Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in Poland (Week 38)

Lots of cool things happened this week, and I am very grateful for that because it's Thanksgiving, yeah!

So I started off the week with a train ride! Mom was asked about traveling solo, we generally travel alone unless for some reason someone else needs to go to the same place. It was funny this time with the whole train thing because there was a little bit of a mix-up. So I had a train at 17:54 going to Lublin, so we went down to the train station and there was a train sitting there and the little electronic readout said "Lublin 12:30" so I figured it was a mistake and got on the train, it pulls away from the station and I am looking for my seat, which was in wagon 19, when I realize that there is no wagon 19, it ended at like wagon 10. So I ask somebody and they tell me that i'm on the wrong train. So they tried to kick me off the train at the Warsaw East train station, but I started speaking fast English at the guy and that managed to confuse him enough that he validated my ticket and I got to ride the train (English is like a get out of jail free card).

Turns out that the train I was on was running 5 hours late and my train was like 40 minutes late, so that was the reason for the confusion. Oh Poland transit...

My Exchange in Lublin was really fun, we got to have an Active member lesson with a really cool member named Irek and then went and visited this crazy family. The Dad's name was David, he was from Jordan, and the mom was polish and they had a daughter, then there was also a random couple living with them, the girl was Polish and the guy was from Turkey. It was really interesting, they told us that the Quran testifies of Christ, just most Muslims ignore the parts of the Quran that talk about it. David and the Turkish guy were Muslim, but had very strong belief in Jesus Christ as the Savior of the World, and as the son of God, which was strange, but awesome.

The Exchange was really good, I think the other Elders needed it. Elder Schwanke is the Branch President down there which is a really hard calling for missionaries because we are so young, but missionary bp's still have to deal with welfare and counseling members individually. He is super solid though, he does a really good job. I loved Lublin a lot, I would like to serve there for sure.

So I'm going to skip ahead a couple days to Thursday, on Thursday night we had Culture night! So this transfer we had a decision between 2 activities, going to see the Moscow Ballet, or going to Filip's Cabaret (Filip is a member in our branch). The Assistants and We decided to go to the Cabaret, and I'm actually glad we did. It was hilarious. We went there expecting Filip, the member, to have a little role in it. Little did we know that he actually runs it, like he is in charge. It was in this cultural center, and it was full of really old people. It was very interesting listening to Polish songs, and random jokes. I fully enjoyed it.

Also on Thursday we had Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving was awesome, we had it at the Chapel and invited the Edgrens and the Jones's. Everyone brought a dish and we had a potluck style thing. It was amazing, very very American. Elder Jeffs also cooked a goose which was awesome, I have never had goose before I don't think. His was very delicious.

Other than that there was nothing super crazy, it has been cooling down a little bit. It snowed in Lublin for a couple hours, then for like 5 minutes here in Warsaw. 

And I am out of time for this week, Love you!
-Elder Everett

Monday, November 23, 2015

Call me Professor Elder Everett (Week 37)

Good week up here in Warsaw, we had some really cool things happen so lets get started!

I'll start with Friday because it was pretty awesome. So last week this guy that we briefly talked with on the street called us and asked us if we could teach 2 of his university classes about basic Mormon Doctrine, where our church comes from, who Mormons are in general, and about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon... so we said yes. Oh yeah, and everything was in English because it was an English class. It was super awesome, we made a PowerPoint with a bunch of scriptures and a couple Mormon Messages. The classes were only about 12-15 people and we just sat around a big table with a TV at the front. We started off with our presentation then opened it up for Q&A. It went really well, the first class was a lot lighter conversation, mostly they asked about us and what it was like living in the States, because it was an American Culture class. The second class asked us some heavy questions about deeper doctrine stuff. It was pretty fun trying to answer their questions with basic doctrine. 

After the class everyone took a Book of Mormon and we invited everyone to read and pray about it to know whether it is true. It was really cool.

We did a really fun White Board on Wednesday, it was with a pair of the Sisters near the university. It was kinda crazy because it was pouring rain and it was super windy so our whiteboard kept falling over. Also nobody wanted to talk to us because of the weather, but luckily at the very end we talked to this lady who was super interested in the Book of Mormon, and we were able to hand her off to the sisters right there. Yeah!

After the whiteboard for some unknown reason we decided to go get blizzards at Dairy Queen, that was really fun because we were already a little cold, then we went and ate a big old thing of ice cream. I started shivering basically as soon as we left DQ, it was crazy. Luckily the Dairy Queen is near the Metro Entrance so we weren't outside for very long and the Metro is warm.

In other news, we got to meet with this super cool less active named Luke. He is from the Congo in Africa, he speaks decent English, and decent Polish. He natively speaks French. We went to their house and hung out with his family, its kinda funny because he has a polish wife and his kids all speak great Polish (for children, kids generally speak really poorly until they are about 10) and he told us he wants help in learning because he doesn't understand his kids sometimes. We got to help him a little with Polish and deliver dinner that the sisters made for them. It was awesome.

Unfortunately we have run out of time! Love you!

-Elder Everett

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tiny Sacrament Meeting (Week 36)


Welcome to my weekly email! Crazy week, lots to talk about!

The Białystok Temple (jk. Mary is on top instead of Moroni)
So starting from the beginning, Last P-day we went to the Warsaw Uprising Museum. I mentioned it a little in the MTC because Brat Smalley explained a bit about it. Basically it was a month or two long uprising against the Nazi Occupation. It was in the fall of 1944 in August. The fought the Germans throughout the streets of Warsaw for a couple weeks, but ended up having to surrender. As a result most of Warsaw was destroyed, apparently the city had a population of 1.3 million, then after the Uprising there were only 900,000 and only a couple thousand were about to stay living in the city, everyone else was homeless living in the outskirts. It was a super cool experience to see everything there, I recommend looking stuff up about it.

