Monday, October 31, 2011

Getting Ready the night before the Open House (Oct. 31, 2011)

Tonight I opened the door to this surprise! Our Assistants, Elders Hillyard and Dabrowski, had taken some time out of their P-DAY to carve these fun pumpkins. (L TO R): "Poland Loves Baptisms" (and we do!) and "Wybierz Sprawiedliwosc" (Choose Justice=Choose the Right). We knew these Assistants had great leadership ablility, but we had no idea they were so artistic! After their weekly meeting with the President, we all headed over to the Wolska Chapel to get ready for out "All Saints Day" open house tomorrow.....there was much to do!
We pulled up to the parking lot and found President Dresler finishing up hanging the "Zapraszamy" (We Welcome) sign. As our new District President, he is very busy. We appreciated his help and efforts. Inside, the building was 'buzzing' with all kinds of activity...
The cultural hall is being set up with chairs, refreshment table, a family history corner and this great picture collage. It will be a nice place to visit and ask questions about anything the investigators have seen or heard.
Guess who got 'vacuum duty'? Elder Johnson, one of our Office Elders, ...
... and Elder Sheridan the other Office Elder. Both diligently vacuumed every corner of the foyer as furniture was moved to make room for our guests.
Another pumpkin surprise! Sisters Ellis and Mann had also taken some time from their P-Day to carve this masterpiece...a portrait of President Nielson! He has received several 'honors' in his life, but this is a first! A Pumpkin Portrait! It was quite good....the picture doesn't do it justice.

These missionaries are ready to share the gospel with those who will tour the Wolska Chapel tomorrow. A great group....and we love each of them! (L to R): Elders Sorn, Johnson, Hillyard, Sheridan, Curtis, and Dominik (Chair person of the event); Elder Dabrowski and Sisters Mann and Ellis.
And below, how the Chapel is more visible after the tree was trimmed (earlier in the day) and the bush was cut down. See how beautiful our Chapel is.
We are open for business! We are ready and waiting for a great Open House tomorrow. Hundreds of people will walk by the Chapel tomorrow as they head to the cemetry next door. We look for to a successful day. This Church is true. It will change lives. It is the way to serve others and come unto Christ.

Making the Wolska Chapel more visible to Warsaw. 31 Oct 2011

One of the great buildings in Warsaw Poland is the Wolska Chapel. This building was dedicated in 1991 and dear to the hearts of all members of the Church in Poland. This beautiful tree was planted some years ago. As it has grown it blocks the view of the Chapel from the people of Warsaw. As we are getting ready for the Open House tomorrow and want everyone to see the Church, we had a service project of our own.
We started out with Godfrey going in and cutting the first branch, and then another and another and so on... Elders Myler and Sorn are ready to help.
As Godfrey cut the branches, the Elders started to pull them out...
As he cut, the view of the Chapel became better and better.
We're making progress!
This is going pretty fast, and soon Elders Vreeken and Bode show up to assist. The more we trimmed the better the Chapel could be seen by those walking by and those connecting with the trams on Wolska.
Godfrey has to get up on a ladder to cut the last few branches. People walking by stopped and talked to us. Its like a Chapel had been there and people didn't know how big and beautiful it was. They couldn't see it.
Finally, we can see how "open" this is and how much better it looks. Then we spotted another obstacle....
Elders Bode and Vreeken start in a bush that has grown too high. This reminds me of the Elder Christopherson talk at General Conference where he told the story of Elder Hugh B. Brown and the Currant Bush. This is not a shade tree its supposed to be a short bush.

This is how is blocks the view of the Chapel. As people walk from the Trams towards their homes, this is what they see.

Elders Myler and Sorn keep cleaning out the branches from the tree while everything else is going on.

Little by little the bush is getting smaller and the Chapel is becoming more and more visible.

At last it is finished. The tree looks trimmed, beautiful and adds to the appearance. The bush is small and will look wonderful next spring. Most of all, you can see the Wolska Chapel. People will no longer wonder what is back behind the bushes and the tree. Its the Chapel for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Thanks Godfrey, President Zielonka, Elders Sorn, Myler, Vreeken and Bode.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

"Fall Social" in Lublin

The Lublin Branch recently hosted a VERY SUCCESSFUL 'Fall Social". The non-members out numbered the members; but all became friends, and all had a great time!
Even our great Elders, Elder Basha and Elder Marsing, tried their hand at carving! A BIG thank you to these hard working Elders for 'getting the word out' and inviting so many non-members to a great function. (And a BIG thank you to Becky who knows how to organize a great party.) It was a perfect combination!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Meeting up with the Missionaries serving in Warsaw I.

