Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wroclaw...on our way to a CCM meeting in Freiberg.

President and I are on our way to the quarterly CCM (Coordiating Counsel Meeting--Area Seventy, Mission Presidents, District Presidents) meeting that is being held in Freiberg, Germany. One way to get there is through Wroclaw. So we took this opportunity to check in on our newest Senior Couple, Elder and Sister Sheley. They are doing fabulous, and we are grateful for all they are doing to help strengthen one of the great Branches in Poland...the Wroclaw Branch. Yes, the above picture is taken in the beautiful Wroclaw Rynek. Wroclaw is one of the four Polish cities that will be hosting the 2012 Euro Games starting next week....and they have been busy! A huge screen is being installed in the middle of the Rynek which will enable countless more people to watch the soccer games. A few 'select' people will be able to sit as they watch the games....but most will be standing (and cheering)! Walking the Sheley's back to the Wroclaw Chapel, we ran into these good-looking Missionaries...Elder Bode and Elder Hannemann. They had just come from a teaching appointment where they had extended an invitation to be baptized and the person had accepted. They were all smiles! President Nielson was 'all smiles' when he realized that he would be able to get some help with a box of Books of Mormon from these more-than-willing Elders. Those boxes get very heavy when transporting them very far!
As we were ready to leave to make our way to Germany, we noticed that excitement was in the air. The city of Wroclaw is ready for the exciting month ahead!Banners have been installed and flags are waving... A bus stop showing 4 of the stadiums that will be used in the Euro Games being held in Poland and the Ukraine. The 'Amber Stadium' is the one in Gdansk. The 'White Stadium' ....well, you'll see! We decided to check it out.... Signage leading to the stadium is GREAT! Signs are posted every block, and anyone, no matter what language they speak, can understand them. 'Good job' whoever was in charge of this! we were 'sailing' down the street, we couldn't help but think about the traffic that would descend on this city in just a few short days. Our destination...The Wroclaw Stadium....It is HUGE! Tickets have been impossible to get for months. (Notice the new cool bridge on the right!) We drove all around the stadium...again thinking that this will be impossible soon! The parking lot is extremely small....the city must be counting on everyone to use public transportation to get to this facility. With Wroclaw behind us, we continued on our journey heading to Germany. We had to turn off the main highway, so I am not sure if the big red truck made it under the big red bridge. It looked like it was going to be close! Passing under another interesting bridge. Notice the group of soldiers on the left that are pulling something up to the top of the bridge. Being in a hurry, we couldn't stop to see what it was.
Now, the next three pictures were taken in a small town we were passing through...2 minutes apart from each other. These are 3 things I have never seen in Poland before... A street sweeper. Ok, I've seen a street sweeper before ...but only in Warsaw. But I have never seen a man cleaning up AFTER the street sweeper and I've never seen a Mercedes Benz street sweeper. No wonder this beautiful little town was so neat and pristine! As we turned the corner, we spotted this horse RUNNING down the road ... in a dead sprint! It must have been dinner time! Turning another corner... ...I saw the closest thing I have seen in Poland to an American school bus. We see lots of buses taking children on field trips but they are always the nice 'touring' kind. Again all of this was seen in a matter of 2 camera was busy! As we were leaving Poland to cross over to Germany, this Euro Cup sign was spotted. (Yes, President had to turn the car around!) It shows the way to all four cities in Poland the games will be played in. The first ones start Friday the 8th in Warsaw and Wroclaw. Welcome to Poland, soccer fans!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Karol...getting ready for his mission!

This is the Zloty Terrace Mall (aka: the Bubble Mall) at night. It is located downtown in the middle of Warsaw with the main train station on the left, the Stalin building on the right, the Marriott Hotel in front of it and the InterContinental Hotel behind. It is a 'happening' place and is always busy. It is the perfect shopping mall to get a missionary ready for a mission...they have just about everything! As Karol and I were there shopping Monday morning for his missionary needs, we happened to look up and saw this 'interesting' sight. At first glance they looked like flies on a window...but a closer look showed.... ...these were window washers cleaning the 'bubbles'. Cool job! But we didn't have time to watch them all day; we had much to do. After making sure Karol had the 'perfect' missionary suit, we went over to the tie section. Wait, why buy ties here when the best ties in the world are made by Adam?! So we headed over there later....
The next day, Tuesday, was District Meeting, and we headed to Warsaw I...with Karol, of course.
The Missionaries of the Warsaw I District: Sisters Sheahan and Peterson; Karol and Elders Fletcher (Zone Leader), Pofelski (on exchange), Jensen (District Leader) and Manwill. Much Polish was spoken during 'role plays' today as Elders Manwill and Jensen taught the 'perfect Polish investigator', Karol. After District Meeting, it was back to work for the Sisters. They are teaching some incredible people right now and can't wait to find more!
Not only was it District Meeting, but it was an important day in Karol's life. This was the first day of his 'mini-mission' which will last one week and then on to the real thing! Karol with Elders Pofelski and Fletcher in front of the Zone Leader apartment.Elder Fletcher has that 'It's going to be a great week!' look on his face! And it will be!
Getting back to the mission home, we have another exciting thing happening today. Sister Steadman who was released from her mission in March paid us a visit with her sister and her parents. It is so great to visit with our former missionaries. We are excited to see how they are continuing to progress and see that their love for the Polish people has not diminished one bit. It was fun to visit with the Steadmans and "Sister" Steadman. We love all our Missionaries....current and former....and we always will! Miracles are happening EVERY day here ... we feel your prayers!

