Prepare to Serve

Monday, December 29, 2014

Boże Narodzenie

This week was Christmas! Which you are probably all really aware of, but seriously, I forgot, multiple times... I kept thinking it was still November, and it kind of shocked me when I woke up and realised that it was Christmas morning. And now Christmas has ended and new years is coming, and it finally feels like December because it is freezing...

Anyway, as for the goings on of the week. we went to Warsaw for Christmas Zone Conference on Wednesday. It was a lot of fun. We got so see a lot of the missionaries we don't get to see so often. We had a white Elephant gift exchange and me and Elder Weggersen were dead last so we got to see everyone else's presents and pick which ones we were going to steal. Poor Elder Taylor got his gifts stolen about 5 Times, and finally made the mistake of getting Legos, which i really wanted... so I stole his gift again, it was quite entertaining. After the zone conference we went with a bunch of the Warsaw Elders and Sisters to see lights in the same park where we had gone to the Chopin concert my first week in the country. Then Sister Smith, Sister Simkins, Sister Kuchar and I went over to Sister Moncur and Sister Pauga's apartment and has a big Christmas sleepover.

The next day we got to sleep in till 8 and then went to the chapel to meet up with all the other missionaries for Warsaw 1 and 2 for games and pancakes and skyping. It was a really fun and relaxing day, we basically just chilled at the chapel and talked all day. And of course, as you know, I got to skype which was awesome! It was so cool to be able to see you guys and to be able to chat for a little while it was definitely the highlight of my day :)

That night it snowed too, a Christmas miracle! It was so pretty and white, but we've been suffering for it ever since because it is bitter cold... Winter has definitely come now... thank goodness I wasn't called to serve in the Winterfell Westeros mission and that winter only lasts a few months here, not like seven years.

After that we had to stay in Warsaw because Sister Smith had an MLC meeting to go to. So I stayed with Sister Moncur and Sister Pauga. They were preparing a song for a funeral on Saturday, so I sang with them, and joined them at the funeral. We sang "Abide with Me, Tis Eventide" and it sounded really pretty. I felt super awkward at the funeral though because I didn't know anyone there... It was cool though cause Sister Johnston was also on exchange and didn't have any clue who any of the people at the funeral were either, so it was fine, we were awkwardly there and confused together! :)

A funny thing happened on friday night, I taught Sister Pauga how to solve a rubix cube. We were working at it for a while, until she could get it several Times over. We lost track of time though and didn't notice how late it was until Sister Moncur sat up abruptly in bed and turned to look at us sleepily. We both froze and looked back at her, she stared at us for like 30 seconds, and I waved awkwardly at her. Then suddenly she looked confused and said sleepily "I'm going to go to bed" and fell back down onto her bed. Sister Pauga and I looked at each other in confusion and both tried to stifle our laughter as we turned out the lights and used a flashlight to finish solving the cube a few more Times. The next day Sister Moncur told us she hadn't been full awake at the time, she woke up and found herself sitting up and just staring at us. So when she awkwardly told us she was going to bed, that was her way of playing it cool. It was really entertaining.

On Saturday we came back to Kato Sister Smith and I and Elders Burdick and Weggersen. During the train ride we talked to a really cool older man and lady and were able to give them some brochures and teach them a little about our church, it was really cool. They both live kind of far for Kato though so I'm not sure they will be able to come to church... szkoda.

That was basically it for the week. I didn't really expect to enjoy my Christmas in Warsaw, i was really looking forward to Christmas in Kato, but I had a great time with the Warsaw missionaries, and getting to skype you guys! And I had a great time staying with Sisters Moncur and Pauga, they are tons of fun!

Kocham was

One last random story. I hugged a purple Milka Cow! There were a bunch of people running around the Katowice Dworzec dressed in purple Milka Cow costumes and handing out free Milka chocolates. One of them ran up to me with her arms open for a hug, so obviously I hugged her back (It was definitely a woman, I could see her face through the mouth in the mask) and she gave me two bars of chocolate! it was really funny.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Transfer Week

Transfer week! It was surprisingly chill,I was in Wrocław for Monday, then came back to Kato on Tuesday met the elders there and waited for my new comp, Sister Smith, to come it. There was an admittedly hilarious moment, that could have been really bad when we thought we had lost sister Smith. We were told she would arrive on the same train as Elder Burdick, but when he got here, there was no sister Smith to be found anywhere. We were looking all over, but she just wasn't on the train. I couldn't help but start laughing, because I had no idea what else to do. It was all fine though, because about 5 minutes later we found her. She had taken a different train that arrived at almost the same time as Elder Burdick's train.

Sister Smith is cool, she's from Pennsylvania, and she loves Lord of the Rings, and Zelda, so yeah, it's pretty awesome.

Wednesday night Elder Burdick and Elder Weggersen, got lost in Sosnowiec, (Neither of them have ever served in Katowice before.) reminding be a lot of last transfer with sister King. They called us while we were still at the chapel asking for directions. So I had a fun time leading them around Sosnowiec from Google Maps and feeling like Oracle leading Batman around :)

On Thursday Sister Smith and I did some contacting/touring of Kato, so Sister Smith could get a good look at the city. While walking around we decided to stop at one of the little kiosk shops they have set up behind the chapel building (they do this every year during winter and summer, in just about every city in Poland, it seems) While we were there we met the strangest man I think I have ever met. He was British, and told us he was adopted and was raised into his mother's religion, African Zulu, which apparently means he doesn't cut his nails or hair, or read or write, and he doesn't handle money (which was totally bizarre because he was behind the counter at one of the kiosks, selling his paintings.) Anyway, it was just a really funny encounter, and what made it better was that then next day Elder Swicegood came to us and said "I just met the weirdest guy!" And we were both like "The white African Zulu guy?!" It was really funny.

We had our Wigilia (Christmas Eve) party on Saturday. Sister Smith, Krystyna (one of the members here), and I decorated the tree. I'm not sure if we were supposed to, we just met with Krystyna, and then afterwards we all just sort of started decorating the tree, it was pretty funny. No one complained about it though :) Anyway, The party was a lot of fun, we had some weird Polish dishes, lots of stuff with fish, and barszcz, beet soup, that is really good, but looks terrifying because it is dark reddish purple.

Before the party Kaja and I decided to play a little prank on Sister Smith. We'd actually been planing to do this to whoever my next companion would be if I stayed in Kato. We pretended that Kaja was a brand new investigator, just off the street, and that she didn't speak any English at all. Kaja and I tried so hard not to break character and speak in English. We pulled it off just fine though and it was really funny at the end when I said "Thanks Kaja" and she responded with "No Problem" and Sister Smith looked confused. Lol, she thought it was really funny and we had a good laugh about it :)

That's basically it for the week. I'm really excited to be able to skype on Christmas, woot! It sounds like I will either be in Warsaw or Kraków for Christmas, not a hundred percent sure yet on that though, but it should be fun :)

Kocham was, keelah selai, i tak dalej

Monday, December 15, 2014

Do Widzenia Siostra King!

Yup, we got transfer calls this week. I am staying in Katowice, the lone survivor, everyone else is either finishing their mission or going somewhere else. I will be with Sister Smith who is from the group below me. I am going to be the senior companion, but she is Sister Training Leader, so this should be interesting.

This week was pretty crazy, it was Sister King's last week so we were crazy busy with lessons and visiting people so sister King could say goodbye. It was one of those weeks where it was so busy that I can't really remember too much of what happened, but I'll do my best.

First of all, one of he funny things that happened this week was that we got tracted into by Jehovah's Witnesses. Lol, they rang our domophone and sister king went out to check at the glass door that separates the apartments from the elevator area, and when they saw her coming and saw her badge their eyes got all wide like "Oops, we tracted into the Mormons" lol, it was fun though, they were actually pretty nice and we had a good short conversation with them. Sister king was hilarious though, they asked he "how can we come to know god?" or something to that effect and she said "through reading the bible, an the book of Mormon" and they wee all "...well, I don't know about the book of Mormon" it was funny.

We also finally had a day of perfect planning, where nothing fell through and we got everywhere on time, that was awesome. Though because of how things worked out we also spent most of our dinner hour in the post office. It was worth it though because the lady there was super nice and helpful. I also gave her a Wawel mint patty just before we left and could tell it really brightened up her day, it was cool.

On Friday we went to the zoo for culture day! we hadn't taken it yet and almost ran out of time and things to do, but then we remembered there is a zoo really close to the chapel so we went there. It was super fun, and for like the first 2 hours we were the only people there. We saw all kinds of awesome animals, including some adorable monkeys that came right up to the glass and were super interested in us, they kept pushing their food up against the glass like they were tying to share it with us, it was so cute! There were tons of peacocks running loose around the zoo too, and they had a place where you could walk right through where they had some exotic birds and sister King got to briefly pet one.

