Monday, July 30, 2012

Week 24 Nech sa paci! [note: Thank you!]

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

Happy Birthday to Megan this week!

My favorite story in the Kniha Mormonova [note: Book of Mormon] is Ammon's mission to the Lamanites. He is my hero! I love reading his story over and over again and finding such amazing things of how I can improve as a missionary. And then I was thinking, can you imagine what Ammon's emails would have been like if he'd emailed home every week? "Mom, dad, the king here offered me to marry his daughter. But I locked my heart!" or "I did some service today and took care of some sheep. But then some robbers came and I had to cut off their arms!" It's kind of funny to think about. Completely a different experience that he had than what I'm having, but at the same time I can imagine his emails saying "I listened to the king pray for the first time today. It was incredible!" or "I prayed and Heavenly Father provided a way for me to share the gospel with the people here." In a way his mission experience was so different than mine, and yet we experienced some of the same things--we both got to see people come to Christ. That is the most powerful experience in the world.

Today while eating at Olivo, a restaurant on the Námestie [note: Square], a pigeon was walking around the tables and suddenly flew up next to me and almost landed on my plate! This happened only moments after the restaurant had played a song from Josef and the Technicolor dream coat. And, everyone here says "hej" instead of “jo” or “ano” [note: yes]. I've never liked saying hey, but I’m picking up “hej” quite fast here:)

This week was beautiful! We are starting to get the hang of things here. The work is rolling forward and we've been blessed with miracles. It's amazing what you can accomplish when you and your companion are both completely devoted to the work. With hard work, high goals, a vision and lots of prayer, you can accomplish anything! I'm really enjoying working with Sister Izatt. Church was packed yesterday in Banska! Much different than our first Sunday here. I gave a talk about adversity, mostly po cesky ale par slova bylo po slovensky [note: Czech but a few words in Slovak]. The Elders just said I was speaking Czechoslovakian. Whatever! We had three of our beautiful investigators come to church - Pavol and his daughter Simona, and Vladamir.

We got to know Pavol and his daughter more this week and we just love them both! Simona is 14 years old, but is very mature for her age. She told us during one of our lessons how she'd come to church here once before and loved it. She said she'd always believed in God, but she'd go to kostel [note: church] and have to do the rosary and say all of those memorized prayers and come out feeling like she hadn't gotten anything out of it. Then she came to our church one Sunday and felt different! She actually felt something. She felt like she had come closer to God. It was a powerful testimony to me of the Spirit and how it touches people's hearts. Simona and her dad love it so much that they wanted to come back! Pavol told us that even though there are only a few members here in Banska, they are sincere and truly wanting to follow Christ and that was more important to him than going to a kostel that was full of people. They both love the church and feel the spirit. They read together from the Book of Mormon and Pavol's mom started reading in it as well.

Then therte is this older man. He's so humble and so good. He was a former that has been investigating for 3 years. He reads diligently in the Book of Mormon, but has a hard time accepting it's from God like the bible is. He refused to pray to know if it's from God. But, he came to church yesterday and loved it! He felt so good there that he didn't want to leave. I know he can make it as well.

Something beautiful has happened this week was that Sister Izatt and I were on the bus headed home one evening. We had been waiting at a stop when an elderly man, who looked homeless and not quite with it, started talking to us. He kept reaching out to touch my shoulder which was making me uncomfortable so I was trying to avoid him. We all got on the bus and sister Izatt was quiet and I asked her what she was thinking about. She said "I was just thinking about how that man is our brother..." It suddenly hit me, that this man is truly our brother! I suddenly felt such love and compassion for him. We both talked about how we wished we could help him. We talked about how all of these people that we meet each day are our brothers and sisters. It was just one of those moments where you've heard things a million times, but then you actually feel it suddenly. We wanted so badly to do something for that man, but of course there wasn't a lot we could do. In the end before we left the bus, we gave him a pass along with a picture of Christ and invited him to come to church. It was a really sweet and simple experience that helped to remind me of God's love for all of his children here.

