Monday, April 29, 2013

New companion, same town

Lance's transfer time is here and he has been assigned to stay in Szczecin but have a different companion. He is very excited to stay in Szczecin and to get to know his new companion better!

He received the calling directions for Mother's Day. We get to call him at Noon our time and we are looking forward to hearing his voice! I have a short list of questions for him but we're hoping to hear more details from him. Our weekly emails and occasional letters and packages are great to share with each other, but they just don't compare to a phone call!

Last week, he suggested he would like to have a voice recorder, which would make it easier for him. I'm hoping that he will know how to attach the files to his email...maybe his companion will be able to tutor him! I would then just transcribe his recordings in order to save them in his scrapbook. So I'm looking at amazon to find him a good recorder.

Things are great with his Chinese investigator. Lance says she is "super funny" and "truly sincere". He says she loves to learn and is reading the Book of Mormon with enthusiasm. She is scheduled to return to China in July, so they have been working on finding her a congregation. We are praying for her to have supportive members and leaders who will care about her as much as Lance does!

The other investigators are progressing and he feels that our prayers on their behalf have been helpful. They met with a man who is deaf and though they are having a challenge in communicating, he can feel that he is excited to learn the Gospel message. He shared with Lance and his companion that he feels the Gospel is true and can feel the good spirits of the missionaries.

He is always glad to hear our news from home. He gives us many encouraging and uplifting words and tells us he prays for us everyday. It seems that he is always learning something new, making weaknesses into strengths, becoming closer to God and our fellow human beings.

We are truly blessed!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lots of pictures!

We received a nice package in the mail from Lance this week that included two CDs and his SD card with more pictures...hooray!  No explanation for what the pictures are, though...

This appears to be his view from his apartment in Warsaw
His companion in Warsaw
Lance is the one with the "normal" face???  That's not like him!
I'm guessing this is showing the spot where a drinking party took place?
Looks like Warsaw
A monorail?
Some investigators
Looks cool
Soldiers from WW2, I think
Looks kinda sad
I've seen this in a few of his pictures
Looks like saag paneer... 
It MUST be good!
I recognize this!  Represents the Polish Uprising!
Catholic church
Wish I knew what was going on here!
Ready to leave
Leaving for Szczecin
Catholic church
View from his apartment in Szczecin
Looks like the harbor nearest him
Companions and friends!

I sent off his birthday package on Friday with the items he had requested plus some healthy treats, almond butter, two MoTab CDs, and some other odds and ends.  No word on the calling instructions for our Mother's Day call yet, though.

He says that their investigators are amazing, especially the woman from China.  Her baptism is scheduled for early next month.  He says she is so strong!  He loves to hear her prayers because they are so heartfelt.  He has learned a lot from her.  Their next meeting is about the Word of Wisdom, which he knows she will have no problems with.  There is another young couple they are meeting with and Lance says they are incredible!  Not everyone they meet with is receptive, but as a whole, they are treated kindly.  One person who wasn't interested in the Gospel bought them pizza!

Lance has made a few Polish friends.  One of his new friends, in particular, has been very helpful and kind to all the missionaries.  He takes them to see things and makes them dinner occasionally.  He posted these pictures to Lance's Facebook page recently...

The look on Lance's face reminds me of his older brother, Russell

Lance closes his email by sharing his testimony of the truthfulness of the Gospel.  He reaffirms his belief that God lives and recognizes His hand in all things.  Lance shares that he loves being a missionary and appreciates all that he has learned.  He asked me tell everyone "Hi" and asks for prayers on his behalf and all of Poland.

As his mother, I am noticing through his emails and letters that he has been sanctifying his life through this mission and I am so proud of him!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Baptism scheduled for next month...

The weather has been improving in Poland and Lance thinks it may just skip spring altogether and go right into summer.  Last week, he shared that every morning they had been singing "Jingle Bells" in honor of the snow.  This week, I suggested he change that song to "Popcorn Popping".  He says that they have some nice speakers in their apartment so they hooked them up to a mini DVD player and they watch segments of last year's General Conference and sing the hymns as loud as they can!

Lance's brother Russell will be assisting in a lab that is studying rat's brains for Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.  I shared the details with Lance and he says that he thinks that is the "most metal job ever!"  His dad received a new calling as Assistant Ward Mission Leader, which means he will be working with the full-time missionaries in our ward.  Lance tells him that he will be wonderful at that calling and gave him some advice on what the missionaries might need or benefit from the most.

Lance reports that their investigator from China is scheduled for baptism in May!  He is sooooo excited!  He says that she is incredible and so very humble.  They recently had a lesson on the ten commandments, which brought him back to when the full-time missionaries taught him and his then girlfriend that same lesson.  He learned a lot about being an effective missionary from those young men.  Lance and his companion are now teaching a young couple he met while on exchanges last week.  He says they are "super cool"!

He doesn't know the calling details for our scheduled Mother's Day call yet.  We should be receiving a package from him this week sometime and I am sending out his birthday package on Friday.  Though his birthday isn't until next month (which happens to be Mother's Day this year!), I feel like I should get it in the mail soon so he can have his birthday presents.  He did say that just talking with his family will be "the best birthday present of my life!"  I filled him in on his friends that are serving missions right now.  He was excited to hear of their successes and their experiences!  He feels like they are all the greatest missionaries.

