Starší Chris Brousseau::Mission Blog! Chris is currently serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Czech/Slovak Mission. This blog is a way to share his adventures and experiences with his friends and family. Male missionaries are given the title "Elder." Starší is the closest Czech translation and means "older."
Chris' Special Tie Knot
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
A Good Week
Famous church building in Banska Bystrica
Hey all, what's up? I really have no idea where to start, I guess that's going to be a common theme for my emails, haha. Um...well, we make German pancakes and that French Toast I love all the time. This sounds so wonderful until you find out that we ran out of Mapleine last week. I thought that that was just something you could get anywhere, it's just this little bottle where you put half a teaspoon in a pot with some water and sugar and you get 3 cups of pretty decent tasting maple syrup. Then I found out that the only Maple Syrup they have here is like 15 Euros for a little like 1/2 liter thing, it's TERRIBLE. So I petition you my family, please send me some Mapleine, I don't need very much, but these things require syrup and we can't get any without having to forgo eating for a while. Anyway, thanks so much in advance, and hey, Mom, you should organize a big family home evening and read from Quentin L. Cook's address to new mission presidents from like June or July, oh my gosh, talk about deja vu!
So anyway, my investigators are either doing really well or really badly. For example, on Sunday we had the best day ever and had 3 investigators at church--I'm so happy about it. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there was an investigator who suddenly was wanting to meet with us more often, which we were happy about until we found out that he was just wanting to so that he could chew us out about being missionaries and tell us our mission is hopeless and try to get us to leave Slovakia. Thank you Grandma and Grandpa, your advice on talking to Catholics has helped us a lot. Suffice it to say that now I'm fighting for a baptism so that my trainer can have that (he has yet to participate in one), before the end of his mission. One thing that we've found works pretty well ever since we started using it yesterday is just be shameless. Haha, by that I mean, the people here really don't enjoy accepting service of any kind so that kind of stuff really doesn't work, so instead, we simply ask them to help us and when they ask with what, we say we're missionaries and we need help finding someone to teach, do you know anyone who's a strong believer in Christ? So far it's worked every time.
This week we're trying to work specifically on a couple of people. First, there's a member here who we're trying to just make contact with. We know her phone # and where she lives, but the man of the house always answers the phone or the doorbell, it's SO annoying, cause he's all like, "you came again?!? I'm calling the police!!" And we're just like, "dude! We just want to say hi, just let her talk to us, and you called the police last time and they didn't do anything, what makes you think it will change? We're not doing anything wrong." The first time I was actually kind of scared until I saw him, he's like 5' 0". But the poor lady, I'm 100% sure this guy is at LEAST verbally abusive and I mean, he won't even let her answer her house phone, which does NOT have caller ID, we know this. Keep us in your prayers there.
Fun photoshopping. Chris and his trainer
Our other investigators are flourishing because our finding is gradually getting better as I improve in the language. Last week we had 6 new investigators, you should have heard our District leader when we were doing call-in reports about it. Now all I'm hoping for is to be able to get all of them to be progressing and then baptized. This last week we had just the coolest training ever. It was in Brattislava, and my goodness, President McKonkie is just inspired. We talked about Branch-building, which is where I got that talk I mentioned earlier. We need to get the attitude that we're on a normal mission out of our heads. Slovakia is different from every other mission in the world, and we need to start acting like it. Remember how last week I felt a little bit stifled by the amount of rules? Well President said to us yesterday that if it isn't in the white handbook, it's not a rule. Holy liberation Batman! Haha, everything is so much easier to work now, when I suggest we do something in district meeting or at the apartment, instead of hearing, "Well something we couldn't do when we were on a mission in Africa was...," or "When the last mission president was here we weren't allowed to do that...," I hear, "well is there something against it in the White Handbook or Preach My Gospel?" I. Am. So. Grateful that the Lord has heard my prayers and that President feels like spiritual creativity is required for the people here. The first thing I want to try this week is go contacting to teach piano lessons for free, with the only stipulation being a 45 minute lesson and then a 15 minute spiritual thought. I think that that would be just amazing here and it would help the people not only to accept us, but I'd get to be around pianos a lot more than I already am, and hopefully a real piano, not just a keyboard. Haha, remind me to try and get into Grandma and Grandpa Burton's will for their piano. And the Cabin.
So I'm swiftly running out of time, but I'm a firm believer in the creativity of groups, so I'm going to put forth the question, what should I try? Do you have any exeriences from your missions that you'd think would help me here in Slovakia? How do you think would be the best way for me to contact someone, what words would help you be interested in this church?
This is their grocery store.
In answer to this week's questions, the weather is very moist. It's gross nasty almost rain. It's super misty and there's mud everywhere, but it's about 50-65 degrees every day, it feels like March or April here in January. It's very strange. At the grocery store every week we usually buy 8 litres of milk, and just whatever we want for us to eat that week, like for French Toast, we'll get some cheddar cheese (SO expensive), and some of that potatoe bread I've talked about before called knedličky, and we usually get a big thing of about 32 eggs every week. We usually have to buy flour every week, and we always get more ingredients for Halušky So that's bacon, potatoes, Brynza (Sheep cheese), Smotana (it's like sour cream), and onions. I still hate onions, but I'm finding that if I can't taste them they don't bug me so that's good. Thank heaven's we DO have a washing machine right next to our shower in our apartment, but we don't have a dryer, so we hang our clothes on this little rack in the winter and outside in the spring summer and fall. It's hard to say if everything's pretty close, I know that the Zone Leaders always get put in Banska Bystrica and Zvolen because they're in central Slovakia so it's about the same distance everywhere, but that distance is about 2.5 hours in every direction. Yeah, driving all the way across Slovakia is like Orem to St. George distance, isn't that crazy? And if you're referring to like grocery stores and stuff, yeah, we have a Billa (It's just like Smith's Slovak Style) right across the street, and right behind Billa is this awesome track and outdoor gym we go to every day. It takes about half an hour to walk from our apartment to our building (that picture of the street is the one the church building is on, leading up to the Namestie), and about 20 minutes to drive to Zvolen, so that's about everything. We usually do walk everywhere we go because we have a limit to the # of miles we can use.