Chris' Special Tie Knot

Chris' Special Tie Knot

Monday, July 21, 2014

Creative Contacting


Hey all, so this week started out with a major bang. Our Nitra super-star returned from Praha, he is back in the house, haha. This is one of the Slovaks who's leaving very soon for a mission in the Alpine, Germany mission, and I have the opportunity of working with him for a bit before he heads off to the MTC in England. SO cool. But this week I didn't really take a lot of pictures except for the beginning and the end, so I apologize for the lack of visual explanations, I'll go over it during the week overview.

So Monday, we hit one of the oldest churches in the known world, it's this little old Roman chapel up on a hill overlooking all of Nitra, way cool. Also, our superstar showed the first PDA I think he's done in his whole life and put his arm around his girlfriend, she's a member from Bratislava, kindergarten teacher, way cool, and I got a picture, haha. I never thought that I would ever sound like that much of a creeper, but too late now, so oh well, they're just awesome.

Tuesday: I noticed on Monday on the hike that that little pain in my foot was especially strong, and discovered that somehow, that callus that I've built up from just walking around everywhere, had a blister on it. Somehow I got a blister on top/underneath my callus, I'm not sure which entirely...Also it's a little painful, but I'm just gonna put some dirt on it and it should be healed then. Also, finally got everything set up for the newspaper article. If you want to see the article, head to and click on Nitra and there I am on the front page along with an article that my companion and I wrote in Slovak! Isn't that cool?!? But had an awesome experience on Tuesday night where I was a little bit fed-up with doing calls and having no one answer so I decided to just be a teenager about it and text our entire phone just a simple sentance: Ahojte, mozeme sa zist tento vikend? From that, looking back on the week, we had 7 potentials set up with US just because of that one text, so cool how modernization can be good for the work. BTW, our mission has been approved for technology, so we will probably be receiving some pretty cool gifts from our mission president pretty soon.

Wednesday, was when my companion and I got again a little bit tired of just going places to set things up for us and did some focused contacting for the first time that week and it went REALLY well, especially because NOW, I can actually say to people, "yes, we'll accept your email if that's better than a phone #." But just a good day to get ready for the rest of the week, we did more personal preparation that day than on P~Day just because on P~Day we don't really have time to take a deep breath and slow down at all anymore just because we have to always rush around and get things done, that technology can't come fast enough.

Thursday: We had our exchange with the AP's. Funny story, President kind of switched up the formula on us, and when I heard about the exchange on Monday I called him up and gave him a piece of my mind about it... I had only ever heard of the AP's going on exchanges with normal missionaries (not in leadership positions) when those missionaries are being disobedient, and I couldn't stand my president thinking for even a second that I was being disobedient, but he resolved my concerns by telling me that he had been advised by Elder Holland to not use the assistants to "put out fires", but to use the District Leaders instead for that, and use the AP's to strengthen young missionaries that you intend to use later, so good signs, but I'm a little bit worried about what that means. Anyway, the exchange was amazing, somehow the biggest miracles always happen then. We met a guy who was so excited about learning more about our church that when He said, "I'll give you my phone so you can call me," I thought he meant his # until he tried to give me an ACTUAL phone because he wanted to make sure we could call him again. High hopes for him.
Friday: Went to visit the a family today, and finally got to find out the mom's main concerns, she's been avoiding telling missionaries this since the beginning, but she's not obeying the Word of Wisdom 100% and so we're going to help her work on her testimony of that so that she can feel and be ready for baptism. Unfortunately, at the moment I can't remember a whole lot more about Friday other than it rained and wasn't very pleasant, but I don't remember why so whatever, Friday was a day my brain doesn't want me to remember. Found a cool guy that day though, who is a Born-Again Christian preacher who says definitely he wants to try to get baptized just in the off-chance that our church happens to be right, haha.

Saturday: Uneventful, other than getting some good ice cream.

