Monday, August 26, 2013

"Today's a way good day!"

It appears they will be hearing on their transfers very soon.  And just when I finally mastered how to spell AND pronounce Szczecin!  

Lance begins by thanking us for his package, which contained healthy foods and toiletries, as well as another copy of his CD.  Good news, he reports, is that the mission president has given them permission to listen to other music besides MoTab.  So that means he can officially listen to his own music!  

He says that he and his companion are out on the streets for at least 8 hours a day.  They've taught 18 lessons on the streets this last week.  And he reports that his feet hurt so bad!  He says that he has noticed that as they are teaching a lesson to someone that is interested, there are various distractions that always show up.  As an example, in the midst of teaching a lesson, a person will come up and try to interrupt by making random comments and ask distracting questions.  He says that he knows this is adversity at its finest.  So, they just ignore the random person and continue teaching the lesson.  Eventually, that person will give up and leave.  

He shares an interesting story from his train ride to Bydgoszcz for their recent conference.  They met a nice young woman who happened to have a harp with her, which she let him play.  He bought a copy of her CD.  She plays for events like Renaissance fairs so they had a LOT to talk about!  There was also a young man there who became interested in the conversation.  So Lance and his companion were able to do some teaching and make some new friends.  

This week's spiritual thought has to do with fears.  He points out that as humans, we all have fears of some type or another.  It's just a part of life.  Sometimes we just ignore them or blow them off.  He says to make a list of those fears and give yourself an opportunity to look up the scriptures that "destroy" those fears.  Dissect and eliminate the fear with prayer and scripture study.  

He gives a few scripture references that showed up for him in conquering his own fears.....
2 Timothy 1:7
Psalms 27:1
D&C 122:7-9
And finally...his favorite scripture of all time...the one that changed his life...
2 Nephi 1:15
"But behold, the Lord hath redeemed my soul from hell; I have beheld his glory, and I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love."

He goes on to mention the importance of "trials" (a.k.a. tribulation, adversity, burden, complication, difficulty, etc.).  Trials help us to grow closer to God.  Without these annoyances, we might as well be like Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden...innocent.  There would be no reason to want to improve and grow.  God is always there to help, but we HAVE TO ASK.  It's up to us to use our agency.  
Mosiah 24:15 tells us how we can overcome these trials (see 
Instead of asking God to just take it all away, they asked to be strengthened to overcome.   

Lance closes by saying "It's the life!"

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Adventures in Poland!

As a mom, I sometimes forget that Lance is an adult and not my little boy anymore.  I have been reminded over the last year that, indeed, he is a grown man.  Living in a foreign country, sharing the Gospel with those who will listen.  And he does this of his own free will.  We have missed him a lot over this last year, especially during family functions and gatherings.  Yet we wouldn't want it any other way.  At times I want to shout, "Hoorah for Israel!"

Lance hasn't received his package yet, but I'm sure he will soon.  He says, "I feel so close when I get a package.  It feels like I'm opening up home."  I've been able to send him a package once a month since he's been in Poland.  When he was in the MTC, I sent him one a week.

He starts out his recording with catching up on his week.  They've been meeting with a man from India.  He calls him Mohit because the guy reminds him of a friend from Utah with that name.  Lance says the guy believes in God, but is new to the idea of free will and other simpler aspects. They taught a total of 18 lessons last week, 14 of which were street lessons.  They meet many of their contacts in the local park...
He says they speak with everyone.  They don't pass one person without at least giving a card or something.  He says they just bare their testimonies with boldness, followed by asking the person what it would mean to them to know about this plan...and hope that someone will be open to hearing the message.  At times they get brushed off, but it doesn't seem to discourage him because he loves teaching the Gospel.  He also says they refer to the Restoration as soon as possible because it stands out.  If you'd like to read more about the Restoration of Jesus Christ's church, visit

For this week's "spiritual thought", Lance refers to chapter 10 of the book of Moroni where the prophet Moroni lists some examples of the spiritual gifts that we, as children of God, are blessed with.  Lance says we are born with many gifts and we can attain more gifts during our lives...we need only ask of God then act upon it.  We all have a variety of gifts, though we're not all blessed with the exact same gifts.  If it were like that, we wouldn't be able to benefit each other.  We are more enabled to serve others, which in turn serves ourselves. He also suggests that we write them down, similar to how we would write in a prayer journal.  He says for his personal study time that morning, he reviewed his Patriarchal Blessing and picked out all of  the blessings God has promised him, then wrote them down.  Then he is going to "work on them" to see how he can help accomplish these blessings.

