Monday, May 28, 2012

Week 15 Road trip?

Draha rodino a kamaradi! [note: Dear family and friends]

Tak co? Dekuji mockrat za vase email a taky dopisy. Moc jsem vdecna za to. Dostala jsem velky prekvapeni vcera. Kolklovi prisli na shromazdeni do Brna a bylo to super! Moc stastna jsem byla ze jsem mohla je videt! [note: How are you? Thank you so much for your e-mails and also letters. I appreciate it so much. I also had a wonderful surprise yesterday. Our family friends the Koleks came to church in Brno and it was super! I was so happy to see them] They are wonderful! Dusan gave a great proslov. [note: talk] I just hugged Zuzi over and over again. And Dando is pretty cool and very much 13! They are all so great. Iveta sent a letter and some chocolate. She'll be coming next month for a conference here in Brno. Anyways it was such a tender mercy having them there.

 Sestra Pyšňáková and the Koleks from Ostrava

Well, this week was a little tough. We had some investigators drop and some of our strongest baptismal dates are facing opposition and doubting their decisions to be baptized. Tough time, and it left me wondering where all the miracles are, but I'll just keep pressing forward and do the best that I can! And you know, there are still so many things to be grateful for. We have been so blessed! Opposition is just part of the journey right?

On Monday we had a great lesson with one of our investigators. We gave her a baptismal calendar and she was thrilled. On Wednesday we taught her again and since President and Sister Irwin were down in Brno for training, we asked Sister Irwin to teach with us. The lesson was beautiful! We taught her about the Sabbath day and she was just her perfect beautiful self. She asked us about fasting so we talked a little bit about it. She has some health problems and she explained that she could go without food, but she needed to drink some water. She was so concerned and so full of desire to keep the Lord’s commandments 100%. It was touching! We of course explained the principle of the fast and told her there were exceptions. Sister Irwin was thrilled with her and afterwards asked in her English accent: "Oh, where did you find her?!"
Friday was kind of a blow though. We had a lesson with with her in the park. After we sat down she told us she wasn't prepared to be baptized. She said her baptism has been on her mind and she read the 10 commandments in Mosiah and it says to honor your father and mother so she feels like she should tell her dad before she gets baptized, but she's afraid to tell him and doesn't know how he'll take it. She said she hasn't gotten an answer yet that this church is true and she feels like she needs to keep reading in the Book of Mormon more. All-in-all she said that she isn't ready to be baptized on the 16th. It was a tough lesson. We could just see how she's wrestling inside. She said she needs to study for her finals, but she can’t focus because she's thinking so much about her baptism. She feels like putting off her baptism will help her focus more on tests and stuff. The thing is, she needs to act! The answer comes when we act. We recommended Alma 32 to her because that's just exactly it! Sometimes we just need to act in faith and when we do, the answer comes! We're praying like crazy for her. We need a miracle. We have a lesson planned with her tomorrow and she's planning on coming to baptism. Hopefully something will touch her heart.

Our other investigator is doing great. We had a lesson this week and he is so excited for baptism. He always says "Uz se tesim na krest!" [note: I am looking forward to my baptism] whenever we talk to him. He scared us to death this Sunday because he was going to go to the branch in Trebic. We talked to the branch president there and the elders in that area and everyone was expecting him. We talked to him Saturday night and he sounded great. Well, we got news from the elders on Sunday that he didn't come. We called him and I talked to him and asked him what was up. He said that he felt kind of dumb explaining, but he said something like: "I was so prepared to go! I was looking forward to go. I called the Kutilovy (a family in that branch) and told them I was coming. I arranged to drive a car over there. I woke up this morning and got ready. I said a prayer and headed out. I got in the car, but then I had a strong feeling pulling me back and telling me I needed to be with my family. You see my grandpa died a year ago today and my family went with my grandma to the Catholic Church to remember him. I felt like I should go with them so I did." He was so sincere; I had no idea what to say. The thing is he's been to church 3 times, but sacrament meeting only twice and needs to be 3 times to be baptized. I called and talked to President Irwin in the afternoon and explained the situation. I love President Irwin's response. He said, "That’s okay. He's ready. He has that desire and as long as he still has that desire yes he can get baptized. He's been to church 3 times, he has the desire to be baptized so yes that's fine." I love President Irwin so so much! He is so so so inspired and really does things by the Spirit. So our investigator is on plan to get baptized on Wednesday! Keep him in your prayers!

