Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Poznan....Wroclaw...then back to Poznan. There is still much to do.

We got into Poznan late Friday night. The next morning early, we met Elder and Sister Sheley who were nice enough to show us around Poznan. This would be our last visit to this beautiful city, and all we had seen (the past 3 years) was the inside of our hotel and chapel.  The Sheleys even got 'lunch reservations' at one of the finest restaurants our Senior Missionaries often frequent---  lunch in their little Skoda.  Sister Sheley knew we would be running fast today and would have no time to eat, so she fixed lunch for us and off we went.  Thank you, Elder and Sister Sheley, for being the perfect tour guides and hosts.
Our first stop was Town Hall in the middle of Poznan's Old Town. It was the city's administrative building until 1939. Now it is a museum...worth seeing! Everyday at noon, hordes of people gather around the front of this magnificent building. Why?  (You'll see!)
Locate the dark brown doors just above the clock. Every day at 12:00 noon, a trumpet blows and they open. 
Out come 2 mechanical goats...which were originally added to the Town Hall clock in 1551. Why goats? Legend has it that the city dignitary cook had burnt a roast deer and attempted to replace it by stealing 2 goats from a nearby meadow. The goats escaped and ran up the town hall tower. There they began to butt each other which attracted the attention of the townspeople. While watching the goats, they discovered a fire which had started that could have caused great damage to the town.
Now these goats are revered, and the 'fight' between them is re-enacted every day. Here you see they have faced each other. And now the show begins.....
The mechanical goats 'butt heads' twelve times then return to their 'home' in the clock. (And everyone cheers!) In 1675, the tower, clock and goats were destroyed by lightening.
In 1913, the goats were once again restored to the tower....being absent since 1675. (Above are the 1913 goats and mechanism.) In 1954, the above goats were replaced by the current ones.
As you can see by the above picture, rain OR shine, the 'fighting goats' are one of Poznan's best-known (and most popular!) tourist attractions.

Another surprise in Old Town.  Above is the 15th Poznan Uhlans Regiment (1st Mounted Rifleman Regiment formed in Poznan) which started in 1918 and fought in many battles from the Polish/Soviet war to the Warsaw Uprising.  It consists today of 20 volunteers and 20 trained horses. Every Saturday at noon they run through drills and check guards at the Old Market Square. It was impressive...especially to see the maneuvers on slippery cobblestone!
That afternoon, we had a special event to attend to in Wroclaw...so off we went.
A VERY cool bridge that we have always seen from a distance; but this time traveling into Wroclaw, we were going to be able to drive over it! 
We found ourselves in Wroclaw...where we also found another 'cool' sculpture as we drove into town... this train engine coming out of the ground. Not sure what it represents. My guess....commemorating the Polish underground that existed to help so many people escape during  WWII. 
Now for the reason we are in Wroclaw.....
Cynthia was baptized! What a great day in the life of this wonderful young girl. She was certainly ready to follow the example of her Savior, Jesus Christ. We happily welcome Cynthia to the Church! Here she is shown with the missionaries who taught her, Sister Bezdjian and Blake, and Mariusz, a great member of the Branch who baptized her. Now...back to Poznan!
POZNAN: Sunday morning began with missionary correlation meeting.  Elder Sheley (the Branch President) was busy taking notes from investigator updates from Sisters Lidtka and Bown.  In fact, this afternoon after Church these Sisters meet with two new investigators and set a date for their baptism.
Today in Church was a very special day for Marta. Not only did her mother come to Church, but she gave her 'farewell' talk in the Poznan Branch. Marta will soon be leaving for her mission. She will be serving in the Illinois, Chicago Mission.
 Relief Society meeting in Poznan.  I wanted to take one last pictures of some of the great sisters we have in the Poznan Branch.
I also wanted to visit the Young Women's meeting where our sweet Natalie has the Sisters undivided attention. Sisters Lidtka and Bown are teaching her how to be a righteous young woman in today's world. (We will see Natalie this weekend in Warsaw where we will be having a country-wide Young Women's Conference. They are always SO fun!)
Some of the men who attended Priesthood today in the Poznan Branch. (Elders Jespersen, Caskey and Sheley along with members of the Branch.)
We now head back to Warsaw. We have more Specialized Training (Tuesday & Wednesday), Mission Leadership Council (Thursday) and a Young Women's Conference (Friday-Sunday morning) to get ready for! Never a dull moment in the mission field....but I love it! And I love serving the Lord in this great country!

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