Monday, August 27, 2012

Week 28 My journal for the week!

Dearest family,

This week was a week of miracles! Zazracny tyzden! [note: Miracle week] Love you all!

Elder Nye [note: senior missionary] shared with me how he’d always wanted to go to Africa since he was a little boy. He gave up on that dream since he felt like he’d never make it over. Then his wife and him put in their papers and were called on their first mission to Africa. While there one day they were on a Safari and Elder Nye was just marveling at the beauty and the thrill that his dreams were fulfilled. But then a little while later he found himself under a tree sharing the Book of Mormon with the tour guide and suddenly he felt how, even though he was so happy to be in Africa, nothing could compare to the thrill he felt when sharing the Book of Mormon with someone. It was worth much more to him. I’m glad he shared that with me. As great as things are in life, as fun as it is to do sports or be with friends and what not, nothing compares with the thrill of sharing the restored gospel of Jesus Christ with someone else. Not everyone will accept it, but when they do it’s so worth all of the rejection.

Jano is our less-active. We had a lesson with him our first week here. He was quiet and didn’t seem like he wanted to be there with us. We found out he wouldn’t read the Book of Mormon or come to church. But we loved him and I guess you can say we loved him back in to the church. It took some time, but as we met with him more he began to trust us and we found out he wouldn’t read in the Book of Mormon because he started having bad dreams and he felt like they were a result of reading in the Book of Mormon. We continued to work with him and one day there was a switch. He received a priesthood blessing from Elder Nye for his nightmares and ever since he’s rapidly progressed. Today, he is laughing and talking and I am amazed at how the spirit can touch people’s hearts. Jano came to English this week and was just amazing. He bore his testimony and prayed at the end. There was an older man who came to English for the first time and Jano apparently invited him to church. He called us on the phone so excited and said “I invited him!” Sister Izatt was like “Who did you invite?” He was like “That man in English, I invited him!” “Oh, to sports day?” “No! I invited that man to church!” We were shocked! Jano hasn’t even been to church himself yet and here he is with the missionary spirit. He feels the spirit more and more. That’s why he is so so happy. I am so so amazed at how he has changed. He loves coming to church things, he loves the Nyes and the members. He’s reading in the Book of Mormon! Wow! Never give up on anyone. If we’d given up on Jano, well I can’t even imagine. I realized how big of a miracle that was! There are miracles everywhere. We just have to open our eyes and our hearts to it.

I like Ivan a lot! He’s almost 70, but looks so healthy and is SO happy. He always says he’d doing “vyborne!” [note: amazing] and his hand-shake is so firm. He has investigated for years, has read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, Nauka a Smlouvy, the gospel principles manual and who knows what else. He knows everything and yet he’s missing something because he isn’t baptized yet. Anyways, he comes in and we had on plan to teach him ordinances for the dead and missionary work in the duchovni svet [note: spirit world]. We didn’t know how inspired we were, until we started teaching Ivan about Christ in the spirit world after he was crucified, using 1 Peter, and then baptisms for the dead using 1 Cor 15:29. We read them together and wow! I’ll never forget Ivan’s countenance. He just sat there in utter astonishment. He reread the verses after we explained their meaning and said “I have read the bible for 50 years and not once have I ever read these passages in this way or understood them. I must have read the bible wrong, all these years...” He was so humble and so teachable. We told him he hadn’t read it wrong, but that God had much more for him to learn. He told us he wished he’d been born later in life and met us earlier so that he could have learned all this stuff earlier in his life. He was a different person. Ivan admitted that the Book of Mormon is true and then, through the spirit, he admitted to us that his wife didn’t know he was meeting with us and that if she did she wouldn’t let him come anymore. We realized the concern in his heart with getting baptized into our church. We now know what to pray for because we need a miracle!

Our new investigator is Jan-Ivan. After I prayed at the beginning of the lesson, Jano said “I don’t know what it is, but when you prayed and when you prayed last time, I was filled with such peace. In fact, all evening after our last lesson I was filled with such peace. I’ve never felt that before. Why? I’ve prayed my whole life and gone to Kostel [note: church]. Why have I never felt such peace?” It’s the spirit that matters, not the language. Later as he talked more about his feelings he mentioned the first day we met on the Namestie [note: town square]. He told us that if someone had approached him like we did about religion; he’d normally have laughed and walked away. But for some reason he chose to stay and listen to us. He felt something different. He told us “There is something different about you. Something comes from within.” It was really neat to hear that. A testimony, that this is Heavenly Father’s work.