 Beautiful Czech Countryside

You'll never guess where I went on Saturday! I went do Českých Budějovic with my spolecnici! Bylo to skvely! [note: with my companions, it was awesome] Someone that Sister White had taught was getting baptized so we got permission from President to go. It's 4 and a half hour train ride there from Brno so we caught a train early in the morning, stayed for the baptism and then headed back in the afternoon. 9 hours total on a train! Made Saturday a long day, but it was a beautiful scenic ride and I really enjoyed it. Plus we had so many calls to make and things to plan for baptism this week that it was a blessing. The baptism in České Budějovice was for a man who met the Sister missionaries last year. His name is Ctibor. It was interesting because the baptismal service there in České Budějovice was quite different than the ones that we have in Brno. The one in České Budějovice was outside by a river. We had the service in a grove of trees and then Ctibor was baptized in the river. It was so humbling to see, but such a testimony builder!  The branch there is very small and struggling. An elder is serving as the branch president there. All of the missionaries are running the branch. But they are all amazing and doing so well!

Sestra Pyšňáková and Sestra Clark in České Budějovice 

It was so good seeing Sister Clark. Something neat was when Ctibor bore his testimony after he was baptized. He said he had met the sister missionaries last year and had since been taught by 6 sister missionaries total. He said he liked them all and learned something from all of them. But he didn't want to get baptized. Then Sister Clark came in and was teaching him a lesson. Now when Sister Clark teaches, she teaches from her heart. You can really feel that she means every word she says! So she was teaching Ctibor and started crying or something and Ctibor said that it got to him. He said "To snad neni mozne za tady ta mlada zena muze mluvit s jeji srdcem, ale ja, stary muz, nemuzu!" [note: This is impossible. This young woman here can speak from her heart and I, old man, cannot] It touched him so much he wanted to be baptized. That was a testimony builder for me that as missionaries we are called to serve where we are supposed to in specific areas at specific times. The Lord has been preparing his people and at the right moments, our paths meet and we become part of the Lord's great and marvelous work. It's really amazing!

Well I have to go now. We had an amazing specialized training on Wednesday with President and his wife. I just love them! I love this work. It's not always easy, but it's worth it. We just keep pressing forward in faith! I love you all!

Love, Sestra Pysnakova

Monday, May 21, 2012

Week 14 Adventures

Draha rodino a kamaradi, [note: Dear family and friends]

First of all, dekuji mockrat za vase dopisy! [note: thank you so much for your letters] We haven't had people come down from Prague for a while, but President came down on Friday and brought MAIL! I tell you, mail for missionaries is better than Christmas morning! I will do my best with replying to your letters. They just come in clumps so than it takes a few weeks to reply to all of them. Believe me, there's not a whole lot of time on pdays...:) But thank you all so much for your love and prayers.

Wow these first few days of the new transfer have been a growing experience. I am learning, and growing and being stretched in ways I didn't think possible and I am so grateful for it! It's the Lord's work. He's in charge. I'm here for a reason and I know that He'll qualify me for the work. He always does if we trust in Him! There is something that I am sure you will find funny. I didn't really like talking on the phone all that much before. With the transfers and two new companions coming in, they had no idea about our potential investigators, investigators, members we could teach with etc. So I had to do all that stuff. Talking on the phone isn't so bad anymore :) Something I'm learning really fast is there's no time to sit down and whine and hope someone does the job for you. There's no time for that. So I did it and I'm learning how to be a good missionary and I have so many weaknesses, but the Lord will make them strong like He promises in Ether!

