Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Bittersweet Farewell

Last night we sent home our biggest group yet. After a nice dinner together and before our testimony meeting, we had our own 'special ceremony'....which included leaving a little bit of themselves in Poland. Here's how it went....
Elder Daniel Allred. As you can see, this moment was a little bittersweet. He has been serving in Wroclaw and they will miss him.
Elder James Loosli. The former district leader in Krakow. Just after we "cut off the tie" he remembered he sent his passport home two weeks ago. Needless to say he did not fly out the next morning. Instead, he was at the US Embassy getting a new passport and did leave on the same flight, just 24 hours after the rest of his group.
Elder Jesse Handley. He was serving as the Branch President in Szczecin.
Elder Rourk Contor left a tie with 'Poznan' on it. He had served in this city for a year....most of the time as a Branch President.
Elder Brandon Turley...a former Assistant that helped us get over many 'bumps' in the mission. He still makes the best salad in the mission.
Elder Kevin Guthrie. He is also known as the connoisseur of juices, yogurts and panczki.
Sister Stacy Helfrich leaves behind a piece of a sweater that she wore throughout her whole mission. She was in Gdansk.
Sister Whitney Spear leaves the mission having just trained one of our recent arrivals.
Sister Tess Brown leaves behind a piece of a favorite blouse and the city of Katowice where she had just attended the baptism of one of her investigators the night before.
Sister Nicole LeFevre leaves behind a piece of a simple white(?) t-shirt that survived the 'bed-bug' epidemic she and her companion experienced a few months back.
Sister Sydney Pritchett leaves behind the city of Lodz where she was last serving and a piece of a beautiful scarf.

We wish all these former Poland Warsaw Missionaries the very best. We love them all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Transfers and New Assignments Dec 29, 2010-

Everyone was "zonked" last night...the Elders in the basement, the Sisters on the third floor. This morning after breakfast, a few words from the President on guidelines and new assignments. Because of the wild schedules (the departing missionaries are on trains as we speak coming into the mission home), the Trainers are not able to come in and escort these new missionaries back to their new cities. So we gave them assignments, showed them pictures of their companions and made comments about their great opportunities. These were very excited missionaries.
First, was Elder Nathan Tanner. He is assigned to Katowice, with two Zone Leaders as companions--Elders Leimer and Dabrowski. What a great city and situation to be in.
Next is Elder Marsing who is going to Bialystok with Elder Davis. This takes two special Elders to be in this small but great city and branch.
Elder Waits is traveling all the way over to Warsaw l. He is companions to Elder Kalinowski who is a new District Leader and Trainer. This branch will love the excitement both Elders bring.
Elder Hancock will be in Warsaw ll with Elder Lundin. Elder Lundin is a New District Leader, new Trainer and these two are opening a new area in Warsaw. They will be at the end of the Metro line where there are tons of new apartments and young families.
Elder Johnson is going to Poznan to be companions with Elder Torke, the new Branch President there and new District Leader. This will be a great companionship.
Elder Vreeken is heading to Wroclaw to be with Elder Sheridan. Elder Sheridan is a new District Leader and new Trainer as well. Elder Vreeken with his excitement, along with Elder Sheridan will do wonders in this young new district.
Elder Fritzsch will be with Elder Nielson in Lodz. Elder Nielson is the District Leader and this branch has more activity going on than anywhere in Poland. What a great place to serve and what growth is going to take place.
Sister Leppanen is assigned to the Warsaw ll district with Sister Allen. Sister Allen is a new trainer, and she is exceptional. Both of these sisters are made for each other. This will be a blessing to this branch, district and entire zone.
Last but not least, is Sister Ellis who is heading to Poznan to be companions with Sister Bailey. Sister Bailey is a new trainer and absolutely wonderful. These sisters are both new to Poznan and will add to the great things that have been going on there.
As we finished the thrill of finally finding out where everyone was going, we took a minute for one last picture. Another outstanding group of missionaries coming into the Poland Warsaw Mission. Back row- Elders Marsing, Vreeken, Hancock, Waits, Tanner, Fritzsch and Johnson. Seated Sister Ellis, the Nielsons and Sister Leppanen.
The first trip to the Dworzec with the new missionaries. This group has the earliest departing trains- Wroclaw, Katowice, Poznan, Lodz and Bialystok. They just arrived and 16 hours later they are off again. Into the Transporter and excitement still ahead.

