Monday, April 8, 2013

"A Mission is a Family Affair."

How's it going family who I love so so very much!
Well, what a great week. I absolutely love conference week. Conference for missionaries is like Christmas, but better! It's seriously so great. I'll honestly say conference means a whole lot more to me as a missionary now than it did in the past. We were able to watch the priesthood session (missed Dad as my companion a ton during that) and Saturday afternoon. What great talks! And thank you so so much for sending me some recordings of your favorites. I was able to download them and I cannot wait to go listen to them! I really liked President Monson's statement, "A mission is a family affair." Well, I don't know that you can say it any better than that. It's the truth. Tell Grandma Fernie thank you very much for her conference outline. I really appreciate it. Tell James and Jim hi, along with Gary Judd (I am glad you ran into them at the priesthood session).  Thanks for asking about what I need. The only things I'm really lacking right now is some super-orange, and socks. I'm planning on picking up some socks today, but I was wondering if you guys could send me some as well? I've got a request. Elder G has these socks from CTR Clothing (for missionaries, go figure) called "Dry-Max." Well, they're basically the best socks ever. He raves about them, as do other missionaries who have them. Could you maybe send me one or two pairs? They're kinda pricey, but I know a missionary who wore them his whole mission and they were still in great shape. I think you can find them on or some such website. Size L please!
Hannah bear, we placed 14 copies of the Book of Mormon this week! It was a really good week. Mom, no stress, we have more time to email, so I'll still write long letters. I love writing you guys, so no stress. I still have not received my Easter package but I got two packages yesterday, both labeled from Grandma Honey. One of the packages had pancake mix and the other package contained peanut butter. I assume that was the one you mentioned. Last logistical thing. If you would, now that I can email, could you put my email up on the blog for people to email me? That'd be great. Thanks!
Ok, now onto the missionary work part of the week.
Elder G and I have been striving to improve our contacting on buses on tramwajs, and we have seen great success because of it. We have started to set specific goals for every tramwaj or bus ride we will have regarding how many people we will talk to on our journey to the chapel, to an office in which we sometimes meet, etc, and it has helped us immensely. So much more of our finding now comes "along the way" instead of just from big contacting blocks, and we have seen great dividends in terms of lessons and investigators from it. We hope to see more as time goes on. I'm learning quickly that proper and specific goal setting will yield proper and specific results, if we are diligent in our efforts.
We've begun teaching a man named M, who actually found us one night on the street. We were contacting, and he came up to us and started talking to us. Well, we set up to meet with him, and we had a lesson with him this past week. This lesson was significant because I feel it was the first time on my mission my companion and I have ever explained the Book of Mormon to the fullest possible extent. We shared scriptures that had affected us in life, the influence the Book of Mormon can have on each of us, and helped him to truly understand everything that this Book means. Dad, I even used how it's a story about a family from Jerusalem that we've practiced so many times. Having pictures of football was inspired too, because I shared Alma 26:12 with him and talked about the influence it had on me and was able to show him that picture of my taped wrists.
Note from mom (Elder Vernon wrote his favorite scripture on his tape for every football game he played in High School.)
 I feel confident knowing that he truly understands what is expected of him in reading and praying, and how this will bless his life. I am amazed to see my growth not only in the language, but in my missionary skills as I continue to apply the things learned in Preach My Gospel and leadership meetings.
Finally, we had a simple spiritual experience this week. We were tracting next to a very loud street. We wanted to teach a lesson and have our message be heard, but felt we were struggling to do so through the domafon (outer phone that allows us to communicate with houses without knocking doors). We said a prayer, simply asking Heavenly Father to help us be heard, to share our message effectively with these people. The next door we rang let us into the klatka--we usually can't get into an apartment building unless someone unlocks the outer door for us, which is what this person did. They didn't want to hear our message, but I'm grateful for a Father in Heaven that hears and answers prayers and influenced someone to let us into a klatka so that we could teach and preach more effectively.
