Monday, March 25, 2013

I love you so much, farewell till next week!

Things are going well for Lance in Szczecin.  He says the weather is still cold and snowy so he is looking forward to some spring like weather.

He's happy to have a serious investigator at this time.  He told me about her in his email last week.
They meet with her every couple of days and she has attended church.  She speaks some English but no Polish, and he was happy to be able to translate the Polish meeting into English so she could understand.
She is new to the idea of having a loving Heavenly Father and therefore she is intrigued by the idea that she can pray and have those prayers answered.  Lance and his companion have a few meetings set up for this week with some other investigators, too.  Sounds like Lance is very excited to meet with them all!

I've been conversing via Facebook with a couple of Lance's new found friends there in Poland.  One of his friends, whom Lance refers to as "a health freak just like us!" has written a small health based book and shared it with me.  It is very insightful!  I was quite impressed.  One of his new friends comes with them to meet with their investigator.  Lance tells me that she is "incredible, truly one of the best members of the church I have ever seen."

Lance reports that their visit to see a gypsy jazz performance last week was incredible!  He was blown away by the similarity between that music and what he composed before leaving for his mission.  He bought me a CD and is sending it home soon.

Lance thanks everyone for all their prayers and kind thoughts.  He is loving Szczecin and loving his mission.
He is happy to know that he is serving his fellow man and aspires to be like Christ.

I'm assuming this is in honor of St. Patrick's Day

Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy and Healthy

I'm liking that now he's in Szczecin, our packages get there in more like two weeks rather than a month or more.  The last package I sent him contained some fun St. Patrick's Day and Easter themed stuff, including some healthy treats.  We also included some family pictures and one small framed picture of his cello.  For his next package, he has requested more On Guard essential oil and his retainer.  I guess his teeth have begun to shift and he's not happy about that.

He received some kind messages from friends, new and old, this week on Facebook.  So far, he's had 5 or 6 people from Poland "friend" him, so I'm happy they are able to read the updates I put on there!

Last week was their Zone Training meeting in a nearby town named Poznan.  It was wonderful to see some awesome pictures of him, his companion, and the other missionaries in his area.  They all look so happy and healthy!
I'm confident to say that I know these guys, thanks to their moms being so wonderful.  In fact, I was privileged to meet personally with Lance's companion's mom this last week for lunch.  What a great woman! I can see why he and Lance get along so well.

Lance and his companion
I'm so glad Lance gets to serve with these fine missionaries!
Pizza for lunch, it appears.

Lance mentions one new investigator who has recently moved to Poland from China to attend a nearby music school.  She wasn't allowed to believe in God in China, and now is very excited to learn as much as she can.  They have plans to meet with her often.  Their last meeting went well...they brought along a female member of their branch and it appears the two women have created a friendship.

Today, they are attending a culture night which is going to be a gypsy jazz performance.  He is VERY excited to attend that!  He has an appreciation for the gypsy culture and, of course, jazz music.  In fact, one of the tracks on his CD is titled Gypsy Jazz, which he dedicated to my late father (who also loved jazz).

He closes his email with thanks for the advice we give to him and reassures us that all things are going smoothly.  He loves Poland, the people, the language, and all other aspects of his mission...well, except for the weather still being cold.  But other than that, he is doing well.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Drogi rodzice! (Dear Parents)

This week we received a letter from Lance which he had written while on his train ride to Szczecin.

He begins by sharing how much his mission has meant to him.  He feels like he has already learned so much. He admits there are "super tough" days but the "super amazing" days always outnumber the tough ones.

I very much enjoyed the insights he included in his letter.  Like, when Christ was here, he was perfectly obedient to the will of God.  And that alone created faith and desire to act on the Light.  He says he, too, is learning to be obedient to God's will and is stronger and better because of it.  He comments that he is the type that when given a rule, will act on it in his own way regardless, then see what comes of it.
I personally relate to that very much!  If I see something that is worthwhile; call it a rule, commandment, law, whatever, I will apply it to my life in every way possible to see the results.  This is how I came to understand the beauty of paying tithing and donating to other causes.  There are some things you have to DO before you can KNOW.

Lance also shares that faith has become paramount in his life.  He says he has learned to nourish and strengthen it by having faith both in God and Christ.  He feels that if you stay strong in your faith, then nothing can get you down.  When you ask God to bless you, you're exercising your faith and this more fully allows you to accept the blessings God is pouring out to you.

