Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Preparations Czech-style

No Christmas tree this year but not to worry we have this beautiful czech wreath made by Sestra Lydia.

The missionaries from Prague and Brno put on a Christmas concert in the St. Mikalus Cathedral which is right in the middle of Old Town. We ended the concert with "I Believe in Christ" which has just been translated into czech. What a thrill to bear our testimonies of Jesus Christ through song in their own language.

(You know how people always say "I'll email you the photo." Well they didn't so we don't have a photo of the choir but..)
Here we are after the concert with Sister Perez

The Young Adults put on the Christmas Nativity for the branch.
They are a very creative bunch!!

A walk through Old Town at night to see the Christmas lights and cottages.

Back during the day to have the roasted ham.... yum,

admire the tree and. . .

pick out Waldo's Christmas gift.

(We even found his eating establishment here in Prague!)

Now for the big decision..... which carp to fry.

(All over the city right on the streets are these huge tubs full of live carp, the traditional Czech Christmas Eve meal.)

They picked out a BIG one.

Even the carp looks happy with their choice.....

That was a short lived smile! Some people take the carp home alive and let it swim in the bathtub for a day or two. Well it's tradition you know !!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Karlovy Vary, Loket and BAPTISMS

The office vylet to Karlovy Vary, a 2 hour trip south west of Prague. We learned a very important lesson on our way. We have been in the Czech Republic for 14 months and really feel like we belong here. . . not so fast Robbins! We were stopped by the police who were checking who knows what? When they saw that we were Americans they wanted to make sure there weren't any illegal aliens among us. (Never thought I would be an alien!) I happily pulled out the copies of our passports that I was told to always carry with us, only to find out that they want originals ONLY. So we were given a fine right there on the spot. There was one missionary in the van who didn't have her passport, but luckily the officer didn't count. Who knows what they would have required of her!?! They really are serious about foreigners in their country.
Karlovy Vary is famous for its' hot natural mineral springs. Visitors buy a small cup to drink the water from the 12 different springs and decide which tastes the best and will cure what ails you. We personally thought all of them tasted like salty copper laced water and didn't cure anything. However we both woke up during the night with a tummy ache. (The water or McDonalds? That's another thing, who knew we would choose to go to McDonald's!?! It tasted sooo good.)

Look at the bottom of that spring, no wonder we had tummy aches!
(To the right of me is Elder Hicken, my cousin Lynn's grandson.)

Other sites of Karlovy Vary. Either a pregnant ghost or the "Ghost of Christmas Future".
(No not Waldo.)

Czech Republics' "Old Faithful" excepts it spouts continually!

The bird woman. "Feed the birds" as in "Mary Poppins"

The buildings in this country are beautiful. Is that "Waldo"?

A collumnade walk-way (I'm not sure that is a word.)

The charming "Hotel Romance", we should return there without the Elders.

Sestra Robbins getting too friendly with the Good Czech Soldier Svejk and Starsi Robbins pushing his luck.

We are told that scenes from Casino Royale we're filmed at the Grandhotel Pupp!

Since we haven't seen the movie we don't know if the exterior made it into the movie.

On to another castle. There are over 300 in the Czech Republic, so there is always one close to wherever you are going. This one is named Loket=Elbow. The name of the castle and the town are derived from the shape of the Ohre River bend which indeed suggests a human arm bent at the elbow.

Looking down on the town from the castle.

Elder Robbins found revenge for being shut up in the dungeon. . .

Can you see the tears? (Silly boy left the door open)

Zanetta "Jane" from Kazakistan was baptized. Her mother was also baptzed last month, what wonderful women they are and we are so happy to have another beautiful young single adult.

Our great friend Tugi from Mongolia also was baptized. He is a little young (11) for our young single adult group, but he comes to outreach in Hradecs and is the champion UNO and Bingo player!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let the holiday celebrations and parties begin. . .

Yes, when you come on a mission you still spend Thanksgiving day in the kitchen! With Sister Anderson, getting ready to feed 24 hungry missionaries, after the 2nd annual turkey bowl......
If they met ALL the "Standards of Excellence" ie. lessons, contacts, new investigators, hours speaking Czech etc., they were able to participate in the Turkey bowl and celebration. President Slovacek said it was one of the best three weeks in the mission. Whoever thought a turkey bowl would be such an inspiration to do the Lord's work??

Happy missionaries
(Can you find Elder Waldo?)

They all participated!

Thanksgiving dinner that same night in the mission home. The Slovaceks, their two children Heidi, Matthew and Michelle; a new member from Liberice. We realized we are sitting in the exact same seats as last year.

November 27th, the colorful Podzimi Tancovacku ("before the cold" ) or Fall Dance
The room is ready. . .

Jarda and Helena our master and mistress of ceremony. Helena is the Institute teacher and Jarda is on the Young Adult Commitee. They are both so much fun and are such a blessing to the branch here. They love the young adults so much and we love them!!! They are a very talented duo and should go on tour!

Sestras Velechovska and Panyrkova
the refreshments are ready. . .

let the dancing begin!!!!

December 5th, the day little children have to recite a poem, sing a song and tell St. Mikalus, the devil and the angel if they have been good.
He looks a little worried. . .

You would be too it you had to talk to these guys!

Elder Waldo must have been very good, not a trace of worry.

This is what Waffle -fest looks like. Held every nine weeks right before transfers.

We think they like it!?! Elder Erickson, the one on the left, is the mission champion sweet roll maker. He was a master chef before his mission and his food tastes like it!

One last photo of some of our "skvele" young adults. (left to right)
Front: Klara, Krystina, Veronica
Middle: Daniel, Jirka, Ales
Back: Viktor, Magda, Tomasi
What a great group! They are all first generation members of the Church!