Monday, June 29, 2015

"Oh, yep... That's our train" (Week 17)

Witam wszyscy!

And there goes my first transfer in country. Went by quick. Well, I guess I can start off by saying that I am staying in Krakow another transfer, thank goodness. I don't ever want to leave, a couple weeks ago I thought it would be cool to see other parts of Poland, but the members here are so cool and they are all my best friends. My companion is Elder Owens from Kansas. He is a little over a year into his mission, he is about an inch or so taller than me, however much bigger than me overall. I decided to give him the big bed. I lucked out again because he is a fantastic chef, so I will be eating well at least another transfer.

So this last week has probably been a record so far for my mission. It is fairly normal for people to set up with us then not show up to meetings. But this last week took the cake. For the past 9 lessons that we had scheduled, a grand total of 0 of them came. This is particularly annoying because we like to schedule meetings back to back so when one guy didn't come we had to sit at the chapel/contact around the chapel for like an hour until our next appointment. If I have one thing to say in this email, it is this: always follow through on your commitments, flaky people are the most annoying thing in the world.

But on the other hand, our investigators are doing well. We still have Daniel and Marcin as our main investigators. Sadly Daniel is going out of town in the next couple of weeks because finals just finished and he will be gone for a month or two. We are still working on getting them to church but sadly it is hard to get students to come to church because most of them leave town on the weekends to go visit family.

So as far as other Transfers go this time, every companionship changed. The other Elders are Elder Jackson and Elder Mulder, which is cool because Elder Mulder came from my MTC group and Elder Jackson is freaking awesome so they will kill it. Then Sister Herrera came to join Sister Holden.

Last weekend Saturday and Sunday we had a big old mission conference. But it was special because it was the 25th anniversary of the mission in Poland. All the members from the whole country were invited and there were cool talks and we saw all the missionaries in the whole mission. We had Elder Adler come in to town for this, he is an area seventy. It was really good, Also my polish is getting to the point where when people give talks in church I can actually understand what they are saying for the most part. So I understood what they were talking about. It was really cool in Elder Adlers address on Sunday. He is German so while he was talking about how far Poland has come in 25 years he got a little teared up when talking about what the German people did to Warsaw (destroyed it). It was actually a really powerful talk.

Okay so my title is from yesterday. we had a train to Krakow and our whole district made it except Elder Owens and I. We missed by like 2 minutes. Luckily it was kinda good that we did because it ended up working out that we were able to give the office elders some vital credit cards that we wouldn't have been able to get them otherwise. Also we got to ride first class on an express train to Krakow, so it was nice.

Alright, that's it for this week.
Do Zobaczenia!

-Starszy Everett

Monday, June 22, 2015

"Ale Wysoki!" - Random Polish Child (Week 16)

Zakopane, border of Poland and Slovakia
K, so I have like zero time today because the library closes in 15 minutes...

So today we took culture night, basically once a transfer we can take the time from 18-21 to do something cultural. So we went to this town called Zakopane which is on the border from Poland to Slovakia. You can normally take a ski lift up, but for some reason it was closed so we instead bought some water and hiked up. It was about a 5 hour hike both ways and was so worth it. We got some pictures at the Border, and while we were at the top some gentleman kindly informed us that if we were going to fall to make sure we fell on the Poland side, because rescues are free in Poland and super expensive in Slovakia LOL.

The title is from while we were contacting in Park imię Jordana, Elder Jackson and I were on exchanges and some kid on his bike while he was walking past looked up at me and said "Ale Wysoki!" which literally translates to "But tall!" and means something like So High! it was pretty funny and we got a good laugh out of it.
Random Selfie

Funny story, yesterday we were out tracting. In Poland they have these huge apartment buildings and we usually will ring people on the Domophone (little intercom box at the gate/door) and ask to share a message. So we were doing this and somebody let us into the building but a security guard told us we had to leave (which actually we don't have to, its not against the law to tract) but we left nonetheless and continued calling on the domophone, but after about 30 minutes of that he came out and told us to leave again. This happened 2 other times. It was pretty funny, but we got some people who were interested and asked us to come back so its totally worth it.
Mom, I did a hand-stand!!
So this week I was challenged to drink 7 boxes of Plumm juice, its basically this super cheap juice, it costs like 2 zlots for 2 liters. So basically I had to drink 14 liters of juice in 7 days. I only got through 6 boxes but it was awesome. I should have taken a picture of all the empty cartons but I threw away the first like 3.

It rained super crazy hard on Friday, which is terrible because we were planning on doing contacting outside all day, but the problem is that people don't particularly want to talk about God while they are soaking wet so we did a lot of area book work instead. We also tried to contact but it was pretty miserable so we went tracting.

