Prepare to Serve

Monday, October 19, 2015

And Then There Was One

One more week! That's right y'all, my mission is coming to an end... It's OK, I'm not freaking out too much. I'm trying to make the best of the time I have and do everything I can to help leave Kato and Poland better than when I found it, and to make as many great memories as I can. This week was pretty good for memory making, we had a lot of fun things happen this week.

We had some fun experiences tracting. We got let in a few times, of course one of those times a woman let us in and then when when we knocked on her door and man opened it, looked at us like "Why the crap are you here?" and told us to go away. But another time it was a guy named Leszek and he was cool. We talked to him for a while, about how God is our Father and he loves us, and how he doesn't make bad things happen in the world (he was one of those "why does God allow bad things to happen?" people). He was very open to talking but didn't seem too big on changing right now, so maybe we'll recommend the Elders go check on him in a while.

On Tuesday we (as a district) went and had dinner at our Branch Mission leader, Lukasz's house. Elder Burdick was there on exchange, which was fun because he and Elder Weggersen were the ones who found Lukasz. We also had Daniel, a recent convert from Warsaw 1, there on a mini mission. So all 7 of us were crammed into Lukasz's living room, while his children ran amok around us. It was so much fun! Zuza, Lukasz's 2 year old daughter, really took a liking to Elder Park, and showed her affection by throwing little kinder toys at him. He would then pretend to be hurt, which of course made the game more fun for her, and slide the toy back to her, supplying her with more ammo! I was sitting right next to Elder Park, so I got caught in the crossfire a lot. Thankfully the toys were so small that they didn't hurt at all when they'd bean me right in the head.

I finally finished my most legit English poster ever!

​On Wednesday we really wanted to use it for an English whiteboard before English class. So we got it all set up and went out to do it. We took about 5 steps outside of the chapel when we realised it was raining. The poster isn't laminated, so it would be completely ruined if we used it in the rain. So we turned around to go back and just as we did a woman stopped Elder Park (who was holding the poster) and sis Allowitz who was next to him, and asked "I heard somewhere that you guys teach a free English class" (or something along those lines, it was in Polish). Elder Park, being Elder Park, just smiles and points to the Poster he was holding. She laughed at that and we proceeded to explain more about the class and give her an Ulotka (flyer) so she would remember. We then turned right around and went back into the chapel. We ended up leaving the poster inside and just invited people to English in the rain, but it was funny because it was the most successful 5 second English whiteboard any of us had ever had!

Thursday was a bit of a fiasco. We went to visit Anna (who just got baptized about 4 months ago) for a lesson, but she lives in Zabrze which is like a 30 minutes bus ride away, plus after we get to Zabrze we have to hop on another bus to get us close to her house. We got to Zabrze and went to find a bus to take us to her house. I read the schedule and saw that the 86 would take us there, and an 86 had just barely pulled up. So we hopped on, and were just chilling out when I realised we weren't going the right direction to take us to Anna's house. And the schedule said it was the 3rd stop and we were already at stop 4. So in a panic we got off the bus, right as it reached a stop in the middle of nowhere Poland. And double checked the schedule. Unfortunately I saw right as the bus doors shut and it drove away, that the bus does go the Anna's stop... it was just going Backwards along it's route for some reason... So annoying. Unfortunately the next 86 wasn't going to be there for 40 minutes and we were supposed to be at Anna's house 5 minutes ago, so we resolved to walk one stop back and hope we were given some other options. We called Anna to tell her we would be late, but unfortunately she has trouble hearing through the phone on a good day, and to top it off we were walking next to the highway, so she basically couldn't hear me at all. So we texted her. She's really patient and nice though so she was totally fine with us being late. Unfortunately, sis Allowitz realised that in the excitement of jumping of the bus early, she had left her water bottle behind on the seat. Sis Allowitz loves this water bottle so much, she found it in the Kato Apartment, it used to belong to Sis Slagowska, but now it belongs to sis Allowitz. She wrote her name on it 3 times, and carries it everywhere. She was sad, but put on a brave face. I told her we'd look for it if we managed to get on an 86 on the way back. We did catch an 86, but the water bottle wasn't there 馃様. We did eventually get to Anna's house, an hour late. She was so sweet though and had cookies waiting for us. We had a great lesson with her, we had her choose a Christ-like attribute and teach us about it. Then we headed back to the bus dworzec. When we got there we saw an 86 pull up. We both quickly ran to it and checked the seat, but it wasn't there. So we went and asked the driver. When we asked him "Have you seen a purple bottle anywhere" all frantic like, he just looked at us like we were crazy and pointed to the dash board where sister Allowitz's bottle was. We both screamed happily, grabbed the bottle, and jumped off the bus (before it took us out to the middle of nowhere again) The driver still looked a little confused but was smiling now. And sis Allowitz admitted to me that she had been faking it when she told me she didn't really care about her water bottle, she loved it and had been devastated. We got it back though! It was a miracle!

Saturday was a wrench day! That means that a wrench got thrown in all or our plans! We had to re-plan our day so many times, and switch things around because we needed to do this thing, or someone called us and asked us to do this that thing. Or we forgot about this other thing we needed to do. The last time we sat down to re-plan the rest of our day, sis Allowitz and I didn't even bother trying to write it in the planner because it wouldn't have been legible.

On the bright-side... At the end of that frustrating day, we did know two very important things, we found out that we did not have to teach relief society, like we thought we would, woo! And that the Wroc艂aw missionaries would be coming to district conference the next day. Which was super great, and not just because it meant I got to hang out with sis McCleary once more before I go home, but also because we needed them for our musical number. There was some debate over whether or not they'd be able to come, and it was really frustrating for us because we didn't know if we'd have enough people in our choir. It was a really good thing we had them though because we would not have had enough people singing, there were only 4 Elders singing, total, and 2 of them were Wroc艂aw Elders, Elder Owens and Elder Lanterman. Our musical number went really well though, especially considering that Half the choir didn't even know the song, or even that they would be singing, until that morning.

Random funny stuff -

When we were on our way to Lukasz's house there were some teenagers near us on the bus. Elder Burdick asked them what stop we were at and they told him and then asked "You guys are Mormons, right?" We of course said "Yeah!". Then one of the guys told us he had met with missionaries for a while, but had gotten really busy with school and wasn't able to keep meeting. He said though "I like Mormons, they're way cooler than Catholics" We all died at that, it was so great and funny!

We met the cutest little kitty out tracting! We named her Pani Emma, and she let us pet her for a really long time, and was so sweet, and then followed us tracting for a little while, like our third companion... well fourth with the Spirit.

Our washing machine broke on Friday! It stopped draining. We don't know what the deal is. We thought maybe there was something clogging the line. We tried to take it apart to find out, and we successfully found some places in the line that were not clogged, but we couldn't open the part that we think is clogged, we didn't have the right tools. So tonight someone is coming over to fix it. In the mean time, we can't wash our clothes. We smell bad! Woo!

That's it, that's all I have to say about this week. It's crazy to think this is my last week on the mission. I have loved my mission more than I ever thought I would. I Never wanted to serve a mission when I was little, because I thought for sure it was going to be a year and a half in which I was not going to have any fun, in which I wasn't allowed to have fun. Instead, the mission has been the most fun thing I've ever done! Sis Whiteley told me in my first transfer, that if I wasn't having fun, while doing missionary work, I wasn't doing it right. I kept that in mind my whole mission and it's really helped me to love every second of my mission... even if some of the moments have to be loved in retrospect. I can still look back on my mission and see the changes that I've made in myself, and how even the crappy times helped shape me into a better person, and I can know that even those sucky moments were for my good.

Man, I don't want to leave Poland! I love this country so much, and the people, and the language! Even though it's flippin' hard! But I'll be back to visit, and I know that I need to continue on with the next stage of life. The mission isn't the end-all, be-all, it's just a side mission. An awesome side mission! Which has given me so much experience and skill points that I can used in the rest of the game! Czyli Life!

Kocham was wszystkich!

P.S. I have a Wacek update... I got a picture with him! The Man, the Myth, the Legend!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Kato is On Fire

Not literally, don't worry. It's just that there is always something going on here! It's crazy. Last year Kato was basically dead, as far as events and what not, but this year there has been a concert or a festival or something every week, almost every day! This whole week there has been a festival going on in the Rynek, we think it might be a honey festival, because almost every stand is selling honey, but there are some random other things like jewelry and pizza, so we're not sure. And there have been tons of concerts going on for the last month. This week alone we saw I think 3 concerts going on around Kato. There could have even been more, I don't remember. It's funny though because it seems like every morning we see them setting up a stage in the Rynek, or wherever, and then there is a concert later that day, and then, as we head back home we see them taking the stage down... usually so they can move it to a different part of the Rynek. You'd think they'd get tired or taking it apart only to build it back up again, and they'd find a way to move it when it's already put together.

The concerts were pretty cool, we got to stop and watch a few minutes of them as we walked by. There was a marching band concert, which we only saw the sound check of, the Elders were in the area at the time and got to see some of the actual thing. Then on Friday there was a scat group performing. That one was really funny because some Larrys decided to attend and they just love dancing at concerts. And the last one actually wasn't set up at the Rynek at all, it was in the Tesco parking lot right behind our house. That one was crazy, because when we were sitting in our house we could hear the music as clearly as if it was just playing in the other room.

