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 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Letter: 28 November 2016

​Dear All,

This week has been full of goodness and gratitude! Being a missionary truly is the best thing ever! I just have found myself this week wanting to take every opportunity we have to talk to others. I just love it! I have found that the more i strive to love those around me, the more I am able to help them. 

We have been meeting some wonderful people on the buses and as we travel to and fro and although they are not always ready to jump in the baptismal font (that would be really funny if one day this week we meet someone like that! I'll start praying for it), but we have been able to connect with others and help them in extraordinary ways. 

One of my highlights from this week happened when we got to visit Trebic yesterday. I loved being able to see many of the members and visit with them. They have already stolen my heart. We decided to go to young women's and be with Terezka and Marketa, twins. They are both amazing young women and have been preparing to go on mission in two years time.

So as we were visiting members yesterday all day long with the members, the Elders got a phone call from the Hozarovi family, asking if they could come give a blessing to Brother Hozarovi's mother, who is not a member. We went straight away and when we arrived, she was very quiet and not quite sure what would happen. We started with a prayer and the elders did a great job explaining what a blessing is. she does not really believe in God but knows something is there. They gave her a blessing and as they finished I opened my eyes to see this lady with tears rolling down her face. I knew that she felt God's love for her. She said that she felt something different and we were then able to have a spiritual conversation about a lot of different aspects of the gospel, including the plan of salvation and the Book of Mormon. Her heart had been softened and it was such a tender mercy. It really reminded me of when Ammon teaches the king in the Book of Mormon (see Alma 18). As we go forward in faith and act as Christ would, doors will be opened and hearts will be softened and together with our friends and those we come to love, we can come closer to our Lord and king.

I love my mission!

s laskou,

sestra Manners 

Here are some photos of my district and our Thanksgiving meal (prepared by myself and Sister Taylor!) 

From left to right we have Elder Swink from Logan Utah, Elder Plewe from Colorado, Elder Trythall (our district leader) from California, Elder Murley from Canada, then myself and Sister Taylor!

I couldn't find a turkey so we cooked two chickens!

Thanksgiving Dinner is served!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Letter: 21 November 2016

Dear all,

This week was so so good!! I feel like all the hard work we are doing is being seen and it is such a blessing. We had four investigators at church!! That was a miracle in itself! We had a friend of a member come that we are trying to teach named Patricia, and then our investigator that we met this week who is preparing for baptism named Maria (she is friends with a less-active member we also started working with this week named Lenka) and then our dear sweet friends Jarka and Erik who are mother and son. We went over to their home this week to help Erik with English and we invited them to church over text and they came!!  And they loved it. They even participated in Sunday School more than some of the members, asking questions, answering questions and reading passages from the Book of Mormon. It just felt like they had been coming for years! I was beaming from ear to ear. I really know that Heavenly Father has been working right beside us and is helping us to get this area prepared for the gospel. 

Something that I have come to learn on my mission and strive to do each day is talk to everyone. That is how miracles happen. I know that as we have opened our mouths and spoken with everyone, that we find those who are prepared. Usually they happen to be the very last person we talk to before we go home for the night, or the very last phone call. But all is so worth it! 

One of our Elders outside the small church building in our town.
We got to meet with Radka again this week and she has been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon.  She shared an experience she had as she walked to her car after our first lesson.  She said that she had a feeling and a thought that what we had shared with her was true!!  It was so sweet to hear that. But then she said that she had feelings of doubt after.  We were able to testify to her of the power of the Book of Mormon and the truthfulness of its message and the spirit was so strong. This woman is such a sweetheart and I love seeing her face light up as we share the gospel with her. When we shared our testimonies of the atonement with her, I could see it change her and give her hope. 

We drew this on the pavement to explain where the Book of Mormon comes from!
So this week we went through all the less-actives in our phone and I called a lady named Lenka that said we could come visit. We asked for her address and she seemed a little confused. I could not find her address anywhere on the city map and a day later sestra Taylor looked out the window and said, "I found that street!".  Lenka lives across the street from us! We will always be able to take her to church with us! She even came this week! She hasn't had missionaries there for a while but she is lovely. She loves to talk but we are living to love her.  Love really must be the motive in order for missionary work to function. I love it!! She has a big heart and she is coming with us tomorrow to go and teach her friend Maria. 

