Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday in Poznan- A full day.

Sunday morning was another great day in Poznan. These are a part of the members of the Branch. There were around 30 in attendance today and more great lessons, talks and meetings.
It started off with missionary coordination meeting at 10am. The missionaries are reviewing investigators with the Branch President and discussing things that could assist in the work such as: Member lessons, visiting teaching and home teaching ideas. Many important things were planned that will help the branch grow and help everyone.

Marzena (a recent convert) was in playing prelude music as members and investigators arrived for Sacrament Meeting.
Members who were sustained and set apart today were- Grzegorz (Exective Secretary) Sister Healy (Relief Society President) Brother Healy (Elders Quorum President) and Malgorzata (Activities Chairperson).
Marta gave a wonderful lesson in Sunday School on the 13th Article of Faith. It was well prepared and presented very nicely. Thank you Marta for always being prepared and having a wonderful smile.

One of the big blessings in coming to Poznan is to hear the music. Sister Sheahan was a professional vocalist before serving as a missionary. She is incredible. Elder Rogers is just about as good on the piano. Both were wonderful. It was extremely touchingand brought a strong spirit to sacrament meeting. Thank you for sharing your talents.

Waiting for their chance to show their talents (some day- and perhaps not in Sacrament meeting) are Elder Buckner and Sister Leppanen. They are good sports who just had to get their pictures on the blog. We love them just as much and for the talents they have as well.

As a Senior Missionary, Sister Richards has done about everything in the Mission. This proves it. She is also a Substitute Nursery Coordinator. This is just before the door closed and things went from quiet to....a little more active! Thank you, Sister Richards, for serving so well in everything you are asked to do.

The Young Womens Class in Poznan is growing! Natalie, Lydia and Anja. This class is bi-lingual with the help of Marta and Sister Sheahan.

Sister Leppanean and Sheahan with 2 of their wonderful Investigators, Alicja and Lydia.

Bozena (a great member of the Poznan Branch) and Regina. Regina's son, Wiktor, will soon be receiving a mission call. He will be leaving from his University Ward at BYU Idaho. We will you keep you posted on where the Lord will call him to serve!

The Ballentyne family...minus the Mom who is visiting relatives in the Ukraine. This American family will soon be leaving to return to the states. They will be missed! But...the Lord always provides...

The Healy family from Alaska and California have recently moved into the Branch. They have two energic sons, Richard and Max, and a third on the way. They will assist in many ways in this Branch. They were called to two important callings and will serve wonderfully. They are a great addition to the Poznan Branch...and they speak Polish!

Our missionary group. Today after the 3-hour block of meetings, members stayed and the new Chapel was dedicated for worship. It was a great day and this is a wonderful place for this special Branch to meet. The hand of the Lord is in the work in Poznan.
This is a great group of missionaries. They serve together well and they are full of energy. Great things will continue to happen in Poznan. A special 'Thank You' to Elder Richards, the Branch President, who is helping to organize this growing Branch.

Its back to Warsaw on a Sunday night. Back into the traffic and all the road construction. But after a weekend like this- it was well worth any effort. In fact the drive home was really quite enjoyable as we thought of the blessings that we witness all around us. We love the Church, the Poznan Saints, missionaries and the privilege of serving here and now.
We love the Richards. Who would have thought years ago when the Richards moved into the Fort Apache ward, of the Las Vegas Lakes Stake, that one day all four of us would be standing in front of the new Poznan Branch Chapel. In this Church, anything is possible. This is just fun and great to be a part of. This is a blessing of a life time to be in Poland!!!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Off to Poznan for a Thanksgiving Feast and a Fireside

After attending the first part of the CES training this morning, we dashed in the car and headed to Poznan for a dinner and fireside. We had to be there by 4:00 pm; and because it was Saturday, the roads weren't too crowded. It only took us 4 1/2 hours to get there.

It was dark by the time we arrived, but we were welcomed by a great lighted sign! The Poznan Branch is celebrating Thanksgiving Dinner today with a Fireside tonight. This is the front of their new Chapel. A new roof is being installed; and when that is completed, everything will be perfect. The inside of the church already is...thanks to Elder and Sister Richards! They have done a great job. Thank you!
We arrived and everyone was busy getting ready for the dinner. Elders Rogers and Buckner are helping in everyway imaginable...including carving 1 of 4 turkeys that were served.
The dinner started with around 54 in attendance. If you were at the old Chapel, you know this could have never happened there. It was the beginning of a great evening.
Sister Sheahan is greeting members and this wonderful investigator as everyone is arriving.
The food line begins and many were not sure what "Stuffing" was or what to do with "Gravy".
Natalie and Anja ...two of the wonderful young women in the branch!
For MANY of these Polish people, it was their FIRST American Thanksgiving dinner. Most were willing to try everything.
Grzegosz is finding his way around the buffet line pretty well. He is a great member and a big support in the Poznan Branch.

Jolanta and Michol try American stuffing!
Marzena, Izza, her friend and Kate carefully make great choices in the buffet line.

It is always wonderful when members bring their friends to activities and to church...and we had many non-members in attendance tonight!

Again, Elders Buckner and Rogers came through with pies (!) that they each baked! They were delicious. Great missionaries (and cooks).

The fireside was short. Everyone was told that after President spoke, dessert would be served. That's a guaratee that no one will be long-winded. When the party ended, it was time for clean up. Grzegorz, bless his heart, stayed until the bitter end. We wanted to make sure our new Chapel was clean and presentable for our Sunday meetings.

