Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas phone call

It was so great to hear Lance's voice yesterday!  
Amazing how quickly 40 minutes can fly by.  But, he reassures us that he is doing great and he is loving it!  He hadn't received our Christmas package yet, which is unfortunate!  I was hoping he would have some gifts to open.  But, he says they had a fun gathering at the "north church".  

He closed our conversation by sharing his testimony in Polish.  Beautiful!

The other good news is, I was able to get the pictures off of his SD card!  Whew!

Here are a few:

Monday, December 17, 2012

Wesolych Swiat Bozego Narodzenia

This morning's email contained our calling directions so we can talk on the phone on Christmas Day!

Merry Christmas to all!

"I got my new transfer call!  I will be here another transfer in Warsaw with Elder Wilson!  He is the bomb!!  He is super nice and brings the Spirit in, which is good.  Elder Fletcher has two more days until he is gone.  He has been extremely helpful!!  He has taught me so much, I can't even describe it, but I will be able to use the attributes I've acquired throughout this transfer to help me on the next, and so on.  I love being here in Warsaw, it's truly beautiful and amazing!"

"There are dates and almonds everywhere for pretty good deals!  So I will use that recipe, thank you so much!  When I cook, I always cook with curry and a bunch of vegetables.  Even their unhealthy food is ten times better than junk food in America.  And I was told that they don't use high fructose syrup in anything because it's banned in Europe!  I wish America would do that next!  LOL"

"I would agree that God has blessed me with the gift of tongues.  I've realized that we all have this gift to some degree.  And that through God and the endless gifts of the Spirit, we can all become one body in Christ and use our gifts to benefit the lives of others and help other develop their own gifts through God.  And progressively through time developing every God-gift, which is eternal and never ending progression!"

"The weather here is always freezing, but cool!  It's very humid and misty all the time.  It's like always walking in a cloud!  And thank you for always praying for our investigators!  Truly, everything is going great and our investigators are progressing.  It's a miracle and proves that God lives!  I'm glad to hear everything at home is going so well!"

"OOOHHH, and so for calling me on Christmas!  Okay, so here are the details.  On the 25th, you need to call me at 10:00 a.m. your time, which is 6:00 p.m. our time and my number is ------.  So call me at 10:00 a.m. your time and we'll be able to talk!  I'm so excited!!!!!"

Monday, December 10, 2012

I now have a guitar!

Unfortunately, my homemade date treats did not survive the 2.5 week trip to Poland...they had molded.  But, the last package I sent contained healthy treats that came from the health store with better packaging, so I'm sure they will make it to him in an edible state!  Oh, and it appears that the small blender I sent with him to make smoothies cannot handle the power difference.  He says it sparks when he plugs it in!  Ya just never know what to expect when you send someone off to another country.  :)

He mentions he's been reading Jesus the Christ.  I'm actually quite impressed.  I've read that book, and it's not light reading material! For a kid who wouldn't read anything with more than 100 pages, he has sure changed.  He's read all the scriptures and now this book.  Guess it's the reading material that made all the difference.

He gives us some great Polish terms with translation, thankfully!
Mam najdziaga = I have hope!
Nie wiem = I don't know

Other than the treat & blender fail, all's well on the Poland mission front.
My husband and I just love early morning Monday emails, especially today' contains lots of details!

Some excerpts:

"Papa!  Hey!  It's good to hear from you!  That's amazing that you're in Alma!  I love Alma so much, it's probably one of my favorite books, for sure!  And Alma 32 is such a power house!  I love how he describes faith to the people and that it's like a seed growing.  That we must nourish it constantly or else it goes bad and we cast it out.  That whole chapter is my favorite!  You should check out Ether chapter 12.  I read that this morning and it's so powerful!  I'm almost done with the Book of Mormon again.  That's so awesome you're reading it too.  It truly is an amazing book and inspiring!  I believe it's true without any doubt and that this is the most important book that mankind will ever have!  It helps me every single day and I'm glad it does yours, too!"