My companions are really great. Sister White is from Florida. She has been out for one year and is so sweet and so smiley and happy. I love it! Sister Jorgensen has been out for 8 months and is a hard-worker. Both of them have surprised me so much with how caring they are. I noticed it right away when after the first night in Brno, we got up for morning prayers and Sister White left the room for a minute. As soon as she left Sister Jorgensen jumped up ran over and made her bed and then hurried back and finished her prayer. That's how it's been these last few days! They serve me, they serve each other and it is so great. I love them both! Our district is really great! I am looking forward to working with these amazing missionaries. 5 missionaries are new to Brno.

Sestra Jorgensen, Sestra Pyšňáková and Sestra White

Our investigators are doing well. We have 4 people that are on date for baptism. We taught one of our investigators this week and it was an amazing lesson. We taught her “druhou cast planu spaseni” [note: the second part of the Plan of Salvation] from “duchovni svet” [note: the spirit world] on down. After we taught the spirit world she said she is "spokojena, ze vsichni maji tu moznost ucit se o Jezisi Kristu" [note: satisfied that everyone has the opportunity to learn about Jesus Christ]. She loved that part! She is always so excited to meet with us and loves reading in the Book of Mormon. “Ona je opravdu pripravena a je tak skvela! Mam ji hodne rada!” [note: She is really ready and she is so great! I love her so much!] After the lesson we asked her if she would pray to know it's true and she said "I believe it's true!" She reminds me a lot of King Lamoni and Ammon in the Book of Mormon because she is so believing and so sincere. Her prayers are so tender. I love hearing her pray. In fact, hearing our investigators pray is one of the sweetest things about missionary work!

And actually, I'm impressed with the way that most Czechs pray. When they pray they bow their heads and then just sit there for a few seconds in silence with their eyes closed as if they are preparing themselves to talk to their Heavenly Father. Then they pray and after they close it they sit there for a few more seconds, heads bowed before moving on with whatever they need to. It's a reminder to me that prayer is a gift and that we truly are talking to our Heavenly Father. It's a special sacred time when we can communicate with our all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving Father.
Our other investigotor is doing well! I love his smile! He is so swamped with school and exams, but still makes time for us and recognizes that his baptism is so important. We taught him with the Holy's, an amazing family in the Branch, yesterday about how baptism isn't the end of our journey back to God, but only the beginning and that just as he's preparing now for baptism, he will be preparing for ordinances in the temple. It was wonderful teaching with the Holy's who have three small children and have devoted their whole lives to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We had a lesson on the Word of wisdom with another investigator and it did not go the way I thought it would! It was a very interesting lesson. The thing is she gets the Word of wisdom. I mean she really really gets it! She gets it more than most members of the church do. She said she had no problem with any of it. She already doesn't drink coffee, wine, alcohol etc. She doesn't use tobacco or any of that stuff. The only thing is that she drinks green-tea every once in a while. She said she'd give that up, she has no problem with it. But she didn't think that someone who wouldn't drink green tea, but drank a liter of soda pop a day was living the Word of wisdom either. She said she didn't understand why prophets are so specific about tea, but not in other areas. She said she doesn't think God should have to command us in all things, but if they are specific about things like tea than why aren't they specific about things like soda pop that are filled with sugar and chemicals and aren't good for our bodies either. It was an intense lesson, but I'm amazed how she understands the principle of the Word of wisdom. It's about recognizing our bodies are gifts from God and it's about taking care of it in the way that allows us to receive revelation and have a clear open connection with heaven. Now, it will take faith for her to accept what prophets have revealed and to continue on in her progression. We asked her to pray about green-tea and we will be praying as well. Sometimes it just takes faith! We won't always understand things at first, but understanding does and will come.

We had an amazing lesson with the guy who we contacted on the Namesti [note: Square] and had an amazing discussion with on the atonement. We were finally able to meet with him again and he expressed his desire to change his life around and start over. He's in his late 30s I think and said he's made some very poor choices that he's still trying to fix to this day. He is truly in the process of repenting. He just needs the Savior now. He accepted a baptismal date, but was hesitant as to whether or not he could actually make it. But we asked him to pray about it. We had a kneeling prayer at the end of the lesson and it was one of the most tender prayers I have heard. He was so sincere. So humble! He's not a believer so this was the first time he's prayed since he was a child (he used to go to church with his grandma). But he prayed and asked Heavenly Father to help him be prepared for baptism on his date. It was so tender and the spirit was strong!

