Friday, May 31, 2013

Terra -- Life

We matched, totally. We didn't plan it, 
and we didn't realized it until around 4pm that day. 
Woo hoo!!

Dear Mom,

So this week! What happened this week? Gosh, I don't know. I don't remember. It's all a blur. I mean, it wasn't the best and happiest week, but it wasn't too bad. I mean, I feel good right now, so I'm guessing that means it was a good week. Usually if I'm crying while reading emails, that means it was a pretty rough week. But I'm not crying right now! So that means it was a good week. Hard, but good. My mission president always says that, "hard is good." So it was both I guess. I don't know how I feel about that saying though. I think my favorite saying is, "Money CAN buy happiness." Cause it can. Or at least it can for you and me, Mom. :]  hahaha.

Sunset in Cincinnati. (Well, my camera was on sunset setting...)

Okay, I want to tell you about all the work going on in our area. BUT, as I tell you, you cannot judge or think that I am being prideful for saying this. The work has being going extremely well here, and I've been trying to figure out how to tell you how good it is without sounding like I'm bragging. But I'm not bragging!  I'm just thankful, and want to share, and inspire that PROGRESSIVE MISSIONARY WORK IS POSSIBLE.  Because sometimes it feels like it's not. But here are just some wonderful indicators from our area. Sister Stump, Sister Ward and I have 5 baptisms this weekend, 2 next weekend, and 1 the weekend after that. This week we had 12 of our investigators as church. We hardly get any tracting in because we have so many appointments. I'm telling you, if my entire mission could be like, that would be amazing. I cannot even tell you how cool it is to work with these people. Miracles are happening left and right. And honestly, all of these people getting baptized and coming to church are falling into our laps. And that's the truth. It's not because of us, it's because they have been prepared by God and they are ready for the gospel to be in their lives. They have been SO prepared. It's ridiculous. I am so thankful to be in an area where Heavenly Father has placed so many of His select people who are willing and ready to hear the message of the Restoration. SO THANKFUL.

"One by one, until it's done." I love reading Dad's notes in my scriptures. Especially things we grew up learning.
This is my "Half Blood Prince" Book of Mormon. I feel like Harry Potter with all of Dad's notes.
Recognize this, Lexie?

But still I find myself with so many vain struggles. Enos talks about that in the Book of Mormon. He wrote about his struggles being vain. Of course, his struggles were vain because he was trying to change the hearts of the Lamanites, who at the time, would not. So his "vain struggles" are quite different than mine. Mine are "Terra vain struggles". I want to be a missionary. I want to want to be a missionary. I am a missionary, but I don't always want to be a missionary. That's one of my biggest struggles. But I do want to be a missionary! I don't know, brains are crazy. People can have so many opposite ideas. Or maybe that's just me. But it is a little discouraging because there is quite a bit of what I very much so want to change about myself, but I haven't yet changed it. But I'm trying. I am trying. But I know I'm still the same in a lot of categories. *sigh* Come on! JUST CHANGE! I just want to change. For the better, obviously. But I don't know, it's not coming very quickly. Whatever. Obla-dee Obla-da, life goes on.

At a nursing home. This poodle was just sitting there so cutely and lonely!!

Me and Sister Stump!
Four months. Weird. 

I'm four months old. I don't remember what it was like the last time I was four months old, but I imagine it being similar to how I feel now: Used to a lot of things, but yet still so inexperienced; wants to cry a lot but knows that people are used to it by now; not quite a newborn, but still needs a lot of help everyday; WANTS TO BE WITH MY MOM. I miss you, Mom. But hey, it's alright. Your letters suffice. :] I love them.

Well, if I find more to share, I will share it. I love you all. Make good choices. Floss your teeth. Be careful what you pray for. :]

Love, Terra

Hiding at the piano.
Ohhhhh lovely mornings.

P.S. from Renee -- The background story to Terra's quote about "Money CAN buy happiness" is from last summer.  Terra was home for a month and was having a down day.  I said, "Let's go to the thrift store!" so we went.  We donated a few bags of whatever it was we were getting rid of that day and then we walked around the store for a bit.  Terra was SO EXCITED because she found some black and white checkerboard fabric that she had been wanting and had pictured in her mind would make a really cute skirt or jumper!  (The fact that neither of us really sew didn't deter her in any way).  We walked around some more and I found an old Raggedy Ann doll in really great condition.  (Terra collects soft dolls with red hair and I had thought of getting her a Raggedy Ann doll for her birthday, but opted for Pippi Longstocking instead.  After her birthday she said that she'd like to get Raggedy Ann someday and this was was only $1 instead of the $20 they were selling for on ebay!)  We found a few other great things for next to nothing. After we got home, Terra was in much better spirits and  said, "Mom, they say 'Money can't buy happiness, but it really can!"  I agreed and told her we did a triple whammy.  Yes, it's fun to go go shopping.  But we added to that joy by also finding goods that we'd been on the hunt for AND getting them for a really low price.  All very fun things to brighten our day!  So it's our own little inside joke. :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Drake -- Today is my 3 month mark of my mission!

