Monday, October 26, 2015

October 26, 2016 - In which we have another transfer day

Dear family,

Last week was eventful as ever! I learned a lot last week and we were working hard. We found a couple of great people and are excited for the upcoming week. We had a few more lessons with members present than we've been having in the recent past, which was great. Our branch president's wife visited an investigator with us and E visited Sister D with us. Both were good visits. Sister D is doing quite well. It was great to have E there, also; Sister D LOVES her and invited her to come back whenever she wanted. E was also a great asset in teaching Sister D. She teaches really well.

We don't have too big of an update on J. We met with M and him last Monday night to read the scriptures together, which they enjoyed. We're meeting with J and hopefully also M tomorrow after English.

We're still working with D. He was very sick last week, so we weren't able to meet, but he tried to come to church yesterday. He made it there before sacrament meeting started, but he was feeling so unwell that he headed home. It was a bummer that he couldn't stay, but we felt like there was definitely some effort there from him to come back.

I saw this week how God won't leave us even when we're weak. There were a couple of instances that showed that. On Friday night Elder Dean and I were heading back from seeding in a neighborhood at the outskirts of Zlín. We were coming back to the center about an hour and a half later than we expected because we got REALLY turned around in the area where we were seeding and I was feeling a little defeated because we were coming back so late. We had had on plan at that time language study, so we were starting to head back in, but I felt like we needed to still talk to more people that day. I battled a little bit with the prompting, but then we decided to family history contact like we had wanted to earlier when seeding had gone over time. We set off to do so and the second person we tried to stop was probably the only YSA male in Zlín that's interested in his ancestors (I do know that there are more actually) and was really interested in meeting with us. Just a few steps later a very kind lady contacted US. She had met the missionaries a few years before and wanted to say hello. She ended up not being interested, but she was trying to be kind and I knew that God wasn't looking to punish us even though we hadn't been feeling very good about ourselves. On Saturday a similar thing happened when somehow we got wildly off our planned schedule (this time because of unforseen teaching opportunities) and we were again feeling a little down because we felt like we were running out of time to get things set up and find new people. I felt like we needed to go out and find instead of going in, and battled a little with the prompting again before heading out. The first people that we talked to became new investigators! I know that God wants us to be successful, and is willing to keep working with us.

Today was transfer day! Elder Dean went to Jihlava to be follow-up trained by Elder Page, and I stayed in Zlín to follow-up train Elder Newman. He seems great, and we'll have a great transfer :)

Lots went on this week, but I'm about out of time. Thank you so much for your support!

Elder Boyce

Last Tuesday was Zone Conference in Brno. Elder Cottle (a senior missionary serving in Bratislava) took photos of pretty much everything and so I'm sending along a few photos that I was in :)

Last night while tracting Elder Dean and I taught this really nice couple. They weren't interested in the end, but they cut us huge slabs freshly-baked, traditional blueberry and raspberry cake for the road. IT WAS SO GOOD

It's transfer day but I'm still in Zlín! Elder Newman came from Olomouc this morning. I'm follow-up training again :) He was trained by Elder Nelson last transfer, one of my MTC companions.

Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19, 2015 - In which we start the last week of this transfer

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well! I'll need to give you a pretty fast rundown.

We weren't able to meet with J last week but he was at church and we are planning on going to read the Book of Mormon with him later tonight. We've been thinking a lot about how we can lighten his family's load and we had the idea to go and read the scriptures with them when they'd normally be reading a couple of days a week. I'm not certain how that will go, but it should at least help that we'll be in more contact with them!

Sister D continues to do pretty well. We had a fine meeting last week where we talked about temples. She wants to go there again and seemed intrigued by the idea of renewing her temple recommend even if she doesn't have a way to get to the temple any time soon. She didn't come to church last week but is still averaging every other week pretty solidly.

We're starting to work more with another less-active member, D, with whom we've worked in the past. He's gone out of his way to meet with us lately and committed to come to church next Sunday! That'll be the first time in quite a while.

We had a little hiccup where we weren't able to find any new investigators this week. We're hoping that things will pick up soon.

Fall is continuing to pick up; more and more trees are starting to turn colors and on some of them it looks like the color is frosting on only the very tips of their branches. It's beautiful. It's been very misty and rainy during the last week, so different from California.

I'm doing well, excited that I still get to go out in a couple of minutes to talk about the gospel! :)

Elder Boyce

Monday, October 12, 2015

October 12, 2015 - In which it gets really cold really fast

Dear family,

Last week went well. We've still been finding some new people and we feel like our area is starting to gain some more traction. Each of the last couple of weeks we've found a couple of new investigators and some of them are starting to progress. We're excited to see some things shifting in our work. I don't have much time to write today, but I'll give you a rundown of how some of the key things are doing.

We weren't able to meet with J last week, which was unfortunate, but he did watch a bit of conference so we're excited to hopefully talk to him tomorrow about the sessions that he watched. His main focus for conference was listening about a time to be baptized, and there were some great talks about trusting in the Lord so we're hoping that that will have helped him. He's so close! Elder Dean and I realized while planning the other day that all he needs is to want the blessings of the gospel in his life.

