Monday, January 28, 2013

Kocham cie i wszystkiego dobrego! (I love you...I wish you everything good!)

This week's email updates us on Lance's love and appreciation for his fellow man.
When my step-son was on his mission in the Philippines, I can remember him sharing his feelings of love for the people there.  And still to this day, he talks about them with such tenderness.
I'm so glad to know Lance is having the same experience!

As I've shared before, Lance has been privileged to meet with some wonderful people of the Muslim faith.  He comments that although our beliefs on Christ are different, the similarities between our faiths are undeniable.  The most recent couple he has been meeting with are reading the Book of Mormon and they are now having some great discussion.  Lance and his companion attended their Mosque and he says it was wonderful and interesting.  He mentions that the prayers are sort of a song/chant and encourages us to look one up on youtube.  He has also been reading in the Koran and has found that it contains some great truths.

Lance emphasizes his appreciation for the Muslim view on health.  He appreciates very much that they avoid processed, especially genetically modified, foods.  He says they had a very long and great discussion about that!  The couple have invited them over for dinner, which Lance is very excited about.  He says Malaysian food is very similar to Indian.  His food assignment is to bring his favorite snack of coconut water, dates, and almonds...which just also happens to be their favorite snack!

Today, Lance and his companion are going to visit a music store, so he can play on the cellos.  I had assured him that his cello is still safely tucked away, waiting for his return.  He loves to share his music with anyone who is interested.  I've sent him stacks of his CDs for him to give away.

As usual, Lance had wonderful things to say about Poland.  In my email, I asked if he had a chance to visit with anyone of the Jewish faith, and so far he hasn't.  It is sad the atrocities that happened to the Polish Jews during WWII.  But his attitude is one of hopefulness that Poland will only know happiness now and not remember the past; to move forward with an eye single to the glory of God.  He speaks of his love for the Atonement and how there isn't anything it doesn't cover.

We make sure to update Lance on the happenings here on the home front.  His cousin had a baby boy, my husband and I celebrated our 23rd anniversary, and we are digging out from under the snow and ice that dumped on Utah this week.  He loves to be filled in on everything going on at home, so I make sure to pass on any words of encouragement we receive from family, friends, and ward members.

Lance closes his email with love and appreciation for his family.  He says the life of a missionary is truly incredible...the people he meets, the experiences he has everyday, serving people, loving people, approaching and teaching's exciting and everything he's ever wanted to do!  He appreciates our prayers and says he feels them.

And in response to my closing my email with Cariad  (the Welsh word for love), he closes with Garu Di (short for I love you in Welsh) and comments that he has almost completely forgotten Welsh now that Polish has taken over...

Kocham cie i wszystkiego dobrego (Polish for I love you, I wish you everything good)!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Going to Mosque on Friday

Poland is much more of a "melting pot" than I ever realized!
Lance has been honored to meet with and teach people of many cultures and religious affiliations.  And he tells me there are always so many similarities.

This week he and his companion were inspired to go to a "klatka", which is an apartment type building.  As they were entering, a woman held the door for them.  Lance said he felt the Spirit move upon him to talk with her.  Shortly thereafter, her husband arrived and they all had a great meeting wherein they found many wonderful similarities between their faiths.  He says specifically that the similarities far out weigh the differences and they all agreed that God is behind their meeting with each other.  The couple invited Lance and his companion to attend Mosque with them on Friday.  And, they are giving him two for him and one he will send home for me.  He is so excited to learn more about his fellow man!

Lance tells of another great experience he and his companion had...he calls it a miracle among the other hundreds that happened this week alone...
They have been meeting with a professor and this week he asked them to come teach his students the Gospel message!  So on Friday, they went to "Nowy Swiat", which is Old Town, and taught three classes of about 6-10 students.  Lance says he could feel the Spirit strongly and knew that the students had a wonderful experience.  He hopes they will all go out and research it further.

Things are going quite well with his investigators, who he calls his friends!  He tells us a lot about two of them, in particular.  We pray for these people everyday.  That they might feel the Spirit and know that God loves them.  And though we don't know them personally, there is something about praying for someone that brings you close to them.  A definite spirit connection!

For Christmas, I got two of India style music by Prem Joshua and a harp CD by Hilary Stagg.  Knowing Lance's love of music, I told him I had some CDs for him to listen to when he gets home.  He says he can't wait to hear Prem Joshua's music.  He loves everything about the Indian culture...the food, the music, the people...everything!  He promises we will get to go there someday.  I am counting on that!

