Thursday, May 1, 2014

Another month down, three more to go!

Yes, I have begun the countdown!  I spent a large chunk of time yesterday organizing pictures from the last 21 months so that I might begin the task of printing them for his scrapbooks.  And I do believe it's going to take that long for me to get it all put together!

April 7th

"The weather has been way nice and everything is going so awesome!"
They were able to watch most of General Conference and it was exactly what he needed to hear.  He specifically mentions the talks by Elder Holland, Elder Bednar, Elder Ballard, President Uchtdorf, and President Monson.  Much of what is heard in General Conference is also taught by the mission president in Zone Training so that the missionaries can teach the members.  Zone Training was excellent and they all came away feeling "pumped up".

One topic that was focused on is why people followed Joseph Smith.  Some of the reasons they came up with are that he had the Spirit with him, he had such strong confidence in what he believed, and that he KNEW he is a child of God.  He lived his life in accordance with this knowledge.  They also read in the book of Moses that Moses went to pray and sees God face to face and comes to the understanding that he is a child of God.  When satan comes to tempt him, Moses is able to withstand the temptations and even cast satan out.  It's a good example of what we can also do when faced with temptation.  Remember that we are children of God and we have more power than anything the adversary can dish out.
Moses chapter 1 reads: "For behold, this is my work and my glory - to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."  This is God's vision for us.  So we can strengthen each other in the knowledge that we are His offspring.  Lead by example, lift others up with your actions and words, serve with compassion, etc.

They were asked in Zone Training to think of a time they felt the most faithful.  Lance says it was when he opened his mission call to come to Poland.  He remembers feeling that no matter what was in his way, he could accomplish it.  That faith carried him through times when he would struggle; like when he would forget things or the language seemed too difficult.  God is willing to provide help whenever desired and we need to trust in Him.  Be 100% obedient to the commandments (the first two focus on LOVE).  And be sensitive to and be worthy to receive the promptings of the Holy Ghost.  Recognizing the Spirit in our lives comes through experience.  Just trust Him, have faith, be obedient to the commandments, act on the promptings, be patient.  And, using the Atonement.  The struggles we face help us grow.  Lance says he has felt that at times, especially during this mission, that once given responsibility, he felt the weight of it and couldn't always see the blessings like he may have expected.  Ultimately, the blessings are there, if we are willing to recognize them.  God helps ease our burdens and lighten the weight so that we can more easily bear them.  Instead of worrying, ponder.  Ask, "Why are things the way they are?"  Control what you can control in your life.  And put the rest in God's hands!  Read Helaman 5:12 here:

April 14th

"It's been a pretty big, full week of stuff!  We got our transfer calls!  I'm sure you already know about this since we told Brother K and he probably told Sister K and she probably told all the moms on Facebook..."

But actually, no, she wouldn't tell us!  So we had to wait till P day to find out!  It was torture but I survived.  Turns out Lance was called as Branch President in Lublin, which he was VERY surprised about.  Surprised and excited and nervous.  He feels this position will teach him a lot and hopes to do well in his responsibilities.  As always during his mission, he is putting all faith in God to help him.
He is going to miss his current area and companion, though.  Especially the branch president of the Bydgoszcz branch.  Lance is also going to miss a member family who made the missionaries feel like they are a part of their family.  He will also miss his companion and the many branch members.

Bydgoszcz Branch President
Sister K set up a service project
Some of the members in Bydgoszcz
Bydgoszcz missionaries
One of MANY meals at the K's home

Anyways, he sums up what he learned from this General Conference.  He learned how important it is to stand up for what we believe in. Be steadfast in the Gospel.  People might not always believe what we do and even criticize us, but we should always do what is right.  Speak out to make it known that we follow Christ and we do it with love.  Like "What Would Jesus Do?" to remind us how to change the world through righteousness and Christ-like love.  And all things are possible with faith, hope, love, and righteousness.  

Lance points out that we chose to come here and we ought to do our best to profit from the plan that God has given serve, love, and do what is right.  He testifies that the Gospel is true, that we have a living prophet, modern day revelation...the fullness of the Gospel.  Though not all believe that God still calls prophets and apostles, we do.  

April 21st

This week's email came on Tuesday instead of Monday.  In Poland, they have a national holiday the Monday after Easter Sunday called Smigus Dyngus, so everything was closed down for the day.  So we are glad to receive an email, even if it's a day later than usual.  But he says Lublin is a beautiful town.  There is a castle and a shopping center called a rynek.  There are a couple of concentration camps there, one nearby and the other is Auschwitz.  He doubts they will go see those, though.  
His new companion!

Lance says his new companion is very faithful and a hard worker.  He says they get along great and have a lot of great plans for the work.  Lublin is somewhat of a college town, so they have been meeting a lot of people his own age, which they have enjoyed.  He also explained how it works for him to be Branch President AND a missionary.  Basically, he is sustained as Branch President.  So another elder in the area proposed the sustaining, and it was unanimous.  They have a great family in the branch that has been very helpful.  He says they love missionaries, which is nice!  Here are some pictures a member of this family posted to Lance's FB page...

I can see they are being loved and cared for by this wonderful family  

In light of the Easter season, his spiritual thought focuses on the Resurrection.  He points out that it can be hard to believe in such a concept.  But thanks to more clarification through the Book of Mormon and modern day revelation, we have a better understanding of what it means.  There are many difficult concepts in the Bible that the Book of Mormon clarifies. Truly, it is one of the "sticks of Judah" spoken of in the Bible!

April 28th 

Lance begins by describing Lublin's beauty.  Parks, buildings, nature.  They have been teaching many college students, including some who are very open to the Gospel message.  One investigator even came to church and the Spirit was very strong.  
"It was a really good week!"

Lance points out 6 fundamental attributes of Christ's church.  They're all written in the Bible and Book of Mormon.  
1. Revelation - Through prophets and personal revelation.  All through the Holy Ghost.
2. Authority from God - Priesthood power to guide the church in God's name.  
3. Organization of the church - Order 
4. Fundamental principles and ordinances - Baptism, gift of the Holy Ghost, temple ordinances
5. Ordinances for the dead - Proxy ordinances
6. Spiritual gifts - Tongues, discerning spirits, healing, being healed, etc.
It makes sense that those attributes would be found in Christ's church. 

Interesting foot note.  The records that comprise the Book of Mormon were being written BEFORE the book of Revelation was written.  

As with all scripture, faith is required when reading to know if it is truth.  

He closes by sharing how much he loves this mission and his new companion.  He says this companion is "way chill" and a great missionary. 
Lance feels like this mission has transformed him into more of who he already was.  
"The Gospel's true.  The church is true.  Joseph Smith was a true prophet.  Book of Mormon is true.  It's all true.  It's a matter of faith and the only way to find out is to pray."