Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014 - In which Sister Š got baptized!

Dear family,

Another very rapid week! I have more time to share the highlights today, though.

Friday we had our baptismal service for Sister Š in Brno! It was a nice baptism. There were only about ten of us that made it out, but Sister Š quite frankly seemed to want it that way! (When we asked last Monday who she'd like to invite, it was a battle to even get the people we had there.) It was her baptism, though, so that was fine :)

One of the missionaries who found and started teaching her last May, Elder Eliason, also happened to be in Brno on exchanges that day, so he was able to attend. Elder Eliason and the branch mission leader from here in Třebíč gave talks, and then Elder Gilmore, Elder Eliason, and I sang "I Am a Child of God" in English (because Sister Š likes that hymn but thought it would be prettier in English for some reason).

Sister Š was EXTREMELY nervous before her baptism. Most people are nervous before they're baptized, but she was still anxious even in the water. After the baptism by one of the members, though, she was completely different. She was very peaceful and happy! I was very glad to see her get baptized and then confirmed yesterday. She has been waiting for the peace that baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost brings for months.

As I mentioned last week, M's baptism had to be pushed back to this week. That is quite solidly on Friday at 6pm in Jihlava, and we've even got many of the members to be able to come. That should be a great service.

I've already come to the last week of my first transfer! It's truly flown here, and I have no idea if I'll stay here in Třebíč for the next transfer or not. I won't find out until Saturday night, either! I'm excited, though. A little nervous for a new transfer, too.

I hope you all enjoy General Conference this weekend! In the Czech Republic we won't get to see it until the 13th and 14th. We might be able to get the audio next week on our phones, but I hope you all enjoy hearing from the living prophets before I do :)

Have a great week!

Elder Boyce

A panoramic view of Třebíč
Me and Třebíč and a regrettably large bush

Mom requested this picture of me with Třebíč in the background!

The Třebíč clock tower and smokestack...

..and stork!

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014 - In which we fly from one thing to the next

Dear family,

Last week was quite the week! It was extremely hektický, and frankly again it was just quite the week. I don't have time to tell about everything, but highlights:

On Tuesday we had exchanges, where I worked in Jihlava with Elder Neumann and Elder Gilmore stayed here in Třebíč with Elder Neumann's companion, Elder Weyland. That was a day! In the morning we had two back-to-back lessons, I gave a blessing (in apparently understandable Czech), and then we spent the whole day on the náměstí contacting. I also got sick that day! It was crazy.

Thursday we drove to Bratislava for Zone Conference with the Jihlava Elders. Zone Conference was great! We had a "Fundamentals Boot Camp" where we went over the basics of teaching from Preach My Gospel. Also the departing missionaries gave their testimonies. After conference, we had a walking tour through old Bratislava! That was great! It was fun to learn more about Slovakia (and I also got to have McDonald's for lunch).

Sunday I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting in Czech! I had no voice because I was still sick!

Update with Sister S and M: We have a baptism in Brno Friday, and M will have to be next week (unfortunately) due to conflicts with school.

Elder Boyce

Wayne found this picture on Elder Neumann's blog; the elders at the ruined castle Rokštejn last week.
The following pictures are from Daniel's Zone Conference trip in Bratislava, Slovakia.  They are of the older part of the city.

This man was sketching scenes from the older parts of Bratislava.

This photo is of the American embassy in Bratislava. You could tell which one is the American embassy because they took a really important building on the main náměstí (square) and chunked off a huge chunk of the náměstí itself with security. (All of the other countries play nice with their embassies...)

Elder Neumann. When we were getting gas on the way home he was very proud of himself for getting it to cost exactly 1100 Kč (which is $55.50 in US dollars).

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014 - In which.....

Dear family,

It has been quite a whirlwhind week! Last Monday for P-day we went to the ruined castle Rokštejn with the Elders in Jihlava. That was pretty fun! Spring is beginning to come in fits and starts, and we had to walk a little bit through the highland countryside to get to Rokštejn from the train station. I (naturally) did my best to recreate the cover of the Sound of Music, as you should be able to see below. Some things never change. Rokštejn itself was also a cool place. I've attached some more photos of that below and our recreation of a scene from Lord of the Rings in the forest, also....

On Tuesday we had an intense lesson with Sister Š. She agreed to prepared to be baptized on the 28th! It was very exciting, though, because basically we said that it was do-or-die at this point, and fortuanately she picked "do." :)

Last Wednesday we had District Meeting in Jihlava at the Bell's house, and President McConkie also came and sat in on that. Instead of returning to Třebíč like normal after District Meeting, we went directly from Jihlava to Velké Meziříčí to try and catch two appointments there. Velké Meziříčí is a little town about halfway between Třebíč and Brno that actually had to be annexed into the Třebíč Branch/Area so we could have our branch president! It's about 45 minutes away from Třebíč and features about the largest bridge in (I think) all of continental Europe. Unfortunately both of our appointments fell through (one didn't show up on the town square, and one either accidentally or on purpose said his address is the one of a public playground...) but we were able to meet with our branch president before we headed home for a lesson with M (she changed her date to the 28th so she could be part of a double baptism). That was quite a day!

