Monday, October 1, 2012

Week #6 in Poland

Hello hello family!
Sounds like everyone has had a solid week! I'm glad to hear it. Let me tell you about mine, and then I will respond to all your comments.
So, first off, we went bowling with some of the members last Monday. It was a blast. I almost won, but not quite. A, a member here, beat me by 1 point. Mega szkoda (aka bummer in polish), but it's all good. It was lots of fun. I also had my first exchange this week. Elder Mikolyski went and worked with Elder Rittmanic in Katowice, and I worked with Elder Vreeken out in Sosnowiec. Elder Mikolyski is the District Leader out here in Kato and Elder Vreeken is the zone leader, so it's great to be surrounded by so much leadership. It gives me a lot of opportunities to learn. Anyway, I've got some cool stories from my exchange with Elder Vreeken. (By the way mom, he's the one with me in the picture. We sometimes all work together with a whiteboard that had a question on it and just contact people. It's fun.) So, the first night, we were getting home, and I just expected Elder Vreeken to want to go drop off his stuff and crash since it was pretty late, but he suggested that we just contact 3 more people. I was game for that, so we did it. As it turns out, the third person we contacted was a young 20 something kid who was super interested in what we had to say. We were able to teach him all about the Plan of Salvation and we gave him a Book of Mormon. It was a great lesson to me in making sure to give even a little more effort when I think it's ok to just call it good for the day. The next day, we had to take a couple of boxes of copies of the Book of Mormon to the chapel, so we were lugging those around in the morning. Elder Vreeken decided to write on one of them "darmowe niespodzianki dla wszystkich!" (free surprises for everyone!) and to use that as a contacting tool. Well, as it turns out, we gave away 3 copies of the Book of Mormon on the way to the chapel, so we continued to use the box all day. It was great and a lot of fun. We got some interesting looks and such, but it was an awesome contacting tool for us to use. I learned a ton from Elder Vreeken on this exchange. He's going home in about 3 weeks at the end of the transfer, and he is an incredible missionary. He's an awesome teacher and just knows how to do missionary work. It was a great chance for me to really learn from an incredible missionary (other than Elder Mikolyski of course, because he's a champ too).
So I've been really striving to understand the Spirit lately in my studies and just overall as a missionary, because I know it is the key to all that we do as missionaries. It's been so cool to start to gain a little bit of an understanding, but any input you have Dad/Mom/Family would be great! Anyway, there's one super cool thing I've started to notice with the Spirit when I teach. As I teach these simple concepts of the Gospel and continue to learn all about them, the Spirit quietly guides me in remembrance of experiences in my own life and how these things have applied in them, or just simply how God has had a hand in my life. I think there's a scripture in D&C about this, how all are edified of all when the Spirit is present and all learn. Anyway, I had one super cool connection I made this week. Elder Vreeken and I were teaching about prayer, and I was thinking about the LP v. AF lacrosse game my senior year, right after Randy Stout (the LP coach) died. I don't know if any of you remember, but they asked me to say a prayer with both teams together right before the game started. I was kind of a bridge between the two teams I think, since I had played for both and knew a lot of the kids on LP. Anyway, I was just thinking about how lucky I was to be able to say that prayer and be a comfort to some of the kids on the LP team when Randy died when this thought struck me, "What if I had actually got into a fight with Zak Stout two years before in that game?" Honestly, when that whole incident happened, I know the Lord was there helping me to stay calm and not to flip out, because if I had, how bad would that game have been between us two teams right after Randy died? So cool to look back and see such cool tender mercies from the Lord.
Another really cool experience I had this week was we had a grill in a Park in Katowice with the branch. K, first off, Poland is crazy beautiful. I tried to take a few pictures, but it doesn't do it justice at all. Second, these members are so awesome. I was able to go contacting with A U, the member who I'm pretty sure I've talked about a bit, and we placed two copies of the Book of Mormon. Then, we had the grill and everything and overall had a great time. Elder Vreeken even walked on some stilts that some girls had there. It was a party. It is so awesome to see the faith of these members here in Poland to go out and go contacting with missionaries to spread the Gospel that they know to be true. It's such a blessing to be here in Poland.
So, in other news, Happy Birthday Emms! Well, I'm a few days early, but still, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great one. I'm jealous you get to go out to the cabin and spend time out in beautiful nature. That's so sweet. I'm excited to get your letter soon.
Mom, your lesson sounds great. The pride cycle is a real danger. I know that for sure. I've felt it out here on the mission and in my own life. Just when I feel like I'm getting the hang of things and that I know how to do missionary work, the Lord humbles me and helps me to remember He's in charge. Don't worry, our water filter is hooked up and everything is good :). I'm getting better with food as well. Peanut butter is not a necessity yet, but if you could throw it in the next package you send, that would be appreciated ;). I'm doing alright with food though. I'll look for frozen vegetables, and in the meantime, I'm loving canned peas and canned corn. Thanks for the updates about Jason, Julia, and Rick. I'm praying for everybody. How does Adam feel about having a girl?
Heather, I'm glad you got my letter and that you're dealing well with post-ACL tearage life. I'm glad it's just mainly the ACL and not anything else. Concert going already? Ha, I don't know that I've ever actually been to a real concert, so that's sweet. Did you know I know the lead singer's little brother of Imagine Dragons? Yeah, he was a buddy of mine at BYU. Anyway, I'm praying that your surgery will go well. Don't be afraid to ask dad for a blessing too for it.
Hannah, you sound like you're quite the soccer player! I also got your package and your drawing this week, which is awesome! I'm going to hang it in my room tonight! Thank you for everything.
Dad, sounds like a busy Sunday. I'm learning just how busy Sundays can be. I'm not sure what the deal is with conference yet. We'll see what happens, but I for sure want a conference Ensign. I'm sure I'll be able to get one here. So, is Taysom Hill the new starter then? I was curious what would happen with Riley and him. Sounds like our defense is stellar too. We could have a really good year this year. Zack is a stud. Tell him congrats for me and to keep working hard. I'm sure Bishop Gurney is happy to have Zack in our ward. He's a champ.
Anyway, I need to go, but a few last minute things.
Dad, I have only received your letter with Holland and McConkie talks so far. I haven't gotten Fiszki yet or mom's letter with blog letters and talk from Grandma Helen's funeral. I will let you know as soon as I get everything.
Apart from that, Poland is great, and I'm doing well! Love you all and the Gospel is true!
Starszy Vernon

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