Time is speedily moving along for Lance in the mission field and that is giving him a bit of anxiety at the thought of having to leave. For those of you who read my little blog, you know that Lance LOVES life in Poland! Of course there are some set backs and challenges, but they don't dissuade him from his goal. And that goal is to bring the awareness of the full Gospel to those who are interested. He can present the ideas, but it is up to the person/persons to ask of God themselves if these things be true. He has had some really wonderful spiritual experiences that have had a profound impact on him.
Here is a recap of the last month.
His area is experiencing some great spring like weather and he's been loving it. He mentions that he's really only had one month of really cold weather. Unusual for Poland, but much appreciated by the missionaries!
This week he was able to go on exchanges with an elder from Norway, which went really well. He also got to see an elder that he'd trained and is now a trainer, too. Lance says, "I'm so happy! It makes me happy to see 'my boy' training another young missionary. It's so crazy!"
They met with a woman that Lance says is way awesome. She seems really ready for the message.
Transfers came through and he and his current companion are staying. He's really glad he gets to stay in Bydgoszcz, even though two elders in his area are being transferred and he'll miss them.
They've been meeting with a man from Hungary. Lance says he is incredible! He is searching for truth and is very open, so Lance feels really good about that. "The work's going awesome!"
They had to stay in one day to clean their apartment for apartment checks. He says he is much cleaner now and so it's easier for him to stay on top of it. He referred to himself before this mission as a "mini hoarder". And I would have to agree with him!
He speaks very highly of the branch president of his area. He says he's "like the COOLEST member I've ever met!". They also got to have dinner with a member family in a nearby town named Torun. He says the town was the most beautiful he's seen yet. Probably because it has what he calls a "Renaissance" feel to it.
Alma 41:7 - These are they that are redeemed of the Lord; yea, these are they that are taken out, that are delivered from that endless night of darkness; and thus they stand or fall; for behold, they are their own judges, whether to do good or evil.
In the Doctrine and Covenants, we read the term "quickened" in conjunction with our personal resurrection. In other words, we'll be resurrected within the energy vibration of which we have chosen. He proposes an interesting idea...according to our agency, there are some who may refuse resurrection. Perhaps they are more comfortable remaining in their current state of existence. And resurrection is certainly not going to be forced on anyone. Resurrection is natural progression of choosing to live a mortal existence.
He closes this recording with a challenge to re-read Alma 40-42. The Gospel gives us so much hope!
"Seriously, life is awesome! It's March already, which is crazy. I can't believe time is going by so fast!"
This week was really good, he says. He's working with solid investigators now. He mentions a sweet woman who they are passing over to the Sisters. They've begun meeting with another man, including the meetings with the man from Hungary. Things are going well with them...he says they're all so "humble". They've also met with a few other people that they hope will follow through. He says they had members come along for their lessons. He hopes that these members will be able to strike up friendships with the investigators since the missionaries are always coming and going. It's a double edged sword, at times.
In Alma 56, we read a story about "The 2,000 Stripling Warriors". If you haven't read this story, it's a must! Lance knows that Alma is probably my favorite book and I refer to it often. It's intense yet so inspirational! Follow this link to read for yourself: https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/alma/56?lang=eng
Verse 46 reads: For as I had ever called them my sons (for they were all of them very young) even so they said unto me: Father, behold our God is with us, and he will not suffer that we should fall; then let us go forth; we would not slay our brethren if they would let us alone; therefore let us go lest they should overpower the army of Anitpus.
Verse 47: Now they never had fought, yet they did not fear death; and they did think more upon the liberty of their fathers than they did upon their lives; yea, they had been taught by their mothers, that if they did not doubt, God would deliver them.
How fitting that Lance should share this scripture this week as it is something I think on often. Do not doubt your faith. I may doubt people, circumstances, etc., but how powerful it is for me to not doubt my faith! For me, not to live in the fear of death (or fear of anything, really), but to go forth for liberty, peace, and all good things. Attracting the positives, putting my whole trust in the Lord, that which is harmonious will come to pass. It's okay to be disappointed in the circumstances...just stay positive and hopeful that you will be "delivered". This is a virtue I live by (with much success) in my life!
Lance closes his recording by sending his love to us, his brother, and all the family. He feels like he's a better person since he's been on this mission. He is applying the atonement to his life!
Sent to me from a member in Bydgoszcz
Things are awesome, as usual. Lots of sunshine and warm weather still. He reflects on this time last year in Szczecin and how much colder it was then.