This week we have come up with a good challenge as a district. We are only speaking Czech. For every word we say in English, we have to do ten pushups (there are a few exceptions such as English speakers, and English class). This will be a fun challenge week! I will let you know how many pushups we had to do.

I love the Gospel and I love this work.

s laskou, 

Sestra Manners 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Letter: 14 November 2016

Dear all,

This week has been great! Even though it has definitely been different coming to an area where we are starting from the bottom and building it up, sister Taylor and I have had a lot of really good experiences. I would love to share a few with you. 

First of all, we made a great transfer vision, focusing on becoming the fourth missionary (we based it from a talk called "The fourth missionary") and we decided to focus on just making the most out of every moment. something that we are doing as a district to prepare for Christmas is that we are memorizing the Living Christ. I did it last year and it really helped me to strengthen my testimony of the Saviour and share my love for Him and so I know it will bless the people here this year and we do the same thing. I am memorizing it in English again with Sestra Taylor and then also in Czech. I am sure it will broaden my vocabulary a lot! 

We also had a really fun little lesson on the bus yesterday in which we met a young man traveling to a hockey game and so we liked the plan of salvation unto hockey (for example we said that our coach is Heavenly Father and although he is far away, he can speak to us through his headset or the Holy Ghost). It really helped the young man named Jakub to smile and feel how important he is. I love seeing those we meet and share our testimonies with leave with a smile!

I also loved meeting the branch members yesterday. It really reminded me a lot of Ceske Budejovice, since there were only 15 members there but they are all incredible. It was probably the best Relief Society I had been to since all the woman are th best of friends and the members are very willing to help teach with us. We even have an elder member, Brat Lev helping us with our Czech this week. What a blessing that will be! Also people here really struggle to understand my Czech (I wounder If I sound too Bohemian or if I am just tongue twisted but it has made contacting fun! People really have to listen to what I say so they tend to listen for longer. I take it  as a blessing!) 

The miracle of the week happened when we called a woman named Radka. She was someone that the sisters found a few months ago and has not had any time to meet. however, she came this past Friday! We had the most spiritual lesson with her! she just opened up to us all about her life, how she just lost her job and feels alone, how she has lost her parents and wonders if she will ever be able to be with them again. she just kept telling us her worries and we just listened by the spirit and testified to her. She told us how she worries if she is worthy to be with her family again because she has made a lot of mistakes and it was such a powerful feeling of peace and love that overcame us as we told her about the Plan of salvation and told her about the atonement. since she is already a believer, we invited her to start reading the Book of Mormon and praying to Heavenly Father, since she usually would just say the typical Catholic prayer.  She told us that she knew she was not ready to meet with the sisters when she me them months ago but that this was the right time. We knew that Heavenly Father had this all planned and we told her and all shared tears together. The gospel is just so incredible and we know that it will help Radka. Radke could not come to church this week but we pray for her every prayer and hope all will go well! 

Sister Taylor and I are looking forward to all we will do this week! We are going to start a German class this week as well! We are doing well together and notice that the more we find to laugh about, the more fun we have in the work (like tracting last night and meeting a man that was not wearing pants (I had sister Taylor stare at the ceiling) and meeting another man that wanted to invite us in for beer (we invited him to church and he declined and closed the door. I love being bold!!).

All is so well!

s laskou,

sestra Manners

P.S.  Here are photos of my new 6th floor apartment.

A large walk-in closet!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Letter: 7 November 2016

Dear all, 

Today is a transfer day and guess what... I got transferred!! New adventures begin now! 

Well I never thought I would serve in Jihlava! It has been a great surprise. I think I am already seeing how I can help this area grow and be on fire. It sounds like there will be a lot of opportunities to work with the members and help them gain the trust of the missionaries again. I was definitely sad to leave Pardubice, since it is so full of great memories with members and lessons we have taught. But I loved leaving, feeling like I did exactly what I needed to when I was there. We had a great week! 

