Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Grateful for two years to spend in His service

Hey hey hey family! Well, life is good here in the crazy Poland land. It's been a really good week. I'm loving my mission more and more every week. I feel like I now have experiences weekly that are continuing to change and shape the course of my mission. I feel so blessed. The Lord is so bountiful with His blessings, and I feel like such an unprofitable servant. I'm just grateful I have two years to spend in His service, to try and prove to Him that I can be trusted and that I will do all that is asked of me. It's such a cool experience to be here in Poland, speaking a totally different language, trying to talk to people about God and Jesus Christ, how much they love us, and then invite that person to make commitments to strengthen that relationship with their Heavenly Father. This work is truly led by the Holy Ghost, and our Father in Heaven. There's no other way it could be done!
A few big miracles have happened this week. First, when Elder Wilson and I were on the way to the train station so that he could go to Poznań on the exchange, we started to talk to our taxi driver. In the course of our conversation, we asked him if he had ever driven missionaries before, and he said he had, and that he has a copy of The Book of Mormon already. Well, we found out that he is the same taxi driver who President and Sister Nielson met three weeks ago at Zone Training. President and Sister Nielson gave him a copy of The Book of Mormon, and encouraged him to read it. There truly are no coincidences in this work. I know the Lord wanted us to talk to that taxi driver again. We were able to talk to him, exhort him to reading The Book of Mormon again, and testify of its truth and divinity. Unfortunately, we weren't able to set up a meeting or exchange numbers. He wasn't willing to do so. He does, however, have our number, knows where the church is, and knows how to get in contact with us. I hope we will be able to run into him soon.
While on the exchange with Elder C, we had another great experience. We were contacting on the island in the center of Bydgoszcz, when we came across a student named P. We were talking to him, and he told us he already has a copy of The Book of Mormon, and that he's still in contact with the sister missionary who gave it to him 4 or 5 years ago. She now currently lives in Alaska and has her own family. I was a bit surprised that he was still in contact with her, and continued the conversation on the subject of The Book of Mormon. He never read much of it, and wasn't very interested in talking about it, but something told me to keep talking to him, even if it be on a different subject. I recognize now that it was the Spirit. We talked for a minute about what he was studying, and in the course of the conversation, he told that he had come to the island that day to get away from everything and think about life for a while. A girl from his high school class that he knew well had just died a few days earlier and P was struggling with the whole situation. I felt prompted to give him Alma 40 and 41 to read, specifically highlighting Alma 40:11. Elder C and I were able to bear testimony to him about how The Book of Mormon can provide him comfort in this situation. P wasn't willing to exchange numbers, or meet with us, but I do feel I will see him again. I hope what we shared with him affected him for good, and that he has a better understanding of his relationship with God now because of it.
Elder C and I had a great exchange. Something I've been learning on my mission is that setting an example is much more powerful than words. That's something I've been striving to implement in my work lately. I can't ask the missionaries in this zone to move forward, progress, and follow counsel from me and other leaders if I'm not doing so myself. I continually see the wisdom in the statement President Nielson has shared with us missionaries that a leader is most effective when he is a good follower.
Elder Wilson and I are getting along spectacularly. I love him. He is an incredible companion, and a powerful missionary. I learn from him daily, and we are setting goals and making plans to make the best of our time together. We had a bit of an "aha" moment last night after we taught a lesson, and we realized that we have so much more work to do in regards to teaching people and not lessons. The Lord is continually giving us increased vision so that we can perform His work more effectively. When we view these investigators with the perspective of the Plan of Salvation, we began to understand where they are, what commitments they need, and what doctrine we can teach to help them accept that commitment. We made sure to take notes, set goals, and make plans right then and there to change our work to be more in accordance with how the Lord wants it done. As we evaluate lessons and how these investigators are doing, these miracles are prevalent. I'm so grateful the Lord is giving me the privilege to serve with Elder Wilson right now. He's helping me to become the missionary I know I need to be. I hope I am helping him do the same.
As for some other stories, Elder Wilson had a crazy cool miracle this week. He was on the way back from Poznań when he ran into a lady named M. Well, we contacted her 3 weeks ago on the street right after zone training, gave her a Book of Mormon, set up with her for a week or so later--which she unfortunately did not show up to--and we expected that to be the end of it. Nope! Elder Wilson saw her in the train station in Poznań, talked to her, and ended up being in the same compartment as her on the train home! He taught her a lesson, was able to get her phone number (which we did not have before), and set up with her again! Wow, there are truly no coincidences in this work. Unfortunately, she did not show up to the next meeting either, but we have her contact info. The Lord must really want her to receive the Gospel. We'll keep you updated on her.
As for K and S, we haven't meet with either of them this week. K is super busy until the end of June, and we're struggling to get a hold of S. Thus, neither has a baptismal date for the time being. We hope to see things start happening with them soon. I will keep you all upated.
We've kind of been teaching a kid named G as well. He's a karate expert. He comes to English class, and actually talked to us about the gospel for a while afterward. We shared Ether 12:4 to start the lesson (we always start with a spiritual thought. We're missionaries, can you blame us? Plus, it says to in our English manual) and it really struck him. He thinks a lot of people in this world are lacking in faith. We were able to talk to him for a while, invite him to seminary next week to study the scriptures with us, and we are meeting with him tomorrow to talk about the Book of Mormon. Even in the little testimonies we share, like at the beginning of an English lesson, someone can be affected. That's the power of the Holy Ghost!
Well, that's about all I can think of for stories. Mom, I'm super glad you got the pottery all safe and sound! I was worrying about that, so I'm glad nothing happened to it. It looks like you guys are loving it too! Have fun eating with it next week. Sister Kagele had told me you got it, so I was glad to hear it.  I'm so lucky to have a great mom like you. Keep an eye on that blog, because I'm going to be on it this week! We've got mission leadership council on Thursday in Warsaw, which will be a blast. I'm excited for it.
Dad, I'm jealous you guys are all out at the cabin. I can't wait to get out there again after the mission (still not being trunky!). Good luck with the cold showers at the cabin. Our apartment has a funny thing about it. It doesn't get hot water until around 6:30 or 6:45 in the morning, so Thursday, when we head into Warsaw, we'll be taking a cold shower too. It's a very cold shower as well. We have to catch a train at 7, so it's "up and at it" early for Elder Wilson and I. You're the best dad. Keep up the great work.
Hannah bear, I had a great week. We placed 11 copies of the Book of Mormon this week. Have fun finishing school.
Emms, get healthy! You'll do great at AFJH, don't stress it. Keep on being awesome.
Heath, Have fun with school and everything. How was cavestock? I'm glad you approve of the penny pass down. Who are the other pennies going to?
Well, the church is true. I am running out of time, but I love you all. Keep the faith, and I'll talk to you in a week!
Elder Vernon

