Thursday, August 30, 2012

Leadership Meeting....August 30, 2012

Our Leadership meeting was held at the Wolska Chapel on Thursday. All of the Zone Leaders and District Leaders traveled in for this training. We have new leaders who needed this meeting. Seated: Elders Gladun (Zone Leader Bydgoszcz), Basha (Assistant), Jensen (Assistant), Polfelski (Zone Leader Warsaw). Middle Row: Elders Myler (District Leader Gdansk), Gudnason (District Leader Bygdoszcz), Hooker (District Leader Warsaw I), Szymanski (Krakow), Johnson (District Leader Lodz), Fletcher (District Leader Warsaw II), Vreeken (Zone Leader Katowice), Zelezniak (Krakow). Back Row: Elders Dopp (Office), Rogers (Bialystok), Mikolyski (District Leader Katowice), Van Bakel (Szczecin), Walter (District Leader Krakow), Tiner (District Leader Poznan), Bode (District Leader Wroclaw).

Our meeting started on time and everyone was getting ready with their training booklets. Elders Hooker and Szymanski (6'4" and 6'7") with Elders Van Bakel, Gladun and Tiner.

This was a great day and we met in the Relief Society room. We covered a lot of material and also had a beautiful musical number by Elder Dopp, accompanied by Elder Myler.

I spoke on the 'Power of Example' in leadership...using an object lesson with toothpaste. Your example is so difficult to take back. Just like trying to get toothpaste back into the tube. "What you DO rings so loud in my ears, that I can't hear what you say." A mission leader ALWAYS sets a good example!

After instruction from President Nielson and Elder Basha (1st Assistant), it was time to break for lunch.

You never have to worry about leftovers when feeding Missionaries. They eat until it's gone!

In the afternoon, the missionaries received more instruction from President Nielson and Elder Jensen (2nd Assistant). Duties of a Zone Leader and District Leader were gone over thoroughly. With so many new missionaries and young leaders, we now feel better equipped to lead the mission how the Brethren have directed us.

Those leaders coming from the Bydgoszcz Zone: Elders Gladun, Van Bakel, Tiner, Gudnasen and Myler.

Those leaders coming from the Katowice Zone: Elders Zelezniak, Vreeken, Bode, Mikolyski, Szymanski and Walter.

Those leaders coming from the Warsaw Zone: Elders Dopp, Hooker, Pofelski, Johnson, Rogers and Fletcher. Kneeling: Elders Basha and Jensen. So where are their Junior companions?

Most were in their cities with other companionships. Those that traveled in or are assigned here in Warsaw were out contacting....finding those that would like to hear about God's plan for them! Elders Hayes, Roberts, Manwill, Register, Bokinsky and Baranowski.

After a meeting like this, someone has to clean up! We appreciate the Warsaw Zone Leader and his District Leaders taking on this project! That is something that is learned early in this to set up and take down for a meeting! Elders Hooker (District Leader-Warsaw I), Pofelski (Zone Leader) and Fletcher (District Leader-Warsaw II).

It's time to head out, catch trains and get home in time to teach and plan.

Carrying supplies and mail (Yeah!) is always standard for missionaries when traveling back to
their cities.

I haven't seen the Assistants lately....

Found them! They were out contacting in front of the church. Talking to everyone is what we do. It was a great meeting with these tremendous Elders. There is a powerful spirit when the missionaries are together. These are such wonderful occasions. These are the days that wear you out; but you feel so good. You see what the Lord can do with valiant Elders. There is no better place to be than on a mission. I pray that every young man (and if possible young women) prepare and plan to serve a mission. When you give your best to the Lord, you always get more than the Best in return. I love being on a mission!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

An exciting piece of mail arrives at the Mission Home...

Every week or so I go out and check our mail. Why so seldom? Because we never get anything but junk mail! But today is different... We got a letter from our daughter, Devin. Humm...that's strange. Opening the letter, I was a bit confused. Below is all that was in the envelope. What could it mean? An airline boarding pass for January 29, 2013? It's just for me and not President. What's this all about? I then remembered it's from my daughter and.... we are so excited!!! Congratulations!!
(I have had about 20 emails regarding this. My daughter Devin sent this to announce she is expecting a baby boy on January 29, 2013. She is hoping I can come home for this great event. We now have Devin and Avery expecting. Sorry if I didn't make this very clear. Thank you dear friends for your emails)

Monday, August 27, 2012

Some familiar faces visit the Mission Home...

