Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekly Email - August 27 - First Letter from Poland

Hey all.

I am here in lodz (pronounced woodj with a funky l and a crest over the o and the z). My companion is pretty awesome, this is his last transfer before he returns home. Lodz is very interesting. It is one of the poorest part of Poland.

There is a small branch that gets anywhere from 15 to 45 members depending on the week. I bore my testimony to about 20 on Sunday, there are some really neat people there. Everyone said we speak great Polish and they think we will be fluent in 6 months (I am pretty sure they were just being nice). I don't understand a word anyone is saying to me, the men here are harder to understand, the women are usually easier to understand.

The tram system is great, it is easy to get around just about anywhere and you get unlimited access for 80 zl a month, like 25 usd. Our P-Day is Monday, today we went to Polanski's palace, he was a wealthy Jewish man that had a huge factory and a mansion right next to it. The factory is now a mall called Manufactora and the mansion is a museum.

I am trying to figure out how to at least get some pictures home, I am working on it. I also have to write President Nielson so I have about a half-hour to email you still.

The weather is nice so far here, it is a little humid for my taste, but that will change as it gets colder. I am having a good time and trying to learn this language. I was introduced to these things called fiszki that are pre-made flashcards, they are meant for Poles to learn English, but work just as well the other way. Elder J says they single handedly changed his mission, so I am glad that I got them right when I got here, he didn't until about a year in.

Oh yeah, people dress really different here. Our district is awesome, it is just 6 of us (me, Elders J, N, T, and Sisters S and F). We get together most days and do street contacting or some form of teaching. The response hasn't been great here. Most people like us to come over because they want someone to talk to in English, they aren't necessarily looking for religion. We have one old man in a park that calls us his "foreign friends" and he loves to speak to us in English and he is pretty funny. I to go but I will try to see if I can get a hand written letter out this week with more stuff, but it probably won't even get there until after my next email anyways.

Bye, I love you!

Leaving the MTC.

At the London airport. With some English money in his hands. I hope he saved that as a souvenir.

Here he is with all his luggage. He is the neon green guy!

 Boarding the plane in London. Odd that they have to get out on the tarmac. I don't remember that!

The view from his apartment I assume. Nothing like Phoenix!

At the Polanski Palace. A formal setting calls for a formal posing. Don't they look Royal!

 A little closer look. Elders Godwin, N, T and J with Sisters S and F.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Repost of President and Sister Nielson's Blog - Day 2

New Missionaries...Day 2! Missionary work begins!

Life in Poland...Day 2! All our new arrivals had a good nights rest and a big breakfast. They are looking fresh and ready to start the day!

First on the agenda...a brisk walk to the Mission Office to get started on legal work and other essential matters.

Seven minutes later, they arrive at the Mission Office. While our new Missionaries are getting all this done, the Mission Home is full of activity!

Our new trainers have arrived anxious to meet their new trainees. While the trainers meet with President Nielson....

...their trainees have made their way to the Warsaw Rynek to have lunch and start doing missionary work in Poland.

First stop...a pierogi restaurant. You can tell by the looks on their faces that they are a little lost!

But when the pierogi arrives, the smiles come out!

After lunch, our Warsaw I and II Missionaries arrive at the Rynek to help our New Missionaries contact people passing through. After introductions are made, they set out to work.

Elders Vernon and Harris follow Elder Raines' lead. These determined missionaries are going to find someone to teach!

Elders Baranowski and Cieslak along with Elder Szmanski engage a man in a conversation about what would it mean to him if he knew that God spoke to a prophet today.

Sister Forsey helps Sister Packard contact a woman while...

... Elder Godwin and Elder Fletcher find a father to talk to.

Elders Tingey and Pofelski (who knew each other in High School in Meridian, Idaho!) contacting a man who has questions.

Elders Wier, Bokinski and Garfield contacting on the Rynek.

Elder Jensen showing Elder Wilson how to contact while walking alongside people.

We appreciate the good Missionaries from the Warsaw Zone who helped our new Missionaries learn to approach and contact people. They are learning from the best! (LtoR): Elders Harris, Wilson, Fletcher, Pofelski, Godwin, Bokinski, Szmanski, Vernon, Tingey, Neuner, Cieslak, Baranowski, Garfield, Weir and Sisters Holmgren, Forsey, Packard and Peterson.

Soon it is time to head back to the Mission Home and MEET THEIR TRAINERS!

Sister Packard will be trained by Sister Sheahan. They will be serving in the Warsaw I Branch.

Elder Vernon will serve in Katowice where Elder Mikolyski will be his trainer.

Elder Godwin's trainer is Elder Johnson. They will serve in Lodz together.

Elder Hancock is serving in Lublin where he will be training Elder Wilson.

