Monday, March 10, 2014

Another Busy Week!

Well, it's been another crazy week. Let me tell you about it.
To start off, we had transfers, which is always crazy. We spent all of Wednesday either at the train station or shuttling people around. It made for an exciting day and for lots of craziness. We had to move Elder Wilson into his apartment the day before, which made for some excitement. I should probably back up to Monday though and start there.

So, starting over.
Monday. We picked up Elder Z (the australian) from the train station about 7 at night. He was coming in to Warsaw to stay a few nights with us. He's extending his mission for a month, and because of legal issues, had to fly to London for a day and get his passport stamped. So, he stayed with us, and we had to wake up at 3:30 the next morning to get him to the airport. After that, we had to be at the train station by 6:30 with all of Elder Wilson's bags because he was moving into his new apartment. There was a zone leader who had to do a baptismal interview in a different city that day, so he had to catch an early train. Thus, we paired Elder Wilson with the other zone leader for the day. Eventually, Elder Wilson moved into his apartment and got that all taken care of. We picked up Elder Z from the airport about 6 that night, then went straight to the mission home where Sister Edgren had prepared a wonderful birthday dinner for me (complete with Banana Cream Pie!). That was a lovely dinner. We then went home and crashed, being insanely tired from our long day.
Wendesday, we wake up (early again, but this time only 6) and get to the train station. We're there most of the morning making sure people are catching correct trains with all of their luggage and getting where they need to. After the morning block, we run back to the office to handle a few issues, then head back to the train station. We help an Elder with a layover in Warsaw, then run to pick up Elder Wilson, who had been helping other missionaries who were white washing here in Warsaw. Back to the train station. Another block of missionaries are arriving. We have to help them get transportation cards for the buses and trams, then take luggage to apartments. Eventually, we get back to the train station one last time to help with a few more layovers, and the day is done. We then have choir practice, which was enjoyable. Eventually, we crash and hit the hay.
Thursday. President has us over for a meeting. Turns out, he's decided to split one of the zones. So, enter in craziness in preparing for zone conference. Now, instead of having 3 conferences this week, we're going to have four. We have to go and figure out logistics for everything, begin preparing, and continue to do all things necessary.
Friday. President makes calls changing a few assignments and re-arranging the zones. Mid calls, he realizes that he wants to do things a little differently in terms of what district will be in what zone. So, we're making calls, President is making calls, and everything is getting readjusted. Craziness.
So, that's a sneak peek into the transfer week of an Assistant. Yay for business!
The new zone really makes things sleek here in Poland. We've split Warsaw into two zones based on which branch the missionaries are in. We've also reduced district sizes. Now, Warsaw has 4 districts, and Łódź has 2. All other cities still only have one. No district has more than 6 missionaries though, which will make life much more manageable for district leaders. We're really focusing on doing some leadership training this week with our Zone Conferences and helping them all to understand what their role is and how to fulfill it. We've called a former AP (Elder N) to be a new zone leader along with a missionary who has yet to hit his year mark and hasn't even been a district leader yet (sounds a lot like my experience!). Elder N will do a great job training him though. It'll be good. My trainee, Elder G, has been called as a district leader in Łódź. For now, the zone leaders for the new zone are stationed in Łódź, but we have the option for them to be stationed in Warsaw in the future. We'll see what happens with it. It's been a wild ride, but lots of fun as well.
Elder Lanham and I are excited for zone conferences coming up this week. We feel that there are a lot of good things happening and that things are going to go well. We haven't had the most time to prepare for all that we want to present and do, but we trust that we're putting in all that we can and that the Lord will make up the rest.
We had a great teaching experience this week. Last night, we were invited over for dinner with one of the american families in the branch. While we were there, they also had a non-member friend over. She has been taught at different times by different sister missionaries in the Warsaw 1 branch. We taught a little bit about the Restoration and the connections found to it in 1 Ne. 1. At the end of the lesson, she asked what it meant to accept the gospel. Instantly, the conversation turned to baptism. One of the best things about the lesson was that both Brother and Sister Law served missions, so they were not afraid to bring up baptism. We had a great discussion about it and saw that M's understanding definitely increased. The miracle in all of this to me is that such great members are here in Poland. The Lord definitely knows what He is doing. The american families in Warsaw 2 who are strong members and who don't shy away from missionary work are just the examples that these polish people need to learn how to preach the gospel and how to lead a member lifestyle. It's a great blessing for the church and will greatly help the development.
I've been thinking a bit about something that Elder Lanham said this week. He talked about how with his experience in the church, it's always been about renewal. Endurance is necessary, but renewal is what helps us continue on. We see a renewal of covenants weekly with the sacrament. I see a renewal of spiritual energy every time I open the scriptures and study them myself. We see the renewal that happens each time we meet together as missionaries, whether it be in District Meeting, Zone Training, or Zone Conference. Renewal becomes an integral part of what we do in regards to church functions. In thinking about all of this, my thoughts have also turned to the mormon message done by Elder Christofferson, which talks about daily bread. I'm seeing more and more of a pattern in all that we do in the church. Renewal is absolutely a part of all we do as members. I'm beginning to realize just how dependent I am on the Lord. Without all of these renewing activities which take place on daily, weekly, and monthly basis, my spiritual strength would wane. Christ truly is the "bread of life," for without learning of Him daily and growing closer to Him, we, in a sense, starve ourselves spiritually.
Elder Lanham and I are getting along well. We feel an excitement which we haven't felt much before in terms of training and missionary work. We feel that great things are going to be happening, especially this week with Zone Conferences.
It's been a bit nervewracking but a lot of fun to prepare trainings for Zone Conference this week. Neither Elder Lanham nor I have ever run a zone conference before, so we're a bit stressed about it, but we think it will go well. We haven't had the most time to prepare, but we've tried to use the time we have had to do the best we can. All things considered, we feel pretty confident that things will be good. We work well together and we're excited to see all the missionaries and help them to be effective in their own spheres of work. We have four conferences this week. Tomorrow we will be in Poznań for the Bydgoszcz zone. Wednesday and Thursday will be here in Warsaw for the Warsaw 1 zone and the Warsaw 2 zone, respectively. Friday we will be in Katowice for the Katowice zone.
I'll give you a quick rundown of the zones.
Bydgoszcz-Bydgoszcz, Poznań, Gdańsk, Szczecin
Warsaw 1- Warsaw 1 branch, Kielce, Lublin
Warsaw 2- Warsaw 2 branch, Łódź
Katowice- Katowice, Kraków, Wrocław
Each zone has 18 missionaries in it, except for Warsaw 1, which has 20.
Heath, congrats on getting into BYU! I'm excited for ya. I'm glad sterling scholar stuff went well.
Emms, good luck with lax and track. You'll do well. I'm excited.
Hannah bear, I bet you're loving Starszy. Give him a big hug for me. Good job reading the Book of Mormon! I'm proud of you.
Mom, good luck keeping Starszy in line with everything! Sounds like he's keeping you busy! I'm sure you'll do great though.
Dad, good luck in Atlanta. Keep on being great. Thanks for the family history story. We're traveling this week by car, since we're driving with President. We'll let you know more details about everything next week.

Well, the gospel is true! I'm super happy to be serving in Poland and striving to do my best to serve the Lord! We're going to play some sports today (hopefully frisbee) so wish us luck!
Elder Vernon

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