Before, in between and after transfers, we had visitors coming and going from the Mission Home. It is always great to visit with our former Missionaries, catch up on their lives and talk about great memories of the mission. Elder Tribe (with his friend, Whitney) are on their way home from a 4-month humanitarian trip to Uganda. Sister Leppanen had come back to Poland from Helsinki to visit friends in Poznan, and we were able to visit with her for awhile. One of the favorite things to do for a former missionary is to see a piece of their tie, scarf or sweater actually hung on the 'tie board'. Sister Leppanen quickly picked her's out... did Elder Tribe. This is a very popular spot in the mission home. Lots of memories are brought back to mind when they stand in front of it. Elder Tribe brought us a gift from Uganda...a most unusual piece of art made by a woman who has started her own business using the small business management skills taught by volunteers like the ones you see above. The artist is a returned missionary and active member of the church in Uganda. She won an award for being the most creative, potentially successful entrepreneur in her class. The picture was made from layered fibers of banana leaves. It is the Salt Lake Temple....where President Nielson and I were sealed. Also visiting us in the last few days were the Kuhles....both former Polish Missionaries and both taught us in the MTC in the months before we left for Poland. It was great to see them both and catch up on what is happening in their lives. We had a great visit with this wonderful couple.
Another familiar face....but this time coming from Utah. Elder Finch and Elder Hillyard (former Poland Warsaw Missionary) were able to meet and visit about the mission before Elder Finch entered the MTC on August 22nd. We look forward to meeting this new Elder in October. For now, he is immersed in studying Polish and Preach My Gospel like the rest of his group.
The Mission Home is now empty for a few hours...just President Nielson and me wandering the halls! We are in the process of trying to regroup as President Nielson gets ready for a Leadership Training Meeting, a Warsaw District Priesthood Training Meeting with members AND Zone Conferences start next week. Never a dull moment on a mission! We love it!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

More great Converts in the Church in Poland.

We love Saturdays in this Mission! Why? Because Saturdays are when most of our baptisms are held, and they are always great days!

Today was no different. We met at the Wolska chapel where this good brother, Maciej, was baptized by Marcin. Maciej was taught by our Office Elders, Elder Hayes and Elder Dopp, and will be attending the Warsaw II Branch. We welcome this great young man into the Church.

Kielce has also added another member to its growing Branch. Martyna was baptized last Saturday. She was taught by Elders Jespersen and Vreeken. Welcome, Martyna, to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

We admire the strong testimonies of our new converts. We also appreciate our members for all the love and fellowship they show them. That is how the Church grows STRONG in Poland.

Friday, August 24, 2012

August 24, 1977 and August 24, 2012.

