Thursday, November 29, 2012

What's happening in the Church around Poland (and close by)...

Our Warsaw Young Women got together for a Young Women New Beginnings program.

These beautiful young women were able to each talk on a Young Women's value and why it is important to them.  (LtoR): Georgia, Grace, Samantha, Hannah, Sara, Karolina and Caitlin.
Sister Jarosz, the Warsaw District Young Women's President, made these beautiful picture frames. Each girl received the 'Value Frame' she had talked about.  It was a delightful evening.
Branch members came out to support these beautiful young women.  These were most of the Sisters who attended...we did not get a picture of the Priesthood. We thank the members for their love and support of the Young Women's Program in Warsaw.

Remember this photo taken of the Primary right after they practiced for their upcoming Primary Presentation...
Well...the day finally arrived. These Primary children did a beautiful job reciting their parts and singing their beautiful songs....It was a Polish/English program with parts and songs given in both languages. A special 'thank you' to the Warsaw II Primary Presidency (back row):  Sister Armstrong (chorister), Annika (Counselor), Beata (President) and Ella (Counselor) for a wonderful program.
Last week was also a great week for the Saints in Poland to attend the Freiberg Temple.  There were over 60 members who went.  Many attended sessions, baptisms and did work for their families.  What a wonderful week it was!  We heard from many who loved their time at the temple. An added bonus...having some quality time to mingle with their Brothers and Sisters from Poland!
Some of the YSA's that attended were Adrian, Konrad, Marta, AND the former Elder Siebert (who came from Germany; it was a special week for him as well), Patrycja, Arsene, Dagmara, Agnieszka, Marta, Arek and Lukasz.  What a great group of Young Members.
It was great to hear from Brother Siebert about returning to the temple, speaking Polish again and being around those that he taught and grew to love in the gospel. I want to say....'Elder, where's your companion?' But wait.....this is OK now!
Our YSAs are great friends and fun-loving. It is always a 'fun-time' when the YSAs get together!  We love these young, strong members of the Church. Thank you for your stalwart examples! The Church is true ... Never forget it!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Carson and Rachel- December 14, 2012

We have been pulling for this to happen, and we got the great news.  Carson and Rachel will be married in the Salt Lake Temple on Dec 14.   We are so excited for this wonderful couple.  We know that Carson planned, used short bold statements of truth, asked inspired questions and soon will deliver on promises.  Congratulations!!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Catching up on our recent baptisms around the country!

Still trying to catch up from 'my vacation' in the hospital last month, my blogging is a little behind. I realized we have had 3 wonderful people baptized into the church that we have not introduced to you.  Here they are:
This is Marcin who was recently baptized in Kielce. What a terrific new member!  He was taught by Elders Waits and Neuner.
Down in Katowice, Agata was baptized by Adrian. She is a great addition to this great Branch. Agata was taught by Sisters Ence and Holmgren. And finally....
...a wonderfully talented new member, Rafal, was baptized by Rysiek.  This gifted musician was taught by Elders Smith and Zelezniak.
Welcome, welcome, welcome to Marcin, Agata and Rafal. We love you and look forward to building the kingdom with you here in beautiful Poland!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving in Warsaw, Poland 2012