I've been thinking a lot about Megan lately. Her birthday of course is this week so I've been thinking about her a lot, but also I was blessed with several opportunities in the past week to testify of the plan of salvation to people who have lost loved ones. One of them was a woman and her little son while waiting for a train to Zvolen. Her husband died a year or so ago. I testified to her of plan spasy [note: plan of salvation] and that she'd see him again. The spirit was so sweet and beautiful during that contact. Another experience was with Pavol and Simona yesterday at church. His wife died of cancer two years ago and when we asked him about it he started to cry. He's a big guy and has kind of built a wall to protect him and keep him from hurting, but seeing him cry and hearing about his wife allowed me to testify of the plan of salvation yet again. I testified that his wife lives and that thanks to the restored gospel he and his daughter can live together with her again! He believes it and I am just praying that he'll make it.

After those experiences, my focus has been a lot on plan spasy and with Megan's birthday this week I decided to study about life after death and about the resurrection this morning behem osobne studium [note: personal study]. I'd like to share a few of my thoughts. I read Mormon 7:5 and remembered how I was crying one day after Megan's graduation and just hurting inside and missing her so much. I turned to the Book of Mormon for help and opened right up to this very scripture. The last few lines seemed to jump out of the page--Christ has overcome the grave and in Him, the sting of death is swallowed up. I was reminded today that when I had read that, peace had come over me and I knew that Christ had made it possible for us to live together again one day. I knew that I could truly find peace, even with tears rolling down my face. I could move forward, even with a hole in my heart. And then I realized that through Christ, that hole could be healed, and it was! I have a strong testimony of Christ and his atonement. I don't think we fully comprehend it, at least I don't, but I know that he can heal any hurt, soothe any pain, and feel our souls with a peace that surpasses understanding. It's that testimony of Christ that I bear everyday on my mission to the people in Slovakia.

Elder Scott's talk on revelation was so beautiful from last general conference. He quoted Joseph F. Smith and said that our love for our family who have passed on is so strong that it ties us together, even through the veil. He then said that we can strengthen those ties as we recognize that separation by death is temporary and that our temple covenants are eternal. I love that!

I then read a beautiful article from the Liahona July 2012 titled A River of Peace. I cried when I read it and if you haven't already, please do! She quotes Daniel 3:17, 18 and talks about how Shadrach Meshach and Abednego were going to be thrown into the fiery furnace if they didn't worship the golden idol. The three of them said "We know God can deliver us...but if not, we will not worship the golden image." What a testimony! They knew God could deliver them, but the key is they said if He doesn't save us from it and we die from the fire, so be it, but we will keep the faith! We will stay true to our covenants! I thought of Megan. God could of saved her. There's no doubt about it. But He called her home. And will we falter in our faith? Never! We move forward knowing that God could deliver her, but it wasn't His will, so we move forward with complete trust and faith in Him and His plan. I was so grateful for that thought.

I know that Megan lives! I know that it's because of Christ that we will all live again after we die and through the sacred ordinances of the temple we can be together forever one day! One day we will be with Megan again. We don't know when that day is, but as we move forward with our eyes on the Savior, staying true to our covenants, we will make it! I feel so blessed to be serving on a mission with her! She's my companion that I have with me no matter where I get transferred. Her influence through the veil is something very real. She's teaching me how to be a better missionary. Thank you all for your faith and your examples. I love you all so much! How grateful I am for the beautiful Plan of Happiness that God has made for us. Understanding our purpose here on earth brings such peace and joy to our lives. I am grateful that I get to share that with others around me!

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

Monday, July 23, 2012

Week 23 Dobry den od Banske Bystrice! [note: Good morning from Banska Bystrica]

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

What a week! If only I had time to tell you about all of the adventures we've been having. The Slovak is coming, slowly, but surely. I'm going to be so mixed up when I return to the Czech Republic as far as language goes. Ale tesim sa! [note: But I am looking forward to it!]

So Wednesday I was all packed and ready to go. After emailing I went out to lunch with my companions and the Bohunice elders. They were talking about going on a výlet [note: trip] later that day and I was all jealous. I love výlets and sleepovers and I was complaining that not only was I missing the výlet with the Brno district, but also I wouldn't get any sleepovers again in Banská Bystrica. Anyways later we went to the train station.
Saying good-bye. Some of the YSA's and Young Women's advisor in Brno at the train station.

The Černá pole elders dropped off Elder Buhler. I was there with him, but Sister Izatt hadn't come from Prague yet. Since she was transferring she didn't have a phone. We waited nervously until the train came to take us to Banská. The train pulled up and through the window we saw about 8 elders on their way from Prague to Bratislava. They immediately started loading our luggage on and I was like "I don't have my companion! Call President!" In all of the rush someone called President and he told them not to let me leave without sister Izatt. So then they unloaded my luggage as fast as they could and I barely made it off the train with all of my luggage before it took off.

