Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Last Log of Prague

(Sestra Carley Schoen arrived home Dec. 18, 2014, having honorably completed her mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Czech Republic)

Well, I have been home for about a week now and I think it is fitting to add some of the things that happened this final week  coming home and perhaps some tid-bits of what I have learned collectively from my 19 months away.

The plane-rides from Prague to London to Dallas were...looong. Seriously felt like sinking in molasses. My mind was racing like a derby-horse as I sat there for 17 hours of airport/airplane time feeling like a bump on a log. I am pretty sure all the A.D.D. of a year and a half kicked in as I sat there. I tried to take a nap, assuming the most comfortable position I could. Hands on and around the fold-down tray with the "pillow" under my ear. I wake-up again, groggy-eyed, drool on my face, turn to Sister Huggard and ask how long I was out (expecting to have killed at least half our trip)... She chuckled as she responded  "30 minutes." -_- We were sitting next to this really nice girl from Texas who was coming back from South Africa, having been gone for 6 months. We enjoyed talking to her and feeling the spirit as we talked about service, the importance of family, and prayer. We all knew we were meant to sit next to each-other. She also kept me sane on that plane. We even ended or trip with a heart-warming prayer together. I am very grateful for her kindness and service and look forward to our continued friendship.

As some of you have likely seen on my facebook, the welcome home was an exciting occasion. As I got off the plane, I melted hearing the warm greetings and southern drawls that echoed through the airport. Music to my ears. I looked up as I was exiting the plane and saw a woman with a camera pointed at me. It took me only a second to recognize our dear friend, Tami. And that's when I knew I was really home, where else would someone go out of there way so much to get a picture so that the rest of the family would know that I was a few minutes away? As I came out of the terminal, I saw my family and heard my mom scream my name (if I was at all unfamiliar with being called my own name, I think it was shattered in that instant.) I ran at her and hugged her and perhaps everyone in a 50m radius... I got a little carried away. ;)

Since then I have been loving my time with my family. Watching the movies and listening to the music I missed didn't seem as important as just being with them. I think everyone has asked me how the transition's been. It is all still familiar to me so its not like I am so out of my skin. I have been getting up early still and striving to keep up the same habits. I am grateful for my time as a missionary, I am still a missionary at heart:) So it has been an easy transition I think. I have loved chatting with my buddies from the Czech Republic and those that I haven't spoken to in a while. It helps me understand the true purpose of facebook, to unite people. Not to tear others down or start drama. Its a tool for friendship not judging. Anywho, that's a little rant that can be saved for another day. I love the Czech Republic and my friends there. I miss them a ton!!! But I know we will see each other again and it will be glorious:)

I want to thank you all for your love and prayers. It wasn't an easy experience, but my oh my, it was all worth it. :)

s laskou,
Sestra Sch.... Carley

Monday, December 15, 2014

Frydek the Halls!

Well.... The week has come... 
This weekend we enjoyed the baptism and confirmation of "M" our investigator which was a great feeling to the final last couple of days. He is definitely prepared and I am very proud of his decision and all that is in-store for him. The gospel of Jesus Christ is truly the most pure form of a life-enhancer one can find. I was asked by one of our investigators what I have learned on my mission and I think to sum it up in a sentence it would be...the love of God.

I have come to understand more how our Heavenly Father works with us, His children. The gospel of Jesus Christ is His gift to us so we can have more happiness and joy every day without a price nor expiration date. This stuff lasts for eternity. His love encompasses our heartaches, our weaknesses, our struggles, all of it. But not just covers- improves. He encourages us to rise after we fall, to continue after we stumble, to seek for perfection and find joy in the process. But it is not an easy path. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, forged the path for us to follow then offers us continued guidance and counsel so that we can achieve our goal of eternal life with Him. Like an all-star athlete becomes a coach and then during the game continues to help navigate the players collectively and individually so they can win. Not for His own glory, but knowing the feeling of achievement from a well-deserved win is more glorious than being handed a trophy from a game you never played. I have been soooo blessed these past 19 months to have been apart of the Lord's Work. I know I have come to know my Savior like never before, His love for the people, the frustration when people deny that love and the immaculate joy of seeing someone accept His help and change their lives. I know I have changed. Not so much that I have lost who I am. I am still the same dork I was before but now I think I notice more what's going on around me and within me. I know my Heavenly Father loves me. I know that He loves all His children. I can't imagine my life without all the experiences I have had here and the people I have met that are forever-friends. I am a blessed sister. And while I know I don't deserve even half the blessings I have been allotted, I hope to share them with others so we can all partake of the joy. Thank you all for your encouragement, counsel and love. I am so grateful to know you all and am excited to talk with you in-person soon. 
After I bear-hug my family for at least a couple of days and can keep make-up on my eyes for longer than a minute. 
s Laskou,
SESTRA Schoen  :)

Monday, December 1, 2014

(Response to Housing Option at USU)

I like the apartment, as long as it isnt too expensive. I will be happy anywhere. truly. buses...yay!!! :) at least something semi-familiar.
(too busy to send a detailed e-mail for the blog this week)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Blessings from out of the Blue!

