Sunday, June 30, 2013

Getting to Vegas...June 29, 2013. (7:45pm)

We arrived at the Chopin International Airport in Warsaw at 9:00am. We quickly went through check-in and security.  While we were in line, we met a great family in that was going to San Diego, Las Vegas and Temple Square (Salt Lake City).  We had our assistants (Elders Zelezniak and Raines) bring us a copy of the Book of Mormon and gave it to them.  When they get to Las Vegas they are supposed to call us.  We'll keep you posted... We boarded the plane and got ready for the 14 hours of flight to Las Vegas. (Andrzej, Elder and Sister Hutchinson, Elders Zelezniak and Raines.)
Landing in Las Vegas, we were met with 116  F weather. As we were waiting for our bags at the baggage claim, family members had gathered outside of Customs to greet us.
As we were about to leave the Customs area, one of the workers said, "You must be the missionaries everyone is waiting for".  I was surprised by the group that had gathered....
President was right behind me. 
As I was met by granddaughters and nieces, I couldn't wait to give them all big hugs.
Our great family members who had come to welcome us back home.
We had a chance to finally hold new grandchildren who had joined the family since we have been gone. Meet Bode (5 months) and Cooper (4 months). We then went to the Stake Center where we were met by Ward and Stake members and former missionaries. It was a great evening...even though we were exhausted.
We got to our home around 11:00pm, and found that our grandkids had made something special for us and taped it to our garage door.
The next day we attended church where President Nielson and I spoke.
A highlight of the meeting was when this great group of about 50  former Poland Warsaw Missionaries sang. The song was outstanding (Thank you, Elder Myler!) and brought tears to our eyes. We are very proud of these 'sons and daughters' of ours. (B/S McGrath, B/S Braithwait, Spears, McAdams, Steadman, Bezdjian, Brown, Jones, Ellis, Folsom, Stay, Sheets, Marshall, Fenn, Garcia, Sheahan, Petersen, Forsey, Ostler, B/S Harbor, Briggs, B/S Richards, B/S Jensen. Middle row- Smith, Dabrowski, Rogers, Smith, Murphey, Darowski, Marsing, Hillyard, Klosowiak, Waits, Johnson, Hulme. Top row- Lundin, Tribe, Curtis, Buckner, Tanner, Jensen, Kennedy, Myler, B/S Garrett)
Speaking of sons and daughters, we were able to take a new family photo with our children and grandchildren. We love and appreciate all they did for us while we were gone. We couldn't have served without their support. They took care of each other. WE LOVE YOU, and thank you for all you did!
President Nielson and me with our 11 grandchildren. A precious group! There is a saying in the church...."If you love them, leave them." I know that God blessed our family as we were serving our missions.
We loved every minute in Poland.  We have eternal friendships with so many members and our missionaries.  Some may think leaving your family and home for three years would be difficult or a sacrifice.  We found that the Lord blessed us far more than we could have ever imagined.  Our mission will be one of the highlights of our lives.  We are so grateful to the many wonderful people who prayed for us, wrote us, supported us, thought about us and most important blessed our lives by their examples and testimonies.  We have experienced the mighty change of heart.  This Church is true.  The Book of Mormon is the word of God.  President Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today.  The keys of the Priesthood of God are found in this Church.  Jesus Christ has restored His Church on the earth today.  Of these things we testify of and certify to the world.
We are so blessed, and we love you! Until we meet again...

Friday, June 28, 2013

President and Sister Edgren arrive in Poland!

We found ourselves back eight hours later at the airport Friday afternoon, but this time...
...we were waiting for 2 very important people to the Church in Poland...the new Mission President and his wife. The wait was getting long...which meant there might be a problem. 
Soon they arrived from the baggage claim area....all smiles (even after losing 5 bags!) A warm welcome to President and Sister Edgren to the beautiful country of Poland.
The Edgrens at their new home...the mission home. We spent a few hours together "briefly" giving them information that hopefully will help them get quickly adjusted.  We love you and wish you the very best as you lead the Poland Warsaw Mission.  We departed in a taxi for our hotel knowing that everything will be perfect in Poland.  Tomorrow it is back to the airport again- only this time it's us that will be departing.  Three years has gone by so fast...and we have loved every minute of it!

Our last group of departing Missionaries!