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Single Adults in Warsaw sponsor a Grill! 28 May 2012

The Warsaw Single Adults hosted a great grill Monday night at the Wolska Chapel. They had a great turnout as you can see! Everyone had a great time visiting and eating some delicious BBQ.

The #1 guy at a BBQ is always the guy on the grill! They work hard and often don't get a lot of praise. So...

...Dominik, thanks for cooking lots of tasty kebabs! You are a master chef!

The grill was held in our enclosed yard behind the chapel. There was a lot of visiting going on and...

...a lots of games. A familiar face....Karol having fun playing with the boys. Tomorrow his life will change! Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Weekend of May 26-27 was full of great events!

What a great weekend we had! Not only the Young Women Conference but many great events...First of all another great baptism in Lublin. Saturday, Sebastian was baptized by Mikolaj. We welcome Sebastian to the Church. What a great decision for a 14 year old boy to make....hummmm that reminds me of another 14 year old boy who made a great decision...(hint: Joseph Smith!) (L to R): Lacey, Maddax, Marlyna, Sebastian, Mikolaj, Travis, Elder Hancock, Cody, Basia, Elder Mikolyski, Czarek with McKay and Cole standing in front. This is a great Branch! Another grill in another part of the country....Gdansk! Sister Bezdjian is in charge of the pinata holding the candy as the kids try to break it at this neighborhood grill. Everyone had a great time...members, investigators and friends alike! And there is no one better on the grill than President Kempa and Patryk! Great job....I heard the food was delicious. Thank you, President Kempa, for the great job you do as the Gdansk Branch President. Grills were being held all this YSA grill held at the Armstrongs. Seated are: Karina, Marta, Dorota (back from Holland for a few days), Kamil and his friend. Thank you Michal, President Armstrong and Elder Jensen. This was in Warsaw and many more came after this picture was taken. We have great YSA's throughout Poland. President enjoyed this event with these great young people while I was back home with our Young Women Conference. The following morning, Sunday, was another wonderful day... Warsaw II Branch: Our missionaries ran into a familiar face to Poland...Fenton came to visit! Here he is with Elders Gudnason, Tanner, Siebert, Pofelski, Basha and Myler. President Nielson has a 'special assignment' for Fenton....who is in Poland for a few days on break from an internship he is doing in Switzerland. Fenton is doing a great job (along with the other instructors) in the MTC helping all of our new missionaries learn Polish. President appreciates the updates and working together with the MTC instructors as these new missionaries become great. Another familiar face to the Warsaw II Branch! Asia (who recently moved to Hungary with her husband, Richard) is visiting with her two kids, Dougie and Iza. Here she is with her good friend, Jowita, and her children...Jasmine and Sam. It was great to visit with her for a few minutes! I had to add this next picture....just to let you know that the church is the same all over the world. As Primary was over and the children are waiting for their parents to finish meetings or visiting, they find ways to entertain themselves. Here Marcus (who was baptized last week) is showing his 'manly strength' by carrying Jake (who is a Teacher in the Branch) around the room. Everyone was cheering him on. I have to was impressive! Later that evening, we headed to the main train station in Warsaw. We are meeting a very special person... Doesn't this look like a great missionary? It is! Karol, soon to be Elder, arrived from Kielce after giving his "farewell" talk at Church today. He will be in town as we get some last minute items ready for his mission to the England London South Mission. Before he heads to the MTC in Preston, England next week, President Nielson has called him to serve a 'mini-mission' in Warsaw. We love this great, energetic young man. He loves the church and he loves Poland. He is eagar to help the church grow here...and he will! With Fenton and Karol here in Warsaw, we called a meeting/dinner as our Assistants, Elders Myler and Basha, go over ways to help our missionaries speak better Polish. Fenton, because he is a Polish Instructor at the MTC, had some great ideas for us to implement. In the next week we will start holding classes in the Mission Office where groups of missionaries will come in to learn and study more effective ways of learning Polish. This will help all our missionaries preach the gospel (D&C 50:14), by the way (D&C 52) and in the language (D&C 90:11) of these marvelous people in Poland.
This was a great weekend. The Church is true and these members are proof of what the gospel does in our lives. "The gospel makes bad men good, good men better and ...changes human nature" (David O. McKay). We are so blessed to be in Poland and around these great Saints. The missionaries are the best, the members are so wonderful and the Polish people are incredible. This is heaven on earth.

