Monday, June 24, 2013

Terra -- Lancaster

Fun flowers and my little mini Terra doll!

The computers at this library are SUPER slow with uploading pictures. And we have less time as this library, so I'm too impatient to wait for the pictures to upload one by one. But I'll try to send some at the end of this computer session.

Wow, this week was hard. Why? You know what, I don't really know. No that's a lie, I know exactly why. I figured it out part way through the week. Probably on Thursday or--no no, I figured it out on Wednesday. Sister Reed was reading a talk to us while we were driving to an appointment. I don't remember what the talk was, nor do I remember who it was by or what it was about, but while she was reading it, I gained some personal revelation. I realized something: A selfish person cannot live a selfless life and be happy. It just doesn't happen! It just doesn't work! And I realized that that is a HUGE reason why I have been struggling. A mission life is a selfless life. I am a selfish person. But I am living a selfless life, and therefore, I am not happy! It all makes sense now. But not the hard part is to become selfless. Line upon line... always.

My lovely companions!

The mission broadcast last night was incredible. I cried during each video. Especially the first video where it showed a family, and each member of the family reached out to someone and shared the gospel with them. That is exactly what missionary work is supposed to be like! The work hastens through the members! We need the members! Members are to find and fellowship, missionaries are to teach them. There's a fine line for missionaries when it comes to gaining their trust and becoming their friend and being only a missionary. Does that make sense? No, that doesn't make sense. Okay, well what I'm trying to say is, our purpose as missionaries is not to sit and chat with people, and get to know them, and be their friend. That sounds harsh. Of course we are supposed to be their friend! Everyone should be friends! But what I mean is that we have a different calling and a different purpose. We are to teach them about the gospel, and invite them to come to Christ. If we are spending too much time getting to know them, then we're not using our time to its best efficiency! That's why members are so crucial. The members need to fellowship. Our ideas of what missionaries are is really the definition of what members are supposed to be. The members ARE THE MISSIONARIES. We are simply there to assist the members in the work. Elder Russel M. Nelson said that. When I am no longer a missionary, I am going to share the gospel with all of my friends!! All of them!! Why shouldn't I? And of course, I'm going to do that while I'm a missionary as well. :] With the people here. But just last night, I gained such a strong testimony of the power of the members. Members are everything. 

Wow, let me get off my pedestal. Sorry, I was just excited.

Our new apartment!  I love it!

Okay. So we had a wedding and a baptism here in Lancaster this weekend. Our investigators, Bobby Jo and Keith got married on Saturday , and got baptized Sunday morning! Exciting! And...SISTER WARD GOT TO COME!!!!!!!!!! Sister Ward was in Lancaster before she was in Eastgate, and she was actually one of the missionaries who started teaching Bobby Jo and Keith. So we worked it out so that she could come. Let me tell you something, I love that girl. I can't put into words how amazing she is. When I was companions with her, I knew she was awesome. But being away from her, good heavens. I learned SO MUCH from her. About missionary work, and about life. COMPANIONS ARE THE BEST. That was the last time I will see her until after my mission. In just a week or so, we will no longer be in the same mission. Sad day. I wanted to stay in Cincinnati, but for some reason, I am in Columbus, and here I shall stay. And I'll always be grateful for those LOVELY, WONDERFUL, AND FANTASTIC months in Cincinnati.

Our run in the morning 

THANK YOU FOR THE DRIED MANGOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SO MUCH HAPPINESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Times running out! xoxoxox

Love, Terra

I caught Sister Reed by surprise  :D

Drake -- Photos from the Family Home Evening BBQ last week

Note from Renee : Kelley Kagele highlighted this BBQ on her blog, Never A Dull Day in Poland, last week, but I thought I'd include some additional photos here that she provided for us Missionary Moms on Facebook.  She has more details there on her blog.  It's really fun to get a sense of Drake in his interactions with the church members there in Bydgoszcz.

I think my favorite part is seeing how they set up the chairs :).  The BBQ was held in the back yard of their church building.  

The man with the white hair and the woman in lavender are the Nielson's -- the mission president and his wife.  This was their last visit to Bydgoszcz before they are released from their callings and return back to the United States next week.  

Drake -- Still in Bydgoszcz

Tired and sweaty
Dear Mom,

Yup, so as you already know. I am staying here in Bydgoszcz. Which I am very happy about. I really wanted to stay here because I like it a lot here.
Elder Harris is going to Warsaw to be a Zone Leader, which is super exciting. But I am sad that he is leaving. My new companion will be Elder Stockford. I have never met him, but I will meet him soon!  This week.