In front of our church -- it's a little building
Hey mom,

3 months already! Pretty crazy. 1/8 of the way through my mission already.

This week was pretty cold and rainy in Bydgoszcz. Do you guys ever look at what the weather is like here in Bydgoszcz?
Haha! You could even send me a 5-day forecast for the week!! Because we have no idea what is coming up in the weather each week!

River Brda -- This is the river we live right next to
Bydgozcz sunset on the Brda River!
Looks pretty cool!
These are the trams that we always take everywhere.
We had 12 lessons this week. Which is a lot! It's the most we've ever gotten. We also gave out 8 Book of Mormons. Which is the most we've done ever, too. So, I guess it was a pretty productive week.

Adam (the 12 year old boy who got baptized last week) got the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday.I got to participate in that, so that was good.

This is Adam and his parents, Renate, and Marek.
He wouldn't take the blanket off his head.
We got a new investigator this week. Her name is Rose and she is like 14 years old. She is in our English class, that is where we found her. So we help her with English but we are going to start teaching her, too.

Walking around Bydgoszcz
Starszy Harris

We also have a potential investigator that we met on the street whose name is Paula. We had just gone to McDonalds and they have the Monopoly sticker thing going on there like they do in the United States sometimes. So they gave me a little brochure for the game with my meal. So I put the stickers on it and then put it in the Book of Mormon I was holding. 

Then we met Paula and I gave her the Book of Mormon, but had forgotten that the McDonalds thing was in there. So she was holding it. And then I remember that the Monopoly things was in there! So I asked for it back, and took it out. It was funny. haha

Bydgoszcz Chapel
Pointing to our chapel on the street

Also, we pass out a lot of pass along cards. We usually say "Zapraszamy" and hand them the card. Which means, "We invite"
So I was crossing the street and there was this teenage couple walking behind me and I accidentally dropped a pass along card. So the girl picked it up to hand it to me. And I just smiled and said, "Zapraszamy!" And she smiled and said "Aha..." Haha, and then I just kept walking. So that was funny too.

Contacting on the street!
Not everyone stops to listen

Our investigator Franciszek is having a hard time with the Law of Tithing. He believes in it but doesn't think it is possible for him to pay it. So we are trying to help him with that but it is being hard because it is such an obstacle for him.

What did James say about the Pokemon cards? Was he excited?

This week, I also have my 1 month mark in Poland. Which is insane. It went by so fast. Which means we are also almost halfway through the transfer as well.

I love you!

-Starszy Drake Allen

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Terra -- Happy, yet again.

Happy, yet again.

It's humid in Ohio. Inside it feels pretty good. Outside, it feels sticky. But you know what, I like the humidity AS LONG as there are clouds covering the sun. If there are no clouds, then it's way way way too hot. And the bueno. Well, yes bueno kind of.


Okay best thing I have thought of this week. I love coming up with my own sayings. Invite everyone to quote me as often as they would like, I wouldn't mind being famously quoted. But this week I've been working on humility. I've been careful not to pray to be humbled (because we all know how that goes...trials, trials, and more trials...) but have been praying that I can be humble (without a "d". It makes a HUGE difference with how God responds to your prayers). Because I've realized something. This week we had a big sisters training meeting up at the mission home with all of the sisters, and the meeting was six hours long. Six hours...that's a long time to learn a lot. By the end I felt so humble. I took notes like nobody's business (in cursive, with my right hand, I might add--which by the way is going well) and just took everything in. I felt so humble. And I felt so happy! And then I realized, humble=happy. When you are humble you are happy! Or at least, I am. When I am humble, that's when I can find the happiness in everything, and soak myself in it. They should change the primary song "When we're helping we're happy..." to "When we're humble we're happy...and we sing as we go!!!" So at the end of my notes I wrote, "life is much more enjoyable for the humble soul." Because it is. Being humble is the happiest way to be. It really is. I've worked on humbling myself a lot more this week, and it has given me a lot more peace and a lot more happiness. And the week went by a lot faster! In fact, this has been the first fast week in my mission. 

Also, everyday I write a list. I call my list "Daily Affirmations", and each morning I write down 49 things that I love. And each sentence all starts with "I love..." There are 49 instead of 50, because I leave the top line of the page blank (Mr. Morita taught it to us, telling us that it looks better, and I've had that habit ever since). A few today were, "I love paper...I love simplicity...I love Thor...I love mountains...I love stuffing." There are so many things that I love, and I haven't seemed to run out of things yet. 

President Nilsen gave all the sisters
flowers at the training meeting :]


Sister Stump is just like Emma!

Well, I need to cut this short. Enjoy the pictures. I'm happy. I hope you all are too. Lots of love!!!

Love, Terra Belle

We were sort of having a photoshoot.  Sort of.


Hahahahaha ahhhhhh :]

The hair flip.

The hair flip 2.0


model jump!
P.S. from Renee -- Somehow this giraffe picture didn't get sent last week.  I'll add it to the last post, too, so it can be with it's other zoo friends, but for those of you just reading this, here you go!  Maybe it will be like Mission Impossible (no pun intended, truly!) and after a week, this photo the giraffe with self-destruct and no longer be on this post!

