Well, this Elder is super excited to talk to you all on Wednesday! It will be super! I'm freaking out a little bit that after this I'll only have one phone call left though. It'll be alright though. I'll figure out how to manage my feelings somehow. Maybe I'll just have a mid life crisis. Or not.
Anyway, Hannah bear, to answer your question, we handed out 10 copies of the Book of Mormon! It was a great week.
Another week has come and gone in good old Szczecin. It was highlighted by a great Christmas Program created by the Gays which we had yesterday for Sacrament Meeting. It brought the Spirit in a powerful way, and all of the members loved it. We even had 4 investigators in the meeting, and all of them said they were impressed.
I had a stroke of inspiration and changed District Council the morning of. I actually focused on overcoming discouragement by having an eternal perspective and measuring success using ourselves as a guideline, and not the apparent effects of our efforts. I talked about pg. 10 in Preach My Gospel and chapters 3 and 4 of 1st Nephi. It was a great council, and I feel that the message was received well by the members of the district.
A miracle we saw this week was with our investigator, G. He had told us that he was going to be out of town until the new year, so we had put him on the back burner and we were just waiting until the new year rolled around. Well, he showed up unannounced to English on Wednesday and stayed for Institute. It was the perfect lesson for him as well--2 Nephi 31, the Doctrine of Christ. He participated well, seemed to learn a lot, and we have great hopes that he will progress toward baptism.
A lesson that I'm learning this week is that conversion is a process of spiritual healing. Wherever we come from, we all have our different spiritual injuries. That is true regardless of person, situation, or background. I think that some injuries and sins can be healed immediately, but there are some deep-seated things which take time to heal. That's why we need conversion. As we are continually true to what we know, Christ can heal us. The Doctrine of Christ is what we can use to be converted as well, and that is why it stands as such a fundamental and powerful part of our church and its doctrine. This gave me a new light on why conversion is so important. I enjoyed studying from conference about it, as well as from different sources in the scriptures.
Elder Fotu and I are getting along well. He's a great kid and I'm lucky to serve with him. We're happy to be seeing so much success in getting people to church and hope to see them meet with us more and progress to baptism. Miracles are happening everywhere!
We also had our shoe shining activity this Saturday. It went fairly well. People were a bit hesitant to come and have their shoes polished, but it was still fun. We had a few still show up and we handed out a few copies of the Book of Mormon. It was kind of funny though. The night before, we had to teach the sisters to polish shoes since they'd never done it before. Well, they wanted to practice exactly like it would be the next day, so we ended having our shoes shined while still on our feet. It felt a little backward..... We got a picture though, so I'll send it along. I've heard rumor that pictures with only an elder and a sister are not kosher, so I don't know if the picture passes, but it's being sent anyway.
We got in touch with J again this week. He seems to be doing ok. He has had some health problems and that's why he hasn't been in touch with us. We gave him a priesthood blessing as we met, and he promised to be in church, but then didn't show up. Bummer. But, he still wants to be baptized. We're just praying that his health will hold up enough that he'll be able to make it to baptism.
The Christmas Program was a definite hit. I was pretty stressed out, what with so many songs I had to play and everything that was going on, but we made it through ok. It's a bit of a relief to have it over, for sure. People loved it though, which is all that matters. Thus, we would have to say it was a success.
Mental health is doing ok. I won't say it's perfect, because it's not, but it's getting better. I'm glad I've got people on my side and helping me with everything. Without that, I think I'd be in trouble. I've seen the Lord's hand in my life so much since I've realized all of this. It's a miracle, for sure. Both of the past two weeks, I've received letters or emails from random missionaries here in Poland simply telling me how much they appreciate me for what I've done and the friendship we've formed while we've been here. It makes a difference, for sure. Even just small things like that definitely help.
We're keeping an eye out for this flat rate envelope. We haven't received anything yet, but maybe we'll go make a stop at the post office tomorrow morning just to see if they have it or something. We'll find out. Anyway, supposedly post officves are complete zoos right now because of the holidays, so we'll be sure to get there early and get done what we need to before the crowd gets there.
We had a bit of an exciting time this week with exchanges. The sisters had an exchange with the Sister training leader in the zone. Anyway, Sister Barth went to Bydgoszcz and Sister Owen stayed here. Sister Owen worked with a Sister Wood who was in her group at the MTC, so they were two trainees roaming the streets of Szczecin trying to do the work. They did pretty well. It was a big test for the both of them, but they rocked it. As the exchange was over, Sister Barth hopped on a train to Poznań, and from Poznań she had to catch a train to Szczecin. Well, her train to Poznań was late getting in, and so she missed her connection. Thus, we got a phone call from an unknown number that had a little bit of a stressed out sister on the other line. Anyway, that added some excitement to everything because we had to call the office, get a new train time, try to get a hold of the missionaries in Poznań so they could meet her at the station, somehow get back in touch with Sister Barth (she has no phone, remember) and get her the new time and everything. Anyway, it was a bit of an adventure, but she got home safe in the end. Yay for missionary craziness!
Last week we decorated the Christmas Tree in the chapel for family night. It was a good time, and I'm including a picture. Hope you enjoy it.
Mom, everyone loves those ding dongs down the street!
Emms, it's ok. The short world is the best way to go. Wisdom teeth? And Heath has surgery? That'll be a fun house.
Hannah bear, watch those turtles.
Heath, no, the jedi braid can't be gone! Ah well. Who got to keep it? Good luck with those goldfish coming out the other end!
Well family, I'm glad to hear that you helped some sub for santa families. It's always good to help those in need. I know the Lord appreciates it as well. I send you all my love. Remember, the gospel is true! It's one of the best presents we could have here on the earth. Send everyone my love.
From the Missionary in Poland Whom Everyone Associates with Harry Potter Because of a Certain Mean Uncle,
AKA Elder Vernon
Merry Merry Christmas!
P.S. Hey Buddy, you wanna go pick some snow berries?