Monday, March 27, 2017

I've Been Thinking a Lot About Charity

C-Bud district visiting Hluboka castle today

Starsi Shirley outside of Hluboka castle

View from the back balcony of Starsi Shirley's apartment

The view just outside of the church building in Ceske Budejovice

A pretty church in town

Hluboka castle - today's P-day excursion

The C-Bud district at Hluboka castle

March 27, 2017


I don't know if I have a whole ton to write about this week. We have probably 4 or 5 solid investigators right now. Again we had 4 at church this last week. Elder Robinson and I are getting along well and we are teaching pretty well together. He's fun to be around. 

Lately I have been thinking a lot about charity. I think that is one thing that I can improve on in these last couple months of the mission. I feel that as I come to love these people more and more, I will have an even greater desire to serve them to the best of my ability for this last while here. I know that as we come to know the Savior and the love that he has for us, we can understand in turn how we can love others with that Christ-like love. 

News from me this week: I seemed to have injured my knee slightly this past week. I can't really run on it and sometimes it hurts to bend. But it's nothing to be super worried about and it isn't affecting the work, so don't worry :)

Q. What are your Sundays like in your new area?

A. Sundays are pretty similar to any other day as a missionary. My Sunday yesterday was a little different of an experience than I have ever had in my life. The branch president was gone and so I, as the 1st counselor, was the presiding authority at church. How different is that? Haha! I lead the church meetings and took the sacrament first and things like that. I never would have expected to do that as a 19 year old! Oh, also with the new calling, tell Dad that I got to do all the finance work with the Branch President this past week and I'll be helping with that for the next few months while I am here. I can't say it is the most exciting thing I've ever done haha. 

Q. Have you missed Mom’s cooking? If so, what in particular? 
A. I definitely do miss your cooking! I never realized how nice it was to just come home and not worry about food and suddenly a whole meal was prepared and ready on the table. Tater tots sound super good. I miss tacos! We rarely, if ever, eat tacos. And that was your favorite meal to make! Sunday roast and mashed potatoes is super good too. 

Q.  How are your recent investigators doing?

A. The part member family is doing good. They are coming to church, we just need to set a solid date for baptism. We have a few other investigators. One of them is an awesome man who has had a really rough past. Basically been through it all but is such a humble guy.

Q. How do you like the new area by now?

A. I’m still liking the new area. We have yet to tract actually. We have been either teaching or contacting around the city.

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I Love This City!

Starsi Shirley with his companion Starsi Robinson on a P-day excursion to Cesky Krumlov

Sestra Chalupska, Sestra Heap and Starsi Robinson

New apartment in Ceske Budejovice, which Starsi Shirley calls "the nicest apartment in the mission"

Town square in Ceske Budejovice (or C-Bud as they apparently call it)

Ceske Budejovice

The next several pictures are of Cesky Krumlov - beautiful scenery!

Starsi Shirley in Cesky Krumlov

The new Ceske Budejovice district along with a departing missionary: Sestra Heap, Sestra Chalupska, Starsi Terry (who just completed his mission), Starsi Shirley, Starsi Robinson

March 20, 2017


Mornings here in C-bud (that is the shortened name of this city that missionaries use) are a little different from what I’ve had previously. Our branch president likes going running with us missionaries in the mornings during the week. So we wake up a little earlier and run to his house and meet him there. We run a while with him and then run back across the city and home. I think I will be in the best running shape that I have been in after I leave this area. It's great though.

I do love this city. It is the prettiest I have served in and one of the prettiest in the country. We went to Cesky Krumlov today which is the most visited, other than Prague, destination in the Czech Republic. It is beautiful! I'll send you pictures.

The whole time I was in Brno, I was a district leader as well as a zone leader. I am now just a district leader. Only zone leaders in this mission have cars so I probably won't be driving again during my mission. My new comp is great. He actually reminds me a bit of how I was in my 2nd transfer.

As I mentioned last week, I was called by the mission President and asked if I would serve as 1st counselor here in this branch. The following night I was called by the stake president officially and was sustained at church on Sunday. I am really excited to work with the branch president here. I’m still not really sure what my calling entails, but I'm excited for it. My companion isn't 2nd counselor, we just don't have a 2nd counselor in the branch. The branch here is small. The attendance this last Sunday was in the low 20s and that included 6 investigators and 6 missionaries. 

We have some great people that we are teaching though. One man that we are teaching has been through a lot in life and has run into problems with drugs in the past. His life was kind of broken but he has started turning it around. He is one of the most humble people that I have met. We are also teaching two grandkids of a member here. They are 11 and 12 years old and come to church. This is my first time teaching a part-member family on my mission and my first time teaching younger kids. It's a different experience but they are awesome as well. 

I got to share my testimony at church this last Sunday. I talked about Joseph Smith a little bit and testified of the truthfulness of the First Vision. I shared the verse John 8:32 which I really like. It says "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." I know that the gospel, or God's truth, is the thing that brings me and all other people the greatest happiness that this life has to offer. Truth is the path and it is a path of freedom. God has provided a way for us to access that truth once again through prophets and we are blessed to have that knowledge. Mosiah 2:41. 

