Monday, November 26, 2012

Weekly Email - November 26th

Note from Mom: Brian got a recorder so that he could record his weekly messages to us. He has very little computer time and this would allow him to send us longer messages as well as free up some time for letter writing to others. So this is his first weekly recording that I transcribed for the blog. Enjoy!

Hello people,

So, it’s weird to talk in to a microphone. I’m going to try record this best I can and I hope it works.

This last week was pretty cool. On Monday, I went on an exchange in Warsaw. We first went to do our emails, then we went shopping and then we went to IKEA. We didn’t have much time there because we got a call when we got there saying that I needed to get on a train at 6:15pm at Widzew station. So, we pretty much went right back to get me on the train. I went to Warsaw and spent a day with Elder C, my MTC roommate, which was pretty cool. I was with him all day Tuesday and we just contacted all day. We didn’t have much luck there. It was cool though! On Wednesday I took a train back from Warsaw to Lodz. I had the wrong kind of ticket. I had a PR ticket and I needed a PKP ticket. I had to buy a different ticket on the train and pay a little extra. It was OK though! I got back to Lodz and tried to get a refund on my ticket, but couldn’t do it because I was at Widzew Station and I needed to do the refund at Kaliska Station.

Then we taught our English class which was fun. I haven’t told you much about the English classes. We have people that show up regularly, their names are R..., K... and J.... They are a bunch of jokesters, they are like 20 something years old. J... just lost his job and is looking for a new one. K... is like 30 something almost 40, I think. We had a few other people that showed up and it was a fun class.

Then Thursday was Thanksgiving. Nothing really happened all day as far as Thanksgiving. We did have a lesson with B..., our baptismal date. I don’t know if I’ve told you anything about him. The sisters tracted into him one day and he let them in for a quick lesson and they extended a baptismal date right there and he accepted. So we inherited that baptismal date from the sisters. He has come to several lessons and he has been to YSA multiple times.

We had a YSA Feast for Thanksgiving. The new senior couple the Lloyds said they wanted everyone to come to YSA hungry cause they were going to cook a lot of food. So we showed up to YSA and we had our institute class that we usually have which is taught by Sister T, the wife of the man from England. Then after the class we had a Turkey dinner with stuffing and cranberries and all the stuff that we normally have so that was pretty neat. That was pretty much all of Thursday, we hung out and had a really nice evening. R... the new convert sang for us. He likes to sing so we had a little concert. So that was Thursday.

On Friday Elder J... didn’t feel good cause he had a cold. We didn’t leave our apartment until 1:30pm. We had planning until 1:00pm. Then we went and did a whiteboard with the other Elders where we go out and stand on the main shopping street, Pietrokowska. We go out and stand with a whiteboard with a question on it. We tried to get people to stop and talk to us. The question was: “Does Life Exist After This life?” This question makes more sense in Polish. We didn’t have much luck. On Saturday, which was yesterday, we went and contacted by the university here, Politekniki. There is a park out by that area, it’s really big and nice. Everyone there was really nice. We stopped an older couple and they were really interested in what we had to say. We gave them a Book of Mormon and they were excited to go and read it. But we couldn’t set up and appointment with them. Then we stopped another women who was super nice. But she was really catholic and so she told us that she didn’t really think we could convert her. We talked to her close to an hour about religion and everything and she was really nice. Then we stopped another lady who was sure we were Amish and that we were still polygamists. She was nice about it but it was interesting. There was a film here a while ago that mistranslated Amish as Mormon so a lot of people think we are Amish. Which is one of the many fun things about Poland. After that we went to have lunch at a place called Miami Hot Dog. We ordered their burgers there, which was probably a bad idea. There were some pretty sketchy burgers there, but everything turned out OK, I haven’t died yet.