Feeding a giraffe

Monday, May 20, 2013

Drake -- Pierwzy Chrzest w Polsce!

Dear Mom,

So, the subject means... drumroll please!
First baptism in Poland!

His name is Adam! He is the 12 year old son of a member in our branch named Renata. The person in the picture who baptized him is his Step-Dad and is named Marek. The baptism was so awesome! It was at a swimming pool! Because they don't have a font. So that was different.

Adam and Marak
I got to participate in his confirmation on Sunday, which was very cool. It was the first time I've gotten to do that.

So lately, Bydgoszcz has been very hot and humid. But sometimes it just starts pouring rain super hard suddenly.

Random thunderstorm in the middle of a super hot day!

We teach English class once a week on Wednesday's at the chapel. It's actually really fun. haha... It's kind of funny to hear all these old people try to speak English because they all say everything so funny... haha
We teach English as a means to try to find people to teach.

Oh... Jasmine, our investigator from Denmark dropped us this week... :(
She's been meeting with missionaries for years. She told us she didn't want to meet with us anymore... which is very sad :(
We only have 2 investigators now. Well, actually, Robert, our investigator with a baptismal date in June, his wife is starting to get interested so we are going to try to start teaching her too! And they are about to have a baby soon! So maybe we'll have another family in the Bydgoszcz branch!

Have you guys looked up pictures of Bydgoszcz? Have you looked where my apartment is on Google Earth? You should do that for family home evening!

The bridge we walk over every day
Tell James I got some more awesome Pokemon cards! Tell him I got a Level X Lucario, a Gyarados (with a Magikarp), and Magmortar (full set with Magby and Magmar) That should make him excited!

There was a scary concert thing on the river right next to where we live this week. It went on for days and was super loud. There were people drinking and smoking marajuana;  it was pretty scary. But we are still alive!

Walking around Bydgoszcz
I am still waiting for letters from home! Has Lexie sent one yet?

Starszy Drake Allen

Sunday, May 19, 2013

More pictures from Drake's mission president's wife.

Sister Nielson posted more pictures of Drake and other missionaries from his district on her blog.  I'll just copy and paste a selection from what she posted. Enjoy!

This morning we are in Bydgoszcz for Specialized Training.  President does his "Good, BETTER, BEST" training every once in awhile and wanted one last time to make sure all his missionaries knew what the difference was...

Because President uses a power point presentation, the room needs to be darker.  To help block out the windows and set everything up, we rely on our great Elders.  President brings his own large trash bags and duct tape.  His motto can use duct tape for anything. During our stay in Poland, he has found many uses for "bailing wire and duct tape".

 The great missionaries in the Bydgoszcz and Gdansk Districts.  Sisters Swenson and Young with Elders Allen and Harris.  Elders Vernon, Skolmoski, White and Wilson.

These young men were passing out some fliers for the Monte Cassino.  At first we thought they were Polish Scouts.  Then we realized they were young men announcing the exhibition of the Monte Cassino  (not like the casinos we have in Las Vegas... but the battle).   The uniforms they had on were British Army uniforms because when the Polish Army came in to support and save the British Armies, New Zealanders, South African and French troops, they had no uniforms.  They took British uniforms and put their Polish patches and insignias on them.  Something we learned from our excellent, local and friendly tour guide-  Artur. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Terra -- I went to the ZOO!!!

What a beautiful day in the neighborhood!
Tres Companeras!
Dear mom, 

Another short email. I went to the zoo today. Saw lots of animals. Rode a few. FED A GIRAFFE. 

I <3 U
So here's some cool news. Sister Stump, Sister Ward and I are leading our zone!! :] The assistants keep texting and calling us and asking us what we are doing to be doing so well and such. THAT IS COOL. That is really great encouragement. Truly though, all the people we've met and taught/are teaching have fallen into our hands. This is a blessed area. 

Gettin' the mail after a service project.
The orphanage in the basement.
Polar Bear.
I'm sure proud of my picture skills.
White Lion.
I miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium!!!!
Sister Ward and the gator!
Sister Stump and the gator!
Sister Allen and the gator!

I took plenty of pictures of this rhino, but everyone loves a rhino's bottom the best, including me.
That's a real rhino!!!
Okay, it's not real. But it was really tall and it was very scary to be on top of. I don't recommend heights to anyone.

Feeding a giraffe
The white handbook doesn't say anything about
not proselyting to statues.
So, sorry this is short. No letters will be written today either, we only have an hour left of P-Day and we still have to go to the grocery store. Sad day! But I got to talk to you all on the phone yesterday which was WONDERFUL. I loved hearing all of your voices. :] 

So, sorry this is short, but there are lots of pictures!

I love you all!!

Love, Terra

We fell!  Doesn't look very real, does it?
This one's better.  We're in Ohio.
The other side of the river is Kentucky.
Sister Stump caught a frog!
Staring contest.  He won.