We had a crazy and somewhat nerve racking experience on Saturday. So, we were out and about contacting, trying to find Elder G's lost umbrella from the night before when we were chasing down a tramwaj, which lead us to a part of town we rarely go to. We ended up on a sidewalk almost never walked, and talked to a dad, gave him a Book of Mormon, and set up to teach his family. Yay for families! Anyway, we assumed that was why we were where we were, because we just felt we needed to be there. There was so much more though. We, at the end of the street, saw an old, 70 year old man laying in the road with a pool of blood around his face. He was on the tramwaj tracks and my first thought was "No... he must have been hit and died." Not quite though. He was actually an escapee from the hospital. He had an IV in his hand and a bandage as well. Anyway, he had fallen on these tramwaj tracks and gashed his forehead, deeply. He was bleeding profusely from his head. It was a bit of a disturbing sight actually. Well, he was trying to get up, and a tramwaj technician who was in the area ran to his side while elder G helped on the other side. A young man called the ambulance while they tried to get this old man to sit down on a ledge by the sidewalk. This man would have none of it though, and he, being surprisingly strong, fought them off and ran across the street, still bleeding and in a dazed condition. We realize now he was not in a good mental state at all. This tramwaj technician throws up his hands, in essence says, "whatever" and walks away. Elder G and I are unsure of what to do and a bit hesitant, seeing as we both don't like blood. Well, this old man falls again onto the sidewalk across the street without catching himself and hit his forehead again, and is still bleeding horrendously bad. We both gathered our courage in an instant, and ran to help him. By the time we got there, he was up again under his own power, and trying to run. He then ran into a cement pillar head first, and collapsed to the ground. We chased him, finally got to him, and he was trying to get up again. Well, we couldn't hold him down, so we got him up and tried to sit him down on the side while avoiding the blood as much as possible. A homeless man was helping us as well. We got this old man sitting down, but he was still fighting, furiously, talking about how he needed to catch a bus and get home. He was definitely not mentally sane and had multiple concussions. He was amazingly strong as well. The homeless man and I were holding him "sitting down" and trying to keep him under control while a girl was calling the ambulance. Eventually, it came to the point where this man was trying to get away, so I was behind him, holding him back, while the homeless man was in front, holding his shoulders and keeping him from going anywhere. The homeless man is the real hero hero here. He had blood everywhere. Elder G and I miraculously kept ourselves blood free. Well, the paramedics showed up after about ten minutes of this, and took him away without asking any questions or taking any names. We were so grateful for the homeless man and his help. We could not have done it without him. We called President Nielson immediately after the whole ordeal to let him know what had happened, in case the police did a report on this or something, and he told us he was incredibly proud of us, and also said "that sort of help is eternal." How right he is. The Lord needed us to help this man, to keep him safe while he was not in his right mind, and I am so grateful we were there and able to respond to the call. I shudder to think of the guilt we would have felt had we not been courageous enough to step up to the call and do what was required of us. When we are on the Lord's errand, He truly makes us worthy to the task. If anything, I know now that I really don't like blood, but I can deal with it when necessary! Mom, maybe being a doctor is in my future! :)
Well, know that I'm having an exciting time here in Poland! I wish I could share more and what not, but time is running short. We need to get going because we are going to Kim's pottery today! Mom, get excited! Oh, and happy birthday to you and Grandpa Ted! I won't email until next Monday, and your Birthdays are on Sunday, so I'll just say so now, as well as next week, cool? Cool.
The gospel is true. The Lord is in the details of our lives. He loves us, and we truly can be answers to the prayers of others as we are on His errand. Christ lives, stands at the head of our church, and is our Savior and Redeemer. The Book of Mormon is true, and Joseph Smith is a prophet of God. Missions are awesome, and I'm loving mine. It's hard, and I struggle at times, but I wouldn't give this experience up for anything.
I love you all. I thank you for your prayers, love, letters, packages, and everything you do for me. I am so grateful to know I have a family back home supporting me. Keep the faith, catch the frogs,
Another note from mom...(During spring break the girls had fun catching frogs. Hannah told  Elder Vernon all about it in her last email).

and have a great day!
With lots and lots of love,
Elder Vernon

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