Monday, October 27, 2008

Apartment Dwellers Prague Style

This is our Czech home for the next 5 weeks. We are on the 5th floor in the back corner. It is the lovely suburb of Vysocanska. Rubeska 521 for any of you who get here in the next 5 weeks. We are 25 minutes from church on the metro (subway with a transfer) or 30 minutes on the tram, definitely a more scenic route. Last Saturday was my solo ride on the metro and I must say I was quite proficient. (Something I didn't think possible 3 weeks ago) I went in to help Sister Alsop fix the lunch for the sisters who came in for Auxilliary Training and to view the Women's Conference. Mike had his own solo when her came in later for a baptism.

This is the kitchen-living room and Elder Robbins is listening to the BYU game! We have all the comforts of home just in a small space. We even have a washer and dryer, unusual here and a garbage disposal, but no dishwasher except for the 2 human ones and were pretty good at sharing that responsibilty.

The Brockbanks (friends of Kari and Eric) picked up their missionary in Hungary and on their way through Prague, as they took this Sister to the temple in Germany. graciously stopped to bring us a package from our kids and a few things we decided we could use. Thank you, thank you! Robbins children thank you for the bday present. Couldn't have received a better frame of the kids big and little.

Then we were off to VIENNA!!!!!

We went for 3 days to receive training in setting up the Outreach Center. We took a 4 1/2 hour train ride through the countryside and it was beautiful, The country was mostly rolling hills and black soil farm lands. Here and there we passed by small villages mostly with red tilled roofs and always a church steeple pointing heavenward. It appeared that the last 40 years hadn't touched them very much. Many people in Prague have what they call their cottages in the country and we saw many of them along the streams we passed. To call many of them a cottage was a stretch, but they were lined up on plots about 50 x100 with the the cottage at one end and the rest they use to plant their gardens. The training was so helpful and we feel much more confident in what and how to accomplish what we have been called to do. There were six couples to be trained and two of them were with us in the MTC and it was good to see them again.

The first night we were there we had famous Weinerschnitzel, (highly reccommended by the missionaries and BYU study aboard students) You can't really tell from the photo but those pieces are two deep and cover the plate. Talk about great doggies bags. Took us 3 days just to finish them!

We didn't have much time for sight seeing but what we saw was gorgeous. We visited Karlsplazt and Sisi's summer palace. (An Austrian queen) I tell you what, that girl knew how to live, I'd love to see her permanent residence. If you're wondering about the elegant "fleece-blanket" wrap. Somebody's mother didn't tell her to take a warm coat to Vienna. But I did stay snuggy warm and recieved all kinds of comments from the couples we were with: "Strange blanket woman seen in Vienna. Blanket woman appears to have been abducted by people in black suits and coats."

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We are REAL Missionaries

With President and Sister Slovachek

(For all of you who have thought we are just tourists in Prague these pictures are to reassure you that we really are on a mission. )
We attended our first zone conference this week and we know why the Slovacheks are here. They are very strong leaders and teachers and the missionaries love them. The theme for the conference was: "Is anything too hard for the Lord?" This mission had a total of 29 baptisms last year and so far this year they have had 42. The missionaries received training on finding contacts wherever they are: tram, metros, buses etc. As soon as we go off daylight savings it will begin to get dark around 4ish so it's harder to find the people in the squares and parks! Many of the apartment buildings are locked and it is very difficult to tract them. I am so impressed with these missionaries and I sat there with tears running down my cheeks thinking about their mothers and how proud they would be to see them with such courage and strength as they overcome their own fears to share the gospel. Two missionaries who are leaving this month bore their testimonies and I loved what the sister said. "This has been the most amazing game of hide and seek." These missionaries are doing every thing they can to find the Lord's elect in the Czech Republic.

With our Zone Leaders: "The A Team" Elders Anderson and Auger

After institute class having goodies. We are going to Vienna this week for some training to learn how to set up the Outreach Program. As we understand it now it's to provide a wholesome place and activities where young adult can come and be with others and a place for the missionaries to bring investigators to fell the spirit and friendship.

