Monday, January 26, 2015

January 26, 2015 - In which we have exchange miracles

Dear family,

We had a pretty good week last week. We saw a good number of miracles, especially when we had exchanges. I was with Elder Esser in the Zone Leader's area and we had a good time finding. We talked a lot with people about baptism and living prophets, and a lot of the people we met expressed interest in finding out more about baptism and how they can apply our message into their lives. We had a funny experience at the end of the night in an old communist apartment building. Someone miraculously let us in the bottom door and we started tracting. We found people that wanted us to teach them on every floor of the building, and we had time for just one more door. The man that opened the door immediately started yelling at us and saying that we were making a huge nuisance and that he was going to call the police if we didn't leave. We're supposed to leave the building when someone asks us to, so we made our way to the elevator. While we were waiting for the elevator this man held down the buzzer on his neighbor's apartment for twenty seconds or so until the neighbor came out, who also began to inform us that we had to leave the building or suffer the consequences! :) We made it into the elevator, but then the first man wrenched the door back open and asked us in raised tones if we were really leaving. We told him politely that if he would please let the elevator door close we would leave. It was very surprising and it might have been a bit discouraging, but Elder Esser and I both had a good laugh about it

In my area Elder Yentes and Elder Sylvester had some great miracles. We have a few first lessons set up for this week from that exchange, including with a family that was behind the first door that they knocked tracting.

We're working hard on trying to speak more openly about baptism and being more bold with our commitments. The people that we've been currently meeting with aren't all very serious about keeping their commitments or making time for us, and we feel like that this would be best remedied by essentially just being more bold and clear about what they need to do to live the gospel and why it would bless their life. We put a particular focus on that during a first lesson that we had on Friday, and the investigator accepted and understood everything really well. He had called us earlier in the week to remind us that we said that we could teach him more about the Church, and during our lesson he said he really wanted to know for himself if Joseph Smith's story and the Book of Mormon were true. Unfortunately he called us Saturday to tell us to forget about him and to delete his phone number, but during the teaching setting our clarity and boldness helped him a lot.

Yesterday B was confirmed a member of the church! She wasn't able to be in Brno the week after her baptism, so she couldn't be confirmed until yesterday. It was also Branch Conference, so she asked President McConkie to confirm her. She is doing really well.

Our area needs a lot of love and care right now. We need more people to teach! I'm hoping that I'll be healthy enough to keep on top of it. Yesterday after church I was starting to feel really feverish so Sister McConkie grounded Elder Yentes and I. Our landlord is a priesthood holder so he and Elder Yentes gave me a blessing. I didn't feel feverish anymore afterwards, but I'm still not feeling quite 100%. I should be feeling better soon, though. I want to have the energy to work hard! When our landlord gave me a blessing he also bustled around our apartment showing us all the homeopathic Czech treatments that we needed to follow. Examples: always have fruit or herbal tea in arm's reach, have EVERY stitch of clothing on yourself possible, and most especially eat honey mixed with grated onion (which is NASTY). I'm feeling better today, though. I should be back up to speed soon.

That's about all I've got time for! Lots of love,
Elder Boyce

Monday, January 19, 2015

January 19, 2015 - In which we walk Brno

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well! It started with B's baptism, which went well. I t was probably the longest one that I've ever been to. With three talks, three musical numbers, and everything else it went about an hour and forty-five minutes! It was a really good baptism, though. The Spirit was very strong and it was clear to see how many people love B here in our branch. Despite the weird time (3 pm), all of the YSA made and there was a good attendance of the older members with normal day jobs. Betty seems to be doing fairly well. She seems to be in at least as good of spirits as ever.

Last week we had zone conference, which was great. We talked about what we need to focus during the upcoming year. It helped me to think about the things that I need to focus on most immediately. My goals are to focus on learning to love finding, learning to forget myself in the service of others, and embracing hard work. Working on these the past week has helped me to feel the Spirit more throughout the day and to love the people that I meet. I've been making some progress, but it's been coming fitfully in starts and stops. I'm just trying to be patient, though.

We had a lot of time to go finding last week, and spent a lot of time walking the streets of Brno and knocking on doors. We met some pretty good people! Most of them are still potentials because they don't have much time to set up right now or set up during the upcoming weeks or whatever, but a few have some great potential. I could see a difference a couple of days last week when I was more enthusiastic and confident in the Lord and when I was not nearly as much. I was a lot more effective the first kind of days, but it was interesting how big of a difference it made. Four potentials also became new investigators last week, but those were all people that we had found during the last several weeks. We're hoping to help our turnover a little faster!

