Prepare to Serve

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Jest bardzo dobrze!

Jensen Lillywhite Wed, Apr 23, 2014 at 3:42 PM To: Todd Lillywhite Yay! another letter! This week was awesome, and it went by much faster than the last one! thankfully I am adjusting to the schedule and no longer notice just how long each day is... until someone points it out. The other day we were in class and Starszy Johnson suddenly looks at his watch and says "It's only 11:30 but we've been awake for 5 hours! normally I'd be just waking up!"

We got dropped by our first investigator, Lidia. Well, it was a simulation and we are told we were transferred, but Starszy Jourdan, our fearless District leader likes to say that we got dropped. (his actual words were really funny, but I can't remember what they were, it was something like "we got dropped like a sack of garbage. He's delicate like that). In reality, (like, the actual story of that investigator) our teacher, Siostra McAdams, taught and baptized her, (we got to see a picture of her at her baptism, it was adorable, at took place at a public pool) so the other thing Starszy Jourdan likes to say is that Siostra McAdams swiped her from us. 

Siostra McAdams is Lidia, as we know her, but now that she is no longer pretending to be our investigator she is just our teacher and she is hilarious. Starszy Jourdan has a huge crush on her, it is so funny. He joked about asking if he could see her CTR ring and then as soon as she looks away for a second he would get down on one knee and just propose to her in class. However, we are all pretty darn sure that she and Brat Tribe "got a thing going on!" (supposed to be sung, to the tune of "Me and Mrs. Jones") They are always teaching on the same day, he sometimes brings her apples, and whenever they aren't teaching they are off in a room somewhere talking. (we know that they are actually just talking because some of the Starsi infringed on their privacy and looked through the peep hole into the room) It's cute though,

Siostra McAdams frequently calls Brat Jensen Brat Tribe by accident and any time anyone mentions Brat Tribe she goes "Brat Tribe?!" all excitedly and her tone of voice raises an octave. lol, this is what happens when I don't have TV shows, I start "shipping" actually couples! Our district and our teachers all seem to be losing our minds a little. We frequently find ourselves laughing to tears about really stupid things, and have gotten our teachers to join in on it. Especially whenever someone is being "sassy"! Brat Jensen has been crowned "King of Sass" because was kind of making fun of Brat Tribe, who was teaching our lesson one day. However, Siostra McAdams is creeping up on the title and trying to take it away by teaching us ways to tell the Czecs and the Bulgarians to leave us alone and that we only speak Polish in very sassy ways. We copy it constantly, complete with snaps in a z formation and lots of sassy hip/head shaking. I can't wait to be able to show you guys. Though I really wish I could get video of the Starsi doing it, they get the most into it.

We made Siostra Young and Brat Jensen laugh nearly to tears the other day in class by copying Siostra McAdams' sassyness and because of some dumb argument we all had over one word, I can't remember what it was I just remember that we were all freaking out, there was a lot on broken Polish and broken English flying around and our teachers were just dying. Whatever the argument was about I think it must have reminded them of when they were in the MTC and trying to learn Polish or something, that's just the vibe I got from the looks they kept giving each other.

We've also had a lot of fun with Polish words that sound like English swear words like Byc (to be pronounced like b*tch) and zeszyt (notebook, pronounced like ze sh*t). The other day in class someone asked Siostra McAdams what notebook was (even though we all knew) she says, without a trace of embarrassment "zeszyt!" then she turns around and starts writing it on the board. As she's writing Starszy Sidwell says "Siostra McAdams, my notebook is zeszyt!" And you could see her just break, she started laughing and kind of fell against the board. So much fun!

We've also started a fun new game. All the ties are Pokemon! So we look at all the Starsi ties and decide what Pokemon they are. It has spurned quite a few lengthy conversations about the Pokemon games, which has just been tons of fun. We've started doing this with people outside our district too, when Elder Uchtdorf came to speak to us on Sunday he had a Pikachu!

Speaking of that talk, it was amazing! He told us a story of an Italian member in England who brought in over a 100 new members during his mission because he was fearless! He would look in the mirror ever morning and say "I fear no man". Elder Uchtdorf taught us that we need to be fearless, because we have the lord on our side, we are doing his work and we should fear no man! it was really cool.

