Prepare to Serve

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Week Where Everything That Could Have Happened, Happened... Except a Baptism...

This week I want to start off with a lovely story about my companion. So, yesterday Sister McCleary got up in sacrament meeting and bore her testimony about Lord of the Rings, likening it to the gospel :) ... it... was... awesome. Oh, and I should probably also mention that this sacrament meeting consisted of only the missionaries. I'll explain. This week was district conference, which meant that all the members went to Katowice for church, but, because Wrocław is so far from Katowice (I guess that's the reason) we missionaries can't go unless we have an investigator going, and none of our investigators could make it... So, all six of us stayed in Wrocław and held our own sacrament meeting. It was great, and really entertaining.

Elder Wynne was presiding, so he chose Elder Jackson to conduct, which was his first mistake. Jackson quickly went mad with power and announced randomly that Elders Wynne and Remy would perform a musical number for us, and that they would sing popcorn popping. Wynne said sadly that once it was announced it had to happen, so they sang popcorn popping, and then announced that all the elders would perform another musical number, Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief... all 7 verses. After that, Elder Jackson got up again, and, exercising his last bit of power, told us all that Sister McCleary would be giving us a talk on Lord of the Rings and the gospel. It was great, she came up with the whole thing on the spot and it was actually really beautiful. She focused mostly on the two towers and quoted Sam's speech to Frodo, Elder Remy was crying the whole time, it was awesome.

That was Sunday, and it was great, the rest of the week was not so great. We saw a lot of cool things, had a lot of prayers answered and even had quite a few laughs, but it was just a stressful week. We had to plan for several things that then didn't end up happening. We were going to have a baptism, very short notice, we got everything ready, invited a bunch of people, and then, unfortunately, some stuff happened, and we had to postpone it. We aso had zone conference, which is normally in Katowice, but at the last second was changed to Kraków. Kraków is a lovely city, I've been there a couple of times on exchanges, but it is really far from Wrocław so in order to get there on time for Zone Training we had to take a train at 5:52 in the morning. That was a pretty crazy morning too, we woke up at about 3:50 got ready to go, and stepped out the door of our building to see the tram that we absolutely had to catch, pass us. So we both had to sprint to the tram stop (which is like 2 blocks away) to catch this tram. We caught it, thankfully, but after a few minutes on the tram we realised we'd forgotten our phone.

Other than that, zone training was pretty fun. We got to hang out with all the missionaries from Katowice, Kraków, and Kielce and eat good food. The talks were all great, and we got to walk through the rynek on the way back to the Dworzec, which is always fun, the Kraków rynek is beautiful. And on the train ride to and from Kraków Elders Wynne, Remy, and Torres, and I all played Magic, a lot, it was fun.

Sister McCleary had this to say about the talk the APs gave at Zone Conference, and I thought it was funny so I'm just going to paste it in - "It was great trying to watch Elder Retallick try to use baseball as an metaphor for life. It was funny, he was trying to use batters and strikes and he did really well until he got to the name of the batter. He was like "...the one who holds the bat- do you have a special name for them?" All of the other missionaries were American, except Elder Weggerson, but he's not important here, said together "Batter." Elder Retallick rolled his eyes and said "oh, wow." then went on with his lecture, it was hilarious! I love Brits, they think they know everything!"

On Friday we had a fun lesson with one of our members here, Agnieszka, and her husband, Adam, who has been investigating the church for about 23 years. While we were there Dainel, their son, was playing with legos and kept insisting that his parents help him. Finally they agreed to help so he ran back and forth bringing shirt-fulls of Legos into the kitchen and dumping them on the table in front of us. After he was done Agnieszka looked at us and basically said, "you two can build the house, right?" so we got to play with legos during our lesson, it was fantastic. I'll admit I got a little carried away toward the end, I gave the house a facade with a rose window. Then I found a few lego guys, some fire, and guns and put together a scene. I barricaded the door with wooden boxes and a dresser, then put a guy inside the house with two guns and a dog. And on the outside I put fire around the wooden boxes and three guys holding guns, one of them was also holding a gas can. And then I put one guy sneaking around the back of the house to the back window. It was funny to see Sister McCleary, Agnieszka and and Adam all slowly realise what I was building. But the best part was that once Agnieszka realised what I was doing she started helping me. She built a tree and put little flames all over it too then put it right up against the house, lol, it was so funny.

