Monday, 29 May 2017

Beautiful Poland

This area of Poland is beautiful.  Just the views and freshness is all amazing! 

Ogrodzieniec Castle

Krakow Elders

Poland Warsaw Mission - May 2017 with Elder Anderson

Poland Warsaw Mission - May 2017 with Elder Anderson

Monday, 22 May 2017

Don't stand still, Walk!

Hello people of the World, to all within the sound of my voice. We've had a solid week in the Krak. Kraków is the kind of place where it's easy to get distracted, so many times I just want to stop what I'm doing to go and see something, get some good food, go for ice cream, sometimes I catch myself just staring at things, there's just so much going on. I set a goal to write in my 'journal' every day, I did it 4 days out of the 7 this week which is an improvement.
I'll start with explaining why I chose to title the email this week 'Don't stand still, Walk!' It's come from a few lessons I've learned as we've been out and about on the streets. Finding activities are a daily thing here, and it tends to be the case unless you have a scheduled meeting with someone. The last few finding activities we've done here, we just tend to stand around and let the people walk by and try and stop them, it's good if you want to try and speak to as many as you can but not always the most effective. Each morning when we leave the house we pray that we may be led to those who have been prepared and those willing to listen to us. The question came to are we supposed to be led if we're just standing around? we won't be unless you have that much faith that people will come to you, but it doesn't work like that unless you're Elder Huffman of course, who has the most faith of anyone I've ever met. We decided this week to walk around as opposed to standing, and lo and behold we've met some quality people, people who are searching or just so open to talking. A man who wants to believe but doesn't know quite how..he is open to inviting us round to his house to visit him and his wife. A Student who claims to be Atheist but then was so open that the message we shared with him softened his heart just enough that he is willing to meet and talk with us further. It's not much, but I've learned a valuable lesson from this that you can apply even to life itself. Standing still and waiting for things to happen, or for people to come will only get you so far. Moving, pressing forward, searching, showing faith in this life on earth is what will bring you the blessings of God. alright, enough of that let's get on to the real stuff that happened this week.

I SPRAINED MY ANKLE AGAIN! I'm so mad. We were running for the tram on our way to play sports in the park on Saturday, I put my foot in a ditch and it felt as though my foot fell off haha. It hurt so bad and I was jumping around shouting all sorts, people in their cars and on the street were probably finding it quite entertaining. So now I have a fat ankle, I should probably be careful and do stuff to make it heal, do the whole RICE thing, but I'm stupid and went and played footy anyway. so that happened. 

We helped out at the hospice place again, picking up more rocks, they got mad at us because we walked all over the ground where new grass was trying to grow and it was wet too so we kind of made a mess, I feel as though we just make life harder for them when we go there but it's good fun. I've had a lot of funny phone calls with Alvarez this week, most of them end up us just talking about Poznań and Warsaw, can't wait to see him on Wednesday when we have the conference. Had a lady shout 'Ja perfect English' after we invited her to our English class, the typical response here in Poland. 

My farmer tan/missionary tan is doing well. I'll send some pictures to show you how ridiculous I look, especially when I put on a normal t-shirt. Also this week we met a proper cool guy from Austria who we chatted with on a park bench for a good 40 minutes. It felt as though I knew him, the conversation was so easy and spoke about all sorts of things and shared our opinions and beliefs. He's a photographer and we talked a lot about pictures and journals and the importance of keeping a record, so I asked him if he would take some pictures of us so he would have a record and a memory of our meeting. He accepted and so for about 20 minutes we walked around old town in Kraków whilst he looked for spots that would capture a good image, one of the more memorable street contacts I've had. With each person you meet you have to find a common ground, something you can connect on, with the photographer we didn't connect on a spiritual level, our views on God and religion were different, but we connected on the basis that we were both human, people, children of God. Even though he doesn't believe that, at the end of the day, what connects us all together is that we're children of a loving Heavenly Father.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Kraków keeps getting better and better

I say that the Krak keeps getting better and better, mainly because it's hot and the sun is out. It's so easy to have fun here. We've been up to a load of random stuff this week. Here we go.

Monday evening after Pday was over it was our turn to put on an activity for Family Home Evening. I decided that it would be good for those that come to memorise a scripture. The scripture I chose was just your classic 1Nephi 3:7..Wtedy Ja Nefi, Powiedziałem memu Ojcu: Pójdę i Uczynię co Pan nakazał, bo wiem że gdy Pan daje ludziom przykazania, umożliwia im wykonanie tego co nakazuje. I don't know it in English but I have it in Polish. It's a good scripture to have on your mind, knowing that God will always provide for us a way to do something, if we have faith that he will of course. 

Tuesday we had a good district meeting. We had random bursts of laughter throughout, not too sure why, but it happens you know. We were asked to prepare a 5 min part each talking about how we can each become a better and more powerful missionary. I was studying in Nephi about the vision of Lehi about the Tree of Life. In that chapter, we learn a lot about the plan of God and our path to happiness. It's written that Lehi wandered in a dark wilderness for hours until he decided to pray, when he prayed things slowly started to become known unto him and he started to see and understand the mysteries of God. This principle can be applied in our lives too and is what I shared with the Elders during district meeting. If we ever feel as though we're in darkness, we can pray and lightness will fill our lives, that which is good for us is full of light. Prayer is a gift from God that is an invaluabe source of direction and council. We had our English class in the evening. To Elder Hadfield's disgust, I taught them some good 'British' English. They love it but they don't understand a word I'm saying. At one point in the lesson, I said 'neither this nor that', the look on their faces....they asked me to pronounce it properly..which I wasn't until I said it in Polish that they understood.

