Sunday, June 3, 2012

On the way to Szczecin....Saturday night, 02 June 2012.

The city of Szczecin is on the border of Germany and's German name is Stettin. That is our next stop. As we were getting near the city, something caught my eye.... 'The Crooked Forest'...I'd heard about this, so we decided to check it out. We drove around dirt roads like this for about 30 minutes. Leaving the forest and after asking 3 people where this 'Dancing Forest' was, we started down the path again. Notice the small white letters on a tree on the left side of the picture (in Polish, of course!)....Well, we didn't; and that's why we ended up getting a 'personal escort' to the site. We also missed this clue(?) on the right side of the road. But then we rounded a bend and saw... "The Crooked Forest" or "Dancing Trees" (another name for it). It was small but magical. There are about 100 'crooked' pine trees planted amongst regular ones. They are believed to have been planted around 1930. After having managed to grow for 7-10 years, they were held down by human mechanical intervention. Why the original tree owners wanted so many crooked trees is unknown. They are the only ones of their kind.
This was President Nielson's favorite 'crooked tree'.
Getting back on the main road to Szczecin, we passed through a town which street was lined with these 'underground homes'....they looked like root cellars. All were 'decorated' differently from the rest. Interesting!
We arrived in Szczecin just before night fall...around 10:00 pm. Tomorrow we will attend church there.Sunday morning with Szczecin Branch...what a great Branch! Lukasz in the back row was one of the first YSA's we met at the YSA Conference almost two years ago. To hear him share his testimony today and bless the sacrament was a thrill for us. He has grown so much and is such a great friend. He helps so much with lessons and referrals. Agnieska is doing great. She answers all the questions in the lessons and brings such a great smile and spirit with her. President Stankiewicz is so diligent in his calling as Branch President and does so many things for our missionaries. This is a small branch; but if you have been to Szczecin, you know the spirit that is here. We love these people and this branch.The new Szczecin Branch Presidency. Elder Van Bakel as the 1st Counselor, President Stankiewicz and Lukasz as the 2nd Counselor. Lukasz has only been a member a few months, but to hear his testimony and to look at him you would think he has been a member for years. We are so proud of his growth and desire to serve the Lord. These are wonderful men.Today was Dagmara's first time leading the music in Sacrament meeting or anywhere. She did marvelous. She has only been a member of the Church since April. She is also the Gospel Doctrine instructor (she taught a fabulous lesson!) and Young Women President. She is great! When the meetings ended, some of the members hung around to 'practice' with Dagmara.After Church, we had the opportunity of having a new member lesson with Olek. He is a great new member of the Church. He was baptized 3 weeks ago, and his knowledge of the Book of Mormon is incredible. He was introduced to the Church 4 years ago. It was such a great blessing for us to meet and visit with Olek. If you could hear him speak about the gospel and his testimony you would cheer. He is amazing. We can't tell you how excited we are for this wonderful little branch with these great and prepared young people... who are now terrific members.We gathered Elders Van Bakel and Kalinowski and headed to Poznan. We have District Meeting there tomorrow. Since it was Fast Sunday, we ended our fast in the car and with the lunches the hotel had made for us. Well, they made two lunches and these great missionaries needed nuriousment more than we did. We love these great Elders.Elder Van Bakel is a big eater. I turned around to talk to him and saw this! He didn't know that we travel with utinsels. He couldn't wait for a spoon as he enjoyed his yogurt. He has lost close to 50 pounds. He is still a big boy. President really enjoys talking with him because he is from Holland...where President served some years ago. As we head down the road, we saw this picture of the sun's was more dynamic in person. But it signals that it is the end of another great day on the mission in a country that we love. Our destination...Poznan!


  1. I am so glad you found the crooked forest! It looks so cool!

  2. I taught Olek when I was in Szczecin! It's great to see he got baptized!


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