Monday, May 25, 2015

May 25, 2015 - In which we have a wedding

Dear family,

Last week was (as ever) exciting! We had some good meetings with investigators and we're finding new people pretty steadily. Elder Smith has a special talent for finding people and teaching them on the go, and we've been finding a lot of people in that way. Some of them are starting to progress more and more, which is exciting to see. Not all of them are able to meet very much, but we're trying to be bold about the blessings of the gospel and give strong, specific commitments. Yesterday we had a great lesson with a new investigator Mr. S. We met him a couple of weeks ago and taught a lesson, and yesterday we returned to teach about the plan of salvation. It was a rewarding lesson for us to see him understand the gospel. As a companionship we've set a goal that we want to practice teaching for understanding, and we did well in helping him understand.

L is doing pretty well. She is excited for her baptism on Saturday, but is apparently having some opposition from her family. Her parents seem to like us (we always chat when we go to visit), but apparently her extended family that lives on the same street as her is almost aggressively against us. It's been difficult for L because she's worried about the influence that her extended family will have on her parents, but she is strongly committed to her baptism. She is excited for it! She's grateful for your prayers for her :)

L is also doing well. Saturday was her wedding, which was quite nice. The service was short and simple and President Zatloukal emphasized how L and M can prepare for a sealing in the Temple. Quite a few members came and L especially seemed happy. She continues to prepare for her baptism on the sixth, which is now only two weeks away! She's keeping all the commandments. Our goal is to try to keep her more in the scriptures before her baptism, because while she's reading she doesn't seem to feel like she gets much from them. She loves coming to church, though, and has been able to come the last two weeks with the Relief Society president.

We've also started working with M, L's husband. L and President Zatloukal seem very enthusiastic about M getting baptized also. While M isn’t quite as thrilled about it yet, he’s agreed to work towards it :)

H is continuing to do well. It always seems to me that he's withstanding a lot of opposition from his friends and family for being a member. They are sometimes really hard on him, but he's doing really well. We think it would be good for L to talk with him because they are both going through a lot of opposition now.

That's just about everything that's new in our area! We have a few newer investigators that seem like they could have some potential.

This Wednesday we have training in Bratislava in Slovakia! We're excited to head there!! On Wednesday we'll probably have to leave our apartment at 3:30am to catch a train to Slovakia at 4:24, but it will be a lot of fun. We've been studying and preparing for it. Elder Kearon of the first quorom of the Seventy is coming on a tour. As of the first of July or something like that he'll also be the new president of the European area. I'm excited to learn from him. We've been learning a lot in preparation for his visit. Unfortunately there was a problem with the Internet at the library so I had to finish writing this really fast at the Keppners after FHE, but love you lots and hope you have a great week :)

Elder Boyce

PS I had some photos from the wedding to send, but unfortunately I ran out of time to send them because of the Internet problems. I'll send them on Saturday, hopefully with some photos from L's baptism! :)

Monday, May 18, 2015

May 18, 2015 - In which we stop at the emergency room

Dear family,

We had a good week last week. Lots of things are going on, but we're working hard to stay on top of everything. It's been both really difficult but of course good. That's life.

L is doing well. She is on track to getting married this Saturday so that she can be prepared to be baptized on the sixth of June. She's keeping all the commandments and is doing well. I think that she wants her fiancee to get baptized also, but we're making sure how muchhe wants to be baptized. :)

L is also doing well. Apparently she's going to have her baptismal interview later this week with Elder Cowley. I think she's ready, we're just helping her get ready for the baptismal service itself and she always has questions for us.

We managed to finally meet with another less-active member, L, who is L's ex-boyfriend. He opened up to us about some of his challenges and is also doing better. We hope that we'll be able to help him. We hope that L getting married and baptized won't push him away from coming to church.

Yesterday was branch conference and so President was here with his family. Branch conference was spiritual and lots of people come, but we almost didn't make it there! Elder Smith woke up in the middle of the night on Saturday and was in extreme pain. We weren't sure what was going on, we thought that maybe he had a kidney stone. We weren't sure what to do so we called Sister McConkie at one in the morning. They were already in Olomouc and President came and took us the hospital. It was good that he was there because the hospital didn't take the Missionary Medical insurance card and so President made the executive decision that we'd pay in cash. I would've been stumped by that :) They did a couple of tests on Elder Smith and figured that it was a kidney stone, gave him some pain medicine and sent us home (after prescribing him to jump around all night and drink a couple of Pilsners). When we got home he jumped around the apartment until about 6am. When we woke up at 7:30, the stones (two, we were surprised to see!) exited his body and then we made it to church (a little late). We tried to do a couple of things in the afternoon after church, but Elder Smith was entirely not functioning. He slept from 4:30pm yesterday until 6:30am today without waking up. And now his back to 100%. That was our adventure!

