Friday, January 13, 2017

Coming Home! 12 January 2017

Dear All!

On Thursday, 12th January, I flew from Prague to Paris then to Birmingham.  Unfortunately, my luggage is still in Paris!!!

I arrived to see my family and grandparents!

Even my big brother McKay was there!

My little brothers are BIG!

It was lovely to see my grandparents again.

I will soon be the shortest sibling!

In the evening, my Dad took me over to the Stake Center to be released by  Stake President Hamilton.

It was hard to take off my badge after wearing it every day for nearly 19 months! 

I look forward to seeing and speaking with you all soon.

Thank you for your support, letters, packages and love.

Lots of love,

Reilly Manners (that is my new daily name!)

Last Letter: 9 January 2017

Dear all,

Transfers happened this week. I am excited for my reassignment to the Birmingham England Mission (ha ha) and look forward for further lessons with various missionaries and investigators. I look forward to wearing my name tag on my heart instead of on my shirt. 

I love my mission so much! I have really been reflecting upon all that I have been able to do over the last nineteen months and I am so happy to say that although not all of these experiences have been the best in my life, because they have been hard and taught me the best lessons ever, but they have been the best nineteen months for my life. 

I know that I have met the people that were prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel through broken but bold Czech by a nineteen/ twenty year old sister missionary. I have been humbled by the spirit and also by those around me because of the examples and their love. I have come the leave my heart in a country and with people that I once never knew existed. I love the Lord so much. I know that He lives and loves us. This is His church and His plan.

This week we had the opportunity to teach a young girl named Andrejka. Her grandma is a member here and she will be turning eight this year. She is usually a crazy wild young girl but as we taught her, her heart was softened by the Spirit and we had such a sweet experience seeing her eyes light up as we testified of the Saviour and the restoration of His church. 

The people I have served here have become my best friends. I know that all the sweet sisters that I have served with were not only my sisters as companions but are now my sisters forever in the faith. They have helped me, supported me and changed me. 

I know that all is inspired. My mission presidents have been inspired men of God and as I have followed their counsel, I have seen miracles unfold themselves before my eyes. 

I know that we can truly become white through our Saviour Jesus Christ. I have come to understand his atonement and his love for us. I know that His gift for us is real and true.

I know that the work and the honour that I have had to serve here and love those around me has changed me and helped me to become more like Christ. This is my life pursuit and I look forward to holding on the iron rod, holding tight, knuckles white.

How great is my calling!

S laskou,

sestra Manners 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Letter: 2 January 2017

Happy New Year!! 

View from our balcony at midnight!

Time really does fly like water as the Czechs say. I am so grateful for the beautiful year that we had! It really has been a spiritual highlight and I am so blessed that I got to spend the whole year on my mission! 

I saw miracles, I saw the Czechs get a stake and a patriarch!  We saw hearts changed, our own hearts broken, people come to Christ and my relationship with the Saviour deepen more then ever before. I know that God is in this work for I have seen His hand help me and guide me every single day for 365 days plus more. They have been days that have ranged from feeling on top of the world to days where I have come to understand how Christ loved us enough to give us everything and more. 

An impressive nativity scene!

I am forever grateful for my mission. I love it will all my heart and soul and I know that when I prepare to leave in just a week time, that I will leave a part of my heart behind. The members, people, food(this was more of a physical change), spirit and this country have changed me. They have helped me to become more like my Saviour. I know that as I serve with all my heart, might, mind and strength, that the Lord has helped me to truly become converted unto Him. I love that my first thought now is to pray and seek guidance, to find a way to help and find someone that need the love of Christ in their lives. I turn to the words of God to find peace. I look to my loved ones for their help. 

This week has been full of so much gratitude. We had the privilege to be together as a mission which is something that has not happened for a few years now. We had so much fun together, with both laughs and spiritual goodness. We finally got to meet everyone and the first night, we had every person introduce themselves and be welcomed to the family. The Pohorelicti really have become like our aunts and uncle or possibly our parents and they know us all so well and pray for us so much. 

All the Sisters of the Czech/Slovak Mission!

We all stayed at a hotel near Prague owned by some very kind members who very wonderfully let all 80 young adults/ teenagers stay there. all the sisters stayed in this cute cottage that was split up into apartment and the elders all managed to fit into the main hotel. Every morning it reminded me of the MTC as we all huddled around in the dark to play games, jog and I even led a little exercise class using moves from good old P90X. 

During the evening, day and following morning that we were there (so two overnights and then three days), we had a big training, had a talent show, watched a Czech fairy tale (the Czechs hands down have the best fairy tales ever!!!  Sorry family, but that is all we will be watching for a few weeks). and we also had a fear factor. President asked us all to send in pictures of us when we were about ten and we had a slideshow and had to guess who was who. It was such a good bonding moment and the gap between the language and country barriers between the Czech and Slovak missionaries is now gone forever. We are just one big family. 

On Friday morning, we had our departing testimony meeting. It was such a bad idea to have the last song be "until we meet'' because it just made me sob the entire time (I was kinda of laughing again because of the irony). But I feel so so lucky to be a missionary here! I love my mission, the people and the missionaries and the work. 

