Monday, December 21, 2015

December 21, 2015 - In which we sing in UH

Dear family,

Last week was crazy! We were very busy getting ready for Christmas and everything connected with it. It was very hectic. Saturday night we had our concert in Uherské Hradiště, which was very nice. I sent a photo, but we were in a pretty space in the city bordering UH. There were 30 or 40 or so of us singing, the UH primary did a couple of numbers, and it was overall all very nice, especially since Elder Newman and I had only made it to rehearsals a couple of times. We sang some carols more familiar to us plus a few more traditional Czech ones. It was great fun, and it looked like some journalists or some sort of professional photographers were there, so we might be able to find better photos on the Internet of it all :) One of the photographers got a close-up of my name tag, so maybe that's floating around there somewhere!

We were also really busy looking for a service opportunity for Christmas Day. We had been looking for almost a month, but we still hadn't found a place that wouldn't us to help serve on Christmas Day. Thursday and Friday we spent a ton of time each day stopping by the nursing homes, etc. that we hadn't tried yet. Friday it was crunch time and in the last couple of hours we stopped by all the remaining places on our list before we had to get on a bus for the last concert rehearsal in UH. At the last place on our list they accepted us!! We're set up to go to a nursing home and sing from room to room Christmas morning. After we were set up with the activities director and were waiting for her to introduce us to someone that will be on the Christmas morning shift, we chatted with some of the residents that were sitting in the halls. We asked them how they were doing and immediately began to regale us how their great-grandchildren are our age, their children are also already in retirement, and they're waiting to leave this world. We're super excited to sing Christmas carols for them on Friday!!! :D

Tuesday night was also culture night in UH (we spent an obscene of time in UH last week; we went there three times total). We saw a very nice classical music concert that used some unique period instruments. It was a lot of fun. We stayed overnight with the other Elders and on Wednesday morning we had my last district meeting. The district leader Elder Suwyn asked me to share the sagely advice I gained during my mission. I was a little bit of an emotional train wreck, but it was still a good meeting. The Spirit was definitely there.

In other news yesterday was the Primary program! It was really cute. We only have two kids in our Primary, a brother and sister, but they did really well. I accompanied for them, but even though I practiced a lot I suddenly realized that I had play pretty quietly and listen really carefully to them sing because I didn't want to overpower them or get off track. It was still very nice, though :) Last week was a little frustrating because we had exactly one lesson during the whole week and people didn't really listen to us or stop when we were contacting, and on Tuesday I wasn't feeling well again, but last night we went caroling and had a wonderful time. We had a completely different experience a completely different experience then the rest of the week. Everyone was really friendly, and even though every person that we knocked was pretty confused by what we were doing caroling (going door to door hasn't been a tradition except out in the county for many many many years supposedly), they all warmed up and the Spirit was with us as we explained why we were singing about the Savior and why we were in the Czech Republic to teach about Him. We had some great moments talking to people about it. I love how Christmas and all of the Czech traditions seem to relate to their hopes and aspirations for a brighter future, and it was wonderful to talk during the Christmas season about how Christ can offer that.

I'm out of time (we just had some slight technical difficulties), but we're excited for our Christmas week. Tomorrow is zone conference in Brno, which will be great. It's sad, though, because I'll be giving my departing testimony. Time has really flown. It will be wonderful to spend Christmas with the Czechs, though. Christmas Eve we'll have dinner with a member family here in Zlín, then we'll have our singing Christmas morning. I'm super excited for everything!

Talk to you on Friday! Love,
Elder Boyce

P.S. Feel free to correct my grammar errors, also. English is really hard.

Tuesday night we had culture night in UH. We saw a trio of people that played Mozart and other classical music on very interesting clarinet-like instruments. I have no idea what the instruments are called in English, but in Czech they were called a basetový roh. It was a nice evening, and we stayed in UH overnight because we had district meeting there the next morning.

This was the outside of the place where we were. We also ended up meeting a bunch of UH members there!

We were intrigued by this fountain.

Selfie yay (I stole this from Elder Hymas). The red-eye is pretty severe in this photo; we look slightly devilish.

Christmas tree on the square in UH. Everything was already closed up after the concert.

This is the space where we had the Christmas concert in UH. We were waiting for everyone to arrive so we could warm up.

Elder Newman and I while waiting.

Elder Newman, Elder Hymas, and I. I don't know why Elder Hymas was feeling so sassy.

Instead of making cookies at Christmas, Czech people typically make these smaller treats called cukroví. They're sooooooo good. This morning we visited Sister Dwho gave us all these. We only made it through a few of them, so she threw the rest into two big tupperwares.

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