Tuesday, 26 January 2016

First injury!

I didn't end up going to Kraków so I’m still here in Kielce.
What have I been up to this week.?
It’s been an okay week, it was a very crazy Tuesday, other than that it’s been a good couple of days.  So after last Pday, I think we just went tracting, we found some new flats built around the back of where we were originally tracting. Hopefully this week we will focus on the North Tracting area that prezydent wants us to go to. 
Tuesday was an odd day, we had a meeting with a man who’s been ‘investigating’ for years. He's a cool dude though. He runs his own Friends of America group and he just loves everything American and can't seem to grasp that I’m English and not from America. So yeah we were in a meeting with him and then suddenly Elder Wieler calls to tell us he's on the train on his way to Kielce. He's Elder Garrison's new comp. We weren't expecting him for a few more days. So that day we had to change all our plans, we had to leave the appointment early to get him from the train station, take all his bags back to the flat, then me and Elder Taylor had to pack and move to the new flat. Tuesday was a busy day.
We spent all Wednesday cleaning the old but new flat, getting food and all settled in and had the English class.  We did some English contacting the morning of the Class. We taught a decent English class although we didn’t get a great turnout but we're hoping to make plans to change the way it’s run and improve how we teach to make it better.
Thursday was the Warsaw day. We got up at 6 as the train was at 7:05. We set off with plenty of time, but there were no buses from near our flat to the train station. We decided to run but I had my black to shoes on so had no traction whatsoever and it had snowed a tonne that night. I put my foot in a ditch and ended up spraining my ankle pretty bad, it swelled up a lot too. 

To make things worse I missed the train, so that was a good start to the morning. I just bought a new ticket for a later train. My ankle is good now though.  I did what needed to get done in Warsaw so I’m legal now. Pretty good day too with the office elders.
Sunday, we had 15 at church. Including the Robbins'. They're a young couple from the states, Brother Robbins plays pro basketball here, the guy is 6ft 9! Pretty good day all in all. We had a few meetings with Prez. after church and then the other elders cooked lunch/dinner for us.
We spent 130 zlots on food this morning, it sounds a lot but 30 quid on food and we got so much. I also got a haircut. I look the part now. There's no way people will reject me now. 
We also met a pretty cool guy called Jakub.  We spoke to him for a good 30 mins on the street, I think on Wednesday. We're trying to set up a meeting with him sometime this week. 
It's working well with 2 companionships here now, we can split the work and members so more of it gets done and more members get visited. I try and get the ball out most days, but it's hard with all the snow and slush around. I'm enjoying myself and working hard. 

Monday, 18 January 2016

Service with a Smile

We took a trip out to Chęciny for Pday this morning, a town 20 mins out of the city. There's a pretty sweet castle there! 

Stood at the top of one of the castles' towers.  The view was good but would have been better on a clear day.

Ready to share the Gospel!

Don't know what this was for but they let me get inside ha ha!

This week has been good, still not at full speed yet but hopefully that will be changing. We had around 12 at church yesterday, and all 3 elders gave talks. Yes I had to give a talk in my 3rd sacrament meeting, I can see myself doing it a lot here. The members here are good, we have a couple of solid members that come each week and a few that try and come when they can.  
Church goes for 2 hours. Sacrament meeting and then a Sunday school class which alternates between gospel principles and teachings of the president. We get up and leave for church around 9, set up and welcome people. Then after church we have a few meetings with Pres, go home for lunch and study. Then leave around 6 and go tracting.

Prezydent Najburg. What a legend.  Genuine good man.

It warmed up a bit but then got really cold these past couple of days. Not cold enough to wear a hat but definitely gloves and a couple of layers. The language is slow, but it’s a work in progress. It’s more recognising the grammar I think at the moment and why words are written the way they are. I'm trying to expand my vocab daily though, not really happening at the moment but I’m doing my best. We've not really done as much contacting and tracting as I would like to but the hours in the day seem to go by so fast. 

We ate out at this Pierogi place with Pres. and Sister Edgren

We had a good laugh about this window display.

We were out contacting the other night though and we came out of this tower block and there were 3 guys stood outside on the path, they had masks on and were dressed in black. I thought what the flip are they doing, next minute one of them shouts 'come and worship satan', in Polish of course. Elder Taylor says 'Jesteśmy Misjonarzami Jezusa Chrystusa' and said to me that's nothing out of the ordinary for Poland. Haha crazy! 

We did some service for a lady in the branch this week, that was pretty funny. We carried a huge couch down 14 lots of stairs down this tower block, it was so tough, took us a good hour and a half.

Best bit of the week was probably placing two Book of Mormon's in a day. Fav food was the bacon fried Pierogi when we ate out with pres and sis Edgren.  Funniest moment, maybe the satan worshippers, goes under funniest and creepiest.  Hardest bit, just the general rejection from people. Used to it though.  I  need to make better use of my language study time. We're trying a new tracting area this week which should be good. 

So pączki is like a Polish donut and this old man makes and sells them in his basement.

Some more news. This Thursday I will be in Warsaw all day as I have to go and pick up my Residence card. I get to travel by myself and spend the day with the office elders. Also me and Taylor are doing an exchange over in Kraków next Monday till Wednesday. 
So 3 cities in the space of a week!

Monday, 11 January 2016

Cześć! - Kielce, Poland

Emailing from the library

Cześć! So another week has passed already, crazy how quick that has gone.
I know I said I’d make it an exciting week but it's been tough.  The zone conference was good, it was a nice time to get out and travel to a new city, a much bigger city too. The Zone training was over in Katowice,. so around a 2 hour train ride. We got there and we had a breakfast made, we met the Katowice missionaries, and then more and more as they arrived from across the zone. I got to see Sister Kamp which was a nice surprise, nice to see a familiar face. The rest of the zone seem pretty decent too, it's a shame that we hardly ever meet, maybe once a transfer I think. Which doesn't help you in getting to know the other missionaries. 