Sunday: Horrible, I really needed every bit of what I learned on the exchange and throughout my mission so far to keep myself from just sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk and crying. Speaking of which, on the exchange I learned 2 things, neither of which I expected to learn. 1:Another missionary is a very positive guy, and I noticed something in me, that I tend to wait until the people around me show some sort of positivity before I actually am verbally or outwardly positive. I mean, I obviously don't have a bad attitude, but I've been neglecting trying to build up everyone around me regardless of how they're feeling at the moment thus far, and so I'm trying really hard to just wreck Satan with my positivity every second, and it's going well so far. 2: I feel like I'm a pretty good finder, and I feel like a really very effective missionary, however, I noticed that the more opportunities I look for  to find people, the more opportunities I'll find. I really took to heart right before the exchange the phrase in Preach My Gospel to always be prepared to share a short powerful statement of restored truth, and those always seem to be interesting to people, whether it's the person right behind the person you're already talking to, or even the information desk lady at the mall, or the angry man who threw your badge into a bush. The worst part of Saturday was this lady who we contacted who was really really nice, or at least seemed that way, because she just randomly started attacking us in every way she could. She found out really quickly that she couldn't break out doctrine because she wouldn't let us open any scriptures so we were teaching and testifying from the heart, so she started attacking our appearance, our accents, our age, our families, America, everything you can think of, she insulted me personally about. I was so hurt. But we had the opportunity after the contact of looking at each other and saying, we can NOT end on that, and contacting around for another hour without success before the Lord blessed us. On the way home, feeling sad and broken but not wanting to have anyone see us like that, all of a sudden because we decided to go for one more contact and go out on a limb, we were blessed with an opportunity to each teach a lesson, and get a bunch of people to listen and be interested and invite their friends over to listen and be interested as well. They're going to invite us to a community grill next week where they want us to talk to all of them so they can learn more. Also visited a sister in the area, who's an angel. But that's why we have Halusky on Sunday nights. We always need to end on a good note.

Ja mám vás veľmi rád, a ja dufám že tato sprava vám dava silu a sťatie tento tyžden, (Google translate: "I got you a very happy and I hope that this report gives you the power and become this week.")

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Sunday, July 13, 2014

Modlitba Detí v Nutrí Synagogy

Chris likes to climb trees

So wow, what a blast. First of all, these titles are probably just going to make Google Translate cry, it is really, really terrible at Slovak. I should know, I did some translations for Prague this week because my mission president has been talking up my language skills. It is ridiculous to translate church terms like endowment and sealed to spouse into languages that have like 16 different words to say each of them, but myself and one of the members on the official translation team for the church were able to get it pretty much figured out, thank heavens. But suffice it to say, we laughed quite a bit at what
GoogleTranslate spit out when we put in simple phrases, like, "I ate some bread inside my house," came out as, "Inside I was eaten house." Maybe there's a good job opportunity there when I get home. But let's see, here are some highlights from my week.

On Monday, since our District is small and we're in a big city we don't see each other very much unless we plan to, so on P~Day, we went and played Bang in the building. We all spoke Czech while we did it too, like normal. Czech is a weird thing. I adore the accent of a Czech person, but when they speak Czech, it sounds like there's some things going wrong in their brain to me. A Czech accent speaking Slovak is really where it's at. But yeah, ordered pizza and the whole shabang, great P~Day activity.

Take time to 'sharpen the scythe..."
Tuesday, we had District Lunch at this crazy Italian place that we're never going back to. Our group leader here is Italian and he said that this place is the most authentic food in Nitra. Turns out nobody really likes Italian food, they like American-Italian food, because real Italian food is pretty nasty-rank-not-good.

Wednesday during service, I finally got around to editing some of my favorite photos from my mission on my camera, and it was pretty sick. Also got to use a legitimate scythe because the lawnmower is "broken" (not really, Slovaks just think we're kinda stupid), and the weed-whacker really is broken, but they won't believe me about that. So we used the scythe that I sharpened and we got a lot done and I have blisters (yay). Also climbed a tree and found baby birds.

