Thursday, June 20, 2013

One Year This Week! (June 17th Letter)

I'm so happy that I get to email you guys once a week. It's the best. We've had a pretty good week here. Nothing absolutely crazy has been happening as of late, but missionary work is always exciting. Anyway, a few logistics first. I did receive my package this week, and it was so great! You guys definitely packed it very full! I was impressed. Elder Wilson and I have been taking down the graham crackers. We missed those. In other news, we also bought European suits last week! We were very happy about that buy. They are sharp too! Maybe when I grow out of this one I'll give it to Justin as well. He is looking good in my old one. Anyway, I bought a dark blue suit, and Elder Wilson bought a black. We'll be wearing them tomorrow for Zone Conference, so keep an eye out for them on Sister Nielson's blog! As for a tie I've chosen to get cut, I'm going to cut one that I bought here in Poland. It's a black and blue paisley tie, and everyone in my district agrees that it suits me well.
Note from mom: Cousin Justin in Elder Vernon's old suit
This is a picture we sent to Elder Vernon of our family on a pioneer trek

Another picture of our ward/family pioneer trek
It looks like you guys had a wonderful time on trek! Dad, way to go on sharing the gospel! We never know when the opportunity might arise and when we need to take advantage of it. We are always missionaries, in all we do, in who we are, and in our everyday life. In reality, a missionary is simply a special witness of the Savior. We all, however, can be witnesses of Him everyday in all we do. We took upon us His name during baptism, and we promised to be witnesses of Him in all time and in all things and in all places. Every member a missionary! Now that I've ranted long enough, I am excited that you guys had missionary experiences. Elder Wilson and I have really been trying to help these Polish members learn how to be missionaries. It's not an easy thing. I'm glad that you, Dad, made sure I knew that as I prayed and fasted for missionary experiences, they would happen. They do happen as well. I still remember our trip back east last year. I was scared to pray for a missionary experience. I didn't want to step out of my comfort zone. I knew, however, I did need to learn to be a missionary, since I would be leaving so soon for my mission. ThenI was able to give a copy of The Book of Mormon to someone on the plane ride home.  When we pray for these experiences, they happen. That's what we're trying to help these members understand, and then to help them in inviting their friends to learn more. It's good to talk about the Gospel, better to share it, and best to invite others to learn more.
Wow, I'm really on a soap box today. Missionary work is the best though. It's scary from time to time, but it is the Lord's work.
Now on to some stories from the week, alright?
A miracle we experienced this week was contacting Monday after P-day. We were set up to have a lesson on the island in the middle of Bydgoszcz, but the man unfortunately did not show up. We were contacting when we noticed a father with his daughter a little way off of the path. We decided to go contact him, even though it was a little way off the path. I'm so glad we did. We were able to teach him a lesson on the street and give him a copy of The Book of Mormon. His name was D and he is very concerned about raising his daughter with good morals. We were able to promise him that the morals and things found in The Book of Mormon would help him to do just that. He told us he would read and we set up to call him the next day to set up a meeting. Unfortunately, when we called his wife answered and was a little bit less than nice on the phone. I do know, however, that D has an understanding of how he can use The Book of Mormon to help him in his life. I hope that he will do so. Having a lesson fall through and teaching a different lesson thanks to some "fill-in" contacting may sound like a coincidence, but I know the Lord wanted us to find and talk to D that night.
President Eyring's words have stuck with me recently. There truly is danger in someday when it is not this day. The more I learn about this, the less time I have to waste. A mission passes fast, and it scares me that I'm already a year into mine. I just hope I can utilize every day, show the Lord my love for Him, and do all He expects me to do.
We also got sent on a wild goose chase this week. We had a meeting set up with a potential investigator, and when we made it to the address that was given to us, no one answered. Thus, we gave him a call, and we told him we were outside his door. Still, nobody came to the door. We called him again, and we appeared to be in front of the wrong door, but the address that we had and that he confirmed was the address of the door in front of which we were. So, we went outside the apartment building, went back to a landmark, and followed his directions, which led us directly back to the same door. Well, that still didn't work. Throughout all of this he kept saying, "Where did you guys get off to?" We had no idea what was going on or where we could have been. Finally, we asked him if we could just meet at a landmark and then go to his apartment. He agreed, and we waited in between a tennis court and a pre-school for his arrival... which never came. We're not sure whether he was just pulling our tail, got much too fed up with us to come meet us, or what exactly happened, but Elder Wilson and I did our best.
Wednesday was a long, hard day. It's probably the hardest working day of my mission I've had so far. Elder Wilson and I were on the street walking around for 7 and a half hours, with only a placed Book of Mormon to show for it. We had some longer contacts, but most of them were people who only wanted to argue and such. When Elder Wilson and I got home, utterly exhausted, we looked at each other and said, "Well, if every day of missionary work were like that, life would be rough. You know what though, it'd still be worth it." And it totally would be.
I can't believe I'm going to have been on my mission a year this Thursday. Where is time going? I'm freaking out about it. Elder Wilson and I have been talking about it, and we're scared to come home. Not like out of our minds scared of it. We definitely want to see our families. We're just scared to have to face real life. It's so nice to not have anything to focus on out here but the gospel. We're celebrating our year mark well too. We're having culture night on Friday, going out to dinner, and then seeing My Fair Lady in Polish. It will be a fun time! We're excited.
Hannah-bear, it sounds like you were a regular old pioneer! I'm glad you were able to pull the cart and wear a pink dress. It sounds like you had a great time! Elder Wilson and I had a good week. I also love you little, love you big, and love you like a little pig.
Emms, good luck with your tourney! I'm glad you were able to go on trek. Lacrosse tourneys are good, but a chance to learn about the gospel and go on trek is definitely better. I'm sure you were a big help pulling the handcart. By the way, when did you get so tall? Have I been gone that long?
Mom, good luck making it to Vail! You'll do it, I'm sure. I'm praying for you too. You're right. Trek brings out special memories and a better recognition of how remarkable the pioneers were. They set a wonderful example for us. It's something we need to remember. What's happening to all these grand kids? Bryce looks like he's my age. Nathan, Josh, and Trevor all look like they grew a ton! I'm surely getting old by now. This is weird.
We had a family reunion this week and this is the picture we sent to Elder Vernon. His cousins are getting older! 

Dad, thanks for the insights on what you teach. I'm glad to learn from you and to have a Dad who is so versed in all gospel aspects. It's a real blessing. Keep sharing the gospel. I use your scripture from Doctrine and Covenants 84:88 often. It's been a real help to me, as well as Alma 38:12.
Heath, Have fun at EFY this week. Remember amid all the flirting, there are great spiritual lessons to be learned. You'll have a great time, I'm sure!
Anyway, time is unfortunately short. I love you all. I forwarded President's weekly message. He's the best. He has some great insights into life, and not just missionary work.
Remember, above all else, the gospel is true, and because of it, we can be together forever someday!
With lots of love,

Elder Vernon

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