This week was amazing! It was a week of extremes! There were tears of disappointment, but also many tears of joy!!
First of all, the news you have all been waiting for...Pavel was baptized and confirmed. He is now the newest member of the Brno branch! I can't even convey the joy I felt and that I feel now talking about it. All I can say is "He made it!" The few days before the baptism, I felt unusually calm. In my mind I wrestled back and forth about whether or not Pavel would make it. I worried about him. I worried he'd face opposition and change his mind. It's tough too since he hasn't been living in Brno and so we couldn't see him as often as we wanted too. But I felt peaceful and knew that everything would be okay. We kept in contact with him as much as we could.
On Tuesday, he had his pohovor [note: interview] with our district leader, Elder Stimpson. Then after that we had Pavel try on some baptismal clothes. I smiled so much when I saw him come out in them. Ah! It warmed my heart. Later I found out from Elder Stimpson that the interview had gone super well. The best part had been when Pavel asked a "kdybych mohl..." [note: if I could] question about a mission!!!! Elder Stimpson said he got so excited he can't remember exactly what Pavel said. But he asked about the possibility of going on a mission and stuff like that! So neat!
Pavel ended up sleeping over in Brno Tuesday night and called us Wednesday afternoon to let us know he was in Brno and didn't have anything to do. We invited him to come to the building early to help us get some stuff ready. As soon as he walked in all the anxiety and worry that had built up over him left. He was here. He was fine!
Now planning a baptism is quite the project. There's all sorts of details that you need to take care of from big to little. Things I'd never think of like how long it takes for the font to fill up and stuff. But we prayed lots and everything came together so well. We're blessed here in this branch that there are so many members capable of helping us out with these things. About 10 minutes before the baptism I started to panic because there weren't a lot of members there and I just prayed so hard that people would come. I felt peace come over me. And, then, suddenly there were so many people there! It was amazing! Members that had helped teach Pavel with us and others who had met him at church came to support him! Pavel was shocked! He said he didn't expect there to be that many people. Petra came to the baptism. I wanted her to be there so she could feel the special spirit that is there. She felt something! After the baptism, she was watching all of the people mingling together and said "It's like one big, loving family!" Petra realized and I know Pavel realized this as well, that he has a family in the church. It doesn't matter where we are - Utah or Brno - this is the Lord's church and we are a family. And you know what unites us? Our love for the Savior. Pavel realized that even if his family rejects him for his decision, he will always have a family here.
Sister Brimhall came from Prague to see the Baptism. We didn't have much time to talk, but I felt like I got 10x closer to her because together we helped someone come closer to Christ. WE worked together to help Pavel make this covenant with God through baptism and that brought us closer together as well. Now there's some advice for strengthening any relationship!
The part where I felt the strongest spirit was when we were singing in the chapel and Pavel and Vasek came in after changing. When Pavel walked in with his hair still wet the spirit was SO strong. I couldn't stop smiling and I looked over and saw that Sister Brimhall was feeling exactly what I was feeling as she sat there with a huge smile as well. After the krestni shromazdeni [note: baptismal service], Pavel kept saying he felt perfect. Yesterday, he was confirmed. He wanted to make sure he got to church on time so he came super early. In fact he came so early he was the first one at the church building and he just waited by the doors until the elders showed up to unlock it. He looked so good in his suit and tie! And when he was confirmed, by Brother Canjo, the man who also grew up in a catholic family of 7 children, I felt this warm feeling come over me. Pavel did it! He made this beautiful covenant with God. But it's just the beginning! He has a whole path ahead of him, but with Christ, it's a beautiful path.
Now, about the tears of disappointment. We'll just say this week we went from 4 baptismal dates to nula [note: zero]. One of our investigators kept canceling her lesson with us until we finally had one with her Friday. She came in and I could just see something was different. The light that she had had before was gone. I was like "Uh oh..." It just didn't feel right. We started our lesson and she said "Prisla jsem rozloucit..." [note: I came to say good-bye] I was like "NOOO NOOO!" She stopped reading the Book of Mormon and everything went downhill from there. She had a lot of reasons of why she didn't want to continue with us, but none of them made a whole lot of sense. She did say she feels she needs to find her own path. It was tough. It broke my heart! I've never felt something like this before. I know the things we have been teaching her are the things that will help her come to Christ. I know it will make her happy. I know it's true! But we couldn't do anything other than testify to her of this. We were with her for about 25 minutes and then said a prayer together at the end. She didn't want to leave though. She stayed for another 15 minutes to talk and I could see how she's just wrestling inside. Finally she said "I know you are busy and have things to do, but could I see you again and could we talk again?" She's out of town this week but we set up for a week from Tuesday. I know she felt something.
I was talking to Sister White about it after, because she noticed that the light that our investigator had had before was gone. We talked about the difference that reading in the Book of Mormon makes in our own lives. Is it possible that when I don't read or ponder enough from the Book of Mormon for a few days that there is that much of a difference in light in me? I know the answer is yes because I felt it before. In regular everyday life we focus on so many other things. We are busy with school and work. We may not notice the difference that, for example, reading in the Book of Mormon can have on us, but being on a mission where I focus on those things all day every day, I've realized I'm much more sensitive to those kinds of things and I can see the difference that the little things have in our life. The little things like praying and reading everyday make a difference!
Well, uz nemam cas. Musim pracovat! [note: I do not have time anymore. I have to work!] There's prepared people out there. I need to find them! I'm grateful for the things I've learned this week. How much sweeter miracles are when there's a backdrop of hardships. Kind of like a diamond looks so much more beautiful against a black background. I love our Savior! I am grateful for His example to us. I am grateful for this opportunity to invite others to come closer to him every day!
Mam vas hodne rada! [note: I love you very much]
S laskou, Sestra Pysnakova
Sestra Pysnakova and some of the beautiful young women