Missionaries do have Pday. We took a few hours and visited Vsyehrad, a rock fortress along the Vltava River. This is where according to legend "the rule of the wise woman skilled in magic ways was replaced by the rule of men." (Was this a good idea?) Anyway it is a huge fortress and inside it is the St Peter - St. Paul Cathedral. Unfortunately we arrived 10 minutes too late for the last tour of the day but, "we live here so we can come back another day." Next to the cathedral is a cemetery where many revered Czech musicians, writers and artists are buried. One of the most famous.........

Antoine Dvorak

We moved in to an apartment that we will be in for 6 weeks but I couldn't end this post without telling about our Bohemian Penzion that we lived in for 9 days. A slightly musty, coffee smell greets you are you enter, along with the soulful sound of french or american jazz. The small and I empasize small room had two beds with slats and a 3 inch mattress and I thought, "Oh no, girls camp!" But they were surprisingly comfortable. Master of the house, Alexander was most welcoming and very apologetic of the flooded bathroom and broken water heater. Only one day without hot water

Every morning we had this spread: yogurt, boiled eggs, ham & cheese and all these delicious breads and pasteries. I loved it but I know somebody who doesn't want a boiled egg for a longggg time and has his mouth all set for a bowl of Wheaties!!

I know, I know, I don't usually leave the bed unmade, but I wanted to remember that the mattress truly was only 3 inches thick! Dobre Noc!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


We're on our way!!! Czech Republic here we come. We flew to Washington DC and then on to Vienna. I sat next to a very nice woman, Zlata, from Odessa, Ukraine. We had a great conversation about life, family and religion. We had 8 hours next to each other and got well acquainted. I gave here a pass-a-long card with a promise from her that she would call for a Book of Mormon when she returns to the US. She said she was very interested and we exchanged emails. So I will follow up with her in about 3 months when she returns to the US.

We were met by Pres and Sis Slovachek, our mission president and wife. It may sound like they are Czech, but they are from Florida. Pres. Slovachek grandfather was from here. We had lunch with them and the Alsops who work in the office. They have truly become our "New Best Friends in Prague" ( The Alsops have helped us get money, tram passes, telephone, dinner, apartment hunting and personal tour guides.)They took us on a tram ride to see some of the Prague sights. We went to "Old Town" built in 900 AD and "New Town" 1400 BC. The reports are true this is truly a beautiful city. The Vtlava River winds through the city, with castles and cathedrals everywhere. Any fairy tale you can think of could be filmed here! We were up for 36 hours. They say it helps the jet lag. I should say so you don't care what time it is. Next day we attended our District Meeting with 6 Elders and 4 Sisters. We have amazing missionaries in this mission. We all practiced our finding investigator skills. We spent the rest of the day getting our phone and instructions, fixing our email and looking for an apartment. Ed Barner an american member here has offered us his home while he is away, until April. Only problem is it won't be available until Dec. 1st. We are l0oking for a temp. rental. (Everyone says his apartment is big, so visitors would have a great place to stay!) We attended the institute class and although we understood little (and I emphasize little) the spirit was strong. The teacher is a returned missionary having served at Temple Square and there were 12 young adults in the class. Most of them speak some English and they were very encouraging of our Czech. (Unfortunately I didn't have my camera for the first days, so no pictures, but I will get some next week of missionaries, institute and Mission Pres.)

At Wenceslas Square, yes this is the famed "Good King Wenceslas" from the Christmas Carol, he is the patron saint of the Czech Republic,
Looking towards St. Charles Bridge sort of a foggy day, but this spot is only a 10 minute walk from the church so we can return often and on a sunny day.

Autumn walk to the famous Prague Castle. A half hour walk from the church

St. Vitus Cathedral - There was a long line at least 6 across winding around the cathedral, probably an hour wait. My favorite quote of the day from Elder Alsop. "We don't have to wait, we live here!!" Can you believe it? (Where's Waldo?)

At Hradcany, Prague Castle (Hey, I found Waldo!!!)