As far as the rest of the week goes, it's been great! We had a couple of really fun meetings with some of the members here. We met with Sandra and Kumo on Monday for FHE. They moved here from South Africa about 6 months ago and they're super fun. We played Uno with them and it was crazy fun! So much fun that they invited us over for dinner on Saturday so we could play Uno again. Sandra made us chicken and rice with this super yummy South African tomato gravy. And Kumo and I made some of my "Sweet Mother Teresa! Brownies".

I finished reading the Book of Mormon out loud in Polish. I made the goal to do it back in my 3rd transfer and I finished it on Thursday. It's been great to because I noticed that day after I finished it that every time I spoke to someone I was able to remember more words and I was able to understand a little better. I think people were able to understand me better too. When we went to drop letters for tracting I managed to convince a guy to open the door for us, and I don't even know how I did it. I rang his domophone, he answered I said "Ulotki" which is a trick we sometimes use to get into buildings, which basically means we're dropping off flyers. It works about 7 times out of 10. This time though, he asked me what kind of flyers, so I told him they were letters about our church. He asked why, I said because we want to invite people to hear our message. he said what do you want me to do about it? and I, thoroughly confused, said "open the door please" and he did! I was so surprised I almost didn't react fast enough to push the door open when it buzzed.

Friday was culture night, and it was so dang fun! First of all, have you guys heard of "lock rooms"? I don't know if we have them in the states. If we don't we need to start one because they are so fun! It's basically like real life Nancy Drew. They lock you into a room with a bunch of crazy clues and stuff and you have 45 minutes to solve the clues and get the door open. We totally solved it. We went a little over time though, the girl let us slide by because we were so entertaining. She said we where the happiest group she's ever seen. Apparently people are normally a lot angrier and stressed when they do it, but we was having a blast! And they played good music during the game so we were even singing! She said No one has ever sung while trying to get out of the room. After the lock room we got pizza, went the the chapel and watched The Book of Mormon Movie. Oh. My. Gosh... that movie is so hilariously bad! It was straight up like MTS3K. We just made fun of the movie the whole time and died laughing. We had a little extra time afterwards and Elder Garrett informed us that he had never seen Saratov Approach, so we watched that too. It was pretty freaky to watch on the mission, especially since Russian isn't too different from Polish, so we could understand a few words here and there. It was a really fun Culture night though probably one of the best ones I've had on my mission.

We had a small miracle moment this week. On our way back from Sandra and Kumo's house on Saturday night sis Allowitz lost her earring at some point. She was really sad, because they were her favorite pair. Before she had noticed, when we were walking through the park, I had thought I heard something fall, but I didn't really think too much of it. I felt sure though, after I found out she had lost her earring, that, that is what I had heard, and I was certain that if we went back right after church the next day we would find it. So we went back, and we were looking around for about 30 seconds when I saw something turquoise and gold among a bunch of leaves inside a big storm drain. It was the earring! But unfortunately we couldn't get the grate off and I couldn't fit my arm in far enough to get it. So it seemed like all hope was lost. But it wasn't because I totally got a twig, hooked it on the earring and pulled that sucker out of there! It was awesome!

Random Funny Stuff -

Sis Johnston just called me about 2 seconds ago from a mountain top called Zakopane, on the boarder of Poland and Slovakia. She just wanted to see if she could get reception, and it worked!

For a few days there was a random 12 foot square in front of the mall that was roped off for no reason. In the middle of the square was a small pile of rocks... we were thoroughly confused.

We had district language study, and we had a section on family words! As the section started Elder Garcia sang this lovely little song "I have a family here on Earth, they have forgotten me. I want to share my life with them through all mortality!" Haha, we all died laughing!

Elder Park chipped his front tooth trying to catch a Mento in his mouth...

That about sums up this week. Only one more email and then I'll be home!

Kocham was!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Conference! Woo!

This week was awesome! Conference! Woo! And it was just packed with lots of really fun little things. And a few sad a crazy things. For one, I am no longer in a threesome. Sis Johnston is now in Krak贸w with sis Herrera. It's just me and sis Allowitz now. Sis B膮k who was in Krak贸w is now in Wroc艂aw with sis Slagowska and sis McCleary. We were really sad to say goodbye to sis Johnston, and she was really sad to leave Kato, she loves this city, but the transfer will be really good I think.

First of all, for P-day we went to a castle, the same castle at which we had a snowball fight last year, and we climbed around it. Then we played capture the flag. We brought foam swords so we could LARP while playing capture the flag, and we did that for a while, but then they started breaking, so we switched and started playing normal capture the flag... Except that we were playing on the edge of the forest with huge rocky hills and junk so it was a billion times better! I spent most of the time being stealthy and sneaking around the forest and climbing over huge rocks and hills. We all came away with some battle scars, but it was so worth it.

The best game was the last one we played. As soon as it started I ran straight for the trees and began sneaking my way around to the other team's jail area so could let out any team mates who got trapped there. I was going through the trees for a few minutes when I suddenly felt like I was being watched. I looked up and saw sis Johnston (on the opposite team) standing about 20 feet away from me, grinning eerily. It was straight up like the scene from the Village when she's walking through the forest and then the camera moves a bit and there's one of the creatures standing right there, watching her, it was so freaky. I ran back out of the trees and found two others from my team, Elder Garret and Elder Garcia. They both ran for the flag which distracted sis Johnston enough that I was able to run right past her and the jail and into the brush behind where the flag was. I then hid, watching for everyone to leave the flag alone, and forget I was there. Eventually Elder Garcia made a run for the flag and it distracted everyone enough that I stood and started to dart out of the brush. However, when I was about 4 feet from the opening, my arm ran into something more solid than just grass and twigs and I realised that what was in front of me was a huge thorn bush. So I stopped, just in time to see Elder Summers charging at me from the other side of the bush. He jumped right into it, stopping about a foot from me. Let me paint you a picture here so you can understand how strong and thick this thorn bush was... Elder Summers in a pretty big guy, a football player, and this bush was literally the only thing that stopped him from bowling me over. When I saw he was stuck I took a hard left and ran through a thinner area of the bush, shouting "sucker!" of course, for good measure. Just as I got out of the bushes I saw that I had distracted Elder Summers just enough that Elder Garcia had gotten the flag. And that's how we won. Elder summers had to surgically remove a few thorns from his legs and arms, but It was still great fun.

Tuesday was a very stressful day, but it ended really well. Sis Johnston had been planning an exchange with Wroc艂aw, but because of the transfer she wasn't sure if it was going to work, so she changed some things around and decided that she'd still be able to do it but that sis Herrera would come to Kato from Krak贸w, Sis Slagowska would come to Kato from Wroc艂aw, sis Johnston and sis Allowitz would stay in Kato have an exchange with each of them, and then I would go to Wroc艂aw to be with sis B膮k and Sis McCleary. Booyah! Best exchange ever! I got to have another exchange, my 4th exchange, with sis B膮k and an exchange with my very favorite companion, sis McCleary! What more could I want?... well, a single plan for the whole day working out would have been nice! Trying to get people in from their cities, and trying to get me to Wroc艂aw was a disaster. Sis Herrera ended up not having enough money on her person to get to Kato, so they had to go to the Elders' apartment and borrow some money from them, so she missed her bus and didn't get in until about an hour or two later than planned. And I had a moment of temporary idiocy and read the train schedule wrong, for the first time in my entire mission. Which caused me to miss my train, because we were on the wrong peron (platform). Luckily there was another train leaving a few hours later, but I ended up not even getting into Wroc艂aw until after 9:00. I made it though, after a very stressful couple of hours, I made it. It was a really fun exchange too. Sis B膮k is hilarious and it was especially funny having an exchange with her after I had just had one literally the week before. And it was so great to catch up with sis McCleary, it's been so long... I'll admit, there was a lot more talking than sleeping going on during that exchange, but it was so needed!

While I was in Wroc艂aw I, of course, ate at BLT and Flatbreads, jak zawsze. And we did a whiteboard with the elders, which was fun because it meant I got to chat with Elder Owens and Elder Lanterman again. And we taught English, so I got to see a few of my old English students again. It was also just a lot of fun to be able to be in Wroc艂aw again, one last time before I go home.

When I got back to Kato I was a little melancholy, I think because I realised just how little time I have left in my mission. No one was there to pick me up because they were a little late in helping sis Johnston with her stuff. So I walked to the chapel by myself and just stood in the doorway waiting for them. It was a little funny because as I was waiting this huge guy walked up to me, and I wasn't 100% sure what he asked me, he either said "Do you work at a discotek? are you looking for a discotek? or do you want to go to a discotek?" Either way the question was really confusing and I didn't really know how to answer any of those possible questions in a kind and patient manner, so I feigned dumb and told him I don't speak Polish. He told me he was a bouncer for a discotek (I'm not surprised, he was the size of a house), he then stopped read my badge, and realising I was a nun, kind of crossed himself and turned to go, but before he went he looked back and gave me a thumbs up. It was so bizarre, Poland is full of strange moments like that.

A few minutes later though the other missionaries showed up. I was standing in the doorway, waiting, still feeling a bit melancholy, when suddenly sis Allowitz jumped out from behind the doorway and scared the living crap out of me. It was strange though because the moment I saw her my feeling of melancholy disappeared and I felt so happy to be back in Kato. And so happy that my companion had just risked accidentally scaring a random Polish person to play a trick on me which subsequently cheer me up. Something that I've done my entire mission and that has really helped me to feel good about each day is that I like to point out the "cud" or miracle or each day. That was my cud of that day, Sis Allowitz is so much fun!

