Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Easter Week in the Czech Republic

Elder Shirley and Elder Lovell

Enjoying P-day!

A cultural celebration we happened to find

A church at the top of the hill

A view of Uherske Hradiste

Service project - "before picture"

Service project - "after picture"

European soccer season is beginning

Branch Easter egg hunt

Some booths set up on the town square

Making Easter whips

A variety of Easter whips

Traditional Easter whips - Elder Shirley made the small one

Making another visit to the local castle - this time it was open!

Entering the castle

March 29, 2016


There has been a lot that has happened this past week and a half! I'll try to fit it all in!

We had branch conference at church 2 weeks ago and a ton of people showed up. The district president spoke as well as President McConkie. It was an awesome Sunday.

The next day, we went to Brno and had zone training. We talked about finding ideas, which was exactly what Elder Lovell and I needed. Training days are my favorite! 

This whole last week, we shared the Allelujia Easter video with everybody, members and investigators. It is a great video and everybody enjoyed it.

Tuesday and Wednesday were almost the same. We did service in the morning for an investigator. We stacked wood for her and it was good to do work like that again. 

All the remaining time during the week was spent contacting on Easter! We got to testify of the Easter and of Jesus Christ all week. 

The Easter traditions here are a little different. Everyone makes or buys a whip made out of braided willows tree branches. On Monday, the men go around and "whip" the women. So of course, we bought whips and we also learned how to make them. There was a big Easter festival thing this last weekend as well and everyone had booths set up on the town square. It was really cool! I have a lot of pictures this week so make sure to look at them. 

Just a good week all around! Still loving missionary work! Hope everyone had a great Easter!

Love you all!
-Starší Shirley

Monday, March 21, 2016

Through Goals and Faith, We Can Achieve Anything!

Elder Shirley with his companion Elder Lovell and two of the McConkie children

In front of the church

One of the "awesome Czech neighborhoods" where Elder Shirley was tracting this week

Another Czech neighborhood

Elder Shirley with one of the YSA's in Uherske Hradiste branch

March 21, 2016


So this week we have training in Brno on Monday, our usual P-day. So P-day is moved this week from Monday to Saturday! So this week's recap isn't too big since it hasn't even been a whole week since last time I wrote. 

For the most part, this week was normal good missionary work. We are trying to mix up some of our finding ideas to attract different people. We went tracting as well. Pretty much a normal, good week.

Yesterday though, was probably the coolest day of my whole mission. I went on an exchange with Elder Lanham, my district leader. We received a challenge from President McConkie the day before to hit standards in member-present lessons and in church attendance this week. So, in response to that, Elder Lanham planned our day around that. We didn't have anything on plan, other than contacting in the city, so we decided that somehow, we needed to get a lesson with a member present to hit our goals. So we set that goal, without knowing how we could do it. We went out the next day, needed to find investigators, and invite everyone to church. The first man we talked to right outside the apartment didn't really have time, but he gave us his card and told us he wants to meet. Five minutes later, we stopped a girl and taught her a lesson on the street and committed her to church tomorrow.  Right after that, we were in a hurry to get into the city center to check something. As we were walking pretty fast, we had the thought to stop one random girl. It was an awesome lesson. She about started crying on the street. We got her number and she should also be at church on Sunday. We then met a lady on the town square that had been given a Book of Mormon about a week earlier. She told us that she loved the book and was already 40 pages into it. She'll keep reading and said that she will pray about it. We wanted to try a little bus contacting yesterday as well. So we went to the bus station and prayed right there to know which bus to take. We both thought of the same bus, so we went to catch it. But it had started to pull away. An old man though, stepped in front of the bus and stopped it so he could get on. We ran over there and got on right behind him. We rode this bus around for a while, and on our last 5 minutes if the ride, we contacted a guy about personal revelation. He really liked what we were talking about, and asked if we had more time right then to sit down and talk more. We said “of course” and started taking him to the church building. On the walk there, we were both praying that somehow, a member would be at the building so we could teach a member-present lesson. We got into the building and our branch president was there! He had just finished a meeting and he taught the lesson with us. It was so awesome! We contacted the rest of the night about church and we are expecting a lot of people to be there this week.