And all these gifts come by the Spirit of Christ; and they come unto every man severally, according as he will. - Moroni 10:17

He says to find out God's definition of the gifts he has individually been blessed with, or would like to receive, he has used the book "True to the Faith" (see, the scriptures, and much prayer. Referring to the scripture in Moroni 10, he shares that if there be an end of gifts, it is because of the unbelief of man (Moroni 10:24).

Lance gives the example of those who believe there are no more miracles.  If the scriptures are right and God is unchanging, then why would miracles end with the death of the Savior?  Why would He stop speaking to mankind?  I believe it is only when people turn a deaf ear.  If you want to know, ask God then be willing to receive the answer.

If there is a gift you want to receive, ask God, write it down, then go to work.  Lance shares the example of the gift of discernment.  He says it is the way we can see the difference between a teaching of Jesus Christ of a teaching of satan.  Helps us discern that opposition.  Also to help us know if someone has bad intentions.  He invites us to read D&C 46, 1 Timothy 4, 1 Corinthians 12.  I know these scripture references well.  I have 1 Corinthians 12:7-11 framed and hanging on my wall.

To conclude, he shares by sending his love and greetings to those who have been so supportive and encouraging.  He says he loves this Gospel and loves this mission.  He is glad to have another year of service in Poland, but looks forward to coming home to go fishing with his dad, go to concerts with his brother, see his nephews, and attend my yoga classes.

I am also looking forward to that day.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Be anxiously engaged

Another week of missionary work brings us all closer to Lance's one year mark!  It is really strange to think about what we were doing at this time last year.  So much preparation...physically, mentally, and spiritually!
He remembers that he was working hard to get his CD done, had a fun trip to Moab UT with his brother and cousin, and running around getting ready.  He says he felt he knew "just enough", like to just get to the MTC.  He feels like he will apply everything he's learned on his mission in his life when he gets home.

Now I feel as though I'm doing the countdown again.  Only 375ish days left!

The work is going forth in Poland, as always.  He has been serving in Szczecin for most of this year now and loves it.  Transfers will be coming up soon and he's hoping that he gets to stay there.  It's still hot, though the weather is cooling off a little.  They bought two fans, which run constantly, but do little to cool them off.  He says they're always running around, working hard.  "I love it!"

He loves the new members of his branch!  He has such wonderful things to say about them all.  They have one investigator right now who is sick and having a tough time of things.  Lance says this man is one of his all time favorite people and hopes he will continue to meet with the missionaries, despite the adversity.
The Spirit and truth are inseparable!

Lance also included some pictures of the festival that was going on a couple of weeks ago.  No pictures of him or his companion, dangit, but these are cool, none the less!

Here are a few from a mom of another missionary...

As usual, I updated him on the happenings at home.  Though to me it may seem dull in comparison to what he experiences daily, he loves to hear all the details!  He doesn't receive too many letter or emails from anyone else, so I try to keep him in the know of what is going on with friends and family.

Since he got the voice recorder, he has been preparing and sharing with us a "spiritual thought" every week.  This week's thought was mainly about prayer.  He says one thing he has learned is that effective prayer requires effort.  He says it's important to focus on what you're needing.  He shares some steps that have worked for him.
1 - Pray with a purpose and faith.  Ask yourself, why am I praying?  What do I expect to get out of this?
2 - Pray with sincerity, real intent, with all the energy of our heart.  He refers to the story of Enos (see
3 - Give serious thought to your attitude.  Think about your words and stay focused.
4 - Thank God for all you have and ask for His help.  He wants to hear from us.
5 - Rely on the Spirit.  Let the Spirit guide.  Then write your thoughts down in a journal or in notes.
6 - Give an accounting of your day.  What you accomplished.  Showing that you care and that you acknowledge Him.  And announce what you want to do tomorrow.
7 - Use the scriptures in harmony with prayer.  Scriptures are the window to revelation.
8 - Act on your prayers.  Think, meditate, study it out in your mind.  Have faith and hope that God will answer.  Keep your eyes, ears, heart, mind open and write it down so you don't forget...
2 Nephi 28:30 
For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom: for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.
He says it can be summed up in this scripture found in Moroni 10:4
And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost.