Jihlava is a little city in south Moravia, pretty much on the other side of Pardubice, going south. It is super cute and people here seem so friendly so far. I am serving with Sestra Taylor, who is in her second transfer and is an awesome missionary. I am follow up training her, but I feel like she is the one that will be follow up training me. She is great! We will work hard and see miracles happen this transfer. Get ready to hear all about them!! ​

Having a last drive with the Elders in their car before my transfer

First off, we found so many new people to teach! And quite a few of them were because Of Desmond. When Sister DeMann and I were on exchanges together, we went and visited Desmond even though he did not answer his phone because I felt like we should go. We got all the way to his room but I felt doubtful about knocking. sister DeMann and I said a prayer, and then she bravely knocked on the door. He answered and his friend was there, they were both watching a football match. Standing in the doorway, we were able to share a spiritual thought with him and his friend listened a little but kept his distance. We just smiled and then started up a conversation. His name is Ben and he arrived here from Ghana only a few weeks ago. He is a christian and he wanted some help with Czech. We planned to meet on Saturday. We ¨had the sweetest little lesson ever! We simply shared our testimonies and talked about prayer and the Book of Mormon and he had so many questions! He asked about living prophets in today's day and asked about revelation and the Book of Mormon and he ís so so golden!!! He will be a such a blessing to this area and we are excited to continue to meet and study with him. I could feel the Spirit so strongly as we talked and I could see the light of Christ in his eyes. Ben is a true miracle! 

Traveling to Stake Conference on Sunday in Prague

After our lesson with Ben, we went to teach another man from Ghana named Justice. Justice was quite the opposite from Ben. As we were teaching him, we got our transfer call which was super funny! But as we met with him, he brought his girlfriend and they both had a lot to say against the book of Mormon. We really wanted to read 2 Nephi 29 with them but we thought they might get offended, so we decided we will share that on another day. However, despite all the opposition and them telling us that we were wrong to believe in the Book of Mormon, I could not deny that the book of Mormon is true. I know it with all my heart and I learned that it is exactly moments like this that help us see our testimony and recognize the seed we have planted within our hearts. I know the Gospel is true! 

We also had the opportunity to meet with a potential named Roman that the Elders found when we contacted here together. He is such a sweet man trying to find a new start in life and would love to get baptised. He asked for our help on Saturday with writing some addresses on envelopes since he has bad handwriting. Of course we helped and he wanted to thank us by taking us to McDonalds. That is never a good idea at 8 o'clock in the morning. He got us burgers which we had to kindly eat and then we taught him about the gospel. It was the most spiritual meeting I had ever had in a fast food restaurant, where despite not feeling well because of the burgers, we felt so spiritually well! He has decide that he wants to be baptised but since he cannot come to HK for two years for legal reasons, he is planning to be baptised in the year 2018. We are very sure that he will be prepared for his baptismal date! 

Eating 'svickova' on the train with Sister DeMann!

I also loved being bale to have my last exchange as sister training leader with Sestra DeMann. It was so memorable! We were riding home around dinner time on the train, so we crossed something off of our missionary bucket list and had svickova on the train! We also got to meet with Risma, our dear friend who works at a kebab shop. I felt prompted to visit him  even though he hasn't been reading in the Book of Mormon and as we were there talking to him, his coworker walks in. she commented and said that our little accents when we speak Czech were cute and she asked us why we were here. We took this as an opportunity to tech her about the gospel and learned more about her. Her name is Eva and she has a twelve year old son. She is baptised but did not want to bapitise her son as an infant because she wants it to be his decision. She is so golden!! The sisters in Pardubice will start meeting with her and teaching her and her son as a family. What a blessing!! so much good is happening in our mission as we work with the Lord.

I also felt so honored to attend stake conference yesterday. Tears and the Spirit overwhelmed me as I saw so many young men stand up to prepare to be ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood. What a blessing! I truly love my mission with all my heart. I know this is exactly where the Lord needs me to be. I also loved seeing all those primary children sing a song in Czech! We are so blessed to have so many incredible pioneer members in this part of the world. I know the Lord loves his Czech saints. 

Me and Sister Taylor at the church building in Jihlava

I am excited to be here with sister Taylor and just work hard and get Jihlava on fire. I would like to focus on member missionary work and talking to everyone we see. I have loved the people we have met today and I love seeing how sister Taylor is doing so well already as a young missionary. It is so great to see her grow and love her mission since I was in her spot exactly this time last year. Missions are amazing!!

I know this work is true and that God lives.

s laskou,

sestra Manners 

Me and Sister Taylor in Jihlava!

P.S.  If you want to see our Pardubice Branch Talent Show, it is now on YouTube at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0NTYfMnkuKg
We sing a song in the middle and do a comedy act near the end.