Friday, June 25, 2010

Home again home again "Giggity-gig"

To finish off the happy, happenings happening in Prague we need to get us back to the home of the free and brave and Utah soil!! Twenty hours into our trip home and we are finally on the last leg, New York to Salt Lake.
(Hey, we can read all the signs!!)

We made it!!!

Are we excited or what!:?!

Maybe because it was 11:00 pm or....

maybe our kids are disleksic,(sp?) but no matter they were a

Hugs all around. . .

Bishop Dave and Diane Child

Jeffy got special persmission to stay up late.

We had to meet Charles Paulsen Wood, "Charlie" our newest grandson just 2 weeks fresh from heaven. Yes it is heaven to be back with our dear family.

"Days never to be forgotten"

As Oliver Cowdery said: "These were days never to be forgotten." We have been home from the Czech Republic now for three months and the time we spent there with the the youth and missionaries becomes more and more precious. The capstone of our mission was an invitation to go with the youth from the Czech Republic to the temple in Frieberg, Germany. We were asked to present a fireside in the temple. Approximately 60 youth attended to perform baptisms for the dead. They were divided into two groups: one group did baptisms while the other group attended the fireside and had lunch. Our topic was, walk in the light. Mike's oldest brother Dave had been battling cancer and Mike checked his email at 6:00 am, right before we left to find that his brother had passed away. This sad news made us both especially sensitive to the spirit that day and we had a very tender and spiritual experience as we taught in the temple.

Sunday, March 14th was a difficult day as we said good-bye to these faithful saints we have come to love so much.....

with Magda, Robert and Mariana

Petr, Mike, Nad'a, Lubamir, Shauna, Eva, Jiri, Radek
Emilie, Nina, Marie

Jarda and Helena, our institute director and teacher

Petra and Veronika... we love these girls

Jiri, Milan, Martin and Katja

Eva, the quinticential Relief Society President

Turning our apartment, responsibilites and "our kids" over to
Elder Terry and Sister Karen Foster

Our Fearless District leader, Elder McGown

Our wonderful Mission President and his wife
Marvin and Ellen Slovacek
There are not words sufficient to express our love for these people and to the Lord for the privilege of serving as missionaries in the Czech Republic.
September 2008 - March 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Na sladanou is very difficult!

Eighteen months ago it was difficult to leave family and friends and go to the Czech Republic, but even then we knew it would be just as hard, if not harder to leave the Czech Republic and these are a few of the reasons why. . .
The Pilkovi. . .

I was Alena Pilka's visiting teacher and I fell in love with her children: Dusan, Gabby, Jonas and Radek. All but Radek speak excellent English. Radek didn't care if I could understand him or not, he would chatter away to me. I know I could have learned more Czech if I could have spent more time with him.
Last Zone Conference. . .
(unfortunately the video I took of the missionaries singing our mission song didn't turn out! My video skills really didn't improve much. RATS!!)

The Sisters all got the black, white and aqua memo.

Our last Young Single Adult activity was the
Ex-Valentine Oldies Party

Mike left early after struggling with the flu all day and the branch turned it into a going away party for us. So sorry he wasn't there to enjoy the love.

They brought out bowls of water and each member put a little paper flower in the water that opened up and when all the flowers were open it read:

Saying goodbye to Ondrej was truly like leaving one of our sons. He has been coming to church, family home evenings, young adult activities and even went with us to the young adult conference last summer. Mike has had the privilege to teach him for almost 15 months and although he knows the church is true there are a few things that are keeping him from making the committment.

Dear Jarda and Ivana. . .

Jarda has been the glue that kept our young adult council going. He is an outstanding young man. He served a mission in the Utah South mission and he and Ivana will be married next month.

Beautiful Lenka. . .
invited us for grilled fish!

Lenka's father, the master fish griller!
(Magda and Sister Magidson)

Enjoying the delicious result.

Our last family home evening with these wonderful young adults and missionaries.

Tereza who was baptized the week after we left. She made this decision inspite of parental disapproval.

Martin who was baptized in February. He told us the first time he came to Family Home Evening he felt something he had never felt before. After he was baptized he knew he was home.
Hradecs Kralove...
we spent every Wednesday evening holding outreach and attending institute.