My new found respect and love for Poland and its history led me to watch a movie this week titled "The Pianist".  It's based on a true story of a Polish/Jewish man named Wladyslaw Szpilman who was a famous pianist before WWII came to Poland.  He barely survived the war and went on to live to the age of 88 and is buried in Warsaw.  He became quite the composer and wrote his biography under communism's rule, so his book didn't come out until after the fall of communism.  It was a very compelling and inspiring story!  I asked Lance if he has heard this man's story, but I guess he hasn't.

As always, I updated Lance on everything that has been happening in our family over the week.  I am branching out with my business and it is a bit of a challenge.  It is comforting to know that even with his busy schedule and having so many others to pray for, that he always prays for us.  Like I mentioned before, there is something magical about prayer that makes you feel so much closer to the person for whom you're praying!  He always has some wonderfully uplifting and loving words for me, and this week's email was no exception.

Lance also reaffirms that he is learning so much...about the world, about people, about the nature of God.  He says that at times, people will get angry and proclaim that there is no God.  But he just testifies that He does live and that He loves every single one of us.  Lance says he can feel the power of God penetrating their hearts and sparking the fire within them of the Light of Christ.  Isn't that what it's about in the end?  All things hinge on that Christ-like love.  From our Father in Heaven to each one of us brothers and sisters.

He concludes his email by emphasizing the need to lift one another and endure to the end.  To walk in faith rather than just by sight & rooting ourselves in the "soil" of Heaven.

God bless us all!

Monday, January 14, 2013


It is very interesting to try to read the Polish language...and even more interesting to hear it spoken.
Too bad I have no idea how to pronounce any of the Polish words Lance uses in his emails!  Thankfully, I can at least look the word up on the internet and find its definition.

Czesc = Hi

In my email to Lance this week, I shared with him how cold it has been here in Utah.  From what I understand, Polish winters are very cold, due to the humidity factor.  But, he assures me that he is staying warm, and the shoes we bought for him before he left are working out great.  I had to wonder because of this picture Sister Nielson posted on her blog:
Lance tells me that they spend a good amount of time each day using public transportation & walking.

There are some guidelines and rules that missionaries are expected to follow, including restrictions of what types of music, videos, etc., they can use.  Makes sense, whereas one missionary's opinion of what is appropriate can vary from the next.  So, the guidelines are to keep music to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir & videos are just Conferences.  Good to know, since I have a few books in mind and a couple CDs for him to listen to when he gets home!

It appears that Lance's companion, Elder Wilson, is just wonderful!  Lance says Elder Wilson invites the Spirit in and that they have become great friends.

This picture was taken on New Year's Eve.  They were able to celebrate with other missionaries.  The sister who took this picture sent me a lovely email.  It is so nice to know that others care about my son!

There are a couple investigators Lance tells me about nearly every week.  He considers them friends and is loving the opportunity to teach them and learn from them!  It appears that they are all exercising their faith.  He quotes from the Book of Mormon:
"And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore, dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith."  Ether 12:6

Lance isn't afraid to talk to everyone he comes into contact with, and that means no regrets at the end of each day.  He says he preaches the Gospel no matter where he is because he knows he's been called of God.  So, he gives it his all!

I just hope he's writing all of this in his journal!

Monday, January 7, 2013


I sent Lance a package for Christmas on December 3rd.  He received it January 6th.
Strangely enough, I dreamed that night he had received it, though I thought it was weird that he looked like he was a kid.  I shared that dream with him in my email I sent last's his response:

"And yes, I got my package yesterday!  That's funny you dreamed about it!  Because honestly when I opened the package, I was so happy it brought me back to when I was little opening packages and the feelings I had!  You and I must have connected at the same time because when I was opening it, you were sleeping!  I love how God works!!!!!!!"

I couldn't agree more!

Here are some excerpts of today's email:

"We haven't had a whole lot of lessons this week because the recovery of the holidays, but we met with A--- and he is doing way good!  I gave him one of my CDs and we talked about the gospel of Christ very deeply.  I love meeting with him!  He is Buddhist and very open minded, willing to talk and accepting of anything we say!"

"I've been doing very well with contacting this week!  We use public transportation for pretty much everything, and every time I'm on a bus it's my goal to talk to at least 3 people.  I got a lot of people's numbers this week who are interested!  It's the most exciting thing!  I've learned to never stand there in a thoughtless stupor but always talk to everyone, no matter where I am or who it is, because that is why I'm here.  I will never look back and regret anything, saying I never did my part, because I did!"

