Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Chance Encounter With A Former Missionary

Starsi Shirley and Starsi Kevern with a former Czech Republic missionary and his spouse that they ran into in the C-Bud town square

May 29, 2017


For P-day today we didn't have anything planned, so we ended up just cleaning the house, eating lunch with the Sisters and then we went to the church building and I started teaching Elder Kevern how to play the piano haha. Pretty relaxed day!

Here’s this week’s update on our investigators: It's going pretty well with all of them. The two kids that we are teaching accepted baptismal dates for this next month but as it turns out, their parents want them to wait a little longer. But our other investigator passed his baptismal interview this last week and the baptism is planned for this Saturday! :) The Sisters here in Ceske Budejovice also have an investigator that is ready for baptism so we will be having a double baptism this weekend. We're excited! We just have to figure out all the little details this week and get everything ready. Our investigator asked me to baptize him and I think I might also be baptizing the Sister's investigator as well. We'll see.

As far as finding new investigators this week, it was pretty rough. We went out contacting or tracting quite a bit this last week without anyone setting up an appointment with us. We are hoping for a better week with finding this next week.

My companion and I are working hard. We work well together too, I think. We were talking to a few ladies on the town square this last week and had just gotten shut down and as we were walking away, I heard a yell. We turned around and saw this couple, a missionary that served here 20 years ago and his wife, running towards us. They had just gotten lucky to see us at the right time in the right place. They ended up coming to English with us.

We have our weekly English class on Tuesdays. I don't know if I mentioned this a week or two ago, but we always end our class with a spiritual thought. Right in the middle of the thought that we were giving, one of the students stopped us and said "I want to learn more about you church!" That came as a surprise and we are now currently teaching him.

Overall, I'm doing well! I’m starting to get sun-burned, so I'll come back with some good missionary short-sleeve tan lines I think. 

Love you!

-Elder Shirley

This week, we had the wonderful surprise of receiving an email from a former Czech Republic missionary who had returned to visit the country and ended up running into Elder Shirley and his companion. He sent us the picture that is attached to this blog post as well as the following email:

Hello Brother and Sister Shirley,

I was a missionary in the Czech Republic back in 1997 - 1999.  My wife and I are visiting the country for a week.  On Wednesday evening we had a sweet experience.  We ran into your son and his companion on the náměstí (town square) in Budějovice.

20 years ago České Budějovice was my first area and I was there for 7 months.  So it was a sweet experience for me to return and see the city again.  The exciting part for my wife and I was running into the missionaries!  We visited with them for about 10 minutes and then went and attended English class with them.  There was actually an older gentleman in the class that I remember from English classes when I was there 20 years ago.  That was fun!

Anyway, your son seemed to be doing well.  He has a newer companion in the mission (as you probably already know).  I just thought as a parent you might appreciate a picture of your son and his companion and to know that he is doing well.    I know he'll be coming home soon and I'm sure you're very excited about that.  As a former missionary here I can testify that your son is being watched over and protected and the Lord's hand is helping him daily in the great missionary work taking place in this wonderful land of the Czech Republic.  The work here is hard and it is slow, but the people are marvelous and the church is growing.  

Anyways, I just thought you would appreciate news of your son and a picture of him and his companion.  Take care and I hope you have a happy reunion with him soon!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Make A Difference For Someone Else

P-day in Cesky Krumlov with the new C-Bud district: Sestra Hayden, Sestra Miller, Starsi Shirley, Starsi Kevern

May 22, 2017


My new companion, Elder Kevern from Saratoga Springs, UT, is great! He works hard and for only being in the country for 2 months, he speaks the language very well. We aren't too similar to each other, but enough that it's fun. We still go running in the morning. I enjoy it a lot more now than I did at the beginning of it. I already feel pretty in-shape so I'll be fit when I get back home.

Our investigators are doing great! One of them has a baptismal interview today. We're excited to see how that goes! There are two other kids that we are teaching. They are 11 and 12. Their grandpa is a member and they had expressed interest in wanting to be baptized in June. So we should have a few baptisms coming up in the near future :) 

In answer to your question, two things that have impacted me a ton on my mission have been my mission presidents and also the examples of missionaries older than me. I really look up to both President McConkie and to President Pohorelicky. It's been a privilege to have known both of them and to have been guided by them in my mission. I've realized how much and how great of an impact a missionary leader can make on other missionaries. There is nothing better than a great example to look up to and to work with. I think that applies in everything in life, not only on a mission. We all need to be an example because it can literally make all the difference for someone else. I guess that is why we always say to be an example in all that we do! People see when we live by the example of Christ. 