Turns out Sister Izatt left Prague late, then their bus was delayed, and she got in late. President didn't want us to take a later train to Banská since it would get us in at night so we...returned to Brno with ALL of our luggage! Sister Dolinar, who took my spot in Brno, came with Sister Izatt. The Elders from Černá pole were so great. They loaded their car with all of our luggage and took it to the Brno apartment.

The amazing zone leaders packed 9 luggages into their car.

Meanwhile, the rest of us sisters went on the výlet! I need to be more careful in the future with what I we didn't go to Slovakia on Wednesday as we had planned. But we had some time to contact in Brno and Sister Izatt and I found this amazing lady who we ended up having a lesson with a few hours later. It was pretty cool and we felt better about missing our train. We spent the night in Brno and the elders came to pick us and our luggage up the next morning and get us to the train station. This time we made it:) But picture this...two sister missionaries with 6 luggages that happen to be the exact same red luggage (amazing I know) and each luggage feels like it's full of beton [note: concrete]...

It didn't make for easy travel. We needed to stop in Bratislava and get on a different train. I wasn't paying much attention to the time. After we had been traveling for what felt like not that long, the train stopped and I was like "Sister Izatt, we have to be careful not to miss Bratislava." I suddenly felt like I needed to check my ticket to see what time we should have arrived in Bratislava. I did and looked at my watch and realized we should have been there 10 minutes ago. I looked out the window and was like "SISTER IZATT, THIS IS BRATISLAVA. GET OFF!" We miraculously made it off with all of our luggage. I am so grateful for angels.

Well our experience in Bratislava was hilarious. We needed to stay together (within sight and sound) and we had to find the information center to see which platform we needed to be on. So we had no other choice than to haul all of our luggage (all 6 that felt like each weighed 80 pounds) down the stairs, up the stairs, across the vlak [note: train] station, then down the stairs and up the stairs. Miraculously again we found our train and made it on with all of our luggage. Then we had to find an open compartment. We did! We filled it with our red luggage and then just slumped on the seats, totally exhausted. It was so so funny. We laughed and laughed and laughed. Our arms hurt like crazy for the next three days, but it's fine.

We made it to Banská and to our apartment. After we arrived we ended up cleaning. Again, we just laughed our way through it. We were so busy the rest of the week that we didn't unpack until today! The apartment still isn't all the way clean, but it looks much better.

Our area is beautiful! We work closely with the three zone leaders in Zvolen, the city next to us. An older missionary couple - the Nyes - live there as well. Friday morning we went and helped the Nyes with a service project in Zvolen. It was so fun! We played games with a large group of Roma children. I really enjoyed it.

On Saturday, we left early in the morning on a bus and traveled back to Brno for the baptism. Petra's baptism!! Oh, she is so beautiful! I am thrilled. I know miracles happen in our day because they just happen all the time here. Petra made it! And her mom came and just felt the spirit there so strong. I leaned over to her before Petra got baptized and asked her how she felt. She said "uzasna!" [note: amazing] It was so so beautiful. She told me at the end that she'd like us to come visit her sometime. She'll get baptized. I just feel it! I got to speak at her baptism which was neat. After the baptism Iveta and Renata [note: friends and church members from Ostrava]  took us back to the bus station. They are wonderful! We couldn’t have done it without them. We made the 5 hour trip back and got in around 11. Elder Nye and Tenney picked us in Zvolen which was great. I am so blessed and so grateful to have been there for that baptism.

Sunday was incredible! Keep in mind that I just left Brno where we have an entire branch presidency and over 100 active members. I attended the "unit" in Banská Sunday morning with 7 missionaries and 4 members there. We missionaries participated a LOT!  After church there in Banská we traveled to Zvolen, ate lunch at the Nyes, and then had church at a hotel in Zvolen. Again, 7 missionaries, one member and one investigator. They aren't even a unit there. I taught Sunday school, led the music etc. It was incredible! I'm starting to realize the weight of our responsibility here. Our goal is to make Banská a branch and get a unit in Zvolen. We will be working together to get both areas up and running so we'll be traveling a lot back and forth on the train between Banská and Zvolen. I am looking forward to working with my new district and the members here. The work will move forward and I am thrilled to be a part of it here!

