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