Polish Pottery (Written by Elder Vernon's Mom)

As soon as Elder Vernon opened his mission call and I found out he was called to serve in the Poland Warsaw mission I began searching the internet for anything and everything I could learn about Poland. I immediately fell in love with polish pottery!
Before Elder Vernon left for his mission I told him if he ever wanted to send me something from Poland I would love some pottery. In April, Elder Vernon was serving in Warsaw and he decided that the time was right to send me some pottery. On April 8th I received an email from a pottery store in Warsaw confirming shipment of 2 boxes to my address. I was so excited! We have been anticipating the arrival of this pottery for over a month (the boxes were shipped 'slow boat').
Monday afternoon I found a large box sitting on my doorstep. My heart jumped when I saw the return address....Polska. My Polish pottery had arrived. It was like Christmas as I carefully unwrapped each piece. It wasn't until two days later that I received the second box. When the second box arrived I was so scared because the box was literally falling apart. I thought that I would open the box to find broken pieces of pottery and not whole plates. I actually shook the box gently to see if I could hear broken pieces. I was delighted to find eight plates and not one was broken (I have never seen so much bubble wrap in my life). I opened each plate slowly and enjoyed examining the pattern before unwrapping the next plate.
I am grateful that Elder Vernon is learning to love the rich history and amazing people of Poland and that he is anxious to share a piece of that with me through their amazing pottery. Every Sunday we will enjoy a meal together as a family and feel connected to Elder Vernon as we eat dinner on beautiful Polish pottery.
Hannah couldn't wait to see what was inside. Everyday she would come home from school and the first thing she would ask was, "Did the pottery come?"