"I'm glad you had such a good Christmas party!  Tell Nic and Heidi hi and the kids!  How are they?  I miss your lessons in Elder's Quorum.  You're such a good teacher!  How is Steve?"

"P days in Poland are really good!  They are super flippin busy!  Like we have a normal day with studies, then email for about an hour, then we go do something until 6:00.  Usually we go check out historical sites or go get some pirogi!  YOU WOULD LOVE POLISH FOOD!  It's so hearty!  But, P days are crazy, usually we get with our district and figure out something to do, then after 6:00 we go back to proselyting and tracting and teaching lessons.  We are always super busy!  I love it so much, it's tiring, but worth it because I'm learning so much.  I'm surrounded in the arms of God and the Gospel everyday.  I would suggest a book to you and Mom, it's Jesus the Christ.  It's huge but I'm reading it, and it's so good!"

"Mom!  Hey!  I got your package!!!!!  But the stinkin dates were moldy :( but it's okay, I kinda thought they would be.  It took like 2 and a half weeks to get here.  But that's okay because I have the best mom ever who still made them and sent them, so thank you so much!  OHHH, and if you could send me a list of your healthy recipes to cook because I'm forgetting how you used to cook and what you used!  And how to make date treats??  I need a food processor, don't I?"

"Thank you for everything you sent, I am super grateful!  I gave a copy of my CDs to Prsident Nielson and his wife and will be giving one to Elder Fletcher before he goes home.  Oh and thank you for the tea and letters!  Fletcher loves his, too.  I have a package coming your way!!!!!  It's a bunch of sweet Polish gifts for you and Dad.  Everything in Pland is way cheap, so don't worry.  And that picture of the Christmas tree!  Yeah, me and Fletcher were there the last P day and got a couple pics of it.  They're on the SD card I sent home.  That tree is in a place called Old Town, a.k.a. Rynek.  Get on Google pics and type in Warsaw Old Town Rynek.  That where we were.  It's soooooo beautiful!  Like truly the definition of an old European town."

"You can tell when a word is Polish.  It looks something like this, "zsczczsecze".  Like the word "happiness" is szczecie.  LOL!  Poland is truly everything but a thousand times better than I could ever have expected!  And the amazing miracle of my Polish becoming better through the gift of tongues and through God makes everything even better.  I can understand people now and respond to them!  I LOVE IT HERE!!  AND LIFE, SO MUCH :)"

"The most incredible miracle happened last night, actually!  I called I-------- to get his address so I could drop of the Arabic and English Books of Mormon and it turns out he lives literally ten feet away from us!!  He met us outside and let us in and we had one of the most incredible meetings we have had yet!  We taught him a bit about the Gospel and praying to God and he informed us a lot of what Muslims believe and how they pray (which is a lot like yoga/music praying).  It's so cool!  He gave us these pamphlets that tell what Muslims believe and it's amazing how similar they are to us!  And that's funny you ask, he is actually getting me a Koran in English, so I will ask him for another and send it home to you."

"After we had that amazing lesson, we truly became friends at the end.  We prayed with him and I prayed for his well being, and he was so astonished that we pray directly to God in a two way conversation.  He felt the Spirit so strongly!  And afterwards, he gave me his brand new Yamaha guitar because he said he doesn't play it and he wants me to have it.  Hahahahahaha!!!!  I didn't deny it because you don't deny a Muslim gift, so now I have a guitar!  We are best friends, for sure!"

"I love you so much!  Thank you for being the greatest mom I could ever ask for.  I am so blessed.  I am proud to be your son and here on a mission!  I'm not sure what time I'll be calling.  I'll let you know as soon as I find out.  I wish you an amazing week.  I gotta go.  Love  - Elder Kotter"

Monday, December 3, 2012

Dzien dobry!

I am getting everything crammed into a Christmas care package to send off this week.
It seems that he has access to most everything he needs, so I'm only sending some toiletries and some homemade healthy treats...well, and some fun Christmas type things!
I've also sent out a request to friends and family to email me any words of encouragement and love they may have for Lance.  I've learned that even the shortest of letters is rejoiced over in the mission field!  This has been an eye opener for friends' kids who have served missions did not receive the appropriate level of attention from me.  That has all changed!

