Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Transfer Board looks different. 30 Jan 2013

With 29 missionaries coming in over the next three transfers, things are filling up on President's board.  All of the missionaries left of the "dotted line" are the new ones coming in.  The far right column is the Katowice Zone.  Second column from right is the Bydgoszcz Zone.  In the middle is the Warsaw Zone.  President is looking at four cities to place more missionaries and perhaps having Sisters in cities where they have not been before or at least for a long time.
It's all exciting. 
If you are one of the new incoming missionaries, study and know Preach My Gospel, be reading the Book of Mormon with us (Jacob 7 today, Jarom tomorrow...) go to the temple as often as you can, go out with the missionaries in your ward and spend time with your family.  Spend some time on your knees.  We cannot wait for you to arrive in Poland, but you have work to do now.  Prepare for the MTC, and then prepare to work and serve like you never have before. We love you and are praying for you already!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Poland was blessed with 3 Baptisms last weekend!

In Szczecin, Anita became their newest Church member.  Elder Gladun and Roberts taught her the gospel.  This is an energetic Sister and ready to help with everything.  She was baptized by Lukasz, the First Counselor in the Branch Presidency.
After the Baptism, the Branch got together for a quick social.  It was freezing outside, but they all had a wonderful time visiting and mingling.  This branch, which has grown so much over the past couple of years, has just started holding Relief Society and Priesthood meetings the third hour. Wonderful members and missionaries have made a great difference.
Sunday morning after missionary coordination meeting with Elders Stumpf, Roberts, Gladun and Cieslak with President Stankiewicz.
In Warsaw I, Jacek was baptized by Czarek. If you remember, Czarek was baptized eight weeks ago.  Elders Saltmarsh and Vernon taught Jacek the gospel.  What a wonderful day for the Warsaw I Branch. It is so rewarding to see new members involved as well as seasoned members.  The Church is growing, and we are seeing the blessings of the Lord in Poland.
In Bydgoszcz, also on Saturday, Kasia was baptized by President Zalewski.  Elders Gudnason and Tiner taught her the gospel.  She is going to be a great addition to the wonderful Branch.
It was a great day throughout the mission.  We still have another baptism this Thursday the story behind it is another evidence that Heavenly Father is watching over this mission. 

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A new member of our family arrives!!!

 Another grandchild was added to our adorable existing 9!   Stanford Bode (pronounced Bo-dee) arrived on January 22. Mother and son are both doing well.
Every daughter deserves to have her mom there when she has a new baby. So...guess who got to fly home for a few days to help take care of the crew? Above: being greeted at the airport by Bode's siblings. It was nice to know that they still remember me after 2 1/2 years of being gone!
 I arrived just hours after Bode was born. What a sweet precious little boy. How can anyone hold a newborn baby and not know that there is a Divine Creator?
Before we left for our mission, individual 'Grandma and Grandpa Dates' were a very popular activity in our family. Since I am only in town for a few days.....we had to have a GROUP 'Grandma Date'.  We decided to...
 ...GO BOWLING! Have you ever taken 9 kids under the age of 8 bowling before? Thanks to a few helpers, we had a great time! I figured we would bowl until they got restless then leave.  I was surprised that they ALL made it through a complete game! And did a great job helping each other.
Some of their tactics were a little unconventional (!!!)....but it worked for us. Bowling is definitely an activity that we can handle!
After working up an appetite, where do you take 9 kids to eat lunch and not have a huge mess?
The Costco lunchroom worked for us! Here we are waiting for our pizzas eating our ice creams first. ('s a Grandma date....we have no rules! All mothers complied!) It was a great way to spend all day with my wonderful grandchildren. Family is where it's at. We love all our children and their fabulous spouses. I thank them for raising their children, our grandchildren, in righteous homes using gospel principles. Looking to raise YOUR family in the world today? Follow the prophet...he will not lead you astray!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Interviews continue....some in interesting ways....January 22, 2013

 After we got all the Sisters off this morning, the day was just starting.  President had interviews last night with the Sisters and now needed to continue with missionaries in outlying cities.  Today is Tuesday. On Tuesdays we hold District Meetings throughout the mission.  Every other week, Bialystok and Lublin travel in for their District Meetings.  So President continued on with his interviews as the Elders from these cities were in town today.

