Sunday, March 31, 2013

Visitng Gdansk...31 March 2013.

Gdansk always reminds me of San Diego... well sort of.  Today it reminded me of Milwaukee.  We headed up to this wonderful city at the top of Poland for the Easter weekend.  We left Warsaw on the train (President's hip and leg have had it from all the driving for 32 months). The weather was nice, and the sun was trying to come out as we left.  We arrived, and so did the snow.
One of my favorite streets in Poland-  Dluga.  (This is just one street over from another one of my favorite streets in Poland-  Amber Alley.) Even on a very cold Easter weekend, a few people ventured out.
A great reason to come to Gdansk every so often is for Mexican food.  Today was not such a pleasant sight.  President is hoping that they are remodeling, but all of the windows are blacked out like business hasn't been good.  For some reason Mexican food is not very popular with the Polish people.
But Friday night was a great occasion to meet with President Kempa and his wonderful wife.  We love to have them show us around.  They know the city and all the best places to eat at, shop and visit.
Saturday afternoon the Branch held an Easter Egg hunt at Brother and Sister Lewis' home.  It was a great turn out, and the children certainly had a good time... I think the adults even had a better time. (100% of the Primary was at this Primary activity!)
Since it had been snowing, where is the best place to hide Easter Eggs?  You guessed the snow.  So the 'Easter bunnies' were out making things ready.  Brother Lewis and Elder Tufts.
Sister Swenson and Sister Masters helped the primary children decorate cup cakes and have a fun time.  Then they all bundled up and went out and found the Easter Eggs.
What a fun activity for the children of the Branch.  Thank you Lewis' for opening up your home to all of us!
There is ALWAYS something going on in the Gdansk Branch!
(Earlier in the week, the Relief Society held their 'birthday' dinner.  The Brethren helped serve and provided the entertainment.  Elder White, Elder Zelezniak, Krzystof, Brother Lewis,  Josef  and Elder Tufts.) It was a lovely night!
Saturday evening after the hunt, we met with our missionaries had a wonderful time visiting.  Elder and Sister Tufts (doing an outstanding job as Branch Clerk, Primary teacher, and everything the members need), Sisters Swenson and Masters, Elders Zelezniak and White.
We had the opportunity to visit Elder and Sister Tufts' new apartment. It was very nice, with a wrap- around balcony on the 5th floor.  I could live in Gdansk!  We are so thankful for this wonderful Senior Couple who are out on their second mission.  They would do anything for you!
One of the interesting things about their apartment was this floor light in the middle of the kitchen.  It was pretty neat but it took some getting used to stepping on a bright light with marbles in the floor.  I kept thinking I had to step around or over this.
Easter Sunday: The Chapel in Gdansk is on the 9th floor of a building downtown.  The view all around the city is very nice, and the inside was very appealing.  The Branch has done a wonderful job having things arranged and making this home.
The Primary room was all arranged for lessons and activities.
Sunday Easter morning, Brother and Sister Lewis provided some beautiful prelude music before Sacrament meeting and as the members arrived.
Some of the members (and investigators) of the Gdansk Branch...Josefa, Ania, Irena, Sumtee, Halina,  Agnieszka and her children (middle right) had made a surprise Birthday cake for Sister Lewis.
Because it was Easter, everyone was home with their families.  President was the lone man at the train station this afternoon.  We headed back to Warsaw after Sacrament meeting and not only were we alone on the Peron, but we were the only passengers in our train car.  There were only a few us of on the entire train.  It was a very calm and peaceful ride...
About two hours outside of Gdansk, it started to snow (Easter Sunday!).  It snowed hard and heavy for the next four hours as we arrived into Warsaw.  We went to get off the train, and the door was stuck.  We had to run to the next car and basically kick the door open.
The door handles on the outside of the train were frozen from the snow and ice.  Again no one was at the train station.  This is Warsaw Central at 8:00pm on a Sunday evening.  Empty.
We arrived home and found a very welcome sight.  Home sweet Mission Home.  It was a wonderful and fun trip to Gdansk.  We meet with some of the best members in the Church and had such a great time with them.  Our friends, members and missionaries are just the best.  We are so blessed and fortunate to be around such wonderful people.  The weather was not so pleasant as this storm was one of the biggest we have had all winter.  We say goodbye to March and welcome in April.  Where are the flowers and isn't there a custom to throw water on people tomorrow?  They are going to freeze...

Friday, March 29, 2013

Painting the Wolska Chapel March 2013

Now that we have District Conference and our Mission Tour completed...
...we can take care of some needful things around Warsaw.   The Wolska Chapel is receiving a fresh new coat of white paint.  Weeks prior, the rest of the interior was brightened up and now all attention is on the Chapel.  Everything has been moved out or taped off.
 The light fixtures have been taped off and today the ceiling is being painted.  It is going to look wonderful when finished.  The bright white adds to the beauty of this wonderful Chapel.
The benches will be reinstated and everything cleaned up for Sunday.  We are still amazed Brother Jarosz was able to get this piece of equipment in the Chapel to reach the ceiling and all the walls.  Another busy week in Poland.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Mission Tour is Over....but more meetings!