Sister McCleary had several meltdowns this week, it was very entertaining, I videotaped several of them :) During her meltdowns she would sometimes tell me random facts about animals, or pumpkin seeds, so it became fun for me to mess with her during these times by shooting her with rubber bands. However, it was dangerous to do that when she was holding her Polish Stick of Power. She whacked me good with it once, (It was an instinctive reaction) gave me a nasty welt on my leg, lol. We had a lot of rubber band wars this week, we found a huge bag of them in the chapel and learned that it's a lot of fun to shoot each other with them randomly, and also to shoot I'm a Mormon cards at each other. The cards hurt a lot more that the rubber bands, but we want to get good enough with them that we can shoot them through open car windows.

Well, I think that's pretty much it for the week. It was kind of tough just because we had so many things change on us, and fall through, but it was still pretty good, Sister McCleary and I are good about finding fun it all situations.

Kocham was

Monday, March 23, 2015

A Day Late

This email begins with a tale from last transfer, when Sister McCleary and I went on an exchange in Katowice. At one point during the exchange she said something that was straight from How I Met Your Mother. But when I pointed it out to her she said, "I've actually never seen that show". Then throughout the exchange she kept saying things that reminded me of How I Met Your Mother, and even after the exchange, when sister Smith would call her she would sometimes accidentally quote the show. And it's been the same way since we became companions. She accidentally quotes it, I point it out and we laugh. Well, this week, one morning she just turns to me and says "Sister, I have a confession to make... I actually have seen How I Met Your Mother... several times." lol, I was so shocked, suddenly it all made sense, but I'll admit I didn't believe her at first because she devised this back during our exchange! She's a crafty evil mastermind, Sister McCleary! It was just really funny because ever since she came clean we've been quoting it like crazy and everything is so much funnier than it already was... which is saying a lot.

Anyway, on to the rest of the week, we had a really fun week, a few crazy things happened, and a few awesome things. for one, I finally gave out a book by myself! Every time I've ever given anyone a book I've always had my companion with me, and it's always been something they've said that gets the person to take the book. However, this week we were doing a whiteboard with Elders Remy and Wynne, and on whiteboards we often contact alone, but sister McCleary and I had been contacting together. At one point I saw this woman and I felt like I had to talk to her, when I started walking toward her though, Sister McCleary didn't follow for some reason. She said later she felt like I needed to take it. Anyway, she can't meet until April but she was super cool, when I said that as missionaries we meet with people and help them grow closer to god she said "OK when?" It was a great experience.

There were a lot of really funny moments this week, Prezydent Cieleński was at the chapel on Tuesday, so we and Elders Remy and Wynne got kebabs and had lunch with him. Sister McCleary had a really funny talk with Cieleński about Polynesians, Sister McCleary at one point told a story about an Elder serving in Tonga who was fed dog at an investigator's house. When Prezydent Cieleński heard that he immediatelyy called Elder Fotu and insisted that he and his family repent for their actions. It was hilarious.

During our lunch with Cieleński at one point I went to get a drink of water, and when I got back Elder Remy was standing holding the seat of his chair in his hands. He and Elder Wynne then proceeded to completely destroy the chair and turn it into a shield. Apparently Prezydent Cieleński had told them to throw out the chair months ago, and they had only just then remembered.

On Friday we had an awkwardly planned day, and as a result we ate lunch very early, and didn't have time for dinner until very late. By the time we were able to get dinner we were so hungry we decided to just blow our budget and get two pizzas from Pizza Hut na winos (to go), take them home, and eat them while we watched Johnny Lingo. So that's what we did, but first we got lost. We got on our usual tram, number 3, but didn't see that it said it was going back to the factory for repairs. We didn't realise until we were almost to the Elders' apartment, which is on the other side of town. We eventually made it home but it was after about an hour and a half. By that point we were so hungry we each devoured an entire pizza and were still hungry. We also did watch Johnny Lingo, which was a miracle experience because I had downloaded the one off of the LDS website, the 20 minute one, but somehow I had actually gotten the feature length one, which is a billion times cuter. I have no idea how on earth that happened but I am under the impression that it was a tender mercy from the Lord because I've been wanting to watch it since the MTC.