Here are a few excerpts from this morning's email:

"Dzien dobry!  And yes, that's how you say I love you, kocham cie, good job!  Dobra robota:)"

"I haven't gotten your package yet but it might be in today!  I actually didn't have any time to send the letter off last week.  I wanted to everyday but we couldn't get to the post office because we were so swamped with lessons!!!  Hahaha!  But I have the letter I am going to send home today and another letter next week.  Also a Christmas package."

"I knew you were listening to Christmas music like crazy, hahaha!  We listen to Christmas music everyday here and we decked out our apartment with lights!  I finally realize why Christmas is so important!  For a lot of reasons, of course, but being here I look back and remember the many amazing Christmases I had growing up and being with family and everything that goes along with it is amazing!  And that almost every culture celebrates Christmas and bases it around Christ, which is incredible!  I have come to understand how important family truly is.  I am grateful for everything and being here makes me realize how blessed I really am to have such an amazing family and so many blessings!  I am so grateful for you and dad and Russell and for your influences in my life."

"K---- is incredible!  He has so much potential!  We got him a Book of Mormon and we are truly friends!  He wants to hang out with us and go running on P days.  Also, A---- is doing awesome!  And we met with a new dude from Saudi Arabia.  His name is I------- and he is SO COOL!  He is super interested, so today we are bringing him a Book of Mormon in Aribic and one in English and he is giving me a Koran!  He is so cool!"

"The Gospel is true and it means eternal progression, eternal life, and eternal happiness.  I love it and am honored to be here and serving God and mankind, and Poland!  I am so blessed to have amazing family like I have, thank you so much!  Life is good and great!  I don't know where I would be without this Gospel but it doesn't matter because I'm in it and thanks be to my God!  I can be with my family for eternity!  Thank you for raising me in the GOSPEL!!!!!!  hahahaha!"

"Dear Dad!  I love you and how is everything going?!  Everything here is amazing!  Yes, the weather here is sooo cold!  But it's awesome and super beautiful!  You'd love the food.  Pirogi is sooo good, you would love it!"

"I miss you guys but I am grateful to have a roof over my head and food to eat!  Thank you for your prayers and support.  I feel it!"

-Elder Kotter

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rock on \m/

It was great to see the on the Nielsons' blog that they had celebrated Thanksgiving in Warsaw.

This picture made me chuckle....
I can't be sure, but it seems one of his mission buddies is doing a "Lance"!  Those who know Lance will see it.  :)

Here are a few excerpts from today's email:

"How was Thanksgiving!!?!??!  Did you make healthy pumpkin pie and stuffing?  Man, I miss your cooking so much, it drives me crazy!  But, I found some kefir and greek yogurt and curry, so I try to replicate your cooking.  But it doesn't come close!"

"I hear it does take like 2 weeks for a package to get here but it's okay because I will eat those Date Treats whether they're rotten or not, I MISS YOUR COOKING!!"

"K--- told me I accepted his request on Facebook!  He is truly the man!  He is one of our investigators and he is the bomb, he is super open minded and cool.  He is legitimately a friend.  You should talk to him on there and tell him you're my mom!"

"Our investigators are all amazing!  We met with A--- again the other day and it was incredible.  He plays guitar and is really good.  I told him I will give him one of my CDs.  And B---- is amazing!  He's the dude from Turkey and we're meeting with him again today and I'm so excited!  He is a Traveler!"

"Everything here is amazing, the language is getting better, and we are teaching a lot more people!  Life is good!  Tell Dad that I love him so much and that I sent him a letter, too.  Tell him I'm learning so much here!"

"I missed you guys on Thanksgiving!  And it's crazy Christmas is on it's way!  But I will be able to call home on Christmas so that'll be super sweet!  Be sure to celebrate your best.  I can picture you're already listening to Christmas music everyday!  Hahaha!  Be sure to go to Temple Square!"

"Rock on! \m/"

Good to know my son knows me so well!  Yes, I did make healthy pumpkin pie and stuffing.  And I've been listening to Christmas music since October.