Quarterly CCM: Warsaw District Presidency- Presidents Pogorzelski, Dresler and Armstrong.  President Irwin (Czech Republic Mission), Elder Schuetze, President Husz (Freiberg Temple), President Lendel (Prague District) and President Pawlik (Katowice District).
We appreciate our Warsaw Senior Couples (the Hutchinsons and the Jensens) doing 'double duty' this week and making a wonderful lunch for our guests. Eating at the office presents its challenges...aka: no oven...But the sisters devised 'warmers' with thick fluffy towels that did the trick. Everything was delicious!
After the CCM, we had a little time before we needed to get to the Wolska Chapel for a fireside.
Everyone bundled up and we headed to Saski Park to see where President Kimball dedicated the land of Poland for the preaching of the gospel.  The pavilion in the background is the tomb of the unknown soldier.  In front of this is where President Spencer W. Kimball and Sister Kimball along with Elder and Sister David Kennedy had their pictures taken before going to the right of this picture where President Kimball offered the dedicatory prayer.
 It was a VERY cold day as you can tell by the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
After seeing a few sights, we were back in the car....
...driving to the Wolska Chapel. President Nielson, President Husz (Freiberg Temple President), Sister and Elder Schuetze (Area Seventy).  A wonderful fireside was held with many members and investigators from the Warsaw I and II Branches. Both President Husz and Elder Schuetze spoke.
Sister Schuetze and I had such a fun time visiting, laughing and doing a little shopping this week. She is a wonderful lady with an unbelievable conversion story. She is truly a great example to me of a wife who is strong in the gospel and loves and supports her husband in all he does.
We dropped the Schuetzes off at the airport right after Church on Sunday.  We had a tremendous six days with Elder and Sister Schuetze.
A few hours later, we were at the airport again with President Husz.  The Freiberg Temple was closed for a week and President Husz was able to attend our meetings with us this weekend.  It was a wonderful weekend with this great man and having he and Elder Schuetze tell of the tremendous history of the Church in this part of the vineyard.
When returning to the Mission Home, we found this! Oh, oh.....another 'stair repair' may be in order. It looks as though we may have THIS.....
...and it will probably happen during a transfer!!! I'm keeping my fingers crossed!  (This picture was taken in August of 2010 right after we first arrived.  This is what it takes to repair a few tiles that had come up...)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Day #3 of our Mission Tour. Warsaw Zone Conference.

What a beautiful day to have a Zone Conference. After all the snow we had been traveling through all week, this blue sky was a welcomed relief!
 The WARSAW ZONE: As we arrived with the Elder and Sister Schutze, we found everything in order...all the Missionaries had arrived early and were eager to receive instruction.  Top row (L to R)  Elders Boyce, Wilson, Finch, Peacock, Garfield, Manwill, Gibby, Vernon, Pofelski, Roberts, Skolmoski, Z.Smith, J.Smith and Jespersen.  Middle row- Elders Van Bakel, Raines, Tiner, Mikolyski, Sisters Howells, Allen, Young, Lenhart, Elders Register, Walter, Sister and Elder Hutchinson.  Seated- Elder and Sister Jensen, Sister and Elder Schutze, Sister and Elder Lloyd.
Then we made our way to the cultural hall!!!
 Yes, the Wolska chapel is being painted a wonderful white color. It is bright, cheery and very uplifting.     This is where we usually set up for lunch. Missionaries, especially Senior Missionaries are very'll see soon!
As Elder Schutze was checking out the building, he went into the kitchen and found this. This is probably a big 'no-no'....Senior Missionaries climbing around trying to reach things in high places. Sometimes you get desperate when you have to feed 30+ hungry missionaries.
Lunch time in the foyer. This crowd looks serious and you would too if you were having 'Cafe Rio' for lunch! It was a huge hit! Great job, Sisters Hutchinson and Jensen!
 Singing 'Sto Lat' to our birthdays...Sister Young, Sister Schutze (she loved the M&M cookies!), Elders Finch, Walter, Pofelski, Vernon, Wilson, Tiner and Jespersen. It was a little tight, but no one seemed to mind.
Some VERY full Elders.....Can you tell what was for dessert? Homemade cinnamon rolls, compliments of Sister Lloyd.  Elders Jespersen, Tiner, Wilson, Raines and Register.
Our great, they did not receive flowers for all the work they did; they received blessings! (LtoR): Elder and Sister Jensen, Elder and Sister Hutchinson, Elder and Sister Lloyd.
 Warsaw I District: Elders Van Bakel and Raines (Zone Leaders); Elder and Sister Jensen; Sisters Howells and Allen; Elders Gibby and Vernon; Elders Manwill (District Leader) and Garfield; Elders Pofelski and Roberts (Bialystok).
 Warsaw II District: Elders Wilson (District Leader) and Boyce; Elders Finch and Peacock (Lublin); Elders Walter and Register; Elder and Sister Hutchinson; Sisters Lenhart and Young; (front) Elders Tiner and Mikolyski (Assistants).
The Lodz District: Elders Z. Smith and Skolmoski; Elders Jespersen (District Leader) and J. Smith; Elder and Sister Lloyd.
After Zone Conference, Elder Schutze held a leadership meeting.  Elders Skolmoski, Vernon, Jespersen, Garfield, Wilson, Manwill, Elder Schutze, Elders Van Bakel, Mikolyski, Raines and Tiner.
The end of the day. Can you believe this is the same cultural hall? Everything is cleaned and tucked away for the member/investigator fireside that Elder Schutze and President Husz (Freiberg Temple President) will be speaking at tomorrow.
Another great Zone Conference.  We headed home and found our beds were pretty comfortable.  Tomorrow is another full day.  Our friends from the Czech Republic Mission are coming in for the quarterly CCM meeting with Elder Schutze.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day #2 of the Mission Tour. Bydgoszcz Zone Conference...held in Poznan.