This is pretty much my week in summary, sorry for such a terrible email but I need to go! The library is kicking me out!

Okay, so I got back on but I don't have any time now either so I will go ahead and send this.


Starszy Everett

Monday, June 15, 2015

"Beware of False Christs such as... Socialism" - Brat Pawlik (Week 15)


Well another week down here in Kraków, and it was awesome. I don't really know where to start talking so I guess I will start out with a highlight. On Friday President came down to Kraków to do interviews. It was awesome, I really like talking with President because he is just super cool and smart and nice. We talked about how I'm doing, about eating healthy and staying awake during studies. He is super cool. We also got pizza for free so that is definitely a bonus.

On Thursday we also had the opportunity to go on an exchange with Elder Hubbard. It was pretty cool, he came down and did a little AP district training thing which was basically about always trying to improve. He said that we need to always be trying to take the next step towards being perfect but not try to bite off more than we can chew because sometimes when we try to do more than we can handle we end up hurting ourselves more than helping.

We also went out and did a lot of contacting with Elder Hubbard. It's always fun seeing someone else do missionary work because you learn alot about how you do things yourselves. Na przykład Elder Hubbard likes to say to people while they are running "Czy Pan chce przerwę?" "Do you want a break?" then sometimes they stop, that made me think about where in Preach My Gospel it says that we need to be speaking to as many people as we can about the Gospel. I have been trying to do better at stopping larger numbers of people because I figure the more people I talk to, the more people will listen. Makes sense.

George Washington Street
On Sunday we had a really fun day at church. Church in Poland really varies from week to week, some weeks I will be struggling to stay awake and other weeks I'm on the edge of my seat the whole time. This week I was definitely on the edge of my seat, it was awesome. First of all, I met a man named Nathan Wood (I'm not sure on Nathan but his last name was definitely Wood) Brother Hart should know him, they served in Poland at the same time in '91. He is really cool, he knows so much Polish History because he is a professor of History at University of Kansas, specializing in Eastern Europe technology. It was super interesting talking to him about how Poland had a really rough transition from a Command Economy to a Free Market because it happened in a very short period of time. Poland has such a cool history, I can't wait to learn about it once I get home.

So then we had a really good sacrament meeting (It was probably just really good to me because I can understand more now. My understanding is Skyrocketing. But what was really prime was Sunday School. The lesson was about signs of the Second Coming and it was awesome. That is where my Subject Line comes from. Brother Pawlik is literally the best person in the world. He is the most Libertarian person I have ever met, and better yet, he is a Pole! He gave a really good lesson and I actually learned a lot.

Also amazing news from church, we might be getting a new Ukrainian family moving into the branch! Which will be awesome because its a family, they have 2/3 kids, not sure. They are either coming here or Warsaw, depending on where their kids are accepted to school.

Another fun experience: on our exchange with Elder Hubbard we had a sit down lesson in the chapel with a young man named Daniel, he was super awesome. We had Lukasz Jabłoński in on the lesson with us and it was sooo powerful. We were talking about the Book of Mormon and we had Lukasz bear his testimony about it and he basically said "Look, this book WILL change your life for the better, it is the most important thing in my life and I know that once you read it you will feel the same." I freaking love Lukasz. To this Daniel responded "Dang, I guess I really gotta read it" because we called him out for having the book for at least a week and he hadn't looked at it. Daniel is awesome.

We had a branch Picnic on Saturday, it was really fun, also really hot (90 degrees or so). We had a pretty good turnout, like 18 people (this includes 8 missionaries). We ate good food, played some good games and I think everyone had a great time. We did this sort of testimony meeting thing put on by Sylwia. We went around and shared some experiences. I was blown away by the testimonies of some of the Members. Brat Dziubyla (I maybe spelled that wrong) shared how he was a Catholic Priest for a long time, until he for some reason lost his faith and went away from the catholic church. Basically he found the church and it filled the void in his life that he had not realized was there. We also heard from Jan who is a somewhat less active member. He is way into American Indian stuff. He told us about how he joined the church and it was heavy. Basically his wife left him and he started "hitting the bottle" then he met the missionaries and they helped him get his life in order and made him realize how much more there was to the world. I love the members here in Poland, they are so strong.

I think that's all the big stuff that happened this week.

Cześć wam, was Kocham!

Starszy Everett

Monday, June 8, 2015

Another awesome week in Kraków (Week 14)

Another awesome week in Kraków, it was a fairly normal week so this might not be the best email ever but here we go!