Wednesday in the morning we did some service. Kind of similar to what we did in Poznan. We went to this old people's home and helped out in the garden. We had to make the land flat and get rid of all the huge stones. We got handed our shovels and rakes and other tools and went to work. The lads that had been hired to do the work on the garden asked me to help them out, they thought I was the only one who understood Polish. There was a fella down a hole who filled up my wheelbarrow with sand and mud and whatever else he dug up, then I just dumped it in random spots all over the garden..just spent a few hours doing that which was hard work, I thought I was fitter than I am!

Thursday we had another English class, the class was so hyped! So we played this game involving questions, and there was a bunch of rules that I won't explain..pretty much everyone wrote 3 questions, 3 random questions which were thrown into a basket and then each person, in turn, would pick a question and depending on what number card you picked from a deck determined what you did with that question. I started out, it so happened that I picked a card that allowed me to make up my own question and ask whoever I me being me I asked Elder Hadfield what happened to his field. The last question asked was by a new lad that came to the class, he gets up and says 'ok seen as you started with a pun it's my turn, he singled me out and looked straight at me much is your ash worth?' the class went wild and I'll give it to him, I've not heard that one 1000 times. I laughed though and shook his hand haha.

On Saturday Maciek, my mate from Warsaw came to Kraków for the weekend and asked if we could meet up. We spent a few hours together which was quality. He's a good lad. 

Sunday I taught the Priesthood lesson at church. It was a good lesson about being converted to the Lord, and the characteristics of these people. I like teaching here, for some reason it feels different than it has in the other cities that I've served in. Hadfield skyped home for Mother's Day so I got to meet his family. It's nice meeting the families of the people you serve around.

That's pretty much what we did this week. I wish you all a solid week, I hope you enjoyed reading this weeks post because it took me ages to type.😉

Do kiedyś

Monday, 8 May 2017

Kraków is the place to be!

Cześć wam! Another week has come and gone, quicker than most I would say. I would like to say it's been a huge eventful week but the first week of every transfer, especially after moving to a new city isn't always the most exciting or eventful. I've met some great people though, some we teach, members from the branch here, people that come to our English class, and then the other Elders in my district are quality lads. One thing that's been a blessing of moving to kraków is my bed, that thing is so comfy it's hard to get out of it each morning, I've got some good sleep in though helping me be ready to take on each day with 100%.

On Tuesday night we had our English class, not many people showed up as it was the end of another Polish holiday. Something nice to see is that everything shuts during most of the holidays, shops, restaurants, even the people shut themselves away. The Polish people really celebrate their holidays, with most of them being religious holidays too it's nice to see the respect they show. Kind of makes it a nightmare for us as missionaries shops open to get a snack during the day and the only people on the streets are tourists and homeless people. The English class was good though. It's the same everywhere I go, it takes people a few weeks to get used to my accent, especially the people in the beginner class. It's so funny having me say a word and then listening to an American pronunciation of it, it confuses the heck out of them.

Wednesday night we heard about an event going down on the small rynek. It was a night of singing patriotic Polish hymns, how could we not go and check it out. So at 5:30 we turned up and there were so many people there, there was a huge stage too with people up there who could actually sing, their job was to lead so that people knew what to sing, they probably knew that we were going to show up. They handed out free hymnals too which was a little bonus. The downside to the evening is that it started raining, that's springtime in Poland for you.

Thursday was a solid day. So hot outside and we spent pretty much all day outside until our English class at 18:30. We printed off 1000 English fliers and handed them all out within about 3 days. Elder Fuhriman said he'd had 6 or 7 people call him to sign up, decent ratio if you ask me, has Poznań beaten by a mile! Before English we had a meeting with a 20-year-old girl who is pretty cool. We teach her English and then she's open to gospel discussion afterwards in which we just teach her our doctrine. A lot of people hold back when it comes to listening to our message. Our message isn't that we want to change the faith of others, it's not that we want to force others to join our church, the desire to change will come naturally as you listen with intent to what the messages we share have to offer. Our message is one of turning outward, loving others and showing faith in making the right steps towards something even better than what you think you already have, nothing is greater and more rewarding than the blessings Heavenly Father has for us.

The branch here is quality, we had about 35 people in church this past Sunday which is mint! A lot of international members so lots of translating. Some good testimonies were shared by the members, I got up too just to introduce myself. One of my MTC teachers Spencer Kimball who served here a few years ago was there so it was nice for him to see how much my Polish has improved since the terrible days of the MTC haha.

I'm looking forward to what Kraków has to offer. There's nothing better than going out for the day with the mindset of doing some good.

We got up and went to Auschwitz this morning.  It was a good trip out there, maybe 1 hour on a bus.  We got up at 5.15am to get out there early.  It felt weird being there again, I know it was 6 years ago I was there last but it seemed as if it wasn't too long ago.  

(note from mum:- our local newspaper wrote this article about Josef visiting Auschwitz in 2011 on a school history trip and how his great grandad had escaped from there during the Second World War)

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