Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Trencin Blues


So this week has been amazing, but also pretty crazy. Everything is going...well, it's pretty much just going. Our investigators are doing AWESOME, especially two of them, teaching them is like teaching inactive members because they already believe everything and know it all by heart. One investigator's problem is she has a lot of trouble walking because of some severe scoliosis, but you wouldn't be able to tell that she has it until she tries to walk around you, it looks painful. Another investigator's problem is he doesn't like our branch, and he doesn't want to quit smoking. The good news is, since last week, he's come to church, and he made a friend with one brother, and a recent convert as well, so things there should take off and fly pretty soon, I'm really excited.
Map of Trencin

Trencin is getting kind of boring. This city is seriously so small, people already recognize me on the street, not because of my badge, but because I've personally contacted them before, which is good and bad depending on the person. For example, there's this little gang of satanists who, now that they know me always walk up and act really threatening and stuff, it's really annoying, especially when we're working on a regular contact who's actually interested. Anyway, I'm ready to go to a new city, but I'm getting the feeling that I'm staying here for another transfer at least. I'm not sure what to think of that.

Chris with his trainer and all those he trained
This last Thursday we had our monthly training in Bratislava, which I LOVED. I adore the outgoing missionary testimonies, especially because my mission is small enough that you know every missionary personally. Well, I shouldn't say that because I don't really know that many missionaries in the Prague and Jihlava Zones, but I at least know all of their names. As far as the Slovakia and Brno Zones though, it's a personal basis.

Chris finally found beef!
What I'm thinking of for my ideas of the week this week is I really want to try an idea I keep hearing about Hungarian missionaries doing, where you contact with a survey. It seems like a really good way of getting quick, meaningful contacts in which you can testify about something every single time. Just like a little 10 question survey about religion or something, especially because tabling is working so nicely. In answer to a question from last week, tabling is an idea I had because I saw some Jehovah Witnesses doing it, and my trainer found out they do it other places as well, where you go get permission from the City Council to grab a table and just go put it on the town square. Then you just sit at the table. It's really really effective, I love it. The other thing I'm going to work on is really getting our English class to be like professional grade, because our biggest problem now is that new people come all the time, but they only come once because they don't particularly like what they see. I know Slovaks really like hand-outs, so we'll see where this goes. The other thing is an idea the sisters had about making our Family History class a 3 workshop course called "What's your story?" I think it's a really cool idea, so hopefully we'll get to test that out as well.

Anyway, I love you all and hope that you have a great week!

Elder Chris Brousseau

Chris' now famous lasagna

Monday, March 24, 2014

Overcoming Fears

Missionaries can look good, right?!


Entertaining primary children
Ok, so to start out, I'm doing wonderfully at the moment, last night my companion and I had a companionship inventory that knocked the socks off of every other one I've had so far, it was nice. 2nd, I forgot to send pictures last week, so this week I'll be writing about some other stuff that I forgot about then as well! First, I don't remember if I talked about this, but I got to teach Primary when our conference was happening, which was absolutely perfect for me, especially because I was really missing my primary class back home, Gospel Doctrine is such a boring class compared to Primary or Sunday School. But in the class I taught with some magic tricks, and I actually did all of my magic tricks in both Czech, AND English, because the little boys were there and they don't speak Czech nearly at all. I really just adored it, I love the President's family.

Next, or actually sort of before that, we had a huge practice for our concert that's on Tuesday. That's gonna be weird, I'm playing "The Test" by Janice Kapp Perry, and "I've got to find out who I am" by Michael McClean. I've decided that the 80's were not a good time for LDS music. But on the guitar, I've made an arrangement for "Families Can Be Together Forever," and also...shoot, I forgot the name of this hymn in English, anyway, it's Užasnutý Laskou, which I'll also be playing for that, wish me luck!

Package from the "Australian Angel"
I forgot to say that a sister in the mission office is a little Australian angel, haha. When the President came, he brought mail for everyone, but I didn't have any mail, so this sister sent me a package from Prague with a little note, a candy bar and a conference talk in it, she's SO sweet.

My companion broke his ring one day last week, we were eating Pirohy and he just had it under his watch on the table, and when he put his watch back on, the ring fell and just shattered on the floor. He wasn't happy about that at all, his favorite companion bought that for him and then it just broke, and it put him in a bad mood for a while...That wasn't very fun.

Surrounded by beautiful history
Something cool that happened was meeting a local family. If you google nextdoormormon ( you should get to a site where you can read about a guy who was baptized here in Trencin last year and is going to BYU Idaho, he'll actually be singing in the Priesthood session of General Conference, so that will be cool. Basically, he was super Catholic, but felt like there was something off about the church, so even though he was on his way up through the catholic apostolic fast track, he jumped off and became Mormon. Suffice it to say, his family hates us, and when I got off the train in Dubnica Nad Vahom I was really scared to go find their house. We had been given a package to deliver to his family at the beginning of the transfer, but we've both been too scared of his family to go there until I finally said, you know what, we're just gonna get this done, I'm tired of staring at this package. It took us about an hour to find his address in the maze of Panelaks because there were several different streets all next to each other with the same name. When we finally did find the house, the package was too big to fit in the little mail slot, and I felt a prompting so I acted on it. I rang the zvoncek and when the mom answered, I said we had a package that was too big from their son, and she let us in and talked to us for a while, it was absolutely amazing. I don't think their family is any closer to becoming members, but maybe he wrote something that will help that out. We'll see how that goes.

