Monday, February 3, 2014

Guess who is coming to Poland?

Hey hey hey family!
So, Mom, thanks for getting all the important stuff out of the way first. I'll see if I can't do the same. Don't worry about sending the coat back. Most all missionaries over here prefer european stuff over anything american. I guess american style stuff is just too fat. I'll be fine without the coat. I've got plenty as is. Also, I'm going to be ok without boots. My feet did just fine this week. I just doubled up with socks and didn't have any problems. My ecco's, however, are starting to get holes in the sides of them. They still look nice, but if I step in any sort of water with them, say bye bye to dry feet. So, if it's alright, I'll probably look into getting a new pair of shoes.
As for other things. I've thought of some things that would be nice for my birthday. First, Cheez-its. I had a strange craving for them the other day. Second, I would love to get the CD's of the band that Sister Edgren put on the slideshow she gave everyone for Christmas. The band is called "The Lower Lights." Elder Neuner had two of their CD's that we listened to all the time when we were in a tripanionship for a week. Don't stress out if you can't find them, but if you can and could send them along, it'd be great. Whether it's a physical or electronic copy, it doesn't matter too much. Anyway, I think that's all that I have. Just let me know about registration dates and what not.
In other news, and this is a side note, Steve's home teacher is none other than William Vernon!
Lastly, and this is exciting news, there is a general authority coming to Poland. Not just any general authority, but the one and only President Uchtdorf. Now, there is a chance that they will bump up our release date a week and send us home before he gets here, but President is fairly certain and is trying his best to move our release date back a few days and let us stay until President Uchtdorf leaves. Wouldn't that be some way to end a mission! So, I'm praying I'll still be here when he comes.
Elder Wilson and I have had a solid week. We're excited to see some great things coming up this week with MLC and we're striving to do our best to prepare for our segment. We haven't had the most successful week in terms of key indicators, but I feel we've seen good things happen nonetheless.
I had a great exchange this week with Elder S.. We were able to talk, discuss some things, and I felt like I was able to get to know him a lot better than I did before. I'm impressed with what he does as a Zone Leader. It's obvious that he cares about all the missionaries in his zone and does his best to get to know them all. That encouraged me to do the same thing. There's a lot of missionaries in the mission I've never met. Yet, if I am to be an effective leader, I feel that I should do my best to have at least some sort of a friendship with each missionary. Thus, I'm trying to do so. One of his biggest questions from the exchange was how to be an effective leader. I talked to him about lessons I had learned and what had worked for me. The thing I tried to emphasize was giving positive reinforcement and feedback. It's easy to pick out things that people are doing wrong. Yet, the Savior doesn't need any more judges. What He needs are ministers. While behavior does need to be corrected, I encouraged him to love, serve, and give encouragement. I've seen that be much more effective than anything else I've done as a leader.
A miracle I saw this week was on our exchange. Elder S and I were planning to visit a former investigator and then go tracting in the area where he lives. Well, our visit to the former investigator was unsuccessful. We were told we had a wrong address, but we started tracting. We ran into a college-aged guy who said he wasn't too interested, but his girlfriend, who would be returning in about 30 minutes, would be interested. So, we kept on tracting, then returned in a half hour. As it turns out, while she was the one that was supposedly interested, both stayed and listened to the listen and seemed sincere and open to what we had to say. It was a spiritual lesson and a tender mercy from the Lord. On a very cold day in the middle of the winter, with no lessons planned and a lot of time spent on cold streets, the Lord led us to a young couple who would listen to what we had to say. We scheduled another lesson with them, but they postponed it, asking for more time to read. I don't know what will happen with them in the future, but I have faith that things will go well.
Something I've been realizing this week is how important member relations can be. I think I often forget how much these polish saints are pioneers in this land. We often dismiss doing work with them, thinking that they are members and that everything is fine in their life. Yet, I think they need strengthening more than I realize. It's hard to be a member here, and they need comfort, strength, and faith which we can provide.
