Monday, October 28, 2013

A few weeks' recordings in a nutshell!

October 14th:
Lance starts off by describing his area.  It sounds like Zoliborz is beautiful in the fall.  There seems to be a sort of mist that has an amazing "Poland" smell to it.
His week was productive!  He went on an exchange with another elder in Bialystok.  The town and the branch in the town are fairly small. It's about 3 hours away from Warsaw and he got to ride the train...which he loves.  He says the scenery reminds him of how he imagines the Medieval days would have appeared.  
As District Leader, he goes on exchanges with all the elders in his district and he enjoys that very much.  He gets to know the elders and meet lots of people in their areas.
One of the elders in his district is going to start following Lance's diet plan, so he's glad he's been able to be a positive influence in the health area.

The spiritual message he shares with us this week is about the blessings that come from serving a mission.  One important aspect of this mission for him is the deeper understanding he now has of living a consecrated, Christ-like life.  Living a life consecrated life can be tough sometimes, but it is possible!  See the talk by Quentin L.Cook that inspired Lance to consider this topic here:

Lance goes on to share his feelings on how we can recognize and follow the promptings of the Spirit.  Listening thru a prayerful attitude and strive to be worthy of the companionship of the Holy Ghost.  Our actions have a huge effect on this.  One thing he has learned on his mission is that if it brings forth good fruit, if it enlightens, if it uplifts, if it's positive and affirmative, then it's of the Spirit.  And we need to act upon it.  When prompted to do something, don't wait, just act on it immediately.  He lists four steps that he uses to apply this in his life:
1. Live worthy of the companionship of the Spirit
2. Pray for it, for enlightenment
3. Listen for the promptings (keep your mind open, scriptures, etc)
4. Act

He concludes his recording by expressing his love of Poland, the Polish language, and his mission.  "I just love everything!"

October 21st:
Lance begins by expressing his amazement that he's been in Poland for a year at this point.  Well, October 23rd, to be exact.  He says time is flying by so quickly.  His responsibilities as a district leader keep him so busy, but he enjoys every minute of it.
They went to see the play "Singing in the Rain" for their culture night.  They had bought seats in the back, but just before the play started, they were offered seats on the front row.  He found out later why the front row was empty...they all got wet from the "rain"!  He said it a fun time for everyone!
They were able to teach about 12 lessons on the street.  He says it was a good week for contacts.  He met a young man who was listening to a metal band that Lance had seen live before his mission.  So, it was a good ice breaker.  They had a good conversation and left the young man with a Book of Mormon.

His spiritual thought was inspired by a couple of talks he had read recently.
One was about four types of missionaries:
The first type of missionary was the one who is super disobedient and goes home because he can't handle it.
The second type was disobedient but finishes out the mission but doesn't accomplish anything.
The third type was obedient but does it out of duty.
The fourth is the consecrated missionary who is obedient and does it because he wants to, not cuz he has to.

The other talk was about purifying ourselves through a forty day process of giving up things and behaviors that aren't beneficial.  He gives an example of the symbolism of animal sacrifice...that we don't need to sacrifice an actual animal, but the animal within us.
So to begin your 40 day process, start with a fast.  Ask God to help you discover those things you could benefit from changing and what kind of attributes and characteristics you would like to achieve.  Write down what revelation you receive and review it every night before bed.  Pray in the morning for the strength and ability to achieve what you have written, then in your nightly prayers, review with the Lord how you did.
Lance has been doing this for a few days and feels more spiritual than he ever has.  He feels like he's been an obedient and good missionary, but this has helped him work on the things he'd like to improve upon.  So he can be the best he can be according to his own judgment.
I would like to add that sacrifice is not a term I use in my daily life.  I use the term "willing offering".  When I attempt this forty day purification for myself, I will willingly offer up to the Lord those things/behaviors/actions/thoughts/etc. that I feel would benefit me and my spirituality.  Because God loves all His children, regardless.
(I couldn't find the talk references on

He concludes his message by thanking us for his last package (which included a TON of CDs), a few healthy treats, and the wedding announcement of a friend.  So far, we've sent him a package every month since he's been in Poland.  Costs about $30 each time, and so worth every penny.

October 28th:
Lance starts out his recording with a weather report.  This week has been nice weather, no need for a coat, and just great fall temps.  He says he does appreciate Utah's weather; whereas before, he used to complain about it when he was here.
He shared a funny story from last week.  He said that as he and his companion were doing their language study when they heard accordion music coming from their street.  When they looked out the window, the guy playing looks up at them with a huge smile and starts jumping around while playing.  I guess he was going to every window and playing till someone looked out.  Lance says they've seen him before on a Tram...where he was playing for everyone.
They have a new investigator that Lance has asked us to pray for.  He says the man seems very open minded.

The spiritual thought Lance shares today is something that was inspired by Mosiah 24 (see  God gives the people in this scripture story the comfort and strength that they need during their time of affliction so that the burdens are light upon their shoulders.  God does this same work with us in our own lives.  The trials aren't taken away, but made light.  Only, that is, if we want the Lord's help.  Can we be humble and ask for help?  And then give it all to God?  It's up to us!

