Prepare to Serve

Monday, April 27, 2015

Transfers, ah!

This week was a little bit stressful, only because it was transfers week and Sister McCleary and I were freaking out because we really wanted to stay together... Well, our multiple requests to Prezydent Edgrin, and God payed off because we are staying together for another transfer! Woo! we're super excited. Unfortunately we had a lot more elders leave than are coming in, so we are losing a companionship of Elders in Wrocław. It's just going to be me and McCleary with Elders Remy and Garcia.

The way we got our call was pretty funny though. We were on our way to the chapel after contacting a referral, which you will read about later, it was pretty funny. And there must have been something going on in the city that day because it was jam packed full of people. The only thing I know of for sure was a tattoo convention. We got onto a tram that was so packed full of people that we were standing in the doorway, pressed against the door, facing each other. After a few minutes of sweltering hot silence I leaned over to Sister McCleary and said "this would be the worst possible time for us to hear the imperial march (Prezydent's ringtone) we both kind of chuckled about that... then, about 30 seconds later, what do we hear coming from sister McCleary's pocket?... that's right, the imperial march. we both looked at each other in shock and I quickly did my best to turn away from Sister McCleary so I couldn't see her reaction when she talked to him. lol, I jinx us a lot...

For example, yesterday we were walking to the tram stop, on our way to church. Sister McCleary was commenting on how perfect the weather was, and what a beautiful day it was going to be, and I couldn't help but think "Watch, the tram we need will pass us right now"... Then we both looked behind us to see the tram coming. So we both started running to the stop. Normally the tram waits at that stop for at least 2 minutes, but this one barely waited for 30 seconds. and when I was just a few feet from the door, with my hand outstretched to hit the button, it pulled away. It was ridiculous...

As for the referral we contacted. That was the mother of our investigator Adam. Adam suggested we go by and see if we could help her with anything a little while ago. And on Friday night when we were at Adam and Agnieszka's we told them we were planning to go visit her. They both looked kind of nervous and were like "OK, we'll call her to let her know you are coming". So, their semi-terrified reactions made us very apprehensive about visiting her. But we did anyway... When we got there she opened the door and was like "Kto Tam!? (who's there!?) So we explained that Adam sent us to see if we could help her with anything. She immediately asked us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses, and when we said no she opened her door wide and told us to come in. It took us a minute to react and start walking in so she suddenly yelled at us to hurry up and get in the house because she didn't have that much life left, lol. She was straight up terrifying, so we ran in and she herded us into her living room and command-form-ed us to "Siadajcie!" (sit down!) We were about 90 percent sure at this point that she was going to keep us hostage. She then asked what we were chodź-ing at, so I explained again. As I was talking her cat came into the room and mewed at us. My face went from very serious and a little scared, to a ridiculously happy smile in an instant. The cat jumped up on the table and I immediately started petting it. Then, once we started paying attention to the cat, Wanda started liking us and we ended up having a really great time there. She's not too scary after a while... but she is pretty hard to understand...

Sister McCleary and I met a really funny babcia on a whiteboard on Thursday. She had met missionaries before in Warsaw and in Łodź and was super nice. She talked to us for a while about various things. Her son who lives in Florida who now speaks Polish with an American accent, her daughter in Łodź, the fact that she was going to meet with missionaries and then got tired, lol, she was really funny, probably the funniest babcia I've ever seen. The best part was when this old guy walked by shouting random stuff (which is a pretty common occurrence in Poland) and the babcia stopped mid sentence, looked over at him and shouted back "Dziadek, cicho!" (Grampa, quiet!) It was so funny, we all just died laughing.

Then, on Friday we had our culture night, so we went to sky tower as a district. Sky tower is the largest building in Poland. it was pretty cool, we took lots of pictures, and of course, we all had to take "tool shots", meaning pictures of us posing majestically in front of the windows, looking out over our territory.

