Saturday, September 21, 2013

Lance attends "The New Zealand Embassy concert celebrating an anniversary for strong Polish and New Zealand relations"

Last week was pretty eventful for Lance!

He begins his recording by filling us in on the the weather, which has been raining and cold. But it didn't deter them from teaching lots of lessons. They use the buses, trams, and metros to get around and he enjoys sharing the gospel while traveling. The people are a bit surprised when he starts up a conversation, but for the most part, the people are polite.

Lance was invited to attend the New Zealand Embassy concert with another elder in Old Town, Warsaw, by a renowned violist from BYU. The concert was to celebrate strong New Zealand relations with Poland. The concert included ambassadors from New Zealand, Malaysia, Russia, Argentina, and Poland. He said it was a little intimidating when they first walked in because it seemed so "high class", but they were able to talk to everyone and represent the church well.
The violist from BYU emailed me to let me know how she felt about the experience. She said that both Lance and his companion represented the church "with poise and grace". Lance was very impressed by her and asked me to send her his CDs.
They were able to mingle with the ambassadors and the musicians. She points out that the Elders' ability to speak Polish so well impressed everyone, especially the pianist who commented on how beautifully they spoke. Most of those in attendance had never interacted with LDS missionaries or Mormons, so the missionaries left a strong positive impression. She received many authentic questions about the church afterwards.

A professor emeritus of viola and a founding member of the International Viola Society
Two of the concert artists
The concert artists being introduced by the New Zealand ambassador to Poland
The picture on the wall is of Poland's own Chopin

Lance LOVED the music, which he said was very Baroque/Medieval/Renaissance/Old World. The Polish violist played a song that Lance says was a perfect musical description of Poland..."It was the best song I've ever heard!" He had some great conversations and received some good advice on music and schooling. They all left a lasting impression on him. He ended the night by sharing the Gospel with the taxi driver and presenting him with a Book of Mormon!

This week's spiritual thought Lance shares is on talents. We all have God given talents and gifts...and with these talents, we can build the Kingdom of God, as well as creating a happy life for ourselves. He says that if you're not sure what your talents are, then prayerfully ask, "What am I good at?" I would like to add that we can ask ourselves, "Where are my passions? What makes me enthusiastic?"

Through prayer, self examination, and desire, we will discover what we are good at, even if we don't recognize it as a talent at first.

We must be ready to commit our time and effort toward fully developing these talents. Have faith that God will help us and have faith in ourselves that we can achieve whatever it is we honestly desire. We will attain the abilities we need for our desired talents!

Then we should act on these talents. Use them everyday, exercise them in your own behalf and on the behalf of others. Sharing with others is a great way to cultivate those talents. The main point he emphasizes is to pray for what we want to gain/achieve/accomplish...and it will show up for us.

Lance uses the example of Lehi, a prophet of the Book of Mormon. In 1 Nephi, Lehi is describes as a "visionary man". Not that he's unrealistic, but he has a goal. His gift/talent is that he is a prophet. He has a vision from God and desires to make it happen. He sees this as a worthy goal.

He closes his recording by extending his love to all his family and friends.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Warsaw is awesome!

Things sound great in Warsaw.  Lance in an area called Zoliborz, which he says is amazingly beautiful and green.  He says that during the war, everything was destroyed and when Russia rebuilt the town under communism, they build a bunch of plain square apartment buildings. Here are some pictures from the internet:
He misses Szczecin and the missionaries he worked with in the area.  The train ride from Szczecin to Warsaw took about 6.5 hours.  A friend from his Szczecin branch accompanied him on the ride because he had some business in Warsaw, so Lance was glad to have some they practiced Polish.  They met a woman during the ride and ended up teaching her the first lesson and gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to attend church. He says, "I just love those experiences on trains when you get to teach people.  As much as I can, I try to have those experiences because they're so cool you never forget them."
He met up with three other Elders when they arrived in Warsaw, including his new companion.  The other two were leaving the next day for their new town, so they took the opportunity to share the Gospel the rest of the day.  They worked and worked, he says!  Because Warsaw is a faster paced city, there is more rejection.  A person will often stop just long enough to say they don't have time.  Which can be disappointing, but they still were able to teach a lot of lessons.  He feels like he knows Polish so much better now and can actually communicate quite well.