So crazy how Heavenly Father lays things out for us perfectly. So I guess I'm going to USU?! (Carley got an amazing scholarship letter this week) I am so happy/a gigantic ball of nerves. Anywho. this week was great again and tomorrow I am going to Prague for training so hopefully it goes well. We met with the family from FM again and that was so amazing, we taught them the Plan of Salvation and they loved it. I am so grateful to know that families are eternal and that we are all sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father who wants nothing more, than for us to succeed in life and be happy now and for eternity. I know its all true, so its easy to teach:) Plus we met with the wonderful mother in Opava and met some truly amazing people this week. I love the Ostrava branch here and its almost surreal planning for Christmas here and knowing I wont see the "fruits" of it with my own eyes but I know that they are in for some Christmas miracles and a whole lotta joy. I love the Czech Republic!!!

Thank you all for your prayers and thoughts, I definitely feel the warmth of your support here in the cold. Its really not too cold though here. Still hasn't snowed! So Sister Schoen's prayers have been successfully answered. woop woop!!! :D
I love my companion, she's a tough cookie and sweet as can be :)
Everything is wonderful!!!!! WOOOO!!!!!!!!!
s laskou,

Monday, November 17, 2014

All Hands on Frydek!

Great week for sure! So since you asked what a sister trainer leader (yes, I don't get the name either... but as the 14th article of faith states, "We believe in the use of acronyms.") lemme try to splain. I call all the sisters every week to get an update of the area and interview them on how they are doing. I visit each companionship and do a 24 hour exchange with them, helping them in their area. I also talk to President weekly and attend Mission Leadership Council once a month while also preparing trainings for the zones. So basically... I just travel alot and talk on the phone and learn from all the amazing sisters. Hats off to my companion, in her first transfer she was definitely thrown into a whirlwind. We are loving the city and working hard towards Christmas. I love it here!!!! <3 
I love you all!!!!!
Have a great week!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween FryDeckoratations :)

So Happy late Halloween! I love halloween. I couldnt dress up but all is well it was a blast! We had a halloween party and I think everyone really enjoyed it and it is always fun putting my event planning hat on (metaphorically)

We had no-bake monster cookies with gummy worms inside and since pumpkins here get pretty pricy we carved orange bell peppers and had salsa and ranch dip (thanks mom!) coming out the mouths in a similar fashion like I saw in Courts pics. We played games with the kids and all the adults and the missionaries sang a hymn... that wasnt too halloweeny but it was a hit so yay! Today we went to a WWII museum and even though they were supposed to be closed today the people were nice enough to let us have a private tour of the whole facility and it was great! Very very very depressing but great! I learned alot. This week I will be going to prague for Leadership training Council then to Mlada Boleslav on an exchange so alot of travelling but it should be great. Thank you all for your prayers! I love you and I hope you have a great first week of November!!!:)

Monday, October 27, 2014

Oct. 21 & 27

Oct. 21
So yesterday we were in Brno for 'progression training" for the new missionaries. It was great to see Brno again for like 30 minutes as we walked through the center but when we were leaving it was rainy and they were I guess working on the tracks to Ostrava so it was a mess with public transportation. We missed our train putting us way behind  but the on the way to Ostrava we talked to an awesome girl and taught a lesson about the restoration and exchanged numbers, so there is always a reason for these things. No need to fret. We were also coming home last night to Frydek-Mistek and met an awesome guy who used to live in Chicago, set up to meet with him again so that was awesome too. I absolutely love it here and really feel like there is so much to do! I love it! I hope yall are all having a great week! Don't have much time to email, we have free english tonight so gotta be there plenty early for that. I love my companion she is AMAZING!!! It is so funny how different training can be, no worse and not better just unique and amazing in their own ways. Sister Birkeland is a spiritual powerhouse and I am excited to see how she continues to excel and grow:)
Love you all!
Sestra Schoen

this was when we were in prague waiting for the new missionaries,cute halloween treats from an awesome member of the Prague branch.

Oct. 27
We are throwing a Halloween party this week. I am doing really well here and just loving the work! It is such a privilege to share what I know to be true and I know the knowledge truly blesses our family.