Monday, August 22, 2016

Agnieszka got Baptized!!!!! (Week 76)

Agnieszka's Special Day

It's been a good week here in Poland, we have had a kinda crazy week so I'll just start from the top:

I last emailed on Tuesday while I was with Elder Fuhriman, he is awesome. We spent the rest of P-day in Legnica, then went to a lesson with Agnieszka, we taught the Law of Tithing (we taught all the commandments this week, luckily she is super prepared so she had no problems/she already read gospel principles so she knows all of them) It went really well, she agreed to live it, no problems. Sister Zań was on the lesson with us and it was really helpful because there were a couple words I didn't know that she helped out with.

After that we went back to Wrocław and slept there, then we got up early the next morning (4am) and went to Warsaw to get our trainees, I slept the whole train ride there haha. We got to the trainer meeting and it was really good, President talked about how the Savior taught people when it was one on one. Then we had a little break, Sister Turek gave Elder Fuhriman and I bread because we hadn't eaten yet (it was like noon at this point)

The trainee assignment meeting started and it was really strange because President spoke the whole time in English. He had us all stand up and say where we were serving and say a little bit about the city, then he assigned all the trainers. I was the last one to get a trainee, his name is Elder Trey Blackwell. He is from Lehi Utah, left on his mission 3 weeks after he graduated High School. He is a pretty funny kid, he really likes the Clarinet, and I think he plans on studying engineering. He speaks really good polish, he understands the grammer really well, he just needs to work on learning new words and understanding. And accent... the american accent is very very strong.

We got back in Legnica at like 18:30 and we went straight to another lesson with Agnieszka about the Law of Chastity, which wasn't too hard to teach, but it was kinda funny because it was Elder Blackwell's first ever lesson. We did it at the Zan's house and at one point Sister Zan was like "newbies don't really understand anything their first day, so you can say honestly anything and he wont understand a word of it, then she started making up idioms that don't exist, it was pretty funny and Elder Blackwell just nodded and smiled the whole time.

On Thursday we had a miracle, Dad's email to Lukasz was really effective! Lukasz called and said he wanted to meet, so we met and he told us that he read Dad's email about anti-mormon stuff and decided he wants to keep  meeting and learning about the church. He isn't sure about baptism yet, but it is still an option. We are going to meet with him and his mom on Wednesday or Thursday.

Friday went well, we met with a guy named Dawid, he is 21 years old and is a computer graphics designer. He is super cool and super open, but feels like all roads lead to God, and there is no 1 true church. So we are going to work with him on that. On Saturday we met again and he accepted to work towards a baptismal date of the 28th of September, so we will see how that goes.

Then later we met with a lady named Mariola that we tracted into a couple weeks ago. She told us about her brother who recently passed away and we bore testimony of eternal families and Gods plan, it was pretty cool. As we were walking away her dog came running up and took a big old bite of my calf. I didn't actually realize what happened, I thought he just ran away, then Mariola started yelling at the dog and I realized my calf actually kinda hurt. It was the first time I got bit by a dog on my mission.

That evening we met with Agnieszka and taught the last commandments: Prayer, Scripture Study and Obedience, then she had her Baptismal interview with Elder Mulder. She passed.

That night was really fun because I got to hang out with 2 of my former companions: Elder Wood and Elder Mulder. We had some good times and reminisced on the good old days.

The next day the Elders had to leave early unfortunately, so they didn't get to stay for the baptism, but we went over and it started around noon. We had to wait a little while for all the members to make it, because we had it at their house and they live like 30 minutes away in a little village. I had a short talk about baptism, and Sister Zań gave another talk on the gift of the holy ghost then the primary sang "I love to look for rainbows". It was really really good. Then we went out in the backyard where they have an above ground pool and I got to baptize her. It was super awesome, the spirit was really strong. Afterwards she bore her testimony and we stayed and had refreshments. It was seriously an awesome event and I'm glad that I could be a part of it. She is totally prepared by the Lord and she will be an amazing member.

I'm so glad to be on a mission, especially now that I have seen some fruits of the labor. I will admit that it was has been a little frustrating having gone a year and a half on my mission and I didn't really feel like I had helped the church in Poland in a very significant way. But I understand now that the Lord works on his own time table and he prepares people to receive the Gospel, I know they are there and I can't wait to keep finding more.

The confirmation was also really good, President Zań confirmed her a membr of the church and it was perfect.

Love you guys and hopefully I will have some more good things happen next week.