This transfer in the mission effected all branches and districts except Lublin. Everyone is on the move today. The changes included-
1 new assistant (Elder Garrett),
2 new branch presidents (Elder Stohel- Szczecin, Elder Torke- Poznan),
4 new zone leaders (Elders Augustyn & Hillyard- Warsaw, Buckner- Bydgoszcz, Dabrowski- Katowice),
7 new district leaders (Elders Lundin- Warsaw ll, Kalinowski- Warsaw ll, Murphey- Bydgoszcz, Kennedy- Katowice, Sheridan- Wroclaw, Klosowiak- Kielce, Torke- Poznan) and
9 new trainers- (Lundin, Kalinowski, Sheridan, Torke, Leimer & Dabrowski, Nielson and Sisters Allen, Bailey & Smith).

We could not be happier for the mission and for what these missionaries are going to do. The Lord has blessed our mission with great leader. Their excitement is contagious. Their testimonies are powerful and their commitment is to the Lord.

Now it's time to get ready for the departing missionaries who arrive here in four hours!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

New Arrivals!!! December 28, 2010

What a great day it is when we receive new Elders and Sisters! Today we were fortunate to receive 7 new Elders and 2 new Sisters. Sister Nina Leppanen from Espoo, Finland was the first of the new arrivals we welcomed to Poland.
Elder Vreeken from Kanab, Utah, followed close behind.
We are adding to our great German Elders....Elder Aaron Fritzsch is from Langwedel, Germany.
Here is Elder Alan Johnson from Idaho Falls, Idaho.
From Auburn, Washington, comes Nicole Ellis who was followed by.....
Jacob Waits from Bulverde, Texas.
And we have another missionary from Las Vegas, Nevada...Elder Nathan Tanner.
Here we are.....and the miracle is we did not lose 1 bag! But we did lose 2 Elders! (The Hancock Family and Marsing Family need to have a little faith...their sons' stories are coming!)
The first stop for these new Missionaries is the Kodak Express store to get photos for their Residency cards that will enable them to stay in Poland for 2 years.
While we were waiting for our photos to process, we took a lunch break in the Food Court of the mall. Subway sandwiches and salads were the popular items. These Missionaries were then taken to the Mission Office where they were oriented by the office staff. Meanwhile, I left to go to the Mission Home to finish getting dinner ready for tonight and President Nielson......well, he went back to one of his favorite 'waiting places'......the airport to try to retrieve his 2 lost Elders.
Several hours later, our last two Elders arrived. A passport had been lost ( and then found on the plane they had just left). It was a miracle to find the passport but it wasn't in time to get on the flight with the other Missionaries. Here are Elders Hancock and Marsing. Unfortunately, Elder Marsing's 2 bags were lost. So tomorrow we hope they deliver them in time for the transfer.
We are SO happy to welcome Elder Boyd Marsing from Price, Utah, and Elder Casey Hancock from Winslow, Arizona, to the Poland Warsaw Mission. We are now complete. Tomorrow is a big day....All these Missionaries will be leaving for their assigned cities in the morning to meet their new Trainers. Stay tuned!
It was a long day for these new missionaries. They woke up at 2:30am on Monday at the MTC in Provo and arrived here Tuesday, at 11:40am and 4:45pm respectively.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Poland Warsaw Mission Book of Mormon reading schedule.

As a Mission we are reading the Book of Mormon starting with 1 Nephi 1 on January 1, 2011. We will read according to the schedule above (4.5 pages daily or 2 chapters) and finish on April 30, 2011.

Each missionary was given colored pencils to mark scriptures as indicated. We want this to strengthen our commitment and love for the "Book of Books".

You are invited to join us.

