Monday, January 25, 2016

This week has been pretty great!! We have had a lot of work to do which is great! Last Sunday we went to the mental hospital again but this time we missed the first train so we had to wait until later and by the time we got there it was pretty late and super dark so it was even worse than usually! But luckily the member we meet with there got out on Thursday so we don't have to go back there anymore!! One thing that kinda sucked this week was both of our investigators on date for baptism dropped us but one of them didn't speak Czech or English so we could barely speak with him anyways and we only met with him once. But the other one was doing really well but while I was on an exchange in Prague my companion and another elder taught him but he tried to show them a picture of his girlfriend in a bikini so they looked away and he thought they looked away because she was ugly so he said he never wants to meet with us again. Which sucks but it was kind of funny! Hopefully we can work things out with him!
But on a good note two times this week we got a text message that both said basically the same thing, "hey I met you guys on a tram the other day and I can't stop thinking about what you said when can we meet and talk more." So we are meeting with them this week and will hopefully get them on date for baptism!!
On Thursday we did service for a man named Vladimir, he is super rich and owns this old factory thing but during communism they took it over and trashed it basically so he asked if we would come help him clean it out so we did. We basically just grabbed everything and threw it out of this window on the top floor into a huge dumpster outside. It was pretty fun and the building was super cool! He also let us take whatever we wanted and so I took a super old Škoda bus steering wheel to hang up in my room! haha And this week we get to help him again but we get to go to a small castle to help him move crappy furniture out of it! Then I went on an exchange with the district leader Elder Bourn, it was super fun. We visited a couple of less active members and helped them with a few things. It really helped me to learn how important it is to meet with the less active members as well as new investigators because they are just as important and we need to build friendships with them also.
A few other things that weren't so great was that our church building got broke into and they destroyed a few of the doors but all they took was a small tv that wasn't very good anyways so we were lucky because we also had a big flat screen in there but I don't think they could carry it a lone so they left it. Also our heater/water heater went out so we have been pretty cold in our apartment and our showers are freezing!! But at least we get ready really fast cause we don't want to freeze in the shower so we only take like 2 minutes each! haha
On Sunday we had a really cool experience, this couple showed up to church that I had talked to at the beginning of this week and I gave them a Book of Mormon but I didn't think they would call us or come to church because when I contacted them I tried to explain the Book of Mormon but it didn't go very good because my Czech is not great so I ended up just giving them the book and my card and thought that I would never see them again but turns out they came to church and said they would come again next week! So that goes to show that the language really doesn't matter as long as you teach with the spirit! Another investigator we have, Tereza, also came to church and after she asked if she could follow us around while we were contacting and take pictures of us for a project she was working on so we said why not! haha It was really weird having someone follow us around with a camera and when we would stop and talk to people they kept asking us why there was a girl taking pictures of us! haha Also on Sunday night we were counting up all of our numbers for the week and the only thing we were short on to meet the standards of excellence was investigators on baptismal date because we had 2 drop us and our companionship goal was to at least get the standards of excellence this week so we skipped dinner and got on the tram and went up to every single person we saw and said "Hey I'm a missionary, I prepare people for baptism, want to get baptized?" We asked so many people but we didn't have any luck. Although we did get a few new investigators from it and it was pretty fun so it wasn't all bad!
I've had a some really good learning experiences and have had a lot of blessings! It's crazy that we had two people text us saying that they couldn't stop thinking about our message because that usually never happens, in this mission at least! It just goes to show that if you are willing to work and give it your all the Lord will answer your prayers!
I love you all and hope you have a great week!!

Staršï Paxton

Monday, January 18, 2016

Had an awesome week! We started out by going to Sister Komancova's for the Trdelnik challenge!
Trdelniks are a dessert here that are basically just sugar with some dumpling and fruit! But before we get to start with the Trdelnik challenge she makes us eat a huge bowl of soup and she won't bring out the Trdelniks until all of the soup is done. So we eat the soup and are already so full but then we start to eat the Trdelniks, she will give us each three at a time and just keep giving us three more and three more! The first three are amazing but once I got to nine I started to feel super sick but she just kept making more and more and you have to eat them! Luckily she didn't make as many this time as she did last time so I only ate 13 but last transfer an elder ate 27!! You basically feel super sick for two days but it is worth it!!
Then I went to Prague for an exchange with the AP. It was great! The second I got off the bus we contacted every single person we saw, and there are a ton of people in Prague. I still had my luggage and everything but we just kept contacting until we finally made it to the apartment and dropped off my stuff then went back to contacting! It was the craziest two days of my mission! We would literally run from lesson to lesson and never stop contacting people! By the end of the exchange I was exhausted but I learned so much from the AP's! The President told me I was doing a great job and the AP's told me I had so much confidence and no fear!! So that was great! They also challenged me to try something on my train ride back to Plzen, it's called train tracted. Basically you just go from room to room opening the door and asking who wants to be taught! You just have to be careful not to get kicked off because then you have no way to get back to your city and me and the elder I was with didn't have a phone! But we just waited for the ticket worker to walk past us and we would go the opposite way. It was pretty fun!
As far as investigators go, I met a guy named Nikulaj from Ukraine. He was put in the war but got blown up then escaped the hospital and came here illegally but he can't go back or they will put him in the war again. Also our investigator Gabriel brought his friend with him to a lesson and I asked him to get baptized and he said he would but the only problem is he doesn't speak Czech or English! haha so we have had a hard time teaching him, basically Gabriel translates for us but he doesn't speak good English either so its rough! We'll see how it goes!
Sorry I don't have any time left so I will tell more about it next week! Love you all!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Week 2 in Plzen