Question of the week (from Elder Shirley’s sister Abrea): Tell me about the most interesting person/investigator you talked to this week and what they said.

Answer: Maybe it's not the most interesting person of the week, but we did talk to one lady on the street that said she wasn't really interested, but then she asked us, "Why does God have to be a man? Couldn't it be a woman?" We told her that we actually do believe in a Heavenly Mother and she was really intrigued by that. She asked if she could meet with us and talk more haha. So that was pretty cool and pretty interesting.

Gotta go, love you lots!

-Elder Shirley

Thursday, May 18, 2017

What A Great Work!

Screenshots of Mother's Day Skype call

Doing the weekly email session

May 15, 2017


It was great to see and talk to you guys yesterday for Mother’s Day!

I don't feel like I have too much to say this week either than what I said already yesterday. I'll send you a pic of my new (and last) companion. He's awesome and we are going to have a great transfer together.

We had a few "golden" people that we met. We met one on the street and 2 in city buses. By “golden”, I mean that they had been prepared to hear the gospel right at that moment. It is so great when that happens, when you meet somebody who is open to and actually searching for what we are teaching. We met one girl this last week who said that she was basically done with life and was searching for and couldn't seem to find the purpose of life. God prepares individuals one by one and we are just the tools to go find those that become prepared. What a great work! :)

Love you lots! 

-Elder Shirley

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Be A Light And An Example To Others

The C-Bud district: Starsi Shirley, Starsi Robinson, Sestra Hayden, Sestra Heap

May 9, 2017


This week was a little different. We were in Prague on three days this last week due to training and stake conference. At our training on Wednesday, we had an awesome opportunity to have a guest speak to us. It was this guy named Todd Sylvester, who is the man in the Mormon Message "The Hope of God's Light." If you haven't seen it, watch it! It's great. It was really cool to hear the story in more detail from him and to hear his testimony coming through all that. He also shared the verse Mark 11:24 and talked about the power of prayer. 

As far as investigators, we are kind of at a "standstill" with a few of them. Everyone meets with us but a lot of them aren't making a whole lot of progress. We are so close to having quite a few people on baptismal date, but no one will commit! Our one investigator who has committed to a baptismal date is doing really well though. He continues to be awesome :) And we have even found quite a few investigators this last week and have had a few first lessons. So the work is going well!

My companion and I had the chance not only to be at stake conference on Sunday, but to be a part of the Saturday meetings as well. Because I am currently serving as 1st counselor in the branch, I got to attend the stake priesthood leadership meeting as well. And let me tell you, it was one of the most spiritual meetings. It opened up with a talk about the importance of missionary work, which of course, we love when people give talks on that topic. The theme of the conference though was a personal relationship with God. It is important, not only as leaders, but as members to have your own, strong, personal relationship with God. To be a light and an example to others, we must ourselves have that testimony in our hearts. 

I'm doing great! My last transfer is starting up this next week....crazy. I assume that I will be staying in this area, but who knows? 

Love you lots!

-Elder Shirley

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Everyone Can Always Improve

P-day excursion with an investigator

May 1, 2017


This week with investigators was alright. We still have our stud investigator who is doing awesome. He reads everything and comes to church every week. Basically just loves it all.

I set a goal this few weeks to find ways that I can improve and be a better and more obedient missionary. So I have been reading “Preach My Gospel” and such and I have made a list of all the things I can improve on. I think everyone can be and is a good missionary, but everyone can always improve right? :)

The best thing that happened this last week was probably branch conference. The stake presidency came to our branch and gave talks and also taught Sunday school. They and their families I think doubled our attendance :) But it was really cool to hear the talk from the stake president. He mentioned in his talk that we have to sometimes identify something that is holding us back and get rid of it. I felt like it was perfect for our investigator. Also, Sunday School was awesome. The 1st counselor led a discussion kind of a thing. It was really cool to see that he didn't have a whole lesson planned out, but that he was in tune with the Spirit enough to take the conversation where it needed to go. He is a gospel knowledgeable man and a good example for me of what I strive to be as a teacher.

We didn’t really do anything particular on my birthday; it was just a normal day. But as a district and with a member, we went out and got dinner. The member even bought it and he bought us some cake as well.

Love you!

-Elder Shirley