Monday, November 23, 2015

Learning To Make Schnitzel

A picture from yesterday’s after-church lunch.  The Elders made dinner!  Schnitzel!  It was great!  Elder Shirley is quite the cook!  The shorter guy is a recent convert; he is awesome!  

Elder Shirley says that he has a new hobby

A store they found in Hradec Kralove - nothing to do with the LDS church though.

Spending the day in Hradec Kralove on an exchange

Another picture from Hradec Kralove

The Christmas tree is up in the town square and the first light snowfall fell this week.

November 23, 2015

While I thought I'd be emailing on Thursday, we are doing a half P-day today and half on Thursday for Thanksgiving dinner, so I’m writing today. I had a great week!
This week was another exchange week. I got to travel to Hradec Kralové again and serve a day with Elder Peterson, a zone leader there. We taught a lot of people on the street and had a few sit down lessons. I really enjoy going on exchanges, seeing a new city, and working with a different missionary for the day. You always learn something new from different missionaries.

We contacted a referral that we got from the Sisters this week and taught him a lesson. He said that he would be baptized if he came to know that it was true. We will be setting a date with him this next week when we meet!

At church yesterday, we had a TON of people there. There were around 70 people there, about 20 more than the usual. A lot of the Sister's investigators came and we had 3 less-actives come. It's exciting to see people come to church and fill the chapel that we have here. We are doing quite a bit of tracting recently, and are having some success. We found a few potentials, and somebody that said that they would come to church! We do get swore at quite a few times, but I can't understand so it doesn't even bother me! Haha. Other than, that, nothing too big happened.

It got cold here this week too, and we also got some snow! It has been snowing lightly for the past 2 days now. I will get to Skype this Christmas, probably from the Gunnell's computer (the senior missionary couple there in Jicin). I'm excited for that! I have heard that you emailed Sis. Gunnell. I think we're lacking quite a few ingredients for Thanksgiving dinner, but she is trying hard to make it good! We probably walk somewhere around 5 miles a day or so. Elder Petty (his companion) and I get along well. We had a few promising contacts this week, and a few promising lessons with less actives. For P-Day this week, we might try and go to Prachovské Skalý, which is a giant rock place close by. You'll have to look it up online. My district is really tight. It's just us two, the Gunnells, and Sister Boza and Sister Angerhofer. I have a good quote from Elder Gunnell this week. He said "God created man, and then rested.......then he created woman and since then, no one has rested hahaha. We thought that was pretty dang funny!

Love you all! Have a wonderful week! Happy Thanksgiving in a few days to everyone! We are already getting pretty excited for Christmas here.

-Starší Shirley

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Planning For Success

Elder Shirley after giving his first sacrament meeting talk in Czech

Elder Shirley's first talk written and given in the Czech language

November 16, 2015


This week Elder Petty and I saw some cool things happen here in Jičín!

First, on Tuesday, we had district meeting with the Sisters and with the Gunnells, and then afterwards, we did some contacting on the main street in Jičín. This time, we planned an entire contact lesson and planned that we wanted to find a woman that was pushing a stroller. We planned that she would like our message, but would say that she needed to go home and talk to her husband about it. When we actually went out and contacted, we found a lady with a stroller and she literally said that she liked our message but needed to go talk to her husband first.

Second, on Wednesday, we had a full day of contacting and tracting again. We planned a contact again, this time on Jesus Christ. We planned that we wanted to find a young guy. As we were contacting on the naměstí, the town square, we walked by a guy on a bench. When we had gone a couple yards past him, Elder Petty said that we needed to go back and talk to him. We talked to this young guy about Jesus Christ, and he loved it. 

On Saturday, we planned on contacting an older couple and a 20 year old girl about repentance. After 15 minutes or so, we found a girl that was 21 that wanted to meet again. Right afterwards, we ran into an older couple that liked us and our message and said they would meet again this next week.

It is amazing how what we planned, 3 times this last week, came to pass. Planning and searching for those people that you have on plan for the day can really help you be guided. These three miracles really showed me how the Lord is in this work.

Yesterday, I gave a talk in church on the Spirit of Elijah. I did it all in Czech. And I think everyone understood me! It is a cool topic to study about and it helped me realize how important genealogy work is and how important the temples are. 

That is all for this week! I will be writing again next Thurday on Thanksgiving!

Have a great week everyone and love you all!
-Starší Shirley

We received an email from the Gunnell’s (the senior missionary couple serving in Jicin with Elder Shirley) on Sunday with a glowing report of Elder Shirley’s first sacrament meeting talk in Czech.  Her email is below:

Hello Shirleys,

We just want you to know how much we love your son!!  He is an outstanding Elder!  He’s learning so quickly and is asset to the work here in Jicin.  Starsi Gunnell has taken him under his wing as he reminds him so much of himself when he first entered the mission field in Switzerland 60 years ago!  (As tall and about as thin as well!)