Transfer Board of Guesses
Some missionaries make up their own transfer board to guess where people are going.  Here's mine! ha ha  (You can click on the photo to read it better)

That is so cool that Taylor Edginton is going to Argentina! Tell him that is awesome! Where did his brother go, again? Somewhere in South America, right? So they will be able to speak Spanish together. That's cool.

So I was wondering, who are the Moms that you are friends with through your email group thing? Like what are their last names?

Panoramic shot of us at Manekin (restaurant)
We had Zone Conference this week, which was super awesome. I got to see Elder Waskiewicz, which was really good because I missed him a lot. I think he is staying in Szczecin though, which is in my Zone, so I will see him again next Zone Conference.

We went and saw My Fair Lady (in Polish)  for culture night this week. It was pretty good!  One a transfer we are allowed to take a night to do a cultural activity like going and seeing a play, or stuff like that.

The opera house where we saw My Fair Lady

That's sad about Mr. Hart. :(  I'll try to send him a message.

VERY hot this week !
So it looks like James was dressing up like Link, am I right? :) That's a pretty cool hat he has there! Isn't that my Robin Hood hat? From when I dressed up as Robin Hood with Austin Penfold in like the first grade? How did he find that?

It was reallllllly reallly hot this week. It got up to 105 degrees... And it's just the beginning of summer.. So I am not excited for that! Oh well.

Starszy Drake Allen

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Terra -- Lancaster, Ohio

Brand new Sister Burton with Terra
(texted to Renee from a woman at transfers)
Well as you probably know by now, I am in Lancaster Ohio! It is a lot more beautiful than Eastgate (but I still absolutely love Eastgate) but I left my camera in Eastgate, so I have no pictures to send home this week. Sorry about that. But that's okay. So! I am training two sisters. I'm finished the second half of Sister Reed's training (she came out 1 transfer ago) and starting the training for Sister Burton (she came out just this past transfer). So...that's been a little bit of a whirlwind. They are both pretty timid, so I've had to pull out my "crazy Terra" side quite often. It's interesting though how being put in a leadership position changes your perspective and the way you work. I have had to completely switch around my mindset. I have had to cast away all fears of being shy myself. We can't have 3 shy missionaries in one area!!! What would get done?! So I've really had to step up the plate. But it's been okay. It's been fun to be able to use my own ideas for how we can help the work progress. 

During my first personal study in our new apartment (which is SUPER CUTE by the way) I was feeling a little stressed inside. And also super upset. Okay, let me tell you this. During the transfer meeting, when I found out that I was not with Sister Stump anymore and not in Cincinnati anymore, my heart just broke. It was one of the worst feelings I have ever felt. That's the truth! I held in tears the entire meeting, my face hurt from holding them back. And then at the end when we sang "Nearer My God to Thee" I just lost it. Why? Why was I being separated with companions I loved and worked so well with? Why was I being taken away from an area I love? I was so angry, and hurt, and so sad. Just so so sad. But I had to hide that all away when we drove to our new area. Anways, the first morning we were in our new place, I was sitting at my desk. I was observing everything on the desk. An old bin with pens in it..papers. And I looked in the one drawer it had. Inside was a quote on old water-colored paper. The quote read,

 "Just when all seems to be going right, challenges often come in multiple doses, applied simultaneously. When these trails are not consequences of your disobedience, they are evidence that the Lord feels you are prepared to grow more. He therefore gives you experiences that stimulate growth, understanding and compassion which polish you for your everlasting benefit. To get you from where you are to where He wants you to be requires a lot of stretching, and that generally entails discomfort and pain." --Richard G. Scott

I folded it up, and put it in my Book of Mormon. I am keeping that quote forever. I was definitely meant to read that that morning. I realized that it's not about being comfortable. Missions aren't supposed to be comfortable. Growth isn't supposed to be comfortable. I was comfortable in Eastgate. I was comfortable with Sister Stump and Sister Ward. It was time for me to leave and grow some more somewhere else. Richard G. Scott's testimony really helped me. I read this quote nearly everyday now and I probably will each day for a while. The Lord feels that I am prepared to grow more, so I am going to do my best to remember that and to trust Him.

Love, Terra

Monday, June 17, 2013

Drake -- Transfer calls in less than a week!

Prison in Toruń

Dear Mom,

As you can see by the subject, we get transfer calls in one week. So I don't know what will happen, but I hope I stay in Bydgoszcz.

This week we went to a city called Toruń. We have a member family that lives there and comes on a bus to church each Sunday. We went and visited them. Toruń is super cool. It's a super old city and the old town is like inside a giant castle. It felt like we were walking through a medieval town because there are all these vendors selling handmade stuff, swords, bows, coins, and woodcarvings. It was wayyyyyy awesome.

Part of the castle


It's like a medieval city inside of a castle
It's super cool!