In today's email, he told me that they met with a lovely woman and her friend.  He says he was inspired to pray while there and feels it was one of the most sincere prayers he's ever given.  He feels it was beautiful and very comforting to the woman.
Lance's brother has been learning a lot about the toxins in our water system and has shared with me the information he has learned in his environmental chemistry class.  I included some of what we had discussed with Lance in my email.  He says that Poland's water system is pretty dirty.  They have to use water filters because the water comes from a local pond which is full of cigarettes, pigeon feathers, and other terrible stuff.  He doesn't fully trust the filters to do their job, though.  Sounds like I will be sending him a good filter in his next package...which will be his birthday package.

As always, Lance had nothing but wonderful things to say about his companion!  They have become great friends.  I updated him on a sister missionary that had to come home early due to her many health complications.  He was so happy to know she's doing well and says that Poland is a brighter place due to all she did in the mission field.

It's tax season here and I let him know I have all the necessary papers to give to our tax person on his behalf.  He is hoping for a nice return so he can have more money in his mission fund.  He said I could even sell anything he has of any value to go in the fund...except his cello!  I'll be sure to remind him that I would never do such a thing!

I shared with him a picture that was posted on his Facebook page of him and friend.  He was very excited to see the picture and said that young man is one of the coolest members of the branch.  Lance says the friend is also a "health nut", so they have lots to talk about.

The weather was improving in Poland until recently.  He thought he might be getting a cold (the first time he's felt sick since being on his mission), but it went away.  He's been taking his On Guard essential oil to help keep his immune system up.  Sounds like another bottle of that will go into his birthday package!

Lance did ask that in his next package if we might send some "sick MoTab CD that has like a billion songs on it with like sick cello and harp songs?"  I'm sure I can hook him up!

His last request was for prayers.  For himself, his companion, and all the people of Poland.

Monday, March 4, 2013

"Woo, my first punch in Poland!"

As if this were the first of more to come??? I would certainly hope not!

One night last week, Lance and his companion were on their way home when they stopped to talk to someone. It quickly became apparent that the man was drunk. Soon, his friends came out and began asking questions.

He says the conversation was going well until.... "one guy was trying to ask me a question but I was talking to another and the guy freaked out and punched me in the neck!"

Lance and his companion decided that was a good time to calmly walk away. He says that the guy hit his scarf so therefore it wasn't painful. He believes that he was being protected and what could've been a blow to the face, was a softened blow to a scarf.

Needless to say, he found it to be a great learning experience! And though I don't like the idea of my son being in any kind of physical danger, I also know he's being watched over.

Saturday, I received a package from Lance in the mail. He included a t-shirt for his cousin and brother that has a sign of the Polish Uprising. The sign on the shirt looks like this:

I wasn't much of a history expert on Poland before Lance got his call, so it has been a great experience learning so much about that amazing country. If you've never read about the uprising  that occurred during WWII (or maybe you did in high school and can't remember it, either), look it up on the internet. These people were brave! Though they didn't win their freedom, they still stood up for their rights. And I admire and honor those who stand up for their God given rights!

Lance says that though they have spoken with many who are interested, no one is actively investigating right now. But, that doesn't get him down.  He knows that all things come in their own Divine Timing, so he readies himself for the ones who will be invested in learning the Gospel message. He does mention that he's had at least one great and spiritual conversation with one person that ended in a couple of hugs...and he was Muslim, of course.

Lance is very appreciative of his companion. They have similar views and attitudes which he finds is very helpful for them both. This companion is from Utah, as well, so I'm hoping I can connect with his mom at some point soon. I am just so very grateful that Lance has had such wonderful companions during the last 6 months.

They have plans to visit a town that is about an hour away called Police (pronunciation???), which is at the edge of the Baltic Sea. He's very excited to finally view the sea with his own eyes, even though they won't be doing any swimming or fishing. He tells his dad that they will be seeing it before it warms up because there are many nudists that like to frequent the beach in the summer!

He reaffirms that Szczecin is amazing and beautiful and he loves it there. They still haven't seen the whole area, so they have their activities for the next how ever many P days planned out.

I updated Lance on the happenings here on the home front. His cousin's girlfriend just arrived in Norway to do her student teaching, so that means she is in closer proximity to Lance than we are. He thinks that his cousin, who is the biggest history buff you'll ever meet and so very knowledgeable about Russia, ought to just move to Russia soon so they can all be near each other.

I let him know that there are a few people who ask about him, wanting to know how he's doing. One good friend even donated some money to his mission fund this week...calling Lance "her missionary". He is always so grateful to know that people care about him. I have a sweet friend who reads this blog every week without fail and when it wasn't up this morning, she messaged me specifically to see how he is doing! I don't think she's even met Lance personally, but yet she's so supportive. Lance always asks me to tell everyone that he feels their support and knows that they are receiving blessings for being so wonderfully kind.

He closes his email by thanking us for everything we've done and do for him. Though some days are tough, he knows for sure why he's there...and that's to help people gain happiness.

Taken by a friend of Lance's :)