I don't have any more time, but we're doing well. I'm sorry that the name of almost everyone we teach starts with L. We didn't plan it that way! :)

Elder Boyce

While Elder Nelson and I were on exchanges last week we caught Elder Smith and Elder Petersen at work ;)

But we were most surprised to see this one today! Do you remember him? My follow-up trainer, the former Elder Bushnell came to Olomouc to sightsee today with his family. This is our three-generation photo. We grabbed lunch with him and his family.

Leading the music at Zone conference in Brno.

Monday, May 11, 2015

May 11, 2015 - In which we get lead on by a drunk man

Dear family,

We had a great week! Elder Smith and I extremely tired, but we had some great experiences teaching when we find and finding when we teach. It was pretty stressful and we have a lot more things to keep track of also, also, but it was good.

Last Monday L accepted a baptismal date for the 30th of May. She's pretty nervous; she called on Saturday to ask about a couple of words in English, but she also told us that she's freaking out about how close it is. It seems to us like she'll be plenty prepared, though. She's strongly committed to her baptism, and I think that that's what will help her ride whatever waves that are waiting for her before and after.

L is doing comparatively well. She is struggling with a lot of health problems at the moment. Her chemotherapy has caused some damage in the motion center in her brain, which has caused severe loss of strength in her legs. I didn't understand all of the medical Czech that she used to try to explain what was going on with that exactly, but I'm positive that at least that much is going on. She's able to wiggle her legs, but other than that she's on a wheelchair and the doctor's don't know how long that will last for. Their guess is two to three years. We need to find a way for her to get to church because the bus that takes her from her village to Olomouc on time for church isn't handicapped-accessible. :( She's also likely going to be getting married at the end of May. After that point she'll also be living according to the law of chastity.

We had some good experiences finding, as I mentioned. We had a nice chalk display last week in a park. It looked pretty nice, and lots of people stopped to talk to us. At one point one missionary was drawing and the other three were teaching lessons at the same time. It was great! We've also found a wonderful neighborhood full of families. We found it sort of on accident while looking for a less-active member at the end of a tram line. It's probably the closest thing I've seen to an American subdivision here. The people are also really friendly to talk with us. In that neighborhood we've taught four or five lessons during the last week. They're not universally excited for us to come back, but still two people have set up a meeting for this week where we can return to teach them about the gospel. It's still pretty exciting! Even when the people don't accept our message, we still feel like we lifted a warning voice and invited them to come closer to the Savior. And even when doing displays about English we're able to talk to people that seem to be perfect for our branch. Yesterday after our call while in this neighborhood a drunk man lead us on to talk to a bunch of his neighbors (who were less drunk). I wish I could tell you all about it, but that way we went through a train of introductions to place a book of Mormon. On our way back to the other street where we were originally tracting we even taught another lesson. It was great.

It was great to talk to you all! Suzie's pictures from prom look wonderful :) I'm having a great time! I'm very tired :)


Elder Boyce

We went to L's concert for culture night.

Pretty view of the rapeseed fields

Our missionary!
We drew this in park and talked to people about it. (It is a map of the Plan of Salvation)

Monday, May 4, 2015

May 4, 2015 - In which we have training and a couple of shocks

Dear family,

Last was pretty interesting! There were a couple of big surprises with some of our investigators. L, gave us quite the shock. As you know, she's been telling us for a while that she wants to get baptized, but she hadn't made a decision about when. Saturday morning she called and said that she had been praying and had strong impressions about two dates, May 30th or October 10th! She was pretty confused about why they're so far apart because she feels strongly these two dates came from the Holy Ghost. We encouraged her to fast about it yesterday, and the four young missionaries also fasted with her today. We haven't had the chance to talk with her about how her fast went, but we have a lesson with her in about 45 minutes and we'll be able to talk then when we review that baptismal interview questions. We're quite confident that she'd be able to make the 30th of May date if she decides to, but it's mostly up to her.

L has been doing a little better on the health end of things. She hadn't made it to church in the last couple of weeks, and she had been really missing it. She made it out yesterday, though, and was very glad. After church yesterday we went out to visit. We found out that she could have some issues with the commandments that we didn't understand at first. She still really wants to be baptized, but it will take some time and a lot of prayers.

I'm kind of running out of time for emailing, but I feel like those are the most important things from our area last week. H is still doing pretty well. We're kind of struggling to plan what to teach him because we've almost completely run out of the first five lessons to review! We're supposed to maintain the same meeting schedule as before baptism for 90 days afterwards, but we're struggling to feel like our lessons have much left to help him :) We've also had a couple of first lessons, but I'll have to talk more about those people next week.

We had a great zone conference last week. We talked a lot about commitments and seeing our commitment invitations through the eyes of our investigators. I've been thinking a lot more about that during our lessons and my personal study for the lessons, and it's helped. While the main commitment that we extend is the same, it's helped me to realize how we can prepare each investigator from their current spiritual level to understand what we're asking when we invite them to be baptized.

Love you lots!
Elder Boyce