Monday, December 28, 2015

6 month Anniversary on Dec 24th! Week 1 in Liberec

So transfers are here! I am now in Liberec! It was a train ride to Prague and then a bus ride this morning! MY new companion is Elder Vickers from the Dallas area. Another Texan! He did grow up in Utah though. It is his second transfer here so i am follow up training him. I am also the district leader here in Liberec. Lots of things to do all of a sudden. However we had quite the week for Christmas!
Last Tuesday was our p-day and we started the morning playing some squash. We then got to buy our carp and get it all prepared and then traveled to Prague. Our investigator Karolina prayed with us! We had a lesson in Prague. Both trainings last transfer we had an investigator and lesson in Prague! Then Wednesday we had training! IT was one of the greatest days. We stayed with the assistants which was fun right before Elder Prhoazka goes home this week. And we started the morning on the namesti in Prague. We had the chance to look at all the Christmas markets there but they were all closed. So we sang as all the missionaries there and we attracted a crowd really fast but we only sang for 4 minutes. We then had training! President gave us some announcements and talked about the book of Mormon. We also had training on how to do our Christmas visits! We then had a catered lunch. Svickova! and after lunch the Zone leaders did Czech Christmas traditions. We got to try a lot of them and had a really good time. Sister McConkie trained us on how to be a better giver and the things we can do to become. She also told us about how they got called as mission presidents. She had a dream and President had thoughts while swimming. She even told us he still looks good in a speedo! I had fun messing with them about that afterwards. We then had one of the coolest trainings from president McConkie. He talked about Mary and her calling and how she asked questions and then did it. He then gave us a blessing as a mission. It was one of the coolest experiences to feel the spirit in the room and feel his love as he spoke with power and authority.

The next day was Christmas here. We spent the morning visiting members here! We visited about 10 and all ended up being with part member families or recent converts less active. IT was a really cool morning. We then got to go to the Kolkovi and we had a wonderful Christmas there! They had us sing and sing and then we had tons of food and snacks and did more traditions together and had a really fun time! Friday was Christmas and we opened presents in the morning and had service at a salvation army. We did our Christmas concert and then had lucnh with them after. It was super cool. After wards we went back to the church building and gave gifts to the other missionaries and had a fun afternoon singing songs and skyping. It was nice to see you all and it flew by fast!

Saturday we got to sing all day in the center and then we went to a Christmas concert for one of the members of the branch. We came back and got Transfer calls and then we had Sunday. We had to say good bye and we had dinner in Frydek mistek at a nice family before coming back and packing. And so here we are! It has been a busy week and there is lots more in store this week! I hope you all have a great week and a happy new year
S Laskou,


Monday, December 21, 2015

Week 16 -- Ostrava, then to Prague for Christmas

Merry Christmas!

We had a busy week this week and it only gets busier. In some ways it still doesn't feel like Christmas and it is hard to imagine that Friday is Christmas. Here in the Czech republic it is Christmas on the 24 and then on the 25 they visit one side of the family and on the 26 the other side. Presents come in the evening on the 24 brought by baby Jesus. More on that a little later!

We had a good week this week, we did some service and put a pipe in the ground through cement. Also helped cut up an automobile and get it taken to the dumpster. We had cleaning Checks for our apartment and the senior couple brought cookies which was pretty nice! My companion had his one year mark on his mission this last week and my 6 month mark will be on Christmas eve! Pretty crazy how time has flown. Thursday we got to go to the namesti for a longer dinner and had a small culture night listening to a concert and eating Czech food! Trdelniks and Bramborvy placek are so good! one of our investigators finally prayed with us this week which was a first! Super cool! We are having a really successful time and have planned really well to stay busy during Christmas. Friday night we got to go to Frydek Mistek and watch a concert that a member was in. It was nice but we were standing the whole time but beautiful music.

Saturday we had our Christmas concert. It took most of the day to get things ready. I cut lots of snow flakes out of paper this week. It was really nice! I was the conductor of our choir... I am sure that was interesting. We have a couple of really talented missionaries who had some good numbers and i played the first noel on the piano. It was a little rough but we made it! Our investigator Karolina gave all of the elders a new tie for Christmas which was pretty sweet!

Sunday we had a normal sacrament meeting. They don't really sing Christmas songs during it. But then after we watched the Christmas devotional for Sunday school and priesthood.

This week is a busy week! We do not have our p-day today. We are just emailing again. The rest of the day is busy with lunch with a member and then 3 lessons before family home evening. Tomorrow will be our p-day and tomorrow night we travel to Prague. Wednesday we have training! We will get to walk around Prague in the morning and see all the Christmas things. Then all of the missionaries will meet and we will sing together for a little while. Have a nice training and some fun and travel back. Thursday is Christmas here! We are visiting everyone in the branch with 15 minute visits and a testimony all morning and at 3:30 A family has invited us over for a traditional Christmas. WE will have traditions and gifts, lots and lots of food. Friday is our Christmas! We have service set up at the salvation army and will sing and things. Then in the afternoon we will probably cook carp since we are planning on buying one ;) And we will get to Skye! Saturday we only sing all day long and then get to go to a Christmas concert that night. As well as we get transfer calls! Because transfers are Monday between Christmas and New years. Sunday we also have a lot on plan as well!

