Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Learning a Few Turkish Words

Elder Shirley and his companion Elder Robinson visiting Schwarzenberg Mausoleum near Trebon on P-day

Schwarzenberg Mausoleum

A view of Trebon


Svet Lake near Trebon

April 24, 2017


So this last week, we had a few awesome lessons. We are teaching one guy that will be getting baptized in the next month. He is so prepared and so excited. He actually has told us that he looked for a church for the longest time and never found the right one. He prayed and asked God to show him the correct church and within the next while, he met missionaries. He’s such a great, humble guy. He's come to church every week since I have been here in the city.

We also are now teaching a few Turkish people. One Turkish man we have been teaching a while. When we teach him, we have been Skyping the Elders in Germany that speak Turkish to teach him. Just recently, we found two Turkish college students and they are interested as well. We Skype those other Elders with those two as well. It is a little different of an experience than I have had so far on my mission, teaching throught Skype, but it is fun and they are awesome guys.

Yesterday we had a great church meeting. My comp had a talk and one of the senior missionaries also gave a great talk. The branch President and his family were gone this week, so I was presiding again. I'm just glad that the meeting went smoothly. I am always a little scared that something might not go how it is supposed to haha. We had 4 members at church and 3 investigators. A little small, but good to know that the size of the church doesn't affect the truthfulness of it! Also, branch conference will be next week so we are expecting a lot bigger of a turnout.

This week’s questions to Elder Shirley are taken from Abrea’s email. She asked what his favorite meal that he ate during the week was and what the favorite thing that he did during the week was. Here are his answers:

My favorite meal this week was probably what I ate today for lunch. It's called Moravsky Vrabec with Zeli and Knedliky. Translated it means pork with sauerkraut and dumplings. You should look it up! It's one of the most famous Czech dishes. When we come back here, you'll have to try it.

We mostly either teach people or walk around the city and talk to people. We found two guys from Turkey though and we started teaching them, which was pretty cool. They don't really speak English or Czech, so we Skyped missionaries that know Turkish so we could teach them. I know how to speak a little Turkish now :) Not really, but I know a few words!

Love you!

-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Lifting Where I Stand

Starsi Shirley in Cesky Krumlov 
So this happened this last week on the town square. These guys marched onto the square from all four directions wearing black clothing and white masks. This is an Easter tradition, but still a little creepy haha. They pushed these cart things that make a really loud sound and they were synchronized with it. I wish I could send the video, but I'm sure you could find something online. **I researched this online and found that this is typical of the Masopust Easter carnival, an Easter tradition in Southern Bohemia. I found some good YouTube videos of this as well. If you're interested, here's a good example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oXhFt5i14U

April 18, 2017

This last week was really interesting for us! Sorry that the email came today and not yesterday. The Monday after Easter Sunday is still a holiday and everything is closed. So P-day was moved to today. It was an interesting Easter weekend for us. From Friday until today everything, literally everything was closed. People weren't really out and about so finding was a little difficult. Plus, we didn't have hardly any lessons set up so we were searching for the few people that were outside. It was nice though in the fact that the people that were out had a little more time to talk because they weren't in a hurry anywhere. We got to show the Easter video to quite a few people, which was great!

Last Wednesday, we had an exchange with the zone leaders in Plzen. It was cool to see the great city of Plzen that I have heard so much about. Our exchange ended a little early though because the APs wanted us to come to Prague with them and have interviews with President. So we traveled there that night, had a mini exchange with the APs, and then had interviews with President which are always the best. We woke up and traveled back the next morning. It was a great week! 

My knee by the way, I thought was all the way healed after 2 weeks without running. But it still hurt a little after our run yesterday. I thought buying new shoes would fix it, but not completely. I'm doing just great though. Don't worry about it :)

Your Easter dinner sounds like it was great. Easter dinner is always super good! Mom's potato salad is super good. For Easter dinner, we had rice with some hamburger or something like that. Maybe it was noodles haha. We didn't have a whole lot of food left in the house by Sunday since we buy food on Mondays. Quite a different experience than you guys right?

Our question for the week: What has been your biggest surprise about being a missionary? We know you have nothing to compare this with but your own mission, but have you been surprised how hard the Czech mission has been? Or has it been to you?

Answer:  My biggest surprise from the mission? Probably the amount of hard work. It's hard to explain or even prepare for what missionary work is like. I've also found out that I am not the greatest at planning! So I guess yeah, I was surprised at how "hard" the mission was but I wouldn't want to trade it for anything. I really enjoyed Elder Bednar's talk from conference. He voiced a few things that I have had thoughts about. A missionary is first called to the work, and then to an area. So whether or not a missionary is in a place with a million investigators or none, we are all of the same team. We are all working together for the salvation of souls. And if working my head off every day and street contacting is what I have to do without seeing a lot come from it, that's what I'll do. Why? Because in Elder Uchtdorf's words, we lift where we stand. So I, even though I haven't seen a whole lot of "success" as some people see it in baptisms, I am proud to be called to the Lord's work serving in the Czech Republic.

-Elder Shirley

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Teaching The Real Meaning of Easter

Last picture of the current C-Bud district. The Czech missionary (Sestra Chalupska) goes home this week after completing her mini-mission 

C-Bud district with one of their "awesome investigators"

We did a service project this last week. We were in a group of people and we picked up trash alongside the river. We did something similar last year in UH.

