Monday, December 28, 2015

Goodbye Jičín, hello Uherské Hradiště!

Elder Shirley and his Christmas presents

Buckets of carp on the town square for the traditional Christmas meal

Photos taken in Prague on December 23rd

The classic Christmas carp.  At our training meeting, we all pulled a scale off of it.  It is Czech tradition to pull a scale off and keep it in your wallet for the rest of the year.  It means that you will stay rich!

My scale is in the bag.  The "pig" lemon thing is another Czech tradition. You are supposed to put it by your bedside on Christmas Eve.  Everyone also cuts an apple in half for another tradition. If you get a star in the middle, it means good fortune for the next year. A cross means bad luck. {It looks like it will be a year of good fortune for Elder Shirley!}

My district after we sang at the missionary training meeting

Another picture of Elder Shirley and the Jicin district at the missionary training meeting

Elder Shirley's Christmas tree surrounded with presents

All packed up and ready for the transfer to Uherské Hradiště

Cathedral in Brno seen from the bus station

Seen on the bus ride from Brno to Uherské Hradiště

Also seen on the bus ride from Brno to Uherské Hradiště

Elder Shirley's Skype call on Christmas day with the family

December 28, 2015

It was a crazy week here! I'll try to fit in all the detail that I can!

On Monday, we had a pretty normal P-day. We bought some Christmas gifts and made some Christmas ornaments in preparation for the week.

Tuesday we had a good day of contacting. We also met with a less-active.

Wednesday was training day in Prague! We traveled to Prague early in the morning and walked through the streets and on Old Town Square to look at all the Christmas stuff! Right afterwards, we got together with 2 zones of missionaries, about 50 of us, and we sang carols right on the square. Tons of people stopped and took pictures and videos. It was cool! Then we went to the church building and had our training. We talked about the story of the birth of Jesus. President and Sister McConkie talked about different parts and related the stories to us as missionaries. At training, my district and I also sang a musical number, and it went really well!

Thursday (12/24) is celebrated as Christmas day here. As missionaries in our mission, we are told to try and visit as many people as possible during the Christmas week. So Thursday, all day, we went around and knocked on as many members doors as possible. We were in each house for about 10 minutes and we just showed them the Christmas video, A Savior is Born, then bore our testimonies, and then left. It was a great experience to get to preach Jesus Christ all day on Christmas! We ate a Czech Christmas dinner at a members house that night as well. We didn't eat the traditional carp, but we had kloubasy. We also opened all our presents that night!

On Friday, we made more Christmas visits all morning! Then around noon, we went to the senior couple’s house, and ate an awesome Christmas dinner. We got to Skype our families as well! 

Saturday, we continued to make Christmas visits, this time in Nova Paka. After we made a couple stops, we got invited to dinner again! We got fed a lot this week and it was great! I got a call that night and was told about transfers. I was told that I will be leaving Jičín and will travel across the country to serve in Uherské Hradiště. 

Sunday was my last sacrament meeting in Jičín and I gave a going away testimony. I said bye to all the members too. It was hard to leave a branch that I had grown close too, but I'm excited to meet another branch! We got fed again, one last time before I left. Then I packed all night and got ready for the travels the next day!

Today, Monday, was a day full of travels! I went to Prague in the morning, and then said bye to Elder Petty. I then jumped on a bus and went to Brno. I transferred buses at Brno and then got on one to Uherské Hradiště. I made it here safely and now I am with my new companion Elder Suwyn. 

I am excited to see what this new city brings! Hope everyone had an awesome Christmas and Happy New Year!
-Starší Shirley

{This week we also received an email from a member family in Jicin that Elder Shirley and the other missionaries in Jicin visited. Elder Shirley says that this member family is one of the first members of the church in the Czech Republic and that this brother is the only Czech temple sealer in the world.  We are grateful to hear from this family and for their kind words and their hospitality to our son. In addition to the email, a couple of pictures were attached as well (shown below)}

Dear Shirley family,

It was a great privilege to meet your nice son. Elder Shirley is a very good missionary with strong testimony.  
He is very dedicated young man and is doing really well on learning his Czech. He works very hard at missionary work. You have raised a wonderful obedient son and should be proud of him. He is doing great.
We suggested him to take a picture and send it to you. Your son and his companion agreed with this (photos are in attachment).

Thank you for sharing your son with us in Jicin.

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