Tuesday, July 2, 2013

A New Week with a New President and Companion

Vernon Family with President and Sister Nielson (missing Heather) 
Angie, Sister Nielson, McGraths, and Eric


Wow, what a week! I'm so happy you were able to hear the Nielson's speak in church. It looks like you were also able to see the McGrath's! I hope you told them hello from me. I'm so glad you got to meet the Nielson's. They are some of the most incredible people ever. I'm glad I have a family who is so spur of the moment crazy! It definitely makes life fun. Ah, I'm jealous you got to spend time with the Nielson's too. I hope you sent them my love. I'm excited to work underneath President Edgren. In talking to the Assistants, they have told us that President Edgren already speaks Polish incredibly well. As in better than a lot of missionaries here in Poland well. I'm so impressed. He sounds like he's ready to get to work and a very diligent man. I'm excited to get to know him better and to start as a hard working zone leader who takes his counsel and follows it exactly. Indeed, flipping the switch will be a vital key in making this transition as smooth as possible. Coach Knight knew what he was talking about.
Thanks for typing up the talks Dad. President Nielson talked to us about the three part road to conversion before as well. It's a very interesting analogy. It changed a lot of the way I look at doctrine when he presented it.
Hannah Bear! I'm so sorry I forgot to wish you happy birthday last week. It totallly spaced my mind. With everything going on with transfers and what not, I spaced it. I'm glad you had a great birthday though! I can't believe you are 9. When did you get to be such a big girl?
I will probably be sending a couple boxes of stuff home soon that I don't need out here. My rockports (shoes) have also seen better days. I love them for the winter because they're so waterproof and durable. My ecco's are still holding up great. I've kept them nicer and wear them now mainly for nicer occasions, such as district meetings, zone conferences, etc.
A principle I have been learning this week is of focused effort. There are good things, better things, and best things on which I can focus during the day as a missionary. When I finish my day and I am accountable to the Lord in prayer, I want to be able to tell Him that I not only worked diligently throughout the day, but that my efforts were focused on those things that matter most. In a conference talk I re-listened to recently by Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin, he mentioned something he did on a daily basis. Every night, he would list the things he needed to accomplish the next day in order from most important to least important. Then, the next day, he would put all of his effort into the first task until it was accomplished. Then, he would move to the second, and third, and so on. I've started doing so as well, and it has helped me maintain a focused effort on those things that I need to accomplish. When I focus my efforts, I am much more effective. I've noticed a difference because of it. It helps me not fear accountability to the Lord. Rather, I am more willing to be accountable in my nightly prayer because I have done all that I can.
A spiritual experience I had this week happened on Tuesday. Elder Wilson and I were on our way to a meeting when we were stopped by a man who had clearly been drinking alcohol. He told us so himself as well. We were in a hurry and I wanted to be at the meeting on time, but he said he wanted to meet when he was sober. He asked us to come with him to his house, which he claimed was just around the corner, so that we could obtain his business card and visit him in the future. In all honesty, I grumbled a bit and wasn't so happy to follow him, but we did so anyway. We got his business card, found out where he lives, and then set off for our meeting. I was frustrated and stressed that we were going to be late because of a setback, but as always, the Lord knows best. Our meeting did not go through and the investigators did not show up. I was immediately humbled. In my hurry to be obedient and on time, I almost missed an opportunity to share the gospel with someone else. The Lord, however, knew better, and helped us to be tools in His hands even when in a hurry.
Another spiritual experience happened on Saturday night. Elder R and I had a scheduled meeting at 7 with a mom and her family. As we were about to leave our apartment after dinner, I had the thought to take a couple copies of "The Family: A Proclamation" with us. I did, and we set off to the meeting. She was not home when we showed up and the neighbors told us they weren't sure when she would be back. At this point, I had forgotten about the copies of the proclamation that I grabbed. We went back out onto the street, and as we were contacting, I had a longer conversation with a man named R. As we talked, he expressed to me he did not want to read The Book of Mormon. We did, however, talk about authority, and he explained to me that in his church, women hold the priesthood because all humans are created equal. I was able to bear testimony to him about the divine and different roles of men and women. As I did so, I thought about the proclamation to the family, and offered to give him one so he could learn more about our beliefs on the subject. He accepted one and I hope that he will read it and learn from it. I'm grateful that I was aware enough of promptings from the spirit to take a few copies of something I don't normally have with me. It definitely paid off.

Another story from this week happened a couple of days ago. I talked to a mom and her daughter for a long time. They were complaining about polygamy in our church (nothing new, we hear that all the time) and how unfair it was. They told me a lot about polish culture and it gave me a whole new view into these Polish people and how to help them. It was a very interesting conversation. Especially because I feel like just lately I'm learning how to be a real missionary. My whole mission, when people would talk for a long time, it just made me frustrated because I felt like they weren't letting me teach them what I wanted to teach. Now, I realize that I was totally in the wrong. I'm so grateful that I'm beginning to really understand polish and I can communicate with these people. When I understand what they are saying to me, what their concerns are, it allows the Spirit to work through me to bear testimony about a certain principle of the gospel which will be applicable to them. My missionary work is starting to take a whole different light, and it's because I'm learning to listen. I'm not perfect yet, and true listening takes hard work, but I'm getting better and the Lord is helping me.
Hannah getting 2 teeth pulled
Mom, good luck with your lesson! You'll do great I'm sure. You're the best mom in the world! Love you lots.
Hannah, loves you lots too! Way to go on being brave and having teeth pulled!
Hannah (minus 2 teeth)
Heather's first time back on skis after her knee (ACL) surgery
Daring Emma and Hannah

Heather and her friends that will be leaving on missions soon
Emms, have fun boating! You'll do great and enjoy it I'm sure. I'm glad you enjoyed EFY! Take something from it and go change something in your life. It totally pays off. Love you!
Heath, I'm glad your knee is getting better! Keep improving. Enjoy every day. Soon all your guy friends are going to be gone. Enjoy it while they're still here. Have fun at the cabin! Love you!
Well, my time is short, but I love you all! The church is true! I'm grateful that our family can be together forever!


Elder Vernon

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