Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Proud to be a Caveman!

Hey howdy hey family! 
Well, another week has come and gone. It's weird. I feel like we were emailing months ago, yet it's only been a week. Then, when I think I picked up Elder G at the mission home a month ago, I think, where did the time go? Time is such a weird, fleeting notion. To think we humans relate everything around it. We're a bit crazy, aren't we? Then again, all the good people have a streak of crazy in them, so I guess it's a good thing, right? I'll rely on that, because if one thing is for sure, it's that our family has plenty of the crazy gene. And I digress....
Anyway, we had a couple of cool happenings this week, regarding old high school friends. And when I say that I mean Dad's. A guy came into church yesterday with his family, who told us they were from Switzerland, sounded like an American, and had two boys, one with a French name and the other an American one. Well, I, needless to say, was a bit intrigued. I started up a conversation, and they asked me where I was from. I told them AF, and the dad said, "Ah, so you're a caveman?" Being in shock, I asked him where he was from, and he told me he's a bulldog. Well, Provo High does well traveling around the world, huh? Anyway, this guy's name is R B, graduated about three years before Dad, and was really good friends with J C's oldest brother. He recognized the name Vernon, and said his dad even worked at BYU for a long time, in philisophy I think. Anway, we're known worldwide! How cool is that? And there's my natural man coming out with Vernon pride. *Sigh* Well, there's always repentance, right? I don't want to get stuck in that nasty pride cycle in the scriptures. Nobody wants to get destroyed by an army of lamanite warriors.
Anyway, we had some great times this week. Last week for p-day, we went and visited Stalin's tower. It was really cool, and is the tallest building in Warsaw (I think). I'll try to send some pictures if I have time. It was Elder G's idea, and we had a good time with it, even though it was really cold. I tell you what, I'm learning a ton from Elder G. I thought I'd be the one teaching him, but it's vice versa with so much. He's teaching me to slow down and enjoy the moment. He never does anything too fast, and finds something to have fun with no matter what we are doing. I've lived with such a hectic schedule my whole life, that's something I never really learned how to do to the fullest, but I definitely should have. That's just one lesson too. There's so many other things. Elder G is awesome, and we're having a great time together. I got a letter from Kiera this week, and my baby Preach My Gospel! Give Kiera a big thanks for me please, and I'll try to write back to her as soon as I can. Also, big big thank you for the Preach My Gospel. It was so nice to have at zone conference this week with Elder Schutze. Ari's so awesome. Mom, I'm glad you were able to go to her farewell. She'll be a crazy good missionary. If anyone knows how to relate to people, it's her. Tell her I need her address so I can shoot her a letter while she's out in the field.
Anyway, I wanted to talk about Zone Conference a little bit. Elder Schutze was awesome. In all honesty, I felt like he was a German version of Grandpa Leo. He loves to joke around and there were a lot of laughs, but when it came time to discuss the Gospel, he was deadly serious. He looked and sounded a bit like a mad German Scientist, with a deep, loud voice, but that shouldn't fool you. He gets the gospel, brings a powerful spirit, and rocks the ugliest but best looking tie at the same time. Let's just say this, lots of stripes, with a mustard yellow one in the middle. Definitely a Gpa Leo tie that added to the appearance. We learned a ton from him, and he really counseled us about making the most of our missions. He actually mentioned J B too (Dad's 35 year old friend who is going to be the mission president in Mongolia), just not by name. He said we need to be ready to use our language, because chances are, a future Poland mission president was sitting in the room during that Zone Conference. We need to know the language, remember the culture, and even teach our wives the language, so that they can be ready to serve with us in whatever calling we might receive. President Nielson also had some great teaching, as always. He discussed pros and cons of before the fall, after the fall, and what we can achieve because of the Atonement. It was great to break down and discuss. I've also been studying a bit of the last week of Christ's life, and it is incredible all of what He did. I'm excited for easter, and to celebrate his resurrection. Speaking of which, we're singing in church as a choir next week, and I am actually the pianist for the choir. Well, they've picked "All Creatures of Our God and King" to sing, because it was just barely translated into Polish. They're really stretching me, but I think I'll be up to the task with a little bit of help from the Lord. Just means Elder G and I need to be obedient, as alwalys! That's when the blessings come.
So many experiences on my mission have built my testimony that the Lord blesses the extra effort, and we had another one this week. We were tracting and ready to go home, but we decided to tract just one more floor, just a few more doors. As we did so, we tracted into A. She was busy at the moment, but willing to meet, and we set up for this week. To some it may not seem like a lot, but I know the Lord puts these people in our path, and even an appointment for another time means something. It's a commitment, the beginning step to repentance, and hopefully the beginning of a road to Christ.
Last p-day we were tracting, and just feeling a bit discouraged. We decided to say a prayer, and did something unique. Usually we start at the bottom klatka in a building, going from the lower numbers to the upper. This time, however, we started at the other end, and did the upper numbered klatka first, with the plans to continue down to the lower numbered klatkas. Well, we knew we didn't have time to finish the whole building, but we tracted into L and P, two young students who are agnostic and would like to know that God exists. We were able to meet with them, and even went back and visited them last night with a member. They are very hesitant to pray, but have committed to reading the Book of Mormon and we hope to see some progress and faith built because of that.
Lately, we've been having members write their testimony in copies of the Book of Mormon we pass out, and it's helped the members feel as if they are a bigger part of this work. Well, in doing so, we had J, our recent convert, write his testimony in a copy for us. I was reading it after he gave it back to us, and I did not realize just how miraculous his conversion story is. He's told us multiple times that he knows this church is true because he is happier and happier all the time. Now I realize exactly why that means so much to him. This gospel has power. It is the real way to unlock the atonement and all the blessings contained therein. I've seen it in my life, and I can now see it to a greater extent in J's. I feel blessed and so lucky to share that message with all the people of Poland.
I'm glad you guys were able to talk with the Jensens. They are an incredible couple, and I was so lucky to be able to associate with them for the time that I did. Send them my love and a big hello from the Warsaw 1 Branch.
Well, I'm out of time. I love you all and am so very grateful for all you do for me. Really, I do appreciate it. Emms, congrats on the double backflip. Heath, congrats on Secretary. Hannah, congrats for being the doober!
Mom, Dad, you're the best. I wouldn't be who I am today without your guidance and love. For that, I will be forever grateful.
The gospel is true and families are forever!
Elder Vernon

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