Well, I have to go! Lots of work to do! I'm looking forward to the transfer! Lots of opportunities to learn and to grow. I love you all so so much! Keep up the good work!

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova.

In the home of the Šindýlka family

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Week 13 Transfers

Drahá rodino a kamarádi! [note: Dear family and friends]

It was so wonderful talking to you all on Mother's day! What a blessing! I have the best family in the world and I love you ALL! I agree mom that that was the fastest 45 minutes ever. It flew by!
Well my first experience with transfers and I'm staying in Brno! Monday evening when we talked to the APs, I was the first one on the phone and Elder Coleman said something like: "Well Sister Pysnakova, how do you like Brno?" I said I loved it and he said: "Good, because you're staying in Brno. Your new companions will be Sister White and Sister Jorgenson. Can I talk to your companion?" I let that sink in, and then after Sister Brimhall talked to him on the phone and hung up I asked her where she was going. She said: "Prague!" And then I cried:) I was like: "How am I going to do this without my trainer?!" It has been an amazing transfer! I was thinking back over these past few weeks and realizing how blessed we were. We had a transfer filled with miracles! And I am so grateful to have been able to serve with Sister Brimhall. I learned so much from her and I already miss her.

Saying good bye. Sister Brimhall was transfered to Prague.

Sister Jorgenson, Sister White and Sestra Pyšňáková.

I realized in the last 24 hours that I have a lot of responsibility in carrying on our area. My new companions don't know anything about the area, members, investigators etc. and so I'm responsible for scheduling appointments, getting members to the lessons, figuring out where we will be contacting, how to get around Brno etc. In the past day I've had to grow up I guess you can say. The work has to move forward and I will do the best that I can. I'm relying on the Lord and know that he'll make up for my weaknesses. He will qualify me for the work! That's what I'm relying on now! I was talking to Sister Brimhall a few days ago about transfers coming up. I said: "You know, I just got comfortable. I know the members, I know my investigators, we work well together, and our district is united." And her response was: "That's when it's time to move on! You want to feel that way when transfers come. And it's good that change comes so that you can move on and learn more!" Very true!

Well, Sister Jorgenson has been out for 6 months and has only served in Jičín so the big city of Brno is going to be a new experience for her! She is from Colorado. Sister White has been out for 1 year. She was in Sister Brimhall's MTC group. I met her at BYU before she left for the mission and she wrote me a letter in the MTC. She has been serving in Ceske Budejovice for the last few months and was training Sister Clark last transfer.
Thank you for your prayers! I need them! I love you! It's going to be a great transfer. It's all about the work, right? So lose myself in it!
I love you all! Love, Sestra Pyšňáková.

District Finding

Monday, May 14, 2012

Brno Branch Spring Concert

CÍTÍME LÁSKU (Love is spoken here) is sung by Elder Bueller and Sestra Pyšňáková. They are accompanied by Pavla. This group learned they had a part in the program on Thursday!

Here is the link. Enjoy!


Monday, May 7, 2012

Week 12 Right place, right time!

Draha rodino! [note: Dear family]

There is so much to write, I'm afraid I'm going to run out of time. But I will do my best. I just keep thinking at the end of every week that things can't get any better, and they do! Each week we just have miracle after miracle. This week was full of them! I'll jump right into it.