-Elder Everett

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Green People (Week 71)


I've got some good stuff for you this week, hopefully I can remember everything because usually when I'm emailing I use my daily planner to help out, but for the last like 2 weeks I haven't had one because Wrocław and Legnica ran out of them, so we have to wait until next Saturday to get more supplies. So lets hope I remember.

I'll start by telling about my subject line story. So first of all I want to explain a little bit about a story that Lucas from Kraków told us from his mission. He served in Portugal and he told us that there were Evangelical churches everywhere there. His mission president apparently had a vision that a whole congregation of Evangelicals were going to get baptized so he had all his missionaries visit as many evangelical churches as they could each week. Lucas said he hated it because this is how it would generally work: they would show up, the preacher would see them walk in, then immediately change the topic of his sermon to "The bible is all we need to be saved and anything outside of it is from the devil" Then he would come up to the Elders after the meeting and try to contend with them. Or he would just straight up kick them out before even starting.


So keeping that story in mind we can start with my story. A couple weeks ago we tracted into these older ladies and we taught them a first, it went okay but we aren't really planning on continuing teaching them because they are not very open. But they invited us to come to their Pentecostal church and we invited them to our picnic that we had on Saturday (I'll talk about that later). We werent' really planning on going to their church, but they ended up coming to the picnic and they invited us again so we ended up going on Sunday to the Pentecostal church. This is where the title comes in: Elder Reid and I speak Polish together quite a bit, but especially Elder Reid, he says pretty much everything in Polish. But he can never remember the name for Pentecostals in Polish -- Zielonoświątkowcy -- the first part of the name means green and the second half is somehow related to holidays. So Elder Reid just calls them "Zieloni Ludzie" which is just green people, it's kinda funny. But anyways, we went to their church and first of all it was kinda awkward because we were a couple minutes late because we couldn't find the place (our map was misleading) Then when we got there we couldn't find a seat so we just sat there, then one of the members came up to us and had us sit over by him, he was a homie.

The service itself was really good, I have never been at anything like that though. They had some really good speakers who talked about Jesus walking on water and how Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him, and Jesus is in us and we are in him. It was really good, but the strangest thing for me was the way they pray. At the beginning the Pastor started praying like we do, then everybody in the congregation started mumbling and saying their own prayers out loud, so the pastor just got louder and louder through the mic, it got really intense. We were praying for like 10 minutes and the pastor was basically just yelling with his hands stretched towards heaving, he even started crying at one point. And at the most intense moments of the prayer people in the congregation started shouting out "Amen!" and "Hallelujah!" I actually really liked the whole prayer experience, we need more stuff like that in our church.

Anyways, so after the service we basically got surrounded by various member and they were all super nice. But the Pastor beelined it to us and the first thing he said was "why are you here?" It was unfortunate because the lady who invited us had just left after saying hi to us, so we just said "we were invited, and we wanted to see what this church is like, your words were inspiring Pastor." We were trying to be super nice, but he was pretty hostile because I think he thought we were coming in trying to convert his congregation. Then he asked me "Have you truly been converted? Do you truly know Jesus Christ, and has his blood cleansed you?" I was a little bit thrown off by the question, so I said yes and bore testimony, then he went on the attack and started saying the Book of Mormon is false and that we believe in false doctrine, and that the we have not been saved. It was really intense, At that point I also realized that Elder Reid had started talking to somebody else so I was on my own with this guy too. Basically I just bore testimony then told him if he wanted we could talk another time and we could share our message. He jotted down my phone number and we bounced. It was really intense, and it was basically exactly like the story Lucas told us, so that was funny.

Anyways, It turned out to not be a total waste of time because the guy that Elder Reid was talking to is a homie and actually invited us over to his house for Coffee and cake tomorrow (we told him we don't drink coffee so he is going to find some fruit tea) And he seems pretty interested. His last name is Ferrarri as well which is pretty cool.

So on a totally different note from our Pentacostal experience. Angie and her family are doing really really well. She is the Jehovah's Witness woman I talked about last week. So after our lesson where we read the Living Christ she invited us over to her house to meet her family and Łukasz's family a couple days later. We went and it was pretty good, we ended up talking more about the whole Jesus being Jehovah thing, Łukasz tried to show us a verse that "proved" Jesus isn't Jehovah, I wish I had written down the reference because it was actually really funny. He gave us the verse not telling us what it was about and had us read it, he and his wife were really excited about it, then we read it and Elder Reid and I were both like "That's an verses." It was about the atonement and how the Father sent Jesus to atone for our sins. Then Lars was like "See! It's obvious that Jesus isn't Jehovah" Elder Reid and I were both really confused and we read the thing again, and still couldn't figure out what he was talking about. But we basically said "hey we don't' want to try to show any verses indicating one way or the other, it's a waste of time" Then we left. Angie's husband Bari drove us back into town (they live like 30 minutes outside the city). He commented that every time Łukasz tries to bible bash us we withdraw and back off, and he said he liked that because he doesn't like how JWs try to convince people using the scriptures (he isn't actually a JW, but the rest of his family is).