Some times the trains are not always on time or delayed.  Such was the case this morning. President was planning on meeting the Lublin Elders in Warsaw II at their District Meeting but their train had problems and was delayed 90 minutes.  So it was off to Warsaw I and interviews with Elders Pofelski and Rogers (above).  They currently are serving in Bialystok and were in Warsaw today for their District Meeting.  These wonderful Elders are doing a great work in that small branch and keeping everyone going on the straight and narrow.  These two Elders are some of our best Polish speakers and the Branch calls on them all the time.
Then it was over to the train station. On the way the Lublin Elders called and said their train was delayed again.  So we waited next door at the Zloty Terrace.
On sunny days this place can be hot.  On snowy days it can be dark because no sunlight gets in.  But today it was pretty great inside....warm and cozy.
President found a nice table in the corner away from the traffic to meet with his Elders. When the Lublin Elders arrived, he was able to visit with them. The Elders were in a hurry because afterwards they were beginning an exchange with their District Leader and his companion.
The Lublin Elders, Elder Rittmanic and Peacock, are doing amazing things.   We did the trade off lunch again.  I had lunch and visited with one Elder while his companion was with President.  Then we traded.  These are hard working missionaries and full of enthusiasm and energy.  They had been up since 5:00am and dealt with 3 hours of delays and still had great attitudes!
After lunch with everyone, their interviews were completed and the exchange began.  Elders Wilson (District Leader Warsaw II), Kotter, Peacock and Rittmanic.  Elder Wilson was going with Elder Rittmanic back to Lublin for 36 hours. Elder Peacock was staying with Elder Kotter to teach and find in their Warsaw II area.  These are four outstanding missionaries.
I am convinced that no where in the world can be found Missionaries that work harder than ours. We love them all!  It's been a busy Monday and Tuesday...and the week is young!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sister's Training Meetings...January 21,22.

Our mission has 14 new Sister missionaries arriving between February 23 and July 2.  So we have many things to do and prepare for.    President arranged for all the Sisters to come into Warsaw Monday and Tuesday for training and review.  With 12 Sisters scattered around Poland, it took some time to gather everyone.
First to arrive in the mission home, where our meetings were held, were the Warsaw Sisters.  Sisters Young and Packard (serving in Warsaw II) and Sisters Allen and Sheahan (serving in Warsaw I).
They were followed by our friendly DeGrasso Pizza guy.  He came right in the house like he was a man on a mission.  Once inside we told him about our mission and some other great things that could change his life.  He was right on time as lunch was the first order of business.
Sisters Masters and Forsey arrived next after a 5-hour train ride from Gdansk.  They were up early this morning but still have tons of energy, and they are ready for our meeting.
The group that all arrived about the same time at the Warsaw Central train station were Sisters Bown (Poznan), Smithee (Wroclaw), Howells (Katowice), Ence (Wroclaw), Bezdjian (Poznan) and Holmgren (Katowice).  They all piled into the transporter, and the Assistants drove them to the mission home.
Once we were together, lunch was ready and there was plenty of visiting and socializing going on.  These are just great Sisters, and they really do love each other.
After being the escorts and having their own pizza, Elder Mikloyski and Jensen were on a train to Wroclaw for an Exchange with the Elders there.  Both said it was a little too noisy for them to stick around.
We spent the afternoon discussing various lessons, guidelines, training programs and goals that our new missionaries needed to be aware of.  It is important that all the 'righteous traditions' of our mission be passed on.
The Sisters of the Poland Warsaw Mission! A special thank you to Sister Allen (front row, far left) for sharing some rope games emphasizing the need for unity and leadership amongst our Sisters. The training meeting ended with 9:00pm planning and a resolve to reach the mission goals...then it was off to bed!   Back row (L to R)  Sisters Smithee, Ence, Bezdjian, Bown, Forsey, Masters, Packard and Young.  Front row (L to R) Sisters Allen, Sheahan, Holmgren and Howells.
Early the next morning, it was time for 'hugs' and 'good-byes' as all our traveling Sisters got into a Taxi/Van to head to the train station.
As usual, they were loaded down with mail, packages and supplies.
Meanwhile, our four Warsaw Sisters headed for the bus. They were returning to their apartments to continue scripture study and language training....and District Meeting.
What a great few hours we spent with our faithful Sisters. There is such love and friendship shown amongst our Sisters. They are a joy to serve with. They are diligent, obedient workers who love the Lord....rain, shine (or even snow)!

Another great temple marriage!

Congratulations to Amy and Dallin.  They were sealed to each other in the Mesa Arizona Temple.  What a great new family.  We wish them all the BEST.  What a wonderful blessing in their lives.  A picture truly is worth a thousand words.  Amy was such a great missionary here in Poland.  Time marches on and this is the way to begin the next great chapter.  Congratulations!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Great activities this week-end.

