Monday, March 4, 2013

Week 2 of training

Hey hey hey everybody!
How we all doing? It sounds like you've all had a great week. Mine's been full of ups, downs, and all arounds. I tell you what, training is a roller coaster of emotion--even more so than normal missionary work. I feel like I'm a trainee all over again. Time has slowed down to a crawl. It feels like a month has passed since the last time I sent an email to all of you. It's crazy. I won't lie, I've had days where homesickness has set in, days where it feels like I'm just running into a brick wall time and time again, and yet, as I look back, miracles have been plentiful and time has been well-spent. This work is like nothing else on earth. It's so rewarding, but so hard at the same time. It's like I never really learned how to do missionary work until now, because I have to teach someone to do it. I really do feel like a trainee all over again, but then I think about all that I know, all that the Lord has helped me to accomplish, and I realize He's helping me to do everything He needs me to. I think that's how He wants it. Feelings of overwhelment (real word? don't know, moving on) are okay, because they force us to turn to Him and trust in Him. Just like it says in Ether, those who will come unto the Lord with their weakness, He will make them strong. The scriptures are beginning to take on such a personal meaning to me--much more than ever before. How blessed we truly are to have them in our lives. I hope you are all keeping up on the Book of Mormon reading! Alma 29 really spoke to me this morning. We all may have reason to complain about something in our lives. Our situation could always be better (see President Uchtdorf's talk from last conference, priesthood session), but the Lord gives us these experiences to bless us, to help us grow, and to help us be the people He needs us to be. As Alma so wisely states, we should be content with what we have, but strive to do our best to fulfill what the Lord has asked of us.
Well, before I get on to what happened this week, let me get a few logistics out of the way. First off, I received a package from Grandma Honey this week, which was wonderful! She's the best. Give her a big thank you for me, can you? Secondly, Dad, that tie cost $9. Bargain, right? And they're the best ties I've found so far. Everyone here raves about Adam's ties. We'll definitely both wear them next fast Sunday. Plan on it. Hopefully it wasn't too long for you. I know mine always tie too long unless I tie a full-windsor, but I'm sure you'll get it all figured out. I also sent one of those to Jared in Japan, and one to Matt in Bulgaria (although not of the same pattern). I'm looking to try to send one to Grandpa Ted soon as well, so keep an eye out for that in the mail! Mom, Poland still gets dark by 6, so we do out last three hours of contacting/tracting in the dark. Mornings are beginning to get light though. They do follow daylight savings here as well, so that will be helpful. Also, I didn't know that the Church had updated the Scriptures. That's exciting to hear! I would definitely love a new set once they come out. I'll be looking forward to that. Last thing. So the new senior couple here in Warsaw are named the Jensen's. They have a blog that I thought Mom might want to check out. Happy blog surfing! Hannah Bear, Elder G is 6'3", so not quite as tall as Elder S, but close.
Ok, now to the week. It's been a hard week, but rewarding, as I said. We have had some hard times with our investigators G, B, and D. Unfortunately, we have lost contact with them. We don't know where they have gone or what has happened to them. We had been making daily contact with them and G had been progressing beautifully. He had begun to recognize the Holy Ghost in his life and was feeling the influence of the Lord as he prayed daily and read from the scriptures. We're not sure what has happened to them and I am sad to have to drop them. What hurts even more is that G could see the difference this was making in his life. I rest assured though, knowing that even though I'm not perfect, I feel confident I did what the Lord asked of me in teaching them. What I mean to say is I am not ashamed at my own efforts in helping them to receive the restored Gospel. I did what was asked, and it was their choice to accept it or not. Now, just because we can't get a hold of them doesn't mean they don't accept it, it just might not be the right time. I'm not sure, because only the Lord knows, but I have faith that if they are really supposed to accept the gospel, they will do it. It may not be now, but maybe in the future.
Another story from the week. We were tracting late last Monday. We felt discouraged and that our efforts weren't going forth. Nobody was answering, and we just felt we needed to be somewhere else. We started contacting and forged a path to home. On our way, we had a choice between three paths. We chose one, then another, but neither of them felt right, so we traveled by the third path, heading back the way we came. As we did, at 8:55, we ran into U. She was willing to listen to us, and we were able to teach her an entire street lesson, exchange numbers, and give her a Book of Mormon. It was a blessing from the Lord to be led by Him to those who are ready to hear what we have. Another time where we found someone this week, we were hunting down potential investigators that had been tracted into over the first two transfers. We were in a Klatka after having knocked on some potential's doors and we were about to leave, when I felt a little nudge to stop, go back to the top floor, and see a potential that we had dropped forever ago named M. Well, I almost shrugged it off, but then thought, while we're here, we may as well go do so. We did, and he answered the door. Turns out, he had read the entire Book of Mormon and we were able to set up to meet with him for later in the week, which was awesome! Miracles have been plentiful this week, even when I have felt discouraged and down. I think it's all Elder G's trainee faith ;).
Elder G is also helping me to realize how blessed we are and the success we have had. During comp. inventory this week, he told me that I am in tune with the Spirit and I follow the promptings I receive. Because of that, we find people. I hadn't realized this, but when I thought back on the two stories I just mentioned, I realized that I have been getting better at following the Spirit, even when I don't realize He's speaking to me. I'm still not perfect and I've got a lot to still learn, but I feel I'm making progress.
Well, yesterday was a great day. We had been discouraged for a long time. Friday and Saturday, we had a total of 6 lessons set up, and every single one of them flaked us. It was a hard couple of days. Sunday, however, we were invited by the branch president and his wife over for dinner. We had pancakes with apple sauce. They're an american family, so they know how to do american food ;). It was a welcome relief and a nice touch of home to brighten our spirits. After that, we went and had a meeting with a couple of investigators, W and G. Turns out, they're both hard core pentecostal. They mostly just argued with us about how our three degrees of glory doesn't match up to the definition of hell and endless torment. I tried to avoid bible bashing with them, but if you want some good definitions, go look in the Bible Dictionary under "Hell." It all depends on the perspective you have on the definition of Hell, and a few other things. Anyway, seeing that not a whole lot was going to come of our lesson, Elder G and I bore testimony, and called it. They asked us about the gift of tongues and praying in tongues, to which I replied that my ability to speak polish as well as I can already, is what I deem the gift of tongues. It was awesome to feel the Spirit testify through me that I was speaking the truth. That's something that still impresses me every time I testify. Anyway, after that meeting, we decided to do just 15 more minutes of contacting before we called it a night and headed home, making sure we stayed out until it was time to go in. In those last minutes, we found a man named M, who doesn't believe in God. He wants to know if He exists, and we gave him a Book of Mormon and testified to him that he can know that God exists by reading, praying, and pondering about the Book of Mormon. Mini miracles happen all the time!
Well, I love you all very much. Time is short, but the gospel is true and I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you do for me. I really do think about you guys all the time, pray for you daily, and strive to be the missionary that I know the Lord expects me to be, and that you expect  me to be as well. I'm so luckily to have all of you as my family and love you very much, once again.
With love,
Elder Vernon

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