Sunday, September 30, 2012

Repost from Sister Nielson's Blog

Lodz...Interviews and District Meeting

We got up early and headed to Lodz for District Meeting with the great missionaries there.  We arrived 30 seconds before Elders Johnson (District Leader) and Godwin arrived to open the Chapel.  It was a beautiful morning and a wonderful day for learning better ways of doing missionary work.
Elder Neuner and Elder Tanner were close behind....
...followed by Sister Smithee and Sister Forsey.  These missionaries are doing a great work in Lodz as they continue to find, teach and baptize.
And....we can't forget the Assistants!  Coming straight from their exchange with the Poznan Elders, Elders Jensen and Basha are ready to help the Lodz District find new investigators by teaching them through role play how to better contact with Short Bold Statements, Inspired Questions and giving Promises.
The Lodz District: Elders Tanner, Neuner, Godwin and Johnson. Elder and Sister Tarasevich. Sisters Forsey and Smithee.  We are grateful for these wonderful full-time servants of the Lord. 
A couple of these Elders that will be going home in 4 weeks.  You can usually tell by their clothes how long missionaries have been in the field.
I'd say some new shoes and a new suit are in order for these two soon-to-be returning Elders! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekly Email - September 24th

Hi All,

I have had a pretty good week. Go-Karting was amazing, we paid for 10 minutes and the guy let us go for 16.5 because we were so funny to watch and we were the only ones there that day. I was by far the most aggressive driver, I knocked everyone else into a wall at least once. This week is laser tag.

As for the mission front. We do have one progressing investigator, S. A (our recent baptism) is becoming an amazing missionary that we have used on lessons. A missionary who was serving in England from Łódź has returned, R. He was put in as our new branch mission leader.
Today we witnessed a woman pass out on the tram from an alcohol overdose. First we heard a lady yell "JEZUS..... JEZUS", then a man tried to get on screaming "jestem lekarzem" (I'm a doctor) while others were trying to push him off yelling that they should give her some space. Finally the paramedics arrived and took her off the tram. It was interesting.

Everything else is going well, my breathing is fine so far. Daily schedule is awake at 6:30, study from 8 to 11, and then usually contacting till lunch. After lunch we language study for an hour and then contact again. After contacting for a while we have dinner and then usually have time to contact again, and then back home to be in by 9:00 and in bed by 10:30.

No tomato sauce or soup selections. They have Polish soups like żurek.

Did not bring the chia or flax seed, but we have found flax seed here, we used it in a couple of smoothies once.

The language is still tough, I am getting to the point where I can understand and answer simple yes or no questions, but Elder J said his first real Polish breakthrough was 4 months in and he is now one of the top 3 or 4 best speakers on the mission.

I forgot to tell you, this past week was the weekend in Łódź. We had YSAs from Warsaw, Katowice, Bydgosz, and other cities come over and have a Friday-Saturday YSA conference. It was neat to see all of the young Polish members reuniting with old friends and having a good time. A lot of them had great English which is rare for Poland, and they learned all of it from talking with the missionaries over the years. On Wednesday Elder J and I had rented some professional weed-whackers and tried to clean up the land that the church owns that they want to build a chapel on someday. The goal was to make it useable for football and outdoor games for the YSAs, but by Saturday it was too cold and rainy to do outdoor things.

The chapel will be built if we get an average of 50 people in sacrament meeting a week for a full quarter, yesterday we had 53, just a few more months of that and Łódź will get a chapel built and we can stop renting out below a yoga studio! Please pray for this to happen.

Ok, well I want to try to get some pictures sent home, so I will have to leave it here. I love you all. I hope everything is going well at home. 
I know this gospel is true and that we are here in Poland representing Jesus Christ. The work here in Poland is slowly progressing, I know that the peoples hearts can be softened and that great things will happen here. The members here are so strong, this is not an easy place to be Mormon in. They are all pioneers, and that makes me so proud of them.

 Elder Godwin filling the baptismal font for A's baptism.