Chris' apartment building
As far as investigators go, one lady, I don't know what's going on, it feels like her fire is just dying, she never has time to meet anymore, and I'm really worried about it because I've been here a month and a half and I've only met her once. I hope that changes sometime soon. One man knows everything is true, has a testimony of every part of the gospel, and wants to be baptized, but refuses to even try to quit smoking. I know it's hard, but at least put forth some effort, you know? We have a new investigator who's really cool. He is seriously a 6 foot 6 exact replica of one of my friends except he has a goatee, I'll have to send a picture sometime. Anyway, he's really cool, he agrees with nearly all of our doctrine, he just has 2 issues. #1, he doesn't understand the concept of only 1 church being true. #2, he believes in the 2nd chance theory because of some kid in England. We're working on him. Another sister is still a sweetheart, but unfortunately I haven't met with her since my last letter so I can't actually say anything about how she's doing. We did have a miracle with the Sisters' investigator. He brought his wife to church on Sunday, and they both really liked it. Poor man has never had a good experience in the last hour of church.
Using his unique talents to bless lives

In other news, I figured out how to make lasagna really well here, and we're starting to do that once a week, and I'm in heaven. I'm loving my guitar, and have figured out some really cool stuff on it, I'll record some of it and send it home. But that's pretty much it, I love you all so much and wish you a wonderful week.

Starší Chris Brousseau

Friday, March 14, 2014

Troubled Times, but Good Times


Chris and his companion
So sorry about last week, I really had like nothing as far as time goes, which is an overstatement unfortunately, so I'll do my best to remember all of the amazing occurrences which took place. First off, I'm completely ok, but we're getting more and more people fleeing from Ukraine to places like here and other parts of Slovakia, and I'm getting kind of antsy not completely knowing what's going on. I DO know from one of our less-actives about whom I'll talk some more in a minute, that there is an actual war going on in Ukraine right now, despite what the news is saying. Russia is asserting their dominance and taking back that strategic peninsula right above the Black Sea. I hope that everything gets figured out soon, and that our mission continues to remain untouched by this. Keep us in your prayers, there are a lot of new refugees here in Trenčín.

Trenčin, Slovakia
On a much brighter note, I can't believe that I wasn't able to write last week about this, I fulfilled one of my ultimate missionary dreams! We went tabling, an idea my trainer and I were working on when I got transferred, and I pushed it through the Metsky Urad here and made it happen! It was like 40X better than I expected it to be. I was out of my mind surprised when we had been doing it for like 2 minutes and a lady just WALKED UP TO ME and started talking to me about the class... For those of you who don't understand already, missionaries almost NEVER have anyone come up to them, we always go up to the people, to have somebody walk up to me is absolutely monumental! I was just floored and almost didn't know what to say to her. The other part, which kind of scared me, but is really memorable was about 5 minutes into it, we had just started to get some names and #'s for our class, when the police pulled up in a big van and one of them got out and walked up to me and I was SO grateful that we had remembered to bring our paper we got from the Metsky Urad saying that we were allowed to have a table on the nam there, there's no way that we would have gotten out of that one without a fine, even though we WERE legal if we hadn't had the papers. So that was one of my dreams fulfilled this week...

Chris' new tee-shirt from the pro bball team in Banska
Should have kept his elbow in... :) 
The next one happened on Thursday of last week, when we had our exchange. It was really strange for me to be on this side of the exchange, I'm used to being left by my companion, not having to accept 2 new people into my apartment and expect to feed them 2-3 meals and let them use my wonderful shower and everything like that. It was way weird for me. The amazing thing was getting to be companions with my trainer again for a day, that was SO cool! This is the city where he was trained, actually by that teacher in the MTC who knows a family in a stake. So what we did, which I am terribly looking forward to when I'm about to go home, is we looked up some people that he found and taught, who had been dropped, and we went and gave them a teaching again, and I have some amazing news. 2 of them are actually restarting to investigate the church! This gives me hope for all of the people who I have found who have lost interest, especially the ones who were doing so well. One of the people we are starting to re-teach has SIX pages all to himself in our area book, which total a crazy 64 lessons. He's been taught everything twice and refused it because he wasn't [ready yet]. When we went and visited him, he had lost 45 pounds, he now has an amazing job, and he's a go-getter ready for life, and he's looking for true repentance so that he can go forward without having any regrets from his past life, and seriously, he is going to be the coolest member ever. Another lady by the way is still on the road to baptism, I'm trying to push it to happen while I'm still here in Trencin, but if that's not God's will, so be it.

