After leaving the charming little stone town of Cesky Krumlov, we drove to church in Cesky Budejovice, a town about 45 minutes away where O spent quite a bit of time on his mission. He had written to some friends there and when they heard he was coming, they asked if he wanted to speak. Well, this was a really different church experience than we were used to, and, suddenly, we did not feel bad for the lack of home teachers in Mom's ward.
The branch there had 7 missionaries present which I initially thought was a bit much, until I realized that besides us and the missionaries, I think there were only about 10 people (and apparently most of them were either the branch pres's fam or investigators). The missionaries were thrilled to see us (since they had so many investigators that day they were excited to show them a big crowd) and it turns out several had been to BYU and we had many mutual acquaintences (small world!). O translated for us the first speaker (one of the missionaries) and then we all sat and wondered what sort of jokes O was telling during his talk-which had everyone laughing wildly and such. After church (which very nicely for us, as it was all in Czech, was only 2 hours-they switch every other week having Priesthood and RS and Sunday School), we went over to the Branch Pres's house for lunch. They have been good friends of Owen's since he was on his mission, I met them when they came over for General Conference a few years ago. At their house we had a fun meal of Halusky (some of you might remember when I made this meal, it is a potatoe noodle, sort of like gnnochi, but I made my potatoes in the morning so they were entirely grey by night and everyone was really nervous about eating them). Mad-I am buying some packets of this so I can make it for you at home, if you liked my grey stuff, you will love the packets!! Over lunch we heard about how Honza has been the Branch Pres every other seven years since he was baptized, he would switch with his best friend. His friend has now left and he is the only Melchizedek P holder in the branch and pretty much will be the Branch Pres forever! He sounded a little worn out and we did not blame him. I was amazed that these people were still hanging in there! Now we all understood what O's mission was like and why all the returned missionaries are always trying to help the members there, I mean, how depressing to go to church with like one or two other people every week!
Well, wanting to help, we promised to send them some YW ribbon things (the branch pres has one daughter in YW) and left, impressed with the fam-they were very nice. (Of course we did have some different brownies made out of beets first) and climbed back in the car, on the way to Prague.
As a quick aside: we had another little GPS glitch. That morning, we hopped in the car and found that the GPS would not turn on! Well, of course I nearly had a brain anuerism. Fortunately, O had printed off directions to the church so We made it that far. When we were at Honza's house we looked up troubleshooting the GPS on the internet and found that if you hold the on switch for 20 seconds, sometimes it will turn on. Guess what, it did!! You cannot imagine how happy I was, I really don't think we ever, in 12 million years, would have made it to our hotel in Prague otherwise!