After that we went to Sylwia's house (a Recent convert) to teach her how to make cookies. There was a funny moment after the batter was all ready when we realisd that the oven wasn't heatng up at all, but it was on. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with it. The same thing had happened to the oven at the chapel and I had fixed it by randomly pressing buttons on the front. So I suggested doing that but they were like, silly sister, that's the timer, it's totally different. Kamil (sylwia's friend) was all ready to take the oven apart when he accidentally pressed one of the buttons on the front and the oven started heating up. I was totally right and while gloating, with my fist in the air Barbara (another recent convert) raised her hand and gave me a high five. It was just hilariously perfect timing, and I was right :)

On Saturday we taught Prezydent Urban how to make french toast. Since his mom died we have found out that he doesn't know how to cook, so we are teaching him, it was super fun. It was going to just be the sisters but then the Elders came to so they could spend some time with prezydent Urban before transfers. It was really fun though and we got to eat the French toast.

After that we had choir practice with Kaja. We sang"Amazing Grace" in sacrament meeting, yesterday. We forgot to practice it before Saturday though, so we had come up with what we were doing and practice it. Dorota couldn't come because of work, and Sylwia was sick, so it was just me, sister King, and Kaja. It turned out rally nice though. We only did three verses, first all melody, second King sang melody and Kaja and I sang alto, third Kaja split off to soprano, I stayed in Alto and King stayed with the melody. And it was a capella. it was really pretty, reminded me a lot of "O brother where art thou?"

Then we had sister King's last dzieci English lesson. It was really fun, they kept drawing up messages on the whiteboard saying things like "Merry Christmas Sister King and Sister Lilly" and "Goodbye Sister King" and then random English words they had learned. When they left, Weronika gave sister King a big hug and wouldn't let go for a long time, she was hanging on her saying "I'm just going to stay here" and stuff to that effect, but it cute little kid Polish, it was cute.

Then that night we had to pack for Sister King... we had been so busy she never got a Chance to pack before that night, and we didn't end up being able to start packing until 10:30... it was a long night. But she got all the stuff packed.

The next day she, Gibby, Richens, and Remy all said their goodbye's and I said, "see you later this week" to the members and then we went our separate ways. Gibby and King to Warsaw, and me to Wrocław for the next day and a half until transfers. So yeah, I'm in Wrocław again! Yay, for today, it's really cool and I'm very happy about it, I'm sad that it's only for today though.

I'm really going to miss Siste King too, she was a great companion and we had tons of fun together.

That's basically it for the week, this coming week should be interesting, the start of a new transfer, and the start of the holidays combined into one, I'm not sure what o expect...

Kocham was!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter is Coming!

This week was kind of a lot, I hope I remember everything.

First of all, we had another exchange, this time I went to Kraków with sister Petersen and Sister Bąk went to Katowice with Sister King. Just after I arrived in Kraków, literally just after we walked into the sisters' apartment, sister King called me, to ask if I still had the keys to our apartment in Kato... unfortunately I did, so sister King and Sister Bąk had to spend the next two nights in the recently vacated zone leader apartment. We all still had a great exchange though. Sister Petersen and I got some good contacts, I finally gave out the Book of Mormon I've been carrying in my bag, and trying to give to someone, for like 2 months! And we set up a meeting for Petersen and Bąk with this awesome girl we tracted into. We chose to knock on her door because we were about to leave the building, when I noticed her keys hanging in her door and I was like "aww, man, I hate it when I do that!" So I told sister Petersen that we needed to let her know that she left her keys in her door. And when we talked to her she was totally interested in hearing about the gospel too, it was awesome!

Sister King and I went with Kaja to watch her handball training on Thursday night. It was really cool, but the warm up made me miss going to kung fu :( Handball is a sport I've been hearing about since the MTC. I didn't really know much about it before, and I can't say I know a whole lot about it know, but I can recognise it when i see it. It's kind of like a cross between basketball, and soccer and it looks like a lot of fun.

Sister King and I also went to mass with our dzieci english kids. There was a special event, on the 5th where the mass is kind of centered more for the kids (that's the only way I can think to describe it). They had Saint Mikołaj (Santa clause) come, and the kids had cute little lanterns that they carried around the cathedral. It was really cute, especially because we were with our dzieci and their mom. It was a really cool experience.

Unfortunately we had a very sad thing happen this week. Helena, one of our best and strongest members here in Katowice, passed away on Thursday. She had been sick for a while and had gone to the doctors for surgery and I guess something must have gone wrong from that. We had her funeral on Saturday. It was very sad, but she was a strong member, she knew and loved the gospel, and she was able to go to the temple before she died so I just know now she's chilling in heaven, getting all of her deep doctrine questions answered.

Sister king and I had a bit of an adventure trying to get to the funeral, it was like an episode of Spongebob combined with and episode of Seinfeld, because everything that could have gone wrong, went wrong on the way there, and we got really lost. (disclaimer, I never got lost before Sister King was my companion! lol) First of all, we had a YSA activity to go to in Kraków after the funeral, and we were in charge of bringing desert, so we had a pan of brownies in a big bright orange biedronka bag (plastic grocery bag from a store called biedronka, it's got a big goofy-looking ladybug on it) and were planning to drop it off at the chapel before the funeral. But on the way there we realised we wouldn't be able to drop it off and catch our bus on time, so we took it with us, only to find out that the bus was late, and we would have had time to drop it off. Then, when we got on our bus we missed the stop to get off, by two stops, and had to find our way to a tram stop. At one point the map indicated that we needed to be one street over from where we were, but there was a hill and train tracks in the way. So i said to King "Do you think we should just cross the train tracks?" She replied with "hmmm, I don't know" Then, just as she finished saying that, literally out of nowhere, a train goes zipping by at light speed with perfect cartoon comedic timing. We eventually found our way to the funeral, but now we were there, late, with a big bright orange bag, sticking out like sore thumbs. Also, we realised we didn't have flowers or anything to put on Helena's grave. I remarked to sister King that the only way this day could be more like an episode of Seinfeld is if we pulled flowers out of the garbage or off of another grave, to put on Helena's. Don't worry, we didn't, we have some tact. It was just a kind of funny thing amidst a day of sadness.

After that was the YSA activity, as I mentioned before. It was a lot of fun, Daniel came with us, and Kaja met us there. The Elders couldn't come, but Elder Gibby did get to come late with Elder Boyce who was back in Katowice for the funeral. We had a white elephant gift exchange. I really wanted Daniel's gift, it was an American flag mug, with a little Santa, and chocolates. But Elder Garcia stole it from me, like twice! and I ended up with roll-on deodorant :( It smells good though. After the party we swung by Wawel castle which wasn't open, but we got to see it from the outside. Then we passed through the rynek on the way to the dworzec so Elder Gibby and Sister King could get some last-minute souvenirs. We then realised, a little late, that our bus back to Kato was leaving soon, and so we had to run, all the way back. OK, well, I had to run, everyone else appeared to just be walking fast. Kaja was like a freaking elf, just booking it at the head of the pack like the main character in a bioware game. Gibby was basically just walking, and also managing to keep up, and Daniel and sister king were both keeping stride just fine. And there I was, huffing and puffing, and literally sprinting THE WHOLE TIME! At one point I was describing the situation when I made a horrible realisation... Me: "This is ridiculous! Kaja's like the main character, leading us all like it's no big deal, Gibby and Daniel are like elves, just walking, the hobbit (gesturing to sister king) is even managing to keep up, and I'm!... Oh my gosh! I'm Gimli!" Not even an exaggeration folks, I was like Gimli, running, the whole time, and exhausted, while everyone around me was fine... We made it though and were able to get back to Kato safely.

That's basically it for the week, some parts were great and funny, others were tough and very sad, but it's times like this I am grateful I have the gospel in my life!

Kocham was! i tak dalej...

P.S. It's starting to get really cold here... winter is coming y'all...

Monday, December 1, 2014


Ok, so right after I finished emailing about Pokemon cards last week, we went out to diagon alley and found a game shop that it seems can't be found except by those who already knows where it is. Well, find it, we did, and I bought myself a Magic deck :) (Magic: The Gathering) then later, I got myself another one, so Sister King and I can play together. Elder Remy has one, and he taught me how to play, and its been a lot of fun.

This week was pretty chill though, there weren't many significant happenings, other than thanksgiving, of course, and a few funny moments.