He concludes this recording with a summary of what is going to be happening this week.  They are planning on putting on an Open House on Halloween in their chapel where they put up displays and offer refreshments and give tours.  In Poland, there is two days of Halloween, which they call the Day of the Dead and the next day is All Saints' Day.  He loved one of the CDs I sent...his favorite song is this one:

I knew he'd love that CD!

Some pictures from a trip to the zoo earlier this month:

Friday, October 4, 2013

"It's positivity. And it's the best thing to have!"

Warsaw Uprising Museum
I'll be attempting to combine two week's worth of recordings/email correspondence in this post.  For whatever reason, I've gotten behind.  So I'm finally catching up, thanks in part to my awesome friend Betsy who gave me a little reminder nudge last night!

Every Monday morning at 5:00 a.m., we go straight to the computer so we can hear (download) Lance's words...and if we're lucky and he's still on the computer, we can have a short chat session.  He isn't too fond of typing either, so the recordings are where we get most of our details.

Last week's correspondence begins with him sharing what the weather has been like in Warsaw.  Winter is making an early appearance.  He says that it's "alright cuz I've got a coat and stuff."  He does plan on stitching up the holes in his winter clothes.  Another great skill learned in the mission field cuz he didn't do such things before!  The area of Warsaw he's in is called Zoliborz, which he says is very beautiful.  He promises to take more pictures before next transfer.  There is a nice park with a small lake that they visit everyday to meet people.  They met a guy there who has shown a great deal of interest, so they are hopeful for him!

Lance is loving being District Leader.  He has really gotten to know the missionaries in his district much better because of it.  He had his first district meeting recently and he felt it went really well.  He was a little nervous at first, but it ended up being "really fun".  He makes phone calls every night to make sure they're all safe and good.  He says it has really helped him know better how to help and serve everyone.  Plus, he's learning how to better himself and be a better leader.

The spiritual thought he chose is "the tongue of angels".
He begins by quoting from the Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 32:2-3.
Verse 2:  Do ye not remember that I said unto you that after ye had received the Holy Ghost ye could speak with the tongue of angels?  And now, how could ye speak with the tongue of angels save it were by the Holy Ghost?
Verse 3: Angels speak by the power of the Holy Ghost; wherefore, they speak the words of Christ.  Wherefore, I said unto you, feast upon the words of Christ; for behold, the words of Christ will tell you all things what ye should do.
Lance points out that the tongue of angels are the words of Christ...words of truth and faith.  Positive words full of hope, optimism, enthusiasm.  Words of affirmation, salvation, manifestation.  When we speak truth, we are speaking the tongue of angels (2 Nephi 33:1). He goes on to quote Ephesians 4:29, which reads:
"Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers."  When speaking, speak the truth with faith and hope.  Use our words to build, not destroy.  Use our words how Christ would to manifest happiness in our lives.

Our words have power!

This week's correspondence begins with a report on the weather...still very cold, but it sounds like Fall is beautiful sight to behold there in Warsaw!  He says they taught a lot of lessons on the streets, which always makes Lance happy.  He asked about everyone's lives and how everyone is doing.  He always makes a point to ask about specific family members and ask me to send on his love to them.  It sounds like he's loving the mission.  He comments that he enjoys being DL.  He learns something new everyday.  Most important to him, is to lead by example.  He speaks very highly of every missionary in his district.  I think he's made some life long friends!

On Sunday, they had a visitor, who studies religions as his specialty, come to church.  He is writing a paper on our religion and wanted to experience it for himself.  Afterwards, he interviewed the missionaries, asking many authentic questions.  He commented after the interviews that out of all the religions he's studied and experienced, there is something unique and different that he found very appealing.  Lance says it was a great experience for everyone.

His spiritual thought for this week is from 2 Nephi 2.  He quotes 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 in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon."  He goes on to read verses 16 and 26.  (See
I am very familiar with this concept as I have done my own personal scripture/spiritual study on this topic.  So I was quite pleased that Lance chose this for his spiritual thought!

Lance points out that we ALL have free will, or agency.  The ability to choose.  To act or not to act.  Another way to say "not act" is "being acted upon" because if we don't act, we're allowing things to act upon us.  Because we're here, we have opposition.  We are always enticed by one or the other.  He uses a personal example of if he were to be prompted to speak to someone and chose to act upon that prompting, he would receive the reward of that action.  If he chose not to act, he would be acted upon by receiving the consequence of that failed action.  God expects us to exercise righteous action.  If we choose to use our agency for good, we will receive that which is good.  And vice versa.  We MUST act or be acted upon.
By freely choosing to be obedient to God's will, knowing that God's will is pure, we will not fail.  We could get up or give up.

He also says that 2 Nephi 2 is probably his favorite book in the Book of Mormon..."It's very powerful and cool.  Yeah, it's legit."

He ends his recording early this time because they are leaving to find a place where he could rent a cello to play at a musical fireside coming up in a couple of weeks.  He also thinks he will be able to see all the sessions of General Conference since he's in Warsaw.  He's looking forward, as are we, to hearing from the Prophet.

Warsaw Uprising Museum