Monday, July 18, 2016

The Green People (Week 71)


I've got some good stuff for you this week, hopefully I can remember everything because usually when I'm emailing I use my daily planner to help out, but for the last like 2 weeks I haven't had one because Wrocław and Legnica ran out of them, so we have to wait until next Saturday to get more supplies. So lets hope I remember.

I'll start by telling about my subject line story. So first of all I want to explain a little bit about a story that Lucas from Kraków told us from his mission. He served in Portugal and he told us that there were Evangelical churches everywhere there. His mission president apparently had a vision that a whole congregation of Evangelicals were going to get baptized so he had all his missionaries visit as many evangelical churches as they could each week. Lucas said he hated it because this is how it would generally work: they would show up, the preacher would see them walk in, then immediately change the topic of his sermon to "The bible is all we need to be saved and anything outside of it is from the devil" Then he would come up to the Elders after the meeting and try to contend with them. Or he would just straight up kick them out before even starting.


So keeping that story in mind we can start with my story. A couple weeks ago we tracted into these older ladies and we taught them a first, it went okay but we aren't really planning on continuing teaching them because they are not very open. But they invited us to come to their Pentecostal church and we invited them to our picnic that we had on Saturday (I'll talk about that later). We werent' really planning on going to their church, but they ended up coming to the picnic and they invited us again so we ended up going on Sunday to the Pentecostal church. This is where the title comes in: Elder Reid and I speak Polish together quite a bit, but especially Elder Reid, he says pretty much everything in Polish. But he can never remember the name for Pentecostals in Polish -- Zielonoświątkowcy -- the first part of the name means green and the second half is somehow related to holidays. So Elder Reid just calls them "Zieloni Ludzie" which is just green people, it's kinda funny. But anyways, we went to their church and first of all it was kinda awkward because we were a couple minutes late because we couldn't find the place (our map was misleading) Then when we got there we couldn't find a seat so we just sat there, then one of the members came up to us and had us sit over by him, he was a homie.

The service itself was really good, I have never been at anything like that though. They had some really good speakers who talked about Jesus walking on water and how Jesus is in the Father and the Father in him, and Jesus is in us and we are in him. It was really good, but the strangest thing for me was the way they pray. At the beginning the Pastor started praying like we do, then everybody in the congregation started mumbling and saying their own prayers out loud, so the pastor just got louder and louder through the mic, it got really intense. We were praying for like 10 minutes and the pastor was basically just yelling with his hands stretched towards heaving, he even started crying at one point. And at the most intense moments of the prayer people in the congregation started shouting out "Amen!" and "Hallelujah!" I actually really liked the whole prayer experience, we need more stuff like that in our church.

Anyways, so after the service we basically got surrounded by various member and they were all super nice. But the Pastor beelined it to us and the first thing he said was "why are you here?" It was unfortunate because the lady who invited us had just left after saying hi to us, so we just said "we were invited, and we wanted to see what this church is like, your words were inspiring Pastor." We were trying to be super nice, but he was pretty hostile because I think he thought we were coming in trying to convert his congregation. Then he asked me "Have you truly been converted? Do you truly know Jesus Christ, and has his blood cleansed you?" I was a little bit thrown off by the question, so I said yes and bore testimony, then he went on the attack and started saying the Book of Mormon is false and that we believe in false doctrine, and that the we have not been saved. It was really intense, At that point I also realized that Elder Reid had started talking to somebody else so I was on my own with this guy too. Basically I just bore testimony then told him if he wanted we could talk another time and we could share our message. He jotted down my phone number and we bounced. It was really intense, and it was basically exactly like the story Lucas told us, so that was funny.

Anyways, It turned out to not be a total waste of time because the guy that Elder Reid was talking to is a homie and actually invited us over to his house for Coffee and cake tomorrow (we told him we don't drink coffee so he is going to find some fruit tea) And he seems pretty interested. His last name is Ferrarri as well which is pretty cool.

So on a totally different note from our Pentacostal experience. Angie and her family are doing really really well. She is the Jehovah's Witness woman I talked about last week. So after our lesson where we read the Living Christ she invited us over to her house to meet her family and Łukasz's family a couple days later. We went and it was pretty good, we ended up talking more about the whole Jesus being Jehovah thing, Łukasz tried to show us a verse that "proved" Jesus isn't Jehovah, I wish I had written down the reference because it was actually really funny. He gave us the verse not telling us what it was about and had us read it, he and his wife were really excited about it, then we read it and Elder Reid and I were both like "That's an verses." It was about the atonement and how the Father sent Jesus to atone for our sins. Then Lars was like "See! It's obvious that Jesus isn't Jehovah" Elder Reid and I were both really confused and we read the thing again, and still couldn't figure out what he was talking about. But we basically said "hey we don't' want to try to show any verses indicating one way or the other, it's a waste of time" Then we left. Angie's husband Bari drove us back into town (they live like 30 minutes outside the city). He commented that every time Łukasz tries to bible bash us we withdraw and back off, and he said he liked that because he doesn't like how JWs try to convince people using the scriptures (he isn't actually a JW, but the rest of his family is).

After the meeting we had another meeting that didn't go too well, the guy wasn't very prepared. But we had Brother Cieleński on the lesson and we talked to him about Angie's family afterwards because he is our missionary coordinator. We asked for advice on how to basically tell Lars we don't want to meet with him anymore and just Angie and her family. He basically said to be really blunt and tell Lars that he isn't prepared, so we prayed for a way to stop meeting with him and went to bed.

The next day we were walking from one appointment to another when we got a call from Angie which basically said "I have been thinking a lot about what you guys have been telling me, and I need to meet and talk to you guys, without Lars, because he doesn't understand... he isn't as open."  It was a straight up answer to pray. So we went and met with her and her 13 year old daughter for a couple of minutes and she basically told us all the stuff she doesn't like about the JW organization and said she feels sure that God (she stopped calling him Jehovah) has been leading her to us and preparing her for our message. Then she said that she wants us to meet with her and her husband now, and not with Lars. It was seriously a miracle for us. Then they came to church on Sunday and met the members, Sister Zań (she is a boss) invited Angie's family over to her house of Friday so we can have a lesson over there. Things are falling into place really quick with this family for them to get baptized in the next couple of weeks. It's awesome, pray for them!

Also, Lars (the other one) is doing really well. He is going to prepare for baptism on the 13th of August, we have a lot of work to do before then, because he definitely does not have a testimony yet. We are trying to work with him on praying about the Book of Mormon, it's kinda hard though because he doesn't want to read it in Polish so he listens to it on audio book in English. He is a really cool kid, and I really hope that he keeps progressing and working towards gaining that testimony. Also he skyped Dad on Thursday, thank you dad for doing that, he really enjoyed it, he told us all about it and all the advice you gave him the next day.

One last miracle, we had a picnic thing on Saturday and the miracle is that it happened at all, It has been super cold and rainy lately (I am wearing a sweater right now because it's so cold). On Thursday especially it was dumping all day, and we were freezing. My shoes are still a little bit wet from that. But anyway, it was pouring rain Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, but we had perfect 80 degree weather on Saturday for the picnic, and rained yesterday and today as well. So basically God gave us a break for one day so we could have the thing. We also got a new investigator out of the picnic, we are meeting today so we will see how it goes.

Well that's about it, love you guys and I'll try to have some good stories next week.

Elder Everett