I used this bit of advice that same day just a few hours later. At the Sunday night devotional we had some Elders and Sisters behind us that were just being amazingly disrespectful. They talked through the whole thing, they made fun of everything, the didn't sing the words to the songs. And they kept asking each other innane inappropriate questions like "would you break the law of chastity for (insert random celebrity name)?" Throughout the devotional I said three prayers: first, for patience, which carried me through most of the talk, I was able to ignore them and even take note. second, that the spirit would speak to them and they would be quiet and learn something from what was being said. And the last, just before the prayer, in desperation, was for guidance from the spirit to know if I should say something. After I had prayed, during the closing song and prayer two things came to my mind, the first was from Elder Uchtdorf's talk "I fear no man" and the second were the words I should say. When the meeting closed I turned around and as calmly and kindly as I could I said: Me: "can you do me a favor? what name is on you badge" Super annoying immature Elder: (quietly, and sheepishly) "The Savior's" Me: "Yes, please remember that." ... guys, I'm getting kinda churchy!

Normally, if I said anything at all, I probably would have just told him to shut his face and leave the MTC if he wasn't going to act like a missionary, but I've been really working hard on trying to develop Christ-like attributes, and instead of wanting to insult him or tell him to get lost so I never have to deal with him again I just wanted to remind him of who he's supposed to be representing. I think it was the right thing to do. My district certainly thinks it was. They all thanked me and Starszy Burdick said it was a Shepard thing do to, that made me happier than you can possibly imagine, and since then I has compared me to Shepard twice!

I'm getting loads better at Polish, I can now read it pretty dern well, I can speak it OK, and I can understand... a little more than last week. And speaking of Polish, you guys need to find "Let it go" in Polish, Starszy Jourdan's mom is sending him the sheet music and he's going to see if we can sing it in our sacrament meeting on our last week... we probably won't get to, but still. It's cool in Polish though, it's called "Mam te Moc" which actually means "I have the power".

I'm not sure what else there is to say... I'm going to try and answer a few individual emails, hopefully I'll have time, if I remember anything I'll put it in there. Basically though, just know that I'm having an awesome time! I still occasionally miss my games and my TV and my kitties and you all so much that I have weird dreams where I am Glen from the walking dead and I am trying to find Maggie on the Silver Sun strip from Mass Effect and Shazi is trying (and failing) to help me, but still. (and that's just the dream I remember the most of...) I'm sorry if it feels like I spent most of the letter just talking about my teachers and class time, it's kind of the only thing we ever do here so...

I love you all! Kocham sie! (that's spelled wrong but I can't figure out how to write an e funky on this computer...)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jensen's District - First Letter

I miss you all so much! all kinds of crazy stuff has happened and I've wanted to just text/call you and tell you about it and then I remember I don't have a phone and I can only use computers for email on Wednesdays... It's a bummer, also I am having tons of fun with my district and companions and I know this is where I'm supposed to be, even if sometimes I feel so desperate for pop culture that I would cut open my arm if I thought I could bleed out an episode of The Big Bang Theory!

 Sorry, kind of an extreme example, but I am kind of going through some withdrawals. I've already started freaking out getting excited to play Mass Effect again and then I remember that It's only been a week and I won't be able to play it for 78 weeks and I get kind of sad. Then we go to class and hang with our Polski elders and I stop thinking about the stuff I can't watch and the games I can't play and we just have fun.

I really love my whole district! My whole zone really is just awesome! Siostra Holden and I are the only Polish sister, Sestra Dubois, our other companion is a Solo Missionary going to the Czech Republic so she's not in our class and not technically in our district, however, we still consider her to be, she's an honorary member of district F!

All the Elders in our Polish class are hilarious, we have a bad habit of spending all our study time (when the teachers aren't there) just talking and goofing off. However, we are all so excited and committed to learning Polish that we work it into our conversations as much as possible. There are also only 2 out of all 9 of us in our district that didn't do theatre so we also spend a lot of time singing. Last night, before the devotional, Starszy Owens, out of the blue, stood up and sang "sit down, your rocking the boat", the whole thing, from start to finish! I have no idea why he started singing, but it was awesome!

