Saturday, April 30, 2011

Another baptism in Poznan!

President and I were not able to attend Natalie's baptism because we were in Katowice for District Conference, but I wanted to post pictures of it on the blog. Natalie and her parents are wonderful people. This 11 year old girl has got a 'giant' testimony of the gospel. Congratulations, Natalie, for following the example of Jesus Christ and being baptized into His church!
Natalie and Guaya....who was baptized 2 weeks ago. Poznan is growing and is on fire!!!! We are looking for a larger chapel to accommodate the increase of reactived members and the new converts! Way to go, Poznan!

Monday, April 25, 2011

The SECOND day of Easter....and more!

Yes, in Poland they celebrate the 2nd day of Easter! It is always on Monday, and it is a holiday as well. Nothing is open! Early that morning we got a surprise visit from....

...Rafal and Agnieszka who were enjoying the beautful spring weather on their new bikes. (This great couple will be sealed in the Freiburg Temple next week!) Little did they know.....

...that President Nielson was aware of an interesting tradition connected with the 2nd Day of Easter...that of drenching people with water! The tradition is supposed to only concern unmarried young girls, but it has grown to include everyone in some parts of the country.

With Rafal and Agnieszka on their way down one of the many bike trails by our home, I talked President into taking a walk around the neighborhood. The weather was just too nice to stay inside!

One of our favorite places to go is the beautifully decorated cemetary close to the mission home. The Easter holiday brought many to the cemetary to clean and redecorate.

This is the dumpster on the way out of the cemetary!
This is one tough job for the garbage men this week!
Back at the mission home, it was time to get dinner ready for some special senior missionaries who were leaving to go home in the morning.

 Elder and Sister Ireland who have just completed a 2 year mission as CES Coordinators for the area.
(Yes, that's my new polish pottery and I love it!)
Of course, a good-bye dinner wouldn't be complete without a tie-cutting ceremony! The Irelands won't be going straight home to Australia, though. There are a few weeks of traveling in store for this couple! Elder and Sister Ireland...thank you for all you did to make the Poland Warsaw Mission better. A special thanks for the shadow leadership involved in helping the Polish YSA's pull off a great Regional YSA Conference last summer in Szczyrk. It was truly memorable! We love you and you will be missed!

Easter in Bydgoszcz- 24 apr 2011

Elders Nielson, Basha, Buckner and Kalinowski in front of the Bydgoszcz Chapel. This is Easter Sunday and the streets are empty. One great thing about the Poles, on Easter, they stay at home with their families and it is a day of rest and worship. The Elders were enjoying the day and the beautiful weather. Below they are showing some of the candy they somehow received from the Easter Bunny. L to R: Elders Nielson, Basha, Buckner and Kalinowski.
On Saturday we ran into the Wencel's at the huge park in Bydgoszcz. Here Andrzej is showing the art of fishing to his little family. You figure out what the sign says.
It was a beautiful day to enjoy the sun and be outside. We walked around the park- or at least as long as Ola could last.
One of the sights we found was the top of a tank that they used in some film. Right behind this is where they build the Trams for the cities in Poland. Here 'Mr. Athletic' gets up on top of the turret..... on the 4th try!
EASTER SUNDAY in the Bydgoszcz Branch....where we found some wonderful people.
Artur and Kornelia and their great family...a great addition to the Primary!
President Isaac (Branch President) and wife, Renata. They are great people and we enjoy their friendship.
Elders Nielson and Buckner with an investigator and a member.
The Zalewski family....a great strength to the branch. Hey, someone is missing!
Here's Olivia! She was upstairs in a lesson with Sister Tarasevich, the Young Women's President.
Easter Sunday, after the meetings and interviews we were heading back home, while preparing for our 'in-the-car Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches', Elder and Sister Tarasevich invited us over for a Sunday dinner. Thank you so much! This was unexpected and most appreciated.

As you drive around the country there is a lot of construction. They are getting ready for the 2012 Europe Cup Games. They also have these signs explaining some of the detours. We aren't sure how you are supposed to read these signs while driving in traffic, usually before a Rondo (round about) and trying to figure out what the GPS is telling you. So we took a picture...we still can't figure it out.
Anything different in the picture above?
We drove home late Sunday afternoon and the roads were amazingly easy to drive. Since it was a holiday, there were ZERO trucks on the roads. The drive usually takes 3.5 - 4 hours and that is if you drive rather fast. Today we took it slow (well...within the speed limits) and returned home in just 3 hours. That's it...we will ALWAYS travel on holidays from now on!

