Friday, May 24, 2013

More Specialized Training....(in more cities than we expected!)

Thursday morning we headed out early again (6:30am) for Kielce to continue President's Specialized Training with the Kielce and Krakow Missionaries. Traffic wasn't too bad and the weather was somewhat sunny.  As we drove a couple of things changed.  It started to rain and get cooler (and we already shipped our coats home) and the Krakow missionaries missed their connections (not their fault!) and wouldn't be attending the meeting. 
We arrived in Kielce early and found our Elders all ready to go.  Everything in their four-man apartment was clean and set up for our training.  These are truly strong missionaries in this great little city.
Elders Meherg and Brown.  Both young missionaries and both fearless in talking with people.  Elder Brown is a new Senior companion and doing great.  Elder Meherg is coming along wonderfully with the Polish language.
Elders Lanham and Blom.  Elder Lanham is our District Leader in Kielce and is extremely organized and aware of his many responsibilities.  He is on top of his game.  Elder Blom, who has been in Poland for three weeks, is as great as they come. 
The Kielce Branch used to meet in the Elders' apartment.  They now meet in a rented conference room but will soon have a new chapel.  We have the sign all ready to hang outside the new location.  Elders Lanham, Blom, Meherg and Brown.  A great District in Kielce.
Now what to do with our Krakow missionaries?  President really wanted everyone to have this training.  Taking into account that we wouldn't be back this way again, he decided to drive to Krakow (with roads so crowded this time of year because of tourist season!) and hold training at 4:00pm.  So off we go.
Our Krakow missionaries were ready to meet and had everything set up, also.  Elders Walter and Dodge with Sisters Allen and Young.
Our great Sisters have only been in Krakow for three weeks.  They both were transferred in as we now have more Sister Missionaries.  Sister Young is learning quickly as she has only been in the country for 3 weeks.  Sister Allen, one of our new Sister Leader Trainers, is handling opening a new area, training and learning about her new Leadership calling beautifully.
Elder Dodge transferred in from Bydgoszcz and is such a strong missionary.  Elder Walter, our District Leader, is truly a leader and has everything organized and running smoothly.  President finished training and interviews and quickly got everyone out the doors.  With this group they were all ready to work and didn't need any push from us.  Another great District in our mission.
Now, off to Katowice where we still have things to do tonight.  Our little trip to Krakow put us back about 4 hours.  But is was so worth it to be with our great missionaries.
One of the landmarks that tells us that we are getting close to Katowice....
We arrived quite late at our favorite hotel chain....the Qubus. This is a Polish hotel chain that is very nice and has truly helped us keep our sanity these last 3 years. They have treated us like family. This hotel has been our 'home away from home' considering we have stayed at the Katowice Qubus more than any other hotel in Poland (we figured about 54 nights just here).
 The next morning as we checked out, 2 of my favorite receptionists were at the desk. Of course, we had to take a picture! To pay them back for such great service and kindnesses over the past three years, I left them with something that is very dear to me...a Book of Mormon. 
We arrived at the Katowice chapel and were met by this great looking group! They were all eager to learn to be the BEST! missionaries.
We have a threesome serving in Katowice now since the sudden departure of Elder Smith. (See earlier blog post.) Elders Neuner and Dopp are our great Zone Leaders and Elder Rittmanic is the District Leader. Each of these Elders serves 100%!
Our Katowice Sisters are Sister Packard and Sister Pearson who are also doing so well. These great Sisters have some promising Investigators that will soon be baptized.
Now for Wroclaw....Elder Stumpf (our new District Leader) and Elder J. Smith. Two Elders that are young in the mission but are truly wonderful missionaries and know why they are here.  We are excited for what they will do in Wroclaw.
Sisters Bezdjian and Blake. Great Sisters who work as hard as anyone in our mission.  They are just amazing to watch and see.
The Katowice District.  Our great junior missionaries (Sisters Pearson and Packard with Elders Dopp, Rittmanic and Neuner)  along with Elder and Sister Reed, our Katowice Senior Couple who does so much for this great Branch.
The Wroclaw District.  Sisters Bezdjian and Blake, Elders Stumpf and Smith.
On to the next city, we made a 'pit stop' in Lodz! This wasn't a planned visit but some things came up.  One of those "changes at the last minute". 
Here President had a chance to meet with some members and Tomek (center) who will soon be joining the church. Our missionaries were there as they had lessons with members and investigators. It was great to see them all! (LtoR): Zosia, Sister Holmgren, Ewa, Tomek, Sister Wendel, Elder Van Bakel, Rafal and Elder Wolfley.  Now on to Poznan and there by 9:00pm.
What was supposed to be a 3-city trip has already turned into a 5-city trip (and a 6th city may be added). What does that mean? Just more opportunities to meet with our great missionaries and some wonderful members/investigators of Poland.  We pack our bags and just go.
 As we pass under the one of the most colorful bridges in Poland (our version of Lake Powell's  Rainbow Bridge!), do you know where we are headed next? If you were really a blog follower, you would know that our next stop is Poznan! We have some wonderful events ahead of us....stay tuned!

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