Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Warsaw! (Week 33)

This week has been great, Elder Guthrie and I have worked super hard to finish strong. We have continued to work with Wiola, she was in church again on Sunday. We actually had quite a miracle meeting with them on Sunday. So we were at the chapel eating dinner with the district (a last meal type deal) and we left a little early to make sure we would get to Wiola's house by 6:30 which was when we were set up. So we went out to the bus stop around 5 and started waiting for the bus, it didn't come. So we kept waiting. Eventually it showed up about 40 minutes late so we got on and went to the second bus stop because we had to catch a second bus. Basically we had decided that if the next bus didn't come before 6:30 we weren't going to go at all because we still had to do a bunch of stuff to clean and pack for transfers the next day. But fortunately, our next bus came 1 minute after we arrived.

So we got out there and made it to their house at like 6:45, then told them we only had like 45 minutes to meet because our bus home was pretty soon. But the short meeting we had was sooo powerful. Elder Guthrie bore one of the most powerful testimonies I have ever heard. The Spirit was so strong I felt like i was going to explode and Wiola's family felt it as well. It was amazing. So our meeting ran a little long and by the time we left we only had 6 minutes to make it to the bus stop about a half mile away. So we ran, in our suits and coats. as we were running up to the bus stop the bus pulled away, and once buses pull away here they are gone, they generally won't open the door. But this bus driver was an angel from god, so he was an exception. He stopped at a crosswalk and I waved him down and pointed to the door, and he opened it! So we kept running and got on the bus. It was a miracle.

In other news, I am in Warsaw now. Warsaw is really cool, it has super rich history and is pretty much the only modern city in Poland. We are serving in the Żoliborz area of town, you can probably find that on Google Maps and check out our area. Its pretty cool, i"m really excited. Warsaw has some perks for sure, such as we have a Chapel!!!! The only standalone chapel in Poland is the Warsaw 1 Chapel so that is cool. Its on the city maps as Kaplica Mormonów (Chapel of the Mormons) Super exciting. We also will get to spend Christmas with the Edgrens most likely which is awesome. And there are a ton of missionaries here (14, which is more than twice as many as anyh other city) so there are always people to do finding activities with.

Also Warsaw has a Metro, and our apartment is right next to a metro stop so we can get pretty much anywhere in the city in less than an hour, which is amazing because Warsaw is massive.

So yeah, that's about it for this week,

Love you all,

-Elder Everett

Monday, October 19, 2015

"Szanuj Szefa Swego, bo możesz mieć gorszego" -Sign at the hair cutters (Week 32)


So Google Translate has a really bad translation of my subject line... It translates to "Respect your boss, because you could have a worse one" I just thought it was funny, and it rhymes and sounds really cool.

Its been a really good week, the work is going well. This next week is Elder Guthrie's last one of his mission so we are going to go out strong, everyone pray for us to finish strong!

We had a bit of a miracle yesterday, we had not one, but TWO investigators show up to church. The first one is a man named Andrzej he showed up to church last week as well, he was a self referral. So basically he just decided that he wanted to come to church and learn about Mormons so we are happy to teach him! He is probably mid twenties, and comes from a Catholic birth (shocker) but now aligns more closely with Lutheranism. He has learned a lot about various protestant churches though. He really likes to draw comparisons and contrasts between ours, Lutheranism, Catholicism, and Calvinism.

And the second person was Wiola, the daughter of Jan and Maria. She is actually really interested in the church and is reading the Book of Mormon, she has a lot of questions which is good. Most of her questions are classic things like Polygamy, that we are Amish (everyone in Poland has seen this one show about the Amish that translated Amish to Mormon...), about temples and other things. She is making progress which is really cool. Pray for her! Church was really awesome though because the members did a really really good job of welcoming her. Especially Viola (who spells her name with a V for some reason), Viola is an angel. She basically talked with Wiola and come to our Gospel Principles class and made excellent comments, then after that she invited Wiola to the Relief Society Enrichment night, and sat with her during 3rd hour. It was amazing. Viola is so great, she is a translator for the church, its her job. So a lot of what we read in Polish was written by her, she translated PMG, the Gospel Doctrines book, a lot of teachings of the presidents. So she speaks perfect English, but as a matter of principle only speaks with us in Polish. It is so nice.

Speaking of that, we were talking to her last week about General Conference because she is a translator for that. We were asking about "Ponderizing" from Elder Durrant's talk, so basically he smashed together the words Ponder and Memorize, but in Polish that does not work the word for "to ponder" is rozważać and the word for "to memorize" is zapamiętywać, but if you smash them together like English you get rozpamiętywać which means something else entirely. So the word they used to translate Ponderize was "rozważanio-zapamiętywanie" she said it was a nightmare. They took a 3 syllable word - Ponderize, and turned it into a 7 syllable monster. It was apparently very hard to keep up with him during the talk.