"I can't wait to do temple work again!  I miss that place!  I feel honored to do the work for our ancestors.  And yeah, they really only want us to to read Jesus the Christ, Our Heritage, Our Search for Happiness, and the scriptures and Ensign and stuff.  That's what I read everyday.  The BoM, Ensign, PMG, and the New Testament.  I want to read Joseph Smith's Teachings, but I'm still reading Jesus the Christ.  Are there any good books I should read?  Is that even a question?  LOL"

"My companion is truly the bomb, he is way loving and helps me to become better, which I'm so grateful for!  Together, we are powerful!  Poland is incredible.  I can understand people better everyday.  We had a baptism in our district the other day!  Life is just so good!"

"Thanks for your great advice, Pop.  I feel that's something I catch myself doing sometimes, focusing on the end goal, who I am going to be, who I want to become, and I forget to focus on the now and realize I am already that person, but always progressing!  I have realized that I need to live in the day, enjoy the journey, smell the roses."

"I am glad everything is going so well at home.  If there is anything I can do to help or pray for, let me know! I am happy and blessed to hear you're proud of me.  It truly means the world to me!  I am proud to be a Latter Day Saint bearing the message and sword of truth!  And I am glad that my mother and father also bear that same title!"

"Life is so good here!  I have learned so much and can only continue to learn so much everyday!  I can't even describe the joy I feel, it's true happiness.  I can testify of that!  How is church and everybody?  Tell them I love them!"

"I love you!  Elder Kotter"

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Szczesliwego Nowego Roku (Happy New Year)

Lance's Christmas package has still not made it to him!  Thankfully there wasn't anything in the package that isn't replaceable.  He suggests I put Virgin Mary stickers on my next package...perhaps that will help.

This Sunday, my husband and I attended the farewell of a childhood friend of Lance's.  I was so very impressed by this young man's attitude about serving a mission!  Reminded me very much of Lance's attitude before he left.  We also attended a homecoming for a missionary who served in Taiwan.  She mentioned in her talk that the "gift of tongues" is real.  I definitely agree with her!  It was so great to hear her report on the many awesome spiritual experiences she had.

I just know these young people are going to change the lives of those they come in contact with, not to mention how their own lives will change.  I am thankful for the missionaries all over the world in their various capacities!

Here are some excerpts of Lance's email this week:

"Dzien Dobry, Mom!  It was great for me to talk to you on Christmas, as well!!!!  I can't even describe the joy that I felt, that joy we talk about in the church, true happiness, a peek into the Heavens & eternal life, that's exactly what it felt like, overwhelming joy!  God lives and I am here to testify of it!"

"They celebrate New Year's here in Poland!  There have been fireworks going off for the last week.  They sounds like gun shots, haha!"

"Tell Shelby to get better and that she is the bomb and I miss her!  And that's so cool Tre is going on his mission!  He is going to be an amazing missionary!  That's cool what happened with Tonya.  God works in so many amazing ways!  How are the Sumkos doing?  Tell them I love them and thank them for all the support.  What you told me over the phone just blew my mind.  Tell them that they are and will be blessed for such kindness!"

"I am reading Jesus the Christ.  That book is so deep!  And that one Joseph Smith book sounds really interesting.  I want to read it!  Being here and serving has blessed me so much!  Every single day I just realize truly how grateful I really am for everything!"

"Poland is truly amazing!  A fewish weeks ago, we went to Indian food and it was soooo good!  Not half as good as Tandoori, but close.  My language is progressing and becoming better.  We met a dude on the street the other day named B-----.  We taught him a lesson and it was amazing.  We also taught a guy named D---- and he is super cool and way smart.  We talked for hours on the Creation and where we go after we die.  Teaching people is the greatest thing I could ask to be doing, about the most important subject, message EVER!  It's crazy, we are 19 and don't know the language that well but by small and simple things, the Lord God brings to pass great means!  We are young in the way of the world and culture, but we are defenders of the faith and know this message is true.  It's amazing to be a witness of the power and love and true divine presence of God in my/our lives.  I love you so much.  Have an amazing New Year's party and tell the family hi and I wish you the greatest year of your life in 2013!  I love you, Elder Kotter"

"Dear Dad.  I love you so much!  I was so great to hear from you. And thank you for everything you told me and the advice you give me.  Every day I am here, I realize how much alike you and I really are and how great of an influence you've had on me."

"My new companion is the bomb!  We are teaching many people and it's incredible!  The power of the Lord God is so strong within my life.  I am so grateful!  How is the scripture study?  Life in general?  Get back to me!  Love, Elder Kotter"