Friday sis Allowitz and I went with Elders Park and Garret out to a random city I've never been too, but that Elder Garret knew from his previous transfers in Kato. We wanted to do some finding activities and "tag" a few places with chalk drawings for English and church stuff. So we went out there, found a really cute little park, and decided to tag it. But, just as we had split up, and were about to start drawing, a bunch of cute little old dudes showed up and went to go sit on a bench near us. They saw that Elder Garrett had a guitar with him (he loves to have singing whiteboards, so he brings his guitar everywhere) One of the men came up and asked if he was going to play for them, so Elder Garrett decided that would be a fun thing. He left me and Elder Park to draw our ads for English and, and took sis Allowitz with him to sing for a bunch of old guys. They loved it! Elder Garrett and Sis Allowitz just sang a bunch of hymns, and they didn't really sing fancy, but those old dziadeks just soaked it up. In between songs they would chat about what we're doing here, and about how there used to be a branch in that city a few years ago, and they'd try to convince Elder Garrett and Sis Allowitz that they'd be cute together and that they should get married, haha! It was so cute!

Saturday and Sunday was conference! Yay! My third conference on my mission, and the only one not spent in Wroc艂aw. It was really really good though, best conference I've ever seen... probably because I paid more attention than I ever have before. I took so many notes and got so many answers to questions i both did and didn't know I had! Also, there were a few great moments where I felt like I was watching it at home. For example, during the first song, we were just chilling, talking about the choir, then, of course the key change happened. I noticed it, but didn't say anything. But then, Elder Garret goes "and there's the key change" I was like "yes! there's always a key change" and Elder Garrett and I proceeded to talk about the Mack Wilberg formula for conference hymns. It was just like being at home.

Random funny stuff-

Elder Jackson was in Kato on exchange and he brought with him to district meeting, a bottle of peppermint oil (because like half of Poland is totally obsessed with essential oils). He took it out in the middle of the meeting, so everyone wanted a little. We all took a drop, rubbed it on our hands and on our foreheads... And then proceeded to squint at each other for the rest of district meeting, that stuff is super strong and it makes your eyes water like crazy. No one could see anything, but we still carried on with our district business and spiritual thoughts and stuff. Every couple of minutes someone would wipe the tears out of their eyes and say something like "Man that stuff is strong!"

When Elder Park was in the MTC he was there for conference. This was last October. For Priesthood session they had a choir of Elders from the MTC, Elder Park, Elder Jones and Elder Lanterman were in that choir. So When we found this out after the Saturday morning session (which we watched Saturday night) we just had to watch it. we watched all the songs and we found all three Elders, and I realised I vaguely remember seeing Elder Park during Conference last year, because we made fun of him. He was right behind the conductor when they had the congregation sing, and he totally forgot the words, it was so funny. We watched it again on Saturday and we just died!

We have a new game in the district. If you make eye contact with someone and you pretend to shoot a blow-dart at them, they have to freeze, and they can't un-freeze until someone pulls the blow-dart out of their neck. We've been having a lot of fun with it. NP- After district meeting on Tuesday I managed to sneakily get everyone else in the chapel. So I was the only one who was able to move and I exploited it, and waited quite a while before un-freezing everyone else. Another time was on Friday, on the bus back from our chalk-talk with the elders. Elder Park and Elder Garret managed to freeze both me and sis Allowitz, and then to proceeded to call our phones, over and over again so they could hear our ringtones and watch us squirm (obviously not physically), unable to do anything about it. And the last example was after conference ended yesterday. Everyone kept freezing each other, it was straight up out of control. At one point I walked back to the kitchen, out onto the balcony and down to the end so I could look through the window into the YSA room and freeze elder Garcia. It has been a lot of fun.

Well, I think that's everything for this week.

Kocham was!

Monday, September 28, 2015


This week started out with an Exchange with sister B膮k, my third exchange with her, she's so fun! The first thing we did when she got into Kato was go and get Pizza hut, it was great because I haven't eaten at Pizza Hut in almost 2 transfers! The next day we had a fun finding activity with the elders in a sketchy little city called Sosnowiec. We went to a park there and did a chalk talk. Me and Elder Garrison (who was here on exchange from Kielce) each picked an end of the park and started drawing/writing stuff in chalk on the ground. It's our new favorite kind of finding activity. I did one for the Book of Mormon, and he did one for English class, and then when I finished mine I went to a different spot in the park and did another one for English. I like chalk talks because I get to draw and occasionally people come right up and talk to me as I'm drawing and then I can use the drawing as I'm talking. While I was working on the English one a couple of old guys on rollerblades came over near where I was and started playing rollerblade basketball. One guy was really good, he could make a basket over his shoulder while zipping by on his blades. The other guy talked to me for a while about English classes and what I was doing in Poland, his name was Dzis艂aw, which is a hilarious name because it's pronounced like "G-suave".

Later that day we had Coordination meeting with our Branch Mission leader, 艁ukasz. The meeting went on really long, and Sister Allowitz fell asleep during the meeting, so I made sure to take some pictures. After the meeting was over we, stayed at the chapel for a few minutes to get some art supplies that I need for the legit English poster I'm making, when there was a ring at the Domophone. Sis B膮k answered it and said there was a girl here to see the church. So we let her up. She told us she had seen the JWs near the Dworzec and thought they were us. When she asked them if they were Mormons they proceeded to bad-mouth us and she didn't think that was very Christ-like so she decided to come meet us for herself. While we were showing her around the chapel we asked if she'd like to meet with us and she said yes. Her name is Agata and she's super cool. She works as a security guard and she has a crazy schedule so we've only been able to meet with her a couple of times and had a few meetings fall through, we also have no idea how she's going to be able to get to church but she's super prepared and awesome! She also has a sister who was either a former investigator or a member in Pozna艅.

We met with Anna, I'm not sure I've mentioned too much about her, she just recently joined the church a few months ago. She's really funny, we go over to her house once a week to finish up the lessons with her again. She had a talk this week, and it was her birthday on Thursday... we think. Sister Johnston said Anna told her and Sister Slagowska that the day she got confirmed was her birthday too, so we're not sure if one of them is her birthday and the other is her name day, or if she has decided that since she's 59 she can celebrate her birthday whenever she dang well pleases! I made banana bread with chocolate chips for her to celebrate and we basically went over, helped her with her talk a little, and had a tea party. It was really fun, the best part though was at the end when she served us home-made Jello. As soon as I got mine I looked down, saw that it was green with fruit floating in it and thought "Oh, yeah, she's a Mormon alright." The Jello hadn't turned out quite right though, as we were eating it Anna pointed out how it hadn't quite set right, she told us that it could just be "do picia" (for drinking). Mine however, was solid on the bottom, so solid that I lifted it up and it was a huge bowl-shaped hunk of rubber. Everyone stopped, looked at mine in shock and confusion and I said "Och, nie do picia!" (oh, not for drinking) we all just died laughing! It was a really fun party, Anna cracks me up, I can't always understand when she says, because she mumbles, but she will frequently say something and then bust out laughing. It makes her seem like she's totally batty, but she's actually really clever. She gave her talk on Sunday and she was so nervous she was visibly shaking, but it went so well!

On Friday we accidentally wandered into a dance recital that was going on at the Rynek. We had a little bit of time before our lesson, so we decided to stay and watch a few numbers. It was so cool, I recorded a lot of it. They had some dances from all around the world, a Russian dance, the Can Can, some Spanish dances, Irish, a traditional Polish one, and when we first walked up they were dancing to Footloose which we assumed was America's dance number.

On Saturday we had to leave our apartment really early so we could open the chapel for the members who clean it. After we had opened the chapel we were passing by the Rynek to go home, and saw that there was a big apple festival going on, so we decided to stop in and see if we could get any free apples. They had a tent up with free samples of various apple dishes out. I ended up trying some kind of apple cobbler/cake thing, apple and chicken liver, and apple and 艣led藕, which is pickled herring. They also had a big concert going on with a dance floor and they were inviting people to come dance to Shakira. Unfortunately, it was only 10:00 in the morning, so the only people on the dance floor were two girls who worked for the festival and whose job was clearly to dance so others would join in, and two very drunk Larrys. Sis Allowitz took video of them dancing to Shakira's Africa, it was awesome! I'm going to try and get those videos from her.

Saturday was a pretty packed day. After the apple festival, we ate lunch at some food trucks set up by the Spodek, which is the stadium here, and watched them tear down a building nearby. Then we had a free-table with the elders that got broken up because we had to literally pack everything up as quickly as we could and run from the political un-rest going on about 30 feet from us. They were setting off what I'm 99% sure were totally fake explosives, though they sounded pretty freaky either way. And there were thousands of Hoolies dressed in black, swearing and basically inches from rioting. It was nie dobry. We're pretty sure it was something to do with keeping Muslims out or something, we're not sure, we got out of there super fast.

After that we went to get food for Elder Garrett's birthday. It was on Thursday, but we hadn't had time to celebrate then, so we planned it for Saturday. He really wanted to try out this Vietnamese place he'd heard good things about... and no joke, it's called "A Dong"... Yes, we are all five 馃榿 The food was really good though, it was a little expensive though and I'm so out of MSF it's not even funny, I'm sure dad has noticed the many many purchases from my card. So I just got soup, it was good though.

Then that night we stopped by this new store in the mall, called Tiger. It's one of those stores that just has a ton of random things that no one really needs, for really cheap. We bought fanny packs... because they had them there, for 15 zlots and they were cute... a teck deck (mini skateboard), and 11 foam swords, because today we are going to go to a castle to play capture the flag and we thought it would be a billion times more fun if we combined it with LARPing. It's going to be so flippin' fun!