It's also good to know that he appreciates my cooking!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Attitude of gratitude

Our first holiday season with Lance in the mission field is in full swing. 

Thanksgiving has brought into focus the fact that he is not here to celebrate with us.  Yet, no one is sad or upset by his absence.  In fact, I had a good reason to corner everyone today for pictures!  

Traditions are a wonderful way to strengthen the bonds between family.  And Lance is very sentimental.  I have no doubt he found a way to celebrate a U.S. traditional holiday in Poland today.

We miss him, but we also know he is doing the Lord's work.  We wouldn't have it any other way! 

One excerpt from his super short email this Monday:

"The pic at the end is me and Elder Fletcher with a SUPER cool dude we found named B----.  He is from Turkey and is in Poland for like a month.  He is a Traveler and we had such an amazing lesson about God and that He is real and that you can speak to Him!  He wasn't familiar with God but he loved what we had to say and we will be meeting with him again."

Stalin's Tower

Somehow I missed the Nielson's blog on Tuesday describing what is going on in Warsaw District II!  

Here is what Sister Nielson posted:

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.

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.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Zone meeting & email

Today we received in the mail a nice welcome letter from Lance's mission president & his wife.  They also included a picture of the three of them.

Their blog has some great pictures of the recent zone meeting:

A few excerpts from this week's email:

"The mission fund we get every month goes for food, laundry, soap, haircuts, things like that.  But the personal funds are for clothes & souvenirs, things like that.  So, I got a suit & a coat & a couple other things.  Great deals here on everything!"

"So yeah, it's me and my companion in this way nice apartment.  Elder Fletcher loves to cook so he is always cooking.  But he cooks healthy because he knows I won't eat garbage butt food & fructose crap.  Hahaha!  He doesn't want to eat that way either, so we have healthy eating habits!  I would say that God has truly blessed me with the conscious of health and I am so grateful and blessed for it!"

"My companion is an amazing teacher and learn something new from him everyday.  He really is a blessing to me and who God knows I should be companions with.  He's from Alaska and he really likes fishing & running and we eat salmon like twice a week instead of eating out.  I know he'd be down if you sent any of your Date Treats or any of your other healthy snacks."

"Thank you so much for your constant prayers!!  They truly help out and I can recognize them!!  A-- is soooo amazing!  We are already good friends.  He came to church yesterday and I sat next to him.  During the Sacrament, he read the whole introduction to the Book of Mormon in Vietnamese.  I knew he felt the Holy Ghost.  I hope he wants to keep meeting!  He is the man!"

"It's crazy going from wards my whole life with, you know, hundreds of people in each ward, and you get here and there is like 20-40 people total that come to church every week.  But the members are amazing and are so strong."

"Christmas here in Poland is SO SICK!  I like the food and the celebration is amazing.  I will have to tell you about it more when the time comes but it sounds exciting!"

"Ah, I love the book of James, too!  Check out the first chapter of Ephesians, it's so unbelievably powerful and definitely my favorite.  The whole book of Ephesians and Alma 32, of course.  That's the best!  And there's a guy in our zone that I'm going out on exchanges with these next couple days and he is into energy work, too!  So we have a lot to talk about!"

"Do widzenia"

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hey! It's P Day again!

I think Lance's English is suffering for the cause of speaking Polish fluently...this email was harder to read than most, so a lot of spelling/grammar correction is in order! 

"Hey!  It's P Day again!  So yeah, I went and bought a new suit and a new coat last P Day and they are amazing!  They are European style too, so it looks really stylin, hahaha!  And I haven't gotten your letter yet but if it's here, it'll come today, so I'm excited!"

"The thing i feel like is really important is the food I eat.  The first week and a half I didn't eat 100% healthy just because I had to try ALL the Polish food, haha!  So now, unless it's like a way good looking unique Polish dish, I only fruits, veggies, and some meats and nuts.  I realize that one of the greatest gifts God has blessed me with is a health conscience mind.  And, thanks to you for raising me into the ways of health, I will be a help to people struggling with health and be guided in caring for myself which truly is a blessing!"

