Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Transfers! A re-post from Sister Nielson's blog....


Day 2 for our New Missionaries & their Assignments

 Our new Missionaries were up early this morning ready to start their first FULL DAY of Missionary work in Poland. After spending the day contacting, teaching lessons and attending English class with some of our Missionaries serving in Warsaw, they anxiously returned home to find out who their real companions will be. So...let's get started!

Elder Hardy is assigned to Szczecin with Elder Kotter.  What a blessing that will be.  Elder Kotter is full of enthusiasm and life, and Elder Hardy is anxious to serve.

Our newest Missionaries in the Poland Warsaw Mission ...with their trainers! All of these Missionaries will be leaving early in the morning to board trains for their new cities.
All except these 3 companionships. All their bags are loaded in the transporter, and they are ready to be dropped off at their new apartments. Planning at 9:00pm is next on their schedule!
Tomorrow is transfer day...which means many of our missionaries will be on trains traveling to their new assignments. They will be talking to everyone...because that's what we do. We talk to everyone about the wonderful message we have! The gospel is true...tell someone about it!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Staying Szczecin for another transfer

Transfers...they seem to be bitter sweet!  Lance is quite happy to be staying in Szczecin (he loves it there) but is going to miss his current companion.  He shares that his companion is, "...the bomb and a way funny guy!"  It does appear that at least one of the other elders in Szczecin, who is also the branch president, is staying as well.  They are good friends and Lance is glad they can continue to work together.  

Lance is going to be a trainer this time around...and he is very excited about that!  He says he hopes he can train the new elder well.  He does feel confident that he is ready for the responsibility.  He feels like he has learned a lot about the power of positivity and hopes he can impart some of that understanding to his new companion!

Yesterday, we in Utah (and other parts of the world) were able to watch a live broadcast of the missionary training titled, "Hastening the Work of Salvation".  Though Lance wasn't able to watch it live, I'm certain they will get the opportunity soon to watch it online.  It was a very inspirational program!  As I have suspected for years now, the internet is going to be a huge tool in getting the Gospel out to the four corners of the world!  Missionaries are going to start using the internet whenever possible to help spread the word.  
If you would like to watch the replay yourself, please visit

Over the course of last week, I received three amazing emails regarding Lance.  One was a response from an email I sent to Sister Nielson thanking them for their years of faithful and happy service in Poland...and for being wonderful to my son!  In her response, she suggested my husband and I ought to be very proud of Lance and that he is faithful and diligent.  

Later in the week, I received a surprise email from a man who lives in Salt Lake City.  He and his wife were in the Denmark/Germany/Poland region to visit friends from the mission he served in Denmark 40 years ago.  They were having lunch at a sidewalk cafe when they saw Lance and his companion walking by.  He says, "We had a great experience meeting your sons.  They are obviously outstanding missionaries who carry a great spirit with them."  He says that they didn't have time to visit too long as the missionaries had an appointment to teach a lesson in the park.  So they parted ways.  Later, the man and wife again ran into Lance and his companion.  He says, "As luck (or the Spirit) would have it, we ran into them a second time on a different street that happened to lead to their apartment."  He shared that they had a great discussion about the challenges of missionary work in Poland and how to move it forward.  He included this picture:

The last email I received this week regarding Lance was from his soon to be former mission president, President Nielson.  Here is some of what he had to say about Lance:  "I wanted to take a moment to let you know just how wonderful Elder Kotter is doing.  You have every reason to be pleased, happy, and proud of your son.  It is a real joy to have Elder Kotter in the Poland Warsaw mission.  I know that the Lord called him here and that he is striving each and every day to be the missionary the Lord and you want him to become."  How wonderful and comforting it is to know that my son is happy, faithful, and doing a great job!

I shared these emails with Lance and he said those were some awesome compliments!  He is going to miss President and Sister Nielson, but knows that they will get to see each other again.  Especially since they live in Las Vegas, which isn't too far away from us.  He also remembered well the couple from Salt Lake City and thought they were wonderful.  