Our next lesson Jan-Ivan said he’d been up last night until 5:30a.m., thinking and pondering about our message. Said he couldn’t sleep and the thoughts kept coming and suddenly things began to click for him. He wrote down his thoughts and then turned to the verses in the Book of Mormon that we’d given him to read before our next meeting. Since he’d wondered about how to recognize impressions that come from God, I’d felt like we needed to recommend a few verses in Moroni 7 about how we can discern if something is from God or not. So Jan-Ivan, after pondering and praying all night and writing down his thoughts, turned to the Book of Mormon finally and reads these verses and it touches his heart and confirms everything he’s been feeling and pondering. He LOVES the Book of Mormon! He was so happy to read it and said “How did you know to recommend me this chapter? How did you know my thoughts? Those verses were perfect!” At the end of the lesson when we talked to him about church we said “Do you have a tie?” and his response was “Sisters, I read the brochure! I already know what I need to wear to church tomorrow. Don’t worry!”

We walked out of the church building and Sister Izatt felt impressed to go to the Namestie [note: town square] and so we did and saw Jan-Ivan again. We talked to him for a few minutes and then this random man comes up. He then told us that he was Czech, got baptized into the church in Prague in 2000 and then moved to England where he attends church! We had him bare his testimony of his conversion to Jan-Ivan and he did and talked about baptism. Then Jan-Ivan started asking about baptism and that was a blessing as well. Nothing is coincidence! That’s for sure!

Jan-Ivan came to church in a full-on suit and tie and looked so good! After church I taught him with Sister Dobiasova. You know what he said? He said “I know I’m not going to understand everything the Sisters teach me, but I’ve decided that I’ll just believe everything they tell me and I have faith that the understanding will come later!” Oh my King Lamoni! I felt like Ammon. Anyways Jan-Ivan LOVED church and the members and everyone was so good about welcoming him. I’m so grateful for the members! Members make all the difference. We can’t do missionary work successfully without them.

We drove to Zvolen after, ate lunch and then drove to Buca for church. We had 6 investigators show up, 2 of which were children so I got to teach primary! I’ve always wanted to teach primary since I came and it finally happened today. I love helping and serving and working. I love getting out of my comfort zone. That’s a weird thing to say, but it’s good! I love being a missionary.

This week we had miracle after miracle. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. It changes people! I know that Christ’s message is one of love. Love we feel from our Heavenly Father changes us and I am so grateful because as a missionary I feel God’s love for others. It’s the best! It’s beautiful!

S laskou, Sestra Mel Pysnakova

In Levice with family friend Klara Pisnakova and her grandaughter Viktoria.

With beautiful Viktoria.
Our first halusky that we made!:) We are real Slovaks now:)

Ice cream with Pavol and Simona.

Yesterday we were so hungry after church that on the way to Zvolen we took out the crepes we made and started dipping them into the Nutella.

Teaching primary in Buca, a village outside of Zvolen.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Week 27 Ahojte!

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

There was a kitten in our shower on Tuesday!
We were walking home from the Namestie [note: Square] and it was dark. When we passed the Nove Kalista bus stop we heard a meow of pain. A few days ago we had seen a little kitten in the same spot when we’d been out exercising. Now we saw the same kitten and its leg was hurt and it was hungry. It was almost 9 so we ran home and grabbed a rohlik [note: roll], meat and milk and a towel. We were able to coax it out from the other side of the fence and we caught it.
We called President and he was funny about it. He told us in his British accent "Well you can't keep it sisters!" We definitely don't want to keep it, but we didn't want it to die. He told us we could keep it overnight and find a home for it tomorrow. So funny.
We took the kitten in the morning to Pavol’s home  in a clothes hamper around 6:45. He and Simona watched over the kitten until English in the afternoon when Sister Dobiasova came for her. She adopted her and really hit it off quite well. They like each other and Sister Izatt and I are thrilled it has a home. So is President:)