Speaking of Szczecin, Lance is going on exchanges there with another elder. And he gets to see his good friend, whom he hasn't seen since leaving there. He's SO excited! He will also be checking in with some of the other people he was involved with when he was serving there.
Here a picture I received from his friend:
In Bydgoszcz, they're still working with the guy from Hungary. Lance feels like he's very accepting of the Gospel and is moving forward. They are also meeting with one of their contacts from last week, who is now coming to church. He says things are going so great! He thanks us for our prayers on his behalf and asks us to pray for those they are teaching.
His spiritual thought comes from his reading in Alma again this week. He says the main idea that has come to him through this reading is how pride is so damaging, it can bring down a whole people. He also refers to a talk by Ezra T. Benson called "Beware of Pride" (refer to https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1989/04/beware-of-pride?lang=eng&query=beware+of+pride).
In this talk, President Benson makes the comparison that pride equates enmity. Enmity toward God and our fellow man.
What can we do to avoid this pitfall? Choose to be humble. Forgive others who've offended. Give selfless service. Forsake our sins. I would like to add, give up that which has no positive effect. Become more in alignment with God's will. Choose to be positive, happy, cheerful, diligent, virtuous, helpful, prayerful, and faithful.
Lance says he is continually learning something new, and he loves it! He appreciates our constant prayers. Life is good!
Life's awesome in Bydgoszcz! It's actually been fairly cold and rainy this week. He's loving it, though.
They're still teaching the guy from Hungary. Things are going really well! They often have the branch president on their lessons, and Lance loves him! Says he's a fun guy! He says, "I'm a spaz and he's a spaz too, so we just spaz out together!" They've created a great bond. Lance truly loves his branch!
His trip to Szczecin was a spiritual experience for him. He said from the moment the train pulled in to town, he was impressed upon by the Spirit. He was euphoric! The senior couple picked him up from the train station and they went straight to the chapel where he met with his group of friends. He was especially excited to see one young man that has become a close friend. Lance and this young man went contacting the next day together. Lance says that was on of the coolest experience he's had! It's a very strong possibility that this young man will be putting in his mission papers soon. Lance is just amazed that this was a guy he found one day just sitting on a bench in the park one day last year.
Lance was also able to reconnect with a couple other people that were baptized while Lance served there last year. One of them has really done well...passing the sacrament, very faithful, very appreciative and loving! Lance says that he views Szczecin as a "sacred city" and hopes to serve there again before his release.
His spiritual thought touches on the Atonement again. The Atonement is a lot of things, but the main idea is that we can cleanse and purify our hearts. It washes away all things, even our pasts. Just by applying it in our lives. Forgiving ourselves completely since God is always first to forgive us.
It's all very metaphysical to me, which I find so fascinating!
"Hey...it's Elder Kotter! How's it going???"
The weather's rainy lately and he misses the sun. But, that's how it is in Spring!
Lance went on exchanges to Poznan and it was successful! Things are still progressing with the Hungarian man. He's been busy working with the opera crew in Bydgoszcz by teaching them Hungarian. Another investigator is still progressing. So that's good.
Lance was on his way for exchanges to a town called Gdansk with the DL there, who is a young man that Lance trained. He's SO excited to work with him again! Things are great, though the rain is making people stay inside more than usual, so that means fewer lessons.
His spiritual thought for this week focuses on charity and love. He says that charity is one of the most important virtues. Charity is the pure love of Christ. Jesus Christ showed us the truest acts of love. He's the best example of what charity and love can do! Cleave unto charity.
Ways we can cleave unto charity:
Always look at others the way God would look at them.
Serving others as Christ serves us.
Always pray to have the love for others that God has for us.
Live and love and act as Christ would.
Have hope that we can be purified as Christ is pure.
Lance says that he vowed to himself that he will always follow Christ and show others who he follows through his actions.
Finally, he shares a story that as a mom sends fear straight through my soul.
Lance and his companion were contacting at an apartment complex when a "weird" looking guy comes out and tells them to leave. He then pulls out a gun from a side holster. He cocks it and points it straight at them. They walked away and went to the next set of apartments, and sure enough that same guy shows up to intimidate them again. Thankfully it didn't turn into anything more serious, but those are the things that remind me...not everyone appreciates the Good Word. Lance says it was a good reminder of how important it is to be as Christ-like as possible. Otherwise, you can lose that love for people! Love is what helps you forgive.
May God bless us all!