After that we went to Manufactura and bought me a recorder so that I could record my messages to you. So Merry Christmas to me! It was cool opening a piece of technology. After we bought the recorder we went to visit a dude that Elder J... had met while Elder D... was here on exchanges on Tuesday. The guy had said that he wanted us to come by his house. He gave an address that doesn’t even exist. That was interesting but that happens quite a bit. Then we went home and did some calls and contacted for a while. Then the other Elders called and said they wanted to do another whiteboard even though we had just done one the day before. So we were like “why not” so went to P Street to do this whiteboard. There are some really cool people out on Saturday night. There was this guy from Toronto who didn’t speak any Polish. He was there with a polish girl who I assume was his girlfriend. He was amazed by our Polish! And he was really interested in our church. He had never heard of Mormons before. I don’t know how you can live in Canada your whole life and not hear of Mormons, but he did it. We gave him a BOM and hopefully we will hear back from them because they seemed really cool. We gave out another BOM. Then we went home and had Sloppy Joes.

Today, Sunday, we went to church. We had a new presidency because Elder T went home and he used to be the Branch President. So they had to get a new president and so it’s actually a member. I was really tired all day because there is no sunlight here, I’m taking vitamin D but my internal clock is all off. After church we had a correlation meeting with Rysek. Then we got back here and now I’m recording this. Tonight we have to place one more BOM to reach our goal of 8 for the week. I hope that we can give out this last BOM. I might record more tomorrow, because today is Sunday, just before I email. If not then I should say good bye! I love you, you are all awesome. Thanks for this cool Christmas Gift.


I just wanted to add, that tonight, Sunday November 25th, at roughly 20:20 I gave out the 8th BOM of the week. I took us to our goal. I put the team on our back! There was just some cool dude sitting in a wheel chair and he was being pushed by somebody. And I stopped them both and I said: “We’ve got this free book that we are giving out that have more words of Christ.” The dude that was pushing him, got his phone out and started talking to someone. The guy in the wheelchair was genuinely interested and took the book and I told him “more words of Christ”. So that’s the newsflash of the day. Over and Out!


I feel like I need to write some. I don't have much time left, I got a bunch of emails this week that I had to go through. You should have my recordings though, I hope it all works well. It is really convenient for me because I don't type well and I don't have much time to type. 

I love you all. I tried to answer Bryson as best I could. Things are going well here. I can't think of anything I am in desperate need of at the moment. Erik rocks and I bet he is rocking the sax too. Another thing is, it is possible if you record yourselves in mp3 format I think I can put it on the memory card of the recorder and play it later too. If Erik wants to rock out or something that would be cool. I am not sure if it will work, but I don't see why not. I will try to write more next week and record more. Stay classy and be excellent to each other.

Ok that is all, love you all have a great week!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Weekly E-mail - November 19th

Hello all,

It was nice to hear that the house is finally up on the market, and it is looking great. I hope that all goes well there.
I need to get right down to business. FIRST, I have a proposition, but I wanted to see if you even liked the idea. Elder Ż does this and I thought it sounded interesting. He has a voice recorder that uses just normal SD cards, and he records a weekly message for his family so that he doesn't have to try to jam everything into an email. Then he just plugs the card into an SD card reader at the library and emails the recording. Not sure if that is something you would even like. You wouldn't have a written transcript to read at your leisure, just something to think about.

Second, I can now tell you about my week. This week was pretty awesome, the sisters got us a baptismal date named B... who is pretty awesome. We met with him twice already, but then he skipped our third appointment and sacrament meeting. On the bright side, he called us last night and apologized and set up again for Tuesday. I made my first Polish phone call to B..., and all was well, both parties were understood and I felt really accomplished! 

We had exchanges with an AP and an Office Elder. The whole situation was kind of confusing but I will explain as fast as possible. Basically Elder B and J (his comp) were supposed to come to Łódź to go on splits with my comp and I. Then J got sick, so B took H, an office elder, instead. H was my companion for a day. It went really well. H was cool, he is from Whales and a really funny chap. Basically it went just like any other day... contacting, picking up B to accompany him to the chapel for the first time, contacting, etc... 

