Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello Again, From Trencin

Hey all,
Welp, I survived my first transfer in the country. I am still in Trenčín so the address is still the same. (Hint: That means you can keep the letters coming...) Elder Bodily transfered out to Banska and Elder Taylor will be follow-up training me. (psh, like I even needed training.) Elder Taylor is from Brigham City, UT and so far its been a great match. I told him that we mostly walk everywhere in Trenčín and he said that we will be abandoning the "wicked traditions of our fathers and look into bus passes. We are going to be switching things up in this city." We will be getting along just fine I think. Missionaries in Trenčín have been doing the same thing forever and I have been DYING to do something new. Trenčín will be the city of miracles baby. Gonna make it rain!

Last week was a crazy one. Tuesday we spent part of the afternoon with Zuzka, a member in Zlina who served a mission in San Fran about 8 years ago. Shes great, probably my favorite member- mostly because she says outrageous things. I like outrageous people. That night we went to Olomouc in the Czech Republic and stayed at some Elders apt there. Thursday morning was another train and a metro to Prague. I was blown away at the beauty of Prague when I first arrived in the country, but its breathtaking in the winter with the snow. The morning of the conference was a little talent show, which was fun/strange to see missionaries get a little silly. The ballet number from the Kosice elders was especially memorable, as was the monolouge by the senior Elder Anderson. After the morning session we split into groups and sang in the city. It was pretty cool to be in a namiestie in Prague, during Christmas singing Christmas songs, even though I normally do NOT sing... (look at me, trying new things) We then had lunch and Elder Nichol, Sister Anderson and Sis Bartholomew all sat together like the old MTC days. They are two of the cutest sisters ever. The goodbyes always take forever and Nichol gets sooo annoyed. lol After the lunch we had the conference part of conference where we watched the First Presidency Christmas message and President Irwin spoke to us. I heard some things that I def needed to hear. I just love my Mission President. I did have this weird panic attack halfway through the conference about coming home. What am I going to do? Will I have a job? Where will I go to school? How will I afford law school? Back to Tucson, stay in Phoenix? Am I ever going to get married?? I go into this panic mode sometimes and I hate them. I realize that I do not need to worry about ANY of that at all. But they keep coming up in my dreams. I think I need to look for a therapist soon. As soon as I know enough Slovak..... Any thoughts?

Christmas Eve Bodily and I hung out in Zlina all day and went to Midnight Mass with my district. The Cathedral was gorgeous and had beautiful paintings of the life of Christ on the ceiling. Even though I didnt understand anything it was a nice experience for me to look up and think about the life of the Savior and what it means for me. Whodda thunk a mormon missionary could have a spiritual experience in a Catholic cathedral during midnight mass? Christmas Day was spent mostly in Zlina and it was nice to kinda just chill. I would have liked to have spent the day in my own apartment but we live our lives around the train schedule. It was fun to talk to you all (family, that is) and hear the updates. Thank you, thank you for the Christmas package, loved everything! Thanks also to my Grandma Marilyn for her package, Ill be eating cookies for months, the Laurels of the Highland Groves Ward and the Wood Family. Tabasco sauce? Brillant. They definitely helped make Christmas feel like Christmas but the best is just knowing that people are thinking of me and supporting me way out here. I have so much to be grateful for. Thats for sure. :)

Things are going to start rolling in Trenčín. I am excited for it. Taylor and I will be getting ourselves unified and start on the right foot and just run with it!

I love you all!

Elder Williams

PS I tried to send pictures but it didnt work. :( I dont know why!! Sorry! But know that I'm trying. :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Feliz Navidad

I guess I should say Pekný Vianoce as I ought to be speaking more Slovak.... :)

A thousand aplogies for no update on Monday (I'm sure all of you just look forward for those Monday updates) but because Christmas is this week our p-day was moved to Wednesday so we have time to travel to Prague --- for Christmas!

Last week, if you remember, we were going to help our one lone investigator quit smoking. Well, that didnt turn out so well and we are no longer teaching him. So we are just putting all of our efforts into finding more people to teach! Its funny, a couple weeks ago we had the best week in terms of numbers that Bodily has ever had, and this week we had the worst hes ever seen. Its a good thing I like talking to people....

On Wednesday I went to my first zone conference in Zlina with all of the Slovak Elders. (The entire country of Slovakia is in the same zone!) It was great to meet all of the missionaries Im serving with finally and to have a real interview with my mission president. I love President Irwin, he and I were able to really talk about things that were on my mind and he pretty much told me to get over myself. lol Something I try to remind myself to do everyday.