Elder Godwin cleaning up the land of the future Lodz chapel.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Repost from Sister Nielson's Blog

English Classes in Lodz...

During our last Zone Conference, we talked about making one of our best finding tools (English class) even better. We decided to 'pop' in on our Lodz missionaries to see if they were listening.

We were pleased with what we found. Teaching from our updated English Course Manual, Elders Godwin and J were prepared.

Our advanced English class (which used the Liahona as their textbook), provides a way for us to virtually discuss gospel topics during the entire class....increasing our students vocabulary AND understanding of the Church. Above: Sisters F and T (Sister S was returning from Katowice where she had been on a Sister's Exchange.)

I sat in on the Intermediate class where Elders T and N were teaching. They did a great job talking about an important scripture in the Book of Mormon...passing out copies so everyone could read along and discuss. They also were listening during Zone Conference as they implemented the teaching tips that were given there.

It is not surprising that we are teaching more and more people from our English classes. As we have a well-planned lesson, implement the scriptures and pray at the beginning and end of each class, the Spirit is felt in our classes....and our students want to know more!

Weekly Email - September 17th

Hey everyone, it is neat to hear of so many amazing things happening at home.

OK, so this week was pretty good. You already know about the baptism, but A was confirmed and next week will become a priest. We are doing some street contacting right now. We met one man who was interested in the Book of Mormon he doesn't really believe in anything. We gave him a Book of Mormon and our contact information and we will just have to see how it goes.

On the bright side we found a 2.99 zł store that was selling fully dubbed copies of Harry Potter movies 1-6 (legitimately marked with Gazetta distribution company) for 2.99 zł. They look completely legit. The Euro Cup is over so now they are selling off all the leftover apparel. They have scarfs and Poland soccer jerseys if anyone wants them.

Last P-day we spent shopping for stuff for Elder T and Elder J so they could get souvenirs from Poland. Today we are going go-karting. I am very excited because I have never done that before. We are also doing IKEA. Fun stuff. I need to start taking pictures.

Our house looks like a new place, very nice appliances. We have a dishwasher, stove, oven, and toaster... and blender. And we have a washing machine but no dryer. I guess some recipes would be good, they do not do a whole lot of canned foods though. They also have weird gaps in what is available and how much things cost. Like no tomato paste, soup, or anything like that. They do have peanut butter but it is expensive as is nutella. Just weird things like that. 

I LOVE pirogi, I don't know how I made it 19 years without pan fried pirogi filled with potatoes and onion. Luckily that is relatively cheap. They also have a really good cabbage dish that I forgot the name of. And kielbasa isn't bad either. Nalszniki (spelling is probably wrong) are Polish versions of swedish pancakes although they are pretty different, they fill them with all sorts of meats and mushrooms and whatever else. And they love mushrooms here. Every Pole knows about mushrooms, they go mushroom hunting for fun. We were doing a cleanup activity and I found a mushroom and asked S if it was edible, he instantly was like "no". I don't know what it is, but they love mushrooms.... and pigeons.

Tell Bryson the following advice:
Only bring 1 American suit, you will want a Polish suit and they are only around $100. and DO NOT buy an H&M suit in Poland go to a real suit store.

Do not spend too much on winter gear, you will also want Polish winter stuff, just get enough to survive until you can get shopping.

Get whatever shoes you need unless you really like Euro shoes, because those are pretty expensive here.

Don't spend too much on a backpack, just get a nice functional Jansport, you will end up switching to a side bag for 90% of your days here, but still need a backpack.

When you get to Poland (this is a must) buy Fiszki... Your trainer may or may not have heard of them. They are language learning flashcards, they come in a blue box at a store called Empik for 60 zł, they are a lifesaver. You will not regret it. Start with level A1 and then buy the support packs later. You should probably print this segment out and have him put it in a safe place in case his trainer doesn't know of Fiszki.
We had a lot of rain this past week, like a huge storm. Apparently that is unusual here, they are used to a little sustained sprinkle but got a downpour. It was crazy, but it is all back to normal now.

