As we live valiantly for Christ . . .

Dear Family and Friends,

Another wonderful week here in the Czech Republic! This week has been kind of crazy with the transfer, but it has been a wonderful start thus far.
Here is the day by day:

Sunday, January 8:
We went to church in the morning, and then right after we went to lunch with the District at a member’s home, so that Elder Smith could see everyone one last time. Afterward, we went to another dinner at another member’s home. And then it was packing and getting ready for transfer day.
Monday, January 9:
We had transfers! In the morning we helped the Sisters transport their luggage, and I met up with Elder Belshe, my new companion. Once we got together, we got to work on the missionary newsletter. Then, we had office meeting and lunch. Afterward, I trained Elder Belshe on the responsibilities of an Assistant, and we got to work pulling stuff together for the coming transfer.
Tuesday, January 10:
We had a meeting with President in the morning, and after we ended we went over to the Airport to pick up the new missionaries! After we picked them up we took them on a “Prague Walk” touring Prague Castle, Charles Bridge, Old Town Square, a stop at the Czech Kitchen for dinner, and we ended on Wenceslas Square. Then we took them contacting for a little bit on the Metro. After all of that, they were thoroughly exhausted, and we dropped them off at their apartment, and then we headed home.
Wednesday, January 11:
In the morning we had the new trainers training, where the new missionaries are assigned their first area and find out who their first companions in the field will be. And I became a “mission grandpa”, where a companion I trained got a greenie. So that was exciting! After that, we helped the new companionships get off to their new areas, followed by lunch with the office Elders. Then we had a meeting with the Morgans, where we discussed how to improve the Referral System here in the Czech/Slovak Mission. Then we went out and contacted for a bit on the street before we went to the departing missionary meeting.
Thursday, January 12:
We got up at 4 to take the departing missionaries to the airport, and it was sad to see them head out. Once we got them all on their way, we drove back which was an adventure… We took the missionary van there, and it happens to be stick…. And I drove it back, so I had my first experience driving stick, and we survived. Miracle of the week right there. Anywho, afterward, we had studies, followed by District Meeting and District Lunch. Then, we got out to go contacting for a bit in Prague. When we finished, we got back to the Office and got some more of our office work done and some trainings prepared.
Friday, January 13:
We had another meeting with President in the morning to prepare things for next weeks Missionary Leadership Council. Then, we did our conference call for our New District Leader Training. Then, we got some lunch followed by some finding. Then, we got back to some office work, before we weekly planned. To end the night we went and caught the last bit of Game Night with the members.
Saturday, January 14:
We did some studies in the morning, and then we went out and did some group finding with the District. After, we got lunch at the mall and did some fun group shopping and bonding. Then, we all went to dinner with our Ward Mission Leader, his family, and the other Ward Missionaries. And here I am now writing to all y’all.
For my spiritual thought this week I would like to share a brief story that was told during one of District Meetings. It is called “The Forty Wrestlers”


Long ago in the days when the ruling passion of the Roman Emperor Nero was the extermination of the Christians, there lived and served him a band of soldiers known as the “Emperor’s Wrestlers.”  Fine, stalwart men they were, picked from the best and the bravest of the land, recruited from the great athletes of the Roman amphitheatre.  In the great amphitheatre they upheld the arms of the Emperor against all challengers.  Before each contest they would stand before the Emperor’s throne.  Then through the courts of Rome would ring the cry: “We, the wrestlers, wrestling for thee, 0 Emperor, to win for thee the victory and from thee, the victor’s crown!”


When the great Roman army was sent to fight in far away Gaul, no soldiers were braver or more loyal than this band of wrestlers led by their centurion Vespasian.  But news reached Nero that the Christian faith, that seemed to know no bounds and which seemed to leap all barriers, had come among the wrestlers and many had accepted it.

To be a Christian meant death, even to those who served Nero best; so that this decree was straightway dispatched to the centurion Vespasian: “If there be any among the soldiers who cling to the faith of the Christian, they must die!”

The decree was received in the dead of winter.  The soldiers were camped on the shore of a frozen inland lake.  The winter had been hard, but the many hardships they had endured together had only served to unite them more closely.  So it was with sinking heart that Vespasian, the centurion, read the Emperor’s message.  Yet to a soldier there is one word supreme – and that is “duty”.  Vespasian called the soldiers together and asked the question:- “Are there any among you who cling to the faith of the Christian? If so, let him step forward!”  Forty wrestlers instantly stepped forward two paces, respectfully saluted, and stood at attention.  Vespasian paused.  He had not expected so many.  “The decree has come from your Emperor,” he said, “that any who cling to the faith of the Christian must die!  For the sake of your country, your comrades, your loved ones, renounce this false faith!”  Not one of the forty moved. “Until sundown I shall await your answer,” said Vespasian.  Sundown came.  Again the question was asked, “Are there any among you who cling to the faith of the Christian?  If so, let him step forward!”

Again the forty wrestlers stepped forward, and stood to attention.  Vespasian pleaded  with them long and earnestly without prevailing upon a single man to deny his Lord.  Finally he said:- “The decree of the Emperor must be obeyed, but I am not willing that your blood be on your comrades.  I am going to order that you march out upon the lake of ice and I shall leave you there to the mercy of the elements.  Fires, however, will be burning on the shore, and at the largest, I, your commander, will be waiting to welcome any willing to renounce this false faith.”

The forty wrestlers were stripped and then without a word they wheeled, and falling into columns of four, marched out towards the lake of ice.  As they marched they broke into chorus with the old chant of the Arena:”Forty wrestlers  wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor’s crown!”

All through the long hours of the night Vespasian, the centurion, stood by his camp fire and waited, and all through the long night came back to him fainter and fainter the wrestlers’ song.

As it neared morning one figure, overcome by exposure, crept quietly towards the fire; in the extremity of his suffering he had renounced his Lord.  Faintly, but clearly, from out the darkness came the song, “Thirty-nine wrestlers, wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor’s crown!”


Vespasian looked at the figure drawing close to the fire – and then out into the darkness whence came the song of faith.  Once again he looked – ah! who can say?  Perhaps he saw the greater light shining there in the darkness!  Off came his helmet down went his shield and he sprang upon the ice, crying,- “Forty wrestlers wrestling for Thee, 0 Christ, to win for Thee the victory and from Thee, the Victor’s crown!”
 
I know our examples our powerful. As we live valiantly for Christ we will be blessed, and they will see the true light that comes from following in His footsteps. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Have a great week!
Happy Days,

Starší Page
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