Thanksgiving was entertaining, for several reasons. We had a lesson with Kaja at the chapel, and while we were there, got a call from the Elders telling us that they had accidentally overbooked themselves, and if we could take their English lesson with their investigator Mirek. We already had a lesson scheduled with Sylwia, one of the members here, so we weren't sure how to make it work out. So, we called Sylwia, and she was already on her way, but she was ok with joining Mirek in the English lesson. Kaja had handball practice in an hour, so decided to just hang out at the chapel and read during the time. The lesson started out really slow, and kind of painful, but slowly began to pick up speed when we had them read "Little Red Riding Hood". It was really funny, because every once in a while when Mirek and Sylwia would ask about a word that we didn't know in Polish, Kaja, who was just outside the room, would shout the word and we would tun back to Mirek and Sylwia and repeat the word, as if we knew it all along. Eventually Kaja just came into the room and joined our English lesson too, it was really funny. The best part of the lesson though was when Mirek got hung up on the word "love" Mirek - "Love, co to znaczy?" (what does that mean?) Sylwia - "You know, love, I love you!" Mirek - "... oh!" Me - *desperately trying to turn my laughter into a convincing cough

That night we had 2 hours for thanksgiving dinner, so we decided to spend it with the Elders, and Daniel. Unfortunately none of us had any money, so we couldn't go anywhere really nice, and after all the food we had to make for the party last Saturday, we didn't want to make anything. So we ended up going to the food court at the dworzec mall. Most of us got KFC, not turkey, but close :) After that, we went back to the chapel, and Sister King, Elder Gibby, Daniel, and I played Settlers of Catan.

Daniel and I also talked a lot about Fallout: New Vegas, specifically the add-on Honest Hearts, in which you basically help the Nephites fight the Lamanites, and then get a Book of Mormon in the end. Daniel was telling me how, before he joined the church he played that and was like, "Hmm, I wonder what that book is that this religious guy is always reading." And then after he joined the church he went back and played it again and was like "Oh! Now I understand!" lol, I thought that was pretty cool.

So that was Thanksgiving, it was pretty chill, but we still had a lot of fun. There weren't too many other big things that happened this week, so the rest of this email will be funny little moments throughout the week.

One night, Sister King and I were going to play a game of Magic: The Gathering. We had already got our cards set up and were all ready to start when we realised we hadn't closed our nightly planning with a prayer, so, we decided to quickly pray. King - *starting the prayer "Nasz (our)..." *stops, realising that she's said it the last 6 times in a row Me - "Nope, you've already started it" King - "All I said was 'Nasz' like 'Nasz gry jest fajny!'" (our game is great!) *gesturing to the magic cards in front of her It might have been one of those, "you had to be there moments" but whe laughed really hard over it.

Sister King bought herself an "Frozen" advent calender but started it early so it will finish before she goes home. She struggled a little with the math though for the first few days and wasn't sure if she could eat a chocolate or not, or if she needed to eat several chocolates to have it finish on time. The other night she asked me if she could eat a chocolate, so I decided to consult our calender. I turned away from her as she was holding the advent calender, to look at our big calender, for literally a second, and when I looked back, she was already holding a chocolate in her hand. I quickly told her not to eat it yet because I hadn't gotten a good look at the calender. I looked away again, for only a second, and when I looked back at her, she was still holding the chocolate, but now it had a big bite taken out of it. It was so funny, and perfect.

The other night we decided to go visit a potential who lives way out in upper Kato, which we've never gone to before, so we brought our maps and set out. While we were looking at the map a woman came by and offered to help us, she told us which tram to take, and even asked the driver, to make absolutely sure that it would take us where we needed to go. Then, just before she needed to get off the tram she was telling us what stop to get off on when a woman volunteered to show us which stop. That woman, then, not only helped us find the stop, but then took us all the way to the apartment complex we needed to go to. It was just a really cool moment, because earlier sister King had been talking about how during her mission Polish people have always been willing to help her when she's been lost, and how they will go out of they're way to do something nice, and then we got to see an example of that, once again. It was a really cool, and heartwarming experience :)

That's basically it for this week. I hope you guys had a great thanksgiving, and that you have a great week this week.

Happy birthday mom! Sto lat!

Sto lat, sto lat, Niech żyje, żyje nam. Sto lat, sto lat, Niech żyje, żyje nam. jeszcze raz,jeszcze raz, Niech żyje, żyje nam. Niech żyje nam! Sto lat!

Kocham was!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Introducing the New Senior Couple in Katowice...

The Sisters!

Yup, we are now the new senior couple in Katowice, at least that's how it feels, because this week was Thanksgiving... at least it was according to the Polish members of Katowice... Last week Prezydent Urban informed us that we would be having a Thanksgiving party on Saturday(for some reason), and he would give us the money to put it together. (During the party a few times people asked us "Do you celebrate Thanksgiving on Saturday, or Sunday" and when we responded with "Thursday" we got some odd looks) Normally the senior couple would organise it, but since we don't have one in Katowice (or practically any other city in Poland) it fell to us missionaries to get it put together... correction, it fell to the Sisters to get it put together... We handed out some tasks to various branch members, and we had the Elders doing a few things, but we had kind of a lot to do. Thankfully not the turkey, Helena Urban made that (... actually I think it turned out to be pork instead, I didn't ask, but it looked like pork) And actually Ryszard made one too. But we did make the ham, and cookies, and stuffing, and bought all the ingredients for most things, and had to be in the chapel while Richard cooked the turkey there. It was a lot, it ended up being very successful though and we felt very proud of what we had accomplished. :)

Seriously though, if you guys know any senior couples who are thinking about serving a mission urge them to go, and to choose Poland if possible! We need senior couples, but not just here, we need senior couples in every mission!

Other than Thanksgiving, which was the main focus of the week, the other big thing that happened was POKEMON! Pokemon cards here are kind of hard to find, especially in Polish. We found some last week and were kind of freaking out about them. Gibby and Remy bought a few packs and were talking about them with Kaja, who, it turns out, collected them with her brother when they were little, but they haven't done anything with them in years. So, seeing how happy they were with the cards Kaja decided to give Gibby and Remy her collection, and she has a lot of old, awesome valuable cards. They are not allowed to sell them though. She also gave me a holo Garados too, so I'm very happy about that. When she gave her holo Charizard to Elder Gibby he was so overcome with joy he let out a hilarious high pitched scream and then exclaimed that, that it the sound you make when you get to the celestial kingdom. It was so funny! After that though, we all had the fever, and went out and bought many more pokemon cards. I have about 40 in Polish, and have been trading them with the elders, it's so much fun!

I also finally solved my rubix cube. Elder Remy gave me some useful tips and now I can solve it in like 3 minutes, and I'm getting faster. It's so cool!

We also have a new investigator we are working with, named Justyna. She is the daughter of a less active member who is so less active that none of the members here know him. She remembers coming to church when she was little and she really liked it. She loves studying religion and is currently searching for the truth. So yeah, she's really cool.

There's not much else for this week, sorry, this email is pretty short, most of the week was eaten up trying to plan for and prepare Thanksgiving...

I hope you all have a great week, kocham was, keelah selai, i tak dalej...

Monday, November 17, 2014

Who Puts Corn on Pizza?

Answer: The Polish

We ate quite a bit of Pizza this week, and I will never understand why I see so many people with corn pizza!

Anyway, on to my week.

This week Elder Gibby gave me all of the awesome Zelda soundtrack music he has. We've been listening to it a lot, so now whenever we are going somewhere or doing something, I find I have a Zelda song in my head that perfectly captivates whatever the situation is. Just a thought for as you are reading this, if you can picture this all going down with an awesome song from Zelda going in the background you'll get a pretty good idea of how everything went for me.

I have yet again found myself in the branch choir, without knowing it, or meaning to. Dorota (a member here) told us a few weeks ago that she wanted to get together and sing some songs. Then she informed us that her intentions with these songs was to perform a musical number during sacrament meeting. We thought, "hey! We should invite Kaja! She has an amazing voice!" So then we had 4 people and we sang our song, and it was lovely. Then, this week, we got together again to practice another song, and Sylwia was there too, and then I find out that we are now the branch choir... We performed that song this Sunday, and it went very well. We wont have a musical number this week though because Dorota has to work, and she's kind of our leader...

Our goal to speak nothing but Polish didn't work out to great. We forgot we had zone conference on Wednesday. And then I got sick and it became difficult for me to focus and speak in English, let alone Polish. We are going to try again though! We are not yet lost!

We had Zone Conference on Wednesday, and that was really good. There was a lot of corn pizza there for lunch, which, as I said above, I don't understand. Then that night we decided to spend dinner at the mall, getting sister King some going home boots, and me a Christmas present for myself :) I got The Elder Scrolls Anthology, for PC. It's all the Elder Scrolls games, Arena, Daggerfall, Morrowind, Oblivion, and Skyrim, with all the add-ons, and maps. It's really cool! When I was buying the game, the guy behind the counter noticed My "one ring" I couldn't hear him very well, so I couldn't really understand what he was saying. But then he showed be that he too had a "one ring" It was a cool little moment. Later, as we were leaving the mall, I had the thought that I should check to see if I still had my credit card. I did not have it, so we had to run back to Empik (where I bought my game) quickly before it closed. Luckily, the guy was still there, and he recognised me. It gave us the opportunity to talk to him a little about why we are in Poland, and our church, and invite him to find out more about us. It was just a quick little contact, because the store was closing, but it was really cool.