Sister D is also doing well and was at conference on Sunday. She had made a list of good questions and seemed to enjoy the conference. Elder Dean and my district leader had a good lesson with her while on exchanges, and it sounds like she's continuing to progress.

General Conference was wonderful! We watched last weekend. I had been overthinking our work a lot and was feeling stressed, but while watching conference I felt that I had been trying to do the Lord's part of the work and I needed to trust Him to keep His promises more as I go about the work. In the last couple of days it's helped because even though we haven't seen necessary a huge increase in investigators or anything like that, I've been feeling a lot happier even when people reject me because I trust that I did my part and that the people around me, even when I can't continue to teach them, are still important to the Lord and they're in his hands.

We're doing pretty well overall and are excited for the upcoming week. I can't believe that it's already another week 8! Time is racing by, but conference also helped me feel more at peace with the future.

That's about all for this week, but thanks for the love and support!

Elder Boyce

PS We've also started volunteering at a foundation for people with autism and Asperger's syndrome every week. I thought you'd be interested, maybe I can say more next week.

Your traditional Czech quick meal called lečo. There's some cooked-up sausage with tomatoes and peppers and eggs. Pretty tasty! Made that last week.

The first leaves are starting to turn. While you've been having a heat wave, it's gotten EXTREMELY COLD all at once. There'll probably be the first frost tonight.

Pretty sunset ahhh

We went to the zoo again today! Elder Dean's first time. It was really cold and the penguins were really active. This one was a bit of a show-off.

In the tropical hall this bird was just hanging around. It walked all around our feet.

Albino kangaroo!! We also can just walk through the kangaroo enclosure. It's not a big deal apparently.

The red panda would not stop staring at us!

Three baby meerkats!!!

Monday, October 5, 2015

October 5, 2015 - In which we go the philharmonic and eagerly await General Conference

Dear family,

Last week went pretty well! It seems like a lot more than a week has gone by since we last wrote. Tuesday we had Zone Conference, which we really enjoyed. I think learned a lot. We talked a lot about planning, and with what we learned and what we've been studying since then Elder Dean and I have been putting focus on the individuals that we're working with and doing less calendaring and more focused on what we can do to help people progress in the gospel. It's been helping me to love the people more to be consciously thinking about planning in that with a focus on each individual and what we can do each day to help them.

After training the zone leaders came back with us to Zlín for exchanges. All four of us were here in Zlín. I was with Elder Brittner, who is a group ahead of me and Elder Dean was with Elder Kleiner. We had a good exchange and taught a lot during the time we were all together. We were really blessed to meet with J last Tuesday after English, and especially to have the branch president there. It seems like he had been stressed lately and worried about the future, but we testified about how the Lord supports us. We talked a bit about baptism and we invited him to try and get his own answer about when will be right by counseling with God about it through prayer. It seems like he's continuing to think a lot about it, though.

Otherwise we've been focusing on trying to find, find, find. We managed to find two new investigators last week. We're still working with Sister D, and we're also making a very conscious effort to work more with the branch. We weren't able to meet with D again.

Before I forget we also had culture night last week. Thursday night we went to the philharmonic. It was a great concert! We listened to Dvořák, Bruch, and Beethoven; Dvořák and Bruch were my favorite, but especially Bruch was excellent because of the soloist Vadim Gluzman. We saw the opening concert of their 70th concert season so it was a big to-do. Before the beginning of the concert they baptized their new CD by sprinkling some champagne on it. There was a Catholic priest and everything :)

We're really excited for general conference! We haven't heard much about it yet, but President sent a text to everyone telling us to watch the beginning of the Saturday morning session to see who the new apostles would be. We were busy when it was being broadcasted live, so a couple hours later we tried watching it only long enough to see that the new apostles hadn't been announced and to copy the first four talks to our phone. President Uchtdorf's talk was GREAT, especially because the past couple of days I've been overthinking a lot. I've been worrying about what I say to people, what Elder Dean says to people, and a million other things. I'm thinking about who I want to become but mostly instead of seeing where I want to go I've been seeing my character flaws that would be keeping me from getting wherever spiritual place I want to be going. His talk was perfect, though, and I'm excited to hear the rest of the talks.

I'm about out of time again, but thank you so much for the letters and the support! I hope that you all have a great week and wish all the best.

Elder Boyce

This was the concert hall right when everyone was filing out. It was a great concert! We listened to Dvořák, Bruch, and Beethoven; Dvořák and Bruch were my favorite, but especially Bruch was excellent because of the soloist Vadim Gluzman. We saw the opening concert of the 70th concert season of our local philharmonic so it was a big to-do. Before the beginning of the concert they baptized their new CD by sprinkling some champagne on it. There was a Catholic priest and everything :)

Our district, Elder Croney, Elder Geier, Elder Suwyn, Elder Dean, and I. It was a little difficult to try and get this photo because the first person we asked to take our photo thought we were trying to contact them! Oh, well :)

Ooh ahh the pretty fountain

The outside of the philharmonic. From an aerial view it's meant to look like a single-celled aquatic organism!