Sisters Leppanen and Sheahan pitched right in and worked as hard as anyone. These are remarkable Sisters. We love and appreciate them so much. The Sister missionaries are just unbelievable, they can do everything...and do it perfectly.

The clean-up crew gets to go home. It was a wonderful dinner and turn out. Much work went into this event. A special 'thank you' to the members and missionaries of the Poznan branch for the food and preparation. This was a wonderful branch effort!

Poland Seminary and Institute Teacher Training

Saturday morning at the Wolska Chapel was a well planned out day of Seminary and Institute Training. These two showed up a little early, found a ball and it started...

Rafel from Warsaw (the Warsaw District Executive Secretary) and Karol (from Kielce and an institute instructor) got into a game and had a great time.

Some of the group that attended and showed up ready to go- Elder and Sister Jensen (Wroclaw) Ewa (Bydgoszcz), Karol (Kielce), Dominik (Warsaw l) Sister and Elder Simons.
Elder and Sister Jensen, reviewing the details of their workshop before their presentation.

Dominik was in the other room preparing for his workshop and opened his scriptures and a picture came out that his son had drawn for him. He is a great instructor and even a better father.

Some of our wonderful Polish members who are becoming great instructors in the Gospel, thanks to the help and guidance from Elder and Sister Simons. Andrzej from Krakow, Karol , Ewa and Dominik. They all are great.

Elder and Sister Tarasevich also attended from Lodz. The are a fantastic support in the branch and do just about everything to further the work. Our senior couples do so much with the branches and the members. Besides having many responsibilities, they show everyone how the Church operates.

Agata and Tim also attended from Lodz. She is a marvelous instructor and only getting better and better. Thank you all for attending and supporting the wonderful efforts of Elder and Sister Simons. The Seminary and Institute program is touching the lives of so many in Poland. Becoming better teachers of the gospel allows everyone to make better choices and live better lives.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving from Warsaw, Poland!

Thanksgiving Day is an American holiday where we 'give thanks' for all our blessings and then eat a lot of great food...usually too much great food! At our house, it always involved some sort of playing sports before the big meal....and this Thanksgiving dinner was no different.
When we first arrived President Jarosz and President disappeared. I thought they were in a meeting about something. Pretty soon I went in the cultural hall and found them playing. They said they were discussing a transfer....Yeah right...transfer the ball into the basket.
OK, we had to break this up and get back to the work at hand. Game over and High Fives to everyone. President Jarosz has 'got game'! A showdown is in the works!

While Brother Jarosz and President Nielson were challenging each other on the court....

...the kitchen was crammed full of missionaries getting 'their assignment' for the dinner prepared. (LtoR): Sister Mann, Elders Walter and Peck, Sister Briggs, Elder Myler, Sisters Peck, Jones, Bailey and Garcia.

As per tradition, the Missionaries in Warsaw all met for a couple of hours at the Wolska chapel to celebrate Thanksgiving Day together. Sister Briggs (right) had done a great job organizing the dinner and making assignments.

Everyone was ready for some turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing! Sister Sheets (Center) had done a wonderful job making sure the tables looked beautiful!

After dinner, the Elders lined up to try their hand at basketball.

Elder Dabrowski was taking some practice shots as everyone was trying to figure out how to divide up for teams. Godfrey (in the background) held his own in this game as well.
Sister Briggs from the Family History Center showed off her skills with a couple of great shots.

President said it was time to hit the streets again when he saw that Dominik was going to run and jump off Elder Hillyard's back to see if he could dunk the basketball. This had accident written all over it! Dominik, who will soon have his mission papers submitted, didn't need a broken ankle; and Elder Hillyard, our first assistant, didn't need an injured back! A great time was had by all, let's end on that note... Thanksgiving was great time Warsaw. We have much to be Thankful for.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Makro before the snow hits....

Makro in Poland is like Costco or Sam's Club in America. I can go there and buy many items we need in bulk and things you can't get anywhere else. So I asked the Assistants to go with me on a big run to buy as much as I needed before the weather turns bad and it becomes more difficult to make the trek across Warsaw to buy things. We ended up buying enough to fill 5 large carts. First Elder Dabrowski started loading the new Transporter with Juice. We have enough Juice for the mission for many months...
He got tired so Elder Hillyard took over for him and the boxes just kept coming....
Next they started loading all the bottle bottles. This run to Makro is for food the missionaries, guests, YSA's and office will use for the next several months. We are just starting...

Then we started loading cleaning supplies, laundry detergents and cookies, chips and bread...

We're about half way with canned goods, flour and rice...

With paper goods loaded in with everything else on the list, it was time to head home.

Now where to put everything. From start to finish it was a 6 hour trip. I don't think the Assistants will go on another trip with me. Well I know these Assistants won't go because this will last us until March. By that time they will be back out in the field again. Shhh... don't tell them that!

The whole time we were unloading the Transporter, President was in his office on the phone. He came down the last 10 minutes to help bring in a few items. Wouldn't you know it...he cuts his hand on a staple on one of the boxes and had to leave again to get a bandaid... thanks alot!

It was a long day but thanks to great assistants it was made so much easier and went smoother.

This was by far the largest food purchase I have ever made. But this will last everyone for months and months. I didn't know when I would be able to go again if we didn't do it today. December will be a busy month (as will January- April). Never a dull moment in the mission field...but I love it!