We had a really funny thing happen in the mall the other day. We went there for dinner and got Pizza Hut (yet again, I saw many people with corn on their pizza, I ask you, why? It's not even just vegetarian pizza, either, it's like barbaque chicken pizza, with random corn!) We managed to get out of Pizza Hut with time left in our dinner hour, so we went to Sephora to look at perfumes. We notice though that in the doorway were about 8 girls spread out about 5 feet apart and dressed in outfits similar to Kirsten Dunst's tap costume in Drop Dead Gorgeous, complete with the gold sequined hat. They were all posing and holding makeup brushes, and every couple of seconds they would change positions. We kind of awkwardly slipped past them and started looking at the perfumes. A few minutes latter, the girls started up a dance routine. We stayed for a while, but then decided to leave, so we made our way toward the door. We didn't want to interfere with their dancing though. So we waited until they all clustered on one side of the doorway, and headed for the other side. As soon and we stared going that way they rushed us, on mass! They were trying to keep us in the store! They started dancing around infront of us and Sister King and I just started laughing, we didn't know what to do. A few seconds later they rushed back to the other side of the doorway, possibly to keep someone else from leaving, and we quickly ran out the door. It was so bizarre!

We had a cool contact during a free table on Saturday. A girl named Agnieszka who called sister King over to her. She had met a missionary before but had really only listened to him because he was attractive. She took the Book of Mormon though and read it and really liked it, so now she wants to meet for real. We have a meeting set up for tonight and we're really excited.

On that free table we also had a hoolie with a mohawk almost get in a fight with Elder Remy. The hoolie had attitude problems, He was flipping off the elders and just being a jerk, and Remy, being ridiculous, told him he was the best and to have a good night and the hollie got pissed at that. He came right up to Remy and was about to punch him. I moved in closer, got a fist ready (took the pen I was holding out of my hand so that things wouldn't end really badly) and was waiting to defend my district member if it came down to it, but the hoolie realised he was outnumbered (we had Gibby and Richens right there too) and he stormed off angrily. It was pretty crazy.

We also had a service project. Daniel, our branch mission leader, decided we should do a service project and pick up trash at a park. So we organised it all and got the "helping hands" vests and still the only people who showed were the missionaries, Daniel, and Kaja... It was still a lot of fun though. Kaja, Sister King and I had fun wandering through the wooded part of the park collecting beer bottles and trash and finding various items of clothing. At one point I said that the first person to find a body would be the winner... well, kind of. Then about 30 seconds later Kaja yells out "I found a shoe!" and I was like "Is it attached to a body?!" After that we just kept finding clothes. We found a jacket that had roots growing on it, and two pairs of underwear, it was hilarious, and really weird. We had a great time though.

Well, I think that's basically it for the week, I can't really think of anything else that was exciting or noteworthy. All is well in Katowice :)

Kocham was, Keelah Selai, i tak dalej

I'm glad you enjoy my letters. I hope you can tell that I'm doing good from them. Prezydent Cieleński said that dad told him it's hard to tell how I'm doing from my letters, so I've been trying to do better at that.

Yeah, our solid week of Polish didn't turn out as expected, we had zone conference and I got sick and there was just a lot of things that prevented it from going as well as that first day. But, we are not defeated! We are going to try again! Probably starting tomorrow.

Yup, that sounds like Gołąbki. It sounds like we've actually had quite a few Polish dishes before, because I think I told you that, that stuff you make with the sausage and veggies that's kind of spicy and eaten on rice, is Polish.

Oh, I plan to buy all the Harry Potter books. I'd like to get them all while I'm here, but I may need to wait until I am home and order them off the internet, like you said. I only have so much room in my bag and so much money. I still want to be able to get an Xbox One when I get home, after all :)

Yay, I'm glad you liked the display Christy put up. The sisters in that picture are Barbara and Krystyna. Barbara is the one with black hair, and she's a recent convert. Krystyna is the one with brown hair, she's been a member for like 9 years. They're both really fun, some of our favorite members here in Katowice.

I'm kind of sad I couldn't go to the family Reunion, those are surprisingly fun. I told my branch president about them the other day because he found out that I'm a descendant of Hyrum. He was really surprised when I said that we have to wear name tags with the name of which wife we are decended from.

I'm glad you got to go back to kimber for a little while. Do you think they might have you come back for good, since they lost that teacher?

I think that would be really cool to see dad running an endowment session. I'm glad the ward hasn't just forgotten that I was there :)

I'm sad that the sisters are leaving, will you still be able to help out the Elders? I don't know what the rules are like for the "Murray, Utah" mission :)

Ooo I can't wait to be able to watch the new season of the walking dead, it will be so fun! I never saw "Aliens" only "Alien" Laney told me about that in her email, she said she liked the movies a lot. She expressed her desire for everyone to just listen to Sigourney Weaver already! lol

In my opinion mom, the fact that you guys showed Laney Alien and Aliens just means you guys are awesome parents :)

The weather has been confusing here, one day it's raining and cold and dark (like today) the next day I have to go out without a coat because it's so warm!

Claudia came to Katowice? That's so cool!

Kocham cie, Keelah Selai ("Kocham cie" means "I love you", "Kocham was" means "I love you all" That's why I've started using Kocham was in my emails, cuz I realised I'm talking to more than one person.

Monday, November 10, 2014

ha ha, to śmiecze!

This week started out kind of sad when we found out the Elder Boyce would be leaving to finish out his mission in Kielce. So now we are down by one Elder, and Richens, Gibby, and Remy are all companions. Before he left Boyce gave us a bunch of new people to work with though, so that's pretty cool.

We had another great Dzieci English class this week. Those Dziecis are becoming the highlight of my week. I talked about last time how we played bingo with them. This week we taught them families and animals. I drew animals on the board and wrote their names above them and Sister King had them say the name of the animal and make the sound. So of course I drew a couple of animals that make weird sounds, like a zebra, just to throw them off :). Later, when Sister King was testing them on the animals they forgot what a Whale was called, but they remembered the spout sound, so they spend a few minutes pretending to be whales and just going "bwoosh!" Sister King and I were just laughing our heads off, those kids are so funny. At one point I got a little crazy with the drawing and drew a huge dragon on the lower half of the board. When the kids realised what I was drawing I heard them start whispering "Smok" When Sister King asked them what it was the oldest one shouted "Dragon!" they were super excited, it was great.

We had a really interesting experience this week as well. We have an investigator named Kaja, she is super cool. She found out about Mormons through BYU Vocal Point, then later she saw Elders Gibby and Remy on a bus, she recognised them as Mormon missionaries and introduced herself. I think I mentioned her a few times, before, but I didn't really say anything about her. She's going to university just outside Kato right now and has an English conversation class, she had a presentation for this class, and so, she invited us to come be her presentation. Basically she taught the class for the entire, hour and a half or so. She started by asking about stereotypes and having the class name off some about various races. Eventually it moved to American stereotypes, and then to Mormons. Then she had us get up and talk about the church. It was really cool. We bore testimony, talked about our beliefs and the Book of Mormon. Talked about what we do as missionaries and our purpose here, answered a ton of questions, cleared up some misconceptions. And even had some cool connections with some of the students. In particular, there was a boy and a girl who were both Pentecostals. They were super interested in what we do and what we believe in. They had both served missions in their faith, and were both really cool, we agreed on a lot of doctrinal things too. It was pretty hard not to get into deep doctrine though, we had to be careful where the conversation was heading at a number of points.

On Friday we spoke only in Polish, the entire day. It was pretty hard for me, because my vocabulary is really limited, but I got along alright and it made it easier to continue talking during our lessons that night with Barbara and Helena. Barbara is a recent convert and Helena is the member who we tried to visit last week, but got lost on the way. We found our way there though this time, and had a great time with them. Helena gave us głąbki which is basically like meatloaf stuffed in a cabbage leaf and boiled, it's really good! Apparently it means pigeon though, and one of the guys in Kaja's class told us that when he was little and first had głąbk, he ate one, and then his parents told him he's just eaten an actual pigeon, and he cried, ha! I can understand how he could believe them though, they do kind of look like pigeons.

We had a funny moment that night, too. We were still speaking only Polish, and we got Elder Richens doing it too, so we were texting only in Polish too for a while. I can't remember what we were talking about but at some point we said we had forgotten to do something, or something like that and Elder Richens writes back "Jezus wybacza zawsze!" (Jesus forgives always) and sister King wrote back "ha ha, to śmiecze!" (ha ha, that's rubbish!) She meant to write "to śmieszne" (that's funny) but the phone autocorrected, haha! It was great though.

This week I also finally found Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in Polish! I've been looking for a while now, but I could only ever find the other books, which I want also, but I'm not sure I want to get them right now, because if I get all of them that's like 20 pounds of books to cart around Poland for the next year. It's really cool though because my reading comprehension is good enough now that I can flip open to any random page, read a few sentences, understand what it's saying, and know exactly what part it is. Of course, part of that is because I know that book like the back of my hand, but I can do that with the Book of Mormon too and understand pretty well. It's a bummer that I can't just sit down and read it cover to cover though, but just from flipping through it a little I already learned a few new words!

