Monday, October 29, 2012

Elder Nowak Departs for England.

In Katowice at the end of December 2010, a great young man decided to follow the example of his Savior, Jesus Christ, and be baptized a member of the Church. Here he is shown with some of the  missionaries who taught him. (LtoR): Sisters Stay, Brown, Smith and Elder Hanneman. 
As time progressed, the great young man decided to serve a 'mini mission' where he was sent to Wroclaw to be with Elders Tribe and Roberts.  It was a life changing decision for him. He knew in his heart he needed to serve a full time mission. 
Fast Forward to October 2012!!!
Now Elder Nowak is a set apart, full-time representative of Jesus Christ.  He will be serving in the England Birmingham Mission for the period of 2 years. The night before he leaves to fly to England, the Assistants come by to make sure he has a Polish and English copy of Preach My Gospel plus a English set of scriptures.
We claim Elder Nowak as one of our own, so of course he needs to leave something of his behind for us to remember him by.
He even selected where he wants his tie to be placed.  Next to Elder Hannemann who baptized him and some of the Elders who made a big impact on his life.  This all happened Sunday night after he was set apart earlier in the day after the Katowice District Conference.
Monday morning was spent at the airport with some long lines.  Elder Nowak will be joining the Elders in the England Manchester Mission for 2 days and then taken to the MTC.  The MTC will receive new Missionaries on November 1.  The MTC President and President Nielson are attending a Mission Presidents Seminar this week, so Elder Nowak's itinerary was changed to accommodate all of these plans.
We say "Good-bye" for now to Elder Nowak.  He will be a great missionary in England.  He will have the opportunity to teach many Polish investigators there.  President Nielson has spoken with President Rasmussen of the England Birmingham Mission, and Elder Nowak will be very welcomed as they have Polish investigators waiting to hear the Gospel in their native tongue.
We are so excited for Elder Nowak and all that awaits him. Work are in our prayers!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Katowice District Conference....October 27-28, 2012

The Katowice District Presidency:  President Krzykawski (1st Counselor), President  Pawlik, and President Gaskell (2nd Counselor). We thank these faithful men for all they do to help the Katowice District run smoothly.
With all the visiting that was going on, we were still able to get a few of the new converts together for a picture.  Each was recognized during Conference with a boutineer/corsage so other members could meet and get to know them.  (LtoR): Robert, Adam, Konrad, Anna and Marzena shown with President Nielson and President Pawlik.
This was also a perfect time for some of our Saints to renew temple recommends with President Nielson. A temple excursion is planned for the week of November 20th and many Polish Saints plan to attend.  Above are some of the members of the Wroclaw Branch who did just that.  (LtoR): Sister Malinowska, Ula, Agata, and the Zans.
Another great event that happened during the Conference:  Adam was being ordained an Elder. He was leaving the next day for his mission. Many of the Saints were there to support him in this great endeavor. (More info to come in the next post!)
Even the kids of the Katowice District had something special to attend.  Taking advantage of several children being at Conference, it was a perfect time to have a Primary Activity Day ... and that's just what they did. The children loved the gospel related activities AND getting to know each other a little better. Above are SOME that attended.
When this many people get together, you can't have them leave to go home on a Sunday without a little food.  That's where the Relief Society President of the Katowice Branch, Gosia, and our Senior couples came to the rescue.  Elder and Sister McGrath and...
... Elder and Sister Sheley (serving in Wroclaw) had everything well planned and...
...lunch was a success. It was enjoyed by all after the last session held on Sunday.  Everyone went home spiritually AND temporally fed.
Now....a little update on the weather in Poland.
This is the scene of the big round-about as you look outside the Katowice chapel.  Lots of construction and lots of mud...aka: rain.  By the end of Conference on Sunday...
...this is what it looked like.  Winter had come to Poland!
A blanket of snow had covered the whole city of Katowice.  But Katowice wasn't the only city in Poland getting snow.
A weather report from Lodz.  Snow!  Elder Zelezniak (from Australia) sent President this picture of him and his companion, Elder Smith.  A record of making his FIRST snowman ever!  Elder Smith is from Utah and I'm sure this is one of countless ones made for him!  And in another part of the country...
This picture was taken in the backyard of the mission home 3 days ago. 
Same location...different look!  Yes, winter is here!  It all came in one day.  I better find my winter gloves and scarves...this winter looks to be a cold one!  It is beautiful, isn't it?