On Thursday Sister Izatt and I went to Zvolen to help the elders kontakt in their area. We had just come in to Zvolen and an older man had kontakted us. He said he knew two elders from the email place.  One looked dark and had Mexican ancestors (ha ha Romero) and the other was tall (most definitely Durrant). He kept telling us we were pretty. Anyways we turn around and the elders are all staring at this green building right in front of them. It looked funny and we thought it was maybe a bird they were looking at. We went over and saw that they were staring at the windows that had signs all over saying it was for rent. They've been looking for a building to rent out so that we can start a unit going. It's hard kontakting people with no place to meet for meetings or church and stuff. The place we go to normally, Buca, for the Roma people is far out and is just a room rented in a school. We all felt like we needed to get a building on the Namestie [note: Square] right in Zvolen if we want to start a solid branch. Anyways, the elders have been looking all over and found a few buildings that a real estate agent mentioned to them. But for some reason she didn't tell them about this one and as all five of us started at this beautiful green building we felt something. We immediately called the number and 10 minutes later a lady came and let us in. It's one floor up and its perfect! It's what we need and we all felt good about it. Anyways, we told her we want it and next week it should get approved. I have a testimony that when Heavenly Father wants something done it gets done and it happens in the right time and the right place. We all are so grateful for this miracle. Right on the Namestie, beautiful, good price and perfect. We'll see what happens.

On Sunday we saw some miracles. It was neat. We had 6 investigators come to church in Banska! That’s huge, especially for here. There were, all-in-all, 3 members, 6 investigators and 7 missionaries at church. It was wonderful! Rasto came in a shirt and tie! He’s one of the formers we picked up when we blinded into the area. He’s probably early 30s and a nice guy. Our first lesson went fairly well. We encouraged him to come to church and he said he would. Then Sunday morning he texted us and said he wasn’t coming. We called him and he said he just didn’t feel like it, but he set up with us for the next day. Our second lesson did not go so well. He ended up dropping us after telling us that he had no interest, that it was a waste of time meeting with us, and that he had a feeling telling him to stop. So we stopped meeting with him, but invited him to sports night which he came to and enjoyed. He couldn’t come to last week’s because his knee was hurting, but then we get a text from him yesterday during tydni planovani, asking us when church started! We told him and he said “Great, I’ll be there.” And he came! In a suit and white shirt and tie! He looked great. We aren’t sure what to do with him now, but we will see.

As for the other 5 investigators-Pavol and Simonka, Ivan, Svetlana, and Martin. It was wonderful! All except Svetlana stayed for the entire church block. I was so impressed with the elders. Without being asked or prompted they mingled with, sat next to, and helped take care of our investigators. We couldn’t have done it without them. The members were wonderful as well and we got some calls from them later today telling us how surprised and thrilled they were to see so many investigators at church and to see the work moving forward. I am grateful for that big tender mercy for us and for the members. They are getting more excited about missionary work, they trust us more, and we are working together stronger. I love them all! I lead the music and prayed and lead some more in sacrament. It’s fun going from one assignment to the other and I love it! Being proactive makes people happy. Just move! Serve! And you’ll be happy!

After church in Banska we went to the Nyes and had sack lunch there. We studied for a bit and then headed to Buca for church there. They had 4 investigators show up (all Roma)! Finally! I lead and prayed again. Then we headed to the Nyes for correlace. It was a good meeting. We are seeing some great things happen. This week Pavel Horacek from Brno should come down and approve the building! Wahoo! We are all thrilled.

I feel so blessed to be working here with Sister Izatt and our district. I love all of them so much. I’m blessed to be working with missionaries who have been out for so long so that I can learn from them all. They all go home in the next 4 monthsish. It makes me sad. This transfer will be ending soon.

I love you all so much! I hope you have a beautiful week. I am so grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ. This past week has been a little tough. Our investigators aren't progressing that much and aren't open to the message. I haven't felt like I've received much inspiration either which can be frustrating. But it was a miracle to see so many investigators at church on Sunday. We will keep working hard. I am grateful to be a missionary. I am grateful for the message of the restored gospel. There isn't anything that brings more happiness, skutecne happiness, into our lives than the knowledge of our Savior and of his restored gospel. I love you all so so much!