It was a wonderful day in Poland.  Thursday November 22, 2012.
We gathered in the Wolska Chapel with most of the missionaries in Warsaw for a special Thanksgiving dinner.  Elders Basha , Jensen, Cieslak, Manwill, Hayes, Baranowski, Sisters Packard and Sheahan, Elders Saltmarsh, Pofelski, Fletcher, Hooker, Dopp, Kotter, Godfrey, Elder and Sister Jensen, Elder and Sister Peck. With this many Missionaries around, we had lots of help to get things ready.
Elders Baranowski and Manwill were some of the first to arrive and they jumped right in arranging some of the desserts.
Also helping with the settings and make sure everything was ready were Godfrey, Elders Baranowski, Dopp, Hayes, Cieslak, Pofelski, Manwill , Hooker and Saltmarsh. Sisters Sheahan and Packard were in charge of the table decorations and did a beautiful job....and the Elders pitched in.
Elders Hooker and Saltmarsh made the honey butter and helped Sisters Jensen and Peck with things in the kitchen.
Making sure we had plenty of juice and water were Elders Peck and Jensen.
A big THANK YOU to Sisters Peck and Jensen! We had everything...including enough homemade rolls to feed our 'big-eaters'.
It was a delicious dinner, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Being the gentlemen that they are, the Elders were the last to go through the buffet line.
This enabled them to fill their plates to the brim and not feel guilty!  (L to R) Elders Manwill, Saltmarsh, Pofelski, Cieslak, Jensen, Hooker, Baranowski, Dopp and Elder Fletcher leading the way.
Once everyone was seated and eating, it got very quiet.  This is a hungry crowd!  Elders Pofelski, Fletcher, Hooker, Dopp, Kotter (who came late with the Assistants), and Godfrey.
Great food, great company.....a formula for a great experience.  After everyone had their fill, some of our Elders who had had 2nds and 3rds decided to work it off!  (L to R) Elders Cieslak, Manwill, Hayes, Baranowski, Sisters Packard and Sheahan, Elder Saltmarsh.
Another American tradition....playing football on Thanksgiving Day....and that's what they did.....In front of the Wolska Chapel is a large grassy area large enough to spread out and really throw a football around. We need to keep our Missionaries 'injury-free' so they can continue to find, teach and baptize those who are ready to follow their Savior.  (L to R)  Elders Saltmarsh, Manwill, Pofelski, Basha, Fletcher and Hooker.
It was a little chilly but the weather was wonderful.  It was also some great exercise....(Elders Fletcher and Saltmarsh)
....and everyone was having a great time.  Elders Manwill, Saltmarsh, Fletcher and Hooker.
Sister Packard can handle a well as teach people the gospel!  We were all impressed with her passing skills.  She must have brothers in her family.
Elder Hooker going long for a pass from Elder Basha.
After connecting on the final "touchdown pass" from Elder Fletcher to Elder Basha, they "spiked" the ball and "warmed" their hands because it was so "hot".  I guess this is what they are doing...silly football rituals...
While some were playing football, others were just relaxing and letting their food digest. It was a wonderful day...a  day of thanksgiving.  I am thankful for all the blessings I have in my life. There are too many to count...but one I will always remember is the blessing of serving a mission with great Missionaries amongst great members in a great country.    HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Elder Waits returns home. Just the usual trip to the airport...we thought!

We had the good fortune of having Elder Waits extend his mission for one month.  He served in Kielce and saw a great deal of success.  He left behind a great legacy of faithful and diligent service and...
 a piece of him that we will always remember.  I am not sure I have seen a "slimmer" tie than this one
and I made sure I teased him about it.
 Joining us for Elder Waits' last night (since his MTC group returned home the month before) were the Office Elders (Elders Hayes and Pofelski) and our Assistants (Elders Jensen and Basha).
 This was another 4 a.m. run to the airport (our 5th trip to the airport in 11 days).  Unlike yesterday when the Bennett's departed, today it was empty.  We sailed through check-in to get Elder Waits' boarding passes. There was no line at the counter where we pay for his second piece of luggage. (The Church pays for the 2nd piece of luggage...the missionary pays if it is overweight. Please note this, future missionaries).  Then he went through security. We always wait for our missionaries to pass through and turn and wave good-bye so we know everything is good and they are off. This morning everything was going SO smoothly.  We thought this missionary would get to his gate in record time. But we waited and waited for him to turn around and wave.  Fifteen minutes went by and the security guards were still talking with him. We thought he was probably sharing the gospel. Finally, he came running back through security to give us something...
Apparently he didn't know you couldn't take knives on airplanes...  Perhaps President needs to have a workshop on this in our next Zone Conference.  These weren't just pocket knives, these were your basic survivor-warfare knives.  It's a tender mercy Elder Waits was not whisked away into some room for some serious questioning.  Oh, the Church is true; and these missionaries are absolutely the BEST.  We love them. They do make us smile, laugh, cry, worry, and scream-- for joy!  We love you Elder Waits.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Warsaw II District Meeting