Friday, October 26, 2012

With Transfers come new Mission Leaders. Zone Leader Council.

Our monthly Zone Leader Council went great today. We got our departing missionaries off at 5:30am and our Council meeting started on time at 11:00am. Elders Basha and Jensen (assistants) with Elders Gudnason (Bydgoszcz Zone), Mikolyski (Katowice Zone) and Dopp (Warsaw Zone).
This is a good time to 'update' who is serving in the Office.  We appreciate these great missionaries as they do much to make sure the Poland Warsaw Mission runs smoothly all over the country!  What would we do without them?  (LtoR): Brother Jarosz (who is SO valuable to us in so many, cars, you name it, he does it!), Elder and Sister Peck (Office Couple), and Elder Pofelski and Elder Hayes (Office Elders). Again....thank you for all you do!
Lunch time during Zone Leader Council....a good time to visit and catch up with what is going on in the Mission around the country. 
It was another great day.  We are so blessed to be in Poland.  We are around the BEST missionaries and members in the Church.  President always says he has the best calling in the Church.  I know that is correct because I am right there with him.  We love being here and being a part of the work in Poland.
We also love hearing from our Missionaries past, current and future.  Thank you Elders Tanner, Johnson and Vreeken who quickly emailed us upon arriving back home.  It is so good to hear you arrived safely. They had some delayed and canceled flights- it happens.

Transfers! Our New Missionaries head out into the field

It's time to get these new Missionaries to their assigned areas!
Getting everyone packed, fed and out the door to get ahead of the morning Warsaw traffic is always a challenge.  This morning it went off without any glitches.  Elders Finch, Myler (both have a long day ahead of them as they head to Gdansk), Tiner and Stockford (heading to Poznan), Rogers and Lanham (going to Bialystok) Smith and Zelezniak (heading to Lodz), Van Bakel and Stumpf (another long day as they have a 6 1/2 train ride to Szczecin) and Sisters Forsey and Bown (heading also to Lodz).
 One last picture of everyone unloading at the Train Station in front of the Palace of Culture (aka: Stalin Building).
 Making sure everyone has their luggage. Sometimes it appears to be a 'free for all'...
 Elders Smith and Zelezniak are heading to Lodz in a new area.  This was a full transfer for both of them.  Elder Zelezniak is coming from Krakow,and they both literally have everything they own with them.
They all left and found the correct trains.  (Later that night, we heard that all made it safe and sound to their new areas.)
For now, it's back to the mission home where we need to have everything ready for our departing missionaries who arrive in a few hours.  Transfers are always exciting.  We see the great new missionaries come in and then we see our best be tranferred some far distances. This morning,all is going smoothly.

Our mission loses some of the best...

Hours later I met our departing missionaries at a nearby pottery shop to pick up a few last minute gifts for their mothers.  This has become a tradition along with a fast trip to Adam's tie factory, a quick lunch at McDonald's, and a chance to go 'contacting' one last time together for a few hours before heading to the Mission Home.
Our Departing Missionaries:  Elders Johnson, Hancock, Tanner, Vreeken, Sister Folsom and Elder Marsing. After a great dinner, a final interview with President Nielson and a truly uplifting testimony meeting, it's time for one more mission tradition.....
Sisters Sister Folsom decided to leave a piece of a sweater as a remembrance of 18 months of hard missionary work.
I have been 'eyeing' this tie of Elder Johnson's in hopes that this would be the one he would leave with me..and he did!
Having been an Office Elder, Elder Tanner had been a witness to this tradition several times.  Now it was HIS turn!
Elder Marsing was willing to give up his tie.....
...but Elder Hancock didn't seem quite as confident that this was something he wanted to participate in!
And then Elder Vreeken looks like he is in pain! 
Every one of these great Missionaries have served valiantly and should be pleased with their efforts. We will proudly display their ties with the rest of our  former missionaries!  Now it's time to make sure everyone makes 'weight limit' and get to bed early.  Wake up call in the morning is 3:30 am!
This is unusual.  The airport was empty. Often it is so crowded. Well it is only 5:00 am.....but there have been times when we have been in lines heading out the door of the airport.  This morning is a nice surprise.
One last group picture before sending these wonderful missionaries into the skies and back to their loving families.  We love each and every one of them.  We appreciate their good works and their valiant efforts.  Many lives have been touched.  You will be missed!  Now...go forth and remember all you have learned!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 2: New Missionaries first FULL day in Poland!