That's about it for today! I AM OUT OF TIME!

Elder Boyce

Monday, January 12, 2015

January 12, 2015 - In which we press on

Dear family,

We're doing pretty well here in Brno! We are working hard to build up our area, and we made some good progress last week. We taught more quite a lot more than we did last week, and had some great conversations with people. Not a lot of people are wanting to meet with us, but we're still trying to work hard.

B is still doing pretty well. We're excited for her baptism tomorrow, but unfortunately she won't be able to come to church in Brno this Sundayso she can't get confirmed until the 25th. She's already a really strong almost-member, so she should be fine.

We had a couple of really great experiences being out and about. This week we spent a few evenings tracting. We have a letter that we stick in people's mailboxes that talks about who we are as missionaries, then we go back a couple of days later to follow up on it. One evening this past week we talked to a dad that was really against the idea of a church. We kept talking to him a little bit and he ended changing his attitude. By the end of the conversation he was so much more open about talking about religion. It was pretty unbelievable! He wasn't to interested in finding out if our message was true, but he had a completely different idea about us than the one he had when we first knocked on his door.

We also had a great miracle just walking around the city and contacting. We ran into a less-active member who had no correct phone number or address on Church records. He gave us his new phone number because he'd like to meet with us again, which is a huge miracle. You know that especially if you've ever gone out to try to find someone who hasn't been to church in ten years to come to find out that their address is completely incorrect!

We've had some crazy weather this past week! We've had everything from ice storms to sunny and 17 degrees Celsius. It's been insane.

I don't have a lot more time, but I wanted to say that I'm doing well and I'm trying to just press on (or if you like Mark 2, I'm just trying to carry my corner of my friends bed).

Elder Boyce

PS Attached is a photo of how Czechs recycle :) This is across the street from our building.

Monday, January 5, 2015

January 5, 2014

Dear family,

We had a few good successes last week! We saw a few miracles. Last Monday we went less-active finding, and met the less-active member's daughter who lives at the address on our record. She is not a member and said that her mother (the member) is not interested in being one anymore! :) The daughter said, however, that we could return to talk some more about the gospel in a couple of weeks.

After that we tracted the people on each side of the street and a very nice family let us in. They are very strong Catholics, but they appreciated hearing more about our beliefs. They didn't seem strongly interested in hearing more about the Restoration but they said that we could come back some other time for soup. We feel like we should talk to them again and will go back sometime soon.

Saturday we had a surprise when someone who had made an appointment came to the building, despite the fact that we had made the appointment before Christmas and he hadn't given us his phone number so we couldn't confirm with him. Most of the time these sort of appointments fall through! We gave the man a building tour and a copy of the Book of Mormon.

Sunday we had a great lesson with a elderly less-active member. This is the same member that we visited on Boxing Day and met his wife for the first time then. Though she didn't take part in the meeting this time, we had a great discussion about temple work and the plan of salvation. He hasn't received his own temple ordinances, and hasn't had any temple work done for his family members because he didn't understand what proxy ordinances are. We could feel the Holy Ghost really strongly when we told him about the opportunities that his son has, who passed away many years ago. Though this member isn't healthy enough to make it to the temple (he can't even make it to church), he is very, very excited to send his son's name to the Temple.

B is doing well. She had her baptismal interview yesterday and will be getting baptized next Tuesday. She is super prepared to be baptized and will be a great member.

We've done some fun things this past week. We had a good evening together with the district New Year's Eve after we had to be inside. New Year's Day was a good P-day. I sent Mom some photos that she should have posted. Today for P-day we went and played squash, which was really fun. Didn't get good photos of that, though!

Don't have a lot more to say, but lots of love,
Elder Boyce

New Year's Eve we watched Testaments and Legacy. This was our set up... We found a 5.1 stereo system in our apartment! President wanted us to stay up until midnight to watch the fireworks, out our window, but we only made it to about 11:30.

Snowy Brno on New Year's Day. We went to a museum and had a snowball fights for p-day.

Fireworks on New Year's Day! They shot them off over the city castle.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Christmas mission fun!

These pictures of the Christmas zone conference and Christmas dinner were sent to me by a couple missionary, Sister Archibald, who is serving in Brno with Daniel.

Christmas zone conference

Some of the missionaries serving in Brno

Branch Christmas party
Garlic and honey on a Czech oplatky

No silly business going on here!

Christmas caroling at the nursing home.
Missionary Christmas dinner; they are all smiles because they all just to Skype with their families!

The three sets of missionaries serving in Brno.