That's basically it for the week.

Kocham was!

Monday, September 21, 2015

... Card Error? What Does That Mean?!

We did end up going to the zoo, which was great, unfortunately I might have lost almost all my pictures from that and this week, and my entire mission... I'm not sure yet, but my camera isn't recognising my card for some reason, it tries to get me to format it every time I turn on my camera. So that's a pretty bad sign... I hope you've been saving my pictures dad 馃槈

It was still a really fun time at the zoo. Unfortunately the elders insisted that the zoo wasn't a good enough reason to wear non-proselyting clothes, so we had to wear skirts. Which meant that we had to sit and watch while the Elders got to play on the fun interactive dinosaur part of the zoo, while we sisters stood back and took pictures... in our skirts... super lame. We got to see meerkats though, and a kookaburra almost bit Elder Garcia's hand off, and it was lots of fun.

This week was zone conference, and we had a special guest speaker, Elder Kearon, so we all got to go to Warsaw for it, yay! It was so much fun! We got to see everyone from the mission. I saw Elder Sidwell for the second time since coming to the country.

After Zone Conference Sis Johnston, Elder Garcia and Elder Summers had to stay in Warsaw for one more day for an MLC meeting, so Sis Allowitz and I and Elders Park and Garret went back to Kato. The next day, before sis Johnston was supposed to get in Sis Allowitz and i decided we wanted to do something nice for her. She had been planning to make us a pie for a couple of days, and had all the ingredients ready. So we figured we'd make the pie for her so that when she got back there'd be yummy chocolate mousse pie in the fridge. OK, so really Sis Allowitz made the pie, I was working on a poster for English advertising, which is the most legit poster ever... too bad the pictures of it were on my camera *sigh* next week. Anyway, Sis Allowitz made the crust and then started on the pie. I went over to help her with the parts of the recipe that were written for monkeys and people with at least three arms, and then went back to my postering. When she was supposedly finished, however, she called me over to show me that the chocolate filling was still really watery. We weren't sure how it was supposed to look when it was done, but we figured it shouldn't be that watery. So we were too scared to pour it into the crust, potentially ruining it, and instead put it in the fridge to cool for a few minutes, we thought that might help it thicken. About 30 minutes later, sis Allowitz went to look at the filling, she pulled it out of the fridge and it was like Satan just smacked the bottom of the pan, it exploded everywhere! Sis Allowitz was covered, the kitchen floor was covered, about the only thing that wasn't covered was my poster, thank goodness. I took pictures of it... but again, the camera. It was really funny though. We didn't have enough ingredients, or time to make another pie before our whiteboard with the elders, so we just left it, and presented Sis Johnston with the lovely pie crust that she would later fill with delicious chocolate mousse. And what happened to the remaining pie filling, that didn't end up on the floor or sister Allowitz?... I drank it... I drank pie filling, like hot chocolate.

On Saturday we had a branch grill, it was super cool. We rented out a fire pit in this big weird museum park. They had log cabins and sheep running all over the place, and a freaking windmill! Needless to day I ran around it playing the windmill song from Zelda on my phone. We took tons of cool pictures, and videos, which I hope can be recovered from my card somehow, cuz they were so cool! Luckily sis Allowitz had her camera too, so I can get some pictures from her. At one point we wandered into the bee hive area, and there were a ton of sheep there, and they were surprisingly friendly, so we got to pet them. One sheep got annoyed with sis Allowitz while she was petting him though and he whipped his head at her, and smacked her in the butt, it was so funny!

That's basically it for last week. Today we went to Aushwitz again. I didn't take anywhere near as many pictures as I did last time, thank goodness, because MY CARD BROKE! So I wouldn't have been able to send them to you guys if I had taken more! Right as I went to take a picture of the outside of the gas chamber because I hadn't gotten a picture of that last time. I blame restless spirits, it's the only explanation. Why they targeted me though, when I only took about 4 pictures, and two of them were of maps, and they didn't target the people with selfy sticks and tripods, I don't know...

I only have two random funny things from this week -

Sis Allowitz, Johnston and I were walking through the mall in front of our house to get to our tram stop. We passed a guy and as we did I saw him drop a key on the ground. He didn't notice he'd dropped it, so I picked it up and ran round a corner after him to give it back. When I was walking back I saw Sis Johnston still walking way far away, and sis Allowitz standing in between the two of us looking really torn on who she should follow. Apparently when she'd seen me run around the corner she'd called out to sis Johnston "Sister! She's making a break for it!"

We were having lunch at the chapel on Wednesday because we didn't have time between lessons to leave, or even have a full lunch hour. We had just sat down in the chapel kitchen to eat when suddenly one of the the guys who works in the building near us wandered in and handed sister Allowitz a package, and then left. It was so bizarre, and what's more, the package was actually for Sis Allowitz, it was from Daniel Freedom Chastity Mountainman Wilson, and it contained Reeses Peanut Butter Cups!

That was basically it for this week. It was really fun and a lot of crazy stuff happened... unfortunately most of those moments were captured on MY CAMERA!!!!!

Kocham was!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Pot De Creme Pie

So the Zoo, didn't happen... it rained so instead we played ping pong and took funny panorama pictures on elder Garcia's ipod and elder Garcia and I played a game of magic, I destroyed him 馃槇 it was pretty fun. However, we are still going to the zoo! Today! We had planned to go to Auschwitz today, but then around 9:15 last night the elders called asking about the details and we realised we had no details, we didn't know bus Times or prices or anything... so that'll be next week.

We had an exchange this week with Krak贸w. Sis Johnston went to Krok贸w and sis Herrera came here with me and sis Allowitz. Sis Allowitz had legal work in Warsaw on Tuesday though, so we had to wake up at 4:00 to get her on a train at 5:45. She went all the way to Warsaw, got her legal work done, and then came back to Katowice, getting here just after District meeting ended at 13:17 It was crazy how fast of a trip it was. Aside from her legal work the only other thing she did in Warsaw was get Chocolate muffins with the office elders, Elder Wilcox and Elder Weiler. Sis Allowitz served with Elder Wilcox and Elder Weiler last transfer. It was funny when she told us about it because she was like "Whenever we go to get food with Elder Weiler he always buys like half the store!" She said she just bought like a muffin or two but Elder Weiler bought a bunch of muffins, a pastry and a lemonade. Lol, that totally sounds like Elder Weiler!

While we were with Sis Herrera I really wanted to see if we could find this magic store that was supposedly really close to our house, so we decided to go contacting around the area and look for it along the way. We found what was supposedly the address but it definitely wasn't the magic store... frankly there was nothing magical about it, it was sketchy as heck! It was some run-down apartment building. We went inside and it was pitch black, save for a little but of light pouring in through the open back door. So, to be sure it wasn't the right place, we decided to walk up the stairs. They were coated in plastic covering that looked like wood and were completely falling apart. I got almost to the top and then saw that the last floor was this creepy attic that had some kind of massive cage in it! It was so sketch! I didn't even finish walking up the stairs, I just turned around shaking my head and was like "Nope, nope, nope! We're leaving!" We did eventually find the place which was cool because while we were there sis Herrera had a Chance to talk to some people there who turned out to be from Hungary, and she has a friend serving in Hungary!

We tried a new restaurant on Wednesday, it's called Jeff's and it's an American restaurant. Sister Johnston had been there before and said it was really great, but I was skeptical on how American it would actually be, seeing that we are in Poland. Oh my gosh, you guys. We walked through the door and above the doorway was an American flag with "Welcome Home" written across the top. We walked inside and there was random crap all over the walls!!! It was so authentic I almost cried! And the food was so good! The only thing that wasn't quite right, wasn't quite American, was that the drinks were tiny. It was still good though, so good that we went back with the elders on Friday!

We had some really fun whiteboards with the elders this week. one of them was a marathon board. The elders started it at 14:30, we joined them and 16:30, and we all ended the whiteboard together at 19:30. We met a lot of cool people, and only had a few weird things happen. Only a couple of drunk guys, one of them basically fell in love with sis Allowitz and we had to pull her away and get the elders to distract him, and then he swiftly fell in love with Elder Garcia and wouldn't stop following him around, and calling out for him. He couldn't always remember his name though so sometimes he called him "Martinez!" or "Gomez!"

We had one totally ridiculous thing happen on one of our awesome whiteboards. Sis Allowitz and I talked to this girl and it was so great. We gave her a book and got her number and she was super interested in meeting with us. When I got her number I tried it right there, to make sure it worked. Her phone rang and she pulled it out and was like "Yep, I have your number now, good" and then, about 20 minutes later she called us and was like "Why did you call me?" and we were like "We just talked to you and you wanted to met with us, remember?" and she was like "I don't know what you're talking about, I don't know how you got my number, don't call me." It was so baffling! I don't even know what happened! Our current theories are that she has short term memory-loss like Dory, she has multiple personalities, or that she looked up something on the Internet and freaking out. Roll my eyes* it was super weird though either way.

Sis Allowitz was sick on Saturday, and me and her were both sicky yesterday. So we spent almost 2 full days inside. I bought a new puzzle, a Wied藕min (the Witcher) puzzle, on Friday night though, so while we were sick we just worked on the puzzle like the whole time, and talked. It was a lot of fun, but surprisingly the puzzle is only partly done, it's huge! and so cool!

That's basically all we did this week though, the weeks are just flying by! I'll just list some funny stuff now before I end this.