Lance was excited to have two new investigators attend church yesterday.  They met this "way nice lady" on the street earlier in the week and she said she had met the missionaries before, years earlier.  She stated that she is interested in learning more.  So she and her husband showed up for church.  Lance gave a talk on the Atonement in sacrament meeting.  He feels the Spirit was testifying strongly to everyone in the room of the beauty of the Atonement.  Then in Sunday School, the topic was the Millennium, resurrection, and Spirit world.  It was a great discussion and he could tell they were very excited to learn more.  So the missionaries have plans to meet with them again later this week and they are planning on attending church again next Sunday.  Lance says, "There truly are so many miracles left and right!"

His Chinese friend is leaving soon but Lance is confident she will do very well in China.  He says he loves her and that she is very strong in the faith.  He is very grateful to have had the opportunity to teach her.  I know I have personally enjoyed reading her faithful posts on Facebook!

My husband shared a scripture with Lance:  Ether 8 (see  That scripture references the "secret combinations" that have been on the Earth since Cain slew his brother Abel.  Secret combinations are what I refer to in our modern day as conspiracies.  And they're only conspiracy theories until they are shown to be conspiracy facts.  In the meantime, we as Latter-day Saints believe that conspiring people are being inspired thru evil designs to thwart the Lord's plan.  Though we all know that nothing of the adversary can win over righteousness, we are still painfully aware of what is being done to make mankind miserable.  Lance had this to say concerning the scripture:  "I know that we can be protected from evil in any form because we put our faith in something that will never fade away!  Something that is eternal and we saints fight for something that satan does not...and that's our families, our freedom, our God, and our religion.  We will always be strong and protected if we follow God and fight for what is right!"

Lance says he loves the story in Alma 46 (see  He says that verses 11-23 are his favorite because it shows the manner by how we should protect ourselves and swear to God that we will follow him and do what's right always.  He also loves Captain Moroni's example in chapter 48 of Alma, verses 11-14.  I would agree that the book of Alma is one of my absolute favorites!  

Lance closes his email by thanking us for our inspiration and guidance.  He says he takes his dad's advice by treating everyday as though it's his living life to the fullest, everyday.  

Here are some pictures from Sister Nielson's blog.  I am so grateful for her work in keeping the blog up to date, even with all of her other responsibilities!

Zone conference in Bydgoszcz 

The Szczecin District

Missionary Handbook study chase

Celebrating recent birthdays

The Nieslon's tradition of cutting a tie (or a scarf for sisters) to add to their collection

Holding up their donations

Monday, June 17, 2013

Today's email!

Lance hasn't received his package containing his voice recorder, so today was a regular email.  I'm hoping I'll get more details from him once he doesn't have to type!

Yesterday was Father's Day and my husband's 50th birthday.  It's times like this that we really notice Lance's absence.  I'm not sure if people really understand what it's like for the missionary and the missionary's family to have limited contact for 18 months to 2 years.  But, by the grace of God, we all seem to do just fine.

Lance's Chinese friend and new convert is doing wonderfully.  He shares that she is a very talented musician and is composing her own music now.  He and his companion are teaching many lessons on the streets.  They met one man who, at first, attempted to argue with them over points in the Bible.  But Lance says that they were able to help this man's understanding through corresponding concepts in the Book of Mormon and through their testimonies.  The man graciously took a Book of Mormon home to read.

In our family, we practice positive affirmations.  This, Lance says, has helped him immensely during his mission.  He states, "...words are more powerful than we know and that negativity in any form, whether it is sarcasm, pessimism, or straight up negative words, it's strong and one of satan's greatest tools!"  He goes on to say that there is a fine line between negativity and "being realistic" and that missionaries can fall into this trap frequently.  I would have to add that it is a trap all people fall into.  And the comparison he makes between being realistic and being negative is an insight I learned some years ago.  It isn't necessary to focus on the negative to be in touch with reality!

Lance shares that this work he is participating in is very important.  He says he loves the Gospel so much.  He believes that God created this world for us to gain eternal joy.  He mentions that he believes temple work is powerful and "beyond definition".  I reminded him that we pray for him and his companion everyday to have a wonderful experience and to help bring the love of God to those who are seeking it.  He thanks us for our constant prayers and support.

He closes by suggesting we read a few great scriptures...Helaman 5, especially verses 40 and 41.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Mondays are the best!

"I agree, Mondays are the best!"

You'll probably only hear that exclamation from a missionary/missionary mom.  But hey, I've personally always liked Mondays, so maybe it's just in my nature.
Almost looks like he's sad!