The field is white, ready to harvest
Thursday I had an Exchange with another elder. I like him a LOT more than I did my first transfer, I hope that my love towards other missionaries just continues to grow. We set up for me to be able to
practice on a big nice grand piano every morning for an hour until our concert on August 5th, which PRESIDENT IS COMING TO because he heard how successful the last concert that I headed was, he's going to come play his violin and I'm going to accompany him. And guess where this concert is that is going to be about Christ? That's right, I'll tell you the week of the concert because it's a surprise.

Friday I actually got to GO and practice, which was beautiful and amazing, I have never been so happy about practicing the piano in my life. I'm going to be playing a couple of hard things, I'm arranging Savior Redeemer of my soul for a Solo voice and a solo Violin both with a piano accompaniment, so that's gonna be cool and I'm playing "O Divine Redeemer" for another elder.

Using Elder Brousseau's unique gifts
Saturday Miracle! So a lady is a little antsy about picking a baptismal date. Her main concern right now is that she doesn't have enough time to go and try out all of the churches so she can't know FOR SURE that ours is correct, and we're going to address that concern with, why don't you ask God? He knows which one is right, and I guarantee he'll say it's ours. But we had a wonderful lesson with her, she's progressing so well, she's a little dentist who lives in a super small Hungarian village, it's sweet. But on the way home, I went a little bit out of my comfort zone, and instead of just sitting on the traveling bus where we're actually not allowed completely to contact because people get so angry, I went up and just was talking to the bus driver and ended up teaching a SOLID restoration lesson, and I'm sure something will come of it, because we see him at least once a week.

Sunday Our group here is sweet. I can't WAIT until we're able to call ourselves a branch, and I'm positive that the work I'm doing right now is doing a lot more than setting a foundation here, it's more like setting up a trampoline for the next missionaries, or maybe even me to spring off of. We taught a sweet lady again after church, and she told us that she has been really surprised by our church in making sure that not a single young man that they've sent to her has been stupid.

Anyway, in other news, the newspaper article should be published next week if we have any luck,  it's going to be great, and we're having an exchange this Wednesday. With the AP's. That means only 1 of 2 things when they come and exchange with missionaries that aren't in leadership positions or training: 1. That we're extremely disobedient and need to change. or 2. President is planning on giving one of us a doozy of a responsibility in the near future. The last time this happened was when my trainer was called to be a Zone Leader AND a trainer in a new area. And I know that we're not being disobedient in the slightest so wish me luck!

S Laskou,

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Making Inroads...

Good looking district!

So yeah, I wanted to start out with something that I've started doing that's helped me out a bit the last couple of weeks. I, at the end of last transfer started writing in my Misionársky denný plánovač ever day from 7-8 "shuffle." Why would I write that you ask? Well #1 because every day I'm shuffling, but #2, I've found that when I get out of the shower if I go and just shuffle cards for a while, while reading my scriptures, it helps me to keep pretty calm and focused the whole day, and also I never feel tired while reading because I've got something to do during it. And then every time I open my planner up, I just have to smile. So on to the week.

Monday: P~Day had, unfortunately, a lesson drop, and also an investigator drop us, but it's a good thing. We heard from some general authorities that if we aren't getting rejected a good # of times every day that we aren't truly doing the Lord's work, because he was prophesied to be throughout history rejected and scorned. Filling my end of that bargain currently.

Tuesday: We had a boss District Meeting where we got lots of things figured out, napriklad, we're going to start working with our building manager to have signs for the church at least on the list of names outside so that people looking for us can find us, because we've had that problem in the past...but we're also starting to work on our concert for real. This thing is going to be awesome. Ours is the most talented musical district in the entire mission, and we are prepared to show it and invite people to the gospel because of it. We also went and found a company called Echo, which is a newspaper here. That's right, we're planning on being in the newspaper, AW YEAH. But seriously, we went to go see if there was a possibility, and the people there LOVED us, they had been talking about Mormons earlier that day and were just floored that we were normal people, and that we were American (they thought we were Slovak). So yeah, that was pretty sweet, there's going to be an article published in 3 newspapers here, Echo, Sme, and...I can't remember the last name.

