Monday, May 12, 2014

May 12, 2104 It was great to Skype yesterday!

Hey howdy hey family!
So, I don't really know what to say this week. I'm kind of at a loss for words. You already heard about everything that happened, so I just sent a few pictures that I don't think I had sent before. One of the days I'm planning on sitting down with Elder Lanham and taking care of getting all the pictures he has of me. He's got a really nice camera and takes a lot of pictures, so he's got a fair number of me. It's been a blessing to serve with him.
It's been another good week. I felt really good about the exchange that took place in Bydgoszcz. I'd say it was one of the best exchanges of my mission. Elder Hardy and Elder Swicegood are a good combination. They laugh a ton, but at heart, they have people's best interests. We spent some time talking about how to contact with baptism, but in all honesty, I wasn't worried so much about how they were doing with that. Things seem to be going well. They are encountering some opposition, but all in all, I think they'll keep plugging through and doing their best. What seemed to me to be the most effective was the talk we had about leadership. Both of the Zone Leaders felt a little lost as to what they were supposed to do and how to best lead a zone. We talked about how to best teach District Leaders how to be District Leaders, how to run successful exchanges, and focusing on your vision and passing that on to those in their stewardship. In all honesty, it was almost exactly what Elder Lanham and I have been teaching in previous leadership training meetings, just in an extended version. I've got a lot of empathy for Elders Hardy and Swicegood. I was in their same position exactly a year ago. I was a newly called Zone Leader, white-washing into an area, not knowing what to do, and having a companion my same age in the mission who was just as clueless as I was. I felt blessed that the Lord put me in a situation which I was familiar with and helped me to show others how to be the missionaries the Lord expects them to be. I think a lot of good came from what I did up there with them, and I hope they will take the lessons they learned and run with them.
The leadership training meeting also went really well while I was up there. Everyone was receptive to what I had to teach and I feel confident that they will go home and implement all that they have learned. All in all, I think there's a lot of good things going on in Bydgoszcz right now. I was pleased with what I saw.
We saw what I felt like was a huge miracle this week. During the open house that was held on Thursday, I was playing piano to try to set a good background feeling when Sister Neto came up to me and without a whole lot of explanation took me to a room where I was to teach the Restoration with Elder CieĊ›lak. We, without any preparation, taught a full restoration and explained why it was so important to our church. Listening were a man, R, and his friend, M. During the course of the lesson, both were visibly touched. I was as well, especially while we talked about the first vision. The Spirit entered into the room with a strong presence, and both R and M were moved to tears. After things were finished, they both quietly slipped out, asked what time church starts, and then left. In talking to others after, I learned that R has been a member since the mid 1990's. He had not been to any sort of church activity since 2002. With just one phone call from Elder Pieper to invite him to the open house, he showed up and brought a non-member friend along with him. It was a real miracle. It was a testimony to me that there are still people out there who want to hear this message, and there are those who have been touched by it who will return in time. I don't know what else may come from R. He wasn't in church yesterday and I'm not sure if anyone has been in touch with him since the open house, but I have faith that if he came once, he'll come again.
I've got an exchange today with Elder Finch, from good ol' American Fork, so that will be fun. I'm excited to talk with him and catch up a little bit. He's a good kid.
In other news, there was a huge miracle story from Sister Kosanovich this week, but I don't have the time to tell it here. Ask her about her friend "M" if you get the chance.
I'm also curious how Will proposed. He's a smart kid, so I'm sure it was a good one.
I'm sufficiently distracted now because of yesterday's call, but it's ok. Give it a few days and I'll be back to normal.
Well, I love you all. Thanks for the spiritual insights and help you give me. I appreciate it greatly. Keep on keeping on! The gospel is true!
Love,
Elder Vernon
Elders Swicegood, Vernon and Hardy

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