Thursday, June 23, 2011

Interview trip....Northern Part of Poland. 1st Day:

By 5:30 am we were on the road to our missionaries in the northern part of Poland. It's time for Missionary Interviews and that means MANY hours in the car! My goal this trip is to make a few stops along the normal routes to see a little of the country this time.....we'll see how it goes!

Our first stop was Bydgoszcz. There we were able to visit with these great missionaries: (L to R) Elders Fletcher, Kalinowski, Buckner and Nielson and Sisters Steadman and Jones. All are working hard and striving to bring the gospel to the people of Bydgoszcz. After interviews, everyone was hungry so.........
...we found ourselves at Subway for a bite to eat. Fortunately they were was McDonald's. It was a Catholic Holiday and even the malls were closed. Thank heavens for American franchises who stay open when everyone else is closed!

After saying our good-byes to Bydgoszcz, it was back in the car to make our way to Gdansk. Having the good fortune to be able to drive on a great freeway, we made better time than we thought; and I talked President into doing a little sight-seeing. He gave me 45 minutes. I took it.
We were able to walk around this beautiful seaport city in great weather. So often, when we are in Gdansk, it has been snowing or raining. Today was perfect and what a perfect city!

As we passed the shops and restaurants along the shore, I couldn't take my eyes off the "Gdansk Crane" (black structure on the waterfront). It is world-renowned and the symbol of the city of Gdansk. More to come about this later...
As we were traveling along the Motlawa River, a ship called 'The Black Pearl' (really!) brimming full of passengers sailed by. It had come from the neighboring seaport of Gdynia.
The shipyard in Gdansk is full of countless cranes standing idle. This was not always so. It was once a huge, very busy industrial zone, and it is an important part of 20th century history. In 1980, there was a large group of shipyard workers who protested the working conditions imposed upon them by the Communists. This strike ended in negotiations with the government and led to the beginning of the Solidarity Movement.
An electrician, Lech Walesa, led the strike and the negotiations and later became the first freely elected president in postwar Poland. He officed here in this building on the waterfront.

Today, while most of the machines lay dormant, some sections of the port have been bought by small companys who have refurbished the equipment and use it to ship their goods.

We see the 'Gdansk Crane' from a different angle. It was built in the mid 15th century and was the biggest crane in medival history. It was considerably damaged in 1945 but was carefully rebuilt. It is the only fully restored crane of its time. Now it is a museum.

And "The Black Pearl" has docked! The people came flooding out of the ship to go AMBER SHOPPING!

This is what the famous 'Amber Alley' looks like in the 'off' season.....

...and this is what it looked like today! Tourist season has arrived in Gdansk!

We ran into this guy who was painted as a rusted man, being as it is a seaport city. I happened to take his picture before putting money in his kettle. He got really mad at me and said something about Mormons... It was upsetting and President gave him a few coins and calmed him down. He told him we were missionaries and that being a Mormon was a priviledge and speak kindly of Mormons. The man was nice and promised us he wouldn't speak against us anymore. We will search out this man everytime we are in Gdansk and see if he remembers us and perhaps meet us for a lesson.

The great Elders of Gdansk! Elders Krzyminski, Seibert (District Leader), Gladun, and Lyzwinski. What do you do (after interviews) and when you meet 4 hard-working, hungry Elders???

You take them to dinner, of course! After a one-hour dinner break (because they are obedient missionaries), we said good-bye and went to visit a couple from North Carolina who are in Gdansk for work.

David and Lisa Lewis. What a great couple they are...and a GREAT help in the Gdansk Branch. We appreciate all they do to help with member support....and they're not even full-time missionaries! Brother Lewis was in the Warsaw ll branch presidency for a time, then work transferred him to Gdansk. It was great to visit with them.
Wow!!! What a day....Bydogoszcz, Gdansk, a little sight-seeing, a lot of interviewing, and some great visits! A lot was accomplished! Only 3 more days to go......I hope I can keep up the pace!

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