We had our MTC night on Saturday. Basically we wanted to have a sort of training activity on how to treat less-actives when they come back to church, because it is apparently a problem here... We gave bad and good examples, the bad example was really funny. But also not really funny because they took a bunch of things they have actually seen and put them together. It was something like "Hey Kasia, you haven't been at church in a while, you know it's a commandment to come right? You really are not keeping your baptismal covenants if you don't come. What do I smell? is that smoke? Kasia, I know you had a problem with smoking before, have you been smoking again?" It was really uncomfortable, and the members recognized that was bad. Not very members came to the activity unfortunately. Only 5 people, but it was really good regardless. Plus the other elders made enough cookies for like 20 people so we got to eat a ton of chocolate chip cookies.

We met with Tomek and Sergeiusz, who are members. They were really cool, Sergeiusz is from Ukraine but he speaks Polish fluently (except with a Ukrainian accent) He actually is from Szczecin where he joined the church and was visiting Łódź for a month and now is moving to Poznań. And Tomek is super cool as well, he is from Łódź and has been a member for about 2 years. We talked a lot about their experiences with Baptism, Confirmation, and receiving the priesthood. It was really cool. They also gave us cookies and fruit tea which was cool.

I'm not sure if I really have much else to share, so that might be it for this week. Love you guys, have a great week! I'll let you know what happens with transfers next Monday!

-Elder Everett

Monday, October 12, 2015

First Snow! (Week 31)

It's Snowing!!! My first snowfall in Poland. Nothing is sticking though, so that's good. I am not quite mentally prepared to have to walk through snow everywhere.

It's been a good week, actually have gotten a couple of new investigators who are really solid. First of all is a family, they just moved here from England, but they are Polish. The all speak Polish and English, the kids have fluent English because they lived in England for half their lives. The Mom's name is Agnieszka, they have a daughter named Julia and a son named Antonii (which is not a polish name... strange), they also have a little boy named Tobi on the way in 7 weeks. We have not met the Dad yet, hopefully this week that will happen. Basically what happened was a couple weeks ago we were tracting and we met Julia and talked with her for a little while, she already knows a lot about us and was willing to start reading the Book of Mormon. She gave us her mom's number and we have been trying to call and set up ever since, but with no luck. Finally on Friday we went and knocked and had a short lesson with just Agnieszka. It was super awesome. Super powerful spirit and she invited us to come back on Tuesday to teach the whole family.

At the dentist for Elder Guthrie
We also met this guy named Grzeszek, he is super cool. We met him on the street and he stopped to talk to us, he basically told us that he has been searching for God lately. He had just met J-dubs earlier that day, and he took his meeting with us as a sign that God was trying to tell him something. He told us after a little while that he is struggling with Alcoholism, which is really unfortunate. He was actually on his way to a councilor to get some help at the moment. We basically bore testimony of the power of the atonement, and how we can receive strength from Jesus Christ. It was super cool. Really strong spirit present for a street lesson.

We are preparing for an "MTC Night" this Saturday, its going to be pretty cool. Basically we are going to talk about how to deal with Less-Actives when the come to church, by sitting with them, talking with them, not asking them why they smell like smoke, and not judging. It's going to be really cool. Elder Guthrie and I are going to show the Prodigal Son Bible video, as long as the Office can get it translated before Saturday. Which shouldn't be that hard, its all already translated (Its in the bible) they just have to sit down for an hour and put the subtitles onto the video. It's going to be really cool. After we show the video we are going to talk about how the parable can be related to Less Actives.

Selfie in the Polish Woods
I just remember another cool story. So we recently changed the way English is set up here, instead of teaching 3 separate English classes (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced) we combined them into one conversational class. Mostly because of lack of people, there was only like 1 or 2 people in each class. So Elder Guthrie and I were at the chapel in the Family History Library watching the last Session of General Conference when a guy walked in and asked us about why we changed English, so we kinda explained and he went to join the class. It was funny though because we saw the same guy on a tram later on in the week. We talked to him for a little while then he got off the tram. Then Yesterday during church we stood up after sacrament meeting and there he was, sitting on the back row! So we went back and taught him a short lesson about the Book of Mormon and he said he would come back next week. It was pretty cool, he knew a lot about different Protestant churches which is weird because basically nobody here cares about other religions outside Catholicism. He told us that our Sacrament is similar to what Calvinists believe, that the bread and water does not literally turn into Christ's flesh and blood. It was an interesting conversation.

Speaking of interesting conversations I got taught a history lesson on the street by an old guy. It was cool, I tried to talk to him about the gospel, but he just wanted to talk to me so I listened. He told me about how Poles really love Americans because after the war we helped them out a lot, until Roosevelt and Churchill gave them to the Russians. He really did not like FDR, it seemed like he felt personally betrayed by him. He told me about how when he was a kid, if it hadn't been for us things would have been a lot worse for the Poles, that we probably saved the Polish people from extermination. Which is interesting because Russia was the one who actually liberated Poland, but he hated Russians, and he hated Germans. He really hated Germans actually, he told me about how the Germans destroyed Warsaw, he actually teared up a little when talking about that. He told me that his father was in a concentration camp for most of the war, and everything he remembered was when he was a little kid (this guy was really old). Its easy to forget that even though the Jews were the main focus of the Holocaust, Poles, Gypsies, Hungarians, and most Slavic races were also targeted.

