries, and He recognizes when we put in a sincere effort to change and to strive to be better. I really felt His love yesterday however deserved or not it was, it was there. It was also just an amazing experience because we realized that we hadn't done some calls and texts that we should have done earlier in the week, and we could have chosen between doing those calls, and doing some extra contacting. I know that both of those decisions are good, but we chose the better decision by getting out and contacting. It was an amazing contacting block. Sometimes when you talk to people, you can actually see a physical response to the Holy Ghost touching someone's heart, and we were able to see that multiple times yesterday. That's what makes hours of contacting worth it. It was such a sweet tender mercy. 

Yesterday, in sacrament meeting, Ses. McPheeters and I both gave talks. It was an interesting experience haha. There are a lot of missionaries in this mission that have always served in really small areas and are used to giving talks all the time. Not me. I've served for the most part in bigger cities and areas, and although I can bear my testimony at any second's notice, I haven't given an official, themed talk, since my first transfer, almost a year ago. Needless to say I was a little rusty. It was also probably the longest talk I've ever given. Since there were only two speakers (Ses. McPheeters and myself) and I was going second, I had to take up all the time that Ses. McPheeters left me. She gave an awesome, powerful talk about tithing. I forget all the time that it's just her first transfer, she spoke great Slovak too. But unfortunately, I was left with around 25 minutes to fill. I think it went alright. I spoke about fasting and fast offerings. Afterwards a councilor in the branch presidency thanked us for our talks and told us that he had assigned us the topics that no one likes talking about. Then the Hardwicks told us that we handled some sometimes touchy subject very well. Overall, I think it was a success. My czech was a little sub-par though, it's been morphing into a weird mixture of Czech and Slovak, but I guess it makes sense since I've been here about 2 months now. 

Anyway, that's pretty much it! The work is moving forward, the weather is getting warmer, and we're still seeing miracles everyday (deserved and undeserved). The Lord's hand is really in this work and He helps and guides us everyday. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to be a missionary, I wouldn't rather be anywhere else in the world. :)

I love you all, have an amazing week!

s laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer
 Pics for the week!
More :)

Monday, April 11, 2016

Jedenáctého Dubna Dva Tisíce Šestnáct

Hello Everyone!

Wasn't Conference amazing!?!? We finally got to watch it, and in English, so that was great. Everyone I've talked to loved it! What a power house weekend of spiritual upliftment! I can't wait to keep reading and studying the talks over the next six months!

As we're winding down to the end of this transfer (we have 3 weeks left), I've been reflecting on what we've done while I've been in Bratislava. I've been thinking about what we've done to help the area here. I kind of feel like we had to start near the bottom when I first got here, because most of our investigators dropped us when they found out we weren't the other sisters. I can definitely see a lot of progress when I look at where we started and where we are now, but we definitely aren't the smoothe-running area that I think Bratislava has the potential to be.
This past week we taught a ton of lessons, but I don't think hardly any of them were sit down, planned ahead lessons. We had a lot of great street lessons, but that's where we've kind of been getting stuck. Our pool of people has certainly grown, we're in contact with quite a few people with awesome potential, but right now we're stuck with people who were counted as new investigators because we had an awesome street lesson, and they set up with us, and then the next week they cancelled or they didn't show up. So we end up not having any sit down lessons, and no member lessons, and then we have all of these not-really-but-technically-investigators.
It's just pretty complicated. We have so many great people, they just won't meet with us! Which leads us to more contacting, and more street lessons, and for some reason the new people we find do the exact same thing. I feel like we're in this vicious cycle of almost-progress. I really want to meet with these people, but I don't want to keep calling and texting and bugging them, but also, this message is important! I have faith that these people can come to know the gospel is true, they have so much potential and they are all great people, but they are all "busy" and can always meet "next week." I just feel a little bit stuck in a whirl pool.

Bratislava is growing, and doing well over all. The people in this branch are so amazing. I love them all so much. It's easy to get frustrated when you look at where the branch is and where you think it should be, but then you look at each individual member and you can just feel how much they love the gospel and how grateful they are for all the blessings they've received.

The work is moving forward, slowly but surely. There is a reason that we are meeting these awesome people, maybe they just aren't quite ready to hear everything that we have, and they just need a little more time. I know that with faith and hard work, we can really do a lot of good in this branch, and they deserve it.

The Lord really is behind this work. Sometimes we don't always see the reasons that people make the decisions they do, or why things have to be the way that they are, but I know that He knows, and that's all that really matters.

I hope you all have an amazing week, and that you continue to listen to the words spoken at conference. It was truly amazing and I already want more! Thomas S. Monson and all the leaders of the church are truly called of God, and it is a huge blessing to be able to hear what they have for us every six months. I love Conference!

Have an amazing week everyone! Thank you for all your love and support. :)

s laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer

Monday, April 4, 2016

Not-Quite-Conference Weekend :)

Hello Everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed Conference over the weekend, I did not. Actually, we just haven't seen it yet because it has to be translated first, so we'll watch it next week. :)

This week has gone pretty well. It's crazy how fast the time is flying, it's already week 6 of the transfer! When did that happen? 
This week we had some miracles with less actives. There is this one less active, her name is Monika, and she sometimes sends us these weird text messages about bad spirits are bugging her and telling her to leave the church, and normally we just call her afterwards and talk her through it and she's fine again. But this past week she wasn't answering the phone when we called, she told us the evil spirits would tell her not to answer the phone. But one day we ran into her on the street, and that was totally a miracle. We talked to her about inviting the Holy Ghost into her life by praying and reading the Book of Mormon, and she told us we were probably right and that she would try it. So then that was settled. 
Then Sunday morning, she had sent us 4 text messages before we had even woken up at 6:30, all about how she wants to leave the church and how can she leave the church and does she have to do any papers for that? Anyway, yesterday evening President Batka (Bratislava branch president) had some time to go with us to visit Monika at her apartment, and it was soooooo good. It was a super spiritual experience. We (the missionaries) didn't really say anything, but President Batka really calmed Monika down and talked her through all of her concerns and really did a lot for her. It strengthened my testimony that our leaders are really called of God and given a special spirit to discern what to do for the members of their branches. President Batka is awesome!! 

Then on Thursday we had an awesome exchange with Ses. Ratcliffe and Ses. Van Langeveld who are serving right now in Trenčín. They both came here to Bratislava and I think we all learned a lot together. We also taught so many lessons! I think that day we had 13 lessons! I mean both sets of sisters were in one area, but it was really cool to work with them for a day. They are both really great. :) 

It's really just been a great week. And the weather is getting better and we just have so much more energy and everyone on the street just seems happier when the weather is good. I'm excited for these next couple of weeks as we just kill it until the end of the transfer. It's going to be great!!

The church is so true! I've also had a few realizations over that past couple of days, that I actually will go home soon. I never really thought I would make it to this point, and now I'm here and I don't like it. But I'm just so grateful for the opportunity I've had to serve a mission, it's changed me in so many ways, and I would never trade the experiences I've had on my mission for anything. It's great to be a missionary!!

I love you all, I hope you have an awesome week, and feel free to re-watch conference with us on Saturday and Sunday! I love Conference!!

s laskou,

Sestra Schaerrer :)
 Our exchange with the Trencin sisters, and Ses. McPheeters watching lots of The District. :)