Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I'm Glad I Made an Appearance at Bear Lake

Note from Mom: This is a cut out of Spencer that Emma made so that he would be with us in spirit at Bear Lake. We asked a random man to take a picture of us with the cut out and he asked us where our mission was serving. His eyes lit up when we told him Poland because he had served a mission to Poland in 1996, What are the chances of that?? Small world.       




Family!

So good to hear from all of you! I'm glad I made an appearance at Bear Lake. It's not every day that happens while I'm in Poland! What I want to know is where you guys got the picture? I don't remember that one at all. So cool that you met somebody who served in Poland too! Wow. Miracles are everywhere!
It's been a hectic week, so I don't have much to report on in terms of missionary work. I've also had some sort of weird body ache/flu that's made me sleep quite a bit, but I'm feeling much better now and it's all over with, I think. I'll give you a brief update about my week. Monday was P-day, which was fun and pretty relaxing. Tuesday, we had district meeting, then we had to prepare for Missionary Leadership Council by preparing a report on our zone--what's happened, what we're doing, etc. Wednesday we went into Warsaw super early in the morning for Mission Leadership Council, and didn't get back until late, so that was shot for missionary work. Thursday we spent some time reviewing our notes, preparing for Zone Training, and letting me try to sleep off whatever it was I had. Friday, we had to go out to Szczecin for a baptismal interview. We spent almost 10 hours on trains that day. It was a long ride. The interview went well. The investigator will get baptized next Saturday. Saturday we had a couple of meetings and I still felt a bit funky, so I slept some more. Then, Sunday, we had a great day of church and spent some more time preparing for Zone Training, which will be this week on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday will be here in Bydgoszcz, Wednesday will be in PoznaƄ. I don't have any cool missionary stories this week, but next week will be better. We had a lot of stuff we had to take care of in terms of leadership.
A miracle that happened this week was actually last P-day. As I was dropping Elder D off at the train station, we ran into a guy who actually stopped us. He asked us if we were in a hurry, then told us that he had ordered a copy of The Book of Mormon 6 months ago, but never received it. He asked us for a copy, which I gladly gave him. We somehow forgot to get his number or address (possibly due to the fact that it was around 7:15 in the morning and neither of us were fully awake yet), but I have faith that that copy of The Book of Mormon is in good hands and will be put to use. He seemed honest, and willing to read.
I will spend some time talking about Mission Leadership Council. It was super good. An underlying theme was fathers and all they do for us. It's funny. Every time Elder R and I start talking about what we need to do in our zone, or begin to prepare something for a council or training, somehow it always turns back to what our dad would do or how our dad would treat a certain situation. We talked about that during the council, and it started a pattern for the whole day. Dads came up left and right, and the question was eventually asked, "What would you do for your dad?" Then, the follow-up question, "What would you do for a Heavenly Father, who's given you everything?" It was a powerful comparison. We also talked a lot about Christlike Attributes from PMG. We each had to teach about a segment and then role play helping a missionary in setting a goal for that specific attribute. It set the whole tone for the meeting in focusing on Christ and how to turn outside ourselves. The story about Gordon B. Hinckley on his mission was shared as well. The real focus was on us as leaders stepping up right now and turning outside ourselves. We're not on this mission for ourselves. It is completely for others. As leaders, we need to really take a step up and do our best for those around us, especially with the work speeding up right now. A big focus of the council in the second half was setting higher goals. We listed off some things that we feel were somewhat impossible to accomplish as missionaries, such as teaching 15 lessons a week, getting four baptisms in a transfer, achieving the standard of excellence, and then the mission goal of 72 baptisms for the year. We called it the "impossible list". We all turned around, the letters "IM" were erased, and we changed it to the possible list. We're trying to shift our mindset and expect greatness. As we do so, greatness will come.
I made an interesting connection during all of this. I thought about Joseph Smith. In his days, there were possibly some of the darkest and trying days for religion. He didn't know where to turn or what to do. That was when the first vision happened. Today, in our mission, we feel that there is a serious lack of hope. More so than there has been for a long time. Right now, then, is the opportune time for Christ to help us step up, change our expectations, and achieve greatness. The gospel is a message of hope. It's the greatest message there is out there.
Sorry this week's email is so short. I'm already running out of time. Elder R is already finished, and I don't want to keep him waiting too long. 
The new hymns in polish are exciting. We try to make it through without too much of a train wreck. We sang one yesterday that none of the missionaries even knew called "The Light Divine." That was interesting. 
I'm jealous that you guys spent some good time at Bear Lake, but don't worry, I'm not jealous enough that I'm not focusing on the work. Mom, thanks for the package! You're the best. We love the food and the shoes are the perfect size. Elder R says thanks (I have been sharing some of the treats with him). love you!
Hannah, Congrats on getting up on two skis! You're the best little doober in the world! I'm proud of you. Keep on being awesome. Love you!
Hannah getting up on skis for the first time!

video
Heath, enjoy your senior year. It passes way too fast. I hope your knee starts feeling better soon as well! I love you!
Emms, good luck with sports decisions! You'll be awesome no matter what you do. Love you! P.S. Never give up! Never surrender!
Dad, thanks for the talks. You're the best. I'm so grateful for all you do. Thanks for the update on the book too. I don't think I'll be able to read it out here, but I'm grateful for any hints you can give me. I love you.
Well family, remember, the gospel is true! It's the best message in the world. I'm happy to share it with all the people in Poland, even if they don't recognize its importance. Christ lives and loves us!
With Love,
Elder Vernon

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