So that's pretty much this week. We had a lot of fun, and were super busy, so busy that it's all kind of run together and I can't remember everything we did. We had some really cool lessons and my language skills are getting a lot better. We also spoke only Polish Saturday and Sunday, and we are going to continue it until Friday, but we are taking a break until 18:00 tonight, cuz it's P-day. I think it will be a really good exercise though.

Kocham was, keelah selai, i tak dalej.

forgot something!

Oh, I forgot something funny from this week!

At one point we got a call from a number we didn't recognise, so sister King answered it and the person said their name was Justyna, and that we had called her. So, Sister King, not remembering when or why she had called this woman says "oh, well, I must have called because we wanted to see if we could meet with you." And Justyna replies- "OK, sure" (this is all in Polish though, of course) So sister King is like "OK, how about tomorrow?" and Justyna says "OK" and now we started to get excited because this just does not happen here. We had visions of a solid gold investigator passing before our eyes. So Sister King says "OK, how about at the chapel? Do you know where we meet?" And Justyna says "yeah" So Sister King is like "Great! Then we will meet tomorrow, Pani Justyna!" and Justyna replies "No, not Justyna, Sister King, Krystyna!" And that's when we realised that she had been talking to the member, Krystyna the whole time. We had tried to call her earlier, but she had just gotten a new phone and was having some trouble with it. Anyway, it was pretty funny. Krystyna just laughed at us, she's very used to missionaries hearing things wrong and being ridiculous.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wszytkich Swiętych

Whoa, this week was crazy... there was a lot I will try to remember it all...

First off, we had an exchange. Sister King went to Krakow and I stayed here in Kato with Sister Petersen. We had a goal to see many cats during our exchange, but unfortunately we didn't end up seeing any! Even the 6 cats that live in the crazy cat jungle gym across from the chapel were all hiding! That was very disappointing. But, inspite of that, we still had a great exchange. Sister Petersen is a lot of fun.

We taught dzieci angelski (english for children) on Tuesday, during the exchange. It was a lot of fun. Our dzieci English class is hilarious. We have three students, and their mom. We've only had a couple of classes with them, but it is always a lot of fun. They are totally crazy, and frequently forget to speak in English to us, it's really entertaining. This week we wanted to teach them colours and numbers, but they already had them down pretty well, so we ended up just testing them on colours and numbers with a game of bingo. It was tons of fun. The first round their mom played too, and she won. Every time we called out a number that she had the kids would shout "Mamo!" dramatically, and she would just laugh.

 On Wednesday we tried to go out to visit a member, Helena, but it turned into a bit of a fiasco. First we couldn't find the bus stop we needed to leave from, thankfully we had Kaja there to help us. She lead us all around Kato looking for the Bus stop we needed and even talked to Helena on the phone for us. Eventually we found the right bus, and got to the city Helena lives in, but then we needed to take another bus. Unfortunately, when we found that bus, we took it two stops in the wrong direction. We ended up having to cancel our meeting, which was a bummer, and we had gotten a little lost. Luckily, I have a good sense of direction, so I got us back to the bus stop, but we did have to walk though an extremely sketchy part of town to get there...

On Thursday we had a lesson with a referral from Lara, one of our investigators. She wanted us to meet her "leader" or boss (she kept saying leader though which unnerved me...) to talk to her about the gospel, because she is Evangelist. It went really well. We had a great conversation with her, and she loved the Book of Mormon. She kept picking out verses here and there and commenting on how beautiful they were. It was also pretty cool because Lara acted almost like a member on the lesson, bearing testimony with us and talking about how much peace she's found in the church.

Friday was Halloween! Which isn't really a big thing here. We were told by several people that kids don't really go trick or treating. Mostly people just dress up if they are going to a party. However, we actually got one group of trick or treaters! A boy and a girl, with three older boys who were clearly their chaperones. We hadn't bought anything to give to trick or treaters, because we really weren' expecting any, but luckily I had a bag of Life Savers and a bag of Jolly Ranchers, so I gave them handfuls of each. When I brought them out the little boy saw them and looked absolutely shocked. It was really funny.

Sister King and I made an attempt to dress up as well. We switched badges for the day, so I was Sister King and she was Sister Lillywhite. We didn't really do a whole lot to celebrate the day though. Prezydent and Sister Edgren stopped by Kato on their way to Krakow, so we got lunch with them at Pizza Hut. And then later that day we went to a graveyard to see if we could help anyone spruce up their graves for All Hallows. That's how people celebrate here. They clean their relatives' graves, and put lanterns on them, then on Wszytkich Swiętych (All Hallows) they light the lanterns. We were only able to find one person who let us help her clean her grave, it was really fun though and though her decorations were simple it looked lovely!

On Saturday we visited Lara and her daughter Sara and went to see the graves all lit up. When it got really dark the cemetery looked like an ocean of lights, Sister King and I couldn't help but think of Tangled.

Yesterday I hacked the church's computer :)
There are two administrator accounts on the branch computer and no one could remember the password to either. Not just in Kato, in all of Poland... so, I downloaded some software, learned a lot about password cracking, in a short amount of time, and hacked into one of the accounts. So now we finally know the password to that one and we can install things on the computer again, and use Skype for institute and it's wonderful! I still need to see if I can get into the other account though, that one will be harder to crack. I didn't really expect that I would learn how to hack on my mission, but I did.

Well that's pretty much it for last week. It was crazy busy, but tons of fun.

I'll just leave y'all with a funny story from today. This morning Sister King and I were out to run to the store and get groceries. So we were in our regular workout clothes, I was wearing my David Bowie shirt that is completely ridiculous and has a massive picture of Bowie's head on it. As we were walking back to the apartment we passed a woman who was staring at my chest with the funniest look of confusion on her face. This is not at all a strange sight, and my first thought was "ah! She's seen my badge" Then I realized, I wasn't wearing my badge and that look was because of David Bowie's massive face on my chest! It was a very funny moment, and I couldn't help but bust out laughing, like right in front of her. It's a good thing I wasn't wearing my badge, she must have thought I was very strange.

Kocham was!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Och, jest pisany w języku Elfów!

This week was pretty busy, and lots of fun.

We had zone training on Tuesday, so we went to Kraków. We didn't get to see a lot of the city though, mostly just the rynek, which was amazing and gorgeous!

We've had a lot of calls to make recently, to investigators, potentials, members, etc. I've been making a call here and there too, trying to prepare for when I will be senior comp. So the other night Sister King had me call one of our investigators, Beata, to try and set up with her. I had a little script planned out for what I could say to her. So I called, and when she answered everything started according to plan, I said hello, she said hello back, I asked "how are you?", and then she went totally off book. She started talking a lot, and all I could catch was the word for sick. Sister King started indicating that I should react like this news made me sad so I went "Awww" and then... the horror! I started laughing. I don't know why, the situation was just really entertaining to me. But I was laughing too hard to talk so I handed the phone to Sister King and she took over. After a few seconds it became clear that the situation was that Beata and her Baby were both sick... So, to sum up this story, the other day I called our investigator and laughed at her sick baby... lol, it's all good though, I don't think she heard me laughing.

We had a funny thing happen on Wednesday morning when we got a call from a sales company. Sister King was on the phone with them for a while trying to tell them that we weren't interested, but they were being annoyingly persistent. So I said "Sell her the Gospel!" So Sister King says (in Polish, of course) "Well, I'm not interested in that, but maybe you would be interested in our message about Jesus Christ!" The woman wasn't as keen to try and sell us something after that, it was really funny.

We had an interesting contact on a whiteboard on Thursday. Normally on whiteboards we split up, but it was freezing. Almost snowing, so we decided to contact together so we could huddle up for warmth. We stopped this guy who we think now, might have been studying theology, or planning to become a priest. He already had a Book of Mormon, and had gone to our church, and he knew his stuff, or at least he thought he did. At times it went really well, but at others he was pretty rude, and I actually ended up having to kind of throw down on him a few times, in my broken Polish (with some English thrown in, because he knew a little bit of English). It was oddly fun though, and talking to that one guy lasted about an hour. The best part of it was when we were talking about how after Christ's death many of his teachings were lost or changed, and that's why verses are different in different versions of the bible. He got confused by this and didn't know what we meant by different versions of the bible. So we were trying to explain that there's the King James version, and Gideon's Bible and various others, but he was still confused and kept insisting that his bible was written by god and not anyone named James. So finally I just got really annoyed because he was being kind of a tool and I said "Skorzystaj z internetu i search "king James bible i Gideon bible"!" it was really funny, and surprisingly, no matter how boldly I preached the word to him he still stuck around, and we still managed to have a really good conversation without it just turning into bible bashing, it was really cool.