Each piece was carefully wrapped!

The pie plate if for Grandma Honey and the round candy dish is for Granmda Fernie.
I may have a hard time giving the grandmothers their pottery :)

 The second box did not arrive until Wednesday and it definitely had a rougher trip than the first box.

I was afraid of what I would find inside
I think this box was dropped once or twice

Elder Vernon said that the kite plate is his plate.
They are beautiful! I hope we are brave enough to actually  use them.

Monday, May 20, 2013

11 Months Today

Hello hello hello family!

Goodness gracious. Time is flying. Where did the week go? Wasn't it yesterday that I emailed all of you? I feel like it was. Anyway, I bet you all want to hear about the week, huh? Let's get down to it then, shall we?
I had an incredible exchange with Elder S. He's a great missionary, and I learned a lot about him. He has an incredible work ethic, and an amazing ability to pinpoint exactly what he needs to improve and to change it. I know the Lord is pleased with what Elder S. is doing.
The more exchanges I go on, the more miracles I see. On my exchange with Elder S, we planned for 3 specific people to find the next day, and what we were going to teach them. This is something we've been doing in the mission lately. We plan for "the who" and "the what". What that means is we strive to visualize the people we're going to talk to the next day, and what we can share with them to make them stop and want to hear the gospel. We planned where we were to go to find them, and at what time we would find them. I was a bit nervous, because I wasn't sure how much Elder S. liked planning that specifically, and if this didn't work, he would have even less reason to believe it. I did a lot of praying that night, and throughout that day. We found all the people we planned for. What a testimony builder that is for me. I'm so grateful that the Lord was willing to help us to find His children in need of the gospel. Not all of them accepted it, but we did what the Lord required of us. 
Elder Wilson and I saw two great miracles this week. First, was with K. We met him on the street two weeks ago, set up with him, and the lesson fell through. The funny thing was, he actually contacted us, and asked us where he could get a Bible translated by Joseph Smith. When we told him that one doesn't exist, he seemed upset, but we wanted to see how he knew so much and why he was interested in that sort of thing. Then, when we met him again last Monday, we invited him to the chapel to have a meeting, and he readily accepted. Right then and there, we sat down with him and talked to him about The Book of Mormon. He already has a belief that it is true and from God. We immediately progressed to baptism. He expressed doubts about his catholic family disagreeing with baptism, but Elder Wilson boldly and lovingly bore testimony about how our relationship with the Savior is most important. With that perspective, K. accepted a baptismal date for June 22nd. We're excited to work with him toward this date. Unfortunately, we haven't been in contact with him much the rest of the week, but we have a scheduled meeting with him tonight, and we are praying to be able to continue to help him progress toward baptism. We know his family isn't the only issue we will face with him. He also is an alcoholic, but we will deal with that problem when we get to it. There is actually a recent convert here who was an alcoholic that has agreed to help K. 
The other miracle we saw this week was on Saturday morning. We had planned to get out of the apartment right at 11 and do some contacting. We would only be able to do so for a half hour, due to some calls we had to make and preparation for the baptism, but we were determined to get out the door at 11 because President has stressed to us lately the importance of being up and about and doing the Lord's work. He also challenged us at Christmas to set a goal to be out the door by 11 every day. Elder T. called us during language study to gather our goals from the exchange, and by the time we finished, it was 11:10. We could have simply stayed inside and started our calls early, but we decided to get out and do as we had planned. As we did so, we came across two girls. They were actually sitting a way off from the path we were on, and we walked past them, but something told us to go back and talk to them, so we did. We were able to teach them a little bit, give them each a Book of Mormon, and set up for this coming Thursday. Even in those 20 minutes of contacting, when we were unsure how effective we would be, the Lord had plans for us, and helped us to help His children find this gospel. As we are obedient and diligent, miracles happen.