On Sunday we had cleaning checks. So after church we went home to eat lunch and clean. While we were eating we decided to watch Emma Smith: My Story. By the end of the movie Sister McCleary had fallen asleep, so I just went about and finished the cleaning before the elders arrived. Through all the cleaning Sister McCleary didn't wake up, even when I vacuumed in the same room next to her head. And that vacuum is pretty loud, so loud that I didn't hear the elders knocking on the door and ringing the doorbell. I eventually heard them and let them in, and they went about doing the cleaning check and talking loudly. But sis McCleary would not wake up. We even called out to her a few times. She didn't wake up until they were leaving and I went into the room and shouted "Sister McCleary! Are you dead? Say goodbye to the Elders!" then she woke up and looked around confused just in time to see them leave, it was hilarious! She is a very heavy sleeper, sometimes I build pillow forts around her while she is taking a nap and she wakes up in confusion, it is very entertaining for me :)

That's basically it for the week. I'm very excited to be staying in Wrocław, and I am ecstatic to be staying with sister McCleary!

Kocham was

Monday, April 20, 2015

Jinx Infinity!

This week was pretty great, there were so many little things that happened that were just really cool or really funny, so I'm basically just going to write about those things.

I should probably preface this first story by talking about our district's current obsession - Jinx. We have been jinxing each other constantly, and we abide by the jinx rules, when you jinx someone they owe you a jinx juice, or sometimes a jinx chocolate bar, or if someone jinxes someone else too many times in a row, a jinx pizza. Anyway, Sister McCleary and I have got unity out the wazoo so we are constantly jinxing each other.

After we finished emailing last Monday we went with Elders Torres and Jackson to a cathedral on the Rynek and climbed the 289 steps to the top of the tower to look out over the Rynek. It was really cool, and the view was gorgeous. On the way back down the spiral staircase Sister McCleary and I said something at the same time. We then proceeded to shout "Jinx! Jinx again! Jinx again!! Jinx again!!!! JINX AGAIN!!!" In the stairwell for at least 30 seconds until Sister McCleary finally hit me with "JINX INFINITY!" It was a very entertaining moment, the Elders just stared at us. Thank goodness they were the only other people in the stairwell.

We've also jinxed each other several times during lessons, and on the phone with sister Smith, and we've had to fight not to jinx each other at the end of prayers, it's pretty crazy.

That night Sister McCleary left for an exchange to Katowice. About 2 hours after she left though I got a call from Elder Weggersen saying that they couldn't find her train listed anywhere and that there had been a whole bunch of train accidents in southern Poland. Unfortunately I had kept the phone with me, against my better judgement because Sister McCleary had insisted I have it with me in in case we needed to get in touch with an investigator or something. So I spent the next stressed filled couple of minutes telling Elders Wynne and Torres the plot to "Death Becomes Her" in excruciating detail to try and calm myself down until Elder Weggersen called back to tell me that they had found her safe and sound and very confused about why everyone was so worried about her.

Sister Smith came here with me and we had a fun exchange together. We talked to some cool people, and had a good whiteboard with Elders Wynne and Torres. Unfortunately Sister Smith was very sick, so at one point during the whiteboard we had to take a moment to rest on a bench. We called it "reverse bench contacting" because if someone came close by and looked at our badges we would try to talk to them. It wasn't terribly effective. At one point Elder Wynne noticed us sitting down, so he contacted his way over to us to see how we were doing. As soon as he got to us, this really creepy drunk dude came by and started talking to us. Sister Smith was so sick, and just done, that she just looked and him and said "I don't speak Polish" But the guy just looked confused and kept babbling. So Elder Wynne stepped in and started talking to him. He was basically trying to scare the guy off because he kept trying to walk back over to us, and he was super drunk, and possibly crazy. So Wynne, slowly walking towards the guy and around us in a circle to keep him from getting to us was just like "Hey, we're talking to people about baptism" (but in polish) "We want to baptise you, when can we meet with you?" They guy would not leave though, even though he was like "No, I don't want to get baptised, I don't believe in a prophet, I only believe in the Pope" and stuff like that. It was weirdly hilarious though, Sister Smith and I couldn't stop laughing. Eventually Elder Torres noticed and came over to help and we were able to slip away without the creepy guy noticing. It was really funny to see Wynne slowing walking towards the guy, pushing him away from us. It was somehow simultaneously aggressive, and totally not aggressive.