We've already been blessed with so many miracles. With all of our travels we haven't had a lot of time to just kontakt. But we've talked to people as we travel and been blessed to get čísla [note: phone numbers] that way. And the people that have been placed in our paths are incredible. It makes me wonder what would happen if we didn't open our mouths. I LOVE being a missionary! This transfer is going to be different. It's going to be a lot of work, but I'm looking forward to the things that I will learn. Oh and before I forget, I talked to Klára Pišňáková [note: a woman who contacted us through skype a few years ago and who was baptized last year, do not know yet if related] on the phone. She is so great. We want to go visit her this week. Everyone has been talking to me about her and are so excited for me to meet her.

Mám vás veľa ráda! Do videnia! [note: I love you so much! Good-bye!]

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Week 22 SLOVAKIA!!!!!!!!!!

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

Well I guess you heard the news. Transfer calls came in Monday night. We were out contacting on our way home around 8:45 when President called. I knew something was up because President doesn't make the calls unless it's something out of the ordinary. When he found out we were still out he told us to run home and that he'd call back later. He called about 20 minutes later. He talked to my companions and then the phone was passed to me. He said "Sister Pysnakova! Are you sitting down?" and I knew exactly where I was going. He said "How is your Slovak?!" There was this rush of emotion as he said that I would be serving in Banska Bystrica in Slovakia. I will be serving with Sister Izatt, who was my visiting teacher in my BYU freshman ward:)

We will be reopening up Slovakia to sister missionaries, as we haven't had them there in 10 years. Wow! Dobrodruzstvi anyone? Prosim! [note: Adventure anyone? Please!] I leave on a train in a few hours with Sister Izatt and Elder Buhler who I've served with the last 2 transfers. It's funny because I've been around Slovak quite a bit the last few weeks and I've been blessed to understand it! Still there's going to be a lot to learn that's for sure:)
Sestra Izatt and Sestra Pyšňáková

What a miraculous week it's been. These last 10 days so much has happened. So many miracles. I'm afraid I won't have time to tell you all of it.
I've been thinking a lot about Petra this transfer and working with her as much as I can. We gave her a date for the 21 of July before she left to Bratislava. I would text her scriptures and kept in contact with the elders in Bratislava to see how she was doing. Things weren't going so well. Petra wasn't meeting with them, wouldn't go to church, wasn't reading in the Book of Mormon...I felt that I needed to send her a text with a scripture and encouragement to go to church, but I didn’t know exactly what to write. The inspiration came to remind her how last transfer she had said that she wanted to take lessons with her mom in Slovakia. I ended up writing an 8 page text to read 1 Nephi 8:12 [And as I partook of the fruit thereof it filled my soul with exceedingly great joy; wherefore, I began to be desirous that my family should partake of it also; for I knew that it was desirable above all other fruit.] I reminded her of her excitement to share our message with her family and then testified that she had tasted of the "fruit" of the restored gospel and invited her to pray about inviting her mom and brother to church that Sunday.

That Saturday, we were sitting in weekly planning and I felt that we needed to fast for Petra, right then. I told my companions and they wanted to fast with me. What was neat was we started right there. It was just before lunch, but we all felt the urgency of it and so started it right away.

Sunday was a huge blow. I found out through the zone leaders that the elders in Bratislava were super frustrated with how things had been going with Petra. When I talked to them they said she hadn't been to church and that she wasn't meeting with them. They said "the church is her church in Brno, but here in Bratislava she has her own church with her own friends and stuff". I was so sad. I tried not to think this way, but I confess I wondered why our fast hadn't worked. That night I prayed so hard for her. We got a text from her later in the night that we found in the morning. She addressed it to me and told me how much she loved me and that she would come to Brno that weekend because she had so much to tell me. That text scared me! The last time we got a text like that was from Helena and the things she "needed to tell us" were that she was dropping us.

At the same time, the thought of transfers coming in a week and a half left me pondering a lot on the transfer. I felt a little discouraged, feeling like I hadn't done much good this transfer. There weren't any golden people found, people wanting to be baptized etc. I felt like we hadn't had any big miracles and I was sad thinking that I hadn't done a good job this transfer. When I prayed about it, I received this impression "Remember Abinadi and Ammon? They were both missionaries. Were they both successful?" Inside, I answered yes. "What about the immediate results? Abinadi was killed, Ammon helped convert so many Lamanites. But they were both successful missionaries!" A comforting feeling came over me, but then I said "I'd rather be like Ammon though!" I could just imagine Heavenly Father chuckling.