We had a family history lesson with Pavla. We weren't counting on it being a very spiritual lesson since we were just going to look at some family history documents with her and also it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment lesson. But it ended up being one of the most spiritual lessons I have ever had. Pavla has been really interested in doing work for her ancestors, especially for her mom and brother who passed away a few years ago. She found out that her Uncle has apparently been doing their family history and he was very happy to give all of the information to Pavla. He had this cool site that he was putting all the family history information on and he had sent the link to Pavla so she was so excited to show us. We started with a prayer and then Pavla went to the website. She was showing us this pedigree diagram thing which was really neat. She would click on one individual and it would break out into another family and so on. As she clicked away, more branches of names and families kept appearing and this pedigree chart thing just kept growing. As she clicked and a new branch would show up with all of these names she was like: "Whoa! Is this my family? Is this my family too?!" I was like: "Yes Pavla! This is all of your family and they are anxiously waiting for their work to be done." When I said that the spirit was so so strong! I received the strongest confirmation that many of these people had had a part in Pavla's conversion--that they had helped her find the missionaries and had helped every step of the way as she prepared for baptism. As I continued to testify of this to Pavla the spirit just kept getting stronger. I realized two things: first, I am not alone in this work. There are so many people on the other side who are anxious for their work to be done. Second, I have a much bigger responsibility as a missionary than I realized. I am not only involved in my investigator's salvation, but also the salvation of hundreds of people on the other side! Oh yikes! And I'm only 21! But seriously, this is an incredible work. These people are real. They need these ordinances. They are helping us as missionaries to find their prepared descendents who can do work for them. It's amazing!

Now on to this week! Where do I begin! I'll start with a scripture that describes our week. Doctrine and covenants 123:16,17. Verse 17 says: Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power. Then may we stand still, with the upmost assurance to see the salvation of God and for his arm to be revealed. That pretty much sums up our week. Seriously, this is the Lord's work. These are his investigators. Nowhere am I in charge. He's in charge. Also, President Irwin sent out our weekly newsletter and asked us to focus on our tender mercies this week. He used D&C 64:63 which says: Be not weary in well doing for ye are laying the foundation of a great work. And out of small things proceeded that which is great. So true! And this week was full of miracles and tender mercies. So here we go:

We have had amazing weather this past week. It was literally summer. Very abnormally high temperatures. On Wednesday we had a few hours of contacting in a park near our apartment. I got burnt. It's funny because members who saw us later in the week were like: "Sestra Pysnakova! You got tan! What have you been doing?" "Uh, missionary work of course!" Anyways, missionary work is a lot of fun in the sun. Czechs are happier too. So Wednesday we are in the park and had a goal to find a new investigator. As we were getting ready to leave the park after being there for a few hours, we bumped into this girl who is in her 20s. We introduced ourselves and did a typical contact, and she got this kind of disgusted look on her face and said: "No, I'm not interested. And I can't understand you!" It's funny because one person says our Czech is amazing and praises us up and down and then you get people like this who basically say it's terrible. But we apologized and told her we were trying to learn Czech. She asked us where we were from and then asked more questions. It was great because she started to feel comfortable. We had already talked about religion at the beginning and she had told us she wasn't interested so we were getting ready to end the contact and told her we teach English once a week and that she should come...After we explained all of the details and gave her a pass along card with Christ on it she said: "I'm not interested in learning English. But I would like to talk to you about Christianity. Do you do that? I thought maybe we could sit down and talk about Christ." We were like: “What! Forget everything we just said about English!” We told her that that is actually what we did as missionaries so we sat down right there and had a lesson. It was so cool! It was a testimony to me of meeting people at the right place at just the right time which is something I pray for every day. She told us her Grandma was a believer, but died like 3 weeks ago and she was thinking a lot about religion these last few weeks and felt that faith should play more of a role in her life. She also told us that she rejected us at first, because she thought we were a sect. But when she found out we are Christians she wanted to talk to us. She said the closing prayer and thanked God for us and that she recognized it as a sign from Him! We gave her an Evangelium Jezise Krista [note: Gospel of Jesus Christ] brochure and set up for Friday.

On Friday, we had an amazing lesson with her! She had read that brochure and showed us on the back that there was a page of scripture references. She said she wanted to read these references so that she could better understand everything and asked for a Book of Mormon.  She also accepted a baptismal date for June!!  On Sunday, she came to church and loved it! She is very sensitive and pays a lot of attention to how she feels. Testimony meeting was perfect and she even made comments in Relief Society. A lot of the youth came up to introduce themselves and asked her how she'd met us. What she told them surprised us! She said: "I met these girls in the park. At first I rejected them because I thought they were a sect. But then we kept talking and there was so much light coming from their faces..." So so neat! Really it is another testimony that this is the Lord's work. He was in charge of that contact in the park. We were ready to end it, and yet he got involved into it and we found another amazingly prepared person! Also we had asked her to read 2 Nephi 31 and tell us her thoughts on it. She told us after Relief Society that she had read it several times. She shared with us verse 14 and told us that she realized how important krest [note: baptism] is. That you make a very important and strong commitment with God to follow him for the rest of your life.  So here is the young woman, who doesn't quite know if God exists, is reading in the Book of Mormon (which we haven't explained to her yet what it is) and has accepted  a baptismal date!