Random funny stuff!:

The other day sis Allowitz went to sleep really hungry. She woke up in the night and was still really hungry, but she told herself that she could make it till the morning because she was too tired to get up and get some food. She went back to sleep and then woke up at like 3 in the morning standing in the kitchen halfway through eating a banana. Haha! She was so confused and annoyed she just threw it down onto the table and climbed back into bed!

a few days ago I woke up in the middle of the night and found myself standing up out of bed and walking into the kitchen. I had no idea why I was awake and standing, I didn't need to go to the bathroom, and I wasn't particularly hungry or thirsty, but I had already made it that far away from my bed that I didn't really want to go back, so I just went and got a drink of water and then went back to sleep.

A few weeks ago I wrote about how we got stuck in our tracting area, and the elders had to bail us out. We'll ever since then they've insisted that they owe us a pie. So Sis Johnston finally made them a pie, a chocolate mousse pie because when she asked them what kind they wanted the only word Elder Summers could frame was CHOCOLATE! The pie turned out so good though that she decided to make one for us too. But the second time she decided to go off recipe, and accidentally made it wrong... well, wrong is a matter of opinion, because she accidentally made Pot de Creme Pie!!!!! Basically. It was so good! And really nice since mom has talked about Pot de Creme in her last two emails and I was starting to crave it.

That's all folks!

Kocham ci臋

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cursed Tracting Area

This week was great, I bought some new shoes so I had to suffer through the blisters of breaking them in for the first couple of days, but now it's all good, and I can walk again. Tracting was a lot of fun though, we had to take a break to find a 偶abka and find me some bandages. Then I sat down on a bench and bandaged up my feet like a Larry. It was a proud moment for me, I wish I had pictures, but I didn't think of it at the time.

We had Zone training this week, which meant that we didn't have district meeting, but we totally forgot about that and showed up at the chapel for district meeting on Tuesday. We decided to just have our own district meeting, since we hadn't been able to finish our studies anyway. Sis Allowitz was district Leader. The awkward thing was, the actual district leader, Elder Garrett showed up partway through and decided to stay for the language portion. It was fun though.

So Sis Allowitz's Uncle served a mission here in Poland about 12 years ago, and he served here in Katowice. When he left, he was so sure he'd come back to Kato that he left one of his suitcases with a member here. He did not return to Kato though and so the suitcase was lost to the ages. However, Last Monday Sis Allowitz received an email from her Uncle who told her Prez Urban had contacted him and told him that they found his suitcase. Sis Allowitz quickly volunteered to take it home for him, and called prez Urban to set up the exchange. Actually getting the suitcase turned out to be more of a hassle than we imagined. Prez Urban told sis Allowitz that he needed to explain something about the suitcase before she could get it. So in the days leading up to it we were totally wrapped up in the mystery of the thing, wondering what Prez Urban had to say about it and if Sis Allowitz's Uncle was a spy and all that... it turned out it was just that some of the stuff was missing, like some gloves and a scarf that Elder Remy had taken when the weather got cold, but it was still a fun mystery, and it's still a really cool coincidence.

We started tracting at this new location last week, and every time we've gone out there we end up having some kind of trouble. The first time we almost couldn't get a bus to take us home and would have been out way way late. The second time my feet were so damaged from blisters that I couldn't walk, and the third time sis Johnston had to go to the bathroom so badly that we had to pause our tracting to go find one. We are all convinced that the next time we go out there to tract something horrible is going to happen to sis Allowitz... she is terrified :) Anyway, we walked all over the place looking for a public restroom, or at least a McDonalds or somewhere she could pay to use or something. We were walking for like a half our and sis Johnston was starting too look at the bushes as the best option when sis Allowitz suddenly stopped this Pan (a Sir) and asked "Gdzie jest 艂azienki?" (where is the watercloset?) The Pan looked super confused, shook his head and walked away. We sadly turned and were about to walk across the street when the Pan turned around, one finger in the air, and came back with a look of determined resolution on his face. He came up to us and said "Toaleta, tak?" (the toilet, right?) Then gave us directions to a public toilet just a street away. Sis Johnston was so grateful, and it was a really nice public bathroom, we were all pleasantly surprised.

We had a fun whiteboard with the Elders this week. Elder Garrett is very musical, so he brought a guitar and decided to sing hymns. After a couple of minutes of absent mindedly humming along with him I decided to join him, and eventually Elder Garcia joined us as well. It was a lot of fun. It's funny how comfortable I've gotten with singing in front of people on my mission, it's a cool skill I didn't really expect to develop in Poland, but I'm glad I did.

We went to the Planetarium on Saturday with the branch for a branch activity. It was so cool! They played awesome music, remixes of classical music like the flower duet (I died laughing when it started because all I could think of was The IT Crowd) and Mr Sandman. It was a really cool story, it was about the astronomer Haweliusz and his wife El偶bieta. There were large chunks of it that I didn't understand, and I'm still not totally sure why they showed a big basket of lemons at one point. The whole planetarium was super ghetto though and made me think of Fallout the entire time, it was great!

On Sunday after church we went by a park and saw a war re-enactment. It was so cool! There were explosions all over and fake gunshots! They were driving Nazi motorcycles around and executing people, it was a fun time!

That's basically it for the week, today we are hoping to go to the Zoo, but it all depends on the weather. It was raining like crazy a few minutes ago, but it has since stopped and is now really sunny, so we'll see.

Kocham was!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Dogs + Tracting = Zero Fun

There was this one night, in my third transfer, with sister King, when she really wanted to go out tracting. And she specifically wanted to go tracting at these really fancy buildings behind the huge Silesian City Center mall. We went there, and quickly found that the buildings had a wall around them, a really tall wall, at least like 20 feet tall. So we walked around and eventually found a gate, with a security guard. We tried to get in, but the guy wouldn't let us. We tried talking to him about the gospel, but he basically told us to get lost 馃様 so we had to turn around and leave, and never got to tract those buildings... Well, now we live there! Haha! What makes it extra funny to me is that the sisters told me that when they first went there to check out the apartment, the security guards wouldn't let them in because they thought they were coming there to tract, so the had to call the landlord.

This week was pretty awesome. It's been a little sucky in two ways though, 1 - the weather cannot decide what it wants to be like! I just want it to be fall already, and some days it does too, but then it switches abruptly and gets stupid hot later in the day and I just don't know what to do about it. 2 - We can't buy our monthly bus passes until tomorrow because Kato's transportation system is stupid and if we buy it now it would still be 150 zlots and would only be useful until tomorrow... so we've been having to walk everywhere and now that we live behind the Mall we live far away from everywhere...

Other that that everything has been great. Last week after emailing we went to a great house in a tiny village. It was crazy, there were billions and billions of antlers all over the walls, the decorations were really pretty too. Elder Summers and I kept commenting that we felt like we were wandering around in a level from a video game. It was so cool. And they gave us these dumb booties to wear over our shoes, but they were super fun because they made us slide on the floors, so we were basically ice skating all over the house.

I got to see my old Kato English class again. A lot of the same people were there, unfortunately Wacek wasn't there. I've been told he still comes regularly, but he couldn't make it this week. Sad 馃槩

Thursday we had a district finding activity. We set up a free table with lots of books and pamphlets. It was really good. We had the banners with it though, and they will turn into a sail with the slightest bit of wind, so we had to have the people at the table holding the banners still. One of the times when I was holding the banner next the the table. Elder Park came over to tell me what he'd learned from asking a Pole a language question we had, when an old, possibly drunk guy came up to the table. He was talking to Elder Park asking him about the stuff on the table. So Elder Park picked up one of the Book of Mormons and was just about to talk about it when the man said "nie!" and slowly pushed the book back down onto the table. He then kept asking Elder Park questions, all of which could be answered by the Book of Mormon. So Elder Park kept picking it up again, only to have the guy push it down. It was so funny, after a while Elder Park just kept picking up the book simply because he knew the guy would push it down again, he just liked messing with him. The guy did end up taking a pamphlet though, and even though he wouldn't even let Elder Park hold the Book of Mormon, he was still pretty courteous.

Some time since I left Kato the YSA room has managed to acquire several more crazy puzzles. 1500 piece puzzles that look so fun! So we borrowed one, warmed ourselves up by doing my 100 piece princess puzzle first, and then started on the beast. The picture is of a yellow Lamborghini speeding down a street. It's awesome, I did the entire car first, it's massive, we expect the whole puzzle with probably cover our kitchen table.

On Saturday we had sport Saturday. We played soccer, so I was able to try an improve what little soccer skills I have. We got two teenage boys who were sharing the field with us to play too. They were insanely good. One of the boys could have probably beaten us all by himself. I've found that when I play soccer, or futbal, I do best when I decide to just sacrifice my body for the game, so there were multiple times when I just charged people and tried to kick the ball out from under them. Thankfully, because of kung fu, my shins don't bruise easily.

That night, after playing soccer, we went to drop off a ton of tracting letters. 200 to be precise. And at domki, which meant that we were doing a lot of walking all over little neighborhoods with cobblestone streets and dogs, everywhere. I love dogs... but not when I'm tracting, then they are the worst. So many times we'd be walking toward a house, ready to drop the letter in their letter box and we'd heard a deep, loud, bark... that's always the best sound when tracting, because then you know that it will quickly be followed by a solid 5 minutes of barking... dogs man... We did see one Yorkie though that was just the cutest, sweetest little thing in the whole world. It didn't bark at all, it was just excited to see us, so we got to pet him. He was so little he could have easily slipped through the bars in the fence, but he was well trained enough that he didn't.