He closes his email by expressing his love and appreciation for us and everyone who cares about him.  He feels like he has changed a lot on this mission and he is truly grateful for this opportunity.  He expressed his testimony of the Atonement and says that he can see the hand of God in everything.

"A huge church in Szczecin"

The doorbell to a home they visited while out tracting

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ah, it's good to be emailing again!

In typical Lance fashion, he begins his email with enthusiasm.  He loves Mondays so much, he says, and I have to agree.

Seems spring is finally appearing in Szczecin and they couldn't be happier.  Because they have seen an abundance of snow, Lance and his companion begin their day by singing "Jingle Bells".  Might as well be happy about it, right?!

We are counting down the days (34) until we get to speak on the phone for our Mother's Day call.  That day is also happens to be his 20th birthday, so it will be a great present for both him and me!

This weekend, my sister and I attended the memorial services for our Uncle Buddy in Las Vegas, NV.  Lance had gotten the chance to know him and his wife fairly well in the summer of 2011.  Lance's band Prytaneum (which consisted of him on the cello and his band mate, Aaron Stokes, on the harp) performed at a Renaissance Fair in Cedar City, UT, where my uncle and his wife lived.  My husband and I met Lance at the fair and afterwards then we all spent the night at my uncle's place.  The following morning, we all went to breakfast and they gave us a tour of the town.  My uncle also told us stories of his father, my grandfather and Lance's great-grandfather, which I had never heard before.  It was a wonderful visit that affected us profoundly.  I'm so grateful Lance had the opportunity to get to know his great uncle before his passing.

Speaking of Cedar City, UT, Lance was excited to hear that that town will be getting a temple.  He says that Poland is next!  I'm looking forward to Lance's return so he can attend the Brigham City, UT, temple (our home town) and will be able to attend the open house for the Cedar City temple.  I love how God works!

Lance was able to watch both General Conference sessions on Saturday at a local member's home.  The first session they watched in Polish and the second in English.  He very much enjoyed Elder Bednar's talk.  He was even able to meet Elder Bednar while in the MTC.
To view his talk, click this link:

Today, they have plans to attend a healthy restaurant with a friend from their branch and he may even be able to play a cello.  Yesterday, my husband and I saw a program on TV about the band "The Piano Guys".  If you've never heard their music, you must look them up!  Lance's style of cello playing is similar to the cellist in that band, though Lance hasn't ever played along side a pianist.  I can't wait to see what he does with his musical talent when he gets home!
To view a popular song by The Piano Guys, follow this link:

He reports that his current investigator has decided to be baptized, so he is quite thrilled!  They have been meeting with her everyday and he comments that she is strong and he is truly amazed by her desire to learn more.  They are meeting with several people, one of whom they met while in the town Police.  He included several pictures of the town...

He concludes his email by expressing his belief in the "work" he is doing in Poland.  He loves everything about his mission and is rejoicing in the Gospel.  He declares that we are all "defenders of the faith" and desires to aid in increasing the faith of those he is in contact with.  He also thanks everyone who prays and cares for him back home.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Daje mi wiosne! (Give me spring!)

Our usual Monday morning email wasn't there to greet us yesterday morning.  I checked my inbox frequently throughout the morning, but soon realized it wasn't going to be there as it was approximately 6:00 p.m. in Poland at that point.  So I posted a sad plea on Facebook asking where my son's email could possibly be.  It wasn't long before I received a response from a friend of Lance's in Poland who related to me that the Monday after Easter is a holiday known as "Smigus Dyngus", a.k.a. "Wet Monday", therefore all the cafes were closed.  Smigus-Dyngus is a unique tradition to Poland where the boys will try to drench girls with squirt guns or buckets of water until 12:00.  The more the girls are sprayed with water, the higher the chances are for her to get married.  Of course, it becomes more of a chance to have a water fight!  Lance says that there were attempts on his dryness, but he was able to escape.

Poland celebrates Easter similarly to the United States.  He says they have the Easter bunny there and that they walk around all day with Easter baskets and get food donations to take to the Catholic churches for the Priests to bless.  

Lance confirms that he is still eating healthily.  He does appear to be tiring of the winter weather and is looking forward to Spring.  This year has been unusually cold in Poland and it seems most everyone there has spring fever.

He reports that they are still meeting earnestly with the woman from China.  He says she is amazing!  She is progressing well and he feels she has been prepared by God.  He is looking forward to their next meeting where they will discuss the Resurrection and following the Spirit.

Here are some pictures he included in this email:
"This is outside our apartment but this is what it looks like everyday! haha"

"This is amazing polish food called Nalaszniki and it is like a crape but mine had honey and walnuts in it!"

"This is a picture of a way cool statue in a town called Bydgoszcz I went on exchanges with Elder Bokinski and it's a statue that literally balances on a wire! It's nuts and way cool!"

Here are some pictures from Sister Nielson's blog:
Lance and some of his favorite people

Singing Sto Lat (happy birthday) to "the funniest guy"!