Wednesday: Went and did service again, but it went really really weird. We were mowing and some guy came up to us and said, "hey, I know you're American. Is that how they mow things in America? Because I've never done it that way in my life." and we said, "Oh gosh, NO, we have real lawnmowers in America, we've never done it this way either." Then we kind of just looked at each other and he went in and talked to the people who told us to mow that way. Turns out they DO have a mower, just didn't want to tell us. Haha, can't wait to see them next week.

Thursday: Ooh, something I forgot about Wednesday, we taught a cool English lesson that we got complimented on by our students. It was about Quantum Physics, which I know a tiny bit about and so does my companion. We talked about rules, and then about how even tiny things like atoms MUST obey rules. Then we talked about how the "why" was that when we force a certain type of atom to disobey the rules of Opposite Attraction, and also Nuclear Orbit, namely by splitting apart, that it creates a very high powered explosion which is the center of an atomic bomb. They really liked it. But Thursday we had a singing display on the street, which I'm very happy with, those things are getting more and more successful. We were also on an Exchange so I was back with another elder from the MTC!  So that was awesome, we put an ad in a different newspaper called the Pardon for English, because I'm getting into the habit of making friends with businessmen and government people and also now newspaper reporters. Slovakia is really setting itself up to have everybody just all of a sudden get baptized. Game night was awesome, we played Bang! and we played it in Czech, because the rules and the cards were all in Czech. That was great.

Friday: Spent most of the day on busses going to Hronovce and Želiezovce, which are both closer to Hungary than they are to Nitra. But we went and visited 2 members and an investigator and just had a great time, our investigator says that she'll be baptized as soon as her son has a job, so keep her in your prayers.

Saturday: Sort of disappointing. Just one of those days where you were doing everything right, but nothing went right. I really have learned to love days like this though, because it helps you to be able to see all of the days that went really well, and on top of that, it helps you notice what you ARE doing right. For example, we had a goal to find a venue for our concert and that we weren't going to stop talking to people and stores and everything until we did. We didn't find a venue, but we DID talk to several hundred people telling them that we were missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and that we believe in praising God for everything, so that might have helped plant a few seeds. And then I got to teach!!!!

Sunday: Dang huge storm came in and just stopped the work. Ended up just practicing hymns for the concert in our church building with the other Elders because it wasn't safe to go outside.
Big Storm in Nitra, Slovakia
Street Contacting

So I've come to the conclusion that there is no such thing as a hard area, just a different area. This area is brand new, with a hotline straight to the Papeš, and people have been saying it's the hardest area in the mission. Then my companion and I went and taught more lessons this week than every other companionship in our Zone. The same as everything else in life, you just need to plan effectively and excecute flexibly using things that work for your circumstances. It doesn't matter what situation you're in, it matters what attitude you have, and when that attitude is fearless, shameless, and happy, you're going to kill it. Keep us in your prayers, the Lord is very good to us, and I don't want pride on my part to stop the work/blessings here. I want to have a quick shout-out to the future missionaries in my ward, you guys are amazing, I can't wait to hear all about your missions, and then to my dad. Thanks so much for your advice, that teaching a solid first discussion every day thing had better really start moving the work forward here because I've been doing it for 6 months now. To my brother: I am so ridiculously glad to hear that you and my buddy were the bunnies on that King's Peak expedition. That tradition that we worked so hard to build is very important for our ward, you're strong and patient, and leading the pack and then making sure no one is left behind is a skill that will benefit every situation you come in contact with. Keep doing that.
Grandma, I'm so sorry I forgot to put you in my threads, I hope that this satisfies.
Mám vás všetci strášne rad,
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