Young Women All-Poland Conference...May 2012

Over the weekend, the YOUNG WOMEN and some of their Leaders in Poland got together for a fabulous Conference. Not only was it fun, but it was 'packed' full of faith promoting activities. (L to R) Ada, Ewa, Becky (2nd counselor Warsaw YW District Pres.), Kasia (YW Pres. Warsaw I), Sara (Warsaw I), Maja, Dominika (Warsaw I), Sister Reed, Bailey (Lublin), Jeonga (Wroclaw), Jazmina (Wroclaw), Grace (Warsaw II), Iwona (Warsaw YW District Pres.) (Sitting): Karina (Warsaw I), Natalie (Poznan), Cindy (Wroclaw), Ewie (Kielce), Lydia (Bydgoszcz), Hannah (Warsaw II). As the Conference began at the Wolska Chapel, everyone signed in and filled out a questionnaire "Spotlight on Me"...which would be used later in the day to get to know each other better. A table full of handouts that would be given to the girls as the day went on. Becky explaining the importance of the Personal Progress Program in the lives of the Young Women of the church with Ewa translating. The 'night crawler' game: the girls were asked to find the gummy worms (the goal) amongst all the other 'good stuff' that was in the pan. This helped them realize how important it was to stay focused on their goals and don't be led astray by 'sweet temptations' that would take them off track. Next, they learned that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures contain 'hidden treasures'.... they strived to find the gold safety pins amid the rice! It is harder than it looks! Outside on the lawn of the Chapel, it was time to learn the importance of prayer with our Heavenly Father as they tried to communicate with each other to get their 'skis' to the other side of the yard. This 'spider web' activity: A giant poisonous spider had made the web. The Young Women were to help each girl get from one side of the web to the other without touching the web. If the web was touched, it would injure the girl. After they successfully got each other through the web safely, the girls talked about things that would injure them...immodest clothes, bad language, drugs, alcohol, tatoos, gossip, etc. and how the Strength for Youth Pamphlet is a guide book to avoid these things. The Young Women loved this activity! A field trip was even part of the plan... they visited the Planetarium at the Copernicus Science Center where they viewed a fabulous film of the creation of this beautiful earth God created for us.
It's getting late and the Young Women have one more stop today... The foyer of the Mission Home: there are often tons of shoes in this spot...but they don't look like these! They are usually black and larger with holes in the bottoms. We have visitors at the Mission Home! It is so great to have these Young Women come stay over to conclude their Conference. Of course, everyone was starving; so... pizza, salad and ice cream sundaes were on the menu! After dinner, the table was cleared and the creative juices started flowing...... In the middle of the 'party', we got a skype from home and our kids wanted to see what all the noise was...They loved meeting the great young women of Poland! The young women were decoupaging book marks, and loved every minute of it. Each book marker was as beautiful and unique as the young woman who made it! It has been a full day....everyone was ready for bed. Sunday morning, everyone was up early for breakfast...Weronika and Dominika (both from Warsaw I) were first in line! Followed closely behind by Lydia (Bydgoszcz), Hannah (Warsaw II), Grace (Warsaw II), Cindy(Wroclaw), Ewie (Kielce) and Natalie (Poznan)! After breakfast, the girls all gathered in the living room to practice the song they were going to be singing in the Warsaw II Branch this morning: "I Am a Child of God"...part in Polish and part in English. (It was beautiful, by the way!) All ready for church, these great Young Women posed for one last picture. It was a great Conference...what a great spirit there is among these beautiful daughters of God. Their testimonies are strong, and they are learning to become future leaders in the church. Many people worked together to make this All Poland Young Women Conference hosted by the Warsaw District a success, but a special a special 'thank you' goes out to these two great sisters in the church. THANK YOU, Iwona and Becky, for making these 2 days not only fun but spiritual for these great Young Women. Thank you for all you are doing to strengthen the church here in Poland by helping to strengthen the youth! We love and appreciate you both!