He also suggests we revisit a talk given by M. Russell Ballard called "Be Anxiously Engaged".

Be anxiously engaged.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

"We must have perfect hope...knowing we will accomplish the goal!"

Last week's email and recordings were held up in cyberspace thanks to my gmail account being locked.  I guess exchanging a handful of emails with attachments with Lance last Monday morning was a bit too much for that account.  So, now I am using my yahoo account to email him.  I love having options!

He starts by describing a fun festival that went on for a few days that happens once every five years.  In their area, Old Town, the festival activities go on in the street right in front of their home.  The festival has carnival rides, a Renaissance fair with old time instruments...including a man who makes lutes, old boats...including ones that are similar to the ones in the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, and more.  He says there were concerts and loud drinking parties going on all night.  So they wore earplugs every night!

Things went very well with the baptism last week.  Their branch has now increased by three members!  Lance reports that the new members are quite happy and are already doing their parts to further the Lord's work.
From left to right: Lance's companion, the three newest members, a member of the branch, and Lance

Lance shares that one of the newest members served the sacrament this Sunday and it made Lance so happy to see the man's willingness. They have another investigator they are meeting with that is dealing with some health problems.  His wife is also recovering from a car accident, so things are tough for them.  Lance has asked us to pray for them to recover from their issues.  He mentions there are others they meet with, and those they speak with randomly in the park near their house.  He feels like the Gospel is progressing in Poland!

Two of the newest branch members.  Lance says they are the best couple ever.

In Lance's recording, he shares a topic that he says "...changed my life and the way I look at things and it truly has blessed me so much."  He references the talk by President Uchedorf entitled "Of Regrets and Resolutions" (see  He encourages us to revisit the talk and shares that the subject matter has helped him adjust through his transfers.  I personally have read and listened to that talk multiple times, so I also feel it is a beautiful message!  Lance also goes through an effective method to achieving goals...

He says first, our goals must be committed.  Second, our goals must be realistic.  And finally, they must be measurable.  He quotes 2 Nephi 28:30, "For behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little; and blessed are those who hearken unto my precepts, and lend an ear unto my counsel, for they shall learn wisdom; for unto him that receiveth I will give more; and from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have."  He proclaims this to be an appropriate scripture for goal setting and achievement.  Goals that are in harmony with God's will.  Just like the example we see with God's Plan, there is an orderly way to achieve goals.  Another scripture he shares is Alma 42:26 (see, which is yet another great example of this subject.

How does God measure His goal of the Plan of Salvation?  He measures it through us.  When we do those simple things like living the commandments, scripture reading, prayer, going to church, etc.  Lance shares that he has gained an understanding of "living by the planner".  He has found it is helpful and takes the stress off.  And God has set forth an example of how this can work in our lives. 2 Nephi chapter 2 lays out the plan of bring to pass the immortality of man.  Lance emphasizes verse 14, "And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."  I don't think Lance knows this, but that is one of my all time favorite scriptures!  Question is...are we going to ACT or be ACTED upon while here on Earth???  I love that so much.  He finishes his spiritual thought by sharing Mosiah 4:27...And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order."
To find out more about God's plan, visit

So, the weather is hot there but they have regular rain storms to cool things down.  He is looking forward to autumn!  From what I've heard, that season is absolutely beautiful in Poland.  He says that the clothes he brought with him are fairly worn out, so he will be going on a little shopping spree.
He says life there is great!  He feels like he learns much every day.  He loves the mission and thanks us for our fasting and prayers on his behalf.