A lot has happened during the last week! I'm not in Olomouc anymore. I'm now serving in Zlín (pronounced Zleen) with Elder Page. I'm follow-up training again. I was really sad to leave; I loved the branch and the missionaries that I was serving with, but I'll talk a little bit about that later. Last week we also went to Prague for District conference. There were two sessions, one Saturday night that we watched in Olomouc through the Internet and one Sunday morning that wasn't broadcasted so we all went to Prague. We didn't become a stake, but President Kearon was there, and it was wonderful. Once again, I'll talk a little bit more about that later. As you know missionaries write their mission president every week, and so I write President McConkie everyMonday along with you all :) Most of the thoughts I want to share I shared in my letter to him, so I'm including a large chunk of it today:
"I have a lot of thoughts from the last week that I feel like I should share but can't quite glue together. There have been a lot of little things that have had a curious ring to them that make me feel like they're important.
"Sunday night was a really difficult night for me. This has been the most emotional transfer weekend for me by far. I've really come to love the people in Olomouc and the positive influence that it's had on me. I've felt that in Olomouc I've come to understand and love the Czech people more than ever before. I've been blessed by my association with the members and especially in being able to help L, H, and L make the covenant of baptism. Sunday evening I made goodbye calls... and it was harder than saying goodbye to my family at curb of the MTC! [Sorry, family.] There were no tears there. I was pretty emotional most of the evening and at one point, while we were praying with L over the phone, I said to myself, 'I wish that leaving didn't hurt so much. I wish I could sever the attachments that I've made here without so much hurt!' I was worried that I wouldn't have any room in my heart left for Zlín and I wouldn't be able to serve them there. I realized, though, that that's not right, and that honestly I need to leave all the love that I have for Olomouc in my heart and I somehow knew that the Lord would make more room in my heart to love Zlín. Even know I think of how much I love Olomouc and know somehow that I'll be able to love Zlín at least as much as I love Olomouc. I think that this is an important lesson to learn, but it's been making me cry a lot.
"During the past few days I've been also learning really important things about the Savior. Saturday morning during personal study I read Mormon's account of the destruction of the Nephites. I was struck by his empassioned plea immediately after his account of this destruction for the Lamanites to believe that they're part of God's covenant people and for them to repent. He teaches them basic truths about Jesus Christ, that He is the Son of God, He suffered and died for our sins, He rose from the dead the third day, and because of Him we will live again and can be saved through our repentance. It strengthened my testimony of the Savior and it made me feel the importance of every person I meet knowing also that they are a part of God's family and about the Savior.
"District conference also taught me a lot about the Savior. It's always impressive to see how timely the messages giving during General Conference are, but the same thing was true during district conference. I loved the talks about living water and light, how we ought to forgive, and the importance of gaining a testimony of how Christ is at the head of the work. I felt spiritually fed by being there with all of our wonderful, wonderful members. One of the people that I baptized, P from HK was sustained to be ordained as an elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. I was so excited! I think I hopped about a foot out of my chair when I heard his name read. I felt at the conference that Christ is leading us.
"Elder Petersen and I had an exchange at the end of last week. It was a pretty good exchange, but we made some dumb mistakes in planning that were a good example of what NOT to do. We didn't exercise and felt like we were crawling through most of the day. We made some good goals to improve.
"It's so difficult for me to express why I think these experiences have been sticking in my mind and why they feel so important, but I think I'm seeing the Lord teach me what I need to be taught. I'm excited to be able to love the people of Zlín, to serve with Elder Page, to teach people about the Savior, and to work hard in the Lord's vineyard. I'm excited to improve, but I feel that the Lord is happy for what I'm doing. I'm praying that I can feel a sense of urgency in my chest, like Elder Holland said."
There's a lot more that I could tell you! This has been a wonderful week, and instead of the normal letter I wanted to share more about how I've been feeling. Olomouc is doing pretty well. It's in good hands. Our mission is down on number missionaries for the next several months, so our area was combined with the other elders'. (Eight Czech missionaries left the mission, plus I think six Slovak missionaries, and no replacements came this transfer. That's a big hit in a mission where eighty is maximum force.) Elder Smith and Elder Nelson are serving together, and Elder Petersen left for Prauge. L is doing well, though she didn't make it to conference over the weekend. Neither did H. I'm confident, though, that Elder Smith and Elder Nelson will do well to keep Olomouc strong. I'm excited to be here in Zlín. Elder Page and I have already taught a great family that they've found and I'm excited to be serving in such a great area. I've got some pictures that I'll want to send you of the conference and of Zlín, but that will have to wait until next week. I'm out of time again. Just now that I'm doing well and am happy and am to be here.