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

Monday, August 13, 2012

Week 26 Beautiful week!

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

The library came back into town so we can now use their nice computers and send pictures! Hooray! This week has been so so beautiful! We've been so blessed. I can't even describe exactly how I feel, but I know that heavenly Father is in charge of this work. I got a new nametag this week.

I think I already told you, but my second week into the transfer I felt very strongly that we needed to sift through former investigators. We had a lesson last pondelok [note: Monday] with a 21 year old man. He spoke perfect English over the phone and seemed really nice so we were looking forward to the meeting.   Well, we had a beautiful lesson with him! We had a member with us named Lucie, who served on Temple Square like 12 years ago. Her name is Lucie Vankova. She is really great. We just love her. Anyways, she had taught this young man with the missionaries before when he was still an investigator so we talked to her about him for a bit before the lesson. She told us he was very serious, wealthy, but humble, and didn't smile much. Well he came in for the lesson and I just felt so much love for him. We both did! We liked him right away and he began to feel comfortable and smiled a few times. The spirit was there and we talked about expectations and what he wanted to get out of it etc. He didn't talk much but we asked him if he wanted to continue meeting with us and he said "If you wish". We were like, "No! What do you wish?" He thought about it for a moment and then said "I wish to continue!” He accepted a baptismal date for three weeks later! It was incredible!

We met with him the next day and then he wanted to meet with us soon after that. We had a few lessons with him this week and he's progressing so fast. He keeps all of his commitments and is progressing fast in his reading in the Book of Mormon. When we ask him how he feels when he prays to know if the Book of Mormon is true he says he feels normal, but that he feels inspired when he reads. He was talking one day about a quest that he had and we asked him what it was and he said "my quest is to continue with you!" He came to church yesterday, but could only stay for a bit. He promised he'd come, so he came. He came late, because of work or something, came in during a talk, and left probably 10 minutes later. But he came! And he told us last night that he liked what he saw. We are looking forward to our lesson tonight. Keep him in your prayers so that he'll receive an answer that these things are true and that he'll be ready for baptism on the 24th this month. 

I got the most beautiful letter I have ever received in my life this week. It was from Petra Necasova from Bratislava. She thanked me for helping her progress towards baptism. She talked about how happy she is and how she's teaching with the missionaries now and wants to share her happiness with others. It was so beautiful. She just thanked me and told me how much she loves me. I know it wasn't me. I was only allowed to be a nastroj [note: tool] in the Lord’s hands. And I feel so blessed to have been able to progress with her. She is amazing. Her mom is on date for baptism and is progressing rapidly. I knew her mom would from the very beginning :)

Anyways, missionary work is worth it, even if we don't always see the fruit of it right away. You never know who you'll touch.

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova

Sestra Pyšňáková and Sestra Izatt eating bryndzové halušky (potato dumplings with bryndza sheep cheese and bacon, one of the national dishes in Slovakia).

Slovak pizza?

Banska Bystrica Branch

Monday, August 6, 2012

Week 25 Dobry den! [note: Good Day]

Mila rodino! [note: Dear family!]

Summer is flying by. I can't believe it's already August! It's been so so hot and muggy lately. Yesterday Sister Izatt and I were in Zvolen helping out with church there. We had dinner and correlation meeting at the Nye's apartment afterword. We had made mashed zemiaky [note: potatoes] for everyone and had brought it in an enormous pot. On our way out in the afternoon we had to walk fast to catch the train to take us back to Banska. The trains here are kind of ghetto, really old and not good air flow through them. We finally got on the train and it was packed with people. We found some empty seats, and just sat there for a moment, dripping because it was so hot, sticky, with our backpacks and a pot of potatoes, in a train cabin full of people and I just thought "I love being a misionárka!" [note: missionary] It is truly a beautiful thing!