Members of the Warsaw II District: Sisters Young and Peterson with Elders Fletcher, Wilson, Kotter, Rittmanic, Hayes and Pofelski.  The Lesson was on "The Role of the Holy Ghost" from our Teaching More Effectively course.
Elder Fletcher, the District Leader, gave an outstanding lesson.  He is one of our great missionaries. He has learned how to teach and be a tool for the Lord in preaching the gospel.
The Elders (Rittmanic and Wilson) from Lublin traveled in today and they will be going on an exchange following the meeting.
Elders Fletcher and Kotter are having great success.  Elder Fletcher will travel with Elder Rittmanic back to Lublin, while Elder Kotter will remain in Warsaw with Elder Wilson.
Our Elders in Lublin (Rittmanic and Wilson) are outstanding.  They missed achieving the Standard of Excellence by 1 person not being baptized.  Everything else on our Standard they reached or surpassed.  This is wonderful.  They work hard and are committed to being the BEST missionaries they can be.
Our Office Elders are in this District as well and brought with them some much needed paperwork that the Sisters need for their Residence Cards.  We appreciate all these great Elders do to help the mission run smoothly.
Sisters Young and Peterson are going through 'the final step' so they can be "legal" and have everything in order.  They both are feeling better and have some great investigators.  These Sisters add so much to the Warsaw II Branch.
After District Meeting, President had a meeting with Brother Turek who is our Poland Seminary and Institute Coordinator.  We are so grateful for his energy and help with heading our Seminary and Institute programs.  His training and supervision have been wonderful.  Some great things are planned in the near future for our youth in regards to learning the gospel.
Our Assistants missed the District Meeting as they were busy picking up Elder Waits and helping us with the rest of the day... 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chloe's Final Day in Poland....

Today is Chloe's last FULL day in Poland. We decided to let her decide where she wanted to go.
One of her favorite treats at home is hot chocolate in her Polish pottery mug. was off to the Polish Pottery shop near the Mission Home to look for more items.
Chloe also wanted to do a little Christmas shopping.
 What better place to do that than Adam's Tie Factory. was harder than she thought! Trying to find the 'perfect tie' for a Mission President (and to keep it a secret) is not an easy task!  There are thousands and thousands of ties to choose from.
After looking through racks and racks of ties, she was able to find one that she knew her grandpa would love.
 While Chloe was Christmas shopping at Adam's Ties, guess who she ran into?  Adam himself!  He was delighted to have this young shopper in his factory.  Being the kind man he is, Chloe left with a great gift from Adam....a very warm scarf!  How did he know that our next stop was going to be a walk down Nowy Swiat and a warm scarf would come in very handy!  Thank you, Adam, for all the kindnesses you have shown to us and to the missionaries. As missionaries depart for home, this is one last place they visit (and stock up on).  May God bless you and your family.
It was getting dark, and Chloe was getting hungry, so we stopped by the E. Wedel restaurant near Nowy Swiat for sandwiches and ice cream.
 This restaurant has a great candy store in it. Chloe loved looking at all the yummy chocolate....especially the 3 foot chocolate Santa in the background.

 Taking a stroll down Nowy Swiat, a very fancy street in downtown Warsaw full of nice shops and restaurants, we stopped by one of the 1st meeting places for the Church in Poland.  Our missionaries use Nowy Swiat frequently as a place to teach people.  It has been used in past years as the Family History Center, YSA Center and all kinds of meetings.  This is a keep sake for the Church.
Today was a very full (and fun!) day. Thank you, Chloe, for all your great ideas!  We need to get you to bed early're waking up at 4 a.m. to catch a plane home tomorrow!  I don't even want to think about it :(
LAST ADDED NOTE:  Saying good-bye to Chloe just before she walks through security.  It was great to have Scott, Devin AND Chloe visit the country we have fallen in love with.  (The sunglasses served a purpose!)