Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - In which the part of me accustomed to warm weather dies

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well! Yesterday we had record attendance at Sacrament Meeting; 36 people came! Normally only about 20 come. We were packed into our little chapel and it was a great meeting. The Ř and their grandchildren came to participate in the Primary Program, which was wonderful. The primary our branch is quite small (only one boy comes every week), so the program was only about ten minutes but everyone enjoyed the children and the six missionaries pretending to be children! (We were all briefly Primary children; for example I was Honzik, age 7.)

The Ř are getting back into the habit of coming to church once every other week, and their grandchildren are having a great time with the other little boy in the branch. Sister Ž told us yesterday that the oldest grandchild said the closing prayer during Primary and was really pleased with himself because he didn't need any help. They add quite a bit of life to the branch! Unfortunately all of our investigators backed out of coming at the last second, but if they had come I don't think we could have seated them!

We had quite the finding experience on Saturday. We were coming back to our apartment to finish lunch after visiting a less-active at his home, and to get home we arrived at a bus stop that's closer to our apartment but that we had never noticed before. We were about a block away from our apartment, then Elder Cowley called "Dobrý den!" across the street to a group of people that were standing in front of their apartment building. We were going to continue on, but they called back to us and told us to come into their home for tea! We went in and were able to teach a first lesson, and gave three people baptismal dates. It was quite the miracle, and if we hadn't gotten off at the new bus stop, we wouldn't have walked past those people or met them. They weren't able to come to church because they got sick, but we'll see them again this week.

This past week the weather has become freakishly cold. I had never realized how nice the weather in Camarillo actually was. I suppose I'll get used to it, but I've already had to start wearing gloves and thermals. This will be an exciting winter!

We had quite the whirlwind week. I feel like I'm missing a ton of information, but I'm going to be out of time soon. I suppose I'll have to fill it in next week!

Happy Halloween! (We're having a party tonight at FHE)

Elder Boyce

PS H is doing well. I don't think I've mentioned her yet. We met her last week by giving her a building tour. She has a lot of questions, and is pretty interested in finding out more. We weren't able to meet with P or H last week. V is doing really well.

Monday, October 20, 2014

October 20, 2014 - In which I strive to keep up

Dear family,

Last week was really exciting! We worked really hard. Pretty much everything last week went well. It was a whirlwind of a week, though. We are super tired (more than usual, anyway). Today for P-day we are taking naps!!

We had some really interesting first lessons last week. Elder Cowley is fearless at talking to everyone and inviting them to learn more, and we've contacted quite a few exciting people on the same street as the church building and then given them building tours right then.

We also had some great lessons with some of our investigators. We had a great lesson with P P last week and she came to both hours of church on Sunday! She hasn't come to both hours in a while. (There's only a two-hour block in České Budějovice.) P's wife, H, came to our lesson with P last week, which surprised us (pleasantly). Apparently she has been reading the pamphlets that we've been sending home with P the whole time, and she and P agreed that if they found out that the message was true, they and their children would get baptized.

Our conference miracle is doing well. He's natively from the Ukraine, and his name is V. The Sisters are teaching him at the moment, mostly through Skype with a Ukrainian YSA member, I, that lives in Prague. He has a baptismal date for sometime during November, and he came to church on Sunday. I also decided to come down for church and he translated for V. Overall it's a definite upgrade over communicating through Google Translate! :)

The weather here is going, for lack of a better word, topsy-turvy. Yesterday was a really nice day, above 70 degrees probably, but then today it has been rainy and windy and we heard that it might start to snow tomorrow!! The Czechs tell us that November will probably be worse. Today I finally broke down and bought a coat and some nice gloves. The Californian I-live-ten-minutes-from-the-beach part of me is starting to die away.... I suppose it happens to all of us.

I'm doing pretty well. Half the time I don't feel like I can keep up with Elder Cowley! He is a great missionary. If I can just learn to do half of the things that he's learned to do, I would be a much better missionary very quickly.

That's probably about all for this week!

Elder Boyce

Game night!

Náměstí (town square) at night

Fried cauliflower! Tasty :)

Elder Jaynes ready to leave for Prague

Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13, 2014 - In which I don't win Conference Bingo

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well!!

Monday: We were in Prague for my last visa appointment. As we recall from last week, I am now legal. We had FHE at the building, with a really good turnout.

Tuesday: District meeting and a district singing display. We were singing and inviting people to General Conference, and handed out a bunch of flyers. We also had a lesson with P P and gave her a new baptismal date for the 8th of November. We put a focus last week back onto the basics of the Restoration, which seemed to provide her a really good foundation. We seemed to be moving too fast before that. We also had English that day and a lesson with P, which went fairly well.

