Dear Family and Friends,
How is everyone doing? Thank you so much for all of your prayers and words/letters/notes of support for our family. We feel your love and it helps us so much to think that you are all on our side. WE LOVE YOU. We are cheering for you and praying for you in your lives as well. Here are the highs and lows for the week ending July 7, 2013.
George's highs and lows
1. Meeting more missionaries.
2. Playing football where Elder Osterloh ripped his pants on the cobblestone and cut his knee (the missionaries were helping to entertain the kids after a zone conference while James did some interviews, in a town called Hradec Kralove) .
3. The tiger at the Lego museum.
4. Seeing the cathedral inside the castle.
Low: Grandmother great passed away
1. Lego store (And museum. He kept talking about how much Owen and Sam and Andrew Anderson and Andrew Gray and Evan would love it).
2. Showing George and Wilson the castle for their first time.
3. Meeting all the missionaries. That's my number one high. Being around the missionaries because they are all so nice. They're just ready to serve The Lord and be friends and be helpful. (On Wednesday we had lunch with the mission leadership council--outstanding leaders!!!)
4. I loved having Big Macs on the Fourth of July with the prague zone (the assistants pre-ordered all these meals for us to celebrate the 4th, and the missionaries from countries like Italy and Australia were happy to celebrate with us. I kept thinking of what my niece Carly said when she wrote home from her mission in Paraguay, that when you go foreign, McDonalds is all of the sudden so classy! True!)
Hyrum's Low: grandmother great died, but I hope she is happy with James the first.5. Getting our stuff from salt lake that we shipped in the beginning of May.
1. Sleeping for 13 hours one of the nights.
2. Meeting the missionaries and hanging out with them.
3. Walking around Olomouc (a city where we had another zone conference) and seeing a big tower about the Black Plague.
4. The prague castle
5. Drinking kofola. (it's like their diet coke, only without the fountain and pebble ice like at holiday oil)
6. Pizza for three meals straight
7. When our stuff came from our salt lake shipment.
8. Lego store (here they are after spending every speck of money they brought with them. A little retail therapy helped banish homesickness and culture shock on this day!)
9. Watching lord of the rings
1. Waiting at the foreign police for the people to figure out our passports.
2. Driving lots of hours in the car to get to different zone conferences
3. I need more veggies.
4. I'm missing my cousins a ton. Nothing is like cousins.
5. I'm sad that grandmother great died but I'm glad that she gets to see 6. James Wilson McConkie the first again.
7. Forgot belt on our road trip, which is essential to holding up church pants. So at the Brno branch, wore moms ribbon around waist as a belt. Embarrassing.
1. Getting shipment
2. Going on walk to castle
3. Seeing Kate Sampson (thanks for meeting us for dinner, Sampson family!)
4. Getting fruit and ice creams and bread.
5. Meeting sister Munro (an angel senior missionary who is in the office with her husband helping James all day. They work so hard and run this mission beautifully. She had to spontaneously help at our house while some cabinet builders were here and I was at a meeting with James and the leadership council. When I rushed home to see the kids, sister Munro and Evie were having a heart to heart at the kitchen table, both of them teary-eyed and sharing special experiences. She is just what Evie needs right now. We love her!)
1. Constant ache that's still in a pit in my stomach all of the time.
2. Hearing about grandmother great.
1. Hearing James teach each zone conference. I can hear the same general lesson/talk three times in three days and not get tired of it at all. His heart is 100 percent in this. He is my favorite teacher.
2. Seeing the kids with the missionaries. Actually, just seeing missionaries in general! I loved the parts at the zone conferences where companionships were asked to stand and teach us how God had blessed them lately. The stories were amazing, and their faith was too. Here is a picture of some of the sisters. I love our missionaries.
3. Awesome hymns at church and with the missionaries at zone conferences. They really don't hold back when they sing! I love it! Mom, you would be so proud of their tempo and volume and enthusiasm:)
4. Watching my kids as they opened a Fourth of July package from the townsends. Thank you!!
5. Our BOWTIE quilt made it safely in the shipment this week and is now on our bed. I love reading names of sisters from the ward on the back who surprised us with it in May. We love it! Thank you dear friends!!!
6. I felt the Spirit today in the Brno branch. It was testimony meeting and I was in the congregation with the saints and the kids. I felt the Spirit so strong. I also remembered James' message to 3 of the zones this week, that the power of our testimony has NOTHING to do with the volume of our voice or the eloquence of our phrases or even our ability to SPEAK A FOREIGN LANGUAGE. So I walked up to the pulpit and I think James was worried and asked the branch president, who was on the stand with him, if there was a translator handy, and before he got a reply I just stood and bore my testimony. I meant every word. It was about 10 sentences:). I said, in super slow motion Czech, "Brothers and sisters, good morning. I am sister McConkie. I speak English. I speak Spanish. I don't understand Czech. But I am happy to be here. I am grateful for the blessings of the temple. I am grateful for the blessings of the gospel. I am grateful for missionaries. I know that God lives. I know that God knows us. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." I looked at James as I walked away from the pulpit and saw tears in his eyes as he said good job. I was grateful for what he had taught at the zone conferences, from Preach My Gospel, which reads, "For your testimony to have convincing power, you must be sincere." So that's what I hope to do, for the rest of my life. Only say exactly what I believe or know, nothing more or less, when I speak of God and His loving plan. I want to be sincere.
My only low this week is that I am sad that we aren't with family to help plan for grandmother's funeral. Sad she is gone. But so grateful for her exceptional life. Grandpa Fetzer used to recite a quote, "when you were born, you cried and your loved ones rejoiced. Live your life so that when you die, you will rejoice and your loved ones will cry." Many descendants of Grandmother Great have cried this week. But I love picturing her rejoicing with her James and her brothers and parents and sister.
Friends and family, may you be blessed this week! All our love, Laurel/Sister McConkie
PS. James didn't have time to tell me highs and lows:)
PPS. Kelly, thank you for teaching me how to do this blog! It may never be attractive/artistic/fancy, but at least we can share our weekly letter with photos this way. Thanks for helping me!