After we were done tracting, our legs were sore from soccer, and our feet were sore from walking. And we got to the bus stop, only to find that we had been wrong about the bus schedule, and that instead of there being a bus at 20:30, like we though, which would get us to our house only a few minutes late, there wasn't going to be a bus until 21:30... and we were way to far from home and sore to even consider walking. We had to call the elders and get them to go to the chapel and use Google maps to help us get to a different bus stop, because we were far enough away from kato that our maps didn't have that area on it. It was a crazy adventure, but we managed to find our way home by around 21:25, only 25 minutes late. It was kind of fun though, while we waited for the elders to get to the chapel, sis Allowitz and I played Uno at the bus stop. Such a great game, uno, I never leave the house without it 馃槈

Yesterday was Sunday, so I got to see all the members again. A lot of them remembered me, which was cool because I didn't really talk much last time I was here so I didn't really think I'd made an impression on any of them. It was fun too because Prez Urban didn't make Elder Garret or I get up and say anything in sacrament meeting, because we have both served here before, but he did make sis Allowitz say something, haha! Dodged a bullet!

That's basically it for this week, hot dang how the time flies!

Kocham was!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Kato Calling... Again

That's right, transfers came and went and I'm back in Katowice! Woo! This time though, We're in a different apartment, a very nice apartment, which is great, and I'm in a threesome with Sis Allowitz and Sis Johnston. We've only had one day of the transfer so far but it's been pretty fun. Our district is huge. There's me and sis Allowitz and sis Johnston and then elders Summers, Garcia, Garret, and Park. We're a pretty massive group. But we all get along pretty great.

As for this past week. It's kind of a blur. It started out soooo long. On Tuesday sis Carlson and I were complaining that the day we never going to end! Tuesday was hilarious though. It was another one of those days were Sis Carlson had nightmares all night and was super jumpy in the morning. So we, well I, was just chilling, studying, and then sis Carlson was like "We need to leave the apartment!" so we had to leave at like 9:00 and figured we'd just finish studies at the chapel before district meeting. The Elders had been bugging us about how hot is was in their apartment though and had asked if we could bring them one of our 3 fans. So we had to bring the fan with us. I carried it, in two pieces the whole way, and it was like our useless third companion. It just sat there getting dust all over me and attracting tons of attention. People were staring at me more with the fan, than they normally do with just my badge. And people, like, didn't sit near me on the tram, it was weird. At one point I literally had a circle of empty chairs around me like I had a force field or something. Anyway, we named the fan Debbie, because of Spongebob.

On the way to the chapel the Elders called us and asked if we would go to Alma (a grocery store in Renoma mall) and buy peanut butter for district meeting. We didn't want to because it was way out of the way, but we decided we would because we were already out. When we got to the store I wanted to wait outside with Debbie, but this security guard kept walking slowly by me, eyeing me suspiciously like he thought I might just freak out and start bludgeoning people with the fan or something. So I just gave in and brought Debbie in with me.

Then, after we had bought the peanut butter and were on the way back to the chapel we got reversed bench contacted by some old JW ladies. It was super weird because we were just walking by, carrying Debbie and they suddenly just scooted to the end of their seats, brandishing pamphlets at us and shouting something about the name of God. We were like "What is happening!? Debbie!" and we like ran away, it was hilarious.

Then later that day we had a whiteboard and we had one of our fancy posters up, it was the one that has a bunch of pictures of Jesus from the bible videos on it. Elder Connelly was holding up the banner (because if there isn't someone near it on a windy day it might just turn into a sail and fly away) This old man came up pushing along a scooter. He stopped in front of the banner pointed at the picture of Jesus and asked Elder Connelly - Old Man - "Czy to nasz B贸g?" (is that our god?) Connelly - "To Jezus" (that's Jesus) Old Man - "Czy on jest Bogiem?" (is he God?) Connelly - "On jest synem Boga" (He's the son of God) Old Man - "Och, dzi臋kuj臋!" (Oh, Thank you) And then he just abruptly hopped on his scooter and rode happily away. Elder Connelly was like "Wait! Do you want to talk about that more?" It was so funny.

We got stuck in the chapel elevator for about 10 minutes. It was a ridiculously short time, but it was funny because that elevator is so slow we didn't even realise it wasn't moving for about 5 minutes. After we got out sis Carlson like burst out of the Elevator and was like "We made it you guys! We survived!"

We had another banner on Thursday when the zone leaders and President Edgren came down. We used the Jesus banner again. I had dumped my bag onto the banner to try to keep it from blowing away, but at one point it still took flight a little. it started to fall and just before it hit the ground a tourist walking by in a tour group caught it and said "I saved Jesus!" Sis Carlson just lost it, she died laughing, because it was just so bizarre!

On Friday we went tracting with the Elders. on the tram ride back at the end of the night Elder Connelly decided to try to strike up a conversation with the guy next to him. So he figured he'd just ask him a random question. So Elder Connelly asked the man how deep the river outside was. The guy was totally confused by his question and the first thing he did was ask if Elder Connelly was planning to try and drown himself in it! Haha! Elder Connelly was like"What!? No! I'm just curious!" The girl next to him was shaking with laughter, it was great. It always seems like whenever Elder Connelly asks a Pole a question he ends up having to apologise or they totally misunderstand it, It's not a problem with his Polish, it's just him it's so funny!

On Saturday we got our transfer calls. Sis Carlson and I were expecting to have to wait almost all day for our calls, because that's how it usually goes for me. But no, at 11:13 we got our calls. It was good because we had a little more time to prepare, because we found out we would both be leaving. Sis Carlson is now in Warsaw 2 with Sis Benson. So yeah, we had to pack and finish cleaning the apartment. I had to buy a new suitcase because the wheels were literally sanded flat on my purple bag. Packing was a nightmare too I have too much stuff. I got it all though and I ended up not having quite as much trouble getting my stuff to the dworzec and onto the train as I did when I left Kato.

Sunday was lots of fun. It was sad because we had our last lesson with Lucyna. She's been making so much progress with the no smoking program. She still hasn't quit all the way and she has some trouble doing all the steps, like avoiding temptation. In order to avoid temptation in Poland she would have to not leave her house, and then she wouldn't be able to to do the "keep busy" step at all. So it's pretty tough for her but she's been doing what she can and it's been helping her to slowly weed out the cigarettes, so that's awesome! We had a great lesson with her though, and Sis Carlson gave her a painting she had done of some sunflowers. Lucyna just loved it, and she was so happy and smiley all day, it was great.

We had a great relief society lesson too. It was on following the prophet and we made origami. I messed mine up once, and had to re-start. And then, right as I got to the point where everyone else was I ripped it! It still turned out though, but my horse has one gimpy leg.

That's basically it for the week. I'm back in Kato for my last transfer, it's awesome and Elder Garcia and Elder Garret and going home at the end of this transfer too, so there's three of us dying!

Kocham was!

P.S. Totally random thing - this week I learned what "semper ubi sub ubi" means. I remember hearing it in Nancy drew all the time and I didn't know what it meant. It means "always where under where"

Monday, August 24, 2015

Sto Lat!

Sto lat, sto lat, Niech 偶yje, 偶yje nam. Sto lat, sto lat, Niech 偶yje, 偶yje nam. Jeszcze raz, jeszcze raz, Niech 偶yje, 偶yje nam, Niech 偶yje nam! Sto lat!

Yay! It was my birthday this week! I am now 25, holy crap, I'm old... but it's OK, because I'm still not the oldest missionary in the mission. Elder Jones is about a month older than me, ha! Suck it Elder Jones!

For my birthday it was a pretty regular Wednesday except that people kept texting me to wish me a happy birthday, or calling me so they could sing "Sto Lat" (Sister Holden's Sto Lat song came a full two days late 馃槃)

Some people for some reason kept singing it "niech 偶yj臋, 偶yj臋 nam" which makes zero sense, because then instead of saying "let him/her live for us", it would be saying "let me! live for us!" Sometimes I hear missionaries sing it like that and it makes me cringe 馃槴

At the end of the day after the flow of birthday greetings had died down from a rushing river (picture Lord of the Rings) to a little stream (I'm totally exaggerating, I got like 5...) We went with the Elders to BLT and Flatbreads and got dinner. It was a lot of fun, but I didn't realise until we were already home and planning, that I had forgotten to make Sister Carlson and Elder Lanterman get me a present! (Elder Connelly had already given me the watch he was no longer using, because mine is about 4 hours and 15 minutes off and broken enough that I can't adjust the time). That was sad and unfortunate, because I didn't have any presents to open on my birthday, but I did have then get me Fallout:New Vegas, for PC on Friday 馃榾.

The best part of the day was around lunch time. Sis Carlson and I had had a lesson with Lucyna in the chapel, so we just ran to 呕abka and picked up lunch there. I decided to get myself a Coke and a birthday present to myself. Coke is doing some kind of promotion that I don't understand, and I don't know whether or not they are doing it in the states too, but most of the Coke bottles have something written on them. I grabbed one that I thought was very appropriate for the day, it said "Kr贸lowa Wszytkiego" (Queen of Everything). Later we were in the chapel, eating our food and chatting with the Elders before our meeting with the branch mission leader. Elder Connelly said something sassy (jak zawsze) and I can't remember, for the life of me, what it was, but I responded with something similarly sassy that I also can't remember. Elder Connelly asked "Who made you queen?" And in response I grabbed my Coke bottle and held it out to him. He was so shocked he just looked at it and was like "Of course you would just have that here!"