That night we hung out with Adrian, our branch Prezydent, and Rafał one of the Katowice members. I was helping them with some problems on the computer because neither of them knows anything about computers. At one point Adrian and Rafał noticed my ring "the one ring" and asked to see it. Adrian asked what the writing was and Rafał, who was holding the ring said "Och, jest pisany w jęyzku Elfów!" (Oh, it's written in the language of the Elves!) We all just busted out laughing, except Adrian who took a second longer to catch on to what Rafał had said. Which only made things funnier because of the look of confusion on his face.

On Saturday we had a YSA activity with the Kielce YSAs... or YSA. We had a lot of people scheduled to come, but most cancelled the day before, so we only had one person from Kielce Marta, then Adrian, and Kaja from Katowice. And then 8 missionaries. It was a lot of fun though. We played soccer and frisbee and spoons and ate some really great food... and some not so great food. Elder Boyce made noodles for us, but because Adrian is cheap he was only given a very small amount of money to work with. So when Elder Boyce was buying sauce he went straight for the cheapest sauce he could find, and instead got tomato concentrate. It was an interesting result.

Well, that's the chodź of the week. At least what I can remember, like I said, it was pretty busy, and parts of it are just a blur now.

Kocham was, i tak dalej...

Monday, October 20, 2014

Back In Kato

This week was crazy, and long, but really good. I think the first week of every transfer will probably feel super long, because of all the change and whatnot.

At the start of the week I was with Sister Bąk and Slagowska in Katowice. Slagowska left for Wrocław on Tuesday, she is serving there with Sister Holden. And Bąk left for Kraków on Wednesday after Sister King got in, she is serving there with Sister Petersen.

On Tuesday, after Slagowska left Sister Bąk and i had a meeting with Barbara, a recent convert, and Krystyna, a long time member. We went to Barbara's house and had Pierogi, and shared Uchtdorf's talk "Grateful in any Circumstance" because that talk is awesome in any circumstances! :)

Bąk and I were both pretty nervous about it, because we set up the meeting when we thought Slagowska was still going to be in the area and she knows Barbara and Krystyna better than we do. Also, neither Barbara or Krystyna speak any English , and Bąk and I both struggle with Polish, so we weren't sure how dinner and the talk and everything was going to go. But it ended up going great! We had such a fun night. Sister Bąk has a lot of trouble understanding Polish, and has some trouble speaking, but she tries so hard that she actually manages to communicate to a decent extent and Polish people find her really endearing and entertaining. And I understand really well but struggle with formulating sentences quickly enough for conversation to flow naturally. So we actually managed to balance each other really well. Bąk talked a bunch and even made some jokes, and when Krystyna or Barbara said something she couldn't understand I translated for her. We laughed like the whole time, it was really good.

We had a really funny thing happen the next day when we took Sister Bąk to the train station to buy her ticket back to Kraków at 19:00. she walked up to the ticket counter and said "Po prosę o dziewiętnaście bilety". The woman stared back at her with a look a shock, and Sister King and I, both realising her mistake, waited to see if she would catch it and correct herself... She didn't so we had to do some quick damage control and let her know that she had just tried to buy 19 tickets... It was hilarious, the we all got a good laugh out of it, including the ticket lady.

Now I'm with Sister King, she's from Draper, and she's super fun. We've been having a great time this week. And Katowice is a cool city. It's got a lot of construction right now because they are building a proper Rynek.

When we were on a bus on Friday I noticed the girl near me was reading Harry Potter 7. So I positioned myself so that I could do a little language study and try to figure out where she was in the book by what I could understand. It was pretty difficult because a lot of the words were way over my head, but eventually I came to a line when Harry said "Gdzie jest Luna?" and from there I was able to figure out that they were at Xenofilius Lovegood's house, right after he reads the story of the three brothers. Also, in Polish, Xenofilius is Ksenofilius. It was really cool though, and I was able to follow a little more of it and pick up a few new words.

Saturday was totally crazy. Sister Ott's family came to Poland to pick her up, so even though she technically finished her mission, she was still running around Poland, and still technically a missionary. So, while she was visiting Katowice, where she finished her mission, she wanted to visit an investigator named Beata, and introduce her to her parents. She also had us come along so we could get to know Beata, and Krystyna was there too because she referred Beata to the missionaries. We had a really good time. Beata is awesome, we had a good lesson with her. After that we had to go get supplies to make lots of pancakes. The branch was having a fireside/party for a senior couple who used to serve here in Katowice and were visiting after finishing their third mission in the Ukraine. They had Pizza for dinner and then, because this is Poland, they wanted Pancakes for dessert. So we had to make up a huge bunch of pancakes it was absolute chaos in the kitchen. 4 of us crammed in there, people coming in every few minutes to ask where the pancakes were. It was super fun though, even so.
Yesterday was District conference so all the members from Wrocław, Kraków and Kielce came to Katowice. It was really cool. I got to see all the members from Wrocław that I just said goodbye to the week before, and I got to meet a bunch of new people. However, now I'm not so sure who are the members I will be seeing every week here in Katowice and who I wont be seeing all the time.
They announced a really cool thing yesterday, Poland is getting a Patriarch! Sometime next year. Wow! We are super excited about it, the church is growing here!
Well, that's basically all for the week. At least, that's all I can remember, a lot happened, so much so that I can't remember it all, it was pretty crazy.
Kocham Was!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Hey, this email is going to be super short, sorry, but I don't have a ton of time.
This week was Sister Whiteley's last week. It was super sad to see her go. We made the most of it though and had a pretty good week anyway. We went to see the fountain show that we caught the last 5 minutes ago on culture night last transfer. This time we got there before it started, so we were able to sit down right at the edge of the fountain, and watch the whole thing, it was really awesome. They played lots of really cool songs, some that we recognised and were able to identify, like one of the songs from Shrek, and some songs I didn't know but I think they were from movies. It was a really cool show.

On Friday I got a surprise transfer call from Prezydent Edgren. I was expecting the call to come on Saturday. I found out that I will be serving in Katowice with Sister King. I'll admit I panicked a little when I found out I would be going to a new city and needed to pack up all of my stuff. I barely managed to fit all of it, and that was after getting rid of all the clothing that no longer fits me... which was a lot.

Yesterday was my last Sunday in Wrocław. Sister Whiteley and Elder Smith had their farewells and they gave their talks, which, from what I could understand, were great. But after they spoke Cieleński told me and Owens (who is going to Warsaw) to get up and say something too. I was a little nervous because I didn't really know what I was going to say, but I compiled my thoughts a little and went up there. As soon as I reached the podium I suddenly didn't feel nervous anymore. I was able to say what I wanted to say, just fine, and I cased almost everything correctly.

After church we took Elder Smith and Sister Whiteley to the train station and sent them off to Warsaw. It was so sad, I really didn't want to say goodbye to Sister Whiteley, she was such a great trainer and companion, and she was so much fun! After that I left for Katowice.

Today we went to Auschwits with the Kraków missionaries. It was really cool, and heartbreaking. I'm really glad we went though, it was a cool experience.

Well, that's all, sorry this is so short, but I didn't have a ton of time.

Kocham Cię, i tak dalej

Monday, October 6, 2014

So Much Conference!

This week was pretty chill.
We had cleaning checks so we spent a good deal of time hanging out with Elders Smith and Coutu as they checked that we weren't living in squaller, then changed out our filters. Then we hung out with them some more when they came over to fix our filters because they put them together wrong. It was very entertaining though, Smith and Coutu are both kind of crazy. In a fun way, not in a "oh my gosh, the fate of Wrocław is in their hands?" kind of way, so it's all good.
Most of what I remember from the week was the preparation for conference. We didn't have a whole ton to do, but looking back, that's what sticks out for this week. We had a whole system set up at the chapel so we, the missionaries, and the branch members could gather and watch conference in English or in Polish... or in Korean in case the Korean family in the branch came. And we had lunch prepared at the chapel for us missionaries and any members who showed. Not a lot of people came, but it was still a good time.
We got to watch the morning sessions live, starting at 18:00 on Saturday. Then we watched the Saturday afternoon session on Sunday morning, followed by Priesthood, and they the live Sunday morning session at 18:00 on Sunday. We haven't seen the last session yet though, we are planning to get together as a district and watch it sometime during the week.

During the Saturday morning session we were all really excited to hear from Uchtdorf, because he is our favorite, of course. Just before he got up to speak we were joking and making predictions about his talk. Elder Smith said "I bet you anything, the first thing out of his mouth will be something about being a pilot" Owens countered, no, first he has to greet us, the second thing he says will be about being a pilot." And what happened? The first thing Uchtdorf said was the joke about giving his talk in German, and the second... "When I was an airline pilot..." We all just died, it was hilarious!
Just a quick note, did any of you guys catch when Uchtdorf said "vil" instead of "will"? that was awesome :)

Conference was really good, we all appreciated the boldness of all the talks. We watched it in English, but had Polish going in the next room over, so we caught bits of Polish here and there. Prezydent Cieleński was in Warsaw doing translations for the broadcast. He actually did the translations for quite a few of the talks, and every once in a while we could hear his very distinct voice coming from the next room.
There wasn't really a whole lot else that happened this week. The coming week is Sister Whiteley's last week in Wrocław. She goes to Warsaw on Sunday and then she flies home on Tuesday morning. It's crazy to think that she'll be in Utah in just over a week. The time just flies by.
Kocham cię i tak dalej...