Wednesday: We had a meeting with our Jehovah's Witnesses again. They were very nice, but don't seem very interested in our message. We also had a sucessful Family History course! This city hasn't seen a family history class that someone came to since last spring. We are working on trying to make that better and then find people that are interested in eternal families :)

Thursday: We went out with the Sisters to our couple in the tiniest village in the world to serve. We neatly stacked a veritable mountain of wood, had some lunch, and then had a great discussion about the Restoration.

Friday: We saw a miracle! We were just finishing up cleaning the building for Conference, and a young man walked into the building. He's here studying, but speaks almost no Czech or English, only Ukrainian and Russian. He said that his father is a member, so he searched out the Church. We were only able to communicate a little in Czech (mostly we had to speak via Google Translate), but he came to four sessions of General Conference (spoilers for Saturday and Sunday) and is meeting with the Sisters later this week. It's funny because we can speak with him hardly at all, but he's nice.

On Friday we also got our transfer calls! Elder Jaynes got called to serve in Prague, while I am still here in České Budějovice (with my new companion, Elder Cowley). President McConkie called us about transfers earlier than normal (normal is Saturday night), but that was really great because we got to use what we learned from General Conference to plan for this new transfer.

Saturday and Sunday were General Conference, which was wonderful. I felt like all of the talks were pretty much exactly what I need to here. I really appreciated how much of conference focused on having increased spirituality and being a stronger disciple of Christ. I learned a lot that informed some goals that I want to work on this transfer and into the future. In many ways I feel like I simply need to work on changing and purifying my heart, but I feel like there were a lot of great resources that I can use from General Conference. I also have more goals for seeking gifts from my patriarchal blessing and learning the language (listening to Conference in Czech was hard), but I don't have too much time to tell you about them!

Today we sent of Elder Jaynes and Elder Cowley came. I'm excited to work with Elder Cowley. He is REALLY excited to be here! It should be a great transfer :) I'm sure that I'm going to be learning a lot from him. We are going to get a lot of great work done this transfer.

I love you all a lot!

Until next week,

Elder Boyce

PS Meet the Mormons sounds great. It's not in the Czech Republic, but maybe we will get to see it later.

District conference - Brother and Sister Zmolek, Sister Dubois, Sister Scerra, Elder Boyce, Elder Jaynes

District lunch after the conference

Contacting while singing "Come to General Conference" on Lannova
Playing Vecer Her (similar to American Settlers of Cataan)
Beginning English class
Teaching a Family History class

Monday, October 6, 2014

October 6, 2014 - In which we work really diligently and are blessed

Dear family,

We had a pretty good week last week! I feel really satisfied with the work that we did. After our slow week last week, Elder Jaynes and I put a real focus on trying to reach the goals that we had set just before he got sick for this week, and I'd say that it kept us really focused the whole time.

We had a couple of really great meetings last week. We were blessed to find five new investigators last week. All of them are pretty interesting people, from our two Jehovah's Witnesses to our couple in the tiniest village in the world to a funny lady that has an opinion about everything. They're all pretty unique, but exciting!

Overall we're getting a lot of really good things into the fire. Last week we visited a less-active family, the Ř, which went really well. The family hasn't been coming to church for a long while because Sister Ř smokes, but we introduced her to the LDS Family Services' Addiction Recovery Program and she and her family came to church for the first time in several months yesterday! P P is keeping the Word of Wisdom, but it's still moving slow. P is also doing well, and told us that he wanted to find out if the Book of Mormon is true and then he said that he would start reading it right away. We went out to the home of our couple in the tiniest village in the world and they told us that they want to learn more, and so we'll be going out with the Sisters and Elder Žmolek to serve and teach on Thursday. Sacrament meeting yesterday was really wonderful. Six of our people came! All of the testimonies were really spiritual. It went super well.

Somehow we've come to the last week of the transfer again. I don't know how this sort of thing happens, but it has somehow. Time is just flyying by. In unrelated news, I was in Prague again today for visa work. I now officially have my long-term residence permit with biometric ID card, both good until the middle of January in 2016. In layman's terms, I'm legal :)

I'm doing really well. I'm feeling really productive and diligent. We had so many great experiences this week. I'm always so excited to find people that are interested in having a new and a better life, and it's always great to see them choose to give the gospel a try.

This weekend we're going to watch General Conference, and we made a bunch of visually appealing flyers to hand out this week. It should be great!

Elder Boyce

PS We woke up at 4:30 today to catch a 6:00 train to Prague. The sunrise was really pretty from the train. :)