Well, enough of history. Lately I have been studying Pride. So it's funny that you sent me Pres. Benson's talk, Mom. I actually have already read that a couple times, but it was nice to read it again. Its so crazy how prevalent Pride is. I am very guilty of being prideful, which is why I have been working on it. A lot of the way's it shows up as in missionary work is as disobedience, laziness, and unwillingness to take suggestions. What I have been trying to do lately is just to recognize when I am being prideful, and trying to stop it. I would highly recommend the talk "Beware of Pride" by President Benson, it is super good.

So about Sabbath day Observance. Its funny that that is your topic dad. There is a member here who speaks up all the time, and about the half the time she reprimands everyone for not keeping the Sabbath Day Holy. She says that all the world's problems would go away if only people would keep the Sabbath day. I think Poland actually does a really good job of this. Most stores are closed on Sundays, the buses/trams run only about half as often, and most people are off the streets with their families. Its really cool actually. I don't know if I have any cool experiences to share for your talk, but I really am starting to understand how important the Sabbath is.

Another little insight I had this week is about the Gift of Tongues. I am starting to understand really what it is, Joseph Smith said "that it was particularly instituted for the preaching of the Gospel to other nations and languages." I have really seen some instances of it working. It's one of the ways I can tell if I am teaching by the spirit, Polish is a very hard language and it comes out very slowly. Because of the endings of words you have to think about what you are saying and generally I speak at a moderately slow pace. But sometimes I can recognize that I am teaching something that the person needs to hear because the words flow off my tongue, I will explain a whole concept with almost perfect casing without even putting much thought into how I am saying things. Its really a testimony building that the Lord is working through his servants and if he wants something done, he will enable us to do it.

That's about it that I have for this week, I love you guys!
-Elder Everett

Monday, October 5, 2015

"Do you have any idea what time it is?!?" -Every single polish person (Week 30)


A great week here in Lodz, Elder Guthrie and I are getting along great. We are really focusing on working hard and being as obedient as we can possible be. Which is awesome, loving the mission right now!

I think I'll start off my week with Monday! So on Monday after our P-day was over we had to go to the train station to drop off Sister Holden and Elder Wride because they were going on exchanges to Warsaw, then we had like 2 hours to kill so we went and contacted on Piotrkowska street (main street here) with Elder Wright and Sister Gustofson. It was pretty fun. Then we got to pick up Elder Wilcox and Sister Anczak from the train station and we went home. Good day.

On Tuesday we had a kinda funny experience. We had a lesson set up with this guy who was a former in our Area Book. He had a sticky note on him that said "Call in September! HE WILL BE BAPTIZED!" So of course we called him and set up. We went to the meeting and he was super not interested in the gospel. We were going to end our meeting early and leave because he told us he was totally not interested in the gospel. But he asked us if we wanted him to take us to see something cool in the city. We were going to say no, but then we realized we didn't have a dinner planned in our day because we were busy so we ended up taking dinner with him and having him show us whatever he wanted to show us.

So he took us to this big building that was under construction. We walked in and got into this really sketchy elevator and went up to the top floor. It was actually kinda sketchy because the lights were flickering and the building was heavily under construction, nowhere near being finished. But when we got to the top, we walked into this really nice room with comfy furniture and a cool view. It was apparently a view room sponsered by the city and we got a really cool look at all of Lodz. There was also a guy there who told us about all the construction going on in the city and what the plans were for all the stuff. It was actually really cool.

On Wednesday we had a pretty normal day, we dropped the Warsaw people off at the train station, then went and got lunch at this Nalesniki place (Nalesniki are Crepes, pretty much 0 difference). Then picked up Elder Wride and Sister Holden. Then that night we went tracting and visited some potentials. Unfortunately, people in Poland go to bed really early so when we knock on their door at like 7 in the evening they get really mad. But the First Presidency says that the hours between 6 PM and 9 PM are prime proselyting time to catch people at home so we continue to knock. We have had some cool success working later though, on Tuesday we went out tracting with the Sisters, we both went to the same neighborhood. Then around 7:30 the sisters went home because everyone was getting mad at them for waking up their kids, but Elder Guthrie and I pressed forward. Then the last door we knocked on, at like 8:20 (we had to catch a bus) opened up and was super open to the message and we set up a return appointment for tomorrow. It was super cool.

Conference has been amazing! President Edgren wants us to watch all the sessions. We have so far have seen them all except Sunday Afternoon. I think my favorite talk was the one that Elder Holland gave about Mothers, it was super powerful and made me realize I probably do not show my mother I appreciate her enough... I love you Mom!!! It's really cool seeing what the Prophets and Apostles think is the most important thing right now. There was a lot about the Sabbath day. It was funny because one of the members here Zosia always talks about Sabbath Day observance and that the world would be a better place if people would just keep the Sabbath Day holy. It was super cool.

That is everything from me this week!

Love you and miss you!
-Starszy Everett

PS. I have not yet bought a coat, but I will buy one before it starts getting colder. Right now what I have is fine but I will keep an eye out for a really good coat.