On the train to Katowice

The weather hasn't been too bad, it got a bit warmer but then it snowed. I've not had to wear hat and gloves but I still wear my big coat.   It's put a smile on the faces of many members and missionaries knowing about the new mission president, looking forward to it. It will help a lot with the branch presidents and just basic communication that doesn't get done at the moment because of the language barrier. 
So we taught Mat a good lesson on Faith, but he rang us the other night and asked to meet. So we went and met him and basically he read the scripture that we asked him to (Alma 32) and told us that he has no intention on getting baptised, he apologised and said that he didn't want to waste our time. Kind of a bummer but he still comes to church and we teach him because he still wants to be taught, 

Elder Taylor and I went Football contacting the other day. On the Sinkiewicza there's an open bit of the street that is like a flat bridge over a little river. We put up a white board, we were getting people to come to our English class, it said 'bezpłatny Kurs angielskiego' and then underneath 'show us your skills', no one could do any skills, I megged a couple of people haha, and we just had fun for 2 hours whilst doing some finding. 

Dinner and fun with the Daltons

The Daltons took us out to eat

The Daltons are a senior couple for the Katowice district. They have callings in the Kielce branch so come down every two weeks. They're nice and good company, plus we make use of the car when they're down, saves us from walking.

Bring on this next week. Also I’m going on an exchange possibly in two weeks to Krakow for a few days, should be a good trip.  I'm doing good, high spirits, I still can't understand anything or anybody, but I’m loving it! So I'll speak to you next week, tell everyone I love them!

Where we have Church meetings

Trainee tie

The Rynek in Kielce, it looked really pretty that day.  Each city has its own town square.

Monday, 4 January 2016

Szczęśliwego nowego roków

Szczęśliwego nowego roków is how you wish someone a happy new year. You can practise saying that.   So it has been an incredibly crazy past few days!

Our flight in Munich was delayed so we arrived in Poland a couple hours later than expected. Sister Edgren and the Assistants (one of the assistants Elder Jones is from Wales) went home so it was just President that greeted us at the terminal. As soon as I hopped in the car he told me where I would be serving and who with. I was a bit taken aback, but he could tell me because I was the only elder coming in so his decision was pretty easy. The sisters had to wait till the next day to find out with who and where they would be. 
I stayed over at the Office elders apartment that night which apparently is a first. They usually have the missionaries stay over at the mission home, but it was just the sisters that did. I went out to work with office elders until 9.00pm.
The next day we all went into Warsaw to apply for a citizen card of some sort. Whilst we were waiting, I went out contacting with Elder Campora (one of the office elders), it was really enjoyable. First taste of rejection haha.  I got on a train, I met my trainers in Warsaw and we got the 3-hour train ride together. My trainers are Elder Garrison and Elder Taylor.  Elder Garrison has been here in Kielce 14 months.   Elder Taylor was the Zone Leader and Branch President up in Poznan before this.  Elder Taylor has been out around the same time as Jake, he seems so old yet I’m 2 months older than him, it's crazy.  He goes home in July I think and then this transfer is Elder Garrison's last transfer. We live in a tiny flat in a tower block not far from the city centre and Sienkiewicza. It's cosy but it's fun. They're both super cool guys. 
We've done a lot of walking. My feet are feeling the effects but it's good. The Sienkiewicza is a long street that runs through the middle, you should check it out, it's impressive. We walk up and down there daily to get to and from contacting areas and to church. 
The language is nothing like I’ve ever heard. They speak so quickly and so I'm struggling even to pick out words. I make the initial contact but then hand over to my companions to do the talking haha. 
At church on Sunday we had a grand total of 9 people there. It was a strange experience but I got to meet a few of the members which was nice. I played the opening hymn and then also introduced myself and shared a testimony. It went okay from where I was standing.  Prezydent Najburg is the president. He's such a good man! we have English classes on Wednesday night, so looking forward to that. It's a good finding tool.
President and sister Edgren are both really nice. They just welcomed us in and got us all ready and then just shipped us off to our areas. I just found out that we're getting a new Polish mission president when the Edgren's time is up in summer.  I’m in the South zone with Krakow, Katowice, and a few other cities, We don't have a district because the 3 of us are the only missionaries in the city. We have the whole city to ourselves. Sister Kamp is in my Zone, I’m not sure who else of the sisters are. We have a zone training meeting on Thursday in Katowice so we get a nice day out and i get to meet the zone. From the missionaries that I’ve met up to now, which is a good bunch of them, they're all mint. Everyone says it's like a family here and it definitely feels that way.
So a usual day is up at 6;15, Pres likes us to be up early. We're out by 12 usually after studies and lunch break. Then it's contacting or tracting till dinner, and then after dinner we sometimes have lessons, we head back to flat to do member book work or we head out to do more tracting. We currently have 2 investigators that we're teaching. I've only met one of them, we're teaching him tonight actually after emailing. 
We try and do all the contacting and tracting through the day because it is so cold, it was -14 the other night. This big coat that I have does the trick though, just my toes and face and hands that get cold. We went food shopping today at TESCO, they have a tesco about a 5 min walk away from the flat. We spent 175 zlots and got so much food.

Look forward to letting you know about my week on Monday.  I’ll make it a good week!

Do widzenia

You have to be prepared for the -15 degree weather.  Photo taken at the chapel.

Elder Coxx and Buckhoff

In the little town square.  Each city has one., it has another name , like a rynek or something.

Out contacting in the city. Elder Taylor, me and Elder Garrison.

I don't know much about this place or  what the buildings are but its a nice park.

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