After the meeting we had another meeting that didn't go too well, the guy wasn't very prepared. But we had Brother Cieleński on the lesson and we talked to him about Angie's family afterwards because he is our missionary coordinator. We asked for advice on how to basically tell Lars we don't want to meet with him anymore and just Angie and her family. He basically said to be really blunt and tell Lars that he isn't prepared, so we prayed for a way to stop meeting with him and went to bed.

The next day we were walking from one appointment to another when we got a call from Angie which basically said "I have been thinking a lot about what you guys have been telling me, and I need to meet and talk to you guys, without Lars, because he doesn't understand... he isn't as open."  It was a straight up answer to pray. So we went and met with her and her 13 year old daughter for a couple of minutes and she basically told us all the stuff she doesn't like about the JW organization and said she feels sure that God (she stopped calling him Jehovah) has been leading her to us and preparing her for our message. Then she said that she wants us to meet with her and her husband now, and not with Lars. It was seriously a miracle for us. Then they came to church on Sunday and met the members, Sister Zań (she is a boss) invited Angie's family over to her house of Friday so we can have a lesson over there. Things are falling into place really quick with this family for them to get baptized in the next couple of weeks. It's awesome, pray for them!

Also, Lars (the other one) is doing really well. He is going to prepare for baptism on the 13th of August, we have a lot of work to do before then, because he definitely does not have a testimony yet. We are trying to work with him on praying about the Book of Mormon, it's kinda hard though because he doesn't want to read it in Polish so he listens to it on audio book in English. He is a really cool kid, and I really hope that he keeps progressing and working towards gaining that testimony. Also he skyped Dad on Thursday, thank you dad for doing that, he really enjoyed it, he told us all about it and all the advice you gave him the next day.

One last miracle, we had a picnic thing on Saturday and the miracle is that it happened at all, It has been super cold and rainy lately (I am wearing a sweater right now because it's so cold). On Thursday especially it was dumping all day, and we were freezing. My shoes are still a little bit wet from that. But anyway, it was pouring rain Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but we had perfect 80 degree weather on Saturday for the picnic, and rained yesterday and today as well. So basically God gave us a break for one day so we could have the thing. We also got a new investigator out of the picnic, we are meeting today so we will see how it goes.

Well that's about it, love you guys and I'll try to have some good stories next week.

Elder Everett

Monday, May 23, 2016

One year older ... and wiser too! (Week 63)


It's been a good week this week, we got to meet with some good investigators and had some good experiences.

We had District Meeting on Tuesday, which was pretty much the first real district meeting we have had all transfer. We talked about finding, specifically about attitude because a lot of the time if you don't have a very good attitude towards finding you can make it harder on yourself to find than is necessary. It was really good, we had the Kielce Elders as guests because they are all alone in Kielce so president told them they can come to our District Meeting if they want. After that we had a couple of meetings, we had 3 back to back with Joey, then Maya, then Jake. Our meeting with Joey went really well, he is from the Ukraine but speaks really really good Polish. It is almost impossible to tell that he is not Polish. He is super cool, the lesson went well. We taught him the Restoration and he accepted to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.

After that we had a lesson with Mayaa, it didn't go to well because she and the member we had on the lesson started fighting about the fall of adam and eve, and it just didn't go well. We totally lost control of the lesson. We were afraid that Maya was not going to want to keep meeting with us, but we are still meeting so it's all good.

Then after that we had an awesome lesson with Jake, he is really progressing well. We talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and really focused on Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost. We tried to commit him to a baptismal date, but he wants to think some more about it, and he will pray about it. Keep him in your prayers!

Then later we went back to Pani Krystal's house, whom we tracted into the week before. We went in and she sat down and basically explained that she doesn't think she can keep meeting with us and she wanted to give back the Book of Mormon because she feels like she can't change her religion. She went to her grandson's first Communion and she said she thought about us and what we told her the whole time, and decided that regardless of whether it is true or not she wouldn't be able to change either way, because she is so deeply rooted in Catholicism. It was really sad, we left the Book of Mormon with her and told her that if she ever wants more in life to start reading.

