Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Gospel Just Makes Sense

Elder Shirley with Elder Gunnell (a senior missionary from his first area of Jicin)

Elder Shirley's companion (Elder Hudson) while they were doing a service project this week

The soccer field where Elder Shirley and his companion play almost every morning

August 22, 2016


We ended up dropping that lady that we tracted into last week. She didn't really want to progress unfortunately. District Leader responsibilities are pretty easy. I just get to go on a lot of exchanges and train at district meeting every week. This week will be our last district meeting in this transfer. Next week we have zone training in Bratislava, which is in Slovakia, so I get to go there again. And the week after that will be a new transfer.

The new mission president is great. Not much has changed in the mission yet, but I assume that those changes will start happening soon now that he has been here a little bit and is used to the missionaries. My companion is great; we've been together for 16 weeks already so we know each other pretty well! We work hard and we get along. We both like sports too. I actually think tonight we are going to go shoot a basketball around.

This week was another pretty normal week. We actually had a musical number in church yesterday! The 4 of us missionaries here sang. We sang the Army of Helaman song. It ended up being alright. I have found out since being on my mission that whenever I have to do anything musical in front of people, I get super nervous. My legs literally just start shaking. So during the song, I had to keep moving around so nobody would see haha. I'm not meant to perform in front of people :) 

I had an exchange this last week with Elder Andersen in my district. He is super knowledgeable about the gospel. Since being around him this transfer, I have really felt like my understanding of the gospel has grown. On our exchange, we had a street contact with a really cool mom. We talked to her for about an hour about the Restoration and the Plan of Salvation. From that conversation and from Elder Andersen, I have really how important the doctrine of the nature of God is. That he is our Father and that he has a body. Literally everything stems off of that knowledge. It is awesome to know that we have a loving Heavenly Father who gives us scriptures, prophets, his Son Jesus Christ, and allows us to communicate with him through prayer. The gospel just makes sense! 

That's super cool that Abrea started in the girls soccer game! How many girls are on the team? I can't believe she is playing varsity high school sports. That is pretty crazy!
Dan is still playing defense huh? Who else is on the team? Dan is an upperclassman now; that’s exciting! How did he get involved in doing orientation? I'm glad you guys have found a new normal with me being gone. And I'm sure Dan and Abrea are a lot closer now! And they'll be in high school together this year. Wow, it seems like there are still tons of people getting mission calls! It's weird to already be out so long and to hear about some friends getting their calls now. I'm glad I went out early! I've become quite the chef while I’ve been out here;) I don't know if that (baked goods from his mom) would make it here and still be good haha. Thanks for the offer though! :)

Love you all!
-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

God Blesses Us At The Exact Moment We Need It

I didn't have any pictures of me this week so I decided to just take a couple so you could see my face

We decided to make cookies last P-day because it has been months since I've had homemade cookies. I think we made around 100 or so.

The main intersection in UH. The church building is the pink one on the right. I've been on this intersection literally probably thousands of times.

August 15, 2016

That is awesome news that Dan and Abrea both made the soccer teams! Congrats! Especially to Abrea for making her first high school team! I'm excited to hear how the games go. It'll be interested to hear how the team is this year. I can't believe another soccer season has already started! 

It's good to hear that you look forward to getting my letter! I'm sorry that sometimes I probably disappoint. This last week, not a whole lot happened. It's funny how everything kind of just becomes a normal thing. 

This week we had usual district meeting. We went out on the town square, the 6 of us, and we sang hymns and contacted people. We do that about once a week. We also taught our usual English class on Wednesday evening. We usually get about 5 people there and this last week we had 8 or so. We showed them the Restoration film at the end and they liked it.

Thursday was a pretty good day. We had nothing on plan, so we had a day of 8 hours on the street. We studied until 10:00am, contacted for 3 hours, ate lunch and then contacted for 3 more hours. And then, just to switch things up, we went tracting for 2 hours in the evening. We didn't have really any success throughout the whole day. We taught a few lessons on the street, but nobody was willing to set up a meeting with us. It is cool to see though, and we see it quite often, how blessings are received when we work through, when we keep going. And for us, last Thursday, that blessing came in the 7th hour of finding. We were tracting in some houses that were kind of close to our house. One lady answered the door and said, "I know you. We've talked before." We asked her what we had talked with her about and then introduced her to the Book of Mormon. She said that she knows the book, has it, and knows that it is from God. My comp and I were both pretty surprised so we immediately said that when people know the Book of Mormon is true, we baptize them. And then we asked if she wanted to be baptized. She said maybe. And so we set up a meeting with her the next day. It was awesome! Miracles come when we are obedient and when we are working hard. God is always there and blesses us at the exact moment when we need it. We had a meeting with her the next day and taught the Restoration. Just a cool experience!

Church was especially good yesterday. We had a lot of people there! I think our number hit around 45. The sacrament meeting talks were great too! 