President's special training was awesome this week! He talked about what we need to become on our missions, and not just the things we need to do. It changes the perspective on everything when we view it that way. The longer I'm on my mission, the more I realize just how concerned President is with each and every one of us missionaries. Yes, pushing the work forward in Poland is vital and it is what we are here to do, but President also wants us to become everything that we can so that we will be successful in all we do in our lives. President Nielson is incredible. I can't believe all that he and Sister Nielson do for all of us. They are stellar examples for us in everything we need to do as missionaries. I've decided I'm going to start forwarding you guys President's weekly email as well. It's always got some great stuff in it.
While President was in Bydgoszcz he also did interviews with us. I asked him if they would be the last ones, and he said that he will be doing them again when he does Zone Conference in June, so I'm glad I get one more with him! He's an incredible priesthood leader, and every time we have an interview, I learn so much. I'll be honest though, he stumped me good this time! When we sat down, he asked me, "So, Elder Vernon, what's the biggest lesson you've learned on your mission so far?" I think I sat there with a stunned look on my face for about 10 seconds. I've learned so much out here, I don't know what to put a finger on. What I ended up talking about, however, was stewardship. That the Lord truly qualifies whom He calls. I think that had been on my mind because of the recent exchange with Elder S, but I do know that that lesson, specifically, has been an incredible blessing to me on my mission, and something I've gained a greater perspective of each transfer. The Lord really loves us, and wants us to do the best we can. He gives us everything we need to be successful as well, and that's an incredible blessing.
Ok, one last story. Friday, we were contacting on what we call "the island." It's a quasi-island in the middle of Bydgoszcz that has a beautiful park and a lot of people. While there,  we walked past a guy with a big ol' Harley Davidson. We stopped, thought, "eh, the worst he can do is say no," and went over to talk to him. Turns out, he was totally willing to listen and to talk! We talked to him for a while in english (he lived in England for 5 years and wanted to practice his english, which was actually ridiculously good), and didn't get much in about the gospel, but we were able to see that the gospel is exactly what he needs in his life, and he just doesn't notice it. We got his number, and will be calling him this week to set up a meeting and hopefully share with him what he truly needs. Moral of the story? Don't be scared of bikers!
Finally, we met a kid last night as well who is totally aware of the apostasy and how many of the teachings from Christ have been changed. Crazy! Only problem is, he has no desire to meet with us or even exchange numbers. Bummer. He just told us, "we'll meet on the street. No stress. I see you guys everywhere." Well, I know at least one person who will be sending up some prayers to run into this guy again. He's golden, he just has to understand what he already knows.
Hannah bear, I had a great week! We gave out 10 Books of Mormon. Holy cow! How is school ending so soon? Yes, we eat pierogi all the time! I love them too. They're so good. My favorite are ruskie, which have potato, cottage cheese, and onion in them, sometimes with some bacon. Gdańsk was so awesome! And really pretty!
Emms, make sure you don't run yourself sick with everything! I'm super jealous you guys are going out to the cabin. I hope you have a great time out there. Good luck decided what to do. Just remember, some things are good, some things are better, and some are best.
Heather, I'm glad Sarah did well at her farewell. That's good to hear. I hope she's excited to get out on the mission. Have a blast at Cavestock! I can remember my senior year cavestock very well. Almost like it was yesterday. That may have been my best day of high school. Hey, could you get me a cavestock tee? Haha, just kidding.  But really though, if they have any extras....
Mom, You're the best! How did I get so lucky to have such a good Mom. I'm way too spoiled. I can't wait to go read all about keeping the Sabbath day holy. Thanks for being the best Mom ever and doing everything you do. I couldn't do this whole mission thing without you!
Dad, thanks for Bro. Cuilliard's email. Good luck in China! I'm grateful for the doctrinal hints and helps you and Mom give me all the time. They help so much. Good luck with the Book of Mormon giving away! When we pray for missionary experiences, the Lord will give them to us. I have a strong testimony of that.
Well family, I've now been on my mission 11 months. What? Where did the time go? I just hope I can make the next 13 months as effective, dedicated, diligent, and well-spent as the last 11. Hopefully even better. I know the Lord has miracles in store, now it's just time to be worthy, work hard, and go find them.
Remember, the gospel is true. The Lord loves us. That's some big knowledge. Tell everyone I say hi, that I love them, and that I'm working hard. Thanks for the pictures. Tell  Parker I liked the picture of him holding open 2 doors. I like his new look with the glasses.
I love you all! And the Lord does too!
Elder Vernon