Later in the week Elder S got sick (everyone is getting sick, I haven't caught anything yet *knock on wood*). Elders S and Ż had a lesson, so we had to do emergency splits. I stayed with Elder S while Elder Ż and my comp took the lesson. They were out too late to make it back to get me back home with my comp before curfew, so I stayed the night at the other elder's place and Ż took my place. We switched back in the morning. My second Polish phone call was made to Elder Ż's investigator.

The sisters got transferred out of Łódź into Gdańsk. They are missed greatly, and we are still figuring out how we are going to divide up their area book and such.

I think you just emailed me so I will send this off and see..... Hold on.

Note from Mom: Brian and I went on chatting for a while, here are some snippets from our chat.

Just yesterday, we went out to contact a referral from the office who wanted a Book of Mormon. She was not home, but we decided to finish tracting the street that she lived on. In one of the buildings on her street, we tracted into a nice mother who did not take a Book of Mormon, but she was very nice and said she would love to research more. She was going to check out and see what it had for her. It was not some “huge miracle”, but it was a tender mercy. That night, not much else was really going for us. We were just tracting and being turned down, we had no lessons planned, etc. Also, while tracting, we got calls from 3 people who set up lessons with us. Another tender mercy.

Also, you can post somewhere public that anyone who wants to can email me or dear elder me, I just may take a long long time to respond... [] [Dear Elders can take weeks to get to him]

The new senior couple is cool. I think they are still getting used to Poland. They served in Hong Kong before. I think Poland is even harder than that mission though. They are making a YSA Thanksgiving dinner that we are invited to. The comp and I are doing great though.

I got the recipes you sent, can you send me some more. I don't really have much in mind, just cheap and quick. Maybe some stews/soups/other hot and good stuff. We can get meat, potatoes, carrots, all sorts of veggies really... maybe some Beat recipes, they have a lot of beats here. Split pea soup for days where we combine dinner and planning time and have a couple of hours to cook. I have a blender and we have every appliance except a microwave.

Well, I am going to let you catch some zzzz's. Love you all, keep fighting the good fight. I won't freeze, I am a man of any climate. Today is actually surprisingly warm, but I don't know the exact temperature.

Love you all!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekly Email - November 12th

Hellos from Poland

Hey all.

It is nice to write to you again. This week has been nice, but first I will address your letters.

For Christmas, I really don't know what I want/need.... I have access to anything I need, and as far as wants, I don't really have time to do much in that category... I do have a request though, just based on an experience from another Elder. You should send any packages to the mission home address (the original Warsaw address). One of the other Elders got transferred out before his package made it in and they don't deliver to apartments here, you have to pick it up at the post office, so his package just got sent back to the states. I think the mission home is the best way...

This past week, we have just been working hard. We have started tracting a lot because it gets dark starting around 4:00 now. We have not been let in yet, but one guy did listen to us for a minute at the door and took a Book of Mormon and said to come back Thursday when he has more time. We ran into another guy on the street who stopped us and said that he had just heard about the Mormons on the radio and he wanted to learn more. He said he had investigated many other religions and he has a firm belief that one of them has to be correct but he hasn't found it yet.
Sounds like the perfect investigator, well....since then we just keep playing phone tag... We are still trying though, he seemed really sincere.

R (the other elder's investigator) got baptized on Saturday. He is really cool, we helped set that up and then set up for church all day on Saturday.

Other than that, it is just a lot of tracting and contacting, we don't have all of the ward activities, referrals, or other finding tools like basketball that other missions have, so far most of our work here is just showing people that Mormons are normal.

I am in need of recipes, preferably some simple/quick ones with cheap ingredients. We are looking to also cook a Lucia and/or Thanksgiving dinner this transfer so maybe some stuff that fits in that category. Rice pourage, meatballs, stuff to make with rice and kielbasa, potatoes, etc. etc... We have our normal stores and on occasion we make it out to IKEA. That would be cool.

It might be nice to get some souvenirs here for Christmas, I might get some instructional books like origami, cooking, etc in Polish or something cool like that. That will give me something fun to do for language study. 

