Preparing for our Christmas phone call, he kept this week's recordings and email short. He did advise us to jot down a few questions or thoughts that we might have for our call. We had already done that...because we had been preparing for a few weeks for the call!
He says that Zoliborz had still had nice temperatures and no snow. Unusual for Poland at this time of the year, to say the least. He says that's made it feel less like Christmas, even though Warsaw is decked out with massive and beautiful light displays. They are having a little get together with the other missionaries in his area and exchange White Elephant gifts. The missionaries have been caroling as a way to meet people. He's learned some great Polish carols that he promises to sing to us when he gets home.
The Christmas season is a great time for the missionaries to teach those who will listen about Christ. Often, they will talk with people who don't understand that when we pray, we pray directly to our Heavenly Father, in the name of Christ. This can be a new concept to many who aren't familiar with the Restored Church and how Jesus Christ taught when he was on the Earth.
Lance has become pretty comfortable with the language, to the extent that he translates during meetings for those who only speak English. He explained to us the syntax and other aspects of Polish but it still seems too complicated for me!
He closed his email with the time and the phone number we were to call on Christmas Day and expressed his excitement at hearing from us.
Our Christmas call was a success...eventually! We were scheduled to call at 12:00 p.m., our time. I began the process at 11:55 but the call wasn't connecting. I got on line to look up further calling instructions, but still no luck. I started to get panicked. My older son got on my cell carrier's website only to learn that the International calling plan I had bought wasn't everything I needed. We ran over to the neighbors to use their phone, but it also wouldn't work through their plan. Finally, I called Lance's companion's parents in Idaho and asked them to call Lance and let him know we were working on it. Thankfully, his companion's dad was able to patch us through on a conference call. We were about 25 minutes late getting through, but at least we were able to talk! We all got some time to talk with him and hear his happiness. He always tells us through his emails and recordings that he loves it, and that's what we heard again on our call. Now the count down to Mother's Day! I will have the right calling plan figured out then.
Lance starts out by expressing how great it was to hear our voices on Christmas Day. Even though there was all the confusion, it was still wonderful! We all owe a debt of gratitude to his companion's parents! Thankfully, they travel to our area often so we will be taking them out for Indian food to thank them.
They were able to go to the Branch President's home for Christmas Eve for a get together. They had dinner and reenacted the Nativity. He said it was a lot of fun. I'm so grateful for those in Poland who go out of their way to include my son in their activities! After the activity, they went to Catholic Mass. This was the second Mass he's attended since being in Poland. Christmas Day had them at the chapel for most of the day with games, food, and entertainment. Then our phone call was a great end to his celebration!
He closes by sharing a short spiritual thought about holding on to faith and revisits the story of Abinidi in the Book of Mormon. Read the story in Mosiah chapters 11 and 12.(http://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/mosiah/11?lang=eng)
|Christmas in Warsaw|
Happy New Year!
Lance got his transfer to a town named Bydgoszcz (bid-go-sh-t...or something close to it) and he's so excited! It's a beautiful town, he says. He's also excited to serve with his new companion and serving as Zone Leader. His former companion is going to continue on with an investigator they've been teaching.
The missionaries got to teach in a town named Prague (prah-guh) on New Year's Day. They were doing a white board lesson on the street when they were confronted by a group of drunk guys. Lance knew, from past experiences, not to talk to them, but this group wouldn't leave. Eventually, the missionaries had to get away. But they got followed onto the tram. Lance ended up getting punched in the side and slapped in the face! Lance was able to call the police, which diffused the situation. Soon, some of the people on the tram began to stand up for the missionaries. It all ended peacefully, which is good. This is definitely not the first time he's been attacked. Let's hope it's the last!
Lance shares Mosiah 29 which describes the qualities of a good government:
Verse 16 - Now I say unto you, that because all men are not just it is not expedient that ye should have a king or kings to rule over you.
Verse 17 - For behold, how much iniquity doth one wicked king cause to be committed, yea, and what great destruction!
Verse 26 - Now it is not common that the voice of the people desireth anything contrary to that which is right; but it is common for the lesser part of the people to desire that which is not right; therefore this shall ye observe and make it your law - to do your business by the voice of the people
Verse 27 - And if the time comes that the voice of the people doth choose iniquity, then is the time that the judgments of God will come upon you; yea, then is the time he will visit you with great destruction even as he has hitherto visited this land.
Personally, I'm very thankful for the Book of Mormon which gives us so many warnings as to the best and most effective way to live.
|Photographic proof that Lance does sing!|
Well, Lance loves Bydgoszcz! No surprise there. He's loved every place in Poland! He says this town reminds him a lot of Szczecin. Old town feel and lots of friendly people on the streets. Their apartment is really nice...it even has a bidet, which is fairly unknown here in the States. His new companion is enthusiastic and loves the Polish people, so they're going to be a great companionship.
Lance had to buy a new set of luggage. He says the set he brought from home is "completely destroyed".
He's lined up for some exchanges to several towns which have names I can't spell. He and his companion are involved in getting the zone trainings and conferences planned. He has really enjoyed being so involved in the workings of the mission. He feels like he has a deeper understanding of what the needs are. He says it's fun and he loves it. A little nervous, but he's excited!
He has a couple investigators now. They get to teach a couple lessons this week, along with the zone meetings. He has so many great and wonderful things to say about his fellow missionaries! And he loves the branch he's in. There are almost 40 members...and everyone in leadership positions is Polish, which he says is "SO great!". He especially loves an American family living in Bydgoszcz. This family has been very involved with the missionaries and the whole mission experience. They had the missionaries for dinner and they all got to know each other and had a nice dinner.
And, he got word that someone he and his companion in Szczecin had been teaching got baptized this weekend! They had a wonderful phone conversation, which made Lance so happy.
As his mom, knowing that he's being cared for, making great friends, and enjoying this mission has been the most comforting and joyful experience!
We miss him but wouldn't want him anywhere else right now.
|Playing a game|