So then later in the week, we had a practice for our concert which will be happening on the 18th, in which I'm arranging 4 different songs, 2 of which I hate, but I guess I get to change them into stuff l like, which is good. I'm constantly surprised at the musical ability of this mission. A member here asked my companion and I in a meeting we had last week if it was a rule for missionaries that you weren't allowed to come unless you were good looking, and could sing and play at least one instrument. I laughed because he hasn't met another elder yet, haha. Anyway, I'm not having any trouble increasing all of my talents out here, despite the fact that I thought I wouldn't be able to.

He's still a cute boy...
On Saturday the President came to Trencin because we had a big conference on Sunday. I'm not sure what the conference actually is for, because I can't understand the word for it (They don't have a word for it in Slovak or Czech, and my Russian isn't very good yet). But on Saturday I got to teach a lesson with our mission president to an inactive member I referred to earlier. She has both of her sons staying with her right now, because they were fleeing from Ukraine, and oh my goodness, she is an absolute Saint. I just adore her, and President agrees with me that she will definitely be coming back to the church soon, there's no doubt about it, we just have to give her some time, because she knows everything is true and loves the members here and everything else, she's just wonderful. She has the best English of any Slovak I've ever met, and in fact, Mom, I offered her your email if she has any questions about it, is that ok? Because her questions are really hard to answer because her English is so good. She absolutely loves missionaries, and she can make the best tea in all of Slovakia, my goodness. I never had any idea how good fruit tea was before I came here, but I think I'm hooked, it's wonderful stuff, haha. The point of talking about her though, is that just the spirit we all felt being there with her and with president was tangible, I was amazed at her testimony, despite not having been to church in almost half a year, and I can't wait to see her back in our congregation. We also got some first hand news about what's going on in Ukraine, about people getting shot in the streets and other really scary stuff, so just keep the Ukrainian, Russian, and Slovakian missions in your prayers, I don't want to test how far the Lord will actually go to protect his servants.

Milújem ťa,

Starší Chris Brousseau

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Weekly Letter I forgot #losingtrackoftime#timeflieswhenyourehavingfun#timedoesntactuallyfly#metaphorssuck#sodoestwitter#hashtag#mayhem


Arranging hymns for the Mission President
Worn out after a long day of work! :)
Ok, so this week I don't have a whole lot of time for letter writing unfortunately, but hopefully I can get the same amount of adventure and spirit into this shorter time limit. This last week was a bit of a blast, we unfortunately did not hold our baptism this Saturday either, I'm really having to get better at this whole patience thing. The good thing though was that we were able to have a training! Haha, I'm getting to loving those too much, they're always so cool though, our mission president really is an inspired man. I was informed on Sunday that I needed to arrange a version of Redeemer of Israel for the training on Thursday, and I completed it! Then I was informed at the training that I wouldn't need it until the March training, so that was kind of a bummer, but it can only get better, right? And lol, I'll just arrange some other hymns too so no biggie. We got to stay in Bratislava on Wednesday night and ooooh boy was that fun, now that I'm not new anymore (I finished being trained last week! The bad part is I'll probably be training next transfer, and I am NOT excited nor ready for that...), I know pretty much all the missionaries now in the mission, and it's a lot easier to have a fun time around them. Also, about 2 months ago, I bought a really cool Banska Bystrica t~shirt, and my first companion went and picked it up and brought it for me at the training!!! I'll have to take a picture in it and send it home sometime. I love the missionaries here, you can really tell when you meet each of them, we don't have a single bad, uncommitted, or even unconsecrated missionary. No one gets trunkie, no one gets distracted, no one wants to go home, even for important surgeries (more on that another time), and most of all, no one doesn't love the crap out of each other. I adore every missionary here, it's so wonderful to be surrounded by all these amazing people all the time. At the training, we had a powerful lesson on the importance of getting investigators to church, because that's one of the biggest problems here as far as getting investigators to progress. We also talked about a cool principle we call cross-pollination where at church we advertise for English, and at English, we advertise for Family History, and at Family History we advertise for Concerts, and at Concerts we advertise for Church and learning more about Christ, just so that everyone who comes to these activities gets to see the whole picture of what we do, and why we're here. I found out as well that our Christmas concert practice in Banska Bystrica was actually filmed and put on Youtube, I think it's just going to be under vianoce koncert or something like that, but our investigator filmed and edited us so if you'd like to watch that, do some searching. ( good thing is I got it verified that it's actually on the English version of Youtube, not, so you don't even have to worry about it, you'll just see a picture of me and know it's us. It's not the best recording, but maybe you'll just like seeing it happen. Anyway, that's all I have time for right now, I hope to be emailing some actual spiritual stuff to you next week.

Love you all,
Elder Chris Brousseau