(To protect the identity of people Elder Vernon writes about I have abbreviated the names with one letter.)
Dzien Dobry Family!
Dzien Dobry Family!
It's so good to hear from all of you! Wow, what an adventure Poland is. It truly is incredible. I don't even know where to begin. So much has happened since I last wrote. We got to Poland. All of us were so tired. I felt alright, but as soon as I hit the pillow, I crashed. Believe it or not, all 11 of us slept in the mission home the first night. Crazy huh? The next day we went out on the town, got to see some of the sights of Warsaw, and even did a little bit of contacting. I won't lie, I was so scared to talk to people. The Polish people are really hard to understand. They slur all their words together and talk really fast. It's crazy. I tried to do my best though and I spoke to a couple of people. I didn't place any copies of the Book of Mormon, but we handed out a lot of pass-along cards. We got to eat some pierogi (polish dumplings) and then went back to the mission home and met our trainers. As you know, I'm serving with Elder M in Katowice. I never guessed I'd serve in Katowice, or Kato, for short. None of my teachers guessed that that was where I'd serve. Anyway, we actually live in a little town off of Kato called Sosnowiec. We're right next to a train station that is a great place for contacting. Anyway, that night at the mission home, we had a testimony meeting, then went to bed. Since all our trainers were at the mission home, there were 18 of us sleeping there! 2 companionships are serving in Warsaw so they went straight to their apartments. It was a little crammed, but we managed to get a good night's sleep. We took the train to Sosnowiec the next morning and got to the apartment. We unloaded a little bit, then went out and contacted for a while. I still wasn't understanding any native Poles at this point. I can understand the missionaries just fine, usually, but Poles just speak so fast. Anyway, we had a lesson that day too with a kid named K. Elder M does most of the teaching since he knows all the lessons really well and has a good grasp on Polish. I do a little bit here and there though. We taught K the 1st lesson, which is all about the Restoration, then asked him if he would want to be baptized. He said he would! We didn't set a date though, because he just seemed a little awkward and it just didn't quite feel right to. It turned out to be a good thing we didn't because we invited him to church and then Sunday morning we got a text from him saying that his family won't let him come and that he's Catholic and all this stuff. It was a big bummer, but we will continue to persevere. As always, we did more and more contacting. I was still super scared. The next day, Friday, we ran into a guy named J. He was sweet. He'd been to Salt Lake and seen the temple, has a Book of Mormon, and even talked to some sister missionaries. We set up to meet with him the next day and had a solid lesson with him. We even had a member with us. It was great. We taught him all about the restoration and answered all the questions he had (he had a lot). At the end, I promised him that if he prayed about this and then came to church, he would receive an answer about its truthfulness. I felt the Spirit so strong at that point. It was so cool. I was so excited, and I even knew how to say it all in Polish. I was really hoping that he would come to church, but he didn't. A big bummer. We will try to call him later though and try to meet with him again. We also met a guy named P who we set up to meet with yesterday. He was super busy though and couldn't meet. It's hard seeing all these people just kinda shrug the gospel off. It can change their lives so much and they just don't realize it. Anyway, church was good. I got to play the piano on my first week! They don't really have anyone to play in the branch I don't think, so I'll probably be playing quite often, which is fine by me. I didn't really understand much of what was going on. Like I said, Polish is hard to understand, but I'm getting better and better at it every day. We had a meeting right after church with a man named S. He's older and his main concern was all about faith, but we had a solid lesson with him. The member from the branch was with us on that lesson too. Sunday night we did a bunch of contacting. Sunday was a hard day for me. I just felt really homesick and was so overwhelmed by everything, but I said a long hard prayer and went out and was determined to talk to everyone. I found that the more people I talked to, the better I felt. I decided it didn't matter if I couldn't understand what they said, I would just talk anyway. Elder M is great about helping me out when I need help, so that's been awesome. I came home really happy and just felt good. Such a testament that this work is what I need to be doing and Sosnowiec is where I need to be.
Anyway, to answer some of your questions. There are 7 missionaries in my district. 4 elders and 3 sisters. The sisters are in a tripanionship, or a tripod as we call it.
Elder M is the district leader. He's only been out about 9 months. He went into the MTC last December, so in reality, he's only been in Poland for 7 months. He's great though.
I love you all so much. I hope everything is great at home. I'm working hard. This gospel is true.