That was our amazing day. I know it is a little hard to explain what it was actually like, but I did learn a few things. The Lord is in the work! Through goals and faith, we can achieve anything. Prayer works! Specific prayers, often, show our faith and help us receive blessings. Follow the Spirit! If you are in tune with the Spirit, and trying to be obedient, he will guide you. Just an amazing day full of miracles!

By the way, I am getting my international driver’s license on Monday. Pretty scary!  I can’t drive yet, because we don’t have a car in our area. But if we get one, I’ll probably be driving haha. It’ll be weird to be back on the road after 9 months.

Love you all! The church is true!
-Starší Shirley

{This morning we received a surprise email from Sister McConkie, the mission president’s wife}

Dear Lovells and Shirleys,

Yesterday morning in Uherške Hradištê, my husband left our hotel very early to go to the church for interviews. So when my boys and I stepped onto the town square with our luggage, feeling kind of nervous that we wouldn't remember how to walk to church, we were happy to see Elder Lovell and Elder Shirley who were waiting in the cold to walk us in the right direction. I guess my husband sent them :). It was awesome to see them and walk with them.

They chatted with Hyrum and George so easily, and started our morning off with enthusiasm and love. (We had been traveling from city to city for member visits, interviews, a zone conference, etc. so our family was pretty sleep deprived and in need of some cheerfulness :))

They are just wonderful young men. After the branch conference was over, the members had a meal together and I watched how well your sons interacted with the members who they serve. They seem to be getting along with everyone and the members are lucky to have them there.

Thanks for all of your support and for raising young men who are so enjoyable to be with!

Wishing you a lovely week! May you be blessed!

With love from Czech Republic,
Sister McConkie

Monday, March 14, 2016

Another Week Full of Travel

Elder Shirley and his companion Elder Lovell

A more candid shot of the two elders

One of the service projects for the week:  "cleaning books"

March 14, 2016

Nazdar! Hi everyone! 

This week was full of travel...again. I've been traveling a lot lately! 

Tuesday I went to Prague again for my last appointment for visa work. I got my residency card and I am officially legal to live here for the next 2 years!

Wednesday, my comp and I traveled to Brno and we had progression training for all the new missionaries and trainers. Trainings are like my favorite thing, so I'm lucky to have got an extra one this transfer. Also, on Wednesday, one Elder in our mission that just finished, came back here and we had a branch party. His name is Elder Earle. It was weird to know that he finished his mission and is going home. I'll miss him! It is amazing the influence that one person can have on the members and on other missionaries.

Thursday was district meeting day in Zlín. We contacted quite a bit that day as well and found some cool people. 
Friday was a lot like Thursday. Lots of contacting and we had a lot of success on Friday. It is days like Friday, days when you talk to people on the street and get to know them, that I really realize how much I love being a missionary and I how much I love these people. It's such an awesome thing.

Saturday was the same, with weekly planning and youth night in the evening.

Fast Sunday was awesome! We had an investigator come to church with his wife. The members loved it and I think our 2 investigators enjoyed church. I actually taught priesthood meeting at church and it went well. The members were nice enough and stepped in to help. We got fed dinner by a member Sunday night as well. She made us gulaš and it was amazing. 

That was a short recap, but now a little more on food. Halušky, a Slovak dish, I think is my favorite food on the Earth now. My comp and I make it twice a week. Everyone should try it if they have the chance haha. 
{We have decided to try this at home.  We found some recipes online and confirmed them with Elder Shirley.  We’ll have to see if we agree with his assessment of “favorite food on the Earth”. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a good recipe for halušky:  

A picture of halušky

This week was really successful. My new comp is awesome and he has such a great desire to work hard. We are finding lots of people and have lots of meetings set up this week, It should be a good week. Thanks for your support everyone!

