(To protect the identity of people Elder Vernon writes about I have abbreviated their names)
Family! Another week has gone by. I can't believe it. It's already the 10th of September. That means I'm a third of the way through this transfer. That's crazy. Time is going so fast. Once again, it's been a solid week. Let me tell you about it.
First off, zone conference. Holy cow. It was awesome. I learned so much from President Nielson. He's incredible. He really understands this work and how it's supposed to go forth. A couple of highlights. He talked about keeping an "evidence book." It's a sort of journal where you write every day a piece of evidence that God lives. Whether it be a miracle, an answer to a prayer, just something during the day that shows that God lives and cares about you. In my mind, it's basically a tender mercies journal. I've begun to do it. I was already writing them in my normal journal, but it's a great idea to have them in a separate journal as well. I recommend that you guys start doing it too! As you begin to take notice of those little tender mercies in your life, more and more begin to appear. It's so cool to watch. Another thing he covered was the differences between doing things that are good, better, and best. It was all about serving a consecrated mission and really devoting your time to the Lord. It's really given me a direction in which I can work to become the missionary the Lord needs me to be. As you should well know, I don't like too much to not know where to go. I need a specific set of instructions to work under, and then I will do everything I can to meet those specifications. That lesson gave me just that. We also covered contacting a little bit. In reality, we're not contacting people, we're teaching people on the street. Something that Pres. Nielson really wants us to do is give them short, bold statements of truth, promise blessings, and then ask inspired questions about what we've said. It's an incredible pattern that really improves contacting. I'm really trying to do my best to improve my contacting. I just want to find the people the Lord wants me to find here so that I can teach them.
A couple other things that happened this week. We're teaching a man named Z. He's probably in his late 50's. He is progressing toward baptism. We had a super spiritual lessons with him this week where we asked him to be baptized, and he said yes! We didn't set a date though, because he needed to go. We set up to meet with him later that week, and when we had our next meeting, he didn't look good. His countenance was all dark and it was very apparent that Satan had worked hard on him. Elder Mikolyski and I were both scared we might lose him, but we had a member on our lesson. His name is A, he's a 20 year old kid here in Sosnowiec, and he's a champion. Z had some fears about the people at church and feeling loved as he comes to church. A was able to soothe those a bit and we were able to teach Z all about the Plan of Salvation. It was another super spiritual lesson. We talked to Z all about the gift of the Holy Ghost and that's something he really wants to have in his life. He loves the peace and comfort that it brings. We didn't talk about his baptism though. It just didn't seem right to bring up. As it turned out, he didn't show up for church, which is a big bummer, but we should be meeting with him again this week. I really hope he continues to investigate this church and come closer to Christ. I know that this Church is true and the happiness I feel because of the lessons and doctrine it teaches are like nothing else.
We had a few other lessons with people throughout the week, but nothing really solid. Honestly, it's hard to find people who are actually interested in this gospel and want to progress, but I know they are here. Even though my Polish isn't very great yet, I'm striving to do what I can so we can find them.
So, an update on my Polish. I'm beginning to understand more and more! Especially in church. There are a lot of times still, in fact the majority of the time, where I just feel lost and don't really understand what's going on. I can say a lot of what I want about the gospel, but regarding other things, not so much. That's ok though. My first calling here is to teach, which I can do. A lot of people have been complimenting me on my Polish as well. They say it sounds quite good and a lot of them don't believe I've only been here 3 weeks. I had a conversation with a man named M at church yesterday. When I told him I'd only been here 3 weeks, he didn't believe me. That was a big confidence boost ;). I'm also playing hymns every week in church. Mom, thank you so much for keeping me playing the piano. It's a huge blessing for these people out here to have someone who can play the piano and play almost all the hymns in their hymnbook. They don't have very many, but they sing them with full vigor and vim. It's a beautiful thing to hear.
Another cool story this week. So we teach an english class once a week. It's an hour long and free for the public. We follow up with each of the students and see if they want a personal class with us, but we tell them that as missionaries, we will share something spiritual with them before we help them with english. Anyway, we had an older lady, a grandma (or babcia in polish) accept one of these classes. Elder Mikolyski had to be in and out during the spiritual though because we were in the chapel and lots was going on, but I was able to teach her all about Hel. 5:12 and how you, Mom, shared it with me. I talked about how this book, the Book of Mormon, can strengthen families and be a real help in all of our lives. The Spirit was super strong while I was testifying, and she seemed very interested in it. Hopefully, we can set her up with the Sisters and she will begin to investigate the gospel.
We also had some excitement during church. A local news station, TVN, did a special about mormonism, since Mitt Romney is gaining publicity. They filmed a little bit of sacrament meeting and did interviews with the members. It was a big hubbub and a lot of people were really excited about it. We have a solid branch down here in Kato. I'm glad the members got a chance to share their faith and talk about the things that are important to them. I think I even made it on camera while I was playing piano haha. I might be famous in Poland! We'll see.
Ok, to answer your questions.
Dad, yes I'm recovered from the flu. Jet lag, I'm getting there. It's hard. I'm tired a lot of the time and sometimes it's hard to sleep at night. It's funny, the whole time I've been on my mission, I've been waking up at least once a night. That never happened at home. Anyway, I'm fine, and the jet lag will just take some time to fully recover from. Elder Mikolyski says it takes everybody about a month to fully recover from it. Since I'm over the flu, I'm now eating like a horse. I'm always hungry haha. I'm trying to budget well so I have money to make it to the end of the month. I'm sure I'll be fine. That's crazy that Utah lost to Utah State. Utah State continues to just get better and better. I'm excited to get your package from London. It will be great to get things from home.
Heath, Emms, Hannah, sorry, but I don't have very much email time today. We're supposed to keep it under an hour, but I'll write you by hand and answer your responses.I love you. The church is true!
Mom. Zone conference was incredible. So good. Don't worry, I'm taking vitamins and trying to stay healthy. It's starting to cool off a little bit in the mornings and evenings, but nothing major yet. I actually found a coat in our apartment! It's Elder Hillyard's. He actually teaches at the MTC right now and is from PG. His last area was Kato so I guess he just left it. It's a little beat up, but at least I will have something warm until I can find a good coat for a good price. Tap water is a little sketchy here, but we have filters, so it's all good.
I'm sad to hear about Grandma Helen. She has definitely lived a full life and has done some incredible things. I hope it's not her time, but if it is, I know the Lord will accept her with open arms.
I'm doing well, I love you all, and the church is true!
Love, Elder Vernon