At district meeting Sister Smith and I had to do a roleplay with Elder Wynne. Elder Torres had planned the roleplay and basically we were supposed to tract into Elder Wynne and we would find out what his deal was once it started. So, we knocked on the door and it creepily swung open to reveal Elder Wynne sitting down, waiting for us. He invited us in and we started asking him questions to get to know him. He told us variously things about himself and how is parents left him this enormous mansion after they died. It was around the point when he talked about how, as a boy his father would have to warn him not to fall into holes in the backyard when Sister Smith and I realised where this was going. We linked it to the gospel through prayer saying something like "What would you give to be able to talk to your father again?" Then sister Smith Asked him "What do you believe in?" and Elder Wynne responded "I believe in Harvey Dent". Then Sister Smith lost it and shouted "Flip the table! I'm not teaching Batman!" It was so funny, we all just died laughing. The sad thing is that roleplays like that are actually relatively common in our district meetings.

On Thursday I made Carbonara for me and Sister McCleary. It was pretty good. A little bit different than how dad makes it because instead of being able to buy just straight up bacon I had to buy a slab of pig, so the bacon pieces were kind of big. But it tasted pretty close and it was really good.

On Friday, we had a lesson with Lucyna, and at the very start I asked if we could start with a prayer, then noticed the door behind me was wide open, so I went to casually shut the door, but instead I somehow managed to rip it right off it's hinges and send it crashing to the ground... I'm not sure how that happened but me and Lucyna just stared at it in shock and Sister McCleary just busted out laughing.

That night, Sister McCleary made this really yummy chicken casserole that her mom makes. While we were making it though we had to leave the house several times, to run to żabka to pick up an ingredient, or to make a trash run. Each time we would get back into the house I would change back into comfy clothes, and each time we would leave I would change into clothes that I was alright with being seen in. The last time we got into the house though, Sister McCleary decided to play a prank on me. As soon as I had changed back into my comfy clothes she shouted - "Oh crap sister, I forgot a really important ingredient for the chicken! We need to go to żabka now!" So I changed, once again, into my presentable clothes. And as soon as I was fully dressed Sister McCleary, completely unable to keep herself from laughing her head off at me, said "Just kidding". If you've ever laughed so hard at something that you just couldn't physically stay standing, then you know how hard we were laughing, because we both just collapsed, it was great.

On Friday we had a whiteboard with the Elders. Sister McCleary and I we're having no luck at all and the weather was slowly starting to get worse. I was determined to get someone to stop and talk to me though. Eventually it started Hailing, so we had to concede to the weather. Elder Jackson was still talking to someone though so Sister McCleary suggested we go into the shaded area of the park and try talking to a few people. So we did, and after just a few minutes we finally found someone who wanted to talk to us. I don't quite remember her name but we had a really good discussion with her, even though she was super sassy. In the end she said she was to busy to meet, and she told us that this stuff was for Babci (grannies). We get that response so much that Sister McCleary and I both kind of lost it and said "Czy jesteśmy babciami?" (are we grannies?) It was so funny, the girl just laughed and was like "no I didn't mean it like that!" I felt like we made a good connection with her though, and the next time she meets missionaries she'll remember us and how we made her laugh, and hopefully made her think about spiritual things.

On the way back to our apartment that night we got onto a tram and a man who was straight up drunk off his feet sat next to Sister McCleary and immediately tried to strike up a conversation with her. He was so out of it, and so hard to understand that Sis McCleary was having none of that and said "I'm sorry, I don't speak Polish" the man responded in very broken, very slurred English that he spoke some English. So, Sis McCleary switched suddenly to an Irish accent and said "I'm from Ireland!" then proceeded to fake a phonecall. The guy could not understand a word she was saying, and eventually turned to talk to someone else. It was really funny, and we know at least one woman near us on the tram understood English well enough to understand what Sis McCleary was doing because she just started laughing.

Well, that's basically it for the week, it was basically just tons of little funny moments, I'm not even sure I got them all, it was a hilarious week.

Kocham was!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Year Mark!

This week was awesome! We had tons of fun, and saw so many miracles. First of all, it was my year mark, you might have been able to tell from the Subject line :) We had a lot of fun celebrating. The district all pitched in to get me a big pack of magic cards, which I've been having a lot of fun with. We also had a fun time celebrating with Elder Torres and Elder Jackson (it was Torres' year mark too)