On Wednesday we got to meet with a cool guy named Matt, he is full Polish, but both his parents were born in America and he lived there his whole life. He took us out to Hot Chocolate which was really nice, hot chocolate here is different by the way, they just melt chocolate then put it in a cup and you can add whipped cream then drink it. We taught the restoration, he is baptist and he had a couple concerns about more scripture, and people appearing to Joseph Smith. It was overall a really good lesson, he gave us a couple baptist pamphlets in exchange for the Book of Mormon. They were actually really uplifting, it was cool.

Thursday we had our first meeting with Maya after the Tuesday fiasko, and she invited us to meet at some random address out in Nowa Huta, which isn't even where she lives. So we were kinda sketched out that she was going to have a catholic priest on the lesson or something and we were going to get bible bashed. We went out there, and to our pleasant surprise she introduced us to her friend Johnny, who is also really interested and we had a first in his apartment. It was awesome. He is a super down to earth, cool guy.

On Friday we had a cool Chalk Talk, we drew a maze on the ground at Rondo Mogilskie, it was pretty big, then we had people walk through it and try to find the exit... but it was impossible to get to the exit though. Then when people got frustrated we told them "the purple lines don't count" and then they could walk straight out. Then we gave them a little spiritual thought about how when the gospel was taught by Jesus Christ it was simple, but through apostasy it has become overcomplicated, just like the maze. But through the Restoration it is simple and straight again (simple and straight are the same word in polish). We found a couple pretty interested people. There were some Jehovah's Witnesses a couple hundred feet away, and we went and invited them to come try the maze at the end, to which they responded "we have our own jesus" then ignored us.

That night we got to go to one of our member's houses Lucas, he is from Argentina and he is super cool. He fed us shish-kebabs, they were super good. He is awesome.

On Saturday we got to meet with Joey again, we taught him the Plan of Salvation then tried to commit him to baptism, he said he needs to think about it. He had a really cool experience though. Long story short he was walking back from the train station at like 4 in the morning after helping one of his friends, and it was pouring rain, but as we was walking he found a Russian New Testament on the ground which is his native tongue. So he took that as a sign that he is on the right path.

Sunday was cool, it was my birthday, which was fun. The Daltons had us over and made Burritos :) and they made this really good strawberry cake. It was really really nice.

Thats about it, love you guys!
-Elder Everett

Monday, May 16, 2016

Diligence (Week 62)

Good stuff this week, it was good getting to start off the week with some face to face contact with you guys, definitely a blessing. We started off on Tuesday with a bunch of lessons, we had back to back lessons from 13-17 with Bev, Tommy, Maya, and Jake. It was super good, Bev was just English help, but that was fun. Elder Wood was falling asleep the whole time during that one. Tommy was good, we talked to him about the Plan of Salvation we didn't get all the way through though. Then after that we met with Bev and Maya, we taught about the Gospel of Jesus Christ so basically repentance, baptism, faith, holy ghost and all the good stuff. It was kinda funny because they walked in acting all weird, we asked them if they were all right and they said not really but wouldn't tell us why. We ended up sitting down and they explained that they had looked through some Anti-Mormon stuff, so we answered their questions then taught our lesson. It ended up going really well and Maya actually committed to be baptized on the 11th of next month, so we will be working towards that.
Bev and Maya are kinda funny because they have a very strange relationship, they are best friends but sometimes they get in fights. For example they are in one right now and Bev won't answer phone calls from Maya, they are awesome though.
Our last meeting on Thursday was with Jake, he came back to church last week and we set up a meeting, he has read the whole Book of Mormon and said that he believes it is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet and he even said that he feels that answer is from God. Seriously an awesome miracle. We just need to help him understand what that means for him, that this church is the only true church. I think if we got him to understand that he would be willing to join the church.
We totally dropped the ball on Wednesday, we had a meeting set up with Ally on Thursday and we asked Sally if she would come be on the meeting with us, and she was willing, but for some reason when i was telling her about the meeting I said Wednesday... So when Wednesday rolled around we got a call from Sally wondering where we were... It was super bad, so she was kinda mad at us, but she said we could make it up to her by helping her with English so she isn't mad anymore. Also she flaked us when we were planning on helping her with English so we are even.
Later on Wednesday we had Zone Training, we learned about Diligence and finding people, and inviting people to get baptized and stuff. So pretty classic stuff.
We actually met with Ally on Thursday, it was pretty good, she didn't really read so we talked about the importance of that.
We went out to visit Adam on Saturday and his roommate joined our lesson, they are both from some branch off of the 7th Day Adventist church. His roommate Soren knew the bible really well, and I was actually really surprised that he basically understands all the basic doctrines of the gospel correctly, like we were talking about the Priesthood being restored to Joseph Smith and he was describing the difference between the Melchizedek Priesthood and the Aaronic Priesthood really well. It was fun. It was also cool because he would support the stuff we were teaching with the bible while we were teaching.

