Monday, June 25, 2012

Week 19 Ovce? Anyone?

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

Iveta [note: friend and church member from Ostrava, Zuzi’s Mom] came to Brno yesterday to teach Relief Society. Iveta taught an amazing lesson and it was so great seeing her again. She brought me and the Elder Stimpson and Bahr who served in Ostrava last transfer, bramborovy salad a rizky [note: potato salad and breaded chicken breasts]. The funny thing is that since we were in Prague last week we didn't have time to buy food for the week. But Iveta and Renata brought us last week so much food that we were fine the whole week. They are both wonderful and I love them so much. I forgot to tell you but Iveta and Dusan took us to our apartment to drop off all the food and as we were riding in their car I thought of all the times we took missionaries around in Ostrava for the last few years. Now I'm the missionary:) I LOVE it!

It was a good week. We worked hard and saw some great things happen. Missionary work is so fun when it's warm and sunny outside. It was actually really hot this week and we did some contacting v Luzankach which we call the miracle park. When the weather is nice you can usually catch someone who has time and then do a lesson on the bench right there. We had a few of those and so that was nice.

I had some thoughts that I wanted to share with you that I realized this week. Every week we have tydni planovani [note: weekly planning], where we plan and prepare for our investigators for the upcoming week. One of us says a prayer at the beginning. It's a very special prayer and takes a long time because we pray for each investigator individually. For me it's become a very spiritual experience and this Saturday especially. My testimony was again strengthened in the fact that Heavenly Father is leading and guiding us. As Sister White would begin praying for specific investigators, thoughts would flood my mind and I would jot them all down. As I would write down inspiration for what they needed and how we could help them, Sister White would begin saying the exact same things in her prayer. It was a testimony to me that the spirit is speaking to all of us! And you know, it took me coming on a mission to begin believing that I am worthy enough to receive revelation and to recognize the promptings of the spirit. It's something of course that I will be working on the rest of my life - how to be in tune with the Holy Ghost and recognize and act on that voice, but now I know that it's real. The Spirit is speaking to all of us! And you know I've found that it's easiest to hear when I think of how I can help others come closer to Christ. How I can uplift them spiritually. That's the secret. When you do that you have less time to focus on the worldly things. And you know, you hear "everyone's doing it...that's not're too spiritual..." What?

Brother Saunders gave an amazing talk in sacrament meeting yesterday. He talked about this very point. He talked about sheep in Wales (he's from England) and how they are considered stupid animals. When you try to round them up or get them to follow you they run the other way even if it's too their death. When you go there are dead sheep over the edge of cliffs and on the sides of the roads because they wouldn't follow the shepherd. He compared this to Christ and us. He asked us which sheep we are. Sheep that run away? Sheep that follow for a day, a week, a year? Or sheep that know the voice of the Master and follow willingly? When Christ called the fishermen to follow him and become fishers of men, they came straightway and immediately. Christ is asking each of us to give up our nets and follow him. Your nets can be anything that is keeping you from following Chris IMMEDIATELY and STRAIGHTWAY. If we don't follow that voice of inspiration when it comes, then we miss out opportunities to do good.

Following Christ isn't dropping our nets for a day, either. If we are to come and follow Him, it's a journey that is very long. Brother Saunders shared a story of a little dog that was lost and found some cyclists who were making this very long journey. This story made the news here because this little dog ran behind the bikes miles and miles up and down hills to stay with them. The moral of the story was that if this little dog had slowed down, even for a day, she'd have lost sight of the cyclists. We are also in the race of life. And things are speeding up. There's no time to slacken our pace even for a day. The Savior is calling to us and together as brothers and sisters in this church, we are to encourage each other to keep up, to keep the Savior in sight, and to never never ever slacken our pace. Sometimes some of us may falter, but that's why we have each other, to encourage us to keep moving. Maybe there is someone who reads this who feels like they've slowed down too much, to the point that it's not worth it to run anymore. That's a lie. There's still time! Start now. Run! The Savior is calling, ever calling to us. Not to do things to check it off the list. Did I read the Kniha Mormon [note: Book of Mormon]? check. Did I pray today? check. NO NO NO! Get it into your heart. Realize these things are preparing you to return to God. That's our ENTIRE purpose in this life (Alma 34:32).

As we follow Christ, we will walk the same path and do the same things he did. Keeping our eye on Him and where He leads will allow us to end up as He is - perfect in love, humble, glorious, powerful and yet so so meek. I love HIM!

A few times this week, I had the opportunity to not just teach, but to also uplift and strengthen the members here. Sister Martinova and I met with a member and when Sister Martinova asked her how she was doing, she shook her head and then rushed into my arms and started sobbing. I just held her and waited until she could speak. We sat down with her and ignored the lesson plan we had. I prayed and just talked with her and felt inspired to share some verses in the Book of Mormon with her. At the end she was her normal self and as we prayed together we all felt that everything would be okay. I had a few more opportunities to love, comfort and strengthen some of the other youth here, particularly one whose friend died of cancer and one who felt like she wasn't feeling the spirit anymore in her life. With each one I felt Heavenly Father's love for them. I learned as I shared things with them. Later this week Sister White told me something that I will never forget: "She needed comfort and she knew where that comfort would come from. She came straight to you, not to anyone else, because she trusted you enough to know that you'd give her that comfort and love that she needed. And I saw that in how you hugged her, talked with her and when you opened up the Book of Mormon." I don't mean to share that in any way to boast; rather it was a testimony to me because I truly truly love these people. I have always loved these people. Remember mom how when we'd come here na prazdniny [note: for vacation] and I always wanted to stay longer? Something has always drawn me here. I am so so blessed.

Last story, a few weeks ago by our apartment, we met a lady named Maria. She was walking on the street and didn't have time to talk to us, but we exchanged contact information. She's a nurse and is very very classy. She also belongs to some church which is one of those reformed catholic churches here. We finally got a lesson domluvenou [note: scheduled] for Saturday and she came with her coworker. We taught the restoration and Maria at the end said "I would love to read the Book of Mormon and come back and talk more about these things." She was very honest and said: "Right now I don't think I will change churches..." We just smiled and assured her that her testimony will come when she reads and prays about the Book of Mormon. Afterwards she shared with me how she's a nurse and has been around death a lot. She said she always used to fear it. But then she had some experiences, for example one, where a relative, an hour before she died, was talking to someone and said: "The Lord is calling for me! It's time to go!" She then died peacefully with a peaceful look on her face. Maria said experiences like this taught her to not be afraid of death. She said she doesn't want to die. She wants to live still to enjoy her first grandchild on the way. But she's not afraid because she knows there's something after death. We assured her that there is and that the plan of salvation is an example of truths that have been restored v dnesni dobe [note: in this time].

Well I need to go! We have a vylet [note: trip] planned for the rest of the afternoon. We are headed up to hrad Veveri to get pasovani [note: castle Veveri to get knighted]!!!! Hana Mareckova is the Brno mom and is taking us up there for the event. Hopefully the weather permits it. It's raining today! Raining, but a great and wonderful day because we have the gospel and know why we are here and where we can go if we follow the path Christ has set out for us!

Mam vas vsechny rada [note: I love you all]!

YSA FHE BBQ (Young Single Adults Family Home Evening Barbeque)

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