Monday, January 25, 2016

Week 4? Week 5? It's all running together at this point...

So. I have some fun things that occurred this week to talk about. But they were all caused by 1 major event. So I will tell about that first. When I arrived here in C-Bud, President McConkie described the area as "literally on fire." And it was. They had a lot of people on baptismal date, and lots of people with sincere interest in the gospel who were learning a lot and coming closer to Jesus Christ. Which is basically our whole entire goal as missionaries, so we are excited when that is happening. Unfortunately, when I showed up I brought the cold and the snow (Wait… is Elder Brad like Else from “Frozen?”  He can’t be… because the cold definitely bothers him, ha ha). And cold and snow have a bit of a tendency to put out fires...
  • To put this into perspective of how much our fire dwindled, at one point this past week, due to some miscommunications with an investigator in our last lesson, we had no investigators. Not one. Because he temporarily dropped us, because he thought we dropped him. Elder Galbraith has been here almost 2 full years. He has never before had no investigators. But there we were, for 20 minutes, without a single one. Let's just say that we were reeling in shock quite a bit, and our language study was not very productive. But turns out, he didn't mean to drop us, so we were all good.
  • So we contacted this week. A lot. We had multiple blocks of at least 3 hours where we were outside (all bundled-up) in the snow trying to talk to people about the gospel. Oddly enough, we find that people are more polite to us and more willing to talk when it is freezing cold outside. Not sure why. We are stuck between they are 1) impressed by our dedication and decide to stop to at least see what we're all about or 2) just as crazy as us (because they are out in the snow) and so not all uncomfortable to stop and talk with two young strangers about their thoughts about such things as the purpose of life and the role of Jesus Christ and prayer in it. From his companion Elder Galbraith:  During one of our multiple hour contacting blocks this week (this one being 4 hours straight, so not the worst we had), we were outside in -17 degree Celsius weather, which is a grand total of 1 degree Fahrenheit. It makes the current 0 degrees feel like the middle of summer though!
It was decently cold.
  • We also went tracting down a rather snowy street and met the most polite people to ever reject us. Other than 1-2 rude gentlemen, everyone was very nice in their rejections. No one wanted to talk to us, but they were very nice about not wanting to talk to us. So that was really good. We prefer those kinds of rejections.
  • We walk to the town square basically every day. The church building is right off of the main square and we teach most all of our investigator lessons. We go out to the suburbs to tract about 1 evening a week. We're going bus contacting this week, so I will have a chance for some fun conversations I expect.

Town Hall on the main square (náměstí Přemysla Otakara II) and the city square (taken by a different Elder in a different season!)

  • We also did a singing display as a District. Where 2 missionaries stand and sing songs in Czech and 2 go out and contact. When I was out contacting, the first guy I tried to talk to basically told me to get lost. It was an interesting start...
  • Good things did happen this week though. We had lots of conversations with people that were very nice, and even if they decided they didn't want to meet with us, they still respected us and were curious at least about who we are and what we are about. We also met an English speaking gentleman from England, and we started teaching him. That is a good one, because I can understand everything that is happening during that!
  •  The problem we mainly run into is we can't figure out how to draw people to the gospel. Most people when they hear that we are talking about religion don't want to talk to us. Mainly they have a very strong atheistic influence from communism, and if they are religious, they have a strong distrust of organized religions trying to take your money and control your life. So it's difficult. There are also a lot of people here who ascribe to being Buddhist. Which was unexpected for me.
  • Oh man, my sense of humor is probably my best coping mechanism. I joke around plenty with my companion. And he laughs easily, so that is good too. We have fun together. Some peoples' responses to us make so little sense you can't not laugh about them. Our favorite is when people say "I don't want anything!" or "I am nothing!" in Czech and keep walking past us. We joke about how the Czech people are just too humble, even for the Gospel it appears.
  • Also we had Branch Conference. Which President McConkie came and spoke at. I didn't understand most of his talk, but I DID understand his testimony of Jesus Christ, and that he said after it that if we didn't get anything from his talk, he wanted us to get that. So that was pretty awesome.
  • Speaking of understanding...My Czech is coming along. Slowly. As always. I can usually kind of understand people, as long as they use enough vocabulary that I know. Which means when we stop talking about the Gospel, I get lost pretty quickly, because that's really all that I know. It is also really funny because when people are talking to us during contacts, they look back and forth, not realizing that I have no idea what they are saying. So they are talking to both of us, but really just to Elder Galbraith most of the time. It's great fun.
  • My favorite things about Czech culture...The food is amazing. Public transportation is fun, and it is very much used here. Czech pants. Czech pants are able to be purchased in pretty much any size. I have seen basically every age you could imagine of people wearing them. They are pretty jazzy. (pictures in last week's blog post)
  • Halušky. It is macaroni and cheese, except superior in literally every way. Unfortunately it is not possible to make in the US. Unless you know a way to get unpasteurized cheese, which is illegal to sell. It is actually the signature Slovak dish, but my companion served in Slovakia for a transfer, so he loves it. We make it from a box, but it can also be made from scratch. There is also an option to make it with cabbage instead of cheese. Not sure how that would be. And I have heard some people use cottage cheese instead of Brynza (the cheese you can't buy in the US). Also, if you can find out how to make good Svičková, that might change your life forever. But it will be difficult to judge, because you have not tried it in the Czech Republic before...

The town square (or naměstí) in Jindřichův Hradec, where we visited today.

 A cool kostel (how you say church in Czech).

 The 15 meridian line.  It is a thing.

Elder Galbraith has developed sore shoulders. This is how he stretches.  
(nice to get a glimpse of part of their apartment... weights, a keyboard, ironing supplies!)

Spiritual thought for the week is about Christ. It comes from Luke 22. Starting in verses 41-44. This is when Christ is performing the Atonement. He is suffering for the pains and the afflictions and the sins of the entire world. More suffering and pain than anyone has ever had to go through. Then after that, he gets betrayed by Judas, one of the 12 Apostles! Someone who was with Him during miracles and teaching, and still betrays Him. And He knows that He is being taken to be killed. He has prophesied about it His whole ministry. But He takes the time to heal the guard's ear after one of the Apostles tries to fight back. He is in the middle of the most difficult, agonizing thing that has ever been completed by anyone in the world. Yet he takes the time, and has the compassion to heal this man. What does that mean for us? I think it means 2 major things. One, going through challenges and trials in our own lives gives us compassion and empathy for others when we see that they are suffering. Two, we can always take the time to help. We can always put in the effort and always find a way to serve those around us.
Thanks for all the support and emails and prayers! You all rock!
-Starší Pickett

1 comment :

  1. Wonderful sharing! Go Elder Pickett!
    The Andersons frome Roseville 2nd