Draha Rodino! [note: Dear Family!] In one week I will be in Prague. Can you believe it? Thank you all so much for your letters and emails. I love you all so much.
I have officially moved into the Czech district. My new companions are Sestra Clark and Sestra Sears. I also moved into their room with three other sisters going to Croatia. My new district is very nice and they have welcomed me into the group. I have to say though that I definitely miss my international district. In two and a half weeks I learned so much from those international elders and sisters. I love each of them so much. It feels like we've known each other for much longer than just two and a half weeks. When I got here I was so worried about not being in a Czech class and I felt out of place, but then things changed and I realized that I was where I was supposed to be and I know that is true! I can't teach something in Czech if I don't know it in English and I was so blessed to learn for 3 weeks how to be an effective teacher, how to teach by the spirit, how to use the Book of Mormon etc. It was amazing. I love my teachers Brother Gabriel and Sister Singer and I will definitely miss them.
This week I learned a lot. On Tuesday we had Elder Holland come and speak to us for devotional and boy was it one of the most powerful talks I have ever heard. I wish he'd give something like that in General Conference. It was powerful. He was very strict, loud and pounded the pulpit a few times, but it made us all realize the seriousness of our call. Here are a few things I liked what he said:
DON'T YOU DARE COME HOME AND IN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES THINK HOW TO NOT LOOK LIKE A MISSIONARY. DON'T TELL STUPID STORIES ABOUT THE STUPID STUFF YOU DID ON P-DAY. OR WHY ON EARTH DID YOU SERVE A MISSION? THE LIFE YOU'RE LIVING NOW IS MEANT TO BE PERMANENT. GET THE THINGS YOU'RE DOING NOW INTO YOUR HEART. OR WHY ON EARTH ARE YOU GOING?
DON'T COME HOME THE SAME PERSON THAT YOU WERE BEFORE YOU LEFT. THE LORD DOESN'T WANT YOU TO BE EXACTLY HOW YOU USED TO BE. THE MISSION IS MEANT TO CHANGE YOU.
THE VERY THINGS YOU WANT FROM INVESTIGATORS ARE THE VERY THINGS THE LORD WANTS FROM YOU. IF YOU ARE TEACHING INVESTIGATORS TO PRAY A LITTLER HARDER, YOU BETTER BELIEVE THE LORD WANTS YOU TO PRAY HARDER AS WELL.
ON YOUR MISSION YOU ARE ASKED TO HAVE AT LEAST ONE CONVERT AND THAT IS YOUR VERY OWN SOUL. PROMISE THAT THE MISSION WILL LEAD TO YOUR OWN CONVERSION. EVERYONE ELSE IS THE ICING ON THE CAKE.
THIS IS REAL LIFE. YOUR MISSION IS REAL LIFE. NOT WHAT COMES AFTER. THIS IS AS CLOSE AS IT GETS TO REAL LIFE AND YOU'LL NEVER GET THIS CHANCE AGAIN.
He said much more, but these were a few points that really meant a lot to me. It was a great night. On Friday I had in-field orientation which meant we were in meetings all day. It was the best day here at the MTC. It was all about practical application of the things we have learned in real life. It was neat. We practiced approaching people at the airport, we learned the importance of planning with the Lord's help, we learned about setting goals and teaching with members. Something that stood out to me was "If you lower your expectations, your effectiveness will decrease." That can be applied to anything we do in this life. Never ever lower your expectations. When we set high expectations the Lord can work with us and help us be the best that we can be. Something else that was really neat was learning how important planning can be and planning with the Lord. Because with His help we can say: “Okay, from 2 to 2:30 I will be on the Naměstí in Ostrava” [note: square in the Ostrava City, where we come from] and the Lord can bring people there that are ready to hear the gospel. I know that's true.
On Sunday was my last day with my branch. I love my branch. I love my branch presidency. They are so wonderful. I got to talk with Brother and Sister Yost about the Czech Republic and get all sorts of advice from them. They served as mission presidents there before President Slovacek and they loved it. I am amazed at the tender mercies I have received here. It's amazing that on my time in the ESL class, I had all of these connections to the Czech Republic around me--Brother and Sister Yost, Sestra Cubova [note: Sister from the Czech Republic called to serve in England] and Sister Heinzen [note: returned missionary from the Czech Republic]. I didn't need to be in the Czech class to practice my Czech or to learn more about the country. I know that Heavenly Father is so mindful of us and is really looking out for us.
Yesterday, I had my first class in the Czech district. Sister Austin taught and it was fun seeing her again.
I love you all! Thank you for your letters and prayers and love. I am so blessed to be a missionary and a representative of Jesus Christ. I am striving each day to live worthy of that call.
Love, Sestra Pysnakova.