Sisters I have worked with

I felt so blessed to be able to give my testimony in front of absolutely everyone. They are my family and being able to share my love and testimony of the Saviour was an honour. 

I know that this is His work and His church. I will serve Him with honour and love as I serve His children.

s laskou,
sestra Manners

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Letter: 27 December 2016

Dear All,

This week went by faster than the snow came and left! Christmas was so special and we tried to be as Czech as possible. Cutting apples, throwing slippers, having walnut boats and eating carp. I really love Jihlava and I know that the Lord needed me to be here for this special Christmas season. 

The typical Christmas eve dinner here is carp and potato salad and occasionally, if there are smaller children, they have schnitzel.  We had all of the above. I am not the biggest fan of carp but many members on Sunday told me that that was okay.  They don't like it much either! 

We cut apples to see if the seeds make a star or cross shape, the star brings luck, which is what we had, and the cross signifies death. 

The walnut shell boats are placed on water with a candle inside, one per family member, you wait until the candles go out and then look to see where the boats are on the water, sister Taylor and I both stayed together which means we will be together next year, even is just for a few days!

Young single girls will throw a slipper over their head on Christmas through a doorway, if the tip of the shoe points out the door, it means they will be getting married the following year. Mine pointed out the door!

A Christmas miracle happened. After our phone call I just prayed harder than I have ever prayed before to know what I can do and how I can help my dear sweet companion. And then yesterday I woke up not feeling very well at all. I could not keep my head straight and I realized it would be best for me to spend most of the day lying down. Which gave sestra Taylor so many opportunities to serve and help me and she loved it. I think it really helped her come out of her shell and we have been getting along so much better! So in the strangest way, that was a miracle for me to get sick! I am already feeling better and I am excited for conference tomorrow. It will be so much fun! 

This week we also helped Marie to set up her Christmas tree and she got us matching hats for Christmas. she is a sweetheart!! We also had our Christmas zone conference and I got to see Sestra Boza who was there for a baptism and Setra Ross so we took a picture together. I love those two so much!!


When we visited Marie on Christmas eve, we asked her to read Luke 2 with us. There is a verse which in Czech translates as, "Then was born unto us" and then she flipped the page but she went a page too far and she read "the devil who tempted us".  She is a little slow so she just kept reading and I was trying so hard not to laugh. it was sooo funny!!!!!!  I am still laughing about it now!!  I am sorry if it doesn't seem very funny.

All that we are working with are doing great. Things have been rather slow with the Christmas season but we have been able to visit them and bring the spirit of Christmas into their home. A special moment happened when we visited the Novakovi, a less active family that we are trying to work with. They love the gospel and seem to simply not come because they are always getting ill and have different trials and problems coming up. But when we visited them with the Elders on Christmas eve, they seemed to light up and it was so special that we were able to bring the spirit of Christmas into their home. It was a tender mercy for me to be able to bear testimony of the Saviour as we sang and shared gratitude for Christ. 

I read 2 Nephi this week and loved it. I truly know that we are here to find hope and joy through Christ, we are not here to droop in sin. I hope that you will find joy this week. I love you! 

S laskou,

sestra Manners 


Monday, December 19, 2016

Letter: 19 December 2016

Dear all,

This week flew by faster than the snow came in last night! I love working hard and making the time matter most. It feels so great to come home after a good day of doing all I can. I know I am making the most out of the Lord's time. 

This week was a week of miracles regarding working with members. We had the opportunity to go contacting with Ondra who just got married on Saturday and stayed behind after a branch meeting to do building tours with us. He is such an angel and his testimony really added the spirit even more so to our street lessons. We also just had so many members who were willing to help us teach and I am so grateful for their help. They make a big difference. 

This week we got to meet with Radka again and teach her about the Restoration. She brought her one year old grandson, so Sister Taylor kept him busy while I got to meet with Radka and teach her all about Joseph Smith and the church being restored. She shared her testimony with me about how she can see that the gospel is blessing her and helping her to come closer to God and it was such a tender mercy for me. I felt the spirit strongly as she shared that with me. 

A member in trebic named Sestra Prohazka that has been a member for 67 years since yesterday!! She is an angel!!

Those we are teaching are progressing slowly but surely and the hardest part right now is helping them to come to church. They just say it is too early or when they say they are coming, they don't. I am learning to be patient! 

We had a funny experience this week with the Elders when we all went to visit a man I met on the street who had met with missionaries over 20 years ago, after he went to a yoga. He decided to teach us some yoga and only Elder Trythall volunteered to do the moves. It was a funny sight! I was in tears of happiness! I love finding moments every day to laugh! They are so important! 

I am excited to have the best Czech Christmas ever this year since we will probably be doing it all by ourselves!  There are so many traditions and things we are going to try and it will be great!

Have a wonderful Christmas!

s laskou, 

Sestra Manners 


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Letter: 12 December 2016

​Dear all,

We can truly feel that Christmas is in the air! People are more open to hear what we have to share and we can see how the spirit of Christ and Christmas are softening their hearts and putting a smile on their face. 