OK I have to go, I love everyone, miss you all. Hope everything is going well.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Repost from Sister Nielson's Blog

Baptisms last weekend...

This past weekend the church in Poland was blessed with 4 baptisms. First, A was baptized by J in Lodz. He was taught by Elders Godwin and Johnson. Since finding a pool for baptisms is virtually impossible in Lodz, we now own our own portable baptismal font (a pool!) that the Elders set up in the Relief Society room. It works great, and the entire baptismal service can be done at the Lodz chapel.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Weekly Email - September 10th

Hello all.

It was nice to get the letter from home and the translation of great grandma's tapes. I guess I will start hacking at your questions as fast as I can.

I did not have to fill out a customs card on the plane. I went through the same passport area as everyone else, but in a different "EU" window. Everyone else got a stamp, I didn't :(

They sell gluten free foods at grocery stores here, it is imported so probably costly. They do not have any gluten free menus though. We cook most of our meals (or eat out). We don't really have time to do much "cooking" we just whip up some eggs or sandwiches or cereal, whatever is cheap and easy. Peanut butter is available here for about 8 or 9 zł which is actually very expensive since we only get around 680 zł for the whole month and have to buy all of our food. Nutella is even more (about 15 zł) which is surprising since it is made right next door in Germany I think.

Elder J is a great trainer. President did interview us, but he had already pretty much decided who was where (although I didn't know). I did not tell him that I had family from Łódź so that was a good inspired decision. We see the other Elders and Sisters just about every day.

Our apartment is a decent size, I honestly couldn't tell you square footage. We have one main room that is just our living area and kitchen. We have a small side closet for all of our luggage and proselyting materials. A small bathroom with an European shower with a handheld shower head and no curtain or surrounding doors or anything. The bedroom is large enough to fit 2 beds and 2 sets of dresser drawers. We are on the 4th floor.

Warm water is just like the states, you turn it to warm and it gets warm pretty fast, but it never runs out. In the winter our apartment is heated by hot water pipes, but they won't turn that on until about October 1st. We cover a decent sized area, pretty much all of the south of Łódź. The sisters have the west side, and other Elders are North. 

The train was pretty slow, it took about 1.5 - 2 hours to get here, we also road to Warsaw and back last week for zone conference. Don't know anything about the fast train.

A was just baptized and confirmed this past week end. He only speaks Polish so we are only able to communicate a little. He is about 30, lived with his mom but she passed away about a week before his baptism. He got baptized and right after baptism he turned his phone back on and found out his grandmother just passed away too. He came to church the next day though to be confirmed so I think he is doing OK. He was contacted on the street by some sisters a while back and then he has been taught by Elder J for about 2 transfers. He was baptized by a member of the branch.

We went to the łódź zoo last P-day. 10zł, that is like $3 to get into the zoo, I was so happy about that. The zoo was awesome, well maintained.

I am running out of time and want to get some pictures sent, so I will leave it here. 
Love you all, bye!
 Feeling at home at the Palace. He better not get used to that!

 Goofing around at Ikea. 

 Enjoying some ice cream with the other missionaries at Ikea.

 At the Zoo!

 Playing with a butterfly at the Butterfly Pavilion at the Zoo.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Repost from President Nielson's blog.

Zone Conferences Warsaw!

