Monday, May 25, 2015

The Week without Power (Week 12)

Alright, where to start with this week. I guess Monday is a good place. On Monday we met with Marcin (March-een) he was met on a whiteboard about a week ago and he is super awesome and super prepared. Marcin is set to be Baptized on the 20th of June, which is awesome. We had łukasz on the lesson with Marcin and he was awesome because łukash was baptized only like 7 months ago so he could bear powerful testimony on the importance of baptism. Marcin rides a motorcycle and is freaking awesome, I love him.

Wednesday was fun, we spend the morning contacting people by the river, then we got to hang out with Sister Allowitz while her companion was on a bus coming back from Katowice (Sister Al's comp is STL so she goes on Exchanges) and then we got to go to English. English is interesting, because we are "teaching" these people English, but when you get down to it, we honestly don't know the rules behind our own language. So we tried to teach about the difference between The and A and it was really hard. The lesson turned into them making up sentences using The or A and us telling them if it made sense because we couldn't figure out when we use articles. By the way Polish has no articles so it is very difficult for Poles to grasp this concept.

After English my Exchange with Elder Ahlander started, it was fun because neither of us speak very good Polish, but the fact that we didn't fail utterly bore testimony to me that you don't need to speak the language to preach the gospel. For example, on Thursday we had another lesson with Marcin about the Plan of Salvation and it was Elder Ahlander and myself, no member on the Lesson so we had very little Polish between us. But we managed to say everything we wanted and even cleared up a couple of questions Marcin had about some things. It was awesome!

Friday was my Birthday, it was pretty cool. We got to start the day off at the Soup Kitchen doing service which is always fun because the people there are awesome. They are so willing to help with our Polish and just talk to us, which is wonderful. I love that even though we are Mormon Missionaries, and they are devout Catholics (some of them are priests) we get along perfectly and are actually pretty good friends. Speaking of priests, the other elders have an Investigator who is a priest in North Krakow, he has his own church and is apparently a pretty big deal but he is taking the missionary lessons and committed to read the Book of Mormon... I really don't know how they are managing that/ if they really should be teaching a priest, but he keeps asking them to come back. He also keeps giving the other elders books about his chapel. There is one that is all pictures of the time a Cardinal came from the Vatican and blessed everything/everyone in the Chapel. It's pretty awesome.

Oh yes, the title. This week our power has not worked... or at least not well. Every once in a while all the lights in our apartment will shut off and we need to go flip the switch in the circuit breaker outside our apartment because something in the kitchen is causing the circuit to break. It's really annoying and sometimes we cant get the power to work for several hours. So basically we cant buy any perishables because our fridge doesn't work about half the time... Not very fun.

Alright, that's all I got. The reason I'm on so early today is because we are going to this place called Green Castle (I think that's what missionaries call it. the real name is Ogrodzieniec) and we are going to meet up with the Katowice missionaries to play Capture the Flag. After that I am going on an exchange in Kato with Elder Berdick (sp?) and Elder Summers is going down to Krakow. It's going to be awesome. I will be in Katowice through Wednesday then we are going up to Warsaw on Thursday for Zone Conference (combined with the Warsaw 1 and 2 Zones) then the Exchange will end after that. So I will not be in Krakow until Friday.

Anyway, that's everything exciting over here in Poland. I love you very much Family and will write you all letters soon!

-Starszy Everett

Thursday, May 21, 2015

P-day at Auschwitz (Week 11)

Main gate at Auschwitz
Prisoner uniforms
Alright, this week was pretty sweet and had a lot going on, so here we go. On Monday after I emailed you we had 2 lessons set up for that night. Unfortunately our first one fell through :( but the second guy came and it was a really good lesson, his name is Marek and he was super interested. He loved the way we believe about Original Sin and Adam and Eve. The lesson went really well, unfortunately he called us on Saturday and told us his girlfriend didn't want him to talk with us anymore. It's okay though, we will try and get in contact with him in a couple of weeks because he committed to continue reading the Book of Mormon.

On Tuesday we went solo contacting as a district, so basically stand in a park and talk to people. I taught 2 lessons to people, which is amazing because It was entirely in Polish and I taught them about the restoration, I gave out a Book of Mormon and met a guy whose Grandma is actually a member, I committed him to come to Church but he didn't come this week. Maybe next week.

