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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Letter: 31 October 2016

Dear all,
This week has been full of miracles! We were so thrilled that we got to train again in Prague for zone conference and it went so well. It seems that if we have some sort of theme behind training, we remember it a lot more so using a recipe to train about how to use preach my gospel better really helped us! We already saw the sisters using it that we went on exchanges with this week. 

I love being able to help the sisters love and grow and we had the privilege to go on two exchanges this week. From Tuesday after zone conference to Wednesday, we were with the mlada boleslav sestry in their area and we had a great time just working hard and teaching people on the street. We got stuck in Prague for a while after training since they had to get their winter tyres put on so we had a blast just contacting in Prague. The real adventure was when we tried to get the air in their tires pumped at a few gas stations and finally found some helping hands who were angels for us that evening.

I got a lovely package from the Burton ward primary!  If you zoom in to the picture and read the text, it is very cleverly completed by the names of the chocolate bars.

I got to be with Sister Harrington when we were in mlada boleslav and she is on fire! although this may be her first transfer, she is doing great and loves mission life! I loved hearing about how much she already loves her mission and those they are teaching. She told me that things really are not as hard as she thought they would be so she is super happy with mission life.

On Wednesday we then met the sister from Liberec and I continued onward to Liberec with sestra Witzel who is a wonderful missionary. She just wants to work hard and constantly asked me for ways in which she could improve but she just kept me in awe. Liberec is a gorgeous city and I loved meeting so many people as we walked through the gorgeous little town set next to beautiful mountains. The people there stole my heart! I loved talking with them about prayer, something that sestra Witzel felt inspired for us to share with people. We met some great children of God and hopefully the sestry there will be able to continue working with them. 

Liberec is a beautiful city with amazing buildings.

When Sestra Baxter and I were in our area here in Pardubice, we worked together to get this place on fire. We are trying to just talk to everyone we can and we met some wonderful people as we were on our way to a lesson with Desmond. Desmond is doing great but he is struggling to come to church since he is a poor college student. However, we have a great member who will be able to take him whenever he is in town. We had a wonderful lesson of just reading in the Book of Mormon with him (something we talked about at zone conference that we are trying to do more) and we could feel the spirit strongly as we testified of godś love for us and how he helps us to keep our commitments (we read about the stripling warriors and the importance of covenant keeping). Desmond is doing great and looks forward to his baptism! He even introduced us to his friend as we were there and we will begin to teach him. His name is Justice and he has a copy of the Book of Mormon as well. 

For Halloween, Sister Baxter and I dressed up as each other!

As we walked to talk to Desmond, we met another man from Ghana named George. It was his first week in the country and he was looking for somewhere to go to church. We of course invited him and he came! He even took notes during all hours of church and came to lunch with the Holts afterwards. He is excited to meet with us this week and learn more about the gospel. He is a true miracle to us! We know that God is in the work and continues to guide us in the right direction. 

I know that God lives and loves us and that this is His work. He will never leave our side.

s laskou,

Sestra Manners