Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Working Hard to Find People to Teach

Visiting a local mansion on P-day

Making the birthday cake that we sent to Elder Shirley for his birthday

May 20, 2016


The weekly rundown:

Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday were pretty normal days. Lots of contacting. We are currently low on investigators, but we are definitely working hard to find some more! 

Friday was a little interesting. I got put into a tri-panionship for a day. My comp had visa work in Prague, so he traveled there with a few other missionaries and I stayed with the other 2 elders here. Being in a tri-panionship was really weird. We had to contact with like 2 people on one side of the road and 1 on the other. It was hard. Thankfully, my comp got back on Saturday.

Saturday was spent doing service and we had sports day. We had 14 people show up for sports night to play soccer and it was really fun. It was also my district leader's birthday, Elder Lanham. So we had a short "party" at our apartment and ate hamburgers and fries and cake.

Yesterday we went to church and then went tracting. While tracting, we had a lady let us in! She fed us cake and listened and talked with us for about an hour. We set up another appointment this week at the church building. We are excited to see how it goes!

Love you all! Hope everyone has a great week!
-Elder Shirley

{Below is some additional information that Elder Shirley sent in his personal emails to us}

I didn't realize that this past week was Memorial Day! It is called Memorial Day right? The holidays kinda just come and go here without us realizing it. I guess that's what happens when you are in a different country and culture!

For exercise, we either run or play soccer. The weather has gotten pretty warm and I'm constantly sweating. Short sleeves every day! And my allergies have decided to kick in recently. Today they were pretty bad. But thankfully, I have medicine! We made the birthday cake this last weekend from the cake mix you sent me. It was my district leader's b-day and we made it as a surprise for him. It was really good! I liked the oreos as well. You can get those here, but not the big packages. And the American stuff tastes better haha.

We are still a branch where I am serving, but we are really close to a ward! Only 3 more Mel. Priesthood holders away.   

Friday, May 27, 2016

Change is Necessary for Growth

Service project of the week: digging up a tree

Having a snack after the service project

Elder Shirley relaxing after the service project

May 24, 2016


This week has been pretty normal. Just good hard work! We contacted a lot and did service twice this week. My comp and I are getting along great and are having fun with the work! We also had zone training yesterday and that is why I am emailing a day late. With not a whole lot to talk about this week, here are a few cool things that I have learned the last week.

At training yesterday, President McConkie trained us on understanding and recognizing the Spirit. He used the scriptures D&C 8:2-3 and D&C 9:7-9. But we talked about how the Spirit speaks to us in the mind and in the heart. But first, we must study it out in our minds, come to a conclusion, and take it to the Lord in prayer. Everyone feels the Spirit in different ways though and he invited us to think about past experiences in our lives and come up with a way to describe how we personally feel the Spirit. It was a good thing to think about and realize how I personally feel the Spirit so I know when the Spirit is communicating with me.

The other thing that I have been thinking about lately is change. Change is great and change is necessary; necessary for growth, spiritually, mentally, and physically. There have been a lot of changes recently in the church here, including the formation of a stake in the Czech Republic and we will be getting a new Czech mission president in a month or so. Change can be hard though. But changes open up opportunities for us to be changed. I am grateful for this mission experience and the way that I have been changed and will continue to be changed and molded as I try to live and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ. I love this amazing time to be a missionary!

Love you all!
-Elder Shirley

Monday, May 16, 2016

The First Stake in the Czech Republic!

Outside of Zofin Palace w/ Elder Hudson after the stake conference


Driving from Uherske Hradiste to Prague for stake conference

Inside Zofin Palace for stake conference

May 16, 2016


What an awesome weekend! The last 2 days have been great and have been a once in a life time experience. President Uchtdorf came and presided over the conference. Our 2 districts of 13 branches turned into a stake of 6 wards and 7 branches.

We traveled to Prague on Saturday morning. We got to take the car and I drove across the most of the country to get there. All of the members across the entire country and all of the missionaries serving in the Czech Republic gathered for this conference. On Saturday evening there was a session. President McConkie and the 2 district presidents spoke, and then 2 area authorities spoke, and then we got to hear from President Uchtdorf and his wife. The session on Sunday was pretty similar with almost the same speakers. On Sunday, the new president and his counselors were called as well as a new stake patriarch, which will be a huge blessing for these people. I have personally talked to the new stake president and the new patriarch and they are great men and will do amazing things for the church here.