Thursday was really really fun. It was pouring hard, and when my companion and I left the apartment we were sure we would be fine so we didn't bring umbrellas. We basically went out to the edge of our Area and went tracting. After we tracted a couple hours we went to go visit an inactive who lives out there, at this point we were soaking wet but we knocked on her door and talked to her for a couple minutes. She is actually the Aunt of the guy I met on Monday which is pretty cool. She said she was attending a First Communion for one of her sons friends yesterday so she couldn't come to church but she committed to come next week.

These are empty gas canisters used on prisoners

By the way, on Friday we found this box in our closet full of quotes. So we decided to start pulling quotes of the day and our first one was this one by Ronald Reagan. I really enjoyed it.

Saturday was the Baptism of Sylwia (Silvia). She is super cool and really loves that Church and is going to be an awesome member. One of her friends Paweł was there too, he has been an Eternal Investigator for about 2 years, he is super awesome and I really like him. He always comes to English Class but for some reason thinks hes Atheist. I invited him to come street contacting with Starszy Wynne and I on Sunday and he agreed to come.

He came with us on Sunday and it was really cool because we had the chance to bear testimony to him about how we learned that God is there and that he loves us, and I think he really felt the Spirit. I love Paweł and so everyone pray for him that he will decide he wants to get baptized.

Sculpture honoring those who starved here
Wall of Death used by firing squads

Also on Sunday we had Branch Missionary Night! Everyone in the Branch was supposed to bring a friend, and we would share a spiritual thought then hang out with everyone. It ended up being Starszy Wynne and myself, the Sisters, Sylwia, Paweł, and the Branch Mission Leader. But it was awesome nonetheless. We taught about the Plan of Salvation and I think everyone felt the Spirit and learned something. Hopefully next time we do Branch Missionary Night will be a better turnout though...

Today we went to Auschwitz, it was really disturbing. It is so different learning about that kind of stuff in school then going to the real place and soaking in the horrible reality of a genocide on that scale. It is definitely something worth seeing once, but not something I have any inclination to go do again.

Alright, that was my week in a nutshell

Love you!
-Starszy Everett

Monday, May 18, 2015

Pigeon Evictions (Week 10)


I guess I will start off today by explaining the title of this email. On Thursday we got a call from our Landlord Michal saying that we needed to evict the pigeons from our porch and clean of all the poop that they had left. Something you need to understand is that these pigeons have lived here longer than us, they have a full blown nest and the balcony has about a quarter inch thick layer of poop. So anyway, on Thursday we had to spend about an hour and a half cleaning that, so that was really fun. Some people were supposed to come today and put a pigeon net up over our porch but they never did, oh well.

Polish Book of Mormon now available in large print...
On Tuesday I had my first ever lesson that didn't fall through!!!! We met this college guy named Lukasz (Woo-kash) while tracting and he was really interested in the plan of salvation so we gave him a brochure and set up to meet with him on Tuesday. We got there and sat down to talk with him and the first thing he tells us was that he thought about it and he decided that he didn't want to switch from Catholicism so he didn't want to meet with us anymore. He let us teach our lesson, and the Spirit was really strong, but we couldn't set up for a second meeting :( It's okay though because I know the spirit is working on him and we are going to call him at some point and set up with him again.

Also on Tuesday on a much happier note we taught 9 lessons (Lukasz + 8 on the street) It seemed like the Lord know we were bummed about Lukasz so he put in our path every person in Krakow who is willing to hear about the Gospel. We more than doubled our goal for the day as far as lessons taught (we usually set a goal for 1 per hour that we are going to spend contacting). It was a huge moral booster.

Just remembered an amazing Miracle moment we had. So my companion and I were contacting in the park talking to this guy on a bench when out of nowhere a girl comes up and joins the conversation. She had about 10 facial piercings, was wearing all black, and was probably the palest person I have ever seen, I was honestly frightened. So anyways this girl listens to our conversation for about  a minute then she reaches into her backpack pulls out a worn Book of Mormon with a missionary tag on the cover and bears testimony to the guy we were talking with that what we were saying was true and that if he would listed to our message it would bring him more happiness than anything in this life, because that is what happened in her life. The guy wasn't interested but we talked with the girl afterwards and found out she is a member! She said she hadn't been to church in a while but would come on Sunday, which she did. We talked with the sisters about her and apparently she was a less active recent convert that they had been working with and it was actually a small miracle that she came to church. She was really awesome after I got past the whole Goth look thing.