Well on Wednesday, we had a lesson in the morning with a guy who we've taught all this transfer. I contacted him at a tram stop my first transfer. He's really hardened up his heart quite a bit lately, and in the lesson we had with him that morning he basically told us the Book of Mormon was of the devil. It was tough! I had to bite my tongue. How can you read the Book of Mormon where it talks so much about Christ and say that it's taking you away from Him and that it's a book from the devil? It was really tough. A couple hours later, we received a call from Petra from Bratislava! It was surprising since it's so expensive to call between the countries. Sister White picked it up and then handed it to me. As soon as I heard Petra I knew something was up and then I couldn't believe the words that came out of her mouth. "Sister Pysnakova, mark the 21 of July on your calendar. I'm going to get baptized!" Oh, I can't express what I felt. I started to cry. There was this rush of the spirit and I was flooded with joy. She couldn't tell me what happened, because it would take too long, but Bratislava elders called me that night and explained what had happened.
Apparently Petra got our text on 1 Nephi 8:12. She said it was so long and we explained the verse in the text that she didn't even read the scripture. She was away at a Nuskin conference in Hungary during that time. After she got the text she ended up praying that night harder than she ever has, and more specific than she ever has, to know if these things are true. A few days later she was sitting in training for Nuskin employees. Since the founders are Mormon, they used 1 Nephi 8 as their theme. Get that? They used 1 Nephi 8 and then they read 1 Nephi 8:12 to their employees. Petra just sat there in disbelief. The moment they read that scripture, something clicked. She new suddenly that everything was true and that she needs to get baptized.

What a miracle! A huge miracle for all of us! I had no idea if I was inspired when I sent 1 Nephi 8:12. Who knew that it would have such an impact on her later? And you know, it's a testimony that Heavenly Father talks to us all in our own way. That incident of the same scripture being used at the conference was the perfect sign for Petra. Heavenly Father really talks to us in our own personal way. This last week has been incredible. Petra is so excited for her krest [note: baptism]. She asked me to speak at her baptism. President Irwin is amazing. At the end of the transfer call he said "And start figuring out how you're going to get to the baptism on Saturday!" I was like president, I haven't even figured out how to get to Slovakia. Miracles happen! Fasting and prayer works!
After the call from Petra, we had a lesson with another investigator who told us the Book of Mormon was from the devil. I was so on fire from Petra that it didn't bother me too much. Later that week as I thought about it I thought, isn't it interesting that two people in one day told us the Book of Mormon was from the devil, but one person found out it was true and knows it’s from God! The Book of Mormon is true! Christ's church has been restored on the earth today. What a glorious message we all get to share with those around us!

Well, I'm off to Slovakia, blinding into an Area, opening it up to sisters, learning Slovak, and have no idea what to expect. It's been an amazing transfer with an amazing district, but I'm excited for this new one! I am happy! It's the Lord's work and he's in charge!
Love you all, s laskou, Sestra Pysnakova.

New Missionary Nametag

Monday, July 9, 2012

Week 21 End of Transfer

Draha Rodino, [note: Dear family]

It's been a good week. Very very hot, but good. We had some better lessons with our investigators. Our Jewish investigator is progressing slowly. He’s more open and specific with how he’s feeling. We taught him yesterday and he said at the beginning of the lesson that he’s had a lot of family members die in the last couple of years and it's been hard on him. He's feeling bitter about it I think. But it was perfect because we planned to start teaching him the plan of salvation. The lesson went well. He is reading in the Book of Mormon and praying which is great. He said the heavens are still closed to him answer wise so we are trying to help him recognize answers when they come. Great lesson though with a great member.

Another investigator is a guy that we met at Luzanky [note: park] a few weeks ago. I can’t remember if I talked about him already, but he’s great. One day we called him to check up on his reading and he was so excited. He said, "I read and there was so much action! I mean this guy named Lehi has to get out and then Nephi goes back and kills this man and they get things to take back. And Nephi has faith but his brothers choose money over faith...So interesting! There’s a lot of action..." seriously, his call made our whole day. He’s slowed down a little but we watched the restoration film this week and we're hoping he'll get back on track. In our lesson he thanked us so much for helping us to teach him to pray right. He said he loves to pray and is just so happy to know he's doing it right. Such a neat guy! We were talking about baptism with him and how important it is. Each lesson pretty much we talk about baptism with our investigators so that they know what our purpose is and stuff. The last time we talked about baptism we gave him a soft commitment-if you find these things are true will you be baptized...? But he said no. He said he doesn't think he can live by that. Well he started saying the same thing when we brought up baptism this time. He said that he doesn't think he can live the kind of life that we covenant to with baptism etc. But then something changed. He felt the spirit and suddenly everything we were saying made sense to him. He stopped arguing with us and said, "Of course if I know these things are true I will be baptized!” After the lesson we talked about how that was definitely not us but the spirit. The spirit taught him and it was more powerful than anything we could say or do.