This last weekend, the YSA's had a wonderful fireside. There we were spiritually fed by President Dresler, President of the Warsaw District and physically fed by Sister Jensen and her great enchiladas which she has perfected using Polish ingredients.
President and Sister Armstrong attended and brought some world famous brownies that 'some' of our YSA's were reluctant to share! President Armstrong serves as the 1st Counselor in the Warsaw District Presidency.
The theme for the night was 'Putting on the Armor of God'...what it means, what it can do for you and how to always keep it intact.  The Jensens with some of our YSA's: Kamil, Kinga, Agnieszka, Marcin and Marta.
We love this couple...the Dreslers. We thank them for all they do to help strengthen the church here in Poland. Sister Dresler is our resident Family History Center expert. While her husband is visiting and instructing the District, she is teaching our Polish members (and non-members) the importance of Family History and how to do it. check in with 2 of our former Missionaries...
Martin and Yannick ....................You both look great!  They met at the Frankfurt temple.  What a great place to meet and what great men (and former missionaries) these two are.
While in Germany, Patryk from Katowice, met up with these two great returned Missionaries who both served there when they were in Poland. Friends forever.....that's what a mission does for you. That's what I love about the gospel. You meet and learn to love people that you will associate with in this life...and the next!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Interviews (continued!)...Katowice, Krakow, Kielce...January 2013

Two days to interview 3 cities....It doesn't sound that hard, does it? But in Poland, it can be a little tricky!  We have so much to do this month. President is getting behind on his interviews with his missionaries; so he decided we needed to take off this morning and get some things done.
 We left mid-morning, making our way down to Katowice in dense fog.  The highway to Katowice was completed a few months ago which makes this trip now bearable.  Only the fog slowed us down a bit.
The Missionaries in the Katowice District were eager and ready to start interviews. They had a busy night ahead of them with English class and lessons.  (LtoR):  Elders Hayes (ZL), Brown, Bokinsky (DL), Harris.  Sisters Holgren and Howells with Elder and Sister Hutchinson.
Sister Howells and Holmgren were busy teaching discussions in the Chapel tonight.  One of their investigators set a date for baptism which is exciting.  In the rest of the building, English classes were being held.
Elder Bokinsky and Brown are teaching the Beginning English Class.  Here they have break out sessions where they are individually helping students with words and pronunciation.
In the Intermediate Class are Elders Harris and Hayes.  They did a great job in explaining future, present and past tense verbs to these students.
Teaching the Advanced English Class are Elder and Sister Hutchinson, with great help from Rafal on the right.  He is in the Branch Presidency, and he such a great help with everything in the Branch.  Elder and Sister Hutchinson do such a wonderful job.  We use the Liahona as our course manual. Each 9 week period the advanced students receive a new 'testbook'.  We read the articles to learn English vocabulary, but also the students hear doctrine and principles of the Church. Afterwards, questions are answered regarding doctrine and lessons taught. English is a great finding tool in Poland....especially with our advanced students.
After English Classes it was time for Institute Class.  The instructor is Adrian, also the Branch President.  President Nielson is holding one of the most recognizable items in the Branch- Adrian's cap.  He wears this all the time, and it is his trade mark.  We all love this great man.
After all the events of the night, it was snowing hard and we needed to head to Krakow.  So off we went and said Goodbye to this wonderful Branch.
The next morning we found ourselves in beautiful but cold Krakow.  The Elders met us in our Hotel for interviews and breakfast. (We were there for only a few hours. The only thing I could take a picture of was this bridge....which those of you that have served in Krakow will recognize.)
Elders Godwin and Szymanski met President in the Business Centre in the Hotel.  They switched off for interviews.  One would meet with President while the other one was with me in the restaurant having the Breakfast Buffet.  I think it was a pretty good morning for everyone.  As we visited with two great Elders, at least I know they had one good meal today.
It was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I enjoyed watching these missionaries take full advantage of it.
We left and headed to Kielce but also delivered the needed supplies to the Branch and our missionaries.  These Elders are working hard and really making wonderful progress in their lives and the lives of members and investigators.  It was a great morning to visit and shares success stories.
Now off to Kielce.  Normally this is about a 90 minute drive but this morning it took quite a bit longer.  There were a lot of slow trucks on the road today.  Add the snow and it took us longer to arrive in Kielce.
On many of the new highways in Poland they have these helpful signs.  The top temperature (22 F) is the outside temperature and the bottom number (29 F) is the temperature of the pavement.  This is very helpful in driving when the roads are icy and slick.
In Kielce, President met Elders Neuner and Lanham in the Food Court at the Ecco Mall for lunch and then interviews.  They found a quiet spot to meet and visit individually.  Again, we had the trade off going on as one would interview with President and I visited with the companion over lunch.  I have always believed that if you want to know what is going on in a young man's life, ask him while he is eating a good meal. It holds true for missionaries as well.  The weather was getting bad, and we needed to get to Warsaw before evening. These two great missionaries are doing so very well.  Not only are they getting along wonderfully, they are dedicated to the work and as their smiles show- they are having great success.
A VERY familiar sign on the roads we travel.  Notice anything different about this sign?  Some of the McDonald's in Poland are promoting their "eco-friendly" image with environmentally friendly refrigeration and converting used oil into bio diesel fuel.  Away with the red and in with the green!  Lets protect the environment...  :)   We finally made it back to Warsaw and it seemed like a week ago that we left for Katowice (30 hours later).