Monday, September 29, 2014

Anti Cud

This week was pretty uneventful, nothing extraordinary, from what I remember. We did some whiteboards, and some contacting, got sushi with Prezydent Cieleński again (this time I did not eat 30 pieces of sushi, I had a normal portion), we ate a Pizza Hut again, even though Sister Whiteley vowed we wouldn't for the rest of the transfer :) I studied Polish, a lot.
The biggest thing that happened this week was that I improved a ton with the language. I kind of hit a wall with the language and had a mini freakout because I felt like I hadn't improved at all. So Sister Whiteley helped me figure out a new, better language study plan and I've been working a lot more on the language (not that I wasn't working at it before, now I am just working smarter). That happened around the middle of the week, and since then, even in just a few days I've seen a ton of improvement.

Yesterday, Sister Whiteley had me set up meetings with two of the members in the branch. I was kind of nervous because I knew I'd have to be able to understand enough, and converse enough to figure out a time and a day that works for everyone. It went totally fine though. I actually understood almost everything they said and had very little trouble responding.

...yeah, that's pretty much it for this week, it was pretty chill, and uneventful... well, that's it for the fun an uplifting stuff, there was one absolutely ridiculous and semi-horrifying thing that happened, which is the subject of this email!
First, some background on the word "cud" it means miracle, and everyday Sister Whiteley and I identify a "cud of the day" something awesome that happened that day, or something that made our day brighter. Well, on Friday, Owens and I had an "anti-cud!".

We were doing a whiteboard at Grundwaldski, everything was going normal, Owens and I were in a not-so-rare moment of nobody having any czas (time) to talk to us. Suddenly we noticed a flock of pigeons gathering near a crosswalk, so we looked around and both noticed a woman with two huge grocery bags, seemingly full of birdseed and nothing else. Owens watched her calling the birds to her and said "Look, the bird-lady is calling her flock!" We thought it was so funny that she was just throwing handfulls of birdseed around her and hundreds of pigeons were encircling her, so we continued to look over there inbetween trying to talk to people.

For like 5 or 10 minutes she called her flock. Then she set down her bags and I noticed her creeping up on a pigeon. I looked over at Owens, intending to make a joke about how she was going to catch that pigeon and eat it, but he was talking to someone. So I just went back to contacting. Then, just a minute later, Owens and I were both bez (without) contact, so we both looked back at the pigeon-lady, just in time to see her snatch up one of the pigeons. She then put a rag (which I'm assuming was soaked in ether!) up to the bird and then wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it in one of her big grocery bags and then just casually went to the nearby tram stop!

Owens and I were both stunned. We stood there for at least a minute staring at her, our jaws dropped in shock. It was completely crazy! After that happened Owens looked at me and said "I guess it's cheaper to buy a big bag of bird seed than it is to buy quality meat." I really hope that the woman is planning to nurse the pigeon back to health or something, though. That option is a lot less disturbing, and doesn't make me feel like i just witnessed the opening sequence of an episode of Doctor Who in which they find out the woman is some sort of terrifying cat alien!

So, yeah... that was the anti-cud. It was really weird...
Kocahm Cię, Keelah Selai, i tak dalej

Monday, September 22, 2014

Co powiedziałeś?

We had zone conference this week. Which means we woke up at 4:30 in the morning on Tuesday and hopped on a train to Katowice. Elder Owens and I spent yet another train ride playing Phase 10. We are locked in an epic battle and we will continue to wage war against each other until one of us is victorious! Zone conference went well. We got to meet some of the new missionaries, they all seem super young, maybe it just seems that way to me because I'm really old, but even compared to my MTC group they all seem really young. Because it was my birthday last month I got cookies from Sister Edgrin. Sister Whiteley and Sister Petherbridge also got cookies even though their birthdays are next month, because this would be the last time they could get some of Sister Edgrin's cookies (they are unbelievably good cookies).
We also heard the testimony of a recent convert from Kraków, Marcin. He told us how he was searching for a long time and had even been approached by missionaries before but he hadn't ever had the time to talk to them. When he finally did start meeting with them it was because they finally approached him when he was waiting for a friend and had the time. He came to English for a while first though. He said that He decided to start meeting with the missionaries when he found out that one of the Elders' names was 'Drake'. That name had been stuck in his mind for a really long time and he had heard it in his dreams a lot. He got baptised maybe two months ago. He's a really cool guy.

After Zone conference my exchange with Sister Bąk started. She's in her first transfer and is having some trouble with the language. So I was pretty nervous about it. I didn't need to be though. We had a really good time, and managed to do just fine. We didn't find anyone, but we went out there and tried to talk to people! Even though neither of us could say much at all! It was loads of fun too. I was actually able to get by, and answer Sister Bąk's questions, pretty well. Though at one point she asked me how to say something, and I wasn't sure if I had it cased correctly, so we just decided to ask a woman at the tram stop. She was super happy to help, and I had everything cased right except for one word.
We had kind of a cool moment too. We were walking across a bridge, heading toward the rynek and we saw a woman approaching us. We both felt strongly that we needed to talk to her. But we had a bit of a communication problem and as she passed, each of us thought the other was going to say something, so neither of us said anything. The woman kept going, and for a second, so did we. Then we both stopped, turned around and watched her walking away. Sister Bąk looked at me and said
Bąk - "I really feel like we should talk to her"
Me - "I think so too"
Bąk - "Is it creepy to chase after her?"
Me - "Yes, definitely... but I think we should anyway."
Just as we decided to turn around and chase her down, the woman stopped, turned around and started walking back towards us. We both quickly agreed and made it clear that I was going to talk to her, so we wouldn't miss our opportunity again. We tried to talk to her, but she ended up not listening, which was kind of a bummer, and left us a little confused, but it was a really cool experience none the less. I think maybe we just needed to be another set of missionaries in that woman's path to the gospel. And possibly the spirit was testing us a little.

Something kind of funny that I noticed during the exchange was that normally, when I'm with Sister Whiteley, like 1 or two people will approach us, in a week, asking for direction. But that one day that Sister Bąk and I were together, like 3 people asked for directions. I was able to understand them just fine, but I didn't know the places they were trying to get to, so I was no help at all... It was just perfect timing though, I'm certain they all came our way because Sister Whiteley wasn't there to help me.
Sister Bąk and I had a funny experience with Polish. We were walking through the rynek, on our way to English class when we saw this girl walking with her boyfriend. As they passed she said, in the sassiest tone imaginable "Co powiedziałeś?" (what did you say?) It might have been one of those, "you had to be there" situations, but we died laughing. It was just the way she said it, with so much sass! She was basically a Polish Valley Girl! We couldn't stop saying it the rest of the day, and even got the Elders saying it.
The only other big thing that happened this week was that I gave a talk on Sunday. The way that Prezydent Cieleński told me was really funny. We were all at the chapel, because we had just had coordination meeting, and were looking at pictures from the Uchtdorf conference. Elder Smith had a phone call, so he left for a while and then came back a few minutes later, offering me the phone and telling me that "the captain wants to talk to you", I had no idea who he meant by "the captain", so I went into the conversation pretty confused.
Me - "Hello?"
Cieleński - "Hi! How you doin'?"
Me - "Hi! (realising now that it's Cieleński) Pretty good, how are you?"
Cieleński - "I'm great... Hi! How you doin'?"
Me - "Great! How are you?"
Cieleński - "I'm good... how are you?"
Me - "Fantastic... did you have a stroke?"
Cieleński - "I think I might have... Hi! How are you?"
Me - "Hi! I'm great, is there something you wanted to ask me?"
Cieleński - "Yeah! Will you give a talk a on Sunday?"
Me - "... you mean in two days?"
Cieleński - "Yeah!"
Friday, when he called me, was pretty late in the evening, so I pretty much just had Saturday to write it, which would not have been a problem at all, except that I first had to write it, then translate it into Polish, then practice it enough that I could actually give it.
It went really well though. I spent most of Saturday writing it, and translating it. It was on the restoration, and how it's important that we recognise the importance of the restoration and what it means to us. It was a lot shorter than I had expected it to be, but only because it took me a lot longer to read through it in practices than it did when I got up there. Once I started actually giving the talk the Polish words/pronunciation, came quite easily. I'm not sure what happened, by the end I just realised that I was saying everything with relative ease. I got a couple of compliments from some of the members too. Though they were very likely just being nice, whatever, it still made me happy.

That was basically it for this week. It went by really quickly, I swear I was just emailing like yesterday, and now I'm doing it again!
Kocham cię, i tak dalej.
I learned the word for "bummer" it's "szkoda" (shkoda), haha! it's my new favorite word!

