Monday, August 31, 2015

Arrival in Prague - First Area Ostrava - Month #3

We made it! 

I am serving in Ostrava which is about as far east and north as you can get. We are pretty close to Poland. 

My companion is Starší Prohaska and he is from Switzerland and he speaks really good English. There have been no missionaries in our apartment for two months so traveling to our area was about a three hour train ride from Prague with both of our bags. Sister Boza from Guatemala is also serving in a city about thirty minutes away so they traveled with us as well. There is one other set of elders here in Ostrava but they live across the city. Our apartment has two rooms, a kitchen, and a nice bathroom, but man was it dirty and covered in spiders  and cobwebs. We had no food or pillow and blankets either but it is all good now. My companion served here his first transfer and now he is in his second to last transfer. He knows the language really well and it is lots of fun. He wants to work hard and we really have. We have no teaching pool right now or any investigators but we are working on fixing that. We contact lots and are busy. We have almost no time for studies so far.

When we landed in Prague we met our mission president and barely fit into their van and two other cars with all 11 of us. Next transfer with 17 of us I don't know how they will do it. We had our Prague walk with President McConkie at first and he described the velvet revolution as we looked over Prague and then got to walk through the City with the AP's and have our first dinner in the country. It was so rich and full but was really good. We got to go to bed at about 8 our first night and then we got picked up at about 6:30 and had breakfast with President and his wife, filed our visa paperwork and then had a meeting, met our trainers and we were off

On the way to the train we were on an escalator and with two big bags one has to go in front and one behind. About halfway the one above me proceeded to fall back and hit me like dominoes. So i got to ride up laying down. Sister Boza and her trainer and my trainer had quite a good laugh. And it was a great story. When we arrived the first night it was about an hour by trams or buses across the city to our apartment and then we had sports night with some members of the branch and played squash and racquetball. We got to do some weekly shopping our first morning and my companion is diabetic. So we eat really well and he knows how to cook well so i am learning. 

We have done a singing display and chalk display with the six missionaries in our district to contact and every bus and train ride we are contacting. The language is hard. I have learned a lot of good phrases now but most people don't want anything to do with God. It is very hard to talk to people and the language is a barrier but it is fun to see the shock on their face when you say you've been here for a day or three or however many. It is exciting and i think i am getting better. It is a lot of Czech though but my companion really tries to help me understand when we are together but most of the time on trams or during displays we talk to different people at the same time. It is hard to be on my own in conversations but it is getting better.

On Saturday we traveled fora bout an hour to a members family and picked potatoes all morning. It was hard work but a good time and we are going back this Saturday to teach 5 members of their family. It is hard work and we do a lot of teaching on the street. It is getting better but still really hard. Tomorrow we have training in Brno with all of my MTC group and their companions which is about 2 and half hours away by train. We ride lots of buses and lots of trams. We occasionally have to run to get to them and I've done lots of running in the morning so far with my companion as we run to Tesco, the grocery store we have. It has been really hard but really good. 

Sunday was quite the adventure with almost 12 hours of Czech. There were about 20 people in the branch. I almost had to play the piano but finally one of the sister missionaries played so I just had to lead. 4 of the 6 new missionaries in our district was their first week in this area so we all bore testimonies. And then I may or may not have fallen asleep in each of the meetings after that. I am exhausted. But it is good. The days are long and most people don't want to talk to us but we keep trying looking for the elect that are ready for us. It always feels so good when people are interested in what we have to say. It is hard work. The language is difficult and I don't understand much but I can communicate and people can understand me. My companion and I continue to speak more and more Czech and it is good.

I hope all is well.

Elder Hanis