Monday, February 22, 2016

Elder Schwanke is awesome. (Week 50)

Hello everyone!

The Plan of Salvation
Oh man, I forgot my planner at home which is how I usually remember what we did during the week. Hopefully I will be able to remember everything important that happened. I guess first of all I will say that Elder Schwanke is awesome. It is seriously great getting to serve with him. A little about Elder Schwanke: He is from American Fork, Utah, the 3rd youngest of 5, has a twin brother serving in Spain right now, played the mellophone in marching band in High School so we talk about that sometimes, and he is planning on going to Utah State after the mission (I won't hold it against him though). We are doing really well and are planning on really picking up the work this transfer. Dad actually wrote me an email a couple months ago in which he talked about having 20 progressing investigators, that once you get that many is when you start baptizing regularly. We are shooting to get there by the end of the transfer, of course that is going to be hard, but very possible as long as we work hard.

So on Tuesday after we emailed we went and I showed Elder Schwanke a little bit of Kraków, we went to Wawel castle and looked around a little bit. We also went to the Rynek and looked around there as well. We were mostly just getting our bearings, nothing too exciting. It was annoying though, because we had changed our P-day to Tuesday because of transfers, so I was expecting all the museums at Wawel to be open (almost all museums in Poland are closed on Mondays) but by the time we got to Wawel, the museums were only open for another 15 minutes so we saved the 10 zlots and just went to the normal stuff that is open on Mondays.

Elder Schwanke at Wawel
I have probably already talked a little about Jakub, he is one of our investigators. He is an English student who just moved here to Krakow and we have met with him a couple times. He came to the branch ice skating activity on Saturday and also to Church and to dinner at the Daltons on Sunday. Pretty cool guy. We finally sat down with him and talked to him about what the Book of Mormon is and why it is so important to us. I didn't realize that we hadn't explained that very well yet, because we have known him for so long. So he has finally actually become an investigator.

As far as everyone else goes we didn't really get too much of a chance to meet with other investigators this week due to them being sick or out of town, but we did meet a couple of cool people street contacting. For example, after the ice skating activity on Saturday we went out and we talked to this really cool girl named Agnieszka, we talked a lot about Authority and stuff. I've developed a little bit of strategy whenever the conversations turns into this, I basically talk with them for however much time about the bible and how the primitive church was organized, then once we come to the conclusion together that we will have to agree to disagree based on the bible, because there just isn't enough information, we whip out the Book of Mormon and commit them to read and pray about it to find out if Joseph Smith was a prophet.

Church was really good, we had a good turn out. We have had a man in church from Ukraine the past couple of weeks, and that has been interesting during Sunday school i learned enough about the Cyrillic alphabet to basically turn pages for him and make sure he was on the correct page. So I can pretty much read Ukrainian now, not really but I was looking through the Book of Mormon and I can catch the drift sometimes.

We had a really good Sacrament meeting by the way, one of our members from Ukraine gave her talk in English, which means I had to go up and translate it live from the podium, which is pretty nerve racking sometimes. It went really well though, she gave a beautiful talk and I didn't run into any major problems in translation so it was a success!

Also we had a super Sunday School, president Kucia gave the lesson from the Book of Mormon and at one point after President Kucia bore testimony about the Savior, I heard our Investigator Jakub say under his breath "Spoko" which is like sweet, so that was pretty cool. Spirit was really strong.

That's going to be it for this week, love you!

-Elder Everett

Monday, February 15, 2016

Kraków Round 5 (Week 49)

Big news! I'm staying in Kraków for the 5th transfer (really 4th, but I'm counting the month I was with Elder Jackson and Vance). Elder Schwanke came down from Warsaw to be my companion, it's funny because he did the same thing I did last transfer, he was companions with Elder Cowley as Warsaw ZL then made the migration down to Kraków to be ZL here. I really like Elder Schwanke, he is 2 transfers older than me, so he came into the country with Elder Vance and Jackson. It was sad to see Elder Mulder leave, but I think this transfer will be really good despite that.
So rewinding back to last week I'll talk about some of the people that we met with. We met with Piotrek, we had already met with him before back when I was with Elder Owens and he seemed really interested, we took the time to really explain why the Book of Mormon is important to receiving an answer about whether the church is true. He agreed to read it and pray about it, but not until he finishes some other books he has been planning on reading :-| He said he wants to read a couple catholic books about some of the saints (he isn't even catholic). We are going to meet with him in a couple weeks after he gets back from vacation somewhere.

The District plus Alex
We also met with Michał who is one of our English students, we met with him before English and watched the Restoration film. Then after English he invited us to his house to meet his brother and brother's wife. It was super cool, and his family is really nice. It was awesome.

We met a couple times with Sassan, our friend from Iran. Elder Mulder and I met with him once and we were planning on teaching the Plan of Salvation, but we got sidetracked and ended up teaching him about how the church is organized into Stakes and Wards. Then yesterday I met with him with Elder Dalton after Elder Mulder left Kraków and before Elder Schwanke got here. We taught the Plan of Salvation, it was the most in depth Plan of Salvation I have ever taught. He kept having questions about how everything worked, I was lucky enough to have Elder Dalton with me, who knows much more about everything than I do, who could answer some of the deeper questions. Sassan is doing well.

On Sunday we had an interesting impromptu lesson after church. One of our eternal investigators who we normally don't meet with stayed after and we had a hall discussion for about 30 minutes about God and how we can obtain spiritual knowledge. He did not want to accept that we can know that something is true by receiving confirmations from the Spirit. We ended up roping in our Branch President and one of the YSA and turning it into a group discussion. It was really good and the spirit was really strong, we ended up inviting him to do this: next time he is in church and he has a good feeling about something someone says (we identified that as the spirit) he is supposed to say a quick prayer and pay attention to how he feels. We told him if he feels that feeling magnify, that is the spirit confirming the truth of what is said. Hopefully he follows through on that commitment and is baptized.

On Friday we went out to visit a potential investigator that Elder Mulder and I had tracted a week earlier. Her name is Alicja, and when we went back to visit her she invited us in and we taught both her and her husband Robert about the Restoration. They were super interested, Alicja kept saying "I'll confess, the Mormon religion really appeals to me" and hopefully next time we will be able to get their ~17 yo son to join in on the lesson. Really solid family.

Yesterday, after Elder Schwanke got in we went back to the apartment to drop off his bags before we went tracting when we noticed that Elder Dalton had left his phone there when they picked us up to take us to the train station earlier that day. So we called him and he said he would come by to pick it up. While we were waiting for him I did some calls to potentials/former investigators and Elder Schwanke unpacked a little bit. After about an hour of that I ended up calling a man named Artur and he said he had time to meet right then. So we got ready to go and left, and told Elder Dalton that we would drop it off at the Chapel later. We went and taught him, and it was awesome he was super interested and we are planning on meeting again this week. Also we got Elder Dalton back his phone.

On Saturday we had our "Culture Night" and we went to see the Kraków Philharmonic orchestra, they were way good.

Thats it for this week! I'll try to send more pictures next week, I made a transfer goal to do that. This week it didn't help that when we visited Michał's house I forgot my bag so I didn't have my planner or camera or anything from Wednesday to Friday.

Love you!
-Elder Everett