Friday, May 17, 2013

Bydgoszcz Specialized Training (Re-Post from Sister Nielson's Blog)

 Soon the Gdansk missionaries arrived.  Elders Skolmoski (District Leader in Gdansk) and Vernon (Zone Leader who was on exchange in Gdansk)
The great missionaries in the Bydgoszcz and Gdansk Districts.  Sisters Swenson and Young with Elders Allen and Harris.  Elders Vernon, Skolmoski, White and Wilson.
After the training meeting everyone enjoyed famous 'Marcin mini pizzas', picked up mail and supplies and were ready to go out and contact.  Elders Skolmoski, White, Wilson, Vernon, Allen and Harris with Sisters Young and Swenson.  We had a great time and visit with our missionaries.  President also interviewed each one as he always does.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

Hey hey hey family! 
Wow, it was so good to hear all of your voices last night! I love the chance to talk to each other twice a year. You guys all sound like you're doing awesome, I'm so grateful for that. I have the best family ever! Mom, I hope you had the best Mother's day ever too. Elder Wilson and I were talking, and we feel like we just talked to you guys all yesterday at Christmas. Weird. It's like we turned around and somehow we finished training, are now zone leaders, and time is warping like crazy. It's so weird, but I'm loving the mission. It's so nice not to have to worry about anything for two years. Honestly. No school, major decisions, worrying about making ends meet, girls (well, except for letter-writing and such, but that's mostly fun ;)), and what not. Just two years to talk to people about a message that's shaped the course of my life. It's like it's just my personal time to show the Lord exactly who I can be, and strive to live up to the expectations He has for me, without a whole ton of worldly influence. Yeah, it's still stressful, and there's ups, downs, and all arounds, but I wouldn't trade this time for anything else. Even though it means two years away from the best family in the world, it's worth it to show the Lord that I'm trying to be a humble and worthy servant. Plus, at the end, if we're all faithful, we'll have eternity together. So what's two short years compared with all of that? Totally worth it.
I've been worrying a little about the exchange I have with Elder S in Gdańsk tomorrow. I've been on exchanges before, but never as the missionary leading the exchange and having to teach something. This week, however, the Lord has shown me what I need to do. Elder Wilson and I stopped in at some recent converts to share a quick spiritual thought and to get to know them better, since we are both quite new in the area. We decided to share 1 Ne. 4:6 with them, talking about how things may seem scary, daunting, and we may be unsure of how it will all work out, but like Nephi, we will be led by the Spirit, and the Lord will help us to do what He wants us to do. That night, during the lesson, it occurred to me that the Lord was trying to send me a message through this scripture. I may not be sure of everything I will be doing on this exchange, but trusting in the Lord, I can be led by the Spirit to teach Elder S those things he needs to learn. Now, that's not to say I will go in unprepared. I'm doing my best to prepare to teach him the lessons I learned about teaching and talking to everyone from Elder M. I plan to help him and make the exchange the best it can be by first and foremost being an example. I have to show him that I do what I preach in order for it to be effective.
Zone Training in Poznan

A principle I learned this week was from Zone Training in Poznań. Zone Training is when we go out and teach the missionaries in the zone what things we learned from the Mission Leadership Council meeting held once a month. We went to Poznań on Wednesday to teach Poznań and Szczecin. Anyway, Elder Mikolyski made a comment while we were diagramming the progression of vision, goals, plans, and actions. We had found this progression in PMG, as well as in the story of Captain Moroni in Alma 48. Basically, what we were trying to put across is that before we can have a goal, we have to have a vision. That vision shapes our goals, which goals shape our plans, which plans shape our actions. Elder Mikolyski quoted Pres. Eyring and said that the missionaries who really draw on the powers of heaven are those that understand the plan of salvation. Moroni definitely understood the plan of salvation. In thinking about it, I realized that the eternal perspective from the plan of salvation that Moroni had gave him the vision of what he wanted and needed to do--create a land where people were free to have agency, giving them the opportunity to choose to experience all the blessings of the gospel, or not. This is a progression I'm beginning to see everywhere, and I'm so glad for the knowledge I have of it right now. I'm striving to look for it more in my life, as well as seeking to understand the plan of salvation. I know that with the knowledge of both, I can do all the Lord expects of me.