We went to a cool Ukrainian restaurant on the Rynek. The food was really good, Sister McCleary and I both got little pots of meat and potatoes that were fantastic. Elder Torres got some kind of naleśniki, but Elder Jackson ignored all the advice I gave him and went for the cheapest thing on the menu, a soup, which he really didn't like. Then we went and got ice cream from a place called "Tra-la-la-la-la"... literally... It was packed in there, about a billion couples had all decided at that moment that they wanted ice cream, so we had to move through a sea of people to get to the counter to pay and basically force our way through a mosh pit to pick our flavors. There's a bit of a problem in Poland... no one knows how a line works... People stand literally pressed up against you when they are standing in line and you can get line-jumped by pani's in a moments notice if your not careful. At one point Torres and I were standing in line, and I could feel the couple behind us trying to edge their way in front of us, so I turned to Torres and said "Elder, assert your dominance in line!" He immediately took a step forward until he was basically pressed against the glass and we were able to go next. After that we went to to chapel so elder Torres could give me a copy of a song he had on his phone. While we were there Torres sat on a chair and it broke, so he proceeded to destroy what was left of the chair. It was very entertaining. Then later that night Sister McCleary and I burned my dictionary. It was the one they gave us in the MTC and I kept it with me all this time so I could burn it at my year mark, because it's terrible! And that's how I celebrated me year mark.

The rest of the week was pretty great too, we had lots of funny things happen and like I said earlier, we saw lots of cool miracles. For example, on Saturday we had nothing planned, so we were going to go out and just contact around for most of the day. But, in the morning Elder Torres called and asked if we had time to do a whiteboard. We said, sure why not. Because we decided to have that whiteboard we ended up taking the tram from our house, whereas we would have probably just walked if we'd been contacting, and while we were waiting for the tram a guy came up to us and asked us what our badges were about. His name was Igor (yes, Igor!) and we were able to talk to him the whole tram ride, and got off a stop early so we could invite him to church and get his number. He said he doesn't have a ton of time right now (he's a student) but he's super interested to learn more, and he's said he's got a friend who might be interested too.

The other awesome contact we had that day was Invisababcia! During the whiteboard sister McCleary and I were contacting together and at one point there was literally no one coming from any direction, when suddenly I heard sister McCleary said "Dzień dobry Pani" I turned and saw a tiny bacia (granny) standing in front of me, she had appeared literally out of nowhere but somehow sister McCleary had seen her. We talked to her for a while, gave her a book and invited her to church (we tried to set up with her but she had already wandered off saying multiple goodbye's "wszystkiego najlepszego, do widzenia, do zobaczenia, pa!" before I'd finished getting the words out. But she was super cute, she kept complimenting me and Sister McCleary on our Polish, and when she found out that we teach ourselves the language she freaked out, it was hilarious!

Yesterday was awesome too, we had a mega lesson session at Adam and Agnieszka's house. Adam has been investigating the church for about 23 years, and Agnieszka in one of the members here. we go over to their house pretty regularly for lesson, and to help them with English, and they help us with Polish. Last night we went over and had a lesson about the word of wisdom, there were parts of it Adam didn't understand, and Agnieszka wanted some clarification for using wine in cooking and coke, etc. After our lesson with them we had a lesson scheduled over the phone with our Ania, our investigator who lives 2 hours outside Wrocław (you might remember her from my emails last time I was in Wrocław, she was the one who randomly showed up to church one day, she's still super interested, but doesn't have the funds to travel to Wrocław very often) We asked Agnieszka if she would be on the lesson with us for Ania, and she agreed. So we had an awesome lesson with her. We were really thankful to have Agnieszka with us on the lesson, it's sometimes really hard to understand Ania over the phone, which is a bummer because we can only ever talk to her over the phone! After that we continued our lesson with Adam and Agnieszka a little more. It was crazy, but tons of fun.

We had so many funny things happen while we were with Adam and Agnieszka. They told us about the giant statue of Christ in Poland, which is even bigger than the one in Rio de janiero. Except that the one in Rio watches over the city, and the one in Poland watches over a Tesco. Also, the Polish people call the statue Godzilla, lol.

They also told us how lost of Catholic Poles believe that being catholic = being Polish, and they told a story about how an old Polish man once told a reporter that Jesus was a Jew before he got baptised, and after his baptism, what was he? he was Polish, lol!

Also, there were a few times during the lesson with Ania where I wrote to Agnieska on a piece of paper to make sure I was understanding what Ania was saying. After the lesson Agnieszka looked at what I wrote and, laughing, said it looked "jak kura pazurem" (like chicken scratch) we all died laughing. You all thought my handwriting was bad before, well it's only gotten worse since i left, the influence of Poles and their terrible handwriting has destroyed anything that was recognisable in my writing. Sister McCleary often jokes that she needs a Urim and Thumim to read my notes.