Elders Bode, Vreeken, Sorn and Myler and Sisters Mann and Ellis are doing an outstanding job in the Warsaw I Branch. They are teaching and baptizing some wonderful people. Thank you members of the Warsaw I Branch for all the time and support you give these good missionaries! It makes such a difference in missionary work.
We met them for a quick bite to eat before they 'hit the streets' again proselyting. We also finalized some plans for the missionaries responsibilities for the 'Day of the Dead' open house that will be held at the Wolska Chapel next week. These missionaries have two great baptisms coming up on November 5th. They have great attitudes and a great work ethic. We love these hard-working missionaries!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A visit to the Warsaw YSA night!

We are actually staying in Warsaw for a few days. It's nice to take a break from living in the car! President has been able to do many interviews and among other things...

...we were able to catch up with our great YSAs who live in Warsaw! The YSA Center is located at the Warsaw 2 chapel and it is a great place to meet because of it's proximity to the metro, bus and tramwaj lines. The YSAs start gathering around 5:00 pm and then at 6:00 pm they have Family Home Evening together.

This week, Alex taught a great lesson and the spirit was strong. Last week was her "One Year" anniversary of her baptism. It is incredible to see the growth in her life. Having and living the Gospel changes everything. After FHE, there was a short break and then....

...Sister Pickett taught Institute. They are studying the Old Testament and tonight the lesson was on the prophet Abraham and Lot's wife. We learned to 'remember Lot's wife' and 'don't look back'! It was a great lesson and some very insightful questions were raised. It is wonderful to see these YSAs grow in the gospel....some having been members for only a short time and others not even members...yet!

Some of the Warsaw YSAs: (L toR): Standing: Dorota, Luiza, Marta (our YSA rep). Sitting: Christina, Dominik, Kamila and Alex. We have some YSAs that were MIA (missing in action) tonight. You know who you are! We miss you, and we hope to see you soon!

President Staples (the Branch President of the Warsaw II Branch) and his wife, Seiya...who is currently over the YSA program in Warsaw...are doing a fabulous job. We appreciate all your hard work and the love you show to the members of the branch. Your family is blessing Warsaw! Thank you!

What would a YSA event be without something to eat? It is so great to visit and be with these wonderful Young Single Adults. They are a strength. Dorota, Luiza and Marta enjoying some of sister Staples homemade chili and pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. It was a great night. Great food, great spirit, great company. Thanks to all our YSAs and their leaders that keep this program running strong! We love you all!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Senior Conference 21-22 Oct 2011

Our Senior Missionary Conference started Friday, Oct 21 and ended the following afternoon. We were able to have some great training, discuss certain assignments and have some fun visiting. Sister Briggs (Family History Center- Warsaw), Elder and Sister McGrath (YSA Center and Branch President- Katowice), Elder and Sister Tarasevich (YSA, MLS and Branch President- Lodz), Elder and Sister Simons (S & I missionaries), Elder and Sister Richards (YSA, MLS and Branch President- Poznan), Sister Sheets (Family History Center- Warsaw), Elder and Sister Peck (Single Adults- Warsaw and Office Couple) and Elder and Sister Jensen (YSA, MLS and Katowice District Councilor).
Between the mission home and a nearby hotel, we were able to house the Senior Missionaries that don't live in Warsaw. We try and have a Senior Confernce every 3-5 months, they are great.
All the Senior Sisters shown with the new Polish Songbook for Children...a project started in Wroclaw by Sister Moon (who was released with her husband in September) and Agata. Sister Jensen put the finishing touches on them and they are being distributed throughout the branches. Thank you, Sister Moon and Agata, for all your work!
Sister Jensen has been very busy with the Sisters in Wroclaw. They got together at a Relief Society Activity and made 'Reverence Folders' for all the children to use during Sacrament Meeting. Each child checks a folder out at the beginning of the meeting and waits until after the Sacrament is passed before they begin playing with them. The children love them! Thank you Wroclaw Relief Society for all your work!
Now, while the Sisters were meeting...the Elders helped clean things up before we headed out on a tour of Warsaw. Elders Simons, Richards, McGrath, Peck, Jensen, Paxton and Tarasevich.
Our well trained and "professional" tour guide was Dominik from Warsaw II. He was outstanding and what better way to earn a little money for a mission than to tell about the City and Country that you love. He did a very good job and we will use him again...
The door in the corner is actually the front door to a house. This is the smallest (narrowest) house in Warsaw. It is three stories tall but only four feet wide. We aren't sure how you get furniture in and arranged. In fact there are many questions about this that we can't answer but it is a house...
We are all standing in front of the statue of ' the Little Insurgent' dedicated to all the children who lost their lives during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. On the far right is Paul from Moscow, Russia. He was standing by and had a map. We knew he was a little lost so we asked him if he would like to join us for the tour. He did and we told him a little about the Church and left him with a "pass along card".
Located at Pilsudski Square is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Since the 18th century, a palace once stood in the square until it was destroyed during WWII. All that remained were these columns which now house the ashes of the "Unknown Soldier". The guards are changed every hour.
The Senior Missionaries in Saski Gardens at the sight where President Spencer W. Kimball (1977) and then by President Thomas S. Monson (1986) dedicated Poland for the preaching of the gospel.
President Nielson and Dominik at this sacred site in Polish Church History. Very fitting considering that Dominik will shortly be turning in his papers to serve a mission for the Lord somewhere in the world.