On the morning of Wednesday, August 24, 1977 a meeting was held at Ogrod Saski in downtown Warsaw. This was held for the dedication of the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ in the nation of Poland. President Spencer W. Kimball with Sister Kimball along with Brother and Sister David M. Kennedy in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier at the Saski Park square.Present were: President and Sister Spencer W. Kimball, Brother and Sister David M. Kennedy, D. Arthur Haycock, Dr. Ernest L. Wilkinson, Brother and Sister Matthew Ciembronowicz and their son, Adam, Brother and Sister Fryderyk Czerwinski, Brother and Sister Walter Krause, Sister Lona Czerwinska and daugther, Mona. All were standing on the north side of the fountain.We had just dropped off our missionaries at the airport. We drove straight to this wonderful and sacred spot in Warsaw. It was still early, peaceful and quiet. It was one of those very special days and occasions. From the dedicatory prayer: "We congregate before thee in this special park... and are grateful for this beautiful land with its thousands of lakes, its numerous rivers, its quiet forests, its fertile farm lands, and its rich natural resources".The park was empty, there were no sounds of the city. I don't know if we have had a more peaceful day in Warsaw or in Poland. "We are aware of the contributions made by Polish emigrants to other lands. We have been touched by the love shown by these emigrants for their relatives and friends in the Mother land. Our hearts are touched and we covenant with thee that we will use this place to encourage a love for thee and thy ways... our desire to be associated with this land is to create love for thee and to cause thy people of this nation to love their fathers and their leaders and love their land and to live honorable, righteous lives". (Dedicatory Prayer)We walked and looked at this beautiful park. We thought of the promises given to this great country and these marvelous people. "we ask thee...sanctify this land with great leadership and great opportunities for the people who have suffered so much. We are grateful to thee for these good people and their good leaders who granted to us the privilege of coming into their land with the high, elevating principles and doctrines which will make of their populace a strong, vital group of men, women, and children of courage and loyalty: men and women of great honor and integrity". (Dedicatory Prayer)The fountain where the group who had gathered that day some 35 years ago was powerful and yet calm. "bless these leaders with wisdom and judgement and faith and integrity, that they themselves may be happy in their lives, that they may also pass to the other millions of people those graces and programs which will make of this a strong nation and a wonderful people". (Dedicatory Prayer)The changing of the guards took place on the hour. Off to the right, with this building in the back ground, is where President Kimball, Sister Kimball and Brother and Sister Kennedy stood in the opening picture. "We recall the the contributons to science and the arts by so many from this great land. Names of great men and women come to mind such as Nicolaus Copernicus, Madame Curie, Chopin, Paderewski, and many others. Those of us who have come from America owe a great debt of gratitude to Kosciuszko and Pulaski who served with such bravery and distinction in the American Revolution". (Dedicatory Prayer)As we thought about what happened here on this spot 35 years ago today, this morning we are so grateful and thankful to be even a very small part of this great work. "Wilt thou bless these fathers and mothers in this nation, that they may bring up their children in righteousness, that they may train them aright and bless thy children that they may grow up to be honorable, peaceful, loving parents themselves, so that the generations may bring to thee, their Lord, great satisfaction in the development of the souls of men. Whatsoever city thy servants shall enter and the people of that city receive their testimony, let thy peace, thy salvation, be upon that city and upon thy people, that they may gather out of that city the righteous that they may come forth and desire the blessings of Zion". (Dedicatory Prayer)
We are so blessed to be in Poland. We love these people. This Church is true, and it is living. It is lead by a living prophet who is guided by a living and loving Lord. Because the Lord has His Church again upon the earth, each person can find the truth and the way that will bring happiness and joy. Not just in this life but for eternity.
Another wonderful and memorable day for us in Poland!

Departing Missionaries leave for home!

With the New Missionaries out the door to their assigned cities, it was time to welcome the departing Missionaries. Our Assistants, Elder Jensen and Elder Basha, bring them into the Mission Home. (Elders Sorn, Krzyminski and Siebert) Wait! We are missing a few!

Elders Berry and Hannemann and Sister Jones were dropped off at my favorite Polish Pottery shop where I helped these missionaries make some fast purchases for some loved ones at home. This is a great group of Missionaries....all of them. This afternoon it was a unanimous decision that they all wanted to do some contacting at the Centrum. Books of Mormons were placed, numbers were taken, appointments were set up for other Missionaries to follow through with as these missionaries were leaving to go home. They worked to the end. Their final hours in Poland were doing missionary work.

Before the departing dinner, I said 'good-bye' to Sister McGrath who had come to help me through the hard 'transition time'. Thank you, Sister McGrath, for helping through the biggest transfer of our mission. She was a great help. ALL our Senior Missionaries are so diligent in their callings. They would do anything for this mission and for our missionaries. What would we do without them? We love each of them.

Back to our departing group. A request for mexican food was granted!

After final interviews with President Nielson and a powerful testimony meeting... was time for a Mission tradition. Elder Berry was the first to leave something behind.

He was followed by Elder Hannemann...

...Who was followed by Sister Jones.

Elder Krzyminski, a former Assistant and avid Ohio State fan (notice the colors of the tie!), was next.

Elder Siebert willing leaves a reminder of himself behind .... does Elder Sorn.

This group of leaders in the mission will be missed. They have been trainers, district leaders, zone leaders and assistants. These were Missionaries the President could always count on to be found doing the right thing. You always knew that these missionaries were where they should be doing exactly what needed to be done. Thank you for your examples, your diligent service and your legacy of obedience with exactness that you leave behind. We love you all!

The next morning, we were up at 3:00 am to get everyone off to the airport. Six Missionaries .... 4 different flights to catch. Yes, it was crazy! But they all got off safe and sound. It is hard to say good-bye to our missionaries. We also are so happy for them. They completed consecrated missions and will soon be greeted by family and friends.

An added bonus! Ada was also at the airport with her family early this morning! She is on her way back to BYU Provo for school. We love and appreciate this good family for all they do to help strengthen the church here in Poland....and for their friendship!

It was now about 6:30am and the rest of the day was going to be busy. There was plenty to do and this was a special day...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

New Missionaries...Day 2! Missionary work begins!