The Cathedral in the Salt Mines
So Wednesday I got to go up to Warsaw to do legal work, we got up early to do it which was pretty lame but basically I had a train at about 8 and so Elder Wynne and I went to the Train Station and met the senior couple and the sisters there, then Sister Allowitz and I got on the train and everyone else went out and did normal missionary work. I pretty much slept the whole train ride up there and back, we were on an express train so it only took about 2 and a half hours. When we got there the office elders: Elder Wilcox and Elder Richens met us and then we waited for Elder Little to get off his train then we all went to the Urzęd (I think that's what it's called) it was basically a government building. We went in and had to finish up some paperwork then took turns doing legal work. This entailed me sitting there and waiting for the lady to enter a bunch of stuff into her computer. We finished that up then got on another train going back to Kraków and got in around 18.

Everything was carved by three miners
On Thursday we had our first sit down meeting with a lady named Anna, we met her while tracting last week and she is pretty cool. She is about 50 years old and she has a daughter named Kasia who is about 30 and is physically/mentally handicapped so she lives at home. We taught her about the Restoration and it went really well. She had a tough time accepting that Adam and Eve coudn't have children in the garden of eden so we basically told her to read the scriptures and pray about it. The lesson was super long (like an hour and a half) but it was amazing Anna is really cool.

St. Mary's Cathedral on the Rynek
Saturday something really interesting happened, to fully appreciate this story I need to go back to Monday. On Monday while we were solo contacting in the park I talked to a couple Jehovah's Witnesses, they were very nice we had a really entertaining conversation and we ended up exchanging names and numbers, they had to leave after like 20 minutes because they were on their way to go proselyte. So on Saturday during Weekly Planning we had just made brownies and were an hour into our planning session when our Domaphone rings (its the intercom thing) Elder Wynne answers it and the conversation went something like this:
Elder Wynne in a hole

JW: "Hello, we are Jehowah's Witnesses and we are looking for Foreigners to share our message with (they were assigned to proselyte in English)"
Elder Wynne: "Awesome, we're actually Mormon Missionaries from America!"
JW: "Wait... is this Everett?"

So we of course let them come up and we talked with them we offered them brownies and ended up having like an hour long lesson with them. It was awesome. Jehowah's Witnesses are actually becoming one of my favorite people to contact on the street because they are usually so nice.

A Cobra

So we didn't get to meet with Marcin this week because he got sick but hopefully we will be able to set up with him for next week... fingers crossed.

Alright, that's about it for this week!


Starszy Everett

View from a really tall building we were tracting
Really cool church near our house
The Cobra factory on P-Day

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Zone Conference and Exchanges and Stuff (Week 13)

The Castle Ogrodzieniec
Bardzo Przepraszam, I don't have a ton of time this week because we went to visit some members for our P-day. The members live in Mielec which is like a 2 hour bus ride away then we spent 2 hours there and it took all day... It was really fun because Brother Pawlik, the member we visited works for a company that makes Cobras and so we went to their Factory thing and checked it out. They hand make every car out of Aluminum then send it to the States to put engines in and stuff. Also Sister Pawlik is from Burbank, which is pretty close to us.

Elder Jackson and I
Capture the Flag at Ogrodzieniec
Last P-day we went to Ogrodzieniec and played Capture the flag which was awesome, then I went to Katowice and had an extended exchange. Basically we figured it would be easier to just stay in Katowice all the way from Monday to Thursday because we all had to go to Warsaw on Thursday for Zone Conference. It was fun, we had a lesson with this guy who basically met with the missionaries because we were fun to talk to but had trouble finding faith to pray or read. So we gave him a lesson on faith and it was awesome.

We also did a whiteboard with the Sisters while we were there and it was kinda funny because some really drunk guy (at 2 in the afternoon) came up and started talking to the sisters. He basically told one of them that she was really pretty then started like grabbing her arm so her companion came up and intervened, but then the drunk guy kept walking up to them so I walked in and stood about 2 inches from the guy. I was about 8 inches taller than him so I was looking straight down and I told him that I was going to share a message with him about Jesus. He said "I don't want to talk to you, I want to talk to them" then he leaned around me and pointed to the sisters, at that point I basically said "Idż" which is the command form for "Go" and he left, it was kinda funny because he was like stumbling around and had super slurred speech. Drunk people are crazy here.
Much stamping of Ulotki (pass-along cards)

Our sole Progressing Investigator Marcin is doing awesome, he is loving all our YSA activities like FHE, and Institute. He loves English class, and promised us he would go to church this week (he hasn't been yet). He is a really cool guy, and apparently only 20 years old. Might be 21 though because apparently in Poland you gain a year on January 1st not on your birthday.

Umm, that's probably it I have time for this week, love you all and miss you.
 Elder Everett

P.S. JESSICA!!!! I can't believe you're going home!!!!

Translations: Bardzo Przepraszam means "I'm very sorry."