Some of the Elders also know Mass Effect, Starszy Burdick and I had a bit of a philosophical discussion on the ending yesterday and when Starszy Weiler found out Shepard was a Christ figure he said he'll play it when he gets home. We also hang with the Elders and Sisters going to Bulgaria, Bulgarian and Turkish speaking. Elder Kingsly is particularly cool, he and Starszy Torres and I gushed about Community and Castle and Firefly and Skyrim for like an hour, Kingsley is going to Bulgaria but I don't know what Elder is in Bulgarian... We also used to have a bunch of older Polish Elders here but they are all in Poland now, accept Starszy Larson who is in England. We'll bee seeing the others later though, which is super cool.

We also heard a bit of really cool news about the mission in Poland. Apparently some missionaries were teaching a Catholic woman and they would start each lesson with a song. The woman went to her minister/father /whatever they are called in catholic churches, and told him about the LDS missionaries who sang so beautifully. SO the Father (we'll just go with that one) called the mission president and asked if some missionaries could come and sing at their Sunday meeting. The president gathered up a bunch of missionaries with nice voices and had them sing at the meeting. They only had 3 songs planned but they ended up singing 5, and when they were done the father told his congregation that if the LDS missionaries came by their homes they should let them in and listen to their message because they are doing a good work ( I can't remember the exact wording, but it was something like that. Anyway, pretty cool, right? The mission might have just gotten a bit easier... maybe by about .01 percent, but still.

Polish is fun, I'm having some trouble with pronunciation, we never actually went over it in class, I am now very grateful that you guys found that video on youtube, without it I would be having a much harder time. I keep trying to pronounce it like Welsh. But I am figuring it out and we have this really cool computer program we sometimes get to use, which helps a lot. Our teachers speak nothing but Polish... most of the time, we've managed to get them to slip up a little. Brat Jensen (It's weird to hear people talk about him, I keep thinking they are talking about me) Accidentally said something in English on the first day he taught us. We laughed and he got sad and leaned his head against the wall, then he erased everything on the board and wrote in big letters "That is the last bit of English you will ever hear me speak!" of course he broke that vow before class had finished that same day.

I still struggle a bit with remembering the words but our class been told numerous times by various branch presidency members and whatnot that we are progressing faster that the Elders who left for Poland on Monday. Where we are now with the language is where they were after two weeks!

We've also started teaching an "investigator" now too. She's really just pretending to be an investigator, which everyone but Starszy Jourdan knew right away. He thought she was actually an investigator from Poland living two doors down from our classroom. It became even more apparent that it's all an act when she taught out class Monday morning. It was weird because she told us we'd be teaching Lidia but is also is Lidia, very surreal.

Anyway, I'll probably also try to respond to some of your other emails individually, though I may not have time, I spent so long on this email. I found out they don't print the emails off and bring them to you at meal times, prison style, you only get mail letters at meal times. I've gotten 2 letters so far, the first was from the travel office, telling me I actually don't need a visa to go to Poland, but they still needed to look at my passport. And the other was some weird thing telling me that I needed to fill out some weird survey in the medical section of the missionary web services thing. It was the kind of thing where I really just wanted to call Dad and get some advice, but I couldn't :( I found out later it was because I was diagnosed with ADHD for like two months in elementary, Lame...

Well, I miss you all terribly but I know I'm where I need to be and I'm doing the Lord's work... I just wish he'd let me do his work while wearing pants. The MTC is a little frustrating at times, it does feel like BYU on steroids, but with how awesome my district is it's actually been a lot of fun. The spirit is so strong here I feel it all the time, I'm regularly on the verge of tears, in a good way. And I am getting so excited to get to Poland, even though I can't really speak the language and I kind of suck at teaching lessons right now. Ah! long letter! I feel like there is so much more I want to write but I can't think what it is and I only have an hour total to write you all! also, I found out I can't even send hand written snail mail on any day except P-day, so that's a little frustrating. I love you all so much! and I can't wait to write you again and hear from you all next Wednesday!

Love, Siostra Lillywhite

P.S. I want to include pictures but I forgot to bring a card reader, I could buy one here but their like 7 dollars and when have a bunch of them just lying around at home. So maybe you guys could just send me one?

Laney drew for Jensen

Friday, April 11, 2014

Clandestine Photo

Jess Knight who works at the MTC sent this photo to me (Todd). I know Jess from my mission. Jensen is only two days in. First proof of life since we dropped her off.