This week was great! The members are awesome and love to spend time with the missionaries so we get to do activities with them every once in a while which is so fun! I met a member named Gabi, she is the girl that I skyped in the MTC, it's crazy that I got put in the same city that she lives in. It was awesome that I got to meet her in person, she is crazy though! One time we were having a lesson with two investigators at the church building and she just walked in and started teaching with us, which is good though cause it is good to have members at lessons, anyways she keeps going way off topic talking about movies from America and all this stuff and then about half way through the lesson she pulls out an orange and started eating it and passing some out to our investigators! haha She's pretty funny!
On Tuesdays we get to teach English classes for an hour to anyone that wants to learn, so for like one hour out of the whole week I actually understand what people are saying! It's great! haha And one of my favorite investigators is from Romania so he kind of speaks English but no Czech so we teach him in English and he has been progressing really well except this last week he said he has to move because of work and he was telling us about how he works for the mob and I am pretty sure it is some kind of chop shop from how he described it so I am a little worried about him right now. But he is still meeting with us so hopefully we can figure things out! We have a lot of other investigators that are doing really well also, one guys name is Yun, he is from North Korea and he only got out of the country because his dad works for their government so he is going to school here but while he was here he realized that Korea is messed up and everything they taught him was wrong so he said here in Czech but because he never returned they killed his whole family so he is all alone. It is super sad but he is doing really well and he wants to get baptized!
So we have split zone leaders in my zone and because my companion is the zone leader he has to go on exchanges with the other zone leader a lot so me and Elder Beazer go on exchanges everytime the zone leaders go on exchanges and he has only been here for one transfer. So we are both really new and neither of us know the language very well and we were with each for two days! It was so fun though!
I also went to Prague to stay at the AP's apartment for the night then travel to Brno for training and as I was leaving the AP's said that they wanted to go on exchanges with me so I get to go to Prague again and go on exchanges with the AP's! It should be way fun!
Yesterday I gave my first talk in church. It went really well and I think everyone understood me for the most part so that was good! Then we went to a mental hospital to give the sacrament to a member there for depression but there are all of these crazy people that come up to me and ask me for stuff but I don't understand them. And we teach this one guy named Pavel that is there because he killed a guy but says he didn't so after 17 years in prison they put him there, he is not progressing very well. It's a super creepy place, I don't like it there... But it is great here and the language is coming a long alright! I love all of the people though and the members help with the language a lot!
One thing I have learned is that we definitely need to focus on the small blessings that God gives us each day, the more you focus on what good things have happened the happier your life is and the more you recognize God in your life. So this week look for those small blessing God gives us each day and remember to be grateful!
I hope you all have a great week!

Starší Paxton
This is when it first snowed and the view from our apartment.

Monday, January 4, 2016

1st week in the Czech Republic

​Hey everyone!! So I have had a crazy week! I was in the MTC for Christmas and it was great, we had a devotional and David A. Bednar came with his family! He passed out like 150 cell phones to text him a question we had and then he did a Q&A thing. I got to sit on the second row right behing his family and it was so cool being that close him! It was really cool to hear his answers and his testimony! Then that night David Archuleta performed for us! That was so much fun!
On Monday we flew to the Prague which took forever and we lost a whole day because of the time difference! But I just slept on all the flights so I didn't care! haha When we finally got to Prague we met the President and his family and they took us on a tour of Prague. It was amazing to see such an old city with huge castles and amazing buildings! It is so beautiful here!! The next day I met my trainer Elder Needham and went the the city I am serving in, Plzen! It is a really cool city, the girl that I skyped in the MTC lives here but she didn't make it to church so I haven't met her in person yet. Also they have the best Hockey team and Soccer team in the Czech Republic which is awesome!
On New Years Eve the Czech Republic goes crazy!!! There were fireworks everywhere and we had an awesome view from our apartment so we got to stay up and watch those. It sounded like a war zone throughout the whole day and night! But it was kind of scary because the last three or so days there will be explosions everywhere because people will just make huge home made firecrackers and stuff and throw them wherever they want so we have been walking sometimes and things will blow up next to us! haha But I think that is pretty much over with now!
We have had some good lessons that I try to participate in but I don't understand anything they are saying so usually I just throw in a few words here and there and hope they understand! My very first night in Prague we went contacting on the tram and they first guy I went to told me my Czech sucked and asked if I would speak in English to him, that has actually happened a few times. haha and on my first train ride some old man got really mad at us and starting speaking really fast and saying a lot of bad things, my companion understood him but I didn't understand him so it didn't really bother me. We also have an investigator at a mental hospital but they don't allow us to come in so we had to teach out in the snow. His name is Pavel and apparently he killed someone but he says he didn't. He was in jail for like 17 years and is now in the mental hospital. It was really weird there but whatever! Most of our day is spent contacting outside or on the tram, it is freezing!!! But I am getting use to it. A lot of people here will stop and talk with us but they usually don't want to meet with us again which sucks but we actually have a lot of investigators and people on schedule for baptism so that is great!!
On Friday I met the branch members and went on a hike with them, Plzen has some beautiful parks and lakes so it was cool to see that and meet all the members! We also got to play soccer with members and investigators on Saturday which was way fun and a couple of teenagers asked if they could play so after we talked to them about the gospel for a while!
So it's been good here, cold but good! And the Lord has helped me out a lot! It's crazy to see a place that doesn't have any faith or religion. Everyone is so sad and always drunk. I just want to say how lucky I am to have the gospel in my life to bring me joy and lets me know what my purpose is! And because of Jesus Christ and his Atonement we can be happy and live with our families forever! I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Starší Paxton