Well, all good things come to an end; and we have come to our last group of missionaries that we will send home.
Sister Masters volunteered to go first to leave something behind with me.
Sister Bezdjian followed--donating a favorite sweater.
Sister Young had already gone through this procedure when she returned home because of health issues for 2 months last summer. She actually is making two donations...both have meaning to us.
 There you have it...Sisters Young, Bezdjian and Masters...three of our great sister missionaries will be leaving for home very early in the morning. We love and appreciate all these Sisters have done.  They truly served with all their heart, might, mind and strength.
Flashback! Three years ago, we arrived in the mission.  It seems like this was yesterday but it was actually June 2010.

 With that in mind, President wanted to leave the tie that he wore when he arrived...
 and I wanted to leave a piece of my skirt which I lovingly refer to as 'big brown'. This skirt has seen so much of Poland.
Godfrey was also at the mission home this week and we needed something from him.  He is part of our mission family.... is President Jarosz.  This is his favorite tie. I feel honored that he let me have it.
We appreciate all he and Godfrey have done for us and our missionaries over the past three years.  Now it's off to bed because we have a 4:00am airport run to make in the morning.  Our final early trip at the end of a transfer week.
 Bright and cheery our sisters arrive at the airport. Thanks to Sister Hutchinson, we have boarding passes! That may not sound exciting to you; but what that means to us is that we get to wait in the line with 4 people instead of 40!
 One last picture with our wonderful sisters:  Sister Bezdzjian, Sister Masters and Sister Young.
We love these Sisters and wish them the best. They have all served well and given it their all. Much has been learned to help them with the rest of their lives.
That is one thing I love about a mission....all the life-lessons you learn that if implemented can change your eternity! I love being a full-time missionary and am sad that it is almost over.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Transfer Day at Warszawa Centralna.

 While some of our new arrivals left the night before from the mission home, the rest of them found themselves in downtown Warsaw getting ready to board trains for their various cities. (LtoR): Sisters Mikalauski, Ellis, Hemming, Whiteley, Petherbridge; Elders Anderson, Hardy and Pieper.
 Making sure everyone had their bags, we headed into the train station...Warszawa Centralna.
 Inside, President Nielson was showing these new Missionaries how to read the schedule.
 Taking a look at the tracks, it was just starting to get busy. We had beat the 'rush hour' traffic!
Down on the platform, Elder Zelezniak (Center) was making sure that missionaries all over Poland were moving....and moving in the right direction! Good thing he had a few 'veterans' like Elder Boyce and Elder Tingey to help direct traffic. We got word several hours later that transfers had been successful. Everyone was in their new and sound! That's always a relief! The Lord watches over his missionaries. We haven't lost one yet!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Day 2 for our New Missionaries & their Assignments