Love you!
-Starší Shirley

Monday, March 7, 2016

Learning More About How to Stretch As a Missionary

Elder Shirley's new companion Elder Lovell from Delta, UT

The new Uherske Hradiste district

Elder Shirley's apartment in Uherske Hradiste

March 7, 2016


Wow, this week was great! Lots of traveling, getting a new companion, the life of training, and of course, hard missionary work! 

Monday, I was still with my old companion. Most of the day was spent with him packing and the other usual P-day stuff. 

Tuesday, I left early in the morning and traveled to Olomouc. I met another soon to be trainer there and we traveled together to Prague. We made it to Prague, and had an awesome trainer's training at the mission home with President and Sister McConkie. It was one of the best meetings ever. President and Sister McConkie are so great. That night, we ate dinner all together as trainers with the McConkies and then got to walk around Prague a little bit.

Wednesday was the big day! Early in the morning, we went back to the mission home and met the group of new missionaries there. President and Sister McConkie gave a short training and then we got paired up with our greenies! My new companion is Elder Lovell from Delta, Utah. Pretty great missionary and is a hard worker! He is a wrestler and just an athlete which is awesome. We go running every morning! We traveled back to Uherské Hradiště that day and did a little work that night.

Thursday was our first full day of work in the new companionship. We had district meeting in the morning and did a lot of tracting in the evening.

Friday was a day of finding! Most of it was spent on the streets and talking to everyone! We also had a good lesson in the morning. We are helping a member prepare for the temple, which is awesome! 

This past weekend, Saturday and Sunday, was district conference in Brno. So most of Saturday and a good chunk of Sunday was spent there. Elder Boom, our area seventy came and spoke. President McConkie and the local leaders here spoke as well. It was an awesome conference. It was really cool to see all the members from this half of the country meet together.

It really was a great week. Training is definitely something totally new to me, but I have a great comp so we're helping each other. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s fun! It is a learning process for sure.  Planning and responsibilities have gone up, but nothing that is too hard to handle. The work goes on right? I’m just learning more about how to stretch as a missionary. It’s great! The Church is true!

Love you all! 

-Starší Shirley

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A New Opportunity: I'm Training A New Missionary!

Elder Shirley and the other missionaries in the district

Checking out some of the ruins around the castle

A P-day tour of a nearby castle. Unfortunately it was closed that day, but Elder Shirley took several pics of the exterior and surrounding area

On top of a tower in the city of Zlin

Enjoying the view on the Zlin tower

March 1, 2016


Big news for the week! We got transfer calls this last week and I will be staying in my area. And.........I will be TRAINING! Pretty crazy right? Especially because I don't fully understand the language yet, and I won't really have help from a companion anymore. It should be fun! 

I travel to Prague tomorrow and have a trainer training and then I get assigned my new comp Wednesday morning. I am pretty excited, nervous, happy, scared, and basically don't know what to expect yet haha. A mission does have lots of fun surprises though! I can't wait to see what this next transfer has in store! 

Other than that, my current companion is going home so we packed up this week and he said bye to everyone. He was a good missionary and will be missed. 

It rained quite a bit this week again! Love it!

We had training in Brno this last week as well. Sister McConkie gave an awesome training! President McConkie trained us on Joseph Smith and how he was such a powerful figure. President McConkie is so powerful when he testifies and it was great to hear and feel his strong testimony about the Prophet Joseph Smith. Elder and Sister Adler, the area seventy over the Czech Republic also came and trained us on the Sabbath day and on the Atonement. I have decided that training days are just the best! We found out who our new mission President will be as well. His name is Jan Pohořelický. And he is Czech! It will be awesome in the growth of the church here in the Czech Republic.

That's about it! I'm excited for this week! I'll let you know who my new companion is next time!

Love you all! 
-Starší Shirley