"Thank you so much for praying for the guy I told you about last week.  We unfortunately haven't had the chance to meet with him yet, but we met with a guy who's name is --- and he's amazing!!  He is from Vietnam and speaks English and he is Buddhist!  We hit it off so well and dove into teaching him the Gospel and it truly was such an amazing experience!  I gave him one of my highlighted Books of Mormon and committed him to read it.  The lesson went so well!"
"Last night, Elder Fletcher and I were tracting on a road where the Polish Uprising took place and where the Polish people made a huge stance against the Germans.  They fortified all the streets and hid behind mountains of couches and cars and won that victory, but unfortunately the Germans were just so much more advanced and they wiped them out.  It's truly devastating to know the death that occurred  but at the same time, walking through all these streets walking past the statues and memorials, it gives me peace and happiness knowing that even through hell, the Polish people rose from the ashes!  And through their faith, which pulled them through, they were able to rebuild this beautiful town the way it is today. I am so privileged to be in a place with so much history and honor and faith.  It makes me love the Polish people even more and gives me even a greater desire to serve them and hep them back to the bond with their creator and to happiness!"

"If you can, go check out the dedicatory prayer for Poland to be a mission.  You might be able to find it on the blog but it's beautiful and so powerful!  Everything here is great!  Oh and I saw some super sick looking cottages the other day!  With gardens in each yard!  So beautiful and it's right by our place!  Warsaw is so beautiful and amazing!  It's an adventure everyday. OHHHH and we went to day of the dead a few nights ago and it was so amazing!!!!!!  All the cemeteries are so beautiful and there are candles everywhere with crosses and no crosses but it's beautiful to see the Polish people remember their ancestors!  I need to figure out how to apply pictures, dangit!  I'll get on that!"

"Everything here in Poland is so amazing!  Everything is so beautiful!  The history is so rich and so old and the culture is amazing!  There are so many super beautiful cathedrals here and old's amazing! I am teaching a lot of people and we teach someone new every day.  My polish is not perfect, hahaha, but I can understand and speak through the Spirit, which is important!"

Monday, October 29, 2012

Lance's first email from the field

Well, it's no surprise at all...Lance officially loves Poland.  In fact, everything is just "amazing"! 

Here are some excerpts from his email today:

"Poland is SO AMAZING!  After the way long flights, we landed in Poland and met with the mission president and his wife and went over to their house.  Got fed and went site seeing/tracting.  It was so sick!!!!!"

"Seriously, this whole town is amazing!!!  It's so beautiful!  So that first day we saw the palace and a huge Catholic cathedral!  It was amazing!!  Fall here is so beautiful!  The leaves are falling and it's amazing!  Anyway we saw the palace and the way it looked and felt, and just being here in the country, gives me chills thinking about it!"

"So my new companion is Elder Fletcher, he's seriously the bomb!  He is the best at the language, everyone agrees, and he has sick studying habits, and he saves my butt every time I can't speak or say something, haha!"

"Speaking to people is amazing!  Yeah, the first day was tough speaking to people because my vocabulary isn't huge, but after that first couple days, I started just speaking!  I can without a doubt see God's hand in my learning the language and teaching with it, just everything!"

"My area is Warzawa 2!  Just me and Fletcher!  We get to see Stolens tower all the time and it's amazing!"

"I talk to everyone and give them a huge smile and say Dzien Dobry!  haha, and they look at me all weird and just say it back."

"...smiling at everyone, letting them know that they exist and that they truly do matter and that God loves them so much!  And through just that one smile, they can see maybe that's enough to get through another day or spark the flame to their conversion in Christ."

"This message is divine and of God and I truly do love being here!"

"Dzien Dobry kocham cie!"

I can't be sure, but my guess is he is having an AMAZING time there!  

I'm guessing the tower he's referring to is this one.....

Hopefully he'll attach some pictures to his next email!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Nielsons are just plain awesome!

Shortly after Lance received his call, I was advised to look up President & Sister Nielson's blog.  Every (I mean EVERY) activity, function, baptism, move the missionaries make are all photographed.  They take time to describe, in detail, what is happening in the Poland mission.