 Our new Missionaries were up early this morning ready to start their first FULL DAY of Missionary work in Poland. After spending the day contacting, teaching lessons and attending English class with some of our Missionaries serving in Warsaw, they anxiously returned home to find out who their real companions will be. Since Poland is so big and this is a large group, it was not practical to bring all the trainers in to meet their new trainees.  So...let's get started!
Elder Anderson will be serving in Lulbin with Elder Tiner.  Elder Tiner was our assistant until last week and will also be the Branch President in that great Branch.  He and Elder Anderson will be a great companionship.
Elder Hardy is assigned to Szczecin with Elder Kotter.  What a blessing that will be.  Elder Kotter is full of enthusiasm and life, and Elder Hardy is anxious to serve.
Elder Swicegood will be serving in Warsaw II with Elder Saltmarsh.  Since this is nearby, Elder Saltmarsh is with us tonight and can personally meet his new companion.  They will be heading out later tonight to stay in their apartment.  We are excited for these two to be together and all that is going on in that District and Branch.
Elder Fotu will be in Warsaw I serving with Elder Garfield.  Elder Garfield also was invited to meet his new companion. They will depart soon for their apartment to get settled tonight and then plan for tomorrow. This is another great companionship in one of our strongest branches. They will help the members and all that is going on.  These are hard working and dedicated Elders serving here.
Elder Pieper is assigned to Kielce and his companion is Elder Brown.  Kielce is moving this weekend into their new Branch Chapel, and this companionship is now in a new apartment.  These two Elders will see great success in Kielce.
Sister Ellis will be serving with Sister Blake in Wroclaw.  Great Sisters in a great Branch will mean great success.  We are excited for these two Sisters and all that is going to happen there.
Sister Petherbridge will be serving in Katowice and her companions are Sister Packard and Sister Pearson.  These Sisters will continue on with the great missionary effort in Katowice.  They will certainly find people to teach and invite them to follow the Savior.
Sister Ott will be serving in Warsaw I and with Sister Howells.  Sister Howells is in the Mission Home tonight to meet her new companion as these Sisters will leave for their apartment shortly.  Sister Howells and Sister Ott will be teaching some great investigators with baptismal dates in the near future.
Sister Whitely is assigned to Poznan and her new companion is Sister Bown.  Poznan is such a great branch. With these two wonderful Sisters, the work will continue to move forward as it has been.
Sister Hemming with be in Krakow with Sister Allen and Sister Young.  The Sisters were first assigned to Krakow our last transfer. They are setting the pace for the mission with lessons taught and great things going on in the branch.  We are excited for these three great Sisters.
Sister Mikalauski will be serving with Sister Holmgren and Sister Wendel in Lodz.  This is a great Branch in the Warsaw District, and these Sisters will see much success.  We are excited for all that has happened in Lodz, and more progress will come in the future.
Our newest Missionaries in the Poland Warsaw Mission ...with their trainers! All of these Missionaries will be leaving early in the morning to board trains for their new cities.  Elders Anderson, Hardy, Pieper.  Sisters Mikalauski, Ellis, Petherbridge, Hemming and Whiteley.  Sisters Ott and Howells with Elders Fotu, Garfield, Swicegood and Saltmarsh.
All except these 3 companionships. All their bags are loaded in the transporter, and they are ready to be dropped off at their new apartments. Planning at 9:00pm is next on their schedule!
Tomorrow is transfer day...which means many of our missionaries will be on trains traveling to their new assignments. They will be talking to everyone...because that's what we do. We talk to everyone about the wonderful message we have! The gospel is true...tell someone about it!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

We have new Missionaries!

Today was a very busy day as we continued to get everything ready to leave AND assisted in the arrival of 11 new missionaries.
Godfrey was there to make sure that the grounds of the mission home looked great for these new additions. President Nielson gave Godfrey a 'thank you gift' (a BYU hat!) to thank him for all the help he gives the missionaries on lessons. Godfrey has a solid testimony and loves to share the gospel with others.
Now it's on to the airport....
Keeping with tradition, our Assistants each received a 'Kinder Egg' to help pass the time while we wait for the arrivals. (The KinderJoy's  have especially great toys in them and can only be purchased in the hot summer months!) We are grateful for Elder Raines and Elder Zelezniak for their organization of this transfer.
It was finally time to meet our new missionaries....

Sister Mikalauski is from Kearns, Utah. She and Elder Raines, also from Kearns, surprisingly found out that they know many of the same people.
Sister Whiteley is from Provo, Utah.
Sister Ellis is from Sandy, Utah.
Sister Petherbridge is from Annapolis, Maryland.
Sister Ott is from Salt Lake City, Utah.
And our last Sister, Sister Hemming, is from Liberty, Utah. What a great group of new Sister Missionaries. They are so excited to be in Poland to finally start sharing the gospel... in Polish.
Now for our new Elders....Elder Anderson is from Hauula, Hawaii. (Winters will be different for him!)
Elder Pieper is from Taylorsville, Utah.
Elder Swicegood is from Broomfield, Colorado.
Elder Hardy is from Chino Hills, California.
And our final Elder, Elder Fotu, is from Highland, Utah. Again...these are a fine group of Elders that are here in Poland to serve their Savior.
President Nielson and I would like to extend a big WELCOME to these new missionaries. We are so glad we got to meet you and feel your strong spirits. You will be a great addition to the already great missionaries we have serving all over the country. Witamy!
Getting everyone home to the mission home (with all their luggage, I might add!), we got them all situated, President interviewed them and then it was time to eat. All rapidly came to the table....they were hungry!
After dinner, we had a special guest drop by...
Marcin came by to return a book but ended up putting on a 'mini-fireside' as the missionaries listened to his conversion story. We love and appreciate him and his good family as they help to build the church here.
Well, the new missionaries are sound asleep. Good thing....they have a big day in the morning...their first FULL day in Poland as full-time missionaries. It's going to be exciting!