After the conference Elder Bodily, Bacon, Nichol, Butler and Evans (who, oddly enough, knew my old roommate Victor back in Kentucky, small world. We swapped some Vic stories. Good ol Vic.) anyways, we all left for Bratislava that night because we had to go to VIENNA for our visa work the following morning. Why we had to go to another country for our Visa work was a question that was never answered, something to do with the EU though. We spent the morning and afternoon in Vienna with our attorney, Andrea, and her assistant Miriam. Vienna is such a beautiful city and we all had a blast. A nice little break from Trenčin for sure! The Visa stuff should be fine now and I shouldn't have anymore problems. I think FBI just has to do another background check. Funny thing about my passport that I never noticed is that my birth date is wrong! No one has ever noticed with the exception of the attorney (the Church only hires the best apparently) who told me to not worry about it. So well see if I can sneak past the FBI yet again....

When we got back in Trenčin Bodliy and I planned for our week and talked about how we can apply the things we learned from the Zone Conference. We got pretty pumped up about the rest of the transfer. I brought up my little street display idea again as the APs discussed how that was pretty successful for them in Prague. This has been something that I have been wanting to do for literlly WEEKS, but we weren't sure how well it would work in Trenčin. And Bodily was a little nervous about talking to the "city hall" people about making sure its legit. I wanted to make sure we don't run into any problems with the city. Despite his uneasiness my stubborn my-way-or-Ill-refuse-to-cooperate attitude kicked in and are going to try it out next week. :)

Im also working on being less prideful and learn how to compromise.

Friday we had a full day. We voluntered at an elementary school. We followed the English teacher everywhere and pretty much just sat and asked/answered questions with the kids. It's kinda funny seeing that even though I am thousands of miles away from "normal", people are pretty much the same. Teenage girls are too cool (more like shy?) to talk to you and the boys are fooling around. Teachers all act the same way and just the way the school felt was the same. The teacher we were with is hilarious. Favorite lines of the day: "Girls, why are you so quiet?? Quiet girls never get married you know!" and "Can you "kill" other things? Like can I kill a chicken?" There was a question about whether or not someone used the word "kill" correctly. I just said, "Oh, you can kill anything that's living." (Meet the Parents reference, anyone? kinda sorta?)
We then had our little branch Christmas party, that was a lot of fun. As an activity we put together a little emergency kit that fit into a little matchbox. I had a hard time understanding how and why I would use some of the things in it and was told I was a terrible scout. Do they know me or what?

On Monday Bodily was sick so we took a day off and let him recover. I held my tongue the WHOLE day. I have become incredibly anxious when I am not outside moving. So I wondered around the apartment all day and tried concentrating on reading Ensigns. I did a pretty good job. I discovered that I hate being inside the apartment--I feel like I am wasting my time. I know that we needed to-- if we didn't it could have taken longer for Elder Bodily to recuperate, but I still hated it.

So now we are in Zlina  as part one of the trek to Prague and tonight we will be going to Olomouc and stay with the Elders there. Tomorrow morning we are going to Prague for our Mission wide conference. I am way excited to get with all of the missionaries as well as see my two sister missionaries from the MTC. We'll spend the whole day in Prague. I'll be sure to keep an eye out for Tom Cruise. (word on the street is that he's filming Mission Impossible III there --sounds like my mission right now... lol) On Christmas Eve we'll be spending the night with the Zlina Elders and then back in good ol' Trenčín for Christmas. We have a dinner with a member that night so I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me!

Next week is transfers week so my update will be on Wednesday again!

Elder Williams

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hey Ho!

Hey all,

This was pretty much a hot and cold week. In every way really. We started the week off with temperatures ranging from 0-10 degrees so all the snow melted. Now its back down in the negatives and were covered in snow again. Fantastic.
On our plan we had a busy week with a slew of new people to teach, both Bodily and I were pretty excited about it. However, it seemed that after every meeting we had to drop them. Some dropped us, others we dropped, so it was kinda demoralizing, however, I am determined to keep going and find even more people to teach!

On Friday we were visited by the Zone Leaders for splits. I love splits. Not that I'm dying to get away from Bodily or anything, Its just kinda nice being with someone else for a change. They had a car so we were able to go where ever we wanted to tract! It was SO nice being able to just zip to where we wanted to go! Definitely a luxury  However, I don't think I would have lost 10 pounds with a car. (I know, I'm going to come back looking like a stick!)

