Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Wow! What a Week.

Hey hey hey Family!
Wow. What a week. I felt so grateful to be an Assistant this week. It was a stellar experience to be in Łódź with everyone. It's always great to see all the missionaries and spend time with them, but it's even more stellar when we get to sing in Catholic mass. I feel blessed to have the musical talents I have, and to be able to share them with others. It was amazing to see all the talents come together. I think the Lord knew this was coming and placed certain people in specific places to allow them to influence others and bring this performance together. It's another testimony to me that the Lord is in the very details of our lives.
President said something that really struck me during Sacrament Meeting with all the missionaries yesterday. Let me explain a little bit here. Although it was conference weekend, we had a small sacrament meeting with the missionaries who came to Łódź to sing. We wanted to help the missionaries see the difference and blessings of the restored church, and help them have a great measure of the Spirit when we went to sing. Thus, the sacrament meeting was held directly before the mass. Anyway, President talked about how daily revelation is what provides us with the strength and support to carry on. That's something  I firmly believe. Through different blessings I've received on my mission, the importance of daily scripture study and prayer has been emphasized. I've really come to love finding daily answers to questions, prayers, and concerns through the scriptures. I sometimes feel like I'm imposing on the Lord because a lot of the things that I ask about and concerns I want solved seem to repeat themselves. Yet, I know He wants me to rely on Him. So, I feel that He is the source of strength on which I should lean, and if there's anyone who wants to hear and help me solve my daily problems, it is Him. I'm by no means a perfect individual, and the problems we all face often take time to solve. The Lord wants to be there every step of the way. I believe it. As Elder Żeleźniak once said, "W moich błogosławieństwach, znalazłem miłość Boga. Natomiast, w moich trudnościach, znalazłem Boga Samego." I add my testimony to his. If it weren't for the trials I have had, I would not have the relationship I have with God today. I consider that a real blessing.
I'm excited to spend some time with Elder P this week on an exchange. Honestly, I don't really know what to teach. I need to spend some time in prayer before I go, but I feel that the best influence I can have on him is just to be myself and help him find himself in being a zone leader. I've already come to love him, and I'm grateful to have a chance to get to know him better this week.
So, in terms of the whole experience this weekend, we had a lot of fun. We brought a few people in from different places (sisters from Szczecin and Gdańsk, plus two elders besides us from Warsaw) and drove down to Łódź on Saturday afternoon. It was an adventure driving on an intercity freeway in Poland, but we handled it just fine. Saturday night we got down there, practiced everything, did a little bit of work with others, and got everyone to their respective apartments for the night. Sunday morning we woke up, had a sacrament meeting with just missionaries, then headed over to the church for mass. It was freezing cold inside. It made it hard to play. Plus, I was playing on a baby keyboard without a sustaining pedal, so that made things interesting. Anyway, it went well. We performed "How Firm a Foundation" in polish to start. Then, Elders Jaeger and Richens did a duet of "Jesus Once of Humble Birth" in english. After that, there was an a capella piece done by Sisters Tobler and Lenhart to "Nearer, My God to Thee" during the communion. They sang it in polish. Then, at the very end, we sang two numbers. "He is Risen" in which Sister Hemming had a solo, and was sung in english, then we closed with "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" in polish. Sister Barth was featured on the violin in that one. It was a powerful experience all in all. The Priest who led the whole mass was super nice. He talked a lot about how we're all brothers and sisters and how he's grateful that we can learn of different religions and be friends. Afterward, we took some pictures. Then, the organist for the church came and pulled me aside and asked if I would like to play the organ. I eagerly said yes. It was so cool to play a legit organ in such a huge church. The guy there was super nice and cool. Please pass my thanks to Sister Jemmett for teaching me how to play way back in the day. After all this, we drove back home, got people on trains, and went and had a meeting before we headed home for the night. Anyway, it was a busy weekend, but all in good fun. I got to spend some time with Elder Gibby as well. It was super fun to see him and talk to him. He's a good kid and has been seeing a lot of success as a missionary. I feel blessed to have trained him.
Well, I'm running out of time. We have to go get our tires changed with the first counselor in the mission presidency. Good thing Elder Lanham is driving today, and not me! I'd be nervous to have my driving judged by a pole.
Anyway, I love you all. Have fun this week with spring break and in Arizona. I'll let you know what I think about conference once I get a chance to watch it.
The church is true!
Elder Vernon


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