We got another miracle this week when our Mongolian investigator appeared at the building with his entire family; his wife and two beautiful children. They don't speak much English, but the mom speaks Czech so we finally have an interpreter somewhat. The children are 12 (girl) and 14 (boy) and are beautiful. We watched Znovuzrizeni [note: Restoration] in Mongolian and afterwards they said they didn't understand much, but that it was beautiful and they loved it. We are excited to start teaching them. Also, a tender mercy is that this Mongolian man apparently had contact with the church in Mongolia when he did the electricity for a church building in his city. So neat! I will have to tell you his whole story another day. But we have a family! Their children came to sports day on Saturday and it was so fun. It was so so hot but we played soccer and volleyball and it was just a wonderful time.

Church was great. We had a large folkdance group from America come to church. They are the ones that do the summer folk festival in Bountiful and they stopped in Brno for the weekend. It was powerful to look out the window of the budova [note: building] and see this huge group of well-dressed YSA’s filled with light come walking down the sidewalk to the kapli [note: chapel]. They filled the chapel and ended up doing a musical number during sacrament meeting. We also had some beautiful talks from the members. There weren’t enough headsets for everyone for translation into English, and there was a mom and her daughter from the group sitting in front of me. During the first talk I felt like I should offer to translate for them, but I got nervous and just ignored it. I felt like I couldn't do it. But the feeling to translate for them just kept coming so after the first talk I gave in and offered. This lady was so happy and accepted immediately she was like, "Please, tell me what she is saying?" I was able to translate for her the entire rest of the meeting, no problem. I realized that I’ve been blessed to understand Czech and I need to use that to help others.

I am so grateful that I can serve here. I love Brno. I love my companions. I love my district. It’s been a great transfer. Who knows, maybe I will still be here next transfer but we will see. Love you all. Thank you for your emails.

Ale mam vas moc rada. [note: I love you very much] Have a beautiful week.

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Week 20 Ahoj vsichni!

Ahoj vsichni! [note: Hello everyone]

Well what a week! It was kind of a week of extremes. Earlier in the week we had some very very tough lessons. There wasn't any rest. We'd come in a lesson and come out feeling completely defeated only to be slammed by another tough lesson with some other investigator. We really felt the opposition working against us. I gained a testimony, definitely, this week that it's a real power. But I also was determined to plow through because at the end of such opposition is a blessing, a miracle. So we pushed through and saw some great things happen. Definitely on my knees a lot and lots and lots of prayer though. There were some times when I felt defeated by my weaknesses. We had a few lessons go terribly and I felt like there was a million things we could have done better. I really felt bad about them. I just feel like the longer I'm on my mission, the more I am aware of my weaknesses and how many I have! I just pray that it won't hinder our investigators progress.

At the same time thought, it's amazing how in those moments where you doubt your ability to do this work, the Lord gives  you inspiration or blesses you with experiences that show you that he's there and aware of you. It's those sweet moments where you hear that still small voice that is so comforting. Anyways we had a tough lesson with one investigator earlier in the week and had one scheduled with him a few days later. We prayed hard that it would go well. When he came in for the second lesson we ended up singing a hymn together first. That was the first time we've ever done that. It just was pure inspiration and after we sang together (mom, I played the piano:) the spirit was there and the lesson was better than the one we had had earlier with him.

On Monday, a week ago, we went to a castle together as a district and got knighted by the mom here in Brno. It was super fun! We have a great district.

