Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Central European Christmas

Are we really in central Europe having a Prague Christmas!?!........ Here's the proof...Huge Christmas tree on Old Town Square - Staromeska

Every town square; large or small sets up Christmas houses selling decorations, trinkets, warm woollies, food and mulled wine. (this we haven't tried.)
Out on a winters' night with the Alsops, Slovaceks and Sestra Brown at Old Town in Prague.

Look who came to our apartment for Family Home Evening on December 22nd.....
Young Single Adults from the Prague Branch. Where's Waldo?
District finding on Christmas Eve... Singing Christmas Carols in Czech and English at Namesti Republiky. We talked to a couple from Austria and another from Brazil. I even was able to use my Portuguese.

Dinner and Family Home Evening at the mission home on Christmas Eve

Even a visit from Santa and his reindeer!

Christmas morning.....

The Alsops and we hosted breakfast for all the missionaries in Prague .

We had a gift exchange and games. ( you would be amazed how coveted the 2 cans of A&W Rootbeer were!)
Tonight is New Years Eve and we have been advised to stay in.... lots of fireworks and drinking!!
We wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR where ever you are!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


"A century ago men were watching with bated breath the march of Napoleon and waiting with feverish impatience for news of the wars. All the while in their own homes, babies were being born. but who could think about babies-everyone was thinking of battles. In one year, midway between Trafalgar and Waterloo there appeared upon the world a host of heroes. Gladstone was born in Liverpool, Tennyson at the Somersby Rectory, and Oliver Wendell Holmes in Massachusetts, and the very same day of that same year, Charles Darwin made his debut at Shewbury and Abraham Lincoln drew his first breath in Kentucky. Music was enriched by the advent of Felix Mendelsson at Hamburg. But no one thought of babies; everyone was thinking of battles. But which of the battles of 1809 mattered more than the babies of 1809? We fancy that God can only manage his world with battalions, and all the while he's doing it with beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent want opening, God sends a baby into the world, perhaps into a simple home, out of an obscure mother, and then God puts the idea into the mother's heart and she puts it into the baby's mind and then God waits. The greatest forces in the world are not the earthquakes and the thunderbolts of the battles. The greatest forces in the world are babies." E. T. Sullivan
How grateful we are for that baby born two thousand and eight years ago and whose birth and perfect life we celebrate at this time of the year.
Merry Christmas - Vesele Vanoce
Praha 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Land once Cold

In August of 1936 Elder John A. Widtsoe dedicated the land of Czechoslovakia and made this prophecy: " Communism is the work of the devil. The Lord is using it to break down the hold of the Catholic and the Russian Orthodox churches over the minds of man. When communism has completed its task of breaking its hold, it will pass out of existence almost overnight and then the church (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) will send missionaries by the hundreds into the Slavic lands of Europe.... There is more of the blood of Israel in Western Russia than all the rest of Europe put together. And when the time comes to do missionary work there, the people will come into the church by the thousands. Whole villages and towns will join the church in groups. This mission is important because it is opening the door to the Slavic nations."

Fast forward seventy six years to August 2008. Petr Kubisz a divorced man in his 40's is sitting on a bench in a busy town square, Karlovo Namesti, in downtown Prague. A week before he bought his first Bible and has started to read it. He is contemplating his life and God. Across town Elders Rowberry and Young are on their way to a park close to the mission office. Elder Rowberry turns to his companion and says, "We need to go to Karlovo Namesti, right now, there is a man we need to talk to." They jump on the metro and leave the station by way of an exit they never use. Walking up the stairs, Elder Rowberry sees a man sitting alone on a bench. "Their he is!" ( I asked Elder Rowberry, "So you felt he was the one?" "No", he replied, "I knew!" ) Petr, one of the blood of Israel was baptized two weeks ago. When I was asking Elder Rowberry about the details of this experience, he said to me, "This happens all the time. We just expect it. That's a missionary's job, to follow the spirit." These missionaries do that very well. They are dedicated, bold and faithful and it is a privilege to work along side them. The baptisms in the Czech Republic have doubled this year!!! Our mission song:

We Are Called of God

We come from places far and near to find the Lord's elect
With faith to work His miracles, out souls with strength are blessed.
Past martyrs of the land we place in reverence and respect,
They died for freedoms we hold dear and we will not forget.
The seeds are sown, the field is white in Czech and Slovak tongue,
Come join the harvest of men's souls, until God's work is done.
We are called of God to a land once cold, bringing forth his wonderous light.
And with us the Lord labors here.
Ellen Slovacek,(mission mother) and Elder Robert Tanner

In 2003 Elder L. Tom Perry was asked by President Gordon B. Hinckley to to come to Central Europe. "...He awoke to what he described as one of the most powerful revelations of his life. It was made known to him that the future strength of the Church in central Europe would be among the age group 18 to 30, and that is where the missionary success would be achieved."

We have opened the Outreach Center, our first Family Home Evening with the Young Single Adults - December 8, 2008

10 Members, 2 investigators and few others stopped in. We feel very good about our beginning and are looking forward to great things with these wonderful young people!

Czech Institute Class

First English Institute Class , December 11, 2008

( One last great Czech experience: Last Sunday I bore my testimony at Fast and Testimony meeting in Czech. After the meeting, people were so complimentary.Telling me I did so well and they understood everything I said. So I'm feeling all great about my Czech. Then last night as I was greeting a sister in the branch I said to her: "Ti si skela." (You are wonderful.) She looks at me and replies, "I don't speak English." What!! I WAS speaking Czech!! Of well so much for my great Czech and confidence.)

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanksgiving and on to December

For everyone who felt sorry for us having to eat KFC for Thanksgiving, don't! We had a complete "feast" with turkey and all the fixins' at the mission home with the Slovaceks, their daughter: Heidi and wonderful American friend: Casey and the Alsops. Heidi checked out a website for Expats in the Czech Republic and found the last turkey in Prague! It was a delicious and delightful dinner. We then arrived home to see and talk to all our family gathered at the Christensens for dinner. Much to be thankful for.Lunch with the two Prague districts. This was transfer week and we lost six of our missionaries: two sisters went home and 4 Elders were transferred. We were sad to see them go, but we sure have some great replacements!!
After sunset on December 5th. St Mikulas (Nicholas) accompanied by an angel and the devil wander the town squares bringing small gifts and goodies to the children. The children must recite a poem or sing a song (right up my alley) and say if they have been good in school and at home before they are given their treats.

We observed a small boy reciting his poem with tears streaming down his face, poor little guy!! But he was rewarded with two bags of treats!!!

This guy scared me too!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Elder Waldo found a much nicer looking group..........

so did I.