This week we had such a special moment when we had a correlation meeting with our branch mission leader. He shared a powerful testimony and concluded with the promise that every day there is someone who is prepared to accept the gospel here in Jihlava. We are working hard to find them! We know that as we are obedient and work to our fullest, that qualifies us for the spirit and it is the spirit that will soften the hearts of those we find and teach. 

And we have seen miracles happen this week! We are trying to simply share a powerful but simple testimony on the street with all that we meet, even if they begin to decline and we have seen so much success from that! we have had people decline us and start to walk away but as we share our testimony with us, they have accepted to meet with us again and learn more. The spirit really is working with us! 

This week we had some funny memorable experiences. I really love making sure that those we are working with know how much we love them. And this included doing some funny things. We teach a man that owns a yoyo shop and so we took interest in his yoyos and after a lesson, he taught us a trick! 

Also, when we went to visit Jarka and Erik this week, Erik was having a hard time at school and so we helped him feel better about his sports class by doing somersaults with him. He was afraid to do them since he thought he would bump his head but after we showed him (thank goodness we wear so many layers in the winter and can modestly do anything!), he felt so much better and we left leaving him with a big smile on his face. I really love all those who we teach!  

This Christmas season is already so special with the markets and the smell of cookies coming from each window. We had a special experience yesterday when we finally visited a less active family that we have been trying to visit all this transfer. They were all very sick and I felt prompted to ask them if they wanted a blessing. They accepted! (Miracle!). We went over with the elders and after the blessings, I asked them if we could sing them a Christmas hymn. They accepted! and all were singing and smiling by the time we said goodbye and left! we know it helped to bring the spirit of Christ into their home and softened their hearts. Singing really is such a tool of goodness here! I love it! 

This week I have decided to study 2 Nephi 9 and really break down every single verse and just learn as much as possible from it because it is such a wonderful chapter about the Gospel and the atonement. I loved learning all about the spirit world and covenants this morning! I have found many ways in which to help our investigators already! 

I look forward to working hard and having a really righteous week (that is my goal.  We always are but it just sounds so good!).

s laskou,
Sestra Manners 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Letter: 5 December 2016

Dear all,

This week has been so good! I have come to the conclusion that time is never going to slow down so I must just speed up a little. I now love to speed walk in between contacting people and it keeps me so excited to talk to people. Sometimes I feel like a magic bullet as I just look out amongst the streets of Jihlava to find people we can share our glorious message with about Christ. It is also keeping us in shape for all the Christmas cookies that are coming our way! I am so excited!! I have been keeping my eyes out all day long to see the little angels and demons that will be flooding the Czech nation over the next 24 hours for Saint Nikolas day.

We have started to use the Christmas video like it is air here and it is working so well! We just love talking to people on the namesti and inviting them in to the chapel for three minutes to watch the video and it is going great! We even found a new investigator just this morning by doing building tours. He is a young man named Lukas that said he is not here very often and I almost walked past him but I just felt prompted to talk to him and without even thinking I found myself walking quickly over to him to ask him a question and we ended up having a wonderful spiritual lesson in the chapel. I love what happens when we go to the edge! Missionary life is the best!!! 

We also did a singing display this week since it is finally time to pull out the Christmas section of our zpevniky and sing a good Czech tune. We were trying to sing a chrsitmas song called "Chtic aby spal" and we did not know the tune so I just walked out and found a young woman that could hep us and she sang it there and then with me on the street while waiting for the bus! I loved it so much! It made her smile and it made me smile and I love helping others to leave with a smile on their face. 

We also talked to some policemen and a lady that worked on the market stalls and they were both very nice! We are building our relationship with the community quite well!

This week there was a man named Petr that came up to sestra Taylor during English class and asked if we could meet so he can come to know God even more. Of course we said yes and met with him the following day! He is great and really wants to come closer to God.  He gave us the coolest analogy. The only way you can get to New York is by airplane with a pilot. And then he followed by saying that he wants to get to God and is looking for what the airplane is and the pilot. He said he knew the airplane was baptism. It was so great!! We had a really spiritual lesson about baptism and we invite him to take a flight to god. That was how we invited him to be bapsited and he accepted!! People really are being prepared all the time! 

We also were able to visit our dear sweet friends Jarka and Erik this week. They really warmed my heart when we saw that they were preparing presents to give to orphans as part of a charity project here in the city. They are so Christlike! They also came to the relief society activity we had here this Friday and loved it. They are being prepared for the gospel slowly but surely. They are so wonderful! Erik asked if he could say the prayer and did a great job! 

We also met with Petra this week who has been a member for two years. she asked us if we could meet and I was so excited because we have been wanting to build our relationship with her. Little did we know that she prepared a spiritual thought for us! She is so sweet! She has a friend who comes to church almost weekly so we are trying to build our relationship with her so that we can start teaching her friend. Prayer has been key!

I love my mission with all my heart!

s laskou,

sestra Manners