Monday, September 15, 2014

On the Road Again

We went to Warsaw again this week, that was the big thing that happened. We had a six and a half hour train ride there. Elder Owens and I played Phase 10 the entire time, while Siostra Whiteley slept. We stayed with Siostra Tobler and Benson while we were there, which, is were we stayed when we were stuck in Warsaw for a week last time. So that caused a lot of deju vu and hardcore revertago.
Soon after we arrived in Warsaw Prezydent Edgrin called and asked if he and Siostra Edgrin could meet us somewhere and take us to dinner. So we met them at the mall right by the dworzec (station) that looks like a blob monster in attacking downtown Warsaw, and got food at the food court.

I got to see most of my MTC district on Wednesday, everyone except Johnson, Torres, and Sidwell. We hung out at the urząd, thankfully for only about 3 hours, and then went and got lunch before getting back on a train for Wrocław. This one was seven hours. Owens and Whiteley slept for most of the ride and I drew until the train got too shaky. Then Owens woke up and we played Phase 10 for the last two or so hours.
The current shame of our lives is that Siostra Whiteley and I went to Pizza Hut three times in the last week. Two of those times were two consecutive days... the first two times we went to the Pizza Hut on the Rynek, but after we got the same waitress both times we decided to go to the Dominikańska one, because, Siostra Whiteley said that if we got the same waitress again, after having just been there the day before, that "I will literally end my life right there in Pizza Hut"

We also went to our new favorite hipster restaurant BLT & Flatbreads (we now have three! "Buka z Masłem" "Frankies" and "BLT & Flatbreads") twice this week. we almost went a third time, but then we saw the same cashier from the previous two times was there, so we just awkwardly turned around and left...
So, yeah, needless to say we went a little crazy with eating out this week, but we have made it a goal this week to not do that so much... hopefully we will stick to that.
It was Renata's birthday this week, so we made her a cake and went over to visit her and Robert with Elders Couto and Smith. While we were there they gave us some cheesecake that they had bought for the occasion. The thing about Polish cheesecake is that it's very dry, and not very sweet... so it's best in small quantities. However, when Robert was cutting the pieces, he made them all pretty big, but none quite as big as the piece he cut for Elder Smith... it was literally bigger that his face and it took him forever to finish it. After he had been working on it for a while, he gave up on utensils entirely (it was a little to hard for them) and just ate it with his hands. We were all dying, even Robert and Renata thought it was hilarious.

There's a member who lives really far away, and can only come to church every once in a while. So I've only meet her once before yesterday. Her name is Ania and she's really nice. I've noticed that everytime I talk to her I can understand just about everything she says and can actually respond to her. I'm not sure what it is about her but for some reason my Polish is just way better around her. Siostra Whiteley has talked about this phenomenon before, she says there are some people who you just have better Polish around. Unfortunately there are also people who make your Polish worse, and for me that seems to be most of the branch :)
We had a pancake party with the Elders yesterday. We've been planning it for almost two weeks now. On Saturday we loaded up on baking supplies, and on Sunday we all went to the senior couple apartment and made buttermilk blueberry pancakes and had buttermilk syrup and ate cookies. It was tons of fun. While we were there we noticed they have a grill on their balcony so we are talking about maybe having a grill there sometime too :)
That was basically all for the week. Going to Warsaw took up most of the time, and other than that it was pretty uneventful. Nothing really mind blowing to report, just good times.

Kocham Cię i tak dalej

Monday, September 8, 2014

Johannes! Powiedz mi o sobie!

ya! email time! wooo! I forgot my list of stuff I was going to include in this email... so there will be no email today!!!!
... żart!

Don't worry, there will be an email, I may just have to fill in the gaps next week.

First of all, I have a gap to fill in from last week, I forgot to tell you guys about the terrifying tram ride Siostra Whiteley and I had last Tuesday. First off, there are two types of trams here, there are the speedy, fancy ones that have air conditioning and TV screens, from which we find out tommorrow's weather. And then there are the tin cans on wheels... litterally, they have no air conditioning, instead they have windows that you can occasionally force open. We had just climbed into the death tram that was going to take us 2 stops away to the senior couple apartment. We went one stop, a few people got on with us, and then the doors shut and the tram started inching away from the platform, at literal inchworm speed. Suddenly the cabin started getting really smokey, and no one could properly breath. A couple of us tried to force open the windows, but they were stuck. The tram was breaking down, but it was still moving, very slowly toward the next platform. I couldn't help but think, as I was choking on the smoke, "I should have known I'd die in one of these trams". When we eventually reached the station and the doors finally opened Siostra Whiteley and I practically exploded out of it. It was a crazy situation, I'm sure it wasn't as bad as it seemed at the time, because I think that tram is still in operation, but it was pretty freaky nonetheless.

And now onto this week, it was pretty chill, the most exciting thing that happened was that the Stumpfs were here! They arrived on Wednesday, we first saw evidence of them at our English class. Siostra Whiteley and I were preparing to start when three people walked past the door. We only caught a glimpse of them, but we knew right away that it was zee Germans! I turned to Siostra Whiteley and mouthed "they're here!" Poltergeist style. We didn't get to actually talk to them until after English though. Stumpf's parents are super cool, they took us out to get Indian food and we got to chat with them for a while. His mom has almost no German accent, but his dad has a pretty thick accent, his name is Johannes (we think, still not sure) and he is an enigma!

We got to hang out with Stumpf a little bit during the week too. We got hot chocolate (which was basically just hot pudding drunk through a straw) and we took him to the hipster resturaunt. We sat in menu seats this time. At one point Stumpf recognised one of the songs they played, all the music they play there sounds like a song you know, but then you realise it's a different song you don't know, but he actually did know this one. So, we joked that he had won the hipster prize, which would probably be something ridiculous that most people would have no use for, like a typewriter, or an old-timey bicycle... or a bee keeper suit.
Speaking of hipster stuff. at one point, during out dinner with the Stumpfs, mama Stumpf (or Lady Cathrine, as we've been calling her for the past month... not sure why, her name is Marianne...) Asked if our parents are part of the facebook group, Poland moms and dads (or something like that, not sure if you guys are). She said you need to get an invite for it or something and my response was "well, my dad is so hipster he was probably already a member before I even opened my call" lol, Siostra Whiteley, I laughed, I'm not sure if the others got it though. We're not sure Stumpf quite understands our hipster jokes, it might be a German thing...

We also had our Sport Saturday, which Stumpf joined us for. Other than us missionaries, the only people who showed up were Stumpf, Ola, and Cindy, so that was kind of lame. But it was still pretty fun. Most of the group played Basketball, and the rest of us (Whiteley, Owens, and I) played Badminton. Eventually Stumpf and Ola joined us. The whole time we were playing Badminton I kept pretending that the rackets were light sabers, because they had blue and red ones. At one point it was Me and Owens with blue rackets, against Whiteley and Stumpf, with red rackets. I referred to them as Sith Lords and said dramatically "I should have known all along that my Jedi Master was really a Sith Lord!" Siostra Whiteley just laughed and rolled her eyes, and Stumpf and I spun our rackets and made light saber noises :)

Oh yeah, we taught more accents to our English class, we taught them stuff like 'aks' and 'ya'll' and 'imma be' we taught them to leave off the 'is' and 'are' when they want to sound street, example sentences - "you crazy!" "where you at?" i tak dalej (etc.) We also taught them how to speak with a Brooklyn accent, and various southern accents, and valley girl, and a little bit about the Minnesota accent, but I couldn't really do it justice. Our class is tons of fun. Also, on a more serious note, we taught them how to make the 'th' sound. I never realised until I had to teach it, that it is a weird sound, it's really hard for people to make that sound when they are learning English, it's totally normal to me, so I never even thought about it, but it's a weird noise!

Anyway, this week we aren't teaching English because we have legal work to finish in Warsaw. Siostra Whiteley, Elder Owens and I are traveling to Warsaw tomorrow morning and will be returning Wednesday night. It's another 2 Owens days, woo! The week after, however, we are having our exchange. I will be staying in Wrocław, and Siostra Whiteley is going to go be with Siostra Petherbridge in Kraków for a day. Siostra Bąk, will be coming here with me. She is in her first transfer, so I will be senior companion... I'm only freaking out a little bit :) She's from Minnesota though, and we will be teaching English together, so I am excited to show them what a real Minnesota accent sounds like.

I had another cool language moment at church yesterday. I had a conversation with Siostra Kuchno, like, an actual one, not one where I just understood what she was saying and responded by smiling, nodding, and saying "tak". I understood what she was saying, understood the couple of times when she asked me questions, and responded with multiple word answers! Woo!!! So yeah, that was cool.

That was basically it for the week I think. Not a whole lot happened this week other than our friends from "zee fazzahland" stopping by for a visit.

Kocham Cię, & Keelah Selai