Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Not Everyone We Contact Appreciates Our Message

All of the missionaries in the Czech/Slovak mission as of 12/29/16

January 23, 2017


Everything here is great! We had a pretty interesting last few days. In fact, Saturday night we had an interesting incident. We had been outside for about 4 hours contacting and hadn't really had any success. We were on a city bus trying to talk with a guy that didn't really have interest. And then the lady right behind him lost it. She had apparently had enough listening to us and she turned to us and just started screaming. Literally, screaming haha. She managed to yell for a few minutes straight, spit flying out of her mouth during the whole thing. I think I heard about every swear word that I know of, and quite a few new ones haha. The guy that we were talking to got off the bus, we moved to the front, and keep contacting. Opposition means we are doing something right, right? :)

Investigators were very few this last week. We had Missionary Leadership Conference this last week in Prague and it was actually a two day thing this time. So we were out of our area at the beginning of the week and then mid-week, we had an exchange in the city of Trebic. So we were out of our area a while and people just didn't seem to have time to meet. This next week should be the week of meetings and investigators. We have high hopes. 

We did have one really good lesson this last week. We taught with our stud ward mission leader. We taught a guy that was found a few months ago and is slowly progressing. He has had a date a few times, but just hasn't put enough time into it yet to really know. The cool part was in the middle of the lesson he expressed to us that when he is with us in the building, he just feels better, like he wants to be a better person. But that when he goes home, that feeling slowly goes away. We testified that that was the Spirit and that we can not only feel it with us, but even at home by himself when he reads and prays. He should have another baptismal date soon!

My companion, Elder Oviatt, is still great. I think me and him are more similar than almost any of my companions yet. I've enjoyed the transfer so far. Oh, I have to apologize. I didn't send anything for Christmas. Not even a card....I hope you weren't too disappointed! I'll make it up by bringing home lots :)

Love you lots!

-Elder Shirley

Thursday, January 19, 2017

This Work Constantly Demands The Best We Can Give

With new companion, Elder Oviatt

The new Brno district

Inside one of the biggest churches in Brno

A nice view of Brno

January 16, 2017


Elder Oviatt and I had a really successful week! With all of our street contacting we received over 10 solid contacts (which is one of the high weeks). So we are expecting a week of teaching either this week or the next. Elder Oviatt is a fun guy to be around. We basically have the same hobbies and are pretty similar. He goes home at the end of this transfer so it is very likely that I will be here in Brno for even another transfer after that, which would put it at 8 months here.

This week I really noticed how blurred or twisted the idea of faith is here in this country. It makes me sad to see and hear how people react when the word "faith" or "church is even mentioned. It has bad connotations here, which makes it hard sometimes to approach people on the street because the second they realize that we are from a church they are gone. At the same time, it is also really cool to see when someone at least gives us a minute to talk and explain why we are here. When somebody can see that faith can mean something personally for them, they are a lot more open to talk and to try to understand. We had a cool experience with a lady this week on the street. She was not interested at all, a scientist, and didn't feel like talking. I can't remember exactly why or how, but she kept talking to us and she could see that we "believers" weren't actually that weird haha. By the end of our 10 minute conversation, she was willing to give her number and was excited to meet with us again. The Spirit CAN work on people!

I am also glad that I am serving with Elder Oviatt because he teaches simply. Our prayers are really focused on a person receiving an answer for themselves. I realized that maybe I could strengthen my testimony of prayer and receiving answers from God. I have usually relied on the approach of "it all just makes sense." But I have realized that not only does it make sense, but that the concept of prayer is so essential in the conversion process.

This is a work that constantly demands the best we can give. I love seeing and feeling the growth in myself as a missionary. It is so fulfilling! 

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Transfer Week - I'm Staying in Brno!

New European shoes

Elder Jensen - the missionary Elder Shirley was training this past transfer

January 9, 2017


So, this is transfer week......I will be staying in Brno for my 3rd transfer here! My new comp is named Elder Oviatt. This is his last transfer in the mission and we will be serving here as zone leaders. He is also Canadian; my first non-American comp! We're excited to work this transfer. It will be interesting to both be quite old in the mission and serving together. There will definitely be some benefits to that.

As for the weather, it has snowed off and on pretty good this past week. It is usually at or around freezing temperature so we get pretty cold pretty fast. Good thing we are in a city that has city transportation so we can stay inside the warm trams and buses and just contact people in there!

We have a lot of investigators right now. In fact, probably more than I have had on my mission. We were in the building teaching most of this last week. We have a few that are progressing, but we are mostly just at the start of the teaching process with these investigators. 

One of the people that we taught, yesterday in fact, is really cool. He invited us to come to his house so we can teach. He is a really good, humble guy that said he is searching if God exists. Said he has never prayed but was willing to learn about it and wants to try. He also has a family and 2 kids. So I am excited to see how it goes with him! 

I’m just excited for another new transfer here in Brno! I think that will we have a very successful transfer here with the two of us. This transfer should be one where we see people progress and grow in the gospel. I am excited to see how it will all play out. I know that the gospel brings joy and happiness to those who are searching for it!

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Happy New Year 2017!

 A few pictures of the Brno district (plus an investigator) on P-day at Pernstejn castle

Close-up of Elder Shirley

Reunited with the missionaries from Elder Shirley's original MTC group

The original MTC group that began their missions in June 2015. Elder Shirley says, "We've come a long way since then!" The sisters all go home next week after completing their missions.

January 2, 2017


New Year’s Eve here was great! Just a normal missionary day with street contacting. It was actually pretty successful with people on the street, but we could definitely tell that it was New Year’s Eve. Everyone was preparing and walking home with beer haha. We were told to be home early and we just did our weekly planning and language study in the evening. And then ate dinner, planned, and went to bed at 10:30 like normal; nothing too special. We didn't really feel like it was worth it to stay up until midnight. But Happy New Year’s to all of you! There were a ton of fireworks though. From 5 o'clock on we heard them constantly. I slept great though! And then on the 1st, nobody was outside. On our way to church we only had 1 guy on our tram and he was drunk and sleeping haha. 

Something cool that happened this week was that the entire mission got to together. We had a 2 day conference at a hotel/resort kind of a thing that is owned by a member here. We got together, had a training, talked about goals for this next year, had a big talent show, and things like that. It was definitely something that I bet doesn't happen almost in any other mission. It was fun to come together as a mission and get to know everyone. I definitely think that we will be benefited by working in unity and have a love for the work. Oh, and right before our Sisters go home, our whole MTC group made it back together. We've come a long way since then!

It has been a tough few weeks with investigators because a lot of them are students or are young single adults. So a lot of people traveled home for Christmas and the New Year, so we haven't had too many lessons.

This next week is transfers here and I have no idea if I will go or stay. It will be exciting to see! The Sisters in my MTC group are going home this week....pretty crazy.

Thank you so much for the money for the suit and shoes that you sent! You are too great! :) You know how I am though; I can never make decisions when I go shopping. My comp basically had to pick out the suit for me and tell me to buy it. But I do like it and it was quite cheap! It is a dark blue. I'll probably buy brown shoes from a company called Baťa. They are a Czech company.

My favorite Christmas gift was probably either the pictures or the socks! I have been in need of some socks haha. Thanks for everything you sent! You spoil me even when I am halfway around the world. The best candy was either the Butterfingers or the Sweettart chewy ball things.

As for goals, I still have to get them finalized and written down. This year will be a pretty big and exciting year for me! 

For P-day today, we went to a castle called Pernštejn. It is massive and was really cool. Too bad castles aren’t opened in the winter!

Love you!
-Elder Shirley