SIDE NOTE: As we were leaving the Tarasevich's apartment we happen to see a NAME that caught our attention. 'Balija'...the legacy continues. Amazing how names - especially Elder Balija keeps coming up again and again... and it is ALL GOOD !! We miss our missionaries who have returned good! We love you and expect great things out of you!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Nowy Swiat gets a face lift!

Everybody deserves a little pick me up.....including Nowy Swiat 38! This was one of the first pieces of property the church acquired in Poland years ago.
It is a favorite place for missionaries to meet and teach Investigators as it is located on one of the most well-known streets in Warsaw in the center of town. This is just down the street from a university and the Rynek. Missionaries contact people while "white boarding" and ask if they have a few minutes to hear about the Gospel. They can then walk quickly to Nowy Swiat and learn about the Gospel.
Of course it deserved a 'ribbon cutting ceremony' as Brother Jarosz let President enter and see the remodel.
There had been some water damage and the place needed some "tender loving care". Brother Jarosz spend considerable time working and fixing things up. It was brand new and just felt great. This is a picture of the ground floor meeting room that is probably 25' x 25'. The missionaries can teach here and we are sure it will be used more and more now that it is presentable again. Because of this great location, it is a central meeting place for lessons and events throughout the day and evening.
You enter off of Nowy Swiat into a nice "new" room and then go down these stairs to another room for teaching and storage.
If you had seen it before and now, you can see the great improvement. Church pictures are ordered that will improve the setting for the Gospel to be taught.
Thank you, Brother Jarosz for a job well done!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Spring is here ... at last!

The snow is melted and the sun is out!

I got up this morning and President Zielonka had surprised me by planting these beautiful flowers in our front yard! Thank you...they are perfect!
As we were busy getting ready for the day, 2 birds were very busy building a nest in one of the big pine trees in our back yard. On such a beautiful day, we were going to the Wolska chapel to meet the missionaries there for P-day.

On the way, you could tell that Spring was definitely here as the parks are transforming into beautiful gardens.
At the Wolska chapel, Godfrey was busy raking and pruning to make sure the outside of the church building was in pristine condition.

Going around to the side of the church, we found our Warsaw missionaries gathered together after playing 'frisbee football'.
They were starving and all huddled around the grill waiting for the cooks to finish cooking lunch.
A group picture: Standing L to R: Elders Eastman, Taylor, Lundin, Hillyard, Kennedy, Garrett, Hancock and Sheridan. Sitting L to R: Sisters McAdams, Stay, Bailey, and Lepannen. It was hard to get a serious picture on such a fun P-day!
This group is full of big eaters....Elders and Sisters alike! Elders Garrett, Hancock and Sheridan spent much time at the grill.
Elders Kennedy and Lundin and Sisters Lepannen, Stay, McAdams and Bailey gathering around the condiment table to make sure their burgers and kebasas had the perfect fixings.
The Missionaries of the Warsaw I and Warsaw II Districts. These Missionaries have been working extra hard and deserve this great P-Day! The Poland Warsaw Missionaries ARE great missionaries......and we love every one of them!

The Poland Warsaw Mission is a BAPTIZING Mission!

This last weekend was full of great things happening......the highlight being 6 people were baptized around Poland. We'd like you to meet them....
Here is Bartek from Kielce with Elders Klosowiak and Krzsyminski. To the far left is Bartek's good friend, Karol. He was baptized a few weeks ago.
Moving on to Lodz....Here are Sisters Steadman, Marshall and Garcia with Slawek. He was baptized by Krzystof, a member of the Lodz branch. Slawek is a cousin to the family from Lodz who was baptized in March.
Now we are moving on to cities where there is no pool to rent.....Hence, you have a beautiful, but cold(!) lake to use!
Lublin! Elders Lewis and Bode with the newest member of the Lublin branch...Mariusz.
In Poznan, an equally beautiful (but cold!) lake was used to baptize Guaya. Here she is shown with Elders Johnson and Torke.
Now it's back to Warsaw where we have a chapel and a wonderful baptismal font.
Sisters McAdams and Stay are shown here with Grzegorz (3rd from the left) who was baptized by Marcin.
And last but not least......Dominik was able to baptize his mother, Anna!!! What a special event!! Sisters Lepannen and Bailey are shown here with Dominik, Anna, and the twins....Ashley and Natalie.
Saturday was truly a great day in the Poland Warsaw Mission. We love all these new converts and want to thank the members of the church for all they do to love and fellowship those that are finding the truth. This is a group effort.....and we all have the same bring others unto Christ. I LOVE THIS CHURCH!!!

