Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A few weeks' updates!


No snow yet…and Lance is hoping it will just “give up” like it does sometimes in Utah.
They’re kicking butt and moving forward. He expects to get a baptismal date soon for someone they’re teaching right now.  Another man they’re teaching came to Gospel Doctrine, where Lance taught on the topic of the Gathering of the House of Israel. He loves that topic. Jacob 5 in the Book of Mormon, which Lance calls the biggest parable we have, covers a lot of the subject matter. He points out that the Gathering is all saints across the world building Zion where ever they live. He mentions a great book, “A Companion to your Study of the Book of Mormon”. Lance says it’s probably the most helpful book he’s read yet to help him explain to others things within the Book of Mormon.

He had a few experiences that led him to dub this week “drunk person week.” He says that winter can become depressing and one way people may deal with it is to spend time being drunk. He says they went tracting to a “communist block” and saw a lady sitting on the curb looking sad. He and his companion decided to talk to her. It didn't take him long to realize that she had been drinking when she came at him, threatening to give him a kiss. He backed away quickly and explained that wasn't going to happen. So, they all agreed it was time for them to part ways. “It was super funny…and super weird!”
His next experience happened when they were teaching a lesson on the street. During their discussion, a drunk couple came up and began interrupting. When they were asked what they wanted, the woman came up to Lance and tried to snuggle up against him. He backed away and told her he had a Book of Mormon for her. She got really excited and gave him a drunk lady kiss on his forehead and then the couple just stumbled off. But they were able to finish the lesson in the end!

He says his mission is like an adventure every day. He’s learned to embrace change. The Gospel doesn't change but people do. When we get into a rut and aren't progressing, we become depressed. So if we can change, for the better, we feel much more accomplished. Thanks to our agency and mortality, we can work on those things we consider to be weaknesses and turn them to strengths. Recently, he came up with a list of things he feels that he could get better at. He is now working on making them strengths.

The Gospel has changed his life and he has seen how it has changed the lives of many people around him. He points out that it never gets old, becoming some sort of hobby. It’s simple yet it’s the fundamentals of life. He loves the Gospel. And so do I!



Still no snow, just super cold. “But, it’s good. And it’s beautiful!” He says it gets light around 7:30 and dark around 3:30. And the sun just barely gets up above the horizon, like a constant sunset. They’re walking their feet off…he’s got “missionary feet”!

They’re still teaching a few investigators and things are progressing with them. He’s had the opportunity to visit with a few “atheists”, which Lance enjoys. He says they spend a lot of time sharing our beliefs on life after death. And how our lives are of divine importance and that we all have a great purpose. They also address that God is our loving Father and we can gain a personal relationship with Him through prayer.

Lance shares his feelings on the story of Enos, a prophet from the Book of Mormon. The story of this amazing prophet can be found here:
The story has had a great impact on how Lance views prayer. Enos prays with mighty faith for his loved ones and for the people.  Enos gives us a good example of how we would want to pray…with sincerity. Lance encourages us to look up the topic prayer in the Bible dictionary and read.
“As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings.”
Pray not in vain, in a rote manner, but with a sincere heart. Align our will with God’s will.

Lance bought a cookbook and has been making his own pierogis (dumplings), which are similar to raviolis. They are a very popular food in Poland. He loves the Polish language and has been translating during their Sunday meetings. He says it’s a bit of a work out trying to keep up, but knows that he has been blessed through the Spirit to be able to do it. They had a great celebration at the mission president's house for Thanksgiving. He says it was great to get a taste of traditional American Thanksgiving food.


Finally got some snow…and even received his Christmas package I sent! Last year it took him over a month to get his package, this time around it took about a week. I included some pictures from Thanksgiving so he could see his family. He was most impressed with his brother’s beard. I guess beards are a big deal in Poland.

Lance caught us up on the investigators they’ve been meeting with lately. It sounds like they are covering some great doctrine. He shares the story in Acts 19 where some disciples were baptizing in the name of John instead of in the name of Christ. When Paul explains the importance of being baptized in the name of Christ, they re-baptize properly and receive the Holy Ghost through the proper authority. This is an important story in the scriptures about baptism.

Lance says most everyone has a dog. So he has met a lot of people just by being friendly to their dog. And if he needs directions..."A Polish person will run and jump in front of a car to give directions! If they don't know where it is exactly, they'll call a friend and get those directions!"

Lance concludes by sharing his belief that he is serving for the right reasons. He's not there because he HAS to, he's there because he wants to and he loves.  He is grateful for his conversion to the Gospel and hopes to impart to others his enthusiasm and joy.  Matthew 10:39 encompasses his feelings...that when we follow Jesus Christ by losing ourselves through the service of others, we find a new life.  Again, Lance encourages us to re-read "Jesus the Christ".  It's a great book and I think I'll take him up on his challenge.