 Everyone was up by 6:30 am getting ready for their first REAL day of being a Missionary in Poland.  Elders Saltmarsh, Smith, Stockford, Stumpf, Sister Bown, Elders Finch, Kotter and Lanham after taking individual pictures with President and me.
 For breakfast these missionaries got to choose from a variety of favorite yogurts.  It was a hard decision for everyone but Elder Stumpf, our German Elder, who is used to great tasting yogurt.
The Assistants, Elders Basha and Jensen, showed up to escort the new missionaries to the Orientation meeting at the Office.  Not only are they going to 'grill' for dinner, but they brought their famous pasta salad to add to the menu. (With me not being 100% this transfer, I have had lots of help getting everything ready. A special thank you to the Jensens, the Pecks and Sister McGrath for ALL they have done!)
 It's time to make their way to the office to start their legal work, receive their MSF cards and go over some general office information.
 Every transfer we make this 7 minute walk to the office.  Rain, shine or even snow....we walk it. Today it is beautiful but a coat came in handy!  After the meeting.....
 These new Missionaries met up with some of the best serving in Warsaw to get in a little contacting downtown. (LtoR): Sisters Sheahan, Packard and Bown. Elders Saltmarsh, Stumpf, Baranowski, Pofelski, Bokinsky, Hayes, Smith, Stockford, Finch, Lanham, Kotter and Dopp.
 The Sisters were able to talk to many people about the Book that has changed their lives. (Hint: The Book of Mormon)
 Elders Smith and Baranowski contacted a young man...looking for their 'replacement'.
 Elders Bokinsky and Kotter stop a couple to tell them about the important message they have to share.
 Elders Lanham and Hayes talk to a father about the importance of his role in his family.  These new missionaries were fearless and did a great job on their first day of contacting 'real' polish people.  So, what was happening at the mission home while all this was taking place?
 Their Trainers had showed up and were meeting with President Nielson.  Our new Trainers:  Elders Zelezniak, Myler, Hooker, Van Bakel, Sister Forsey, Elders Tiner, Rogers and Fletcher.  Soon the new Missionaries arrived at the mission home, and it was time to put the Trainers and Trainees together!
 Sister Bown's new companion is Sister Forsey.
 They will be serving in Lodz together.
 Elder Saltmarsh's new trainer is Elder Hooker....who is not new to training!
 These two very tall Elders will serve in Warsaw together and will be opening up a new area in North Praga.
 Elder Smith met his new trainer, Elder Zelezniak...
 ...who together they will be serving in Lodz.  A new city for Elder Zelezniak as well.
Elder Stumpf will be trained by Elder Van Bakel.
 These two Elders will serve in Szczecin and will be serving alongside two other Elders in that great city.  They now are their own District!
 Elder Lanham will be trained by Elder Rogers.
 They will travel to Bialystok tomorrow and will be serving there together.
 Elder Kotter will be trained by .....
...Elder Fletcher where they will be serving in Warsaw II.
 Training Elder Finch will be Elder Myler.
 Gdansk is where these two Elders will serve.
 And finally, Elder Stockford will be trained by Elder Tiner.
 Poznan will be home to these two Elders.  After all the Trainees had been matched up with their Trainers, it was useless to try to have any kind of a meeting.  A break was in order as everyone was excited to get to know each other!
 So that's what we had.  Everyone had an enjoyable time finding out about the person they would spend the next 8+ weeks with.
 They visited and visited and visted until it was time to get back to work.
 As each Missionary sat next to their new companion, there was a great spirit in the room.  This is going to be a great tranfer!
 That night after a good dinner and a great testimony meeting, our Warsaw  Elders loaded their bags in the transporter and were taken to their apartments.  (Elders Kotter, Fletcher-Warsaw I, Hooker and Saltmarsh-Warsaw II)
Getting some last minute instructions from President Nielson and then they were off!  Meanwhile, the rest of the Missionaries were settling down for their 1st 9:00 planning session in the field!  Tomorrow everyone else will head to their assigned cities ready to 'teach and preach and work as Missionaries do'! ("I Hope They Call Me on a Mission")