Sunday was good, we had a somewhat light sacrament meeting attendance but we had a couple visitors and there was a good amount of people. There were too many English speakers and not enough head set translators, so I had to translate from the Pulpit which is always annoying because it slows down the meeting a ton.
Other than that, there isn't much crazy news from this week, love you guys!

-Elder Everett

Monday, May 9, 2016

Dużo Cudów (Week 61)

Dużo Cudów this week. I'll probably just tell a couple of the stories that I told during our skype and include any others that I happen to remember.
So on Tuesday we had a miracle, mostly because it was just a really good day overall. It really restored my faith in a line of the white handbook which says that sundays and holidays are the best days for teaching and finding. My past experience with trying to tract on holidays has been a lot of rejection and people getting angry, but on Tuesday, which was constitution day here, we had a lot of success tracting. Actually we set up a return appointment which we are going to tonight. He told us "Its funny you guys came because I am actually really interested in your church." That was pretty cool.

We also had a couple other good conversations but nobody set up that time.

We also got a new investigator on Tuesday, her name is Maria. It was really interesting how we got in contact with her and her friend Basia. So basically Basia called and told us she wanted to meet and so we set up a meeting knowing literally nothing about her. She came and brought her friend Maria (Marysia is the same person, so i might use both names). Basia is a member, she was baptised in Chicago, but she has been inactive fore about 7 or so years. But she wants to get active again, and her friend Marysia is interested in the church, and seems to be pretty serious about investigating. They are a bit older, but really really nice. This was a direct answer to prayer too, because we have been praying to find more Polish members, and we were thinking we would find people to baptize, but the lord decided to send us a less active.

On Thursday we had a cool experience tracting, we were doing our normal gig. Basically knocking doors and telling people who we are. And eventually a lady let us in, so we went up to her house (the building had 3 floors and each one had a different living quarters, her kids live on those floors). We sat down and got to teach her about the Restoration. She was also a bit older, but really willing to listen and committed to read and pray. And when we asked if we could come back she said "I don't think so, I already have faith, I'm not looking for anything else", but right then she was flipping through the Book of Mormon and read: "Wo be unto him that shall say: We have received the word of God, and we need no more of the word of God, for we have enough!" And she read it out loud to us and basically said the book quoted her. So she said we could come back. Awesome

Then later we kept tracting, and we saw these huge storm clouds running in. So Elder Wood and I counseled with each other to try and decide if we should stay and keep tracting, or go back to avoid getting soaked. So we prayed for guidance, and didn't feel anything too strongly, so Elder Wood said "Lets keep going!" So we turned around to keep tracting and right as we started walking towards the storm we saw a huge lighting bold streak across the sky. We took that as a sign we needed to go home. When we got home we went to grab some food at the supermarket under our house b/c we had no food. And we got into line, and the guy ahead of me in line kept staring at me so I said "Cześć" he replied "Hey! Hows it going" in English. I said good, then he checked out and left. Then when we left we saw him waiting for us .Apparently we contacted him like 3 months ago and never got ahold of him. But he still wanted to meet, so we set up a meeting. Miracle.

We were set up with this lady to teach English at a high school she worked at on Saturday. That was kinda funny, because we went and nobody was expecting us, but we eventually found the class. It was really awkward because we went in and explained who we were, and all the students were like "No, we don't have anything planned today..." (liars, why else would they be in school on a Saturday). So we asked if they would be interested anyway in having a quick English lesson. But they told us they were just about to go home, then started leaving. It was super lame.

On sunday I gave a talk, It was pretty good. It was about Baptism, I kinda had to wing it because I had no time to prepare much, but it was good nonetheless. I also had to play piano for two hymns in church because the Daltons were in Kielce. That was rough. I played Praise to the Man (right hand only) and There is a Green Hill Far Away (right hand only) and Elder Wood played We thank the O' God for a Prophet (right hand only) It was really really bad, neither of us are piano players. But we didn't disrupt the spirit too bad, so it was okay.

Okay that's all the stories that are coming to my head right now, so I'll finish up. I love you guys and know the church is true!

-Starszy Everett