I forgot my umbrella. I wont be doing that again anytime soon.
Another minor principle I learned this week was not to get caught outside without an umbrella. Elder Wilson and I were caught in a downpour that came out of nowhere, and had to sprint home in the pouring rain. It was wet. We had a good laugh about it, and we definitely won't be forgetting our umbrellas anytime soon. I'll try to send a picture so you guys can see just how bad it was.
A miracle I've seen this week definitely happened with S. He was from our Area Book, and an investigator Elder Gudnason mentioned we might want to visit. That advice turned out to be very worthwhile. We had a great lesson with S. It's amazing to see the miracles the Lord is willing to put in our path if we will strive to be obedient and serve Him. I know this is His work and it goes forward in His time, and I am grateful that He feels Elder Wilson and I are ready to help S work toward baptism.
Hannah, good job on squeezing Tao so she would meow and say hi! I had a great Mother's day, and I'm glad yours was good too. I love you and miss you lots! Oh, we placed 8 copies of the Book of Mormon this week.
Heath, tell coach Mower hi for me. Sounds like he's doing great. He's a great teacher and coach for sure. I'm glad you get to dance some, even if it's not as much as you'd like. Keep being awesome, enjoy Cavestock, and fight those boys off! Remember, both Dad and I have to approve whoever you date. That's a new rule I just created. Just kidding, I trust you--well, I at least trust that Dad will lay down the law. Haha, I'm just having a good laugh here. Don't take me too seriously ;). Love you and miss you lots!
Emms, of course we will throw. First thing when I get home, after you guys drive me straight to the lake from the airport so I can go wakeboarding. Just kidding. But not really. For serious though, we will definitely get in a good toss. Keep having fun with life, try not to get too busy, and enjoy the journey! Love you and miss you.
Dad, you're the best. I'm so lucky to have a great example of a righteous priesthood holder that I can follow after. Yes, we bring up Baptism on the first lesson actually. It's much better to let them know exactly what to expect, rather than bring it up later. It avoids so much confusion. It's scary though at times, to be that straightforward, but it's what the Lord wants. Yes, I actually play the piano for sacrament meeting every week, so that's fun. Oh, last thing, can you get me Bro. Cuillard's email address? Thanks. Love you and miss you.
Mom, you're the best! Happy Mother's Day again. Yes, time passed way too fast on that phone call. I'm so glad we can talk though. That's the best thing about it. Anyway, good luck with your lesson this week! Keep being the best mom in the world, and don't stress. You're always in my prayers. Love you and miss you lots.
Well, my time draws to a close, but as always, I love you all! The church is true!
Elder Spencer Vernon

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"There is Danger in Some Day When That's Not This Day"

Elders Vernon and Gudnason
Hey hey hey family! Wow, what a week. I can't wait to tell you all about it.
First of all, let's get some logistical things out of the way.
My phone number is as follows xxxxxxxxxx
You guys, once again, are supposed to call me. This call will be taking place at 8:30 PM Poland time, which should be 12:30 your time. I can't wait to talk to all of you! It's crazy. It feels like yesterday we talked at Christmas. Where did all the time go?
Secondly, I am feeling better. I think all the stress of everything got to me, but I'm doing well now.
Thirdly, Elder Wilson is awesome! He's a stellar missionary, and we are having a blast together. It's been super fun working with him, and we're (hopefully) going to do some great things together. We joke often that we have no idea what we're doing, since neither of us has ever been a zone leader before, but we're having fun and doing our best along the way.
So, I bet you all want to hear about the week.
Saying goodbye to Elder Gudnason was so strange. It wasn't like he was just going to a new city, he went home. Like home home. Weird. It got me freaked out a bit, because I'm realizing how quickly time is moving for me. I'm not going to be ready to go home when that time comes for me. I think it was a wake up call for me. I mean, I already recognized that my mission would be ending before I wanted it to, but this helped me realize just how quickly it will end.
Mission Leadership Conference