Oh, I forgot to tell you that 2 P-Days ago, the Kagele's took us go-carting, which was super fun. We went with the other Elders and Sister Kagele's son Kyle.

Today we have a BBQ as a branch and President and Sister Nielson are coming. It will be their last time in Bydgoszcz. Then tomorrow, we have Zone Conference where we meet with the missionaries from Gdańsk, Poznań, and Szczecin. Elder Waszkiewicz is actually going to be staying at our apartment tonight, which I am super excited for. Then on Thursday is Elder Harris' year mark. And on Friday is our cultural night where we are going to go see the musical My Fair Lady (in Polish, of course.) Then on Sunday we get transfer calls. So it's going to be a pretty crazy week!

Last district meeting this transfer
Our small chapel
We don't have any progressing investigators right now, which really stinks. So we just have to keep looking for people to teach.

Because we have so much to do today, I don't have very much emailing time. So tell everybody I say, "Hi" because I won't have time to reply this week.


Starszy Drake Allen

Bus to Toruń

Countryside of Poland!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Drake -- Happy Birthday to Starszy Harris

From Renee:

Kelley Kagele posted some pictures on her blog of Drake at her Bible Study group she teaches.  She surprised Starszy Harris by celebrating his birthday!

Drake playing the part of the rock star that he is
A super happy Starszy Harris!
The Bible Study group enjoying the cookies
(Drake behind the girl in the pink skirt)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Terra -- Getting Transferred!!!

2/3 of Sister Stump + Sister Ward and me
Cincinnati East Zone!!
The sisters!  Boom baby!
Our District at the Olive Garden
Today is my last day in Eastgate. Sad day, but that's okay. It's sometimes best to leave things at its best moments so that the memories of them are wonderful. So that's what's happening here. Tonight we're going to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir perform in Columbus. Super missionary treat, I'm so excited!!! And then tomorrow we have our transfer meeting, and then I'll find out where I am going. Could be Columbus, could be Cincinnati. Who knows what mission I will be in! Who really cares, I'll be doing the same thing whichever. Except no, I do care. I like Cincinnati, I'm biased. I don't know what Columbus is like, and I'm just expecting that nowhere is greater than Eastgate. And that's probably the truth, but you still can never be sure. Unless you're sure. Then you're sure. Obviously. And that doesn't even make sense.

BAPTISMS!!!!!!!!!  YAY!!!
Bye Bye Jody's family :[
Bye Rachael!!

So let me tell you something. At the end of my second transfer, Sister Ward and I were on the phone with President Nilsen. We wanted to stay together so badly for the next transfer and it was like 99% sure that we would be split up. While we were on the phone with President, we told him, "President! If you keep us together another transfer we promise you 10 baptisms!!!!" And he was just quiet. Then he said something along the lines of, "That would be nice." We felt very stupid afterwards. Well, we were kept together, and we kept our promise. This past Saturday , we had our 10th and 11th baptisms. We were so excited to call President Nilsen and tell him that we reached our goal, and so excited to tell him that we kept our promise!! We expected him to be super proud of us and super excited to hear it when we told him. But when we told him on the phone, he gently said, "Remember to thank your Heavenly Father for this tender mercy." And he probably said a few more words, but none were of excitement or being proud of us. We were confused. WE GOT 11 BAPTISMS! We exceeded our goal! But the way he responded was perfect. It humbled me. It humbled all of us. He really doesn't care about the numbers at all, he doesn't care about whether or not we are some great missionaries in some great area. He cares about what God cares about. And God cares about each person individually as His child. 11 baptisms or 1 baptism. Heavenly Father is happy with either. He has more joy with more of His children, but He will never be disappointed with just 1. This was a humbling short conversation with President. And it was perfect.

Our mini-missionaries with us at the big pond.

Just another story; it's super. Jon (who is 10 and was baptized in April) was praying the other night. During his prayer he thanked our Heavenly Father for his blessings. And then he said, "Is the Book of Mormon true?--Wait a minute, never mind. I already know that it's true." Cutest thing ever. I got to teach him and Drew and Bubby ( ages 10, 9, and 11) the other night and read from the Book of Mormon with them while the others were talking to Jody. Their insights were pure, and their answers were direct and perfect. I LOVE LITTLE KIDS. And I love their testimonies. AND I LOVE JACK PETERSON AND THE PARIS KIDS AND THE BARTON KIDS AND GRANT AND ALL OF THE CUTE KIDS IN SANTA CRUZ. I can't wait to see all of them again.

Okay, no more time. The next time I write I'll be in a different area. Super fun! 

Hey everybody! CHOOSE THE RIGHT! Love you all.

Love, Terra

James and I both share an affinity for turtle culture


Clean desks are the best!

This flower wanted to see out the window, too.

Talking to some really rich people