I don't have a ton of time but I will tell a little about the Zone training we had on Wednesday. We went up to Katowice (beautiful) and learned about how we need to learn to have greater love for ourselves, our companions, and the Polish People. It was a really good lessons and in the middle we went outside and spent 15 minutes just sitting and absorbing the sights, sounds, smells, and bueaty of Poland. It was really cool to just sit back and think about how cool Poland is.

Anyways, I'm out of time but I love you and next week you get to hear about Auschwitz (i might not have a ton of email time though.)

love you,

Starszy Everett

Monday, May 4, 2015

"Nie mam czasu" or "Nie, jękuje, jestem Catholicem" - every Pole ever (Week 9)


So this is my first week in the country and it has been super interesting. I am currently in Kraków and I love it here. My companion is Elder Wynne from Georgia and he is super nice and really awesome. We are white washing the area which means that neither myself nor my companion have ever been to Krakow, so neither of us know the area or the members.

My MTC district at the mission home in Warsaw
On Tuesday I arrived in Poland. That night we went out contacting with the office elders/APs and it was really fun. I got in my first ever conversation with Jehovahs Witnesses. (They are really fun because they try so hard to Bible bash) I didn't realize what was going on because I didn't understand anything anyone said my first day, but afterwards I realized that they were J-Dubs. By the way, Jehovahs Witnesses are the 2nd biggest religion in Poland I think. They are everywhere and they always try and talk to us if they see us. We try not to because if you get into a conversation with a JW, it is going to be 30+ minutes that is completely unproductive. I feel bad saying that but it really is a waste of time.

Street contacting in Warsaw on our day of arrival in Poland
On Wednesday after we got to our area in Krakow, I did my first ever Whiteboard, which is basically where we go into a heavy foot trafic area, set up a whiteboard that has an intersting Word/Phrase/Question on it and go contact people and ask them about what is on the whiteboard. It is fun because people are much more willing to talk to us. A lot of the time they will come up to us and ask us what we are doing just out of curiosity. And that is when we hit them with a big old dose of Gospel. It's really an awesome activity. Plus it is Solo Contacting so I get to practice my Polish.

We had service on Friday which was awesome. We helped out at a soup kitchen for a while, which was really great.

My trainer (Elder Hunter Wynne) and I
Another little miracle was Saturday. So Friday-Saturday was a Holiday in Poland and so there were tons of people hanging out around the river, so we decided to go talk to them. It ended being that we taught more lessons that day than the whole rest of our week which was awesome. And we got a referral! Like from someone who went on and requested a Book of Mormon. Apparently that never happens here. We have yet to be able to get into this person's apartment building but hey, we try every day and maybe one day someone will leave the gate open or something.

The Rynek in Krakow.  Largest medieval town square in Europe.
Yesterday was actually really hard for me. The reason I am saying this is because I want to show how much the Lord loves us and can be there to pick us up when we are getting down. Basically the day went as follows: We had a lesson planned, but the Investigator called us to say he was not interested in meeting with us. Then we spent about 5 hours through the rest of the day tracting/street contacting but not a single person was willing to talk for more than 30 seconds. By about 8 o'clock we were feeling pretty down on ourselves so I went ahead and said a little prayer that somebody would be willing to talk with us. A couple minutes later we got a phone call from a member in the ward who wanted to set up a dinner appointment with us! Not quite what I had in mind but it was seriously amazing. Then not too long after that a girl on the street gave us her phone number (despite her boyfriend trying to get her not to) so we could talk with her later! It was seriously a relieving end to the day. A little tender mercy of the Lord to make sure we didn't go home disappointed.

Anyway, I don't have a ton of time today but next week i think I will have more. I love you family!

-Starszy Everett

P.S. The phrases in the subject line mean "I have no time" and "No thank you, I am catholic"