Sister McCleary and I had some odd luck this week. We got winked at three times in the space of two days, which was just plain hilarious. Also, on the first of those two days sister McCleary had an interesting contacting experience. She was talking to a guy, having a really good discussion, he had to leave, so he just reached down and gave her a huge hug. I had been talking to some other people at the time, but I turned around and found sister McCleary frozen, looking totally shocked, it was hilarious.

Oh, I have a Wacek update! Sister Smith said at the end of English class she went to give him a copy of the proclamation on the family (they had given them to everyone in the class and somehow he got skipped) when she gave it to him she said his jut stood there glaring at her for like 3 full minutes (picture it like an Ammon/Lamoni moment) then said "You are a very ugly girl!" Much of the same, except that he then went over to Sister Antczak (Sister Smith's companion) and was talking to her all friendly and normal, like he's not a crazy person or something! lol

And that's basically it for the week, it was pretty fun :)

Kocham was.

(She says the Polish is wrong on her drawing, they figured that out after the fact.)

Monday, March 16, 2015

Sisters Conference

This past week seemed really short. We had a Sister's conference in Warsaw, so on Tuesday morning we left bright and early for a 6 hour train ride. However, we forgot to buy food before we left, so about an hour before we passed through Katowice, we called Elder Weggersen and had him and Elder Ahlander (who was there on exchange) bring food to us on the train. They passed it to us through the windows of the train just before it left, it was great :). Sister McCleary and I found ways to entertain ourselves for the majority of the journey, though. Mostly, I walked her through every episode of "The 10th Kingdom" It took 4 hours and it was awesome! Then when I finished we had just enough time for her to walk me through a few episodes of Parks and Rec and Modern Family... and that was our train ride :)

By the time we got into Warsaw in was about 16:00 and we were starving. We were supposed to get to the mission home with enough time that we could chat with the other sisters and be ready for dinner at 17:00 but we were stuck in Warsaw traffic for so long that we didn't end up getting to the mission home until after 17:00

We had some really fun presentations, activities, and talks at the Sisters conference, and we even had a guest speaker through skype, I think her name was Linda Wilson. It was lots of fun, and we were well fed by sister Edgren :)

The conference lasted 2 days, so we got to spend the night at the mission home and the next day we had more talks and presentations. It was fun. We got to meet the sisters we didn't already know and chat with the ones we did know.

Then we hopped back on the train and headed back to Wrocław. This time our train ride was not as... I don't want to say eventful, because all we did was walk each other through TV shows... it seemed much longer the second time around. Sister McCleary slept for about an hour and I listened to a John Bytheway talk. Then we talked for several hours. Then we chatted a bit with a woman who had come into our compartment. Then we watched this adorable little baby run through the hall in the train for a while, then he (or she... we never quite figured out which) came wandering into our apartment for a bit, pursued by his mother. Then for the last 20 minutes of our journey when it was super dark and creepy outside, and we were all alone in our compartment, we were joined by a silent slightly creepy dude who kind of smelled like blood... we really hope he just works in a factory where there's lots of iron or something, and that he wasn't a serial killer. And that was it for Wednesday.

Thursday was a really tough day for me and Sister McCleary. Everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong, we had many stupid little injuries (nothing serious, just dumb things) and we just weren't having a very nice day. It got a little better though when we went to the chapel and found that Elders Remy and Wynne had made us treats. Even so, it was still a hard day. Sister McCleary even tried speaking like a southern belle for two straight hours to try to lighten the mood. It was really entertaining, but then she couldn't snap out of it when she was trying to speak Polish, so that was a hilarious problem for her, lol.