Thursday morning started in Poznan.  The Bydgoszcz Zone met here because of travel arrangements with Elder Schutze.  Elders and Sisters from Gdansk, Bydgoszcz and Szczecin were traveling in as we planned on starting promptly at 11:00am.  So last minute details were being attended to...
Great minds think alike! At least that's what President Nielson and his Assistant, Elder Tiner say. They both showed up with the same style tie...after the photo was taken, Elder Tiner changed his tie to let President have the 'power tie' award. What can I say? Everyone loves an Adam's Tie.
The BYDGOSZCZ ZONE:  (Top row LtoR): Elders Kotter, Caskey, Tingey, Harris, Dodge, Bokinsky and Gudnason.  (Next row): Elders Sheley, Cieslak, Saltmarsh, Godwin, Zelezniak, White and Tufts.  (3rd row): Sisters Sheley, Bezdjian, Bown, Swenson, Masters, and Tufts.  (Seated:)Sister and Elder Schutze.
Since we had everyone together and we just had one (but special!) birthday to celebrate, we sang 'Sto Lat' to Elder Bokinsky right after our zone picture.
Meeting the Districts....
The Gdansk District: Elder White and Elder Zelezniak (District Leader), Sister Masters and Sister Swenson. Elder and Sister Tufts.
The Poznan District: Elder Caskey and Elder Tingey (District Leader), Sister Bezdjian and Sister Bown. Elder and Sister Sheley.
The Bydgoszcz District: Elder Dodge, Elder Harris (District Leader), Elders Bokinsky and Gudnason (Zone Leaders).
The Szczecin District:  Elder Kotter, Elder Cieslak (District Leader), Elder Godwin and Elder Saltmarsh.
We found out later that Sister Schutze celebrated her birthday a few days ago.  So as we started the afternoon session of our Zone Conference, we sang another round of "Sto Lat" to our special guest.
Elder Schutze getting to know some of our great Elders.  Elder Schutze has such a wonderful personality and cares for everyone.  He visits with Elders Dodge, Tingey, Mikolyski and Elder Bokinsky (back to us).
The Sisters always enjoy getting together and just being around each other.  Sisters Bezdjian, Bown, Masters and Swenson.  We have the best Sister Missionaries in the Church serving in Poland.
Our great Senior Couple Missionaries...  Elder and Sister Sheley (Poznan) and Elder and Sister Tufts (Gdansk).  Both are fabulous and help with everything. Thank you for ALL you do!
Between Zone Conference and a fireside for members and investigators, Elder Schutze met held a leadership meeting.  Elders Cieslak (District Leader Szczecin), Godwin (Senior Companion Szczecin), Harris (District Leaders Bydgoszcz), Zelezniak (District Leader Gdansk).  Standing, Elders Tingey (District Leader Poznan), Mikolyski and Tiner (Assistants) and the Bydgoszcz Zone Leaders- Elders Bokinsky and Gudanson.
Members and investigators being together as we start our fireside tonight.  Elders White, Zelezniak, Caskey, Grzegorz, Arsene, investigator and Elder Tingey.
Marian and Marta were excellent translators for Elder Sheley and Elder Schutze.  We enjoyed a wonderful day at Zone Conference and the fireside this evening.
Now, it's back in the car and to head for Warsaw.  We encountered bad weather (again). Instead of arriving at the Mission Home at 10:00pm, we found a hotel in Lodz (again) and got to bed by 11:00pm.  So we completed day #2. Today (again) it was wonderful to be around our missionaries and learn from Elder and Sister Schutze.