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!