Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A perfect day for a baptism...

Let's face it....Every day is a perfect day for a baptism, but today was especially great.

Tonight, Paulina was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will be attending the Warsaw I Branch. Godfrey baptized her, and Sisters Ellis and Mann taught her. This outstanding young woman will be a great asset to not only her new branch but to the church in Poland as well. Welcome, are the newest member of the Church in Poland....and we love you!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday in Warsaw....August 28, 2011

Being able to be in Warsaw on a Sunday is indeed a rare occurrence. Our 'home' branch is the Warsaw II branch, because we live within its boundaries. We probably attend that branch once every 3 months! The rest of the time, we are traveling and visiting the other 12 branches in Poland.

Today, however, we were able to attend the Warsaw II branch where this great couple spoke, the Kostrzewas. The subject of the talks was eternal families. A wonderful meeting. Anetta is the new YW President, and Jan is in the Elders Quorum Presidency.

We were also able to meet this great family, the Armstrongs. Brother Armstrong works with the American Embassy and he and his great family will be living in Warsaw for 2 years. A great addition to a great branch!

Having to do a few interviews over at the Warsaw I branch, we headed over to the Wolska Chapel.

There I was able to say 'good-bye' to my dear friend, Asia Nabozny, who will be joining her husband, Richard, in Hungary with their son Dougie. (I am praying for their quick return to Poland!) Pictured above: Alex (who is engaged!), Dougie, Asia, Maja and Karina.

When we were finally able to return home, we were met by one of my favorite sounds....the 'Skype' ringtone!!!!!

It was our oldest grandson, Ty, who wanted to 'practice' the talk he was going to give in Primary today. It was on the 13th Article of Faith. Here he is talking about having the courage to turn off the TV, the computer, a movie or the radio if bad things come on. (He made his own visual aid!) He did a fabulous job....he is definitely Poland Warsaw Missionary material!

Great things in Lublin.

Saturday was a great day, throughout the mission but also in Lublin. Lukasz was baptized by Brother Mecham. Elders Basha and Plumb taugtht this wonderful young man the gospel. He will be confirmed the following day in sacrament meeting.

Sunday was another wonderful day. Brother Nate Mecham on the right, was sustained as the new Branch President in Lublin. Elder Plumb had been serving in that capacity and did an outstanding job. The Mecham family arrived almost two weeks ago but Brother Mecham has been in the Branch for a couple of months. This branch is such a great unit in the Church.

CCM in Frankfurt Germany....

President Irwin, Elder Schutze and President Nielson in the Area Presidency Office in Frankfurt.

Every Quarter Elder Schutze meets with President Irwin (Czech Republic), President Nielson and the District Presidents from those two missions. The location alternates between those two countries. However, because of schedules the meeting this quarter was in Frankfurt, Germany at the Area Presidency's office.
This trip for President Nielson may top anything that he has experienced. If you have been following the blog, you know of his interesting experiences at the Warsaw Chopin Airport. This time was a classic.
I dropped him off at 4:30pm Friday afternoon for a 6:00pm flight. The plane was late and departed at 7:30pm. They arrived in Frankfurt and because of a bad storm they could not land and circled the city. It was determined to fly to Prague and fuel and wait for better weather. As they were taking off in Prague the airport in Frankfurt closed so they flew back to Warsaw and landed at 1:00am. Where he started.
Lot Airlines then told everyone to be back at 5:30am to continue on thier way to Frankfurt. So 4 1/2 hours later Presdient was at the Warsaw Chopin Airport, boarded the plane and they sat for 2 hours before taking off. Finally after delays, a wild taxi ride in Frankfurt he arrived at the meeting at 10:00am. It was a great meeting, ended at 12:00pm, headed back to the airport only to wait because all the Friday traffic was still being sorted out. Arrived back in Warsaw at 8:30pm. So the trip lasted 28 hours- 8 hours flying, 11 hours waiting, 4 hours sleeping, 2 hours in the meeting, 2 hours standing in lines for new tickets and one hour driving in Germany. He did not look good Sunday morning....

On a great note, however... President was able to visit with Sister Leimer, the mother of Elder Stefan Leimer in our Mission. He is one of our great missionaries in Poland.

President Pawlik was also effected by the bad weather this weekend. Instead of flying home Saturday to Rzeszow, his plane was delayed and came to Warsaw. There was no connecting flight so he stayed the night with us, went to Church in the Warsaw ll branch and translated for President in sacrament meeting. We took him to the airport on our way to Warsaw l for interviews and visits. President Pawlik is a great leader and smiled all the way through this long weekend.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

What was going on while President was in Germany...

This weekend the Warsaw YSA's hosted a mini-conference which included Investigators and members from Gdansk to Katowice! This picture was taken on Saturday where they had just completed a great class taught by Jackie Pickett on 'Weathering the Storms of Life While Staying Strong in the Church'.