Uherské Hradiště is still a branch, but it almost qualifies for ward status. I got pretty close to President Uchtdorf, but I didn't shake his hand. There were a ton of people around him! In both meetings, all the missionaries had to stand in the back because there weren't enough chairs for everybody. Pres. Uchtdorf was the only apostle, but it was a good feeling in the room and the strength of the members is awesome. It was a really exciting weekend! I'm glad I got to be a part of it!

President Uchtdorf's main message was just centered on faith. The church has come a long way and will continue to grow with our faith. He used the example of an oak tree and related it to the church here. Oak trees may grow slow, but they grow strong. He talked about how even if you don't believe that that is okay. Believe until you know. He also talked about how we should always make sure that we hold a temple recommend. I don't have my notes, so I don't remember a whole lot haha but it was a great meeting and a great conference. I am blessed to be serving here and to help these great people grow in the gospel!

Love you all!
-Starší Shirley

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A Mother's Day Skype Conversation

Elder Shirley with his new companion Elder Hudson

Screenshot taken from Mother's Day Skype - all of us had smiles this big.  Pure joy!

May 9, 2016


Just a short email this week! It was good to see you on Skype yesterday! You guys are great and I'm glad to have you as my family! 

As we talked about already, this week we will be traveling to Prague on Saturday. A stake is being formed in the Czech Republic this weekend! Super exciting! I can't even imagine what this will mean to the members here. And coming to preside over the conference in Prague is President Uchtdorf! I am really excited to see him and be here for this historical moment for these people. 

The first week of the new transfer is over and it is going to be a good one! I am with Elder Hudson and we are planning on doing hard work over the next 2 months. We have great goals for this transfer that I know we will be able to see come to pass. 

We have a super cool investigator right now that wants to be baptized. He is a baker and we visited him at his shop this last week and had a good lesson. He really believes that God leads his life and wants to follow Jesus Christ. We are excited to see him progress and work towards baptism! 

I love you all! Happy Mother's Day again! Till next week!
-Starší Shirley

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The Gospel Provides Help and Comfort

At the end of the service project.  Elder Shirley wants to be clear that those are not beer bottles, they are apple juice!

Backing out the new car after washing it

Burning a big slash pile during service project

Views of the countryside where Elder Shirley was doing the weekly service project

May 2, 2016


We finished up the last week of the transfer this week. Elder Lovell and I had a good last week. I can't believe that we are already starting a new transfer here! Transfer calls came and I have been called to stay 2 more months in Uherské Hradiště. My new comp is Elder Hudson from Bountiful Utah. We've been together for about 2 hours now but I can tell that it will be a good transfer! I'm really excited. We have a few awesome investigators and potentials that we are working with and we'll help them to be baptized this transfer! 

Other than transfer calls, not too much happened out of the ordinary. A lot of contacting and tracting as usual. We met a lot of cool people and did some service out in a forest. I'll share one experience in particular though.

We were tracting yesterday and a lady opened the door and said that she had talked to and seen missionaries before. We just told her that we have a message about the gospel of Jesus Christ and would love to share it with her. All of the sudden she broke down and told us about how she had a son die and her husband left her. She just sat at the door and cried for a solid 5 minutes. We testified to her and told her that the gospel provides help and comfort. That she will be able to see her son again. She seemed to want to believe what we were saying, but didn't really want to talk. We left her a pamphlet and a card and told her to read it and call us back. It was a really touching experience and we are really hoping that she calls back!

Love you all! Have a great week!
-Starší Shirley

{Here are some additional pieces of info from the other email Josh sent us}

The package you sent for my birthday got here barely too late. I do know that it is in Prague and I will be traveling to Prague in 2 weeks for a conference so I will get it then. Grandma sent me some chocolate and a card. Tell them thanks! We ate....I can't even remember. It was good though. From a member. It was basically just a normal day of missionary work haha.

Plan for Mother's Day. It will probably end up being just a call this time. So I will give you my number, and I think that when you call it, you have to type a country code in on the front of it. Maybe call around 8 on Sunday.

Transfer information! I stayed a 3rd transfer in UH and will have lived here 6 months by the time this transfer is over. My new comp is Elder Hudson from Bountiful Utah. He's an athlete and it should be a fun transfer.