We had an amazing mlady svobodne dospeli -YSA activity on Saturday. The president of the YSAs is Vasek Syndilek. He returned from a mission to Scotland 6 months ago and he's on fire! He wants to be back on a mission. I love that he hasn't forgotten his mission. It's still a part of him and that's how it should be. Anyways we had a singing display with the YSAs near Namesti Svobody [note: Freedom Square]. We sang together and a few of us missionaries would take a YSA and contact together. It was such a neat experience! I loved it. I've realized how much my mission is changing me. Vasek was on fire! He really got us all fired up. As we were walking up the street at the end, Vasek started talking to people as we walked up. I thought of how we really can't afford to waste any time. Our mission is so short. Talk to EVERYONE we can! Invite everyone we can! This involves their salvation!

We had grilovani [note: barbeque] after and one of our investigators named came. He used to be a Jew, but now doesn't have any religion. At the end of our lessons he'd say: "I'm so confused, God..." And he is. We've tried to show him that the gospel is simple and that he can find out what's true through prayer, but he says he's not getting answers to his prayer. We are working with him though and we were so happy he came to the barbeque. Afterwards we played volleyball and it was so fun! It was super hot too, 36 degrees Celsius! (And it's been like that for several days). I come home sticky at night because it's so hot and humid. Missions are the greatest! Dobrodruzstvi! [note: adventure] Anyways, this investigator isn't one to show much emotion but he texted us after the activity was over and said thank you for the prijemne odpoledne [note: pleasant afternoon]. He felt good there.
Now for the biggest tender mercy of the week. Like I said this week was tough. We decided to drop about 4 of our investigators because they just weren't accepting commitments or progressing. Now dropping is the last resort. It's a tough decision to make, but we have to find prepared people. We also worked hard with getting investigators to come to church. It's such a battle because it's such an important part of investigators progressing. Anyways, Sunday morning comes around and it wasn't looking to great. We had agreed with some investigators to call and remind them about church, but they didn't pick up. And no one had confirmed with us that they were coming. Anyways we went to church and there was one investigator who we were going to drop. Then suddenly another investigator walks into the foyer that I had NEVER thought would come. We actually had decided to drop him too, but he was there. Then I sit in the chapel with him and look out the window to see another investigator from last transfer who has never been to church come walking up to the building. Then Robert comes walking in with a member. And then after that our Mongolian came and in the middle of sacrament, our Muslim came who we also never thought would set foot in sacrament meeting. But there they were. 6 of our investigators, 4 of which we were fairly certain were dropped.
It was as if Heavenly Father was saying: "Just hang on a little longer! Jacob 5:50-spare the vineyard a little longer! These are my children, don't give up on them." I don't know what a normal number is for people at church in other missions, but 6 here is huge! It was a tender mercy. I just kept thinking, we are so blessed! And I was stressed out of my mind to try and take care of them all. But it was fast and testimony meeting and the spirit was so so so strong. The YSAs bore the majority of the testimonies and a lot of them shared how the missionary contacting activity was such a neat experience for them. The spirit was there in the meeting and our investigators felt it! Hurrah!

During correlation meeting I got a call from Pavel. He's been in Austria the last few weeks so we haven't had contact with him. I was so worried about him staying active after being so new to the church and away from the branch here. But I talked to him and he sounded so good. He then said he had been to church in Austria!!! I asked him if he understood anything and he said: "Moc ne, ale bylo to senzacni!" [note: Not too much but it was awesome!] He loved it! He said he felt good there. He felt the spirit! I can't tell you how full my heart was. Pavel found church in Austria and went because he gets it! I just love him so much.

Well yesterday we went to the Juranovi for dinner. We played football with Honzik and Brother Juran and then had dinner. Their daughter Lenka is back. It was great being there. At the end before we left we sang together. We sang Families can be together forever and as we all sang together I felt the spirit so strong. I can't remember feeling the spirit during that song for a long time. But as we sang together I started thinking about Megan and I just had this glimpse that she was there. I guess you can say I saw her there with my spiritual eyes and I saw others too. I don't know if that makes sense, but there were more people there from the other side and I just know that it's true. Families can be together forever! And we can all return together and live with God again because of Jesus Christ. That's the message I get to take to the world! It's beautiful. It's true! It's true so what else matters!

Juran Family with missionaries

I love you all! Thank you for your love, prayers and support. Have a beautiful week!

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

P.S. We are teaching a Mongolian! I don't have time to tell you about him. Maybe next week:) He's so great thought, just doesn't speak English or Czech. We use pictures and our hands. We hopefully will have a skype lesson with Sister Gambattar who served here a few months ago [note: from Mongolia]. Love you!

More photos from the trip to the Veveří Castle