Thursday we had three lessons with set up with someone new, M, and I right after each other at the building. Our branch mission leader was a total borec, though, (which is the Czech equivalent for "boss") and came for the first one with the new person (who didn't show up) and stayed for three hours until the end of I's. M, unfortunately, doesn't have much interest in the message and so we dropped him, but I's lesson went alright and she agreed to come to church finally (which she did!).

Friday we had another lesson with Sister Š to solidify her date. We still think that she can make it, but she shared with us another concern that wouldn't stop her from being baptized, but is making her very anxious. I'd say more about it, but she asked us to keep it to ourselves.

Saturday we visited a lot of our recent converts and less actives. We're really trying to help Sister M have desire to come to church and help Sister Č with some of her health problems, but we're a little frustrated there.

Sunday I came to church! That was exciting. Probably no one entirely new has come to church in Třebíč in about six months! We're hoping to continue to work to change that :)

This upcoming week is going to be insane! Tonight and tomorrow we're having exchanges, so I'll be serving in Jihlava for a day.Thursday we're going to Bratislava very early in the morning for Zone Conference, and then we probably won't return again until quite late! Also President McConkie will probably be coming to Třebíč this week or next for the day, so that will be exciting.

It's been quite a tiring week, but also good! Still working on Czech, being a good teacher, and not being too hard on myself, but we're doing well! We've had a lot of logistical problems with setting up the baptisms (you've probably noticed dates flying everywhere...) since the closest place with an actual baptismal font is Brno, and so we don't have the luxury of picking an ideal date for everyone! Generally we have to rent a pool, and availability has been a challenge. We're hoping to continue to resolve these problems, though.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great week!

Starší Boyce

the ruined castle Rokštejn

The "hills are alive" near the ruined castle Rokštejn

Elder Weyland as Frodo, Elder Neumann as another Hobbit, and me as a Ringwraith

Monday, March 10, 2014

March 10, 2014 - In which we have a temporary setback

Dear family,

I think the best way this week to catch up will be to talk about each person that we've been working with.

M: You were probably hoping to see that she got baptized this week, but no baptism! Unfortunately she got sick on Friday night so we had to cancel it last-minute. That fairly accurately describes how our first baptismal service came together. We're not sure how many members would have come, either, because it came together so late and we have to have it in Jihlava, which is an hour train ride. We have a new date for 22 March, so we hope to make it a great service! She's still doing well, other than sick!

Sister Š: She is at the tipping point! I don't know how much I have detailed this, but for the past three weeks we have been working and working with her to have enough trust in the Lord to accept tithing. We have taught faith about as many ways as one can! The other day we joked that we don't just need a battering ram for Fort Šuteríková, we need the Grok from the siege on Mínas Tirith from Lord of the Rings, a flaming, fiery battering ram that is shaped like a wolf's head. At our last lesson, we invited one of the members, and we got it! That was an intense lesson. She doesn't know it yet, but we're hoping that she can also be baptized on the 22nd :)

I: She's started to progress! She still hasn't come to church yet, unfortunately, but last time she started to keep commitments and so she's progressing! She said she doesn't want to change religions, but she also wants to do the commitments, so we'll see!

R and M are two new investigators! I'm so excited for them! R seems really solid. We're excited to get to know them better.

I'm doing great! I'm trying to throw myself into the work as much as I possibly can. It was a little disappointing that M wasn't baptized, but I realized that baptisms aren't technically success. Success is consecrating myself, and giving all of my fear and everything to the Lord so that I can be a more effective instrument in His hands. I've been focusing on doing exactly that, and I've been so blessed with the Spirit working through me more and more and that my prayers and studies are much more meaningful.

I love you all! I'm doing well.

Elder Boyce

PS Zone Conference is in Bratislava this month! I GET TO GO TO SLOVAKIA IN TEN DAYS!

Walking back into town after a lesson this week.

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014 - In which my birthday passes

Dear family,

Got to write really quick today! This week went pretty well. Last Wednesday was my birthday, and that was a pretty good day! We had a game night with a potential investigator (look up the game BANG! if you can) and Elder Gilmore surprised me with some cake and it was a fun time.

This week has been pretty good! We're preparing for M's baptism on Saturday and trying to help Sister Š with tithing. We've also met with quite a few members this week, trying to strengthen them.

This week I've made quite a bit of progress with Czech. One of my less actives even commented on how much it has improved since I got here a month ago.

Sorry I don't have more time to write! Quite a few people wrote to me for my birthday and I tried to reply to as many as possible.

I am, however, alive, and doing well! I had a good birthday. Next week I'll have a baptism to write you all about, so that'll be fun!

Elder Boyce