Monday, November 4, 2013

Staying in Szczecin!

Hardy and Vernon in the Szczecin Cemetery

Szczecin District
Vernon, Hardy, Mikolyski, Fotu
Elder and Sister Gay

Vernon and Fotu
My new companion

Hey howdy hey family!
Well, Dad, you were right! I'm staying in Szczecin! I'm actually moving apartments though, so that will be exciting. And my companion? None other than Elder Fotu, the same missionary whom you met at the Work of Salvation broadcast! What a tender mercy for you to have met two of my companions already! Plus, you'll meet Elder Mikolyski this week. I'm excited that you'll be able to go to his homecoming. He's freaking out a bit right now. He's leaving on Wednesday this week. It's hard to believe his mission is coming to an end. He's been such a good missionary. I'm so lucky to have served around him my whole mission. I've been blessed.
My plans this week for achieving goals is to be myself. Going into transfers, I've always been a little bit nervous, anxious, and unsure of what my new companion's missionary style will be, what things he likes to emphasize, etc. It's going to be a lot easier having served around Elder Fotu for a transfer already. I really want to start this transfer off right and get things going on the right foot. I'm going to try to set expectations with him for what we want to do and the things we place value on, and move forward already having a good foundation of companionship unity in place. I'm excited to serve with him and help him along in his missionary work. I see great things in his future and he has a desire to work hard, about which I'm quite excited. I feel we're going to do great things together.

Something I discovered in the scriptures today was when Christ talks about how none of those whom the Father has given Him will be lost. There are references to this in 3 Nephi 15 as well as John 17 and Doctrine and Covenants 50. I did some research into this. I was curious what it takes from our side to be someone whom the Father has given to Christ. I plan on going into more depth in the next few days, but as of right now, I think the main thing is to just be baptized, and then to keep our covenants. Ammon, in Alma 26, talks about those Lamanites who were converted are in the hands of the Lord of the harvest, and they will be gathered into His garners at the last day. It's a comforting feeling to me that as long as I am doing what I should be and need to be doing, everything else is in the Lord's hands. I've learned a lot on my mission, but the thing which most pressing on my mind right now is the great love the Lord has for all of His children. Sometimes, I think I discredit that love, but it is absolutely endless and will always be there, no matter what we do. That drives me and helps me to do what I know is right.

This week, Elder Hardy and I had a decision to make. It was about 8:00 at night, and we needed to do some cleaning in our apartment. We were in the chapel, and had decided to go home to finish off our cleaning, when Elder Hardy said, "Let's go tract." Such had been our plans, and I agreed that was what I felt we should do, even with cleaning checks coming soon. So, we tracted. We rang domofones, and we were let into a klatka. Once inside, we realized that last week we had already knocked the apartment whose domofon we rang. Yet, we both felt we needed to knock it again. We did, and a young lady answered. She wasn't willing to let us in to teach her a lesson, but she did take an ulotka, and our conversation did go for a couple minutes at her door. I know the Lord led us to her that night. As we are obedient and follow promptings, small, yet significant little miralces happen like this one.

I've taken some time this week to write down the ways in which I've seen the hand of the Lord in my day. It's made a big difference. I'm seeing just how much He is involved in this work on a day to day basis. I'm amazed.

I love Elder Hardy and I am grateful I've had the chance to serve with him. I'm confident he will do well in GdaƄsk with Elder Dodge. All in all, I feel like Elder Hardy has put me back on track. Not that I was lost or striving to be disobedient, but I just felt like I was in a bit of a funk for a while. Elder Hardy brought me out of it and I know that the Lord placed him as my companion so he could do so. I'm grateful for that.

District Meeting this week was awesome. It was such a spiritual experience. I looked back and found the hand of the Lord in my life so much more than I realized it was there. As I looked back, I saw that Elder Hardy and I had a point where it seemed like all the success we had in contacting just kind of stopped all at once. I was curious as to why. I was worried that I was doing something wrong. But, I learned something. We weren't doing anything wrong, I simply think the Lord wanted us to increase our work with members and help them start sharing the gospel. Through a few learned lessons and some insights from the Holy Ghost, Elder Hardy and I realized that our member relations could and should be improved, and that by doing so, we can help the members learn to do missionary work, which will be a great blessing to this branch. If we wouldn't have suddenly hit a road block in contacting, we never would have learned that lesson nor done what we needed to. The Lord is at work in everything we do!
This week was also Day of the Dead here in Poland. I don't know if you all knew, but Szczecin has one of the biggest cemeteries in Europe. It's basically like a forest with graves everywhere. There are tons of trees, and the whole thing is over 400 acres. Thus, it was really cool to go there to see all that is there, especially on a day like the day of the dead. Add in to that the fact that one of the members here works at the cemetery, which means he gave us a tour, and it was super cool. I felt like I was at the cabin when we first walked in, seeing all sorts of pine trees and walking in the dark. It was like our night hikes we took out there. I miss that place. Hey, in thinking about it, can you guys look up some of the cool historic sites of Szczecin that would be worthwhile to go visit? We don't have access to those sort of things here, so I would be appreciative of anything you can find on the subject.
I also didn't have time to record this week. Sorry! I'll do my best to send some next week. We had cleaning checks this morning, so we were a little busy. Mom, Dad, thanks for implanting in me the desire to have a clean house and to do things right. The Gays complimented us very highly and said we did a great job. I'll just say this, I've passed every cleaning check I've had with flying colors, thanks to a good influence I've got from my parents. Who would ever have thought that the kid whose room floor sometimes couldn't be seen would turn out to be just a little bit of a clean freak? I didn't! It's a good thing though. Cleanliness brings spirituality.
President complimented highly the work that I've done here in Szczecin already. He wants me to work with Elder Fotu and have him prepared to be a senior companion by next transfer. We're excited to serve together and work hard. It'll be a good time. In other news, Szczecin is getting sisters! We are going to have a pair of Elders, a pair of Sisters, and then a senior couple here in Szczecin. The sisters are going to be Sister Barth and a trainee. I don't know a whole ton about Sister Barth, but I do know that she knows good old Will Vernon and that she herself is a violin player. It will be a totally different feel having sisters here in Szczecin. Elder Fotu and I are going to have to exhibit some man power so that we don't get overthrown. It'll be good though.
So, my translating duties have become quite large now. Elder Gay, since he conducts, has me translate at the pulpit for him during sacrament meeting. Then, he taught Sunday School, and I translated again for him during that. Last hour, with priesthood/relief society combined (we only have that on fast sundays) Elder Mikolyski taught, and I translated from Polish to English for the Gays. So, after all of that, my brain hurt. Plus, I was fasting. But, it's all in the service of the Lord, so I gladly did it! Nothing's better than mission life.
We also had a chance to meet with another referral this week. He wasn't too interested in our message, but he did take a copy of the Book of Mormon and was willing to at least meet once. He was a super nice guy, and very well put together. He and his wife would make stellar members. He's also interested in family history work. We'll see what happens.
Grandma Fernie! Have fun with your kitty and keep on being awesome! Lots of love!
Heath, I'm glad you had a good time on halloween! Keep on being awesome and good luck with the Cougarettes!
Emms, have fun with the ski season! It's going to be great. Tell Mr. Dibb hi for me.
Hannah bear, your poems are the best! I love you lots and lots. Have fun with nutcracker!
Mom, get feeling better, ok? You're the best mom ever.
Dad, thanks for the BYU updates. I'll keep breaking down the hymns. I love music! I'd be interested in what you think about being given to Christ by the Father. Any thoughts?
I love you all. Remember, the work is true and the gospel is true!
Lots of love,
Elder Vernon

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