Thursday, June 25, 2009

Name tags and every 9 weeks. . . . .

The song goes: "You're never fully dressed without a smile." Missionaries add:" without your nametag." It lets others know your name, but more importantly who you represent each day. Two names stand out, the missionary and Jesus Christ. We have been wearing these nametags for nine months and have come to understand better what is means to represent Him. We love His gospel, we love His children in the Czech Republic, we love serving with valiant young men and women. There is a power in this nametag. A dear friend of ours in our home ward who was very sick with cancer had always planned to serve a mission. With tears in her eyes she told us, "I would give anything to be able to wear one of those nametags. Nancy died last December and we think of her often and try to evaluate if we appreciate enough what a privilege it is to wear His name. One of the first sentences we learned in Czech: "Jsem zastupice, Jezise Krista." (I am a representative of Jesus Christ.) We hope we will always remember that we want to be Christ-like missionaries and not just do missionary things.
"And now I would that ye should be humble , and be submissive and gentle; easy to be entreated; full of patience and long-suffering; being temperate in all things; being diligent in keeping the commandments of God at all times; asking for whatsoever things ye stand in need, both spiritual and temporal; always returning thanks unto God for whatsoever things ye do receive.
And see that ye have faith, hope and charity and then ye will always abound in good works." Alma 7: 23-24

Every 9 weeks transfers happen in the Czech Prague Mission. One can feel the anticipation and excitement of new assignments, new companions and new cities. On top of that missionaries arrive from the MTC and leave the Czech Republic after a full mission. There is much laughter and many tears!!
Last week Elder Robbins......

the temporary Finance Secretary and Sister Robbins the. . .

temporary Executive Secretary were right in the middle of training and feeding the above two groups: 8 arriving and 16 departing.

(The Alsops were released with this group and their replacements don't arrive until the end of July, so we are doing double duty and it is indeed keeping us out of trouble.!!)

Elder Smith and Sister Clark who have been here in Prague as long as we have were transferred to other cities. We have really fallen in love with them and know they will be a great strength in their new areas. We do miss them.

Sisters Barron and Reese, our new Outreach companionship got hold of the camera. It is so fun to work with them. (Sister Barron reminds us alot of our daughter-in-law, Allison.!)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

May is over, but it was MARVELOUS!

The prophecy of the growth of the church in Europe being among the young people is coming to pass in the Czech Republic. Two wonderful young people were baptized in May!

Our dear Anna!! We both had the privilege of teaching Anna with the Elders. She is from the Ukraine and brings such love, enthusiasm and faith. She has already had a great impact on the young adult program here. She asked Mike to speak at her baptism.

Vojtech read everything he could on the church's website and then called the mission office to see if there was someone who could talk to him about the church!!! Wow did the Elders jump on that. They had to make him wait to be baptized so he could attend church twice. He brought a friend and his younger brother and sister to church the week after he was baptized to start lessons with the missionaries.

Anna wanted "something clever" for this photo. Do you think it worked?

Memorial Day Barbeque at the mission home...

Hot dogs...
ice cream....

and American flags!!

We were invited to Helena Novakova's for dinner along with the Sisters and two of their investigators. Sestra Novakova joined the church in 1950 at the age of 17. During the Communist occupation, member couldn't meet together in groups larger than 8 or 9. Three or four meetings were held each Sunday, often in the home of Sestra Novakova. Her husband died when she was 32 and she cared for a handicapped son for 8 years by herself; carrying him up and down 5 flights of stairs to take him to the doctor every week. When sharing her story with us, her most common expression was, "Everything was fine." What a dear and faithful woman she is.

The young adults had an outing to the alpine slides planned, but it was rained out so we spent the afternoon at the church. Lunch and games. . .

A mean game of Crab Soccer.
A highlight of the month was a visit from Elder and Sister L. Tom Perry and Elder and Sister Robert Oaks. A fireside was held at the beautiful National Theatre with an overflowing crowd of more than 300. Saints had traveled 8 hours from Slovakia. The next day we attended a conference with the entire mission: both Czech Republic and Slovakia. The first time in about two years that the entire mission has been together. There was much good counsel given to young and older missionaries. Elder Perry said the problem with the world is they want a cafeteria style church, where they choose only desserts and leave the broccolli for others. He then gave an overview of Christ's church. No man assumes position. The Lord organized the system and the senior apostle is always the next president. "We don't wear our number on our jerseys, but we know our number!" He then gave observations of each prophet he had personally served with from President Lee to Monson. He ended by giving counsel about staying close to your companion. Do things that endear yourself to your companion. He told of a companion he loved and trusted and has stayed close to his entire life. It was a privilege to be taught by an apostle.