Lance presses forward in the mission field with faith and conviction.  If you know him, you'll know that he is the type to follow his passion, wherever it may lead.  He says that this mission has blessed him more than words can describe.

He shares that though many of the people they meet only agree to hear the first lesson, which is on the Restoration, they know they're planting the seed.  Perhaps someday they may be ready to learn more.
If you're interested in knowing more about the Restoration, please visit

Lance and his companion set goals for how many people they would like to meet and how many Books of Mormon they would like to hand out.  Sometimes they exceed their goals and other times they don't even come close.  He states that when negative things pop into his head, he instantly destroys the negative thoughts with positive ones.  He says that negative thinking is poisonous.  And I would have to agree!

I updated Lance on everything that is going on at home.  It has been quite busy around here, so there was a lot to share.  He is always interested in everything that we are all up to, even if it's mundane to us.  We usually share a scripture or some sort of faith-promoting quote.  This week he shared with us 2 Nephi 19:6-7.  I have to admit that I haven't spent much time in 2 Nephi, so I was glad to revisit it.

He says life is so good and he loves everything about his mission.  He knows that this Gospel is eternal and allows us all to progress.  He closed by sharing a quote from his mission president:

"Why waste your time, your talents, your means, your influence in following something that will perish and pass away, when you could devote yourselves to a thing that will stand forever?  For the church and Kingdom, to which you belong, will abide and continue in time, in eternity, while endless ages roll along, and you with it will become mightier and more powerful; while the things of this world will pass away and perish, and will not abide in nor after the resurrection, saith the Lord our God."
Pizza night

Saturday, June 8, 2013

This week's blog...finally!

One heck of a busy week meant Mom not writing a post from this week's email.

But, I have repented.

I mailed off his package this week, which included his voice recorder.  I'm excited for him to get it!  That means I might get more details...and I get to hear his voice.  Plus he promises to record some of his penny whistle music to share with us.

Lance became an uncle for the third time last week!  It's weird to think that the new baby will be over a year old when Lance gets to meet him.  So many changes in a child's life when they're as young as his nephews are.

Things are going smoothly for Lance in the Poland mission.  He and his companion seem to have a great friendship and they work well together.  He apologized to me for all his years of "being a slob" appears his mission has been the best learning environment on the importance of being clean.  I am thrilled at this new understanding!

Their Chinese friend and recent convert will be going back to China soon, but Lance assures us that she will have a supportive group of Saints there to greet her upon her return.  They are teaching her chapter 3 out of the Preach My Gospel manual and he encouraged us to look it up ourselves to know what is being taught.  She is also reading in 2 Nephi, which is the Biblical equivalent of Isaiah.  They are praying for the Spirit to help her make sense out of the writings, which has helped their own understandings.  If you've read either book, I'm sure you can relate.  

Though we don't know this wonderful woman personally, through prayers and God's love, we feel connected.  May God bless her in all her endeavors!

Lance and his companion have others they are meeting, as well.  They met a young woman that appears to be very interested.  So far, their encounters with those of the dominant faith in Poland have been positive.  Though, there are those of another less dominant faith there who seem to want to argue.  Lance says they have decided to just sing hymns to the argumentative people next time to help soften their agitation.  He shared that they get approached by drunk people regularly.  The people will often ask, "Hey, you boys got cigarettes?" and "3 zloties for a beer?"  He says they just smile and keep on walking.

Before closing his email, Lance encouraged us to read our Patriarchal Blessings.  Which I find ironic considering I had recently been inspired to advise someone else to do that very thing.  Lance says that he has been reviewing his blessing and writing down anything that comes to him.  He says it has been a very powerful experience.  So I took his advice.  I'm very glad I did.  So often we find the answers to our own prayers through our service of others.  Charity truly never fails!

He closes his email by stating that his testimony is rooted firmly in the soil of the Gospel.  He is grateful to be a missionary and a member of this church.  He knows God lives and loves us and thanks to the Savior, we can live with God again.  He says everything there is truly amazing and he loves his mission more than he can describe.  He says it's "the most fulfilling work" and brings him so much happiness.  He shares that by keeping a journal, study journal, and spiritual journal, he has learned so much more and will always be able to remember it.  He says that "God will give you more because he sees that you are sacrificing time to write it down."  He knows this Gospel is truly the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that we are partakers of this divine gift.