Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 27, 2015 - In which we go to Karlštejn!

 Dear family,

We had a great week last week! The beginning was really good and the highlight was definitely going to Karlštejn. I don't have too much time, unfortunately, to go into the nice details, but here's the rundown :)

Monday: P-day! Normal. We went to the gym for P-day. It was exciting.

Tuesday: We met some good people during the day while we were out contacting. We had a good lesson with D, though he didn't get to come to church this week :( Only one person came to each English class, but Elder Page and I both had really good experiences during English. I taught at beginners' an older man named M who came for the first time that week. After English we had a great spiritual thought where we talked about strengthening our faith in scripture. I talked about how I first came to know that the Book of Mormon is true, and how ever since then I have feelings from the Spirit whenever I read the Book of Mormon and the Bible. M is a believer that's always taken the Bible for granted, and had never really had a feeling from God where he said that he could know that the Bible is from Him. He didn't accept a Book of Mormon, but he said he wanted to try praying about the Bible and then is going to tell me how that goes :)

Wednesday: It was HOT. We wanted to meet with J and K again today, but they cancelled later in the day. We met some great people though when he had a table on the square. We also man met J, who was walking behind us on a bridge and was making fun of us on the phone to his friend. After he ended the call, he greeted us and found out that he's really interested to talk about faith. It was a great contact.

Thursday: Taught I, had service at Š, went to Olomouc in the evening to go to Prague on Friday, and a bird pooped on our phone!

Friday: Karlštejn! Karlštejn was great. I sent a lot of photos for the blog, but we had a great time commemorating the dedication of our mission. It was a special day because it was the 25th anniversary of the return of missionaries to the Czechoslovakia after the fall of communism. We in a sense reenacted the the original dedicatory service by having a picnic together, going up, hearing some testimonies, having a prayer, and coming down. We heard about how when Christ first called his apostles, that he would make them to become fishers of men, and by simply doing our best and participating fulling in missionary work, Christ would do the same for us. Fifty missionaries had to run to catch the train back to Prague :) We had endless delays getting back to Zlín and didn't arrive until almost ten.

Saturday: I had a twenty-four bug and we were stuck inside.

Sunday: Elder Page had a twenty-four bug and we were stuck inside, though we made it to Sacrament Meeting.

Monday: We went to the castle Buchlov! I sent a lot of photos, and unfortunately I'm really out of time. The pictures say it all :)

I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!

Elder Boyce

The next few pictures were sent by Elder Page's mother!
Fourth of July preparations

Selfie! Daniel and his companion Elder Page

Elder Boyce is ready for the day!
Now for the pictures Daniel sent today...

This is some guláš I made a couple of weeks ago :)

A really interesting thunderhead that we saw when we were coming home from tracting.

The night before Karlštejn (so this last Thursday night) we stayed in Olomouc for the night. The sunset was great :)

Olomouc is so pretty

This is in the train from Prague to Karlštejn. The train was full of missionaries! It was a good time. On the way up I sat with my MTC group.

All of the missionaries hiking up the hill!

Then coming back down the hill we stopped at the city limits sign; Elder Page and Daniel.
The castle Karlštejn! This is the main tourist attraction in that town, but this is actually the closest I've ever been to it. The site where the dedication originally took place is more to the side.
Today for P-day we went up to this castle - Buchlov!

The castle.  We didn't go inside because it was really expensive and we didn't have time for a tour.

We were entertained by the unlikely spot in which this tree is growing!


That's real happiness :)

Whenever I see this kind of field I just have to do the Sound of Music pose!

Pretty flowers in the field!

We all had to conquer the hay bale, naturally.

The story behind the picture: On the way up to the castle we found these wooden animals and felt the need to take a stupid photo with them, so we did. Just outside the castle we stopped to eat at a picnic table before we went in, and I left my camera on the table (first time ever losing my camera). This was the most recent photo on the camera with people on it, and so by recognizing me from this photo I was able to get my camera back from the restaurant that the people who found the camera took it to. It's super embarrassing.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20, 2015 - In which I eat coffee (oops)

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well. Some funny things happened! When we were a visiting a less-active member with another member during the week, we got fed a cake full of coffee. We had no idea that there was coffee in it until we, of course, took huge bites, when we definitely knew. We weren't quite certain what to do with the remainder of the cake, and after a series of irrational thoughts the first idea that seemed good was to hide it down my sock. Which was also irrational. The second idea that I had was to eat the rest all in one bite as fast as possible, which is what I did. (I think that was also a rash decision because I spent the rest of the lesson freaking out that I ate coffee!) President McConkie assured us that we didn't sin, but it was a pretty funny experience :))

We had a pretty good meeting with J again after church yesterday. J and M invited us over for lunch and we talked about how despite the fact that the individual members of the Church aren't perfect, we can still know that we're led by a prophet with priesthood keys. It ended being pretty difficult for me, at least, to teach well but it was good because the Spirit was definitely present when we bore testimony and J said that the discussion helped him a lot. We also decided with him and M that we could pray every day together so that their daughter will be more tolerant of their decision to be a part of a church. We looked at each other's family photos and it was a nice visit.

