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!