Praha institute class.. .
Helena, the institute teacher told us the best thing that we could give to them was to bear our testimonies and then the best thing that they could give to us was to bear their testimonies to us. Many of the kids didn't come that night because they said it would be too hard to say goodbye to us. It was a very tender and special evening for us and the kids shared with us the influence we had had in helping them gain their testimonies. Mike and I felt very humbled as we listened to their expressions of love and gratitude. What an amazing experience this has been for us.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Inspectors are in town!

Every nine weeks transfers happen in the Czech Prague Mission. As part of our responsibility we become the "inspectors" to make sure the missionary apartments reach the "standard of excellence" for cleanliness. Hotels are rated with stars but our rating system uses licorice!
Elders Grimshaw and Kartchner are anxiously awaiting their rating!!
Elders Robert and McGowen received a "4-licorice" apartment.

Looks like a robber would have a hard time breaking in there!!

Sisters Tate and Magidson are happy with their 4 licorice. These are all such wonderful missionaries and this month 20% of our missionaries are going home. That means we lose alot of leaders!!

We were invited to the Balakovi for a delicious czech svickova dinner. Nina and Jiri are real stalwarts of the Prague branch and they were married just two years ago. Lula on the end is from Ethiopia and she joined the church in December.

When you enter a Czech home you remove your shoes and are given "house shoes" to wear. . .

I had to get a photo of all of our colorful "house shoes."

Sunday, February 7, 2010

So little time and so much to do!!!!

Last Sunday was the Prague District Conference. Elder Kaerron, from England is the area authority who came to our conference. He and his wife were so delightful. He joined the church at the age of 26. He is the only member of the church in his family. When he told his mother, her response was, "I hope you can find a wife who shares your same values." He met his wife who was on a study-abroad program in England and the rest is history.
(Reality check: Sister Kaerron is 1 year older than Michelle! I guess we really are a senior couple!)
Dinner at the Cantina. Who knew there would be such good mexican food in Prague?
So many castles and so little time. . . The Slovaceks invited to go on a vylet with them to see two beautiful sites in southern Bohemia.
The men are ready!

Our first stop was Hluboka Palace. It was first built in the 1300's, but renovated throughout the centuries and became the fall habitation of the Schwarezenberg family, mostly during the hunting season.
The raven pecking the forehead is the symbol of this castle.
Elder Waldo made sure his forehead was not available for pecking.

The castle was beautiful inside and out.

We think it would make a gorgeous Czech Temple. Can't you just see an angel Moroni on top?

Stone wall surrounding the palace.

Of course no outing is complete without lunch. We had delicious goulash at "The Mill."

Mike is determined to find a great czech auto. . .

found one he fancies.

On to Cesky Krumlov, "Czech or Bohemian Crooked Meadow". It get its name from the tight S-curve the Vltava River makes as it flows through the area. History says the area's oldest settlement was during the STONE AGE! But mass settlements happened during the Bronze age. There really is something amazing about walking in an area that has been inhabited since 70,000 B.C.

This river, Vltava flows north and is the same river that flows through Prague.

Looking down from the castle grounds.

Unfortunately the castle and tower were both closed so we could only see them from the outside. But it was beautiful. All the different colors on the tower are painted on.

The outside walls are painted to look like stone work!
This week we also went with the Office Staff to lunch at the "oldest pub" in Prague, open for business since the 1300's!

It truly was a delicious medievel meal, eaten only with fingers.

The staff!

I wanted a photo of our waiter, and he said I had to be in it with him. (OK!)

Our dear friend Eva, invited us to the opera. "The Devil and Kate." the music was by Antonine Dvorak and was held at the elegant National Theatre. The Czechs are so proud of this theatre, because it was the first true Czech theatre and the entire population donated to build it.

It also has many beautiful paintings throughout the building.

We were invited for dinner to the home of Mariana. This is her beautiful daughter, Magda who we have come to love. She is one of the talented young adults in the Prague Branch. Mariana told us about her conversion to the church six years ago. After listening to her story and how her family and all her friends just dropped her. Mike said, " I really admire you. I don't know if I could do what you have done, if I hadn't been born in the church." Her reply: " I too was born in the church. Before that I didn't know God, I didn't know anything about his church. Joining this church was my birth." Oh how we will miss these faithful Saints.