Related to that, we started teaching this man named Maciej. He is super cool, and has a ton of stories. He is actually currently in a weird situation of almost losing his job (he is a university professor) because he spoke out on TV about public worship. It was a really long story, but right now he is on scientific leave researching and he doesn't know if he will be able to keep his job. The reason he is related to the Uprising was because of a story he told us:

Here on the 5th of August 1944 Hitlerites shot around 1000 Poles
He told us this story while we were talking about prayer about the power of prayer. So his mother was living in Wola (a district of Warsaw, the chapel is in the Wola district) during the Uprising. During the Uprising the Germans had orders to kill all the inhabitants of the Wola district, about 90 or 95% of the civilian population were murdered (there are memorials all over about this, I'll attach a picture) and luckily Maciej's mother was saved from this initial massacre because their house was attached to the hospital and the soldiers apparently thought the house was part of the hospital so they missed it, but when they were going through burning down all the buildings they found his mom and her family (she was 12) and lined them up against a wall in front of a machine gun. Maciej's mother started to pray asking that her and her family would be spared, then right when the man was going to start shooting a motorcycle came up with new orders to stop killing civilians. So they made it out, and later also excaped getting sent to a concentration camp.

Maciej has a ton of faith, and believes strongly in God. Please pray for him!

On Tuesday we had a really cool miracle. So we were set up to meet with Bogdan and Anitoli after English class on Tuesday, and we were going to have Filip, the branch mission leader, on the lesson with us. About 10 minutes after the lesson was supposed to be we were going to leave, but then we decided to meet with a random English student, Karol, who was hanging around the chapel. It was a crazy lesson, we started talking about Baptism and Filip hammered it so hard into the guy, I quote "Your baptism is NOT VALID" and he explained that he needed to be baptised in our church because we have the authority. I guess it was exactly what he needed to hear though because he accepted a baptismal date for the 12th of next month, so we will see where that goes.

But Miracle part 2 is that after our lesson with Karol, as we were walking to the tram, Bogdan and Anitoli show up... almost an hour and a half late. It was awesome, so we went back to the chapel and taught them a really good lesson as well. We all need to pray for them by the way, they asked us to pray for them that they can receive a certain scholarship so they can continue their studies here. Also Bogdan has a super important test this week in one of his classes.

Wednesday was crazy, it was Polish Independence day. Fun Fact, Poland has the oldest constitution (like ours) in Europe and the second oldest in the world (behind us). So Polish independence day is huge, and can get pretty crazy, enough so that President asked us to stay out of Centrum in the evening. So first crazy story from Wednesday was in the morning, we were going to the chapel to plan for Zone Training with Sister Antczak, but for some reason the tram we always take took an unexpected turn. We just assumed it was a detour and we would eventually get out to Wola where the chapel is, but it just kept going south when we wanted to go west. We asked a lady sitting near us if she knew whether it was going to Wola and she said it was, but then she got up and asked the tram driver, he said they changed the destination of the tram and it was no longer going towards Wola... She flipped out at the guy that he didn't make an announcement or anything that the tram wasn't going to the same destination. So we all got off the tram and we started talking to the lady, then she pulled out her phone and said to us "This is ridiculous, I'm calling a taxi. Come with me, I'll pay." So she bought a taxi for us and we got to the chapel only 10 minutes late instead of probably and hour or so if she hadn't got us a taxi. It was a miracle.

Then later that night we were going on splits with the AP's (they are in our district) and I was with Elder Burdick in their car. We went to our lesson and parked the car, went up, taught the guy, then left. Then as we were walking out to the car, we see the reflection of police lights on a nearby car. Elder Burdick says "That had better not be my car" then as we round the corner, sure enough... Towed. So we spent the next couple hours trying to work through polish bureaucracy... on a holiday... trying to the get the car back, we ran all around town trying to do different things, then eventually we met up with my companion and his companions and ended the splits. The AP's got the car back... the next morning. Luckily everyone involved had a good sense of humor about it.

We had Zone Training on Thursday, we taught everyone about having a vision and taking ownership over the work. It went really well, the spirit was strong. It was also really cool getting to see everyone in the zone, especially the Łódź people because I just left there. Also there was Pizza at the end so that was a bonus.

On Saturday we had a Member Whiteboard, basically a finding activity we invite the branch to. Unfortunately it was super cold and windy so only Godfrey (member from Zimbabwe) and Stanisław showed up, they were awesome but we were hoping for more members to come. It was a lot of fun doing missionary work with the members, they all have a really strong passion for sharing the gospel, because almost every member here is a convert.

Then that evening we had our meeting with Maciej that I already talked about, that went really well.

On Sunday we got to go out to Białystok, which is a city about 3 hours away from Warsaw. There is a tiny unit there (2 active members) which is a unit of the Warsaw 1 branch so we go out about 1 time a month to hold sacrament meeting. It was really cool, there was only 1 lady there but the spirit was really strong. We also got to visit Patty's grandma (Patty is serving a mission in London), her grandma is pretty lonely so it was cool getting to talk to her for a little bit. We barely made the bus home though, Patty's grandma was sure we were going to miss it, but we made it by like 5 minutes.

And that was my week!
Love you!

-Elder Everett