What made the day better was when we had a whiteboard with the Elders. Sister McCleary and I stopped a girl and started talking to her, and it was an awesome lesson! We could feel the spirit so strong. I had made a goal during the sisters conference to be more bold in my contacting and in inviting, and I really stuck to it. We got so many promptings from the spirit and we really taught in unity. The girl was so stubborn though. She could not understand why we would ask god about this stuff, she was like "we have the commandments, all we need to do is follow them" and we were like "God says multiple times that he will answer any question we have, why would we not take advantage of that and just ask him about literally everything!" We can get so much direction from our heavenly father, an all powerful god who created us, all we have to do is ask! Why wouldn't we just ask! I really don't understand it when people wont pray, it takes so little effort to just pray, and it can bless us so much. Anyway, it was a great lesson, and we could tell she felt the spirit and that some of the stuff we said touched her, but she wouldn't take the Book of Mormon, she came so close, but Satan talked her out of it, the jerk.

The rest of the week was kind of meh, our landlady and her husband had to come over to fix a bunch of stuff on Friday and Saturday, so we spent kind of a lot of the time inside doing planning and areabook work while they scraped chipped paint off our walls, repainted where they had scraped, fixed the hole under the shower, and replaced all the light bulbs.

On Saturday though we brought the elders along to one of our lessons, our branch mission coordinator suggested we bring them to one of our lessons with our investigator Mark (not totally sure why). Mark is dating one of the less actives in our branch, he's from Holland and he speaks English fluently. It was a pretty fun lesson, Elders Remy and Wynne are very entertaining, and at one point they did a trust fall with Mark.

That night Sister McCleary started feeling really sick, and the next day she was feeling worse, so she slept and rested most of the day and I made bread pudding.

And that was basically it for the week.

Kocham was!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Crazy Busy!

This week was really fun. I feel like I say this kind of a lot, but it was all kind of a blur, there were a lot of little funny/cool moments throughout the week though.

We had a pretty fun time at district meeting. Almost our whole district is kind of quick witted, so we were making a lot of jokes through the whole meeting. Toward the end of the meeting, somehow Elder Torres got talking about what he's going to do with his life after the mission. He told us that if he gets married he will go into business, but if he doesn't he will go to Hollywood and be an actor. There was a beat of silence and then I looked at him and said "I'll look for your movies, Elder..." it was so funny!

We had another great time poking fun at Elder Torres the next day after coordination meeting. Somehow the Elders got onto the subject of rating themselves by level of attractiveness. At one point Elder Torres ended up getting bumped to the bottom spot so Elder Jackson (his companion) looked at me and said quietly "Well, there are plenty of blind girls" I started laughing so hard that everyone knew that Jackson had said something funny, so I relayed it to the rest of the group and we all just died laughing.

We were really on something that meeting too. During the meeting, while Elder Wynne was talking to Robert (our Branch mission leader) he was doing some strange things with his hands. Slowly everyone except Elder Jackson started copying his hands. It went on for the last 20 minutes of the meeting, including the prayer, and no one could keep a straight face, except Elder Jackson. At first we kind of thought he was being a stick in the mud, but after the prayer as we continued to copy Elder Wynne's hand movements he suddenly said "Oh! I just realised what's going on!' It was so funny.

Surprisingly I have a Wacek update, Sister Smith has been keeping me informed. He came to English last week and when he walked through the door, he stopped, looked around and announced "Today, I wish to be a young boy!" Then he turned to face Sister Smith and said "You are a very ugly girl!" And wiggled his hand like a rubber pencil. lol, he's so strange!

We had a really crazy Saturday and Sunday this week, but some really cool experiences within it. First of all, I had to give a talk. Presydent Cieleński told me I could choose my topic, so I choose obedience, It went really well, but it took a long time to write, and translate. So, Saturday night I was really stressed out trying to translate it. We also had to make banana bread for the branch party that would happen after church the next day (because it was Dzień Kobiet, Women's day!) We also found out late Saturday night that we would be teaching temple prep the next day, so we were going to have to prepare a lesson for that. And, on top of that, we had a phone lesson with our investigator who lives two hours outside of Wrocław, and we were super nervous about it. We were freaking out and we couldn't figure out how to say anything that we wanted to say to her in Polish. So, we said a quick prayer and then called her. After she answered there was a moment of awkwardness where we couldn't say anything and then I just went off. I was able to say so much just about everything I wanted to say, and the lesson went just fine, I said so much stuff I didn't even know I could say and it went great!