It was super fun to go to Warsaw for Mission Leadership Conference and to pick up Elder Wilson. Wow. It was so cool to be in such a small meeting with so many powerful missionaries and to learn so much from President. he talked all about picking up the pace, talking to more people, and just being ready to go all the time. We watched a clip from a talk by President Eyring which talks all about "Choose ye this day." President Eyring has a quote in that talk which has stuck with me a lot of my life. I heard it in seminary years ago. He says "there in danger in some day when that's not this day." Pretty soon, every one of us runs out of 'some days.' There's only a limited number of tomorrows. What President was stressing to us was focusing on today. Doing everything we can today where there is still time. Christ understood this principle perfectly (John 9:4). Anyway, this week, we are passing on all this information to the Elders in our zone. It's been fun doing so. We call that Zone Training, and it's why we weren't able to email yesterday. We're actually going tomorrow to Poznan to teach the other Elders in our zone all about it as well, so that will be exciting, and fun. We do a lot of traveling as Zone Leaders, but we're enjoying it. Oh, before I digress too much, can you send me the audio of that talk by President Eyring? I would also love the audio of Pres. Monson's Sunday Morning talk from this most recent conference as well. Thanks!
A big lesson I learned this week was that goals stem from having a vision. Elder Wilson and I took some time during weekly planning to try to set some transfer goals. It was interesting, because the more we talked, the more we tried to set some specific goals, the more our thoughts kept turning to vision. In the end, we never ended up setting actual goals. Not yet at least, we will be doing that shortly. Our big focus became who we wanted to become as missionaries, or rather our vision for the missionaries and the zone leaders we need to become. From that, everything else seems to fall into place. Now that we've decided we will be masters of PMG ch.10, we want to be master planners, and master finders, we can set the goals we need to develop the skills needed and become those types of missionaries. We then took a step back and thought about this in relation to our Father in Heaven, and what His vision was, and how His goals and plans were shaped by that vision. Moses 1:39--To bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man. That's Heavenly Father's whole purpose for everything He does for us. It was incredible to see everything fall into place. We truly felt inspired by the Spirit and lucky to be learning together as we strive to be the best we can be.
As for some other cool experiences this week, Bro. Kagele had to conduct on Sunday. He doesn't speak much polish, and they wanted him to do it in Polish, so Elder Wilson and I helped him prepare what he wanted to say and how to say it. He was super nice, and brought us root beer for helping him. News flash. Root beer doesn't exist in Poland, so we were super stoked about this. Bro. Kagele did a great job conducting. It was cool to see him use the polish he does know and rise up to fulfill the call of the Lord, even in a seemingly small thing like that.
Elders Allen, Wilson, Harris and Vernon
In Zone Training, we stressed giving people we contact and want to meet with two options for a meeting, instead of just giving them a yes or no question. Well, we've been doing so, Elder Wilson and I, and we've seen the blessings pay off. Right after Zone Training, we were on the street, contacting, and we taught a street lesson to a lady named M. She was busy, and needed to get going, but we used our either/or 2 option method, and were able to set up a concrete meeting with her, instead of just exchanging phone numbers, which is the usual occurrence.  As we move forward and are obedient, blessings come, often immediately.
The biggest thing about being a zone leader, in terms of difference, is how little time Elder Wilson and I seem to have. Every night, after we plan, we have to take call ins from other District Leaders in our zone, so we can then call into the APs, who call to President, informing him that the mission is all in safe, and updating him on baptismal dates, info, and other things. Anyway, we don't finish this tree of phone calls until 10, and with having to update the Area Book, write in our Journals, brush our teeth, maybe get a snack, there's just not enough time to do it all! It makes us have to rush and be fast with everything we do. We're working on getting better and doing all we can to fulfill our calling. As always, it's the Lord's work first, and our wants second. It's been fun though, and we are really enjoying our time together as zone leaders, even if we don't know what we're doing half the time.
Mom and Dad, happy anniversary! What a crazy thing to think, that you've been married 23 years. Wow. I want you both to know I love you and that I'm so grateful for the example of a stellar marriage you have given me on which to build my (hopeful) future one. I'm just the luckiest kid in the world. That's what I think at least. Elder Wilson says hi! He's super happy he got to meet you at BYU.
Emms, keep rocking the world and being busy. Sounds like you guys did fanstastic at the competition. Keep up being a great dancer. Thanks for sharing your spiritual experiences with me. I love hearing them.
Trev, great to hear about some football! Keep on working hard. I'd love to hear from you often. Keep up the good work and being awesome. Miss you lots too.
Justin, things are going great. The mission isn't always what I thought it would be, but in a lot of ways, it is. It's the best two years for sure though!
Andrew, Poland is awesome! Keep on playing baseball and being awesome! Unfortunately, we don't celebrate cinco de mayo here :(.
Crash, thanks for the football updates! I'll get you my mailing address for sure. I appreciate the heads up. Good luck with all the coaching!
Grandma and Grandpa, I love you and miss you too. I hope grandpa Ted's back is ok. I'll keep trying to give you some good things to brag about!
Jeana, good luck with all the business! Thanks for all the prayers sent my way. Yes, I do remember the angry eyebrows you drew on my face while I was sleeping ;).
Grandma Fernie, it's always great to hear from you and I hope you're doing well!
Mom, I'll try not to cry this time too! We'll see though. I did get a good portion of genes from you, so I might be in trouble. 
Heath, tell Parker hi. Enjoy the moment. They all fly by way too fast. You're awesome! Keep up being great and remember, the gospel is true.
Well, I love you all! I must go, but the church is true!
Elder Vernon

