(scroll down for Czech and Slovak words, listed below)
“Church” words and expressions:
The first missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 22-year-old Samuel Smith, left his home to preach the gospel in June of 1830. In the 180+ years of missionary service since then, a sort of unofficial “missionary jargon” of words and phrases has evolved.
Here are just a few of these expressions, rendered in plain English:
AP – a shortened form of the term “Assistant to the President”, also commonly shortened to “Assistant”. Typically, two Elders are assigned to this position of leadership within each mission. Their role is to… well, assist the Mission President.
bash, Bible bash – a confrontational debate, in which one or more participants appeal to Bible verses in an attempt to justify all of their opinions, while simultaneously disproving all the opinions of others. While missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teach the gospel of Jesus Christ directly from the scriptures, they are instructed to respect the beliefs and opinions of others, and to avoid engaging in strident or competitive debates. They believe that such arguments and hostility are offensive to the Spirit of God, and contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ, whose teachings are centred in the principle of love.
blind in –
Book of Mormon – Another testament of Jesus Christ; a book of scripture containing the gospel of Jesus Christ, written by the prophets of the ancient Americas. (see “Kniha Mormonova”, below) For more information, follow this link.
Brother – a respectful term applied to any male member of the Church. This custom stems from the belief that all humankind are one family, each person being a beloved child of God. The title “brother” acknowledges and honours this relationship. The equivalent Czech and Slovak term is “Brat”.
calling, call –
companion – a missionary’s working partner
companionship – a pair of missionaries who are assigned to work together. Occasionally, three missionaries are assigned to work together in a companionship.
dog , dogged – to dog someone is to avoid them, or break an appointment. To get dogged is to be on the receiving end of the broken appointment, or to be made aware that someone is avoiding you. “Can you believe we got dogged 5 times today? Is it the Hockey World Championship final or something?”
Elder – The official title of a male missionary; one who has been ordained to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood. The equivalent Czech and Slovak term is “Starsi”.
exchanges – temporarily exchanging companions with another missionary companionship (generally for a day), often in order to accomplish more work, but also to allow missionaries an opportunity to broaden their experience and learn from others; working alongside another companionship in their area. (see “splits”, below) “We won’t be in town next Friday; we’ll be in Brno on exchanges.”
greenie – a new missionary; a greenhorn
golden – unusually receptive; seeking the truth; spiritually prepared
investigator – someone who is actively studying, or investigating, the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; someone who is having gospel discussions with the missionaries
MTC – Missionary Training Center. The Church currently operates 15 Missionary Training Centers worldwide. For more information, follow this link. “Elder Brimhall, I was in the MTC with your brother’s best friend’s cousin from Canada! He asked me to tell you that he says “hi”.”
P day – a shortened form of the term “preparation day” (see “preparation day”, below)
pass-along card –
plan of salvation-
preparation day – one day of each week with several working hours set aside specifically for attending to necessary housekeeping, errands, correspondence, and personal rejuvenation. (see “P day”, above)
Polar Bear – group language study. The origins of this term are unclear, but it is currently in common use in the Czech/Slovak Mission “Are we having Polar Bear in Czech, or Slovak this time?”
Relief Society –
release – to be officially discharged from a calling, such as that of full-time missionary. (see “calling, call”, above)
Sister – The official title of a female missionary; a respectful term also applied to any female member of the Church. This custom stems from the belief that all humankind are one family, each person being a beloved child of God. The title “sister” acknowledges and honours this relationship. The equivalent Czech and Slovak term is “Sestra”.
splits – a rather outmoded term referring to temporarily splitting up a companionship (generally for a day), in order to team up with others and accomplish more work. (see “exchanges”, above) “The Elders asked Brat Sandor if he and his friend would go out on splits with them next Wednesday.”
tract out –
trainer – a position of responsibility, in which a more seasoned missionary acts as a mentor to a new missionary. “Did you hear that President has asked Sestra Montoya to be a trainer? She’s at the mission office now, picking up her greenie.”
transfer –the period of time between Transfers. The length of time can vary from mission to mission. Currently, the Czech/Slovak Mission operates under a 9-week transfer period. “Well, I don’t care how spiritual and mature he is; I seriously doubt that Elder Chen will be the next AP. He’s only in his 2nd transfer!”
Transfers – a regularly scheduled day on which missionaries may be transferred to a new assignment. Generally, a mission will have Transfers every month or two. The Czech/Slovak Mission currently has Transfers every 9 weeks. Occasionally, special circumstances (such as a medical emergency) require missionaries to move or change assignments on a day other than Transfers, but it is rare. Transfers is often regarded with equal measures of nerve-jangling anxiety and bubbling anticipation. Speculation regarding the outcomes of upcoming Transfers is almost inevitable, but typically fruitless, as the Mission President makes assignments based upon the principles of prayer and revelation, rather than precedent and expectation. “We’ll find out about Transfers this Saturday, but I’m sure President will move Starsi Tuinei to Bratislava, and put a Czech missionary in Trencin.”
trunky – eager to return home; eager to pack one’s trunk. “It’s my last transfer! Let’s go do some contacting; I don’t want to just sit around here getting trunky.”
trunking (someone) out – inciting acute feelings of homesickness; making one feel trunky. ( see “trunky”, above) “These pictures of my sister’s wedding are totally trunking me out!”
Czech and Slovak words and phrases:
As a missionary becomes completely immersed in serving the people of a certain place, quite naturally the language of that place becomes firmly infused with their normal mode of expression, even in letters home!
Here are a few Czech and Slovak expressions to help us along:
ahoj –hello, hi
ahoj vs’etky – hello all, hello everyone
Brat – see “Brother”, above
bratku – a familiar term meaning brother, used similarly to the English expressions “bro” or “old bean”
halus’ka – ham and potatoes with sheep cheese
Kniha Mormonova – see “Book of Mormon”, above For more information in slovenčina, follow this link. For more information in český, follow this link.
kolac” – buns with apricot jam
kostel – a small Catholic cathedral
mam tá rada ako cokolada – I love you like chocolate
namesti – a town square
poňelok – an apartment block; a building divided into apartments
Praha – Prague
rodina – family, kinsfolk
s laskou – with love
Sestra – see “Sister”, above
Starsi- see “Elder”, above
svic’kova – a Czech dish consisting of bread with meat, topped with a root veg sauce and jam
vel’mi krasny – very beautiful
výlet – outing; excursion; trip
zmirzlina – ice cream. The ice cream in Slovakia is reported to be abundant, inexpensive, and outstanding in quality and variety! All of these attributes commend it as a firm favourite with missionaries serving there.