This week our investigators went out of town so we spent some time looking up formers and calling them. We've felt like it's something we should do for the last few weeks, but something always got in the way of it. So this week we finally had time to sift through the area book and call up former investigators. We had some success with that and got in a few lessons last week as well as plan some for this week. We met with a 67 year old man. He's really really happy. I like him a lot. He's investigated for a long time and been taught everything, but he never got a testimony of the Book of Mormon. He told us he had precetl [note: read] it, but hadn't found out if it was true or not. We watched a DVD that our mission made with testimonies of members about the Kniha Mormonova [note: Book of Mormon] and then Elder Callister’s amazing talk about the Book of Mormon from conference last year. It brought a sweet spirit to our meeting, and at the end the man committed to start reading the Book of Mormon again and to pray to know if it is true. We promised him he could get his answer and be prepared for baptism by the 26th of August. He said "Oh I can't be baptized then, I have work that day!" So we extended the 19th of August which he accepted! It was really neat. I know he can get an answer! It's time!

Zvolen kind of fell apart and went from about 20 investigators to 3. The thing was that most of their investigators were Roma and so they were trying to start a Roma unit in Zvolen, but, and I’m not sure how to say this, it's very hard to build a foundation on the Roma people, as you know. So in a way this is a blessing as they look for a solid foundation to get a unit going in Zvolen. It was really neat yesterday as we were in correlation meeting, me and Sister Izatt, the three elders and the Nyes. It was an intense meeting, but we discussed how to get a unit started in Zvolen, starting with the need for a church building close to the Namestie [note: Town Square] and stuff. I just thought how incredible it was. Here we are, these 20 and 21 year olds, trying to figure out how to start up a church unit in a foreign country. We are so under qualified for this, and yet the Lord makes us instrument in his hands. It's a great and marvelous work. Earlier this week we contacted an evangelical man on the street. He spoke perfect English and during the contact he said something like "I don't understand why your church sends out such inexperienced people like you. You haven't had any experience in life yet and you're trying to talk to people about these kinds of things. Wait if you're still saying the same things when you are 50 and then maybe I'll listen to you." We just testified to him that we know that our message is true.  And you know, I thought of the scripture in the Book of Mormon about by small and simple means the Lord brings about great things. Yeah we're maybe a bunch of kids to the world, but with the Lord anything is possible, and I've been able to see the Lord working through me in many instances. I know that this is His Church and that we are His representatives.

Back to church, we had a beautiful sacrament meeting in Banska. It was so beautiful! The spirit was there. Pavol and his daughter Simona came again. We had to stop by Billa [note: Supermarket] yesterday odpoledne [note: afternoon] to get a few things and as we walked out there was Pavol waiting to come in. We found out that he only lives a few panalaks [note: apartment houses] away from us. Anyways we ended up talking to him for 35 minutes outside. It was a good discussion. He had been gone all week with Simona on their chalupa [note: cabin]. He wanted to stay over the weekend, but Simona wanted to come to church so they came back early! Ah the youth are amazing! Pavol and Simona were so happy in church. They love it! Pavol again told us that he thinks we are the best people. Simona is a doing great. She loves church and she loves learning about the gospel. She told us yesterday she would like to serve a mission in the future! I think she'll be the key to Pavol's progression.

We did church in Zvolen too after the one in Banska. We still don't have our own place so we did it in some room we rented out. It was dirty inside and so hot. Two members came and that was it. But it was beautiful! I just thought how beautiful the gospel is and that it doesn't matter if there are only 2 members and 7 missionaries, it's still true and the spirit is still there.

We had sports day in Zvolen this week and played futbol [note: football] with a lot of Roma children. It looks like I'm serving in Mexico or something. But I realized that was something that I've been missing on my mission so far is spending time with children and so I loved sports day. The Roma children aren't growing up in a great environment. It's poor class as you know and really hard for them to leave their communities. But Sister Izatt and I, while the elders were playing soccer with some of the older children, taught them about prayer and then we all knelt down on the dirt and said a prayer together. It was a beautiful moment!

The gospel is true, The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and the church of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth through Joseph Smith. Jesus Christ lives and we can know Him just as well as He knows us. I love you all! Have a beautiful week!

S laskou, Sestra Melissa Pysnakova
Sestra Pyšňáková and Kolek Family. Dusan and Iveta picked up Zuzi and Danda from the Budapest airport and stopped to see Sestra Pyšňáková on their way back home (and to give her a package from home - with a lots of hugs and kisses :).

Service Project.