There was also a funny moment when we found out that it was chocolate day yesterday. Sister McCleary is allergic to chocolate, and Adam and Agnieszka are well aware, they always remember to put out some kind of snack that doesn't have cocoa in it when we come over. Well, we found out during the lesson because Cindy Call sent us a text telling us it was chocolate day. When Sister McCleary read that, Agnieszka looked at her and just busted out laughing, it was so funny.

Oh, another cool thing that happened, Church was absolutely packed yesterday. We had tons of visitors because the Edgrens came with one of their sons and his whole family. It was really cool to see so many people in church. We almost didn't have enough water for the sacrament.

That's basically it for the week, it was so great.

Kocham was

Monday, April 6, 2015

Conference in Wrocław Take 2

This week was pretty slow, the weather has been the worst. Like right now. 5 minutes ago I looked outside and it was relatively bright and clear, I just looked out 2 seconds ago and it's dark and snowing... It's been like that all week this week. Sunny and... not too cold, one minute, the next minute... Hailing. I'm not even exaggerating. On Monday we went to pizza hut to get some pizza's to take home. When we went into the restaurant it was really bright, and almost too warm for our coats. After we bought our pizzas and turned to leave 15 minutes later, pada grad! (Hail!) dime sized pieces of hail rained on us almost the entire walk to the tramstop, and during the journey home. Thank goodness we got a bag to cover our pizzas with!

Because of the weather being really changable not a lot happened this week. We had a lot of plans change on us at the last minute, and it seemed like every time we'd step outside to go talk to people, flash snowstorm! and the streets would empty!

... Oh, and it just stopped snowing outside and got sunny again.

We did have an exchange though. One of the members from Białystock, Patty, went on a mini mission to Katowice, so, sister Smith arranged a kind of different exchange. She stayed with Patty in Kato, and Sister Antczak came to Wrocław with Sister McCleary and I. It was very last minute and a lot of fun. (And now it's snowing again) So last minute in fact that the Elders didn't know she was there until she walked into our correlation meeting, lol, their faces were priceless, they were all "There's another sister here?" (and it just got so sunny my companion just said, quote "It's so sunny I expect Christ to just come down!")

While she was here Sister Antczak was on a mission (like the video game kind of mission... of course she's on a mission...), to buy Sister Smith a birthday present (it was her birthday on Friday, and it was the only time she'd be able to buy something without sister Smith there) She planned to buy her a mini chess board and a stuffed white bunny, because sister Smith is a bunny, in every way. We figured it would be hard to find the chess board, and we didn't find one. But we expected it would be easy to find a white rabbit, what with it being Easter and all... wrong, for some reason it is straight up impossible to locate a stuffed white rabbit in Wrocław... possibly in all of Poland. It was quite the adventure though.

When we took Sister Antczak to the train station the next day the weather was OK, it hadn't actually been too bad ever since the hail storm ended on Monday. As we were traveling there on the tram though we noticed some snow outside. But it was pretty light and didn't seem too bad. By the time we got into the dworzec it was a little heavier, but, after only 10 minutes in the dworzec we looked outside the windows and it was completely white. There were huge golf ball sized snowflakes falling, and the city was just gone.

The last thing of importance that happened this week was conference! It was awesome, and it was my second conference in Worcław. We watched it in the chapel, just like last time, but we had so much trouble with the live stream that we ended up going like a half hour over on all of them. On the Saturday afternoon session we went an hour over. Just about every time the picture would freeze on someone in the middle of a talk we would hold whatever food we were eating (usually cookies or pizza) to the screen and say "Are you hungry (insert name)?" At least for the first little while, then the freezing became too frequent and annoying.

It was a lot of fun though, and a really good conference, lots of talks about families. I really loved that talk by Elder Holland about the brothers rock climbing... unfortunately the video started skipping ahead to Elder Uchdorf's talk, so we didn't get to finish it... We also haven't seen the last session yet...

Anyway, that's basically it for the week, sorry for spending so much time talking about the weather, but it's been bad enough this week that it's kind of been one of the hot topics among us missionaries.

Kocham was!