Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014 - In which we are very busy in České Budějovice

Dear family,

We are so busy! Everything last week just flew by!

Impressions of České Budějovice after a week:
  • It is already extremely chilly and rainy here (I have a feeling that's all over the area now, though).
  • The official beer of every restaurant here is Budweiser, because Budweiser is actually a Czech beer called Budvar and is brewed here in České Budějovice. That doesn't interest me much but it means that I see Budweiser signs many times each day.
  • There is a lot of work to do here. At one time, the České Budějovice branch was one of the largest branches of the Church in the Czech Republic. (There were 30 children in the primary!) Now on a good day there are 20 members at church each week, including 6 missionaries. We have no idea where all of this membership went, which is part of what we're trying to figure out. We really don't know what happened to this branch.
There is a lot to do. Last week we were able to meet with T a couple of times, which was really great. She's funny. She knows a lot about the church and has a lot of questions that we really don't know the answers to (probably her favourite at the moment is if the Book of Mormon contains "the fullness of the everlasting gospel" then why does it say nothing about temple ordinances, the doctrine of eternal progression, etc.) Last week we went on a výlet with her out to Hluboká nad Vltavou to see an exhibit of Alfons Mucha, a famous Czech painter. That was a great exhibit and the castle nearby was great.

Unfortunately we weren't able to meet with our other two baptismal dates last week, but we found a family last week through one of the less-active members that we meet with that came to church on Sunday! We are excited about them! The mom's name is H, and we haven't met her husband yet. We're not sure if he's interested in the gospel or not.

I'm out of time already, unfortunately. I'm doing well still and the work here is doing well overall. It is just somehow much more complicated here than in HK or Třebíč! Which will make me a better missionary :)

The Church is true!

Elder Boyce

The main square of České Budějovice.

The fountain and the blue building is where the city offices are.

We had a výlet last Saturday to Hluboké nad Vltavou, to see an Alfons Mucha exhibit (which was really cool). It was right next to this castle! We want to plan another výlet so we can tour it.

Exterior staircase at the castle.

Closeup of the castle exterior.

Blue teeth from a yummy slushy!
The following pictures are from the výlet Daniel took to Kutna Hora before he was transferred.  They are from the Sedlec Ossuary or "Bone Chapel."  The history behind the bone chapel is that in 1278 the abbot of the monastery near the chapel was sent to the Holy Land and came back with a small amount of earth he removed from Golgotha.  He sprinkled the earth over the abbey cemetery and soon the abbey cemetery became the most desired burial site in Eastern Europe.  The the Black Death and other wars added many more graves to the cemetery; an estimated 40,000 - 70,000 graves.  In 1400 the Gothic style church was built and many of theses graves were exhumed to make room for the chapel.  The exhumed skeletons were stacked in the lower chapel.  As the cemetery became full the monks exhumed more skeletons to make room for the new burials.  In 1879 the ruling family over the abbey hired a woodcarver to put the bone heaps in  some kind of order.  The photos below are the macabre results:

This place didn't even feel real but every bone is 100% human!

Daniel and the other elders in the Bone Chapel
This chandelier is reported to have every bone in the human body in it.

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