We also managed to get through our crazy Sunday just fine. My talk went pretty great and I wasn't too nervous about it. I was up super late translating it though, so I didn't get a chance to read through it before, so, I just walked up to the podium and read it. We had Elder Allen and Elder Fotu there, they've been travelling around Poland on special assignment from Prezydent Edgren. Elder Allen is fantastic at Polish, so he's been going around teaching everyone, and he's sending out polish lessons to everyone. So, as I was giving my talk I tried very hard not to look at him, I really didn't want to know how many mistakes I was making. I think it went alright though.

There were some other cool/funny things that happened his week, but unfortunately I don't have time to write about them all.

Kocham was!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Back in Wrocław!

Yeah! Back in Wrocław! I still have trouble believing it, but I'm really here!

What can I say about this week. It's been one big super fun blur.

First of all, my last P-day in Kato was pretty chill, we emailed, then got food, then, guess what happened :) we were eating lunch at a place near the chapel when we saw Wacek walk by. We could not help but follow him to see where he was going, lol. We were being super creepy but it was a fun way to spend a chunk of the day. We tried to be really sneaky and followed him for a while to several small stores before we decided to stop being creepy. It was very entertaining when the Elders called us.

Me - "Hello?" *whispering because Wacek was nearby Elder Burdick - "Why are you whispering?" Me - "We're stalking Wacek" Elder Brudick - "What!? Why are you stalking our English students? That's creepy!" Me - "We just saw him walking by and we couldn't resist!"

Anyway, it was pretty fun, even though it amounted to nothing. At one point we tried to bait him by putting Sister Smith in an obvious place to see what he'd do if he recognised her, but he didn't see her.

Leaving Kato was difficult though, mostly because I found I somehow acquired too much stuff... So packing was a nightmare, and then getting my stuff to the Dworzec (train station) was a nightmare because one of the wheels on my big bag broken so I basically had to drag it. Sister Gammon, who was staying with us until the transfer, pulled a Samwise on me, she offered to take the bag for a while, then took it and basically ran the rest of the way with it. I wasn't sure how I was going to get my bags off the train, luckily I had help getting them out of the overhead compartment, by a girl in my cabin. When I was trying to drag my bags off the train I almost shouted for joy as I heard Elder Remy say "Hey Lillywhite, do you need help with your bags?" I was like "Oh my gosh, YES!" lol. He then proceeded to carry my huge broken purple bag all the way back to our apartment.

We had some cool lessons this week, there have been a few changes since I left, we have a few new people we're working with. One of our investigators, Lucyna, is really hoping to get baptised soon, but she needs to quit smoking first, so we've been working with her on that.

That's the big thing right now anyway, the rest of the week was just awesome because Sister McCleary is so much fun! We're having a great time together and it is fantastic. Our only problem is that we talk too much, lol. We need to find a better balance between talking and working, so far we've had to schedule talking time in between studies, and we might have to start setting alarms, lol.

We haven't had too many adventures so far in Wrocław. We don't have a Wacek in our English class (not sure if I'm sad about that or happy...) We did have a rather frustrating experience with a lightbulb. The lightbulb in our room burnt out very suddenly the other day, so we had to go out a buy a new one. First of all, Samsung makes lightbulbs... that just seems really strange to me. We bought one, and plugged it in, it worked great, but then that night we turned the light off, and for some reason the bulb was still partially lit... we couldn't figure out why, but it wasn't very much, like a night light, so we left it that way and just went to sleep, figuring it might eventually turn all the way off. That night I woke up at like 3:50 to see the light still partially lit and my eyes ached from tiredness. I literally felt dead on my feet, and I knew it was because of that stupid lightbulb! So, at almost 4 in the morning, to my companion's surprise, I switched the lightbulb out with one of the ones from the kitchen. It was a very entertaining situation because the next morning Sister McCleary described it to me form her side and said that I was muttering to myself like a crazy person and she had no idea what I was doing the whole time.

Other than that, not much to say about the week so far, I'm really excited to be back in Wrocław though. Great city, awesome companion, this is going to be a fantastic transfer!

Kocham was!