Life in Poland...Day 2! All our new arrivals had a good nights rest and a big breakfast. They are looking fresh and ready to start the day! First on the agenda...a brisk walk to the Mission Office to get started on legal work and other essential matters. Seven minutes later, they arrive at the Mission Office. While our new Missionaries are getting all this done, the Mission Home is full of activity! Our new trainers have arrived anxious to meet their new trainees. Sister Sheahan, Elders Mikolyski, Bode, Marsing, Gudnason, Tanner, Van Bakel, Myler, Hooker, Hancock and Johnson. These are great missionaries and will train our new missionaries in the correct and righteous traditions of their fathers. While the trainers meet with President ...
...their trainees have made their way to the Warsaw Rynek to have lunch and start doing missionary work in Poland. First stop...a pierogi restaurant. You can tell by the looks on their faces that they are a little lost! But when the pierogi arrives, the smiles come out!
After lunch, our Warsaw I and II Missionaries arrive at the Rynek to help our New Missionaries contact people passing through. After introductions are made, they set out to work. Elders Vernon and Harris follow Elder Raines' lead. These determined missionaries are going to find someone to teach! Elders Baranowski and Cieslak along with Elder Szymanski engage a man in a conversation about what would it mean to him if he knew that God spoke to a prophet today. Sister Forsey (her last day in Warsaw) helps Sister Packard contact a woman while...... Elder Godwin and Elder Fletcher find a father to talk to. Elders Tingey and Pofelski (who knew each other in High School in Meridian, Idaho!) contacting a man who has questions. Elders Weir, Bokinski and Garfield contacting on the Rynek.
Elder Jensen showing Elder Wilson how to contact while walking alongside people.

We appreciate the good Missionaries from the Warsaw Zone who helped our new Missionaries learn to approach and contact people. They are learning from the best! (LtoR): Elders Harris, Wilson, Fletcher, Pofelski, Godwin, Bokinski, Szymanski, Vernon, Tingey, Neuner, Cieslak, Baranowski, Garfield, Weir and Sisters Holmgren, Forsey, Packard and Peterson (her last day in Warsaw).

Soon it is time to head back to the Mission Home and MEET THEIR TRAINERS! Sister Packard will be trained by Sister Sheahan. They will be serving in the Warsaw I Branch.

Elder Vernon will serve in Katowice where Elder Mikolyski (a new District Leader) will be his trainer. Elder Godwin's trainer is Elder Johnson. They will serve in Lodz together. Elder Hancock is serving in Lublin where he will be training Elder Wilson. Elder Tanner will be training Elder Neuner in Lodz. Elder Baranowski doesn't have to travel far. He will serve in the Warsaw I Branch and Elder Hooker will be his trainer. Elder Myler will be taking his trainee, Elder Harris, to the seaside city of Gdansk.
Elder Tingey will be serving in Wroclaw with Elder Marsing.

Szczecin will be receiving a new trainee, Elder Garfield. Elder Van Bakel will be training him.

Elder Wier will be trained by our Elder from Iceland...Elder Gudnason (new District Leader). They will be serving in Bydgoszcz. And...Elder Cieslak will be serving in Wroclaw with Elder Bode. There you have it! Eleven new missionaries with their eleven new trainers. What a great sight to behold! There is power in this group! (Front row Sisters Sheahan, Packard, Elders Myler, Harris, Vernon, Mikolyski, Gudnason, Weir. Back row- Elders Godwin, Hooker, Johnson, Baranowski, Tingey, Marsing, Cieslak, Wilson, Garfield, Van Bakel, Hancock, Wilson, Tanner and Neuner)
After taking a short break to give the trainers and trainees a chance to get to know each other.... was back to business with instruction from President Nielson.
Humm....I haven't seen the Assistants for awhile. I wonder what they might be up to? Always being found doing the right thing, Elders Basha and Jensen had been 'slaving' over the grill in the backyard. Dinner is ready.....come and get it! After dinner and a great testimony meeting, it was time for our 'Warsaw' missionaries to get on the road and to their apartments. Sisters Packard and Sheahan and Elders Hooker and Baranowski will be settled into their apartments by 9:00 pm to start planning for tomorrow.

What a great day!

It's late and tomorrow is another VERY busy day. All these missionaries need to be on trains bright and early in the morning to get to their assigned cities. After that....there are only a few hours to change beds and fix meals for the departing missionaries who arrive tomorrow afternoon! Good thing I have Sister McGrath to help me. She arrived from Katowice this morning, and I immediately put her to work! THANK YOU Sister McGrath for your tireless help