Monday, July 29, 2013

I Love You Little, I Love You Lots, Remember to Wash....

Note from Mom: The first paragraph of Elder Vernon's letter will not make sense until you read the poem that Hannah wrote him last week:
I love you little, I love you lots, Always remember to wash your pits and your pots.

Hey hey hey family!
So, first off, Hannah. Yes, I have washed my pits. As for my pots... yes and no. We do have some dirty dishes, but we're working on that. Now, did you wash your pits and your pots? I'm glad you're enjoying swimming lessons. The garden sounds like it's great! Do some chicken airplane soldiers for me in swimming lessons this week, alright? I love you.
Dad, sounds like you had a busy day! I'm sure you did great speaking all 3 times. Your story about the 3-wheeler is powerful. I know that, at least from my view, you've been a strong missionary the rest of your life after that experience. I too have a testimony that the Lord is with us as we strive to do His will. I love you and am grateful for the many acts of service you have done, whether it be for me or for others. And yes, I did receive Corey's letter.
Heath! Make sure to keep that knee healthy! We don't want you having any more issues with it. I'm sure you're being safe though. I'm glad you're sending cookies to the missionaries. Nothing is better than homemade cookies in the MTC! Keep up going to the temple. It will bless you more than you know. I love you!
Emms! How's my favorite sister who's 14 years old? Good luck in choosing what to do! There will always be more activities than we will be able to do, so it is important to pick what we really want to do. I love you!
Mom! You're the best Mom in the whole wide world. Did you know that? I hope so. Thanks for being such an awesome mom and sending me packages! Anyway, love you lots too!
Ok, now should we get on to some stories?
My plans for achieving goals this week are focused on two things. First, Elder Rittmanic and I are trying to improve our attitudes about the work--specifically contacting. On long days, it can be hard to be upbeat and happy the whole day. We are trying to change that by making sure we keep the daily schedule exactly so we can have the Spirit with us and avoiding contacting sessions that are over two hours, with exception of the 6-9 prime time. As for me personally, I'm striving to really improve my effort on a daily basis. There will always be things I can do better, and always be things on which I can improve. My goal now is not to focus on those, but focus on what I do know how to do, focus on what I'm implementing into my work during that day, and exert all my effort into doing that. I give no excuse for poor performance or weak effort, I'm simply striving to accentuate the positive side. I believe Elder Quentin L. Cook said it best when he said, "We emphasize our faith, not our fears." That's what I'm striving to implement and what I'm striving to do. Dad, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think this is what you were getting at when you told me to serve with abandon. I see more wisdom in that statement every day. There is no better way to be a missionary or to live life.
A spiritual experience that I saw this week was last night. We were on our way home after a flaked lesson. As we were walking out the door of the chapel, I had a thought to try our investigator G one more time. His phone was not working, so I tried his roommate, whose number we also have. He said he didn't have any idea about why G's phone was not working, but that he would try to find out. As we were on our way home, we ran into G's roommate, who then invited us over to his apartment to see if G was there and if he would like to meet with us. As it turns out, G  was there. We had a good meeting centered on one of G's concerns regarding the church. We were very glad and lucky to have such a spur of the moment meeting with G and to help him resolve his concern.
Some other cool things that happened this week was I had an exchange with Elder Dodge. That was a fun time. We enjoyed ourselves, and didn't have anything too spectacular happen. We did, however, set some great goals and I'm excited to implement them in my work. At the end of our exchange, we arrived about an hour early to the train station, so we set out to go contacting. As we did, we ran into B, who was willing to talk with us, wanted to meet the next day, and exchanged numbers with us. Extra effort always pays off in this work. B, unfortunately, didn't show up to the meeting, but we do have his number and hope to be in touch with him. 
Dad, to answer some of your questions. I have not yet seen The Work of Salvation, and I would love for you to send me a copy. We are encouraged to watch it, but we don't have any means to do so here in Bydgoszcz. We have personal DVD players for each companionship in our apartment though, and I believe we can watch it there. Also, about President and Sister Edgren. They are quite different from President and Sister Nielson, but still powerful leaders. Rumor has it that Sister Edgren is a spectacular cook. President Edgren is prepared in everything he does. He's a great leader, a very loving man, and a very kind and gentle man as well. He makes sure to give you his attention when he sees you, and he's very in tune with the Spirit. In our mission, the goal with Zone Leaders is for us to have the best areas in the mission. The assistants take care of most of the administrative work, along with President, and they try to give us as much time as possible to work in our area, become effective missionaries, and do the best we can. We go on 2-3 exchanges a transfer, so not many, and have a monthly meeting in Warsaw with the other zone leaders, sister training leaders, assistants, and President Edgren and Sister Edgren. It's a fun calling, but also very busy. I enjoy it though, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Another cool story. On Monday, I went and dropped Elder Rittmanic off at the train station to go to GdaƄsk. As I did so, we noticed two german men in line trying to buy tickets. They were speaking broken english, as was the lady at the register, so I hesitantly went up and asked if I could translate. They readily agreed. It wasn't anything big, but we had to figure out a few trains to Berlin, how to transport bikes, and when they wanted to go--a process that could have taken an hour in broken english. Even in small, simple ways in the middle of a p-day, the Lord places us in situations where we can help others and serve Him.
I've been thinking a lot about what President Nielson and Sister Nielson told us as they left. There is a quote, and I firmly believe it, that the character and attitude we have at the end of our missions toward the gospel will be very hard to change. That being said, I want to go home with the best one I can.
There's so much more I'd love to say, and more stories I could tell, but I'm running out of time. I want all of you to know that I have a testimony of this gospel, and of Jesus Christ. He lives! There is no greater news than that. Because He lives, we will also. God loves us all so much. He knows us, and wants us to succeed. He did not send us here to fail, but to succeed, and to do so gloriously. We will do so as we follow the gospel. The Book of Mormon is true. Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ, and was a prophet of God. Thomas Monson is our prophet today. The church was restored, and its doctrine is pure.
I love you all. Make it the best week ever! Thank you for all of your prayers and your love. Know also that it is reciprocated.
A very hot, sweaty, but happy missionary who is doing his best to get used to humidity,

Elder Vernon

Note from Mom: I send Elder Vernon a weather report each week and this week looks like
 it will be a little cooler than last week. Hopefully that will help a little with the humidity.

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