Monday, December 10, 2012

White Christmas in Poland

The Missionaries of the Katowice District.
Elder Vernon and Elder Bokinsky

Well, hello again family!
I've got a lot to say this week and probably not enough time to do it, so I'm going to hustle through it as fast as I can.
First off, let's talk about my health. Good news, I'm finally healthy! The anitibiotic didn't quite get everything out of my system, so we had to head back to the doctor again. Then, after three more visits to the doctor and two days of rest (as in confined to the apartment) we are finally feeling healthy. This whole ordeal has been nuts. I haven't been exactly impressed with the doctors here, but they finally got it all figured out with what I have. Turns out, I had tonsilitis. Craziness. That's probably on top of laryngitis too. I don't really know. All I know is I've had enough doctor's visits to last me a lifetime, or at least while I'm in Poland. They even drew blood (eurgh, I still don't like needles, and it was three vials worth, but I survived!) at one of the visits to try to figure out what I had and the results came back with nothing wrong. So that's a good sign! We finally got a reputable doctor on my last visit, and he was the one who finally diagnosed me correctly. Problem is, he wanted to heal me with natural cures. After a call to Sister Nielson, we went back in and demanded an antibiotic. It was a fun experience learning to be assertive. Mike Maddix would have been proud of me. I talk about it a little bit more in the recording I sent home this week. Anywho, I'm healthy now and that's what matters! Don't worry Mom, I'm eating well and things are good. I'm excited to get back to full days of work and really doing missionary work. We're hoping to have a great week this week.
We also met the new couple this week! The Hutchinsons. Turns out, they are actually Cade Mooney's grandparents. I went to high school with Cade and he was a buddy of mine. Small world huh? Sister Hutchinson knows Matt Maddix as well and asked about him. Whaddaya know. He's known all over the world. Literally, he knows everybody. In any case, they're great and will be a great strength to the branch. To answer your question Mom, the McGrath's are from Logan. I know Elder McGrath's first name is Mike, but that's about all I know. They're an awesome couple and very energetic. If you can somehow get in touch with them, it would be worthwhile. They'd love to hear from you I'm sure.
So, I also wanted to share with all of you D's conversion story this week and a little bit more about her. She has studied with Jehovah's witnesses in the past, but never really felt like she found everything she wanted. She's been searching truth her whole life. Anyway, as it turns out, the street where Elder Bokinsky and Elder Mikolyski contacted her is a place where she rarely ever goes. As in has probably been there twice in the last five years. Take that into account, and then the fact that if they had been 30 seconds earlier or later and they would have missed her, there's no doubt in my mind that God is at the helm and directing this work. Elder Bokinsky had set up to meet with her that weekend, but she called us that night after reading some of the Book of Mormon, and wanted to meet the next day. Anyway, so we met with her the next day and told her about the Restoration, the Book of Mormon, and asked her to pray and seek for an answer. She did just that. That night, she received a bit of an interesting answer. She had the thought come to her that the road to God and the true path back to Him should be narrow, and that it should be a path that a lot of people find hard to follow. She kept emphasizing the fact that it should be a narrow path. So, we assigned her to read 1 Ne. 8 and 11, or the vision of the Tree of Life. Well, it was an answer to her answer (does that make sense?). Ever since then, she did everything we asked her to. She kept every commitment, read everything we assigned her, and even gave up smoking. That was a battle. She's smoked since she was 16, and has never been able to kick the habit until now. We were worried, because she had a relapse about a week before the baptism, but she, as always, is rock solid and hasn't smoked since. It's been amazing to see her journey and to watch her progress, along with her son P. Something P said in his testimony after his baptism has stuck with me for a while now. He said, "I'm thankful that I was born." Well, he said it in Polish of course, but that's the translation. Think about that though. What a wonderful gift we have to have bodies and learn and grow. It truly is a huge blessing that we were born and that we can be here on Earth. It's also a central part of the Plan of Salvation. I tell you what, ever since being on my mission, the simple truths of the Gospel have just opened up to me. They are so intricate and mean so much. It's incredible. I could go on forever, but I'll spare you my ranting.
I've also learned a lot this week about being grateful. I've been thinking about it, and I'm so blessed to have the friends that I do, to grow up in the situation that I did, and to have the family I do. I love all you guys so much. I'm so blessed and I don't deserve it at all, but I'm very grateful for it.
Emms, this internet cafe is sweet. It's now played Hold the Line (Toto), Easy (Commodores), Boys of Summer (Don Henley), and more. I know I'm not supposed to listen to worldly music while on my mission, but sometimes, it just can't be helped. I just can't help but think of you guys whenever these oldies come on. It's pretty cool. Also, tell Kira I would love to hear from her and that I say hi!
Heath, I'm glad your knee is getting better and better. I'm excited that Jake is headed to Russia. He'll be a great missionary there. Give him my congratulations, along with all the other missionaries who have received calls. Have any other girls received calls lately? I'd be interested to know. Good luck dealing with everything during sub for santa! That's a great cause and I know you're doing good things with it. Lemme know how the Showcase recital is. Also, we've been pounded with snow here this past week, so Poland is definitely getting a white Christmas!
Hannah bear, I love you lots and hope you're doing well. Build a snowman for me ok?
Dad, I'm glad you got a chance to get out to the Cabin. Tell James what up for me. Thank you for all your doctrinal insights and your prayers in my behalf, especially for a baptism in my first area. And I do remember that Mission Prep lesson.
Mom, don't worry. I'm healthy, I'm doing great, and I'm loving it out here in Poland. If I do end up getting transferred, I will make sure to de-junk and do everything I need to. I got your 12 days of Christmas package, so thank you very much for that! I'm sending a package home probably tomorrow with Christmas stuff in it. I hope you all enjoy it. Just don't open it til Christmas because nothing is wrapped. Also, there's some fragile stuff in there so be careful.
Next week I will know about transfers and what to do about Christmas. I think you guys actually call me and I give you the number I'll have and everything, so start thinking about when you want to call! I love you all, this gospel is true, and this is the Lord's work!
Starszy Vernon
P.S. Tell Grandma Fernie hi and that I love her, and also tell Grandma Honey and Grandpa Ted I love them and was very excited to get their email today!

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