Elder Tanner will be training Elder Neuner in Lodz.

Elder Baranowski doesn't have to travel far. He will serve in the Warsaw II Branch and Elder Hooker will be his trainer.

Elder Myler will be taking his trainee, Elder Harris, to the seaside city of Gdansk.

Elder Tingey will be serving in Wroclaw with Elder Marsing.

Szczecin will be receiving a new trainee, Elder Garfield. Elder Van Bakel will be training him.

Elder Wier will be trained by our Elder from Iceland...Elder Gudnasen. They will be serving in Bydgoszcz.

And...Elder Cieslak will be serving in Wroclaw with Elder Bode.

There you have it! Eleven new missionaries with their eleven new trainers. What a great sight to behold! There is power in this group!
After taking a short break to give the trainers and trainees a chance to get to know each other.... was back to business with instruction from President Nielson.

Humm....I haven't seen the Assistants for awhile. I wonder what they might be up to?

Always being found doing the right thing, Elders Basha and Jensen had been 'slaving' over the grill in the backyard. Dinner is ready.....come and get it!

After dinner and a great testimony meeting, it was time for our 'Warsaw' missionaries to get on the road and to their apartments. Sisters Packard and Sheahan and Elders Hooker and Baranowski will be settled into their apartments by 9:00 pm to start planning for tomorrow.

What a great day!

It's late and tomorrow is another VERY busy day. All these missionaries need to be on trains bright and early in the morning to get to their assigned cities. After that....there are only a few hours to change beds and fix meals for the departing missionaries who arrivetomorrow afternoon! Good thing I have Sister McGrath to help me. She arrived from Katowice this morning, and I immediately put her to work! THANK YOU Sister McGrath for your tireless help!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Repost from President and Sister Nielson's Blog

We have new Missionaries!

Tuesday, August 21st, is a big marks the beginning of a transfer that will affect most of the mission. Today we pick up 11 new missionaries...20% of our mission! President and the Assistants (3!) are ready to get this transfer started. (LtoR): Elders Jensen (2nd Assistant), Myler (who will be transferred back out into the field this transfer) and Basha (1st Assistant).
Of course, we arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare. It has become a tradition that when we go to the airport to pick up new missionaries, we always 'break out' a kinder-egg (the toys help pass the time! This time it was a 'Kinder-JOY' egg...something very special! (Yes, Elder Basha has a KitKat in his mouth...he is allergic to nuts, so 'Kinder-Joys' are not on his menu!)

Elder Myler is thrilled with his treat. Elder Jensen...well, he's not sure what to think!

This was actually my first 'Kinder JOY' was good!
Our trips to the airport are always full of surprises, and today was no different.

See the lone black bag in the middle of the floor with no one around it? That was causing all the commotion. Security had blocked off the exits from baggage claim and had roped off the area. Guards were all over the place. Soon a police dog came in and sniffed the bag. Next a bomb squad guy came in and went through everything in the suitcase. Nothing unusual was found. It looks as if someone just forgot their suitcase. Security was extra high today, so I am apologizing in advance for the following pictures. They had to be taken very quickly so as not to annoy the guards.

Well, let's meet our new missionaries of the Poland Warsaw Mission:

First out the door was Elder Baranowski. He made it just fine....his bag was another story. We will see what we can do about getting him another one tomorrow.

He was followed by Elder Harris and Elder Garfield.

Elder Godwin was out the door next with...

Elder Tingey following close behind.

These Missionaries did not even look tired. By the smiles on Elder Weir's face ....

and on Elder Wilson's face, you can tell they are ready to start preaching the gospel!

Elder Vernon is ready to work as is...

...Elder Cieslak. Our one and only Sister is making her appearance through the sliding doors.

Sister Packard has been keeping up with these Elders for 9 weeks. In the MTC, she was companions with Sisters going to Bulgaria. Elder Neuner is the last of our new Missionaries to come out of the airport.

Here they are! Don't they look great? We are so excited to have these 11 new Missionaries in our Mission.'s back to the Mission Home for short interviews with the President, some dinner AND some sleep! (Lto R): Elders Weir, Harris, Godwin, Wilson, Tingey, Sister Packard, Elders Garfield, Baranowski, Neuner, Cieslak and Vernon.

Sitting down to their first meal in the Mission Home....and probably their first served on Polish Pottery! Where are the Assistants? You mean they have to do all that work, and they don't even get fed? Don't worry! We take very good care of these hard working Elders. They had all the food they could eat.....we were just short a few chairs!

It's very late and all our missionaries are sound asleep. Tomorrow is a big day for them...their first complete day in Poland! It will be full of legal work, questions answered, contacting and some Polish Pierogi....PLUS they will meet their Trainers! Stay tuned!