We met with both Sister D and D V during the week, also. Those meetings went pretty well, though I won't go into detail at the moment.

We had some good experiences finding people that our branch needs. We've been dedicating days to finding particular people (for example on Wednesday we focused on finding a young man our age or so the whole day) and had some success. We tried some early-morning contacting and found a Catholic dad that is pretty eager for us to come over to his home and talk about the Book of Mormon and on the Wednesday when we were looking for a student-age man at the very end of the day we taught a group of five of them that are all friends a first lesson (three are interested in learning more, though we didn't get to set up a specific return appointment).

Things are going pretty well, overall. On the 24th of July we're all going up to Karlštejn like last year to commemorate the dedication of the Czech land for the preaching of the gospel. We're pretty excited, because it was really fun and uplifting last year! We'll get some good pictures :)

Thanks for all the support, help, and prayers!


Elder Boyce

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13, 2015 - In which the assistants come for exchanges

Dear family,

Last week was pretty exciting! On Wednesday the assistants came for an exchange. On Thursday when we worked together each of our companionships taught eight lessons. We've been teaching a lot in general during the last week, more than thirty. Our exchange was a real testament of how much we can do in a day; we each had only two lessons set up beforehand but talk six from teaching people that we met. It was a great exchange and we saw how much the Lord placed people at every hand that we needed to talk to. I can't say all that happened because of time, but we met all kinds of people, and they definitely needed something from. We weren't able to set up with almost anyone that we met, unfortunately; many of the people that we talked to ended up not being interested to find out more, but we felt that at the end of the day we definitely were supposed to meet all of the people that we met.

I feel like we're really at the breaking point for something wonderful to happen here in Zlín. I think the day that we had with the assistants showed it, but also how hard it's been since the exchange. Since then it's been, I feel, harder than before to talk to people and teach but at the same time we've been finally able to set up with some more people to teach them. I feel like I've been talking to so many people that my head is spinning a little bit, but I think we're in a good place.

During the past two weeks the investigators that we have as a goal to get baptized this transfer have all been on vacation, but this week J J and J and K should be back in Zlin. We are really excited to meet with them! :) We're praying for miracles there.

We've also seen during the last week some good progress with S D. We had a lesson with her last week where we went through a spiritual self-evaluation. We adapted the questions that Elder Ballard asked during priesthood session of general conference we're he talked about raising the bar. We left that list of questions and later in the week she told us that she had looked at them and realized that there was a lot that she actually can do to improve herself. We walked her to church on Sunday, and she's doing well.

I'm just about out of time, but we're still pushing forward in the work here, because we have great things going on!!

Elder Boyce

Monday, July 6, 2015

July 6, 2015 - In which we mELT

Dear family,

Last week went well! We had some great experiences, especially while teaching J, D (a less-active member), and Sister D (another less-active member). We taught J last Tuesday and had a really spiritual meeting. He and M had some questions for us about the Atonement and grace, but it led perfectly into talking about his concerns for getting baptized. He's mentioned a small concern about being able to know whether or not the church all around the world is true because he can't possibly see every congregation, but he's shared with us that the bigger concern is the rift that he perceives that baptism would cause in his family. There's been some conflict with other family members already because of M's and A's baptisms and J doesn't want to cause a further problem with her, and so he doesn't think it's a good idea to be baptized until it calms down with her. We definitely understand his concern, but Elder Page and I feel after praying that he can get baptized in August if he wanted to. We told him and M this on Tuesday. They seemed to be thinking about it pretty deeply and commited to pray more about August.

Last Wednesday we taught Sister D and D. D is a potential Elder that is on the branch vision to be reactivated. We told him that we wanted to help him be ordained to be an Elder, and he started taking notes about what he needs to do. We set some goals with him so that we can help him come to church on Sundays. It was a good meeting. Sister D is an endowed member that recognizes that she's missing something spiritually but hasn't quite realized that she's missing church. Last week she seemed to come to herself a little bit, though, and we're excited to be working with her.

Last week we had some interesting days, some where we felt like we accomplished a lot, and some where we felt like we didn't as much. We're learning, though, how to testify more effectively and and be better. Yesterday we spent the whole day out contacting, but Elder Page and I both really enjoyed it. We set the goal to try to talk to every person as long as we possibly could, and going that extra mile helped us do much better overall. I felt the Spirit working through me as I tried to help people understand why Jesus Christ is so important for them. It was a great day.

I'm out of time, but I wanted to of course let you know that I'm doing well. We don't have any photos to send, just selfies of us melting because it has been SO HOT!

Elder Boyce