Monday, January 21, 2013

The Best Week of My Mission (so far)

Hey Family!
So, this week has been a fantastic week! Possibly the best week of my mission so far! I'm not kidding. We have seen so many miracles this week. It was unbelievable. I don't have nearly all the time I would like to share all these stories with you, but I will do my best.
First things first though, please give Sarah and Ari my warmest and best regards. I am so happy for the both of them. They are going to be incredible missionaries, without a doubt.Tell them I say congratulations please! 
Ok, so now on to my week. It was incredible. It started off with a great lesson Tuesday night. We taught a young couple named ________ and ___________. They are incredible.________ is super spiritual and has read the Bible completely through twice. __________ was raised Catholic but now that he is older is searching for something more. They requested a Book of Mormon off of our website and we set up and met with them. It was possibly the most powerful and spiritual lesson I have had my whole mission. They were so ready for this message and ready to hear what we have to say. I couldn't believe it. The most powerful part came when we were talking about Jospeh Smith. I was able to recite the first vision to them, something I had yet to do up to this point on my mission. When I did so, the Spirit engulfed the room. Literally, I think it was palpable. I couldn't believe it. There's no way this message can not be true. Not after something like that. I know they felt it and were touched by it. We set up with them again actually and should be meeting with them in just over a week. __________actually planned to read the whole Book of Mormon before that meeting. ____________prayed for us as well at the end of that lesson. It was apparent he didn't really pray before, but he gave a beautiful prayer and really poured his heart out. It was so cool to see him take that step of faith and do what God wants him to do.
Another super cool story. So, I can't remember if I told you about the kid I contacted on the bus from Ukraine or not. Anyway, we set up with him this week. His name is ____________. He came to the meeting and we gave him a Ukranian Book of Mormon. He also brought his girlfriend along, who's name is _________. We gave her a Book of Mormon as well and taught them a first lesson. They're super smart and super knowledgeable in religion, seeing as both of them are Pentecostal. They were asking questions about what our canon consists of, whether Heavenly Father or Jesus Christ is more glorified, and what not. It was crazy, and my Polish actually could keep up! I couldn't believe it. It was an incredible lesson. __________ even prayed for us at the end, in Ukranian. Strange thing is, I actually understood parts of it. It was cool. It made me think of Matt Pockrus and Ryan Welch over in that crazy Ukraine country. Shout out to them for being awesome.
We also met with __________ a few times this week. Good news, he is on the road to baptism! Everything is looking great for his baptism on Saturday. He's stopped smoking, he passed his interview yesterday, and he is very ready for this covenant with God. I'm super excited to see him enter those waters this week and to progress along his road to God. It's going to be awesome. He's super funny too. As he went into his interview, he asked, jokingly, "So, after this whole ordeal, I can smoke again right?" He looked at us with this big grin and just laughed and said, "Now hold on, I'm not gonna wanna do that, am I?" He's so cool. I wish you all could meet him.

 This is a picture of all the missionaries in Warsaw 1. This was taken the day after his "very short" haircut.(LtoR):  Elders Dopp (Zone Leader), Baranowski, Van Bakel (Zone Leader), Manwill (District Leader), Saltmarsh, Vernon. Sisters Allen and Sheahan. Elder and Sister Jensen (YSA-Warsaw). 

Yes, mom, my haircut is a bit shorter than I expected. I got the classic Polish cut, which is a bit strange. If I have time, I will send some pictures from right after I got it cut. It looks kinda goofy, but it's all good. It's a good thing I got it cut. We had interviews with President the next day. He laughed when he saw it and said, "Elder Vernon, you got your money's worth yesterday, didn't you?" I told him, "Yes, I did." He laughed and said, "Well, the difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is just a couple of weeks." I think President definitely understands the language barrier and that because of it, things don't always turn out how we plan with such things. There is, however, a cool story to go along with that haircut. The lady who was cutting our hair was very interested in what we were doing in Poland. She was asking us all these questions about why we're here and what sort of things we believe. Well, as it turns out, we ended up teaching her a 1st lesson and giving her a Book of Mormon. Kinda cool! We can share the gospel wherever we go out here.
I also got Grandma Fern's package this week. That was super great. She's the best. It was awesome to get some good candy and classic nuts. Tell her I love her and that I hope things are going well.
It's also been snowing a lot here. Unfortunately, Polish snow is not Utah snow. I'm realizing how spoiled I was now back home in Utah. I'm enjoying it, of course, but I don't know that I'll miss this Polish snow when I leave.
My Book of Mormon reading this week has been super awesome. I'm beginning to love Isaiah. It's hard to understand, but with the help of some texts from President, my notes from Bro. Merrill's BofM class, and the Spirit, I'm beginning to pick things out bit by bit. It's been so cool to see the scriptures really open up right before my eyes. It's a huge blessing from the Lord. That book is for sure true.
I'm also beginning to really love my mission. It is an incredible journey and every day holds something new. I'm experiencing so much more happiness and joy than in any thing else. In fact, Elder Saltmarsh asked me the other day what the first thing is that I will do when I get home. I thought about it and went, well, I don't know. I don't want to go home. Don't get me wrong, I love you guys, but this mission is unbelievable. It's unlike anything else. It's a huge blessing, for sure, and I'm so grateful to have these two years to devote to the Lord. I'm doing my best to make all I can out of it.
Mom, great job on the Joseph Smith lesson. The first vision is quickly becoming one of my favorite study topics. I'm sure you nailed it right on the head. Scary that you hit a deer, but I'm glad everything is ok and everybody is alright. Love you lots and lots.
Dad, I'm glad things went well in D.C. The weather is cold, so we usually go tracting, where we are outside, but we stay warm, don't worry. We had a lot of lessons this week as well, plus a lot set up for this next week, so that takes away from outside time, which is nice. Love you, keep being awesome.
Emms, great job on the crease roll! That's a very useful skill when you get it figured out. I'm happy to hear everything is going well and that you are enjoying school. Keep being awesome and working hard! Big loves from P-land.
Hannah bear, you're the best! Keep Tao out of trouble and be nice to her, k? I'm glad you're having fun with her. I miss you and love you lots too. (Tao is our cat {insert from mom})
Heath, I'm sorry I can't tutor you in chemistry and pre calc since I'm across the world, but keep working hard in school and being awesome. I'm running out of time, but tell Sarah congrats, and say hi to her, Connor Grigs, Kira, PJ, the whole crew for me, will ya? I love you lots.
the church is true!
Elder Vernon

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