He points out that the church supports itself in Warsaw.  The chapel's not a part of an apartment building or part of a member's home.  The members of the branch do the majority of the responsibilities at church instead of the missionaries.

He's getting along great with his new companion and has a lot of respect for him.  Lance says there are 12 missionaries in that district, including himself, and he is enjoying being District Leader. It's a lot of responsibility, but he feels it a good opportunity to become a better leader.  He says this mission has taught him everything he needs to do in life and is so grateful he chose to serve.

Lance begins this week's spiritual thought by quoting 2 Nephi 4:23.  "Behold, he hath heard my cry by day, and he hath given me knowledge by visions in the night-time."  Nephi shows here that we can pray during the day and receive our answers in our dreams.  Often our dreams contain symbolism that our direct answer to prayer.  Lance says he makes it a habit to write in his dream journal so he can contemplate what he's learned and review it later.

He shared a couple other scriptures, but this one I feel is a good one for us all to read.
D&C 76
1: Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, and rejoice ye inhabitants thereof, for the Lord is God, and beside him there is no Savior.
2: Great is his wisdom, marvelous are his ways, and the extent of his doing none can find out.
3: His purposes fail not, neither are there any who can stay his hand.
4: From eternity to eternity he is the same, and his years never fail.
5: For thus saith the Lord-I, the Lord, am merciful and gracious unto those who fear me, and delight to honor those who serve me in righteousness, and in truth unto the end.
6: Great shall be their reward and eternal shall be their glory.
7: And to them will I reveal all mysteries, yea, all the hidden mysteries of my kingdom from days of old, and for ages to come, will I make known unto them the good pleasure of my will concerning all things pertaining to my kingdom.
8: Yea, even the wonders of eternity shall they know, and things to come will I show them, even the things of many generations.
9: And their wisdom shall be great, and their understanding reach to heaven; and before them the wisdom of the wise shall perish, and the understanding of the prudent shall come to naught.
10: For by my Spirit will I enlighten them, and by my power will I make known unto them the secrets of my will-yea, even those things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor yet entered into the heart of man.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

District Leader in Warsaw I

Transfers are in and Lance is going to the Warsaw I district as district leader.  He says he's excited yet nervous at the same time!  In fact, he says that DL can be a fun calling...he gives credit to his last DL for being an incredible example of what a good leader can do.  His new companion hasn't been in Poland for long, so he's excited to meet this new Elder.  Lance started out in Warsaw when he first arrived in Poland almost a year ago. He says Warsaw is a LOT different than Szczecin...more fast paced and much of their contacting is done on buses.  He says he loves Szczecin and is sad to leave it behind, but plans on returning someday in the future to visit "his town".

His spiritual thought this week was based on how to know if something is of God or not.  He gives the example of times when we may be simply sitting in church and suddenly feel like we are being inspired by the Spirit.  He suggests that when something like that happens, we ought to stop and ponder on what the Spirit is trying to teach us.  Often those little inspirations come from something simple, because the Gospel is simple.  The best way he says to remember what it was the Spirit witnessed is to write it down.  He also gives an interesting possibility that deju vu is a recognition from God that you are on the right path.  The Spirit will always reveal it to us.  Perhaps deju vu is another sign, another way God confirms the path you're on is right.

Lance also points out that we are given little promptings of the Spirit regularly, yet we may ignore them sometimes.  When we do that, the Spirit withdraws until you come seeking and listening again.  He says he has learned to just follow the prompting without questioning.  God encourages us to ONLY do good.  It's that split second after receiving that prompting that the adversary influences to make us second guess ourselves.  It's always a good idea to study it out in your mind and your heart...ponder and pray to know if it's the right thing to do.  If it is of God, you'll know by the fruits of your actions.  Chapter 7 in Moroni helps us to understand this concept (see

Does what you want to do encourage you to: Do good?  Follow God?  Give you peace?  If so, then apply some action!