"I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world, in the most straightforward language I could summon, that the Book of Mormon is true" - Jeffrey R. Holland

Sunday, December 26, 2010

WARSAW II Building is Dedicated

On Sunday, December 26, 2010, the Warsaw ll branch met, following our meetings, for the dedication of our new chapel. This is part of those in attendance. It is a spacious building with a wonderful spirit. This is a special branch with great members who love and serve each other. The building has room for us to grow into and we have plans to move the YSA Outreach program here from the Wolska Chapel. We are so grateful for the energy of the branch and the blessing from the Lord in helping us move into this location.

Our 1st Christmas in Poland!

Yes, it is the 23rd of December and the President is finally getting to do a little Christmas shopping. Of course, the phone is ringing continually; and he spends most of his time trying to find a quiet spot in the mall so he can answer it!
The Christmas decorations in the mall are beautiful.....this is in front of the Arkadia Mall. We had to pick up a few groceries on the way home so we ran into a very crowded grocery store. What is this .....a miniature pool has been set up in the meat department!
It is full of live (big!) carp! Carp is a traditional food eaten on Christmas Eve. Many people buy their carp live and take it home and put it in the bathtub until they are ready to eat it. ( I will never look at the carp that hang around the dock at Lake Powell in the same way!)
You pick your carp, and this guy fetches it out of the water and puts it in a bag for you. Right after this, I was told I couldn't take pictures. It's a carp! What's the big deal?


We were invited to a traditional Polish Christmas Eve dinner at Robert and Sylwia Zelewski's home. Here we are with Karina, Kasia, Sylvia and Robert, their daughter Maja, Elders Taylor and Darowski, Dane, and Dominik. Can you believe the beautiful Polish Pottery? The table was stunning!
A HUGE THANK YOU to Sylvia and Robert for a most wonderful evening. We read scriptures telling about the birth of our Savior. Santa came and we all opened gifts ....but the best gift of all was the great company. We love and appreciate the Zelewski family for letting us spend Christmas Eve with them. It was unforgettable!
  Another view of the food. It was all delicious.....(and no carp!) There were so many courses. The Polish tradition is that you have to eat 12 courses.....each one representing the 12 you will have 12 prosperous months in the coming year.
After all that food, we still found room for some great desserts.......I believe they were courses 13 and 14! Thank you again, Robert and Sylvia, for a most memorable evening. We love you!
The missionaries and a few members got together at the Wolska chapel and had a nice Christmas wasn't 12 courses...but it was great. Front row- me, Dane, the Nabozny family with Dougie, Sister LeFevre, Elder Tribe and Dennis. Back row- President, Sister Austin, Elder and Sister Ireland, Sisters Marshall, Allen, Spear, Sister and Elder Harding, behind are Elders Garrett and Darowski, then Elder Taylor, Sister Briggs, Sister and Elder Richards.

Elders Augustyn and Hillyard...the new Warsaw Zone Leaders...showed up to join in the festivities. They had been out on appointments. We were in eating and they were out working...
Elders Tribe and friends from Lindon, Utah, serving in the same mission and now in the same city! They promised they would not have too much fun.
Sister LeFevre who leaves to go home in a few days "lets her hair down" to show how long it has gotten on her mission. When she goes home, she will cut her hair and donate it to "Locks of Love" a foundation that makes wigs for kids with cancer.
After spending a few hours with our missionaries and some dear Polish members, we went home to skype the grandkids to see if Santa had come.
Darik and Emily's kids: Parker, Lexie, and Ty each showing a favorite gift brought by Santa.
Willis and Avery's kids. Zach with his new car and Halle in her new 'tree house' tent.
Scott and Devin's kids all got new bikes this year from Santa. - Dax, Chloe and Riley. Yes, we have VERY good grandchildren.....Santa was very good to each one of them! What a great way to end a great day. Merry Christmas to all our friends across the world. We have appreciated all the cards and packages. Thank you for thinking of us. This has to be one of our very best Christmases, even though we are far away, somehow we were very close.
Mielismy wielki Boze Narodzenie.
President called all the missionaries and they were all able to call home. We worried about someone not getting through. Wesolych Swiat !
We love you!!!!