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