We also had culture night this week. I finally got to go to the oldest restaurant in Europe. It's on the Rynek, we pass it all the time, I see it so much, yet I have never been there. It's ridiculous when I think that I've served almost my entire mission in this city and I've never gone there... As for how the restaurant was... it was OK. We all agreed after we had received our food that Elder Connelly made the best choice. He got 偶urek with bia艂y kie艂basa in a bread bowl! so basically awesome soup. I got kotlet, which I can only describe as basically chicken fried pork. Sis Carlson got a slab of fish, and Elder Lanterman got a whole fish, bones, scales, head, and all, lol. It was a lot of fun though. After that we went and got my birthday present, then got ice cream and then went to see the fountain show that I saw in my first and second transfers. It was supposed to play music with the lights and water, but for some reason it didn't. It was still lots of fun though. It was nice and cool in the area, so we just sat and watched the fountain and talked about how much we want to go swimming.

We had an awesome thing happen on Thursday night. We had finished planning, and were getting ready for bed, it was already ju偶 czas (in other words, it was past 10:00) when sis Carlson got a call. She thought it was Elder Lanterman because 1, we had just been talking to him, and 2, aside from Elder Lanterman, basically no one calls sis Carlson's phone, she has only had it for about 2 weeks, and no one really has her number yet. It was a number she didn't know though. So she answered it and the guy asked if she was still in Szczecin. She said no, she's in Wroc艂膮w now, and he was like "I need to contact the missionaries in Szczecin, I have a referral for them from Ireland." So called the Elders and the Sisters in Szczecin (because the guy wanted both of their numbers) and told them that the guy would be calling, and gave them his number in case they didn't hear from him in like a day. So, Elder Jourdan, in Szczecin, contacted the referral on Saturday, found out they were already in Szczecin, and that it is a family,mom and dad, and four kids. So he invited them to church, they came yesterday, met with the missionaries after church, and now the mom and the dad both have baptismal dates! Woo! It's awesome!

We had second church in Legnica again. It was cool because this time a less active who lives far from Wroc艂aw was able to come. At the start of church the whole front row was filled with the various children of the branch. All three Ciele艅ski girls, and three of the Za艅 boys. Also, Aj Call (because he was passing the sacrament) and Sister Ciele艅ska (to wrangle the dzieci). At the start of Sis Call's talk they were all still relatively reverent. They had made it through the hymns and the sacrament, and were doing alright. By the end of sis Call's talk, however, the only person left on the front row was Dominik, the second oldest Za艅 boy, who was sitting reverently, hanging on sis Call's every word. It was super funny, and ridiculous. So many children wandered up to the front with President's Za艅 and Ciele艅ski, only to trip, bash their head on something, burst into tears, and have to be carried out of the room, it was chaos!

We've been using the no smoking program with our investigator Lucyna, and it's been really helping, she still hasn't been able to completely kick the habit, but she is slowly smoking less and less, and we're hoping she will be able to get baptised sometime in the next couple of weeks, woo! Pray for her!

Beyond that there wasn't a whole lot else that happened this week, just some little funny things. It was a pretty chill birthday week. I'll list some of the cool/funny things though -

Sis Carlson bought a Cactus from Biedronka. We painstakingly pulled it out of it's pot and switched it into another pot in the store so she could have the specific cactus she wanted in the specific pot she wanted, which was a purple pot that was not broken. We got only a few battle scars. I came away from Biedronka with a spine stuck in my hand, but now Chang is sitting happily on our windowsill, enjoying the sun... Yes His name is Chang, sis Carlson named him after Professor Chang in Community because of the Arizona quote - "Arizona! Arizona backwards is still Arizona! It's a palomino!" I quote it to her all the time.

We saw a fox! It was running alongside our train from Legnica, it was so cute! And fast!

I had a guy call asking if he could change his religion so he could go to America, then he kept asking me why Obama doesn't want him to go to America, lol, I was like "I don't know, I don't represent Obama!" I gave his number to the Elders in Lublin, I'm not sure how that will go, but it was fun because it gave me an excuse to call Elder Sidwell (If you don't remember, he was one of my MTC Elders)

On Our way to the Dworzec yesterday, for second church we had just walked by this park where we had once seen rats running around, chasing at each other, and were talking about how crazy that was. Then we were walking toward this Larry sitting in front of a bunch of construction, when all of a sudden the rat just runs out or the construction toward the Larry. He saw it and yelled out in shock, so the rat got scared and ran back. Sis Carlson and I just looked at the Larry, he looked back at us and we were all like "What just happened!" I learned the word for Rat from that, because the Larry said it too us "Szczur". He said something to the effect of "Did you just see that rat?! holy crap!" Only his language was more colourful.

Also, I ate a jogurt that turned out to have mold growing all over the lid, ugh, super annoying. Sis Carlson thought it was hilarious, and it only got funnier when I opened the other container of jogurt I had bought only to find that it also had mold on it... in the exact same spot... I am cursed...馃槖

This coming Monday is transfers! 馃槻 I start my last transfer next week!!!! However, because transfer day is on Monday the 24th, P-day will be on Tuesday the 25th next week. So you can expect my next email then, and not on Monday, OK? Good!

Kocham was!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Klingon Face

The name of this email is "Klingon Face" because on Wednesday morning I found a zit on the bridge of my nose, directly between my eyes. It bugged me, so I tried popping it, but it was too deep, so I just had to deal with it. As the day went on it continued to bug me, and slowly got bigger. By the end of the day, I could actually kind of see the bump on my nose from the corner of my eye. It continued to bug me all night and I tried to get rid of it some more, but to no avail... The next morning, I looked in the mirror and it was so swollen it had actually changed the shape of my face. I looked like a rubber-forehead alien. My eyes were farther apart and my forehead changed smoothly to nose, it was ridiculous... The day after that it was, if possible, even bigger, and my right eye was so swollen I could see my lower lid. Sis Carlson kept joking that we were going to have to go to Warsaw for it... Thankfully it's been slowly getting better. I never managed to pop it, and it's still kind of there, an odd bump on my nose, but I look like me again. Truth be told I reminded myself more of a Bajoran, but I thought Bajoran Face sounded kind of lame...

So, this week there were lots more funny/cool things that happened.

We went to the zoo! It was so much fun, it was blazing hot though, by the end of it we were practically running to the nearest 偶abka for some water. We got to see tons of fish, and hippos and lions and a whole family of Lynx's which was super cute. Unfortunately I didn't realise until after we had left that we barely even saw any monkeys! We mean to go see then, but we had trouble finding them, and eventually forgot. I did get to see a couple lounging around though, and we saw lemurs, which are close. It was cool though.

On Tuesday Sis Malinowska had invited all us missionaries over to her house for dinner. She fed us so much! Go艂膮bki, potatoes, gulasz, some kind of carrot dish, and then for desert, watermelon, and ice cream. It was all really yummy. Elder Lanterman struggled though, he doesn't eat very much so he wasn't able to finish his food. He didn't even come close, sis Carlson and I put him to shame with how much we ate. It was so funny though because sis Carlson hates Carrots, and part of the meal was basically just carrots with some pineapple and almonds in it. Every time sis Carlson would finish the carrots on her plate (just wanting to get rid of them) Sis Malinowska would come by and heap more spoon-fulls of carrots on her plate, it was so funny! We were all so full by the time she brought us ice cream, we weren't even sure we wanted any. But then, we tasted it, Creme Brulee ice cream, hot dang! It was so good, we all had an appetite again, even Elder Lanterman. She brought out a liter of ice cream, and we ate the whole thing! It was so much...

We went tracting in Legnica on Thursday, and we came to one door where the lady said she had guests, but she invited us to come backon Saturday. We were hopeful, but we didn't have our hopes too high because people tell us to come back a lot of the time, and then when we do they often tell us they're not interested. But we went back and she was there, and she invited us around to the back of her house and we had a lesson. It went so well! Her name was Maria, we gave her a book and taught her a first. At first I think she was a little worried that we were just going to argue with her and try to convince her and stuff, but I told her outright "We aren't here to try and convince anyone, we are just here to invite people to read this book, and take it to God, ask him if what we're saying is true". She said she'd pray about it, and that if she felt like God was telling her to go down a specific path, she would go there. We invited her to church in Legnica and we're hopeful that she will come, it was really cool though.

We had a really funny thing happen while tracting. Sis Carlson was at the door of this house, and I had been shutting the gate (it was a domek so it was a small home with a gate and a little yard). Sis Carlson asks "What does this say?" I look and her finger is hovering above the doorbell, and there's a note there that says something to the effect of, "don't ring the doorbell, please knock". So I'm reading this, and just as I'm about to tell Sis Carlson not to ring the doorbell, she (still looking at me, with her finger over the ringer) just presses the button. The doorbell rang and it was loud! And it was dying slightly, so the sound was super creepy. As the doorbell was giving its accursed wail, I managed to say "No! It said not to ring it!" Sis Carlson got the most horrified expression on her face (exactly like this - 馃槻)and then just started running. I was like "Are we really doing this?" And then she was outtie, running down the street. So naturally I ran too. We each booked it down opposite sides of the street and didn't stop until we were far enough from the house that if they looked out, they wouldn't see us... it was ridiculous! That's right, we ding dong ditched a place!