This week I've been thinking about my teachers in the MTC. For some reason they have all become a part of my conscious. (scary, right??) For example: sometimes Ill stop myself and think, "Would Bro. Van de Gaf think that I'm wasting time right now?" or "Would Baughman think that was too inappropriate " or, "Would Bro Pugmire think I'm taking myself to seriously and would he make fun of me right now??" or even, "Would Starling think I'm being awkward right now??" I'm terrified of a positive answer to any of those.....

A word on the Slovak language: it seems that every single word in Slovak has about 10 variations to it. They throw on a prefix like po-, pre-, pri-, zo-, etc etc. Our Branch President takes a couple minutes during branch council to teach us Slovak. Everything has gone over my head.

So I'm still struggling with the language so I'm still a normal missionary.

Mom, Alžbeta was SO happy to hear about the Skrlecs and sends her thanks to you and Emily for visiting them. She told the whole branch about them! I told her to write a little history of the branch since they left. She'll give it to me on Tuesday. Can Paul still read Slovak or should we translate it? We'll probably translate it so I can read it :)

Until next week!


ps I'm sorry letters are taking forever, I never realized that missionaries really have ZERO time. But they are coming!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Still warm in Trencin

By all counts this was a pretty successful week. We had weekly planning on Friday and we went over all of the people we are teaching and discussed what we need to do to to allow them to progress further towards baptism. Bodily said that we are teaching more people then he has taught. Im not sure if thats throughout his own mission or just the time hes spent in Trenčin. But we are teaching 8 people right now. I guess thats a good solid number for Slovakia, but I am not happy with it and I intend on doubling it. We taught 10 lessons this past week (which is excellent considering that the week before we were at 2. Yes, 2 lessons in 7 days) Im expecting that number to also increase. I figure if we can expect the miracle we will get the miracle. Right?? We met a couple way cool people this week too that I am looking forward in getting to know. Bodily and I are getting better at working with each other and the members seem to be still excited to help us out. All I need now is better language skills!

I have been studying the attributes of Christ in my personal study and the other day I was on charity. I looked up the word for charity in Slovak, právo láska, which literally means "true love". Pretty cool huh? And that pretty much sums up charity, really. lol

Now that is it getting colder, about -5 C (feel free to do the math, but its cold) people arent out like they used to be. And so we are inside tracting more and more. We have a great Family Home Evening activity to do, and some other interesting things planned to do and show people, but I am pretty convinced that no one will ever let us in. Which is probably my problem-- a lack of faith. (Tomorrow I will be studying faith, so hopefully that will change :p) We did manage to find two of the people we are teaching through tracting-- but one was a "come back again and Ill think about it" and with the other we have an appt to teach the mom at the building tomorrow. But we take what we can get for sure.

Mom, I told Sister Alžbeta you found the Skrlecs and she was so happy! I told her I would give her an update on how they are. And Ill send pictures of the branch when I can. Im not sure how much the branch has changed since they came. Her son is the branch president and we have about 7 active members. But they are some of the strongest members Ive ever met. Its definitely made me thankful to grow up in a regular ward. Imagine having to speak or give a lesson in church every other week! lol

I'm sorry I don't have more to talk about. This week has been pretty normal. I've just been keeping my head down and working. I made a resolution (its never too early to make resolutions, right?) to wear out my companions. Some missionaries are known for some things, they're all good missionaries but you got the "funny one", or the "quiet one", or the "one that speaks really good Slovak", etc etc etc and so I decided that I will be known as the "work horse". The one where when companions are assigned to me they'll know that we won't be wasting any time. But don't wory and think that I'll stress out and exhaust myself by the end of these two years, I am just determined to make the most out of these two short years and leave Slovakia knowing that I "fought a good fight".

Christmas is just around the corner and we bought a little Christmas tree today. A two footer! lol I don't want anymore dismal holidays like this last Thanksgiving.

I just got your email about the Skrlecs, glad you were about to meet them and had so much fun! They seem like great people! Definitely loved by the branch. The ones that never met them have heard stories about them. His family sounds like the regular Slovak Family. Drinking all day over the weekends... Word of Wisdom is a hard thing over here. The mountain range here is the Tatras, ta tas are something different.... lol I will send a better update next week-hopefully with pictures.

Glad to hear everyone is doing fine at home. I'm sure Logan is enjoying the wheels, I miss driving...

I'm sure I am forgetting something, but until next week, čao!

Starši Williams