Elder Wilson and I are doing well. We're enjoying serving together and trying to make the most of the time we have. I love serving with Elder Wilson. He's a solid missionary and a stalwart leader.
Szczecin is producing huge numbers. The Elders there have 2 baptismal dates, one of which I found with Elder Fotu. Plus, they already had J get baptized a few weeks ago. It's amazing to see the Lord's work go forward. I get excited every week when I take numbers just to see what's going on in Szczecin.
Well, I guess I'll have to break the bad news eventually. Mom, yes, I'm sick again. Nothing major, don't stress out. I just caught a bit of a cold, but I'm under Sister Edgren's protective wing. So, don't stress. I am fine.
In other news, we were able to go pick up a senior couple that was headed home last night. We got them off their train here in Warsaw and took them to the mission home. It was a bit of a stressful situation because President was in Germany for the day, and our car that we drive is too small to fit much luggage, so President had us drive his station wagon. Well, it turned out to be my driving day, so I had the exciting but anxiety filled opportunity to drive President's car for the day. I was super careful. It was fun because President has a nice car. The senior couple is super awesome. I've actually served around them my whole mission. Never in the same city, but they were in Wrocław when I was in Kato, and in Poznań my whole time in Bydogszcz and Szczecin, so I saw them frequently. Thus, it was nice to say goodbye. They're going to be living in Orem, so it'll just be a nice little trip to go say hi as well. They're some of the best people I've met. Elder Sheley is full of puns as well. Grandpa Leo would have liked him. The other bonus about picking them up is that Sister Edgren insisted that we stay for dinner once we had dropped them off. So, we also had a home-cooked meal last night. Sister Edgren's cooking is basically gourmet chef status as well, so we love when she insists that we stay for dinner. Let's just say it was a good night.
L, our recent convert, is really thriving as the choir director. He loves it. He does a fantastic job as well. He's always super energized, is super funny, and is invested in making us all good singers. He's just doing superb with everything going on here in the church. He's one of the coolest new members I've ever met. He was baptized about a week or two before I came to Warsaw, and he's still doing well with all of the transitioning. He's from Slovakia, but speaks hungarian. We have another hungarian in the branch too, named K, so they are great friends. Funny story. K's last name is Szabó. Well, I was pretty good friends with a girl in high school by the name of Jamie Szabo. She told me her name was hungarian, and now I believe it! Her brothers, Andrew and Sam, both played lacrosse as well. One was a coach for AF, and the other played/plays. Anyway, K tells me that Szabo actually means "tailor" and is a super common last name, so he has no idea if they're related. Yet, a cool connection.
I'm kind of running out of time, and I don't feel like I have much else to say. So, I guess I'll just let you all know that I love you. Pass my best on to Grandma Fernie. Hey, is Will dating a violin player? That's what it looks like from the case on her back. I wanna hear details about this one. Tell the Frazier's I say hi. I got a letter from Enoch the other day. Could you tell them thanks for me? I'm still having a hard time believing that Joel is 8. Heath, watch out for them boys. Tell Bro. Anderson I said hi. I love that man. He's a fantastic seminary teacher. Emms, I'm glad you told Mr. Bryson you're thinking about track. He'll lead you in the right direction for sure. He's a great coach. As for math competitions, yeah it's kind of nerdy, but do it anyway. It looks great on applications, and it's a great experience. It gives you a good chance to make more friendships in groups that aren't always super social and you probably wouldn't meet otherwise. I'm very glad I did the competitions I did. Hannah bear, of course I'll memorize the Living Christ with all of you. It is translated into Polish, so maybe I'll try to do it in both English and Polish. That'd be cool. Of course I remember your birthday. It's June 25th! My release date is scheduled to be June 17th, but we'll see what happens.
Mom, Dad, thanks for being awesome. Thanks for all your prayers, temple attendance, fasts, everything. It all makes a difference.
The gospel's true!
Elder Vernon

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