Standing (L to R): Sebastian (Lodz), Adrian (Katowice), Marta, Karol (Kielce), Kamila, Selongo, Patryk (Gdansk), Damien (Katowice) Elder and Sister Richards (YSA Leaders). Sitting (L to R): Magda (Lodz), Marcia, Alex, Kasia, Jackie Pickett (Institute Instructor), Michaelle, Dominika (Lodz). After the class...sports, visiting and a 'grill' were on the program! Looks calm, doesn't it?? But you should have seen this group the night before!

The YSA's put on a fun dance and invited all members from Warsaw I and II branches. Everyone had a blast! The music and decorations were great! Good job YSA's!!!

Emil and Dominik (our Home Teachers!) showing off their 'great moves' while Kamila and Patryk (investigator from Gdansk) look on.

That was Friday...on Saturday, the Assistants called to see if I was OK (since President was gone) and said that I could probably like some company. They were willing to come over and host a mini-grill for them, the office elders and me for P-Day. They were willing to bring the food and do everything. (I refused to think that they were just using me for my BBQ!)

Elder Eastman preparing his special hamburger patties.....filled with bacon bits and cheese.

Elders Johnson, Hillyard and Sheridan outside cooking the burgers. Another special treat the Assistants had planned....homemade rootbeer!

A special touch....we added ice cream to make delicious Rootbeer Floats!
I never have to worry about being alone out on this mission. I have great Elders, friends and Home Teachers who are always checking on me! Thank you...I love you all! President Nielson is due home soon....and we'll see how his meeting went!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Wroclaw Young Women hold 'Young Women in Excellence' Program...August 20, 2011

The Wroclaw Branch Young Women held a wonderful Young Women's in Excellence program last Saturday. Projects and journals were shared. All are striving to receive their Young Woman in Excellence award that requires many hours of service to home, church and community in order to achieve.
(L toR): Ewie (who was welcomed into the YW program), Cindy (Class President), Sister Moon (Counselor), Agata (YW President), I-cho-Ng-A, and Gabrysia. They received beautiful tiles with the 6B's by President Hinckley on them...Be Grateful. Be Smart. Be Clean. Be True. Be Humble. Be Prayful. Wonderful words to our youth from a prophet of God.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

An unexpected family visitor!!!

Because we were able to leave Katowice right after church, we were able to beat the traffic coming into Warsaw on a Sunday night. Arriving about 5:oo pm, we quickly unpacked and I started dinner. Why? We were being visited by a family member!
This is Cameron, my brother's son, who was here in Warsaw for a few days for work. It was so great to have him over for dinner and to visit with him for a while. Here he is taking a Polish Book of Mormon and some pamphlets to help us spread the gospel here in Poland. Cameron is a returned missionary who served his mission in Kiev, Ukraine. Polish is very similar and he is able to understand some.

President especially loved 'picking' Cameron's brain regarding his mission experience in Kiev. The missions are similiar in many ways. It's always good to talk about new opportunites to spread the work. Cameron, it was great to have you here... come again! He misses his wife and baby daughter back in Boston. We would love to see other family members ...(you know who you are!)

Sunday in Katowice...

The Katowice Branch has a new Branch Presidency....Pictured above is Elder McGrath ( 1st Counselor) President Krzykawski (who has been serving as the Branch President for a number of years) and President Wrzesinski (2nd Counselor). These men do much in making sure this branch runs smoothly. Thank you for all you do!

President Nielson and Rafal.....Rafal is a valuable member of the branch and a great translator. He is heading a branch service project that will soon be carried out at the Jewish Cemetary.

Some of the beautiful women (and leaders) of the Katowice Branch....(L toR): Dorota, Helena, Aneta, Gosia and Marta. And what happened to Helena's son, Adrian........

....Saturday morning he was met by Elders Fritszch and Buckner in Poznan. He is doing fabulous serving his mini-mission there!

Now, some other great members and investigators of the Katowice Branch...

The youngest person in church today was Max (5 weeks). Here he is with his brothers and Dad and Mom.
New member, Tadeusz, and Grzegorz who serves as the financial clerk in the branch.

Our Katowice missionaries....Elders Siebert (District Leader) and Dabrowski (Zone Leader), Tadeusz, Sisters Allen and Folsom and Gosia, Relief Society President of the Katowice Branch. We appreciate the hard work of the missionaries and the members as we love and fellowship investigators and new converts into the church.
Elder Curtis and Dabrowski (Zone Leaders) with two of their Investigators...Lukasz and Oskar. These two young men are fabulous....they are reading the Book of Mormon because they want to know the truth.
A trip to Katowice without posting a picture of Tomek would not be complete. Here is Tomek, one of the most loving and caring members of the branch, with President Wrzesinski.