I should go though, I need to write the pres and send some pictures your way. I love you all and wish you the best. Keep up the good work. I know the church is true, this is an important job we are doing and it is for a great cause. Don't get discouraged... bye!
 Here are some pictures from our Segwaying P-Day. Which was a blast!

 Me and Elder J, before he went home.

Here are a couple of pictures of me with ''Agnieszka'' she is just a girl that does stock photos that are used on everything in Poland. She is on our juice and milk and flyers and language learning adds, etc... So it becomes fun to spot her and try to get a picture with here.

 Here we are after R's baptism.

 Zone Conference Group Pictures.

Lodz District.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Weekly Email - November 5th

Another week rockin' the boat

Hello all, I hope this electronic mail finds you well. I am happy to report back on the happenings of the week.

I finished reading Jesus, the Christ by Talmage, along with my Book of Mormon studies. That was a great read, Talmage really does an amazing job at expounding on the biblical and historical life of Christ, and the events surrounding the Atonement. I think you really begin to gain a deeper understanding of what he went through and how it applies to us as you read that book and he clarifies a lot of the more abstract ideas of the bible. So that was a very enjoyable read.

You will be happy to know that I got the list of family names from Grandma Masza, I copied them and gave a copy to R (our branch mission leader, and close personal friend). He is helping to look through some archives to find as much information as he can. He also gave a copy to a woman in the branch who does a lot of written church translations into Polish. We will see what comes of that research. I am going to Radegast today so hopefully I will find some names in the transport lists...

Brother & Sister T are leaving us for the states, and a new senior couple will be moving in. They were greatly appreciated, they gave us a Sunday dinner every week and took us out to eat on multiple occasions, they gave us rides and anything we needed pretty much. They will be missed here in the Łódź branch..

The other Elders in Łódź have a baptism this week for R, a blind 20 something year old man. He is really cool. He sings and plays the flute or bongos in a band comprised of handicap young people with anything from blindness to sever mental difficulties. They help raise support here in Łódź and R is the bomb. He took right to the gospel when Elders T and N were here and he has an unwavering testimony already. 

I am beginning to be able to converse more in Polish, I am understanding quite a bit, sometimes it is hard because you understand the words they are saying but you miss the meaning of what they said because they phrase things so differently. I am still weak in the talking department and all of the grammar that I know gets thrown out the window when I try to talk to people.

Here in Poland, we have a hard time using the title "brother" and "sister" and someone's last name because in Polish culture, once someone tells you their first name, you are in their "circle of trust" and you should call them by their first name. If you don't know their first name then you call them Pan (sir) or Pani (misses) and refer to them in 3rd person. And whenever you give a command to someone in Pan or Pani form, you always say niech and soften the command which means "let the sir/misses do ____." for instance, the command "stand up" is "stań" and if you are saying it to a pan or pani it is "niech pan/pani sta". Very confusing, but cool nonetheless.

We were tracting out an apartment the other day. We ran into a guy who immediately let us in without even asking who we were. His grandma just passed away days ago and he is living with his grandpa (not an uncommon thing here in Poland), and he wants to find some spiritual help. I figure there is no better place than the church of Jesus Christ. So we set up with him to go back tomorrow and teach him. 
Congrats to Alison on here little baby boy.

I have to go to write the Pres... I hope you are all doing well, I am glad to hear that work at grandma and grandpa's house is progressing, I hope that that moves along quickly and as painlessly as possible. I love you all, make sure Erik checks his email. I have to go, bye!!!

p.s. I may mail home a couple of SD cards, not sure yet, I have it all backed up on hard drives so it is very safe. I am hoping to get a package off this month by boat which may not be there till January for all I know. wish it luck...
 Elder Godwin on what looks like a cold fall day in Lodz.
Don't know what the building behind him is.

 Russian MIG Fighter Jet.

 Day of the Dead pictures from the graveyard.

Some Polish food from a luncheon at the branch.
Potato dumplings, polish battered chicken, and bigos.