Monday, November 18, 2013

Elder Mikolyski went home (Letter from November 12, 2013)

Holy cow, sorry about yesterday. With the national holiday basically everything was closed. Made for an interesting P-day. Elder Fotu and I just went and hung out in the park. It was relaxing. I'm excited to get these new scriptures though! What did you end up doing for the name on them? Or did you even put one on them? Either way, I'll be happy.
That's so cool that you all got to meet Elder Mikolyski. I can't call him Chad. That's just too weird. Sounds like you got to meet a ton of missionary people though. Super exciting. Make sure Elder Mikolyski gets over there for family night. I told him he needed to and that you would invite him. Yeah, I expected it. Heck, we're family. I know you all that well.
As for this week, it's been good. Transfer week is always weird, but it's been great.
It's been a great week. I always feel a bit awkward with the whole transition from one transfer to another, but things are going well. Elder Fotu and I are doing well together. It's been a bit of an adjustment, going from a companion whom I talked with almost non-stop and now having a quiet, subdued, companion. It's given me, however, a lot of time for inner reflection for which I've been grateful.
As for plans for the week, Elder Fotu and I have set some great goals for the transfer, but we have yet to set plans to get them done. I want to focus on accomplishing that this week and planning out how we want to do all that we plan to do. I've shared with Elder Fotu the goal of having him be senior companion ready next transfer and he's willing to work hard and prepare for it.
A miracle that Elder Fotu and I saw this week happened while we were tracting. A man, after we knocked on his door, came out and started trying to argue with us. He was complaining about how he didn't want us to knock on his door and didn't want to hear what we had to say. He was a bit drunk, so that didn't help at all. In the end, he started trying to escalate the situation and start a fight. I was blessed and am grateful to have Elder Fotu as a companion. He, though not completely sure of what the man was saying, had the presence and poise to calmly wait and not say anything. In the end, we simply wished the man a good night and walked away, hoping and praying he wouldn't follow. He didn't, and we were grateful and blessed. I know we have the Lord's protection with us as His missionaries, and I am so grateful for it.
A lesson I've been learning this week is about how the Lord feels about less-active members. I haven't had any real contact with them, but we had a meeting at Elder and Sister Gay's apartment yesterday with all the missionaries. We talked and discussed how best to find those who are less-active and what we can do to help them. The Gays are so wonderful. They are committed to help us with all we do and willing to drive us wherever we need to go to visit these less-actives. As we've been making plans to track down these lost sheep, I've been thinking about what the Lord feels for them. Then, after reading 3 Ne. 18 this morning, I think I'm beginnning to understand. I don't know that the Lord loves one person more than another. In fact, I'm sure He doesn't. Yet, I think He feels an extra sadness for those who have made covenants and then have fallen away. These are sheep who were at one time numbered among His fold and have since lost their way. I'm beginning to feel a greater draw towards working with less-actives. I don't want to let it interfere with finding and seeking out those who want to know the truth, but I believe that finding those who have lost their way is a vitally important work as well.
The work is going well, all in all. Elder Fotu and I are learning together, striving to plan better, work harder, and be better missionaries. He's a great companion. I'm excited about this transfer and the chance to be with him for the course of it. I have good feelings about it.
I'm continuing to serve as translator for the branch. It's been an exciting experience. I translated for a meeting between the Gays and the former branch president here on Wednesday.
As for the sisters here, they're doing great. Sister Barth is training Sister Owen. Sister Barth is from Cedar City, and I'd actually met her because she was serving in GdaƄsk when I was a Zone Leader in Bydogszcz. She's in her fourth transfer and training, which is exactly how old I was in the mission when I trained Elder Gibby. She's a secret master at the violin (like, good enough that she played at the Shakespeare Festival). She knows Will Vernon from BYU as well thanks to the violin I think. Sister Owen is fresh out of America from Washington State. She's doing well for how long she's been out. She doesn't look too much like a deer in the headlights. They've brought a great spirit with them to Szczecin. It's been a lot of help to have them here and a good spark for the work to keep moving forward. The members are excited about it as well.
A few other logistical things. My address is now the address that you had before, to which Dad sent his first letter and to which you guys sent all of the letters from family night which I received a little while ago (big thanks for all of those by the way!). Christmas requests... I'm honestly not sure. I'll be happy with whatever you send. I'll give it some thought though and get back to you. I've bought a few shirts here already because some of my long sleeve ones are starting to wear out. I'll just keep replacing them as they go, as long as that's ok with you. I plan on getting a few really nice euro fit ones right before I come home. I might get one soon to just wear for nice occasions like zone conference etc. while still here. We'll see. Still on the fence about it.
I feel like this email is a little short, so I apologize for that, but I don't know what else to say. It was weird seeing Elder Mikolyski and Elder Hardy off. Transfers are just seeming to fly by now. Time is such a strange thing. I feel like my mission is going to end way too soon. I'm trying to work as hard as I can now so that I'll be as ready for that day as I can be.
Bummer to hear about BYU. I hope they do better next week with Notre Dame.
Oh, mom, Sister Edgren has requested two lighthearted pictures and two pictures of us at work as missionaries. I was wondering, do you have any good pictures of me? Like that one of me on the street in Kato? Can you send them to me by email? Thanks!
Well, time is up. I love you all! The gospel is true!
Hey, does Steve get home soon? Weird.
Elder Vernon

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