I'm not sure I can express the feelings I had when I saw the photographic evidence of Lance walking off the plane and being so warmly welcomed by the Nielsons.

Looking handsome in his chocolate brown suit.  
He plans on buying a new Polish suit.  

Today he met his trainer and learned he had been assigned to Warsaw.  

The elder on the far right is also new.  
He's standing next to his trainer.
Not sure how it happened, but their heights match quite nicely.

This was Lance's first chance to speak with someone about the Gospel.
The missionary standing with him has been in Poland for a some months now.  
I feel like I know him...his mom has been a great "friend" to me via email & Facebook.

So, a special thank you to the Nielsons!  Though Lance is many miles away, their blog has helped me to feel close to my son.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

On his way!

Best idea:  Sending Lance a cheap Trac phone to call me while at the airport!

We spoke this morning while waiting for his flight in SLC.  We have been very diligent about writing and emailing, but actually hearing the excitement in his voice was so much better!   He will have a layover in Detroit then again in Amsterdam.  I believe, if my math is correct (though often it is not), he will arrive in Poland sometime very early Tuesday morning.

During our about 30 minute conversation, Lance expressed to me his gratitude for his experiences in the MTC.  No surprise, knowing my son as I do, he made good friends out of everyone around him.
He has a special gift to be able to relate to anyone in any situation.  And now he is exemplifying his gift by going to a foreign country to serve the Lord.

Lance shared with me a pretty cool experience he had while waiting in line to board his plane this morning...

He said that he and his companion were visiting and Lance said some words in Polish.  A lady standing in front of him turned to him and said she is from they started up a conversation.  She gave him some good advice as to where to visit in Poland, what the best cathedrals are to go see, and what to expect as far as weather goes.  At the end of the conversation, he offered her a Pass Along Card (little cards with our church's contact info on them and an uplifting message).  She said, "No thanks."  He called it his first rejection of his mission.  But he was so happy about it, anyways!  He said he got to know an awesome person from Poland, got some great advice, and realized that he was able to converse with her in the language.  He views such "chance encounters with random people" to be of God.  I would have to agree.

Serving an 18 month to 2 year proselyting mission is not an easy undertaking.  A missionary chooses to leave the comforts of home, family, and friends to be sent away to an unknown area.  Many missionaries leave their girlfriends/boyfriends, their jobs, their schooling, etc., all in the name of furthering the Gospel.  In Lance's case, he also left behind his love of writing/performing music .  He worked at a local production plant for many months, some weeks with no days off, to save and pay for his mission.  He even sold his beloved drum set.

All of his own free will.

So, yeah.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Leaving for Poland next Monday

Lance's letter we received this weekend and today's email are full of excitement about him leaving for Poland next Monday...

"It's crazy!  We have less than two weeks left!!!  It's insane how close it is around the corner, I'm so extremely excited to go to Poland!  It is so crazy I'm going to Europe!"

Like I said, he's excited!

He had this to say about the language:
"This language is truly the BEST LANGUAGE EVER!!  Hahaha!  It's so extremely beautiful."

He goes on to comment about Conference:
"General Conference was divine!  I have never watched it with as much concern and desire ever before in my life, and I obtained so much out of it.  I had written down some questions I wanted to get answers for and they were answered in the first couple talks!"

"If you have the time to, you should get on and find the talk given by David A.'s amazing!  It has helped nourish and prove witness through the Spirit what I truly needed to work on."

He writes some in Polish, but again, no translation.

Some scriptures he shares:
2 Nephi 13-27
Mosiah 2:17

He signs off his letter with a language I am somewhat familiar with...
"Garu di, hwyl fawr!"

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Latest update

My birthday was on the 28th and boy was I surprised to receive a surprise package from Lance in the mail!  Here's my birthday present...
I took this picture to send via email to him so he knew I got it.  
If you know me and my family, the "metal" sign is commonly seen in pictures.  
Yeah, I take a little credit for that.