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley

Monday, August 8, 2016

Battling Sickness and Bats

Spending a day working in Zlin

One of the two bats captured in the apartment

A bit hard to see, but Elder Shirley's pants have been faded by the sun after a year of hard work

A baptism at a lake near UH

August 8, 2016

A few interesting things happened this week:

On Wednesday, I wasn't feeling 100%. Contacting around the city is a little tougher when you aren't feeling well haha. But in the evening we had English class. Right afterwards, we went and got ice cream with an English student. I still wasn't feeling good so I didn't get any. On the walk back home, my stomach was acting up pretty bad. I had to stop walking and lean against a building. I then realized that I wasn't going to make it back home. So I walked down an alley, found a garbage can, and threw up. It was a lot of throw up. I felt a little better after that, but we went home and I just layed on my bed. That's the first time getting sick on the mission! I layed on my bed and fell asleep for the night but I woke up at around 2 o clock in the morning to a weird sound. I looked around the room and I saw something flying around. It ended up being 2 bats! They had flown in the window and were stuck in the house. We weren't sure what to do so after flipping the lights on, we decided that we just needed to get them out somehow. The bats were sitting on the cupboard in the kitchen. We armed ourselves with couch cushions and scared the bat out of its hiding spot. My comp, Elder Hudson, swung and connected with the first bat with his couch cushion. He then proceeded to smash it on the ground a few times. We took his lacrosse stick, picked up the stunned bat, and threw it out the window. We took care of the second bat the same way haha. It was pretty funny. We've been bat free since then, thank goodness. 

As for the rest of the week, I went to the city of Zlín and spent the day there on an exchange. Zlín is a city that does not look very European. But it’s a good city and it was a good exchange. I got to do some bus contacting there because they have city buses.
We had 2 baptisms on Saturday. Two 8 year olds in the branch were baptized in a lake near UH by Elder Shepherd, a missionary who served here previously and was back visiting with his family. It was a good experience and our branch just grew by 2 members! I got to give one of the talks before the baptism. My comp gave the one about baptism and I spoke about the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost is one of the greatest gifts that our Father in Heaven has for us. We can be warned, comforted, and have guidance thanks to the Holy Ghost. What a great gift! It guides us in this work here in the Czech Republic because Heavenly Father wants us to find his elect children. The Holy Ghost is real. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son and our Savior. What wonderful knowledge and a wonderful message to share to the world.

At church on Sunday, I translated for Elder Shepherd’s family at church. Translating is quite a bit harder than just giving a talk. I sat in the back of the chapel and translated into a microphone and they have personal headsets on so they can understand the meeting. Testimony meeting is always the hardest to translate for because you never know what people are going to talk about. 

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley

We received an email from Elder Shepherd’s family this week, telling us a little bit about their visit to UH (see below):

Brother and Sister Shirley,

I just wanted to let you know that our family met and talked with your son today in UH. My son, Matt Shepherd, recently returned home from his mission to the Czech Republic in March. We as a family decided to go on a vacation to the Czech Republic and England where are other son served.

While in UH at a baptism we met Starsi Shirley. He gave one of the talks today and did an outstanding job! You should be proud of him. His Czech is amazing! He is so kind and thoughtful! He is happy and looks great! The members here are wonderful and we are anxious to meet more of them at church tomorrow. The three other missionaries are all exceptional young men!

It was fun to meet another Idahoan since we live in Idaho Falls. I just wanted to let you know he is doing well.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

A Couple of Noteworthy Experiences

Elder Shirley with the other Uherske Hradiste missionaries on a tower that they climbed on P-day

The tower

Climbing the tower

View from the tower

August 1, 2016


Most of the week was the same old stuff, but I have two stories that I would like to share. 

On Tuesday, we went to a little village outside of UH. The person that we wanted to visit couldn't meet with us. So we thought of a second person that we had tracted into a few weeks before. We drove to her house to see if she had time. This lady is like 70 or 80 years old so she was home and she let us in. She has a history with the church that goes back about 20 years. She had met with the missionaries many times and had even gone to church. As we talked about the Book of Mormon with her, we found out that she has one and has already read it. Twice. We asked her what she thought about it and she said that it was the second time she read it when she realized it was true. She believes that we have the true church on the Earth. So right away we said that when people find out that our message is true, they get baptized. We asked if she would be baptized. She said “no”, only because her family goes way back in the Catholic church. But it was a cool experience because I realized how powerful the Book of Mormon is. When people read it with real intent, the can know the truthfulness of it. 

The second experience happened on Friday. I had an exchange with an Elder in the district. We had a pretty successful day and taught some pretty good lessons. We met with one guy in a bar, (because that is where everyone goes), and taught him. We were about to leave and it started dumping rain. So we waited under the little tent thing outside the bar for the rain to stop. One guy that was in the bar saw us and came out to talk to us. He knew a little about our church and just wanted to talk about why we have the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity. And of course, you can't get too far with a man that is completely drunk. He wanted us to drink a beer pretty bad, so he bought one for us and put it up next to our mouths so we would drink it. Of course we just kinda turned away. And then he was looking at my tag and decided that he wanted it. He grabbed my tag and put it in his pocket and wouldn't give it back. Pretty annoying guy haha :) Our investigator, though, stole it back from him and so I got my tag back. Pretty fun experience haha. 

In answer to your question about what some of my best teaching experiences have been, one that stands out for me was about 3 or 4 months ago when I was training. We met a guy on the street and he had some really weird beliefs, but Elder Lovell my comp felt impressed that we needed to call and set up another meeting with him. He knew we taught English on Wednesdays so he said he would come to that. He came and we stayed with him afterwards and had a lesson. As we talked and discussed more about what he believed, you could definitely feel the Spirit. I couldn't even tell you exactly what we taught, but I remember feeling that the lesson felt really good. In fact, in the middle of the lesson, our investigator Jirka talked about how to know what church is true. We had an impression to just kneel down right there and have him pray. So mid-lesson we got down on our knees and he prayed. Right after the prayer we asked him what he felt, if he felt that our church is true. He said yes, your church is true, I feel it. And so we invited him to be baptized and he said yes. It was an awesome experience.

Overall, this was another great week! Love you all lots!

-Elder Shirley