Bydgoszcz Zone Conference (Re-post from Sister Nielson's Blog)

Our Missionaries in the Bydgoszcz Branch.  These are great Elders. Elder Allen, Elder Wilson (new Zone Leader), Elder Harris (District Leader) and Elder Vernon (new Zone Leader).
It was a wonderful day for me and President to visit with the great members here and to feel of their Spirit.  We love these members and this great Branch.

  Sisters Young and Swenson with Elders Harris, Allen, Skolmoski, White, Vernon and Wilson.
Our Bydgoszcz Zone Leaders led the discussion this morning.  They were well prepared and did a fantastic job.  These are great new Zone Leaders.
At the end, as always, we did "role playing".  Here Elders Vernon and Wilson are showing everyone the importance of writing a reading assignment down for someone they just gave a copy of the Book of Mormon to.  Elder Skolmoski is the investigator.
If you have served in Bydgoszcz, you know one of the favorite places to eat is at Marcin's.  We ordered his famous little pizzas and enjoyed them for lunch.  We have such great missionaries in Poland.  We love them dearly.  It was so good to spend the morning with some of them.  They are developing into the missionaries the Lord needs.  We are so grateful for them.  They quickly had lunch and then headed back to Gdansk or the streets of Bydgoszcz to share the Gospel message.
We returned to Warsaw.  Tomorrow we will enjoy another Zone Training meeting with Warsaw I & II Districts.   We do have the best calling in the Church.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

An Historic Meeting in the Poland Warsaw Mission (Re-post from Sister Nielson's blog)

This was an historic meeting in the Poland Warsaw Mission.  This used to be called Zone Leader Counsel.   It is now called Mission Leadership Counsel.  We had some new members of this meeting...two Sister Missionaries.  Their new calling in the Mission is 'Sister Training Leader'.  They attend this Mission Counsel meeting.  They added so much just in their first meeting with us.  We have three Sister Training Leaders in our mission.  The third is Sister Bezdjian who would have been here; but her train back to Wroclaw with her new Trainee was too late, and she needed to miss this meeting.
A great Mission Leadership Counsel.  Sisters Allen and Howells, with our Zone Leaders Elders Tingey (new Zone Leader in Warsaw), Raines (Warsaw Zone), Vernon (new Zone Leader in Bydgoszcz), Wilson (new Zone Leader in Bydgoszcz), Dopp (Katowice) and Neuner (new Zone Leader in Katowice).  Seated are Elder Tiner (Assistant) and Elder Zelezniak (new Assistant).