He also sent his SD car so I could pull off some pictures.  It's so great to "see" him and his buddies!
Standing in front of Starszy Stumpf's German flag while holding Lance's Polish flag.

Lance tells me he and Starszy Lanham are like twins.  Gee, I don't see the resemblance....

This young man standing with Lance has the last name of Maddox.  Could be a relative!
Smith, Stumpf, Lanham, Saltmarsh, Finch, Stockford, and Kotter

Lance's letter I received on Friday was quite inspirational....

"I know that by the time we (he and his fellow missionaries) leave here, we will be as spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally prepared as we could possibly be through Christ and be the missionaries He wants.  And that is a most beautiful thing!"

"One of the biggest things I have learned over the last couple weeks is that having faith isn't enough.  You must constantly be nourishing your faith by completely converting yourself to God and completely submitting yourself to His will."

"Also, it's something I say in every letter, but I have come to learn that it's an important and essential prospect of life to serve!  To build people up, build up the Kingdom of God, to reach out instead of reaching in.  Once you do these things, you forget your problems, your trials disappear, because reaching out and serving is truly the Light of Christ!  Like in Mosiah 2:17...check that scripture out, it's powerful!  That what we call "trials & burdens" are actually blessings."

"To become the best we can be, not better than anyone else, but better than we used to be, more of who we already are, continually progressing, striving to become like Christ everyday."
One of Lance's favorite scriptures...Ephesians 6:12
He even gave one of his songs this title.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

4 weeks down...103 to go (or something like that)

Today marks four weeks since Lance has been in the MTC.  For me, it has gone by fairly quickly.  Which is a good indication that the next couple years will just fly by.  I've been making an effort to keep him updated on all the stuff we've been up to.  And I'm sure it is all dull as powder to him in comparison to what he's up to!  

It's feast or famine with Lance writing home, it seems.  This week so far has only been a quick email on Monday.  He says he's been very fact, he hasn't had time to listen to music!  If that's the case, I know he's way busy!  

He shared some of his most recent favorite scriptures:
Alma...well ALL of Alma, he concludes
2 Nephi 1:15, 32:9
Moroni...yeah, ALL of Moroni, too

He also wanted me to tell those who have been supportive of him that he loves and appreciates them all.  Especially his grandparents, brother, and cousin.  He also mentioned a few friends (you know who you are).  He closed with a few lines of Polish and assures me he is happy & is loving it there.

On a personal note, I want to take this opportunity to thank a sweet friend.  Though we've only just exchanged emails through an email group geared toward missionaries, she went out of her way to send me a gift.  So, thank you, Jannicke!  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Today's letters

Received two - count them - two letters in the mail today PLUS an won't be as easy to write to me when he's in Poland, but in the meantime, I'm enjoying the correspondence!

Here are some excerpts:

"The language is coming along very well, I think.  I wish I could be learning it faster but I get way ahead of myself (hahaha)!"
"Thank you for all of those scriptures!  They have truly helped.  Keep sending cool ones you find and I will do the same.  Check these scriptures out.  Moroni 7:43-48, this is like my guide to becoming a better missionary.  Also Alma 37:6-7 & 37."
"I've learned so much while I've been here.  I truly love it.  Every single aspect of my testimony/testimonies have been strengthened."

Then he writes more stuff in Polish but no translation.  Dangit.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Lance sent me some pictures via email today!  It really is great to see him, his companion, and the others in his district.

This is his companion, Starszy Smith.  Lance wasn't surprised at all that they were placed as companions...they went to high school together.  Lance says soooo many great things about him!

This is Starszy Lanham from Orem, UT.  He is one of 3 roommates Lance bunks with.  Lance says that he is a spiritual giant & has become a great friend.

This is Starszy Stumpf from Germany.  He is also a roomie of Lance's.  Lance tells me he is he speaks Latin, German, English, and now Polish.

This is everyone in Lance's district.  Starszy Finch, Starszy Stockford, Starszy Saltmarsh, Starszy Smith, Siostra Bown, and Starszy Kotter.  Hopefully I've got their names all correct...trying to read off their name tags.