Today, Thursday September 6, we held Zone Conference in Warsaw to meet with the great missionaries who serve there. It was another great conference, as each conference is different because of their needs and situations. It is also fun to meet in the Wolska Chapel. When we meet here the people visiting the Family History Center (now operated by the Members who do an outstanding job) look in and are impressed by our missionaries and the great examples they are. We just have great looking, hard working and impressive missionaries! Warsaw II District: (Sitting): Elder and Sister Peck (Office Couple), Sisters Holmgren and Masters. (Standing Middle Row): Elders Dopp and Hayes (Office Elders), Elders Hancock and Wilson (serving in Lublin), Elders Fletcher (District Leader) and Manwill, (Top): Elders Jensen and Basha (Assistants). Lodz District: (Sitting): Sisters Forsey and Smithee, Sister and Elder Tarasevich. (Standing): Elders Neuner, Tanner, Johnson and Godwin. Warsaw I District: (Sitting): Elder and Sister Jensen, Sisters Sheahan and Packard. (Standing): Elders Bokinsky and Pofelski (Zone Leader); Elders Hooker (District Leader) and Baranowski; Elders Rogers and Roberts (both serving in Bialystok). After a morning full of instruction, we break for lunch....and catch up on other business... Yes! We celebrate birthdays occurring since our Zone Conference in May.With a rousing round of "Sto Lat" (the traditional Polish birthday song), we hand out homemade chocolate chip/M&M cookies. Those that celebrated a birthday were: Sisters Smithee, Forsey, Sheahan and Peck; Elder and Sister Tarasevich; Sister Masters and Elders Dopp, Manwill, Johnson and Rogers. The Warsaw Zone ended up being 'home' to 5 of our 11 new Missionaries who have been in the field 16 days. They are working hard, blending in well and their Polish is great! This is also their first Zone Conference along with Elder Bokinsky who has been in Poland one transfer longer than our new Trainees. (LtoR): Elders Bokinsky, Wilson, Baranowski, Godwin, Neuner and Sister Packard. So...families at home....they are doing well! Their companions and trainers are taking very good care of them! This is a great group of future leaders in the mission. It's always fun to get a 'Sisters' picture. Especially since almost 1/2 of our Sisters serve in this Zone...6 of the 13! Sisters Tarasevich, Peck, Smithee, Packard, Sheahan, Holmgren, Forsey, Masters and Jensen. Also, 1/2 of our Senior Couples serve in the Warsaw Zone...The Taraseviches (who will be leaving soon after serving 2 years with us), The Pecks and The Jensens. What would we do without our Senior Couples?? They add SO much to the mission. Want to make a difference in the world?Serve a mission! We love our Senior Missionaries. They are priceless!
Now it's up early in the morning to head to Bydgoszcz for our final Zone Conference this quarter.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Weekly Email - September 3rd

Hi All,

This week went pretty well here. Łódź has its own character that I have never seen anywhere else. Last P-day (after emails) we went to IKEA which was weird because everything was in Polish in there. Other than that, it was just like in the states. You can get a large meatball meal (20 meatballs) for 13 zł (roughly 4 usd) that was pretty awesome. The food here is generally pretty cheap, a full loaf of white bread is about 2.50 zł, so less than a buck. A fresh baked loaf from a piekarnia (bakery) is about the same price! The Polish food is pretty good but very heavy. Pierrogi are delicious. There is still a bunch of stuff that I have to try like all of their stews and soups. They have a Turkish dish here called kebabs which are like huge meat filled sandwich things, they are pretty good too. There is NO free water in Poland, you have to buy a water bottle or filter your own tap water if you want a drink. All missionary apartments have mission issued 3 stage filters that are supposed to be very safe, and Łódź has some of the cleanest water in Poland.

We have a baptismal date for next Saturday, one of the members will perform the baptism, the man being baptized is named Adam. He is pretty cool, I think he will do really good. The branch has about 85 member. There are some real cool people here. Some speak some decent English, others are Polish only. There is an old man with terrible English that writes down jokes and poems in English and shares them with the missionaries.

My Polish is coming along slowly but surely. I can carry on very simple conversations if the Pole knows that they need to speak slowly. Somehow, the Poles can tell just by looking at you whether or not you speak Polish. They will talk to Elder J in Polish, and the second sentence that comes out of their mouth is "your friend doesn't speak any Polish does he?". There are some pretty chill people here.

Today we are going to the zoo for 10 zł, that is awesome. I am pretty excited for that. I am also going to buy a more formal overcoat at some point. Everyone here tells me that we will need something more formal and warm. They say we can find them for around 250 zł.

Love you all, Bye!