Monday, February 25, 2013

I am 20!

Hey howdy hey family!
Well, I will do my best to answer all of your questions. I can see you have a lot. Let me start off however, by saying this. I have a brand new found respect for Elder Mikolyski (the missionary that trained Elder Vernon). Training is hard. As in really hard. I know I've only been doing it for about 3 days, but they've been some of the hardest days of my mission. It's not that I don't like Elder G, because I love him. He's super awesome. I just feel really alone a lot of the time and I feel an emptiness and homesickness that I haven't felt at all my whole mission so far. Days can seem long, but I'm so grateful for the patience that Elder Mikolyski showed with me and I'm doing my best to be the trainer that Elder G needs and to show him the love and patience I need to. I came across an old article in an Ensign this week that provided me with some comfort and helped me to understand what I need to do. It was written by Carl B. Cook, and he shares an experience when he was on his mission. He realized one day that the Lord didn't call him to master the language or to excel in other areas above his peers, the Lord simply called him to serve with all his heart, might, mind, and strength. I was reminded that such a task is exactly what I am called to do. No matter how proficient I might be in the language or what other skills I might have, if I'm not serving the Lord with all that I've been given, then I'm not fulfilling my calling. I'm doing my best and just taking it one day at a time because I know there are specific lessons the Lord wants me to learn from this. I have been grateful to see my progression as a missionary from this experience so far. I realize now just how bright eyed and bushy tailed I was right out of the MTC. I didn't know how to do a thing for myself, how to get around with my Polish, nothing. Now, I'm doing all of these things not only for myself, but for Elder G as well. It's a totally different experience.
I actually got my birthday package on Sunday, and that was a huge help. I loved loved loved it! Thank you so much for the notes from friends and family, for the talks, and for the pictures. Dad, those look like they're on original 1980's paper, am I right? Plus, moon pies! Those were so good. Thank you for everything. I was having a hard day on Sunday and the whole package was a huge confidence booster and comfort that I needed. I love reading all of your emails each week and thank you for writing lots and being the best family ever! Please, keep it up! I really am so grateful for everything you do, the packages you send, the letters you write, and for being such an awesome family. Also, I don't know if I ever told you, but tell Gma Honey and Ted sorry I never replied to their emails a while back. President only wants us to send an email to our immediate family, so unfortunately I'm not supposed to email them. Tell them thank you for sending those though and that I love them lots and lots!
A miracle Elder G and I saw this week was on our first night of tracting together as a companionship. We were ringing domaphones (a mechanism outside the building where you can call to each tenant) when a young lady named A came out of the door. She stopped and asked us if we could talk for a minute. We told her we could, and she explained to us that she had met with missionaries years before, but had lost her copy of the Book of Mormon. She asked for another one, and asked to meet with us in the coming weeks. We told her we definitely could and that we would be in contact. As it turns out, the sisters had her teaching record and we passed her off to them, but it was still cool to be a part in the work!
G is also progressing incredibly well. He's really starting to recognize the Holy Ghost in his life and to understand all that this Gospel can do for him. He's super excited about it all. The only thing that concerns me is we haven't had contact with him since Wednesday. I've tried to call him, but his phone either has been out of service or he hasn't picked up. We have a meeting scheduled with him on Tuesday, so pray that things go well and that everything is still alright. We also haven't been able to get a hold of B, and haven't met with her for over a week or so, but we hope everything is ok and have faith that if they are ready, they will get baptized. Apart from them, our teaching pool is a bit scarce. We are possibly meeting with a potential named R this week, might get another meeting with W and G (a young couple at school here in Warsaw), and of course we are still meeting with J. We have a great chance to do a lot of finding this week, so we will see how that goes.
Well, on Thursday, when we picked up our trainees, we had a great meeting with President Nielson and us trainers. He patted us on the back (figuratively) and gave us some great counsel and guidance in going forward. I just wish I would have realized then how much help he actually was giving us. Luckily (Pres. Scoresby would be proud here) I took good notes and I'm reviewing them frequently. President Nielson is fantastic and I am so blessed to have learned from him. President Edgren will also be awesome and I'm excited to see what sort of counsel he will have for us. I don't know much about him, but I'm excited to see what sort of excitement and attitude he will bring to the work here in Poland.
Also, Dad, I apologize, but I don't remember your chocolate chip cookie story with President Ballard. I vaguely remember something, but I'm missing details. Could you refresh my memory?
Now, to answer your questions. Elder G is fantastic. He is fearless. He will talk to everyone as much as he can, even if it's just a "hello" and "we are missionaries" in polish. He's a bundle of happiness and is loving the work. I have no idea what it is with T names, but I'm the lucky one I guess! He's also 6'3", so yes, I did get myself another tall companion! Thank you  Mom for putting our names on the prayer roll. I know those prayers are so helpful and I can feel them in my daily life as I do this work.
My birthday was great, but hard as well. I missed you guys a lot but felt comforted knowing I am doing the Lord's work. Like I said before, the package helped a ton. Yes, we did get the letter from Payton and Heather, and thank you for that. Hannah, sorry for not doing the show again, but we will do one as soon as we can!
Tell Bishop Gurney thanks a million for the birthday wishes. He's the best. It's really weird being 20. I feel old...
Anyway, Mom, you're the best. Thanks for the pictures, the encouragement, and everything. I'm glad you and Dad were able to get away and have some fun this week. Love you lots!
Dad, thanks for all the encouragement and help. You're the best. The book of Alma is probably my favorite in the Book of Mormon. It has some incredible teachings and I'm excited to read about Ammon this week. I hope you are all keeping up on the reading! Love you.
Emms, good job on the science fair! Let me know how you do. Don't worry about all those boys. They will ask you to dance eventually. They're just intimidated, that's all. Quit being so awesome, ok? Love ya.
Heath, miss you tons too. Keep up the good work. Good luck going for SBO! Keep up the hard work and everthing. Loves you sisser.
Hannah bear, love you tons. Good job on the story telling festival!
Sorry everyone, I'm out of time. Until next week, Hurrah for Israel!
Love you lots!
Elder Vernon

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