We had the great fortune of having Elder and Sister Paxton from Frankfurt come and do some training for us. They work with Centers for Young Adults (YSA Centers) all over Europe. Because some of our Branches have or are working towards having a Center for the Young Single Adults, we invited them to attend our Conference and do training. Our Senior Couples with those assignments are making such a difference with the YSA's. Thank you, Paxtons, for the training and direction. (Standing in front of the fountain at Saski Gardens).
The last stop on the tour was to the Palace of Culture and Science, often called the Stalin Tower. This is looking down at one of the "Rondos" or Round-Abouts. The weather was cooperating today, it wasn't the clearest day but it was beautiful.
From another side and view of Warsaw. These are some of the modern and new buildings that are in the Downtown area. Just in the shadows of these buildings was the Jewish Ghetto of years past. What an amazing history of this city! I hope you are able to "expand or blow up" this picture and look at these buildings.

This is looking down at the Train Station, the Zloty Terrance Mall and the Marriott Hotel on the left. Usually I am taking a picture from down there looking up at the "Stalin Building". Down below is a busy place in Warsaw- trains, shopping, tourists, construction and just wonderful people.
From another side and view from the Cultural Center you can see "Ogrod Saski" (Saxon Gardens) where we stood an hour previous at the sight where President Kimball and then President Monson dedicated and re-opened Poland for preaching the gospel.

The tour ended and so did the Conference. A great time. Then it was off to the Wolska Chapel for the Baptism of Anja. Following the baptism, Warsaw I and II held a Pioneer Day activity. As we were leaving for the airport (to get Elder and Sister Paxton back to Germany), Marcin and Anja were setting up the projector to show Marcin's wonderful "History of the Church in Poland" presentation.
Assisting Marcin was Dominik (yes, our tour guide) and President Staples, the Branch President in Warsaw II. Always some great events going on in Poland with the Church. We are so grateful for members who are so willing to share their Marcin and Anja. Thank you!
It was a great two days and very busy. Seems like we left the Zatylnys at the airport a week ago and yet is was only 33 hours ago. What a great life we live. Baptisms, Senior Conferences, training, branch activities and talking with people. If you want to have the time of your life- come serve a mission. Plan and get ready. You can even serve at home but go and serve- it will change your life!!!!

Baptisms- Warsaw ll and Lodz

Saturday Oct 22 was a great day in Poland. We had baptisms and that is always a great day!
In Warsaw II, Anja was baptized (and confirmed the following day) a member of the Church. Sisters Bailey and Jones taught her the gospel. This was an amazing story that started some years before when she had discussions with the missionaries. Jerzy had the blessing of performing the baptism.
In Lodz, Jonas was baptized with Elders Leimer and Smith teaching him the gospel. Elder Pofelski (not shown) was with Elder Leimer when they met Jonas. Again, an amazing story how Jonas started reading the Book of Mormon and knew immediately it was the word of God. Jacek performed the baptism and he is a great help to the missionaries and the branch.

It was a great day. What a blessing it is to be a missionary and witness the mighty change of heart in people. If a person will read the Book of Mormon and ask if it is true, they will always receive an answer. Because the Book of Mormon is true, and it is, it is physical evidence that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. Because Joseph Smith was a prophet, through him the Lord restored His Church upon the earth in these the latter-day. Because these things are true, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Kosciol Jezusa Chrystusa Swietych w Dniach Ostatnich) is God's Kingdom on earth today. I know this is true. I know it with all my heart, and I am so glad I have the Gospel and the Church in my life!!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Elder and Sister Zatylny depart for home. 21 Oct 2011

Elder and Sister Zatylny have completed their mission and the entire time served faithfully in Gdansk, a beautiful city with wonderful members and great missionaries.
The night before we held a "send off" dinner and had Elder and Sister Peck join us. It was wonderful to visit and hear of the experiences the Zatylny's had and the great love they have for the people in Poland, especially in Gdansk.
Sister Zatylny left a piece of her favorite shirt...
and Elder Zatylny left a piece of his favorite 'go-to' tie. (Sister Zatylny was not sad to leave this tie behind!)
This is a great Senior Couple. They served with all of their heart, might, mind and strength.

We left early Friday morning for the airport expecting traffic and long lines. Again, our airport trips are never without surprises. We drove to the aiport in record time (15 minutes) and it was almost empty. No lines, no delays and no people. In fact we had so much time, Elder Zatylny had time to take a break and relax.
Elder and Sister Zatylny will head to Finland for a few weeks to visit family and then home to the States. We wish them well and know they will continue to bless the lives of many. They served valiant missions, and we love them. Keep us in your prayers, Elder and Sister Zatylny! The church in Poland is changing, and you were a part of that!