Speaking of loving and caring, Elder and Sister McGrath (YSA and MLS missionaries) made President and myself a great lunch to eat on the way home....complete with my favorite chips! That was so thoughtful..Thank you! Not that I don't love peanut butter and jelly, but I will probably never eat another one once I leave Poland!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday in Katowice

Saturday morning in Katowice we had two hours before we were to meet the missionaries. So we have always wanted to just drive around the city. You would think after being here for 14 months we would have seen more than the Chapel, train station and Qubus Hotel in Katowice, but we haven't. So as we were driving we came to this Rondo (Round About) and the Police had it blocked off for a huge motorcycle procession. We waited for 10 minutes for all of the motorcycles to get through. When it was over we thought "Let's follow them and see what's going on"...
They had every kind of cycle in this "parade".
This guy slowed way down to make sure we got a picture of him.

As we followed the motorcycles and the Police escort we went by one of the new stadiums that is being built in Poland for the Euro Cup games in 2012. Everyone in Katowice tells us there is no way this will be finished.
We finally ended up in this great big park, zoo, and amusement complex area. As we walked around we saw people biking, running, reading, enjoying the sun and practicing whatever they are doing here....
Then we came across this amusement park. We figured this is Katowice's answer to Disneyland. So we bought a couple of tickets and went exploring.
I spotted this ride and had to go on it. Well President Nielson, even though he had a pilots license years ago, is not comfortable (that''s what he calls it- I call it being AFRAID) with heights. This was a pretty good sized Ferris Wheel.
The line wasn't too long and the more I saw the size of it...... the more I wanted a ride.

These good people wondered what in the world I was going on this alone while 'Mr. Camera' was taking all these pictures. Nice people and they spoke a little English.

Up, up and away.
I tried to wave but it there was too much to see around this beautiful city. But somehow President found me. It was a fun ride and lasted quite a while.
Finally it ended and now let's see the rest of the park. I kept asking President if he wanted to ride anything and he said there was a "Splash Mountain-type" ride that he had his eye on.
But first we needed a treat. The Loty for the day. Their Ice Cream is really good.
Can anyone identify what kind of aircraft this is? I have a few left over prizes from the Preach My Gospel Chase that I can give to the winner...
These yellow planes that are being swung around are really moving. The photo doesn't do them justice. These are really traveling at a good clip. And we were walking under these planes. Not used to the speed or the situation. In America you would never see this or walk under this.

So we finally made it over to the "Splash Mountain" ride. I guess you can see from the pictures how the ride goes. Here they are coming down the "Hill" ready to hit the water...

Everyone screamed and so far pretty uneventful... other than is was thrilling to splash into the water....
The boat finally rested against the railing and Pawel started pulling the boat back to the starting point. Then he got out and so did all the patrons.
Once everyone was out, it was easy just to pull it. Not a bad way to do things. Certainly cuts down on electrical costs and maintenance.
Ten minutes later the next 12 people get in the boat, then back the boat into the elevator and up they go...
Open the door, push them out and down they go..... This whole ride was operated by 1 man, now that's being muli-tasked or talented.
This is more of the type of ride the President was looking for.... He owned 6 of these Merry-Go- Rounds back when we owned Pistol Pete's Pizza in Las Vegas and Fresno, California. He often reminds me, "The happiest day of his life was when he got out of the restaurant business". More of the rides in the park.
I am not sure who this mascot is but he wanted his picture taken and followed us around. So 'Big Orange Something' welcome to the Nielsonsinpoland blog. If I lived in Katowice, I would buy a season pass here (the season pass is like $45) and I would bring my grandkids here every week.

The traffic was bad getting out of the area so this guy seems to have a little American blood in him and decided to make an illegal 'run for it' down the Tramway tracks. I have never seen this before, but he got home a long time before we did.

After the two hour fling at the park, we headed over for "Sports Saturday" Katowice style and it was great!!

All of the members were either on mini missions or working so all that showed up were---INVESTIGATORS!! Sister and Elder McGrath along with Elder Dabrowski kept score as everyone played soccer, and they were good.
The soccer game was winding down and a young man with a basketball came by and started shooting hoops. Elder Dabrowski pulled him over and started talking to him. President showed the only basketball skill he still has... This young man is returning next week to join the group.
This is the Sports Saturday group. It was alot of fun and from here everyone walked back to the Chapel for Family Home Evening and a lesson. Think about this- all these young men are playing soccer with the missionaries and then going back to the chapel to hear about the gospel. Even better was the next day on Sunday, 5 of them showed up to Priesthood meeting and then Sacrament Meeting. Katowice has great missionaries, a senior couple and members who are anxiously engaged in great causes.
After the FHE we held District YSA Council meeting. President Pawlik was there and Dorota conducted the meeting and made plans for the next Quarter's events. The McGraths add so much to the YSA program. It was a great day especially with the investigators, members and missionaries.