The sister missionaries working hard during the service project.

The river in C-Bud where they did the cleanup service project

A couple of pictures of the streets in C-Bud that Starsi Shirley walks every day.

Outside of the LDS church building in C-Bud

Front door of the church building

Downstairs entryway of the church building in C-Bud. The chapel is upstairs.

Elevator in C-Bud church building. "We ride this elevator every day."

April 10, 2017


This week was pretty good and a few exciting things happened.

Last Tuesday was a pretty open day with not a lot planned. We took a bus to the college here in C-bud and went and contacted people on the college campus. We found these two college girls that set up an appointment with us and seemed interested. A few days later, they came to our meeting! We taught the Restoration and they said they were interested in learning more still. Elder Robinson and I were pretty nervous beforehand...we've never really taught 2 college-aged girls at the same time haha.

We also have been and will be using the new Easter video for a new finding idea. We opened up the doors to the building, set up a laptop with the Easter video, and started inviting people to come in and watch for 3 minutes. It worked well and one guy that came and watched the video actually returned about 30 minutes later and wanted to hear more. He is also a new investigator from last week.

General Conference was great! I especially liked the Sunday afternoon session. Elder D. Todd Christofferson had the best talk, I thought. I felt that conference spoke a lot about being in the world, but rising above the world's standards. Elder Anderson talked about overcoming the world and somebody else talked about how God asks more from us. Really great conference!

It sounds like your trip to Boise was a great one. The Gunnell’s really are awesome. Uh oh....what stories did you hear about me? That is funny the things that Sister Gunnell remembers about my eating and about my height. Looking back, I honestly feel like I wasn't the greatest missionary at that point in my mission, but I'm glad they had good things to say about me :)

{In the last couple of weeks, Elder Shirley has mentioned that his knee is bothering him. This week, we asked him for more details on how he’s doing}
Alright, as far as my knee goes, it doesn't hurt at all walking. We have only run twice in the last two weeks and it feels a lot better now. I think I am going to buy new running shoes. Our guess is that because I am running with such beat up shoes (the same shoes he left home with almost 2 years ago), that it is affecting my knee. But it'll be alright :)

{We’ve heard a few times recently from people who have served with Elder Shirley that his ability to speak Czech is quite good and that it was good even when he first arrived in the country from the MTC. He has always downplayed his language abilities when we’ve asked him about it. We mentioned that in our email this week}
Alright, I would say that I speak Czech better than the average missionary, but I'm not the best. And at the start of my mission, I didn't speak well at all! Haha

Love you all lots!
-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

I've Learned How To Trust In God

C-Bud district visiting some castle ruins called Divci Kamen

Divci Kamen ruins in the distance

C-Bud district: Starsi Robinson, Starsi Shirley, Sestra Heap, Sestra Chalupska

April 3, 2017


Everything is going pretty well here. A little different still and I’m still adjusting to the new calling and trying to be as good a help as I can be. I'm still learning the basics though. The charge from the stake president was to find and reactivate men to hold these callings here in the branch. So, we're working hard to get that done as well.

We had an awesome training this last week in Prague. It took most of Tuesday, but it was a very prepared and very well presented training. I enjoyed the AP's training on becoming spiritually self-sufficient. We can achieve this self-sufficiency and help others do likewise through following the Savior; specifically, his example of prayer, scripture study, the sacrament, and relying on the Spirit. President also gave an awesome training. It was pretty, what I would say, fiery. He talked about being urgent in the work and stepping up to our calling. He quoted a great talk from Elder Holland. I don't know if it is accessible to all, but it is called the Miracle of a Mission. I found a link to the talk here if you are interested: https://annathemissionary.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/elder-holland-the-miracle-of-a-mission.pdf

We weren't too successful on the side of finding investigators this past week. But we did find a few potentials in all of our finding time. We actually tracted into a lady on Sunday that invited us back to her backyard and gave us ice cream and juice. We talked for a while and might be back over there for service in the future. 

Our question for the week:  What is one of the most important things you’ve learned from your mission?

Answer: That's a pretty intense question haha! One of the things that just comes to mind right now is that I've learned how to trust in God - to be able to go out every day and work because I know that someone is there for us. I guess you could even say that my faith has been strengthened from all the times when I had hope and faith to find someone and then God prepares someone and they are put in our path. I have also felt that I have grown in confidence and knowledge of the truth of the gospel. As well as the realization of how important the work that we do as an individual is important and effects more than we know and see.

We told Josh that we are going to Boise this weekend to hear the Gunnell’s (a senior missionary couple that he served with in Jicin and really loved) report their mission. His response to that news:

Wait, you're going to Boise to hear from the Gunnell’s? That'll be awesome. I was pretty sad that after my second transfer, I never really saw them again because I was on the opposite side of the country. They called me the day before they left though and said bye and said that they'd come to my homecoming. Just tell them I love them!

We told Josh about our general conference weekend. In the Czech Republic, they have to wait one week to hear conference so that the Czech translations can be completed. His response:

Conference is a great weekend home as a family. I'm excited to see it! Oh and that meal that you had is another meal that I miss! I love Navajo Tacos!

Other than that, I'm doing great. My knee is still bugging me a bit. It's not too bad, but I can't really run without it killing pretty good. I guess all I need is strength for missionary work right? :)

Love you!
-Elder Shirley