WE HAVE VISITORS...from Las Vegas!

At times it is nice to see a familiar face from home. Dix, Kaleen and Jessica Jarman just happened to be 'in the neighborhood' and decided to swing by for a few days!
We have known this great couple for 20+ years....just after they were married. President has worked side by side with Dix in church and in business. It was so nice to see them!
Dix is President's business partner in Vegas. We appreciate him SO MUCH for all he does to enable us to be here in the mission field and not be worried about business matters. He and his wife....
.... Kaleen have been traveling around Spain and Italy for a few days with their daughter...
...Jessica who just finished a BYU Semester Abroad in Madrid. They decided that since they were so close, they would drop by and pay us a visit!
Having less than 48 hours in Warsaw, we took them on a very fast historical tour which included the Uprising Museum and the only remaining part of the wall that surrounded the Jewish Ghetto.
That historical monument is very close to another 'modern architectual monument'....the Zloty Terrace where we grabbed a bite to eat.
Outside this unusual mall you can see why it is sometimes referred to the 'Bubble Mall' by the Missionaries!
A quick look at the Cultural Palace (Stalin Building) and we were off to one of the highlights of the visit......
What can be better to see in Warsaw than a baptism!!!! which was held at the Wolska Chapel.
The Jarmans were able to meet Dominik who was there to baptize his mom.....more to come in a latter post! After the baptism, we couldn't show them anything that came close to being that important....but we tried!
Downtown on Nowy Swiat, we met this man who was making giant bubbles. He was only one of many interesting vendors, artists, musicians and even break-dancers who were down in Old Town entertaining the throngs of people who were out enjoying beautiful weather.
We climbed our favorite tower so the Jarmans could get a sense of the layout of the city.
After eating on the Rynek.....
...we walked to Saski Park. This is the spot where President Monson, along with Elder Nelson rededicated the country of Poland for missionary work.

Everyone was exhausted by the end of the day...the Jarmans from traveling and us----well, we are tired EVERY night! So it was back to the Mission Home to start new the next day!
Sunday, we were able to attend our 'home branch'...the Warsaw II Branch.
Since the Warsaw II Branch is an 'International Branch' there were plenty of headsets to go around so everyone could understand what the speakers were saying. The sacrament prayer was in Spanish so Jessica and Dix understood that.

After church we took a nice walk to the Willanow Palace that is located close to the Mission Home. Then it was home to get ready for the YSA fireside that Dix would be speaking at....

We had a great turnout of members and investigators alike. YSA Fireside: L to R standing: Elders Hillyard, Kennedy, and Richards; Ewa, Kamila, Nasa, Jessica, Sisters Lepannen, Richards, and Bailey; Brother Jarman; Sitting: Olga, Kasia, Maja, Solongo, Rose, and Sister Jarman; Floor: Andrej, Uri, Michal, Dominik, Emil. It was a great night to be taught and then visit with great refreshments. The YSA program is growing so strong. These Young Singles are doing great!

Kasia translated for President Nielson as he introduced Brother Jarman......
....and Dominik translated as Brother Jarman spoke on the power of healing through the Atonement of Christ.

Afterwards...there is always mingling! Here is Jessica with some of the Polish YSAs in attendance. Jessica, thank you for bearing such a beautiful testimony (on the spot!) of the gospel!
Brother Jarman visiting with Ewa and Nasa after a wonderful fireside. As usual, he gave a great message and thought.
The President and his dear friend and partner- who would have ever thought this picture would one day be taken in Warsaw Poland. But it was and it is GREAT being here.
Thank you, Jarmans, for coming to Poland. It was amazing how a few familiar faces can lift your spirits and yet let you know you are exactly where the Lord wants you to be. Jessica is on her way back to be with a young man (Matt is his name) and Kaleen and Dix are eager to see their Boys again. These are great friends with whom we talked about the old Fort Apache Ward days and all the great memories and people who have shaped our lives. Thanks for the visit! We love you!