I hope things are going well for all of you and that this Christmas time is a time to remember the savior. He was Born, He is the gift a díky němu we can all have light this Christmas.
S laskou,
Starsi Hanis

Monday, December 14, 2015

Ostrava - week 15

This week was another busy week! It felt like a longer week but time is flying. Our time in this transfer is pretty much over. We only have about two weeks left. We have had some fun this week. For language study as a district this week, we played catch phrase. We have some good new words to learn. It was pretty hilarious! The namesti, or town square, is quite something here. I wrote a little bit about it last week, but it is pretty fun. My companion and I have spent some lunches there just having some Czech specialties. The new find this week was punch! It is this hot fruit punch stuff. It is heavenly! Really nice on a cold day. We also have hot dogs although a little different, and bramborovy plecek (potato things) and turdelkniks. A really yummy desert. Christmas time here couldn't be any better. We have started to contact on Christmas. Mainly what is the most important for people. Everyone almost responds with family which is really cool to hear as the majority of the world would have you think family isn't important. This week we have a Christmas concert here at the building. I may be playing a piano solo and leading the choir.. Not sure who had those ideas.

We had some good service this week and then we were able to go to an "interview" it turned out it was a school teacher who wanted us to talk to her class about what we believed. It was pretty cool! but we were delayed and didn't have much time. But still a cool experience. We had some exchanges with the other elders here in Ostrava this week as well. One cool experience from the week was we had about 20 minutes to contact outside our apartment before we had to run somewhere. We were contacting on the word of wisdom and found a kid who was interested. It was cool to see how we only had 20 minutes but the lord is aware of our time. We had a fun sports night playing badminton this week. I have played more badminton on my mission than any other time. After wards we went with the people that came to the namesti for turdelniks.

Saturday we had 4 first lessons set up all of which fell though but the highlight was President coming Saturday night. We had interviews with him which was a great experience and we had a great discussion. He is a pretty serious but laidback guy and a lot of fun. It is so cool that he speaks Czech and gave an outstanding talk on Sunday and a really great priesthood meeting about testimony. The rest of Sunday was a long contacting block. We had nothing else on plan, it was pretty windy, sprinkling and cold. Not what I would call a dream. However towards the end of the night we stopped a mother. She originally told us she didn't understand us but as we continued to talk she opened up. We eventually set up and she has three daughters! one of them has read the bible 11 times and has tons of questions! It was so cool to see. We will get to go visit them this week!

We have two weeks left in the transfer. This week is pretty busy already. Our Christmas concert is on Saturday. Next week we will email on Monday but have p-day on Tuesday since we are traveling to prague. Wednesday we have training, Thursday is Christmas here and a lot on plan, Friday is our Christmas and Skype and service. Saturday we sing the whole day and get transfer calls. Sunday is our last sunday here and Monday is a transfer. Time is flying. I hope things are going well and that you are being good.

S Laskou
Elder Hanis

Monday, December 7, 2015

Still in Ostrava -- Week 14

Time is flying and this week was no exception.  Last week we finished emailing and took off running for the train station.  We headed to Hradec Kralove for exchanges with the zone leaders. It was a great time. I was with Elder Peterson, and we had a great day of contacting.  We found some really cool people for them. It was the first time that I had been outside of my area. Elder Peterson wouldn't even introduce himself as a missionary so we had a lot of fun. We were teaching everywhere and were really powerful switching off. It was a lot of travel but a really really pretty city and a really energetic day or two.

Wednesday we were invited over to a members house. Us two Texans know how to eat. She is notorious to have a record of how many knedliks(bread dumplings) people have eaten. The first day in the country I could barely get through five. I was at 14 when the sisters started to egg me on saying that the record was only 7 more. Lets just say I ate 23 knedliks and dessert and my comp ate 22. We had a pretty full afternoon after that. And didn't eat for a day. P90x came just in time.

We have a new investigator on baptismal date. We have been teaching her for about 8 weeks but kind of off and on. We finally were able to commit to a date. It has been cool to see how much she has changed already. Our area is really doing well right now which is important as we go into Christmas . People do not want to meet during Christmas so we are working even harder to set hard expectations.

Friday we got to go to Prague as well. I had visa work. It was really fun to be around the people from my MTC group again and see how things are going. I also got to see Elder Prohazka which was really fun. I got a Christmas package from dad and Amber's letter this week! IT was awesome to have my sweatshirt and Christmas decorations. We have had a lot of fun.

Thursday we went to a school and went to an English class for kids our age. The teacher told them we didn't speak Czech. We talked to them for an hour more about home and America and just in English. Afterwards they were next to us at the tram stop and we started talking to them in Czech, They were blown away, and we had a great conversation. It was so cool to see how much more open they were. It was a great experience. We also had a sports day this week that no one showed up too. So we contacted people to play sports with us. It was pretty cool and we got a few people to come play and were able to invite them to the Christmas concert we will have.

Before that though we were changing at the church. The elders were in one room and the sisters in the other. One of our elders that it would be funny to yell out that we had sour patch kids from a package. 3 seconds later one of the sisters burst into the room. It was pretty hilarious to see the look of terror on her face as we were all changing. Later that night also he same elder tried to show us his favorite move from p-90x. When all of a sudden there came such a clatter. His pants ripped from his lower back all the way down! It was pretty funny again.

I also gave a blessing in Czech this Sunday. It was an interesting experience. We were contacting on the namesti when one of the members found us there. He asked us to come visit his friend in the hospital. He was pretty much in hospice and couldn't speak. It was really sad but a really tender experience. It was also the first opportunity to bear my testimony during fast Sunday. I had a really good experience with the language this week as well. I was talking to these two young adults who were kinda making a little fun of what I was doing. When I decided to tell them I wasn't from here. They were shocked and had no idea. It was fun to see them try and make sense of it. We talked about Spanish too. I can no longer speak any! after 5 years of Spanish, nic, But after 5 months of Czech we got it. IT was Really cool to realize how much progress I have made. This week was a good week. We are looking forward to what is in store!