Monday, August 31, 2015

My First Week in the Field

Elder Shirley & Elder Bitner on a hill outside of Jicin (pronounced Yeecheen)

Elder Shirley with his first companion Elder Bitner (Bear River, UT)

A view of Charles Bridge in Prague

Elder Shirley & the group of new missionaries on first day in Prague

A view of Prague

Elder Shirley in front of Prague Castle

Prague Castle. Elder Shirley had a tour of the castle on first day in Prague.

Another view of Prague Castle

Elder Shirley's first Czech meal:  Svíčkova

August 31, 2015

Hey Everyone!

This past week and a half have been pretty crazy! I'll try to tell you everything that happened.

So the last couple days in the MTC felt pretty long. We said good-bye to our teachers, bought anything extra that  we needed, and packed everything up! On Monday morning, we woke up at 1:30 a.m. to leave the MTC. We got our passports and our visa and then traveled by bus to the airport. My group and I all got to the airport at sround 4:30 and our flight left at 6:55. We flew to Chicago and had a 7 hour layover there. I got to call my family which was awesome! After a lot of waiting around, we got on the plane and flew over the Atlantic to London. We got to London at 8 in the morning and then flew to Prague and I finally arrived in the Czech Republic at 1 o'clock this past Tuesday.

My mission president, President McConkie, met us at the airport. We drove to the mission home from there and dropped off all of our bags and suitcases. President McConkie then took the group of us 11 to a hill that overlooked all of Prague. He told us the story of how our mission was opened as we overlooked the city. After his story, we were taken on a walk around Prague. I got to see and go into the Prague Castle, walk across Charles Bridge, and see some of the other sites in Prague. For dinner, we had a traditional Czech dish called Svíčkova. It was pretty good. All the Czech food is heavy and it all tastes great. We slept in a small hotel that night.

Last Wednesday, we were assigned our trainers and our areas. The missionary that is training me is Starší Bitner. He is from Bear River Utah. My area is in Jičín (pronounced yeecheen). We left the mission home in Prague right after we were assigned our trainer and our area. It took about an hour and a half to get to Jičín from Prague. This transfer is my trainers last transfer in the mission field. His last and my first. I am learning a lot from him and I am glad I have him as my trainer. 

In the past week, we have done a lot of street contacting here. We teach a few people a short lesson everyday, but most people don't listen. I've already gotten used to being looked at weird and being rejected. This work is definitely something that I am not used to, but it'll be something that I'm learning to love.

My disttrict here is Elder Bitner and I and two Sister missionaries, Sister Angerhofer and Sister Stokes. They've both been here a while too, so I'm quite a bit younger than them. But they are a fun group and we all get along well.

On Friday we had a cool experience. I went tracting for the first time in a city next to Jičín called Sobotka. We had been knocking on people's doors for a good 2 hours and didn't have much success. We finally found a house that let us in. It was 3 siblings, all around the age of 30, and their father. One of the siblings said she had heard of a church and tried contacting us about a month earlier. She couldn't find the right number so she prayed that she could find our church. We were the answer to her prayer which was pretty cool. They have quite a few questions but they have agreed with everything that we have taught them so far.

The Czech language sounds much different here than I thought it sounded. The people speak super fast and it is hard to get used to. Honestly, I can't understand much of what is being said, but luckily my trainer knows the language and helps me out. Even though I can't speak that well yet, it's cool to see that the people here will still listen to what I am trying to say.

Church yesterday was a cool experience, one that I'm definitely not used to. There are about 40 members in our branch, which is the smallest church meeting that I have ever attended. The people that are members here are strong in the church though. Because I am new to the area, the had me introduce myself at the pulpit and bear my testimony. I struggled through it but everyone seemed to understand and enjoy it. 

That's about it for this week. The Czech Republic is awesome and serving as a missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is an amazing experience. Talk to you all next week! 

-Starší Shirley 


  1. Great stories and I love the pictures. Keep up the great work Elder!