I had another talk this week. I've given more talks on my mission in Wroc艂aw than at any other time in my life. I threw this one together really fast, and mostly ended up reading stuff from a talk and from the scriptures, I basically brought the entire gospel library with me up to the pulpit. It went really well though, and this time I didn't forget a page.

You know what's really nice, when someone approaches us and they don't say "you guys are Jehovah's witnesses, right?" Yesterday while we were tracting we were approached by a guy who actually said "You guys are Mormons, right?" It was cool. He studies religion and asked if he could get a copy of the D&C and Pearl of Great Price in Polish, because he has it in English but thinks it would be easier to really understand it in Polish, so we're bringing him that tonight. Pretty cool, pretty cool.

Random funny moment. Sis Carlson was going to eat an egg salad sandwich for lunch, so she went through all the trouble of getting it ready. Then, just as she finished peeling off the last bit of the shell she stopped, looked at the egg, then looked at me and said "I don't want this..." So I ate it... It was ridiculous.

There was some kind of anime convention going on, so there were people walking around in full costumes all over the place, and there were Bronies, meaning guys who like My Little Pony, more than any human being should. We saw many a guy dressed like ponies with oddly coloured hair and tails... it was strange...

I've basically been living off of frosting this whole week. I bought this chocolate spread at the beginning of the week, and I sometimes put it on pretzels or cookies, but mostly I've just been eating it straight out of the container. It's so good, but every time I do it I picture Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes her and I get a little freaked out...

Also, it has reached un-freaking-believable levels of hot here. I can't even accurately describe how uncomfortable it is all...the...time! And because of that, every time we go tracting we generally see a lot of people ranging from kind of naked, to super naked... people just answer the door with no clothes on! It baffles me!

And, last, but certainly not least, the Wizard's name is....


The Elders contacted him! He's an opera singer from England and he already has a book of Mormon and has prayed about it, but hasn't really felt like he's gotten an answer yet. He super cool though, and sis Carlson and I were really happy to be able to find out his name... We still think he's a wizard though.

That's basically it for this week. Kocham was!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Is That Chocolate I see in the Sacrament Bread?

Good news! We remembered to change the hymns this week, so for the first time is 3 weeks we didn't sing "Duch Bo偶y Jak P艂omie艅 Naj艣wi臋tszy" (The Spirit of God). However, no one remembered to bring bread for the sacrament, but, luckily, a week earlier, as a fun service project for the branch we (the Sisters and the Elders) made a ton of chocolate-chip zucchini bread and brought it to the members and less actives, and there was still some left in the freezer. So for the sacrament yesterday we had chocolate chip zucchini bread. It was hilarious, and super yummy. It was made even funnier too when Sister Za艅 got up to bear her testimony and started by talking about how after fasting, the sacrament bread tasted like the manna in the desert.

This week was a little scattered but there were a lot of really cool and funny things that happened so I'm just going to basically list them.

We had another lesson with the woman from last week who talked so much that sister Carlson almost lost her mind. This time it went much better, we were able to keep her from going into politics, and keep her from yarning too much. We taught her a first, which she's already had, but the last time she met with missionaries it was with Sister Wood and Sister Whiteley, so it's been a while, and we figured she could use a re-fresher. It went really well, and she wants to keep meeting with us, but shes going out of town for all of August, so, I guess we'll see what happens in future. There was a moment near the end though where it almost looked like she was going to answer our question for a half hour and sis Carlson started to get restless in her chair, ha ha, she can't handle it when people talk too much.

On Wednesday we were riding the tram to the chapel and saw a group of three friends, one girl and two guys. The girl had slightly curly brown hair and she was clearly dating one of the guys. He had red hair and was very tall. And the other guy was thin with black hair and glasses... Yep, we saw Harry, Ron and Hermione! And the best part about it, Ron was actually British... and he was really good looking, which was a bonus! It was hilarious, sis Carlson and I couldn't stop staring at them. And What made it even better was that later that day, as we were getting on our tram to go home we looked back onto the platform and saw... THE WIZARD! If you don't remember the wizard, I talked about him a few weeks ago, he rode back from Legnica with us and was watching old episodes of doctor who and some other strange show. This is the third time we've seen him, and we managed to get a picture of him!

​That's me with the wizard, he's the one in the Tux... not the lady in the flowered top... And he has a BOWTIE!

What was also cool was that we showed the picture to the Elders and Elder Connelly is about 90% sure he has talked to the wizard! It's so cool!

Wednesday afternoon we dropped off letters for tracting at a new place we found. It's got lots of cute domki (houses) and tons of cats, and it's really nice. However, it has tons of bees and butterflies as well, two things that sister Carlson hates. There were multiple times while dropping off letters, and while tracting two days later, when sis Carlson would suddenly start freaking out because a bee or a butterfly was following her. One house had a bunch of bushes so infested with bees that Sis Carlson wouldn't even go near it, and I had to run up to the mail box, drop the letter in, and run away as fast as I could. There were also a lot of spiderwebs stretched across peoples' walkways. So as we made our way up to the door to tract, Sis Carlson was waving her arm straight out in front of her, trying to catch any spiderwebs before they caught her in the face, but mostly it just made it look like she was chanting, it was so funny.

Wednesday was pretty packed with crazy stuff, we also saw a hilariously crazy old Babcia sitting on a bench next to a Larry. The Babcia was holding her arm out to the Larry and making a motion like she was sprinkling salt on her hand, then she would stop and lick her hand, then go back to sprinkling salt on it. What made it extra funny was that the Larry was leaning away from her and looking at her from the corner of his eye, totally freaked out by her. Then she stood up abruptly, followed some people to the bank nearby and stood outside it waiting for them. Then, she suddenly rushed away, toward the crosswalk and started shepherding people, who were already standing about 5 feet from the street, away from the cars in the street. It was so funny, and the whole time the Larry on the bench was looking at her like "What's her deal!?"

Thursday was Zone Conference, it was really good. It was in Krak贸w though, so we had to get up early to take a bus there. Sis Carlson and I forgot to bring breakfast for the bus ride, but the Elders had remembered. Both of them brought jars of Nutella, and Elder Lanterman brought pretzels. We bummed some pretzels off of Elder Lanterman, and then Elder Connelly gave us the last fourth of his jar of Nutella. After Sis Carlson ate all that sugar, she hit a crazy sugar high and was freaking out for the rest of the ride to Krak贸w. It was so funny, There were moments where I half expected her to climb out the window in the ceiling above us and try to car-surf.

Totally random but funny thing that happened at Zone Conference. Sister Dalton, One of the senior missionaries in Krak贸w, bought a Watermelon to serve to us for lunch at Zone Conference, but when she cut it open instead of being Red inside, it was bright Yellow... We don't know why, and it still tasted like regular watermelon, but it was Yellow.

When we tracted that area with all the bees and butterflies we had a pretty funny thing happen.We stopped at this one house which was clearly owned by Catholics, because they had the blessing written above the door frame. We were hopeful anyway, and when we had dropped off letters two days before I had actually seen the woman who lived there come out and get the letter from her mailbox. However, when she came to the door, she opened it and shut it in one swift movement, it was hilarious. As she opened she said "Dzie艅 dobry" (Good Morning) and then saw us, recognition hit, and she quickly changed the direction of her door and said "Do widzenia" (Goodbye).

Saturday we went to Legnica. We dropped off letters to go tracting there too and had an incredibly awkward moment. We reached this one house, that didn't appear to have a mailbox, so Sis Carlson decided to go put it on the person's doorstep. She was creeping up the steps and was just leaning down to drop off the letter when a woman flung the door open and asked her what she was doing. Sis Carlson did not know how to respond. I rushed to help her, but even I felt so caught off guard and awkward that I didn't know how to explain what we were doing. The whole thing ending with the lady not taking our letter and us walking away laughing in the awkward, it was so much.

On the train ride home from Legnica we were all a little slap happy. We had the Elders with us and we were laughing and making jokes and just felt like dorks. At one point we pulled up to a stop and I looked out to see about 6 young boys sitting on the platform. One of them looked at me and made a face, and I, by instinct, made a weird face back. The kid and I and all his friends just immediately lost control and we all died laughing. I think the kid was just super shocked that I had made a face back at him, and I was a little surprised too, it was so funny. We then continued to make faces at each other until the train left the station about a minute later.

It was the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising on Saturday. I've heard that in Warsaw everyone stops no one moves for like a solid minute. It was not so much like that in Legnica. At first we didn't even realise what it was. Suddenly we heard a loud siren, like a bomb raid, going off in the streets. We realised what was happening after a few seconds and so we stopped moving, but it was basically us and an old guy who stopped, everyone else kept walking around. So we felt more patriotic than the actual Polish people around us, but yeah, it was pretty cool.

We had lots of people in church this week, lots of visitors. Sister Edgren and her granddaughter. Sister Smithee, who served here two years ago, and her husband, and three ladies and a guy from France. We also had the Daltons visiting from Krak贸w. So our chapel was pretty packed and we had a good amount of volume for the hymns which we haven't really had for a couple of weeks.

And, last story for the week, we saw a guy stumbling around the Tram platform, so drunk, that he tried to sit in mid air, and almost fell, then almost got hit by a tram, literally, he was falling backwards onto the tracks as it passed, I don't know how he didn't get hit. Then he eventually found his way to a bench and passed out while trying to read a coupon for Costa Coffee... and people wonder why I don't drink...

Well, that's basically it for this week, on to the next! We are going to the zoo today for p-day. The zoo is celebrating it's 150th anniversary. I'm so excited! MONKEYS!!!!!

Kocham was!