We taught our other investigator with a member of the branch presidency, brother Canjo. We found out that Brother Canjo comes from a large catholic family just like our investigator. Our investigator has 7 siblings and Brother Canjo has 6. Both families are strong Catholics. It was such a blessing to have Brother Canjo there because our investigator came in for the lesson and said: "Can we move my baptismal date? My parents don't want me to be baptized. I don't want to go against them. They asked me to wait for a few weeks so that I can talk to a Priest who is a family acquaintance. Also, I was already baptized..." What would you say?! I was like NO! But we felt very peaceful and one by one just started testifying to him. Brother Canjo talked about how his family didn't want him to get baptized either, but he did because he knew it was right. They ended up disowning him for a few years. We also shared 1 Nephi 3:7 and told him that the Lord always provides the way if we want to follow him. We asked him to pray about it. We did not change his date, because we felt like everything would be okay. We then taught him the Word of wisdom! Yep! Totally led by the spirit there. He committed to live the Word of wisdom without a problem. In fact he said: "Hmm no coffee. Well I've learned to drink coffee in the mornings to give me energy for school. But I'll just unlearn it." What faith!

We prayed and worried a lot about him for the next few days. Especially about his family wanting him to meet with a priest. I especially thought a lot about what we were asking him to do. I was like can I really be asking him to leave his family. To sacrifice his relationship with his family and who knows what else to be baptized? Can I really ask that of him? Then the spirit spoke to me. I realized that I am a representative of Jesus Christ. It is Christ who is asking our investigator to be willing to give up everything to follow him. And that is for all of us. Christ wants us all to give up anything and everything that stands in the way of following Him. I found a scripture Matthew 19:29 that I wanted to share with him and we also wanted to recommend him Elder Oaks talk on sacrifice.

So on Friday I called him and told him about these two references which he seemed grateful for, and then he said: "I've been thinking about baptism and....." I didn't catch the rest because he was talking kind of fast in Czech and it was a bad connection. So I was like: "What about baptism?" Sister Brimhall was standing next to me and I think about had a heart attack! He said: "I've been thinking about baptism and I feel that it's right for me. I need to be baptized. I am ready to be baptized!" I was like: "That is wonderful! How did you come to that?" He answered very matter-of-factly: "I prayed and asked God and I know that this is right. This is the path for me. I am ready to be baptized!" This was one of the sweetest, most powerful moments I have ever had in my life. He rayed. God answered him. He will get baptized!

Our other investigator  is doing amazing! She came into our lesson on Thursday and started asking about missions. She said: "Would I be able to serve a mission if I became a member? This is just a thought that crossed my mind..." It was so cool! And she accepted a baptismal date for June! We have sent some materials to her mom (Kniha Mormon, Liahona) and her mom was grateful for it. So we told her that missionaries could visit and teach her mom and she was like: "That is a great idea! That would be so fun to take the lessons together!" She is wonderful!

Well there are so many more things I could share, but not enough time. I have been sharing Dad's escape and conversion story with Sister Brimhall every night for the last week (just part by part) and finally finished it a few days ago. Sister Brimhall said: "Sister Pysnakova, you are used to miracles! You grew up with miracles!" Yes! Be used to miracles! Except them every day! It has been an amazing transfer. Transfers are next week. So many amazing miracles. I have loved working with Sister Brimhall. I love her so much!

I love being a missionary! I love this work! Thank you all for your love, support and prayers. I am looking forward to talking to you all on Sunday!

Love, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

"Halusky" dish at the Martins

Played baseball for Sports Day

Sports Day