Monday, February 8, 2016

C-Bud Feels Like Home

Good morning, afternoon, evening, or night! Or whenever you happen to read this email. I hope it finds you healthy and happy, and leaves you more entertained and more uplifted than before you read it! (Quite the ambitious goal there, isn't it?) This week was some good times. We had 2 whole days where we didn't need coats outside! That is significant. Here, as follows are some highlights of the week.
  • So. On Friday, the sisters in our area have exchanges (where other missionaries come spend a day with each other and learn and what-not from other more experienced missionaries). We do exchanges too, we did one a few weeks ago in Plzen (I may or may not have talked about that, I forget).  So with exchanges, we had 6 missionaries here in C-Bud, and we usually only have 4, we decided to do a singing display. Where 3 missionaries stand and sing hymns acapella, and their companions go out and contact alone. Which means I got to contact alone. In case you were wondering, since my last email I have not actually become fluent in Czech. So that was an adventure. Some dude told me religious people don't know how to live correctly. He also explained why, but I didn't catch that part. I just testified about Jesus Christ, and that was my major contribution to the conversation. Another lady talked and I was able to understand most of her questions to me, so I think she didn't realize that most of what she was saying was going several miles above my head (think of the height of Mount Everest for reference). There was something about singing and hands, and she recognized the word Mormon. Then she shook my hand for an awkward amount of time (Europeans are kind of more comfortable touching strangers than I am used to) and walked away. I really thought it was heading in the direction of a lesson/conversation, but then she left. I was a little confused. Also, I talked to a dude who had to repeat his questions about three times before I understood it, and then asked me if I had a lighter and left after I said no. Also, a fun Czech thing, in Czech there is a formal and casual way to address someone as "you" in verbs and pronouns. Like Spanish. Tykat is casual, Vykat is formal. (I don't know about that spelling). But you vykat strangers, unless they are little kids. But I have noticed that when people realize I don't speak Czech very well, they just slip into Tykating. I can't understand what they are saying, but I recognize the verb ending. So that is super fun and random.
Our C-Bud District

  Sestra Birkeland photobombing!
Here's our REAL picture in C-Bud town square at the fountain
Starsis Galbraith, Pickett and Sestra DeMann
  • Also, Elder Galbraith and I went bus contacting. That is so fun/awkward. Because some of the bus seats face each other. So someone watches you get totally shut down right in front of them, and then you turn to them and start talking to them. It's great. Basically missionaries just break so many social cues and we seem to create awkward situations literally everywhere we go. It's easier when you are doing it in a different language though, for some odd reason.
  • We are having Culture Night on Wednesday. We are going to a Czech performance of the musical “Singing in the Rain.” (Monthly mission experience to be part of the culture!)
  • From Elder Galbraith:  “Our branch is on the brink of being fantastic! I 100% believe it. The pieces are already there; we only need to bring together all the people that we already have and are still in decent contact with the church!”
  • We also did some service for the District President here. He lives here, we run with him in the mornings, and he is over the entire area of the Church in Bohemia (Western Czech Republic). We helped them paint a house. And got some paint on ourselves in the process. 

  • Also, our city is awesome. I don't think I have bragged about it nearly enough in my past emails, but I love it here. We go to other cities that are super pretty on P-days and for training, but it feels so awesome to get back to C-Bud at the end of the day. It just feels like we have come home. It's great to see how much the area I am serving has grown on me, and how I feel more and more comfortable and more and more attached to the city every day I am here. Being a missionary is so great.
 C-Bud is pretty. That's our town hall.

Samson and his pigeons.

Spiritual thought for the week comes from D&C 58:26-28. They talk about how the Lord doesn't give us commandments for literally every little thing in our lives. He has given us agency and the power to judge between good and evil, and he leaves a lot of it up to us. The gospel is not about following a prescribed list of rules and marking things off of a checklist to get a certain result. It is quite simply about using the Atonement of Jesus Christ to become better. That is the essence of the gospel. And I know that we can continue to improve, step-by-step as we use the Atonement in our lives every day. So that is my challenge! Go read those verses to get the perspective and then "be anxiously engaged in a good cause!" Love you all, thanks for the support, prayers, and encouragement!
-Elder Pickett

Český Krumlov, probably one of the most beautiful cities in the whole world. 
We went there last week.

Overlook of Český Krumlov

 The town square of Český Krumlov is above old town, 
which you have to cross over a bridge to get to.

 One perk of going to tourist places in the winter is that there aren't many other people there.

Cool sundial

Scenes in town- a creepy wax museum and and art stand

Elder Brad gave me a general daily schedule of the day in response to my request!
6:30am wake up and exercise: nothing special. Push-ups, we have a few weights, sit-ups, etc.
Then E. Galbraith showers at 7 while I eat breakfast (awesome Czech cereal). Then I shower.
At 8, we start personal study.
At 9 we start companion study. We sing, read from the white missionary handbook and then review what we studied personally/prep for lessons and then study anything we want to work on together.
Language study is usually me working on translations of the missionary pamphlets/lessons. Every paragraph I switch off from going English to Czech, and then Czech into English, using the giant dictionary to help with words.
Then we eat a big lunch from 11-12ish.
Then we go out to work. Takes probably 5ish mins to walk to the square. Most people we teach at the church building (right off of the main square).
There is not really such a thing as a "typical afternoon." We have few investigators, but also meet with a lot of less-actives/2 older ladies in the branch. We contact for lessons, or just contact around if we have none.
Evenings at 6pm:  Mondays are Family Home Evening (FHE). Tuesdays are English lessons. Fridays are Game night.
We go back home at 8 for dinner. We have small stuff on our own.
Then plan for the next day at 9.
10:30 is official bedtime, but depending on how exhausting the day has been, sometimes we go to bed earlier.

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