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: http://www.lds.org/ensign/2013/05/personal-peace-the-reward-of-righteousness?lang=eng
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)
He concludes his recording by expressing his love of Poland, the Polish language, and his mission. "I just love everything!"
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 lds.org)
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.
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 http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/24). 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: