Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My Mission Is And Will Be The Foundation Of My Life

Starsi Shirley on a bus in Ceske Budejovice

The street Starsi Shirley lives on

Hluboka castle near Ceske Budejovice

July 10, 2017


This week we went over to Petr's house. He is our investigator that is planning to be baptized on the 29th. He has a really nice apartment and is doing well with lessons and such. There just seems to be a gap between actually understanding and spiritual understanding. We need to work on receiving spiritual answers rather than just normal understanding.

The 2 kids that we have been teaching for the last 4 months finally have a baptismal date! Their grandpa is a member. Their mom actually started coming to church and she is allowing the older boy who is 12 to be baptized. His date is on the 29th as well. 

Yesterday at church, the branch president was gone so I was presiding and conducting. We had 2 members there when we started church. Eventually people trickled in and we ended up having about 5 more show up. The talks at church went a lot shorter than expected as well, and our third and final speaker started his talk with 35 minutes left in the meeting. So during his talk, I hurriedly threw together some thoughts and scriptures and ended having the closing remarks/talk for the last 10 minutes. Missions definitely give you opportunities to work under pressure haha :)

I'm not sure how much/ if I will have email time next week. We'll see. But this last week I have definitely been thinking about all that has happened these last two years. I even got to read through my journal that I've kept. One thing that I realized through all my journal writing was how the love for my mission has grown. I truly do love all the experiences that I have had here. I love the hard work that I have put into it. I love these people that I have had the opportunity to serve. I love the missionaries and the mission presidents that I have served with. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives hope and understanding to all who will hear it. And I love my Savior, who made it all possible. Who lived to give us the opportunity to learn, change, and grow. Who rose from the dead so we all will as well. I love it all. My mission is and will be the foundation of my life. In the words of my amazing mission president, "By serving a mission you have laid a firm and wonderful foundation for the rest of your life." What a blessing to have served here! 

The wedding looked great! (we sent pictures of Tristan and Aleisha’s wedding from this past weekend). It's too bad that Lyndi and Aleisha had to go get married just a few weeks before I got back! But I'm glad to hear it went well. I'm happy for both of them.

I'm excited for whatever you guys have planned to do when I get back. The schedule that you sent sounds great! We can travel wherever. You can pick! It'll be a surprise for me. I am excited to go to the Bostrons though!

Dreaming in Czech I guess happens ever once in a while, but it was never a regular thing. (we asked Josh if he dreams in Czech now)

I'm not sure what to buy for souvenirs still. I think I'll wait until next week. The schedule, as far as I know it, will be that I will be staying in Prague for 2 days or so next week with a lot of people from my MTC group. I assume that we will have time to souvenir shop there, so I'll get something then. 

I've started thinking about my homecoming talk already. No pressure, I just have to fit 2 years of stuff and experiences into a 15-20 minute talk haha. We'll see if I can even get across the message I'd like to.

This last week at district meeting, I got a little choked up. It kind of just came unexpectedly, and it surprised me because I'm not the type that really cries. I hope I can keep myself together during my homecoming talk. I'm not one that cries too often, but if I do, I feel like I am not one to keep myself together very well. I'd rather just deliver a good powerful talk haha :) 

Can't wait to see you! No crying too hard Mom! J 

-Elder Shirley

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Missionaries Are Branch Builders

Attending the U.S. vs. Czech Republic volleyball game at the world championship volleyball tournament

Starsi Shirley gets a new haircut

July 3, 2017


We had a lesson with our awesome investigator, Petr, today. He had the baptismal date for my last weekend here, but it is looking like he won't make it, just because of the lack of time. So the date was moved back two weeks today. I won't be here to see it, and he was a little sad about that, but it'll be better! I'll just have to get pictures. He is great though. He came to church this weeks and enjoys it.

I’m definitely getting excited to come home. Why wouldn't I right? :) I'm excited to see you and everyone again. But it'll be sad of course to say bye to all of these people and to leave a country and a people that I love. It has been really weird to be hearing about all my friends getting home...that definitely hasn't helped with the trunkiness, haha. But I’m not trunky enough to not work hard until the end!

Today for P-day we had a few lessons. So we didn't have a whole ton of time to go somewhere. But we did go up to the top of the big tower here in the middle of the city so that was cool. I'll send you pictures!

Church this week was pretty good! We had a good amount of people there and the chapel was about full! Our two recent converts are doing awesome and both have the Aaronic priesthood now and are full and active members. It is exciting to see the branch grow! With Petr's baptism coming up in a month and the Sisters here should also have a baptism soon, the branch with be seeing a lot of growth for this year. It is exciting to see missionary work making a difference and watching the church grow. That is what missionary work is all about! In the words of Elder Cook, missionaries are also "branch builders." 

A surprise this last week was that we got to go watch a volleyball match! The world championship volleyball tournament just happens to be taking place in this city. And the Sisters meet one of the American team coaches on the street who is a member of the church. We got to go to the game and watch the American team play against the Czech Republic. It isn't a usual thing to go to sporting events, but it ended up working out. It got me excited to be able to watch sporting events again!

Love you!

-Elder Shirley