A question we asked this week:
We received an email from the mission home this last week wanting information to purchase your plane ticket home! I guess they need it at least three months in advance, so they started early gathering everyone's information. Can you believe it?!!?!  One of the questions they asked us if we were planning on coming to get you or if you were flying home and to what airport. So, just to make 100% sure- you want to fly home and it would be to the Idaho Falls Airport? We are so good either way! 

Plane ticket home huh? That's pretty crazy...I still have a little bit of time right? Yes, I plan to be flying home to the Idaho Falls airport. Kind of a side note....Elder Stacey, one of my good friends here in the mission, lives in Shelley so he will be flying home with me as well to that airport.

Love you all!
-Elder Shirley

Monday, March 13, 2017

Transfer to České Budějovice!

A few pictures with some of the wonderful members from Brno

March 13, 2017


I have some news for you this week! Transfer calls came on Saturday. I thought for sure I was staying in Brno as a zone leader since my companion was going home. But the mission is always full of surprises! I got called away to serve in České Budějovice. {As far as I've been able to determine, it's pronounced chess'-kay boo-jay'-o-vitsa.} It'll be awesome here! It’s the prettiest place in all of the Czech Republic. And it’s neighboring city in Cesky Krumlov. Look that city up! I'm going there next P-day I think.

I am a district leader here still and will be follow-up training a missionary. Oh, I am also 1st counselor in the branch presidency here and will be in charge of finances and things like that. There aren't too many members here and even less Melchizedek priesthood holders. It should be quite the experience, especially seeing how my mission will probably end here in this city.

We said good-bye to all the members and investigators that we had in Brno. We are handing them off to two really good Elders though so I am confident that everything will be great there. We met 3 times with one of our investigators there this last week. She was really sad that we are leaving, but I am confident that she will be one to be baptized in the coming months. 

I’m really excited to have moved into this great city. I am working here with Elder Robinson, who is from Park City, Utah and it'll be a blast. 

Love you lots! Sorry this week’s letter is short, but I’m kinda pushing for time today. Transfer day is always crazy!

-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

P-Day Excursions to Hrad Veveri and Mikulov

Brno district with town of Mikulov in the background

Veveri castle

Getting knighted as "Brnaci" (people from Brno)

Historic market square in Mikulov

Mikulov castle

In old town center of Mikulov

Looking down on the town of Mikulov

Starsi Shirley and his companion Starsi Oviatt

Brno district at Veveri castle

March 6, 2017


I've been on some pretty cool P-day trips the last 2 weeks. I'll send you as many pictures as I can. We went to Hrad Veveri with 2 members and we got knighted as "Brnaci"(which means people from Brno) and we also went to a city called Mikulov. 

We had a few member meals this last week and we will have another couple this week. We are trying to change the mission and get more to the member side of the work than just on the streets.

We have quite a few investigators right now, just nobody with a baptismal date. Nobody seems to want it bad enough right now to commit to a date. We have taught the Plan of Salvation a few times this last week and you never think about how many different questions people can have about it. I find myself having to stop and think about some of these things because these questions have never even crossed my mind. Alma 40 is a great chapter though. 

I had an opportunity to give a baptismal interview this week. The missionaries have a guy ready to be baptized next week so we drove there and I got to do the interview. It was a good experience and built my testimony in the fact that people can go from a normal person to someone with a testimony and ready to be baptized in a short amount of time, just through keeping commitments and following the Lord.

Next week will be transfers! My comp is heading home back to Canada and we'll see what happens here in Brno. 

In our email, we told Elder Shirley about his brother Dan and the team winning the state basketball championship this past weekend. Here is his reaction to the news:

My heart dropped when I opened my email and saw yours titled “State Champions”! I can't believe it! Well, actually I can. They have a solid group of kids playing right now. They had an awesome weekend and an awesome tournament. That is so awesome! I can only imagine how it was to be there and experience it. Or to be Dan and actually play in it. That is the dream of every basketball win the state title. Awesome! 
I have honestly been thinking about it all week....not to the point of being distracted but it has been hard not to be there. I couldn't be happier for Dan though.

Love you!
-Elder Shirley

Friday, March 3, 2017

We've Been Meeting With All Kinds of People

At the zone training this past week

Elder Shirley teaching at zone conference

February 27, 2017


As far as missionary work goes here, we seem to have a huge teaching pool still. We are meeting with all kinds of people and seeing people that we contact on the street set up and meet with us again. The main problem that we are struggling with right now is getting those people that we meet with to progress. Nobody is progressing too well right now, but we have some really cool investigators. 

We had zone training this last week here in Brno. Elder Oviatt and I prepared a training about getting investigators to progress. It went well. I think my favorite part of training though was from Pres. Pohorelicky. He talked about the importance of companions. Not only here on the mission, but also after we get home. These companions that we serve with here can have a big impact on us. 

Wow...sorry. Time has already run out! I spent too much time today looking at basketball pictures haha. I have no doubt that Sugar can pull through and win the state championship this year. They have had an awesome season. Not going to lie, it was easier to hear about last year's season haha. It's hard to hear about how well they are doing and not be able to be there and see it! I guess you never realize how much you love it until after-the-fact, especially when I'm not there to even watch. Tell Dan good luck for me!

Love you lots!
-Elder Shirley