Prepare to Serve

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!