Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What do you do in the month of May?

Prepare for the visit of an Apostle....... Elder Perry is coming to the Czech Republic and the YSA helped get ready by planting the flower boxes in front of the church and....general clean up of the church property. Most of the young people were investigators and they expressed their gratitude to us for giving them the opportunity to help. Some had never planted a flower before this!
Play soccer after Family Home Evening......

it is obvious where our children get their soccer and

ball handling skills!

Learn from Elder Price how to do some "funky" things with our camera.

Enjoy the Mothers' Day and Birthday wishes, letters and goodies from home. We hit the jackpot! Thank you dear family.

We love you all and are continually grateful for family, friends, the gospel and the privilege to serve in this wonderful work!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Larsons visit Prague and Lidice: a sobering history lesson!

On our way to the airport to meet the family, we saw fields and fields of these beautiful yellow flowers. We have learned they make rapeseed oil out of them!
Emily, Jake Featherstone, Eric and Mikeala!! It was so good to get better acquainted with Mikaela, and to meet Jake! We approve, he was well worth the wait! We're just sorry we will miss all the wedding festivities.

We went on an afternoon tour of the city so they could get their bearings, then gave them a map, and some suggestions and I think they had a great time for three days. They left for the weekend to visit Germany but got back in time for FamilyHome Evening!

The photo spot at church!

On Saturday the Elders invited us to meet Sestra Rezkova at the Lidice Memorial and we had no idea what a history lesson we were all in for...

Sestra Robbins, Elders Guzy, Wilding, Kartchner and Crane

On May 27, 1942 Reinhard Heydrich, the ruthless controller of Bohemia and Moravia was killed by British-trained Czech freedom fighters. Hitler was enraged and had 3,000 Czechs arrested. Over 1,000 were shot and another 600 died in police custody. He then ordered a small village 25 km from Prague named, Lidice to be wiped out in punishment and to "teach the Czechs a final lesson of subserience and humility."
On June 10th, 198 women and 98 children were locked inside the school house. 193 men and boys over the age of 15 were put in the farm buildings and the village was ransacked. The next morning the children were torn from their mothers. Then the mothers and children were sent to Ravensbruck concentration camp. ( 17 of the children were chosen to be "suitable" for Germanization and were given to SS families, the others were gassed.!!) The 193 men and boys were marched out of the farm house, lined up against the wall 10 at a time and shot!
Lidice was then destroyed..... declared by the Nazis to have been erased from history. The effect was quite different, it has become a symbol of Nazi terror and Czech torment. It is a hallowed little valley and we felt a reverent awe at what they so innocently suffered there.

An interview with some of the surviving children is shown inside the museum and I was touched by the last words of a father to his small daughter; "Don't forget God."

The wall where the men and boys were so brutally shot

Sister Rezkova who met us there and was our personal guide, laid these flowers at the memorial, fed us potatoe pancakes and told us of her memories of the war.
Czechoslovakia was freed by the Americans and Russians on May 9, 1945 ( 64 years ago and she was 6 years old). On May 10th she woke up early and found that her mother was not in the house. She was worried about her and went outside where she found her Mother helping tear down barricades around the city. A Russian came up to her and said, "Hey, skinny girl!" then handed her a chocolate bar, something she had never tasted before. Into her other hand she was given a piece of bacon. She said she went from eating the delicious chocolate to the delicious bacon and was afraid they would be taken away from her. That night her mother allowed her to stay up after dark. It was the first time she remembers seeing lights turned on in Prague at night. The lights in every home and every street lamp was turned on. People were in the streets celebrating, cheering and crying!
This outing was a sobering experience and an important reminder of how blessed we are to live under the mantle of freedom and protected by an inspired constitution written by honorable men of the past. We have been taught that the Nazi regime under Hitler was evil, but not until we had this experience did we realize how evil it really was and how fortunate and blessed we are. We know from this experience that we will never take our blessings and freedoms for granted.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Perfect day in the Czech Republic

Clay Johnson our Czech tutor from the MTC came to Prague and it was so good to see him again. They still talk about what a great missionaries he was. We have used everything he taught us!!! The Czech Republic is in full and fragrant bloom, the mornings are meant for a light sweater and the bright sun coaxes you into short sleeves.
Saturday we attended the baptism of a teenage boy and two men who have prepared to make covenants. The light in their eyes and joy on their faces was so obvious. I was asked to play the piano for the service and even accompanied the sisters' "Lord I Would Follow Thee". (Shannon Pickell, my piano teacher of 4 years ago would be proud!) At least I was adequate.
Post baptism we went exploring. We sampled the ice cream stand that is 3 blocks down the street. ...

on Namesti Miru, right across from this cathedral. Oh, we are in so much trouble, it is soooo good and sooooo accessible! We took the nunber 10 tram down to the Vltava River to catch a ferry boat ride. We sat down on a bench to wait next to a darling couple, ( us in 25 years!) feeding the pidgeons and swans.

It's amazing the connection you can make with very little shared language. They gave us some of their "swan bread" ("Um, that sounds good, I want some swan bread too." That will probably only make sense to my children.) For half an hour we spoke only a few words but understood the joy of appreciating God's creations. As we boarded the the ferry we said, "Na shledanou."

The little Czech man yelled back, "How are you?" We all used the words we knew!

We saw a perspective on this beautiful city from the river that we haven't seen before.
Elder Waldo in plain sight.

Vysehrad Fort at the bend in the river.
Once more we walked through Old Town, for there is always something new to see. We were caught up in the crowds of tourists and listened to the street "Jazz Man". He actually was very good.

Now can you find Elder Waldo ?

We found two beautiful watercolors of Prague that we plan to hang in the dining room at home. What a beautiful, fun day!