Starsi Gunnell is in the branch presidency and has been given the assignment of finding topics and speakers for Sacrament meeting for the next several months.  The branch is planning a temple trip in February or March to the Bern Temple in Switzerland since the two German temples are closed.  So Starsi Gunnell has decided to assign all talks for the next several weeks on the topic of the temple—all aspects.  Starsi Shirley started it off today with a talk he had written in Czech and delivered all in Czech on the Spirit of Elijah.  We just want you to know he delivered it perfectly.  He spoke all the words clearly and without hesitation.  Besides, we are proud of him and we don’t know how much he will tell you about it.   As you know he is very humble!

Attached is a couple of pictures we took when the meeting was over.  His companion, Starsi Petty said his picture looks like it should read, “Vote for Me.”  He has a fantastic companion and they work hard and well together as a team.  

Much love to your family and thank you for raising a wonderful son. 
Starsi and Sestra Gunnell

I’ve also included an excerpt from an email that Elder Shirley sent to his Mom this week (below):

Hey Mom!

Thanks for all your prayers for my talk. I got it all written up on Thursday I think, and then I had to translate it into Czech. I attempted to translate it, and it was pretty dang hard. I made a bad translation, but then Elder Petty translated it as well and I used his translation for my talk. His Czech is super good, so I'm glad he could be there to translate it better for me. But I felt like I delivered it pretty well. I think everyone understood me, but you never know!

I am getting Thanksgiving dinner from the Gunnells, thank goodness! Basically for exercise every morning, we just do push-ups, sit-ups, and things like that. We haven't been doing any service projects recently, except for sweeping off the church sidewalk this last week. Also, because we are doing a Thanksgiving celebration with the Gunnells and the Sisters, we will be having P-day on that day. So I won't be writing next Monday, but I will on Thursday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Be Healed Through the Savior

November 9, 2015

We had district conference this past weekend. The theme of the conference was on forgiveness. I really enjoyed Sister McConkie’s (the mission president's wife) talk. And I could understand her better than anyone else because she spoke in English haha. She spoke on a talk given by one of the apostles about how when a snake bites us, we can either chase the snake and seek revenge or we can go straight to the hospital to be healed. It is the same with forgiveness. We can either seek revenge or become healed through the Savior.

We had a day this last week that we didn't have a single lesson scheduled, so we had to go tracting and contacting for 6 hours. I thought it would be a super long day, but when you are talking to everyone and trying to teach everyone the gospel, the time flies by. We tracted into a guy that wanted to know more about family history. We went back and his wife answered the door and rejected us. But we are planning on going back again and hope that she isn't there!

I also was assigned to give a talk in sacrament meeting this next week on the Spirit of Elijah. This will be my first talk in Czech and it's on a pretty hard topic! I'll be writing it and translating it all week.

I’m finding that the hardest part of the week is teaching an awesome lesson on the street to someone and them not feeling it or wanting to accept the gospel. We are still having trouble finding new investigators. My new companion is great though. We're both big basketball players and I like that he is from Washington. This last week, we did a little contacting and were just trying to get people to know about and come to the English class that we teach. It's amazing how mad some people get just because we are talking to them. But with every person that rejects us, we get closer to finding the perfect person that the Lord has prepared.

That’s it for now. I hope everyone is doing great! Have a good week!

-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Turning Our Focus to Work With Members

P-day at the zoo in Dvur Kralove with new companion, Elder Petty

Spending time in Dvur Kralove

Another picture from Dvur Kralove

A cheetah at the zoo in Dvur Kralove

Giraffe's at the zoo. We also saw elephants, leopards, lions, monkeys, gorillas and rhinos.

A nasty caterpillar thing we found while tracting

View from Elder & Sister Gunnell's apartment

November 2, 2015

Ahoj everyone!

This past week, I sent my old companion, Elder Bitner, back home. He finished his mission and now I am serving here in Jičín with Elder Petty. We are doing some good work here.

We have done quite a bit of tracting this last week. We dropped off an introduction to the missionaries letter in the mailboxes of a bunch of houses and then have gone back and knocked on all of their doors. We didn't get any solid investigators out of it, but we have a few potentials.

We also have had a few good lessons with less-actives this week. I think Elder Petty and I this transfer want to focus a little more on the members and less-actives and try to build them up. Every member is a missionary and the missionaries need all the help from the members that they can get!

Not too much other news for this week. Jičín is a great place and the missionary work is awesome. The language is hard, but one thing that I do know is that through any trial that any of us may have, that we can turn to the Lord and he will help us. I love this gospel! Have an awesome week everyone! Love you all!

-Starší Shirley

We asked Elder Shirley a few questions and the paragraph below contains his responses to those questions. 

My companion now is quite different than my last, but we get along well. It's hard to find a solid investigator, but we are looking!  There is a holiday on November 17th, I think. It's for the Velvet Revolution. I'll let you and Dad research that to find out more. I know Dad likes doing things like that. The new coat is working great! Sundays we wake up, eat, and get ready. Sometimes we go pick up an investigator or a less active. Then we go to church. Sacrament meeting, then a gospel principals class and then priesthood. We eat lunch with the Sisters in our district and with the Gunnells. Then we either teach lessons or go tracting or contacting. I get most of my laughs from the Gunnells now. They are pretty funny! I still get like 25 emails a week so it's hard to email everybody back! My new companion likes making food, so we've made a few really good meals this week! You'll have to look up Halušky and Smaženy sýr. We made both of those!