Monday, April 22, 2013

Good luck saying that town's name! (Bydgoszcz)

Hey hey hey family!
So, I apologize we're a bit late on the emailing today, but there's some crazy stuff going on as of late. So, as of today, I'm officially in a new city!  I just replaced Elder Bokinsky as a Zone Leader in Bydgoszcz (good luck saying that town's name). Elder Bokinsky has a knee injury and he is in the office recovering. I got the call from President Nielson Friday night that I would be heading out to Bydgoszcz on Monday, and I was absolutely shocked. I didn't know what to say. Then, when he told me I was going to be a Zone Leader, that just added to it. I'm now in Bydgoszcz with Elder G. He's from Iceland, and goes home in a week and a half. I guess my job is to get used to Bydgoszcz, try to get familiar with the area, and then be ready for a new companion when transfers happen in a week and a half. Little bit crazy, huh?
Elder Vernon in Bydgoszcz
Anyway, amidst all the crazy packing in a space of two days, teaching 16 lessons with Elder G (that's a new mission high for me), placing 17 copies of the Book of Mormon, and obtaining a baptismal date, we somehow managed to get me safe and sound to Bydgoszcz. This week has seemed to last forever. It's been crazy. Monday through Wednesday Elder M and I went on an exchange. It was great to have a chance to work with him again and learn from him. He has captured the vision of how to teach, and I was grateful that he was able to help me catch the vision as well. Such little things can make all the difference between having an outpouring of the Spirit, and just feeling his presence. Asking the right questions, explaining things with clarity, and letting the Spirit work through a purely borne testimony works wonders. As I sat there in companionship study and learned about these things with Elder M, I truly felt like my perspective was lifted to a whole new level. 
The last lesson I learned from Elder M was about goals. He told me a short quote from Elder Jensen about how the specificity, effectiveness, and reality of our goals shaped our repentance process. I thought about that for a minute, and I have realized how true that is. Elder M said that you can tell a lot about a missionary by the goals he sets, and I quickly realized how true that is. With this new knowledge, I hope to set better, more specific, and more effective goals in the future.
While on that exchange, Elder G was with Elder V (a zone leader in Warsaw, who's actually from Holland).  They taught a lady named A, whom Elder M and I found last week on our exchange. They extended her the baptismal challenge and she accepted! It was super exciting to see such progress in our area. We've been working hard and we have seen a lot of success because of it. Well, I shouldn't say that. Success comes in the Lord's time, but I'm just grateful he's blessed us as of late.
The Warsaw district: Elders Van Bakel, Gibby, Raines, Manwill, Vernon and Garfield.  Sisters Howells and Allen
Because I knew I was transferring, I was able to say goodbye to a lot of the members on Sunday, which doesn't usually happen. I was surprised by the strength of the relationships I'd formed with the members here. I felt a little more distant than I did in Katowice, but as I left, I realized that I had built relationships with them. Good ones too. 
Last night, we taught a lesson to a couple of students. They are all agnostics, and are struggling with the issue of faith. Well, we taught them with J helping us, and although we didn't make much ground, the Spirit was strong. I was happy to be able to teach my last lesson in Warsaw with J helping us. He's made some incredible growth as of late in this gospel. I'm so happy to have been by his side and helped him along his road. It was hard to say goodbye to him, but that is the way it has to be. I hope he will continue to grow, be strong in the gospel, and watch the gospel bless his life.
Saying goodbye to Elder G was also hard. He has been a great companion. He's got great potential and he's going to do amazing things in the mission field.
Saying goodbye to Elder Gibby at the Warsaw train station
As for Bydgoszcz, I was transferred into a baptism! A girl named K is getting baptized this Saturday. I'm excited to see what will happen and hope to help her along her road to new-convert comfort. I'm  also excited to see what will happen here in Bydgoszcz. I feel humbled to be a zone leader, but i'm excited for the challenge it's going to give me.
In other news, I was curious, Dad, could you give me any advice on how to give counsel to missionaries?  I'm not sure I have figured out the best, most effective way to put these things forward that they need to change without being sharp, abrasive, or overwhelming?
Dad, thanks for the points of advice. I always appreciate whatever advice you give me. 
Hannah, I didn't get my socks yet, but I'm excited to get them! I had a great week, and we placed 17 copies of the Book of Mormon. For now, I can't think of anything particular I need, but Moon Pies are always great! I'll try to get you my new address next week.
Emms, congrats on making choir! I'm excited for you. You'll love AF. It's a great place. Work hard, do your best, and be as committed as you can to whatever you get yourself into. I know it's hard. Trust me. But do your best, and control what you can control. Other than that, don't worry about it. Miss you too.
Heath, I'm glad you're dancing again and enjoying life. Thanks for all the updates about missions and such. It's always exciting to hear about everyone. keep having fun. Loves you too.
Mom, I received a package from Grandma Honey with chocolate chip cookie mix on Sunday, which was great! I didn't get my socks yet, but I hope they will come soon. As a zone leader, I come into Warsaw at least once a month for mission leadership council, so that won't be too bad. Thanks for all the gospel knowledge you pass on to me! It's always awesome to receive. I love you lots.
Well family, I think that's all from me for today. I wish I had more time, because there's always more to say, but there's work to be done, a city to get accustomed to, and things to learn. This is the Lord's work! The church is true, and so is the Book of Mormon! Love you all! You're in my thoughts and prayers.
Elder Vernon

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