Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Drake -- Eggs!

Little old Village of Fordon

Hey Mom, I have a favor to ask of you

Can you go to Wikipedia and type in "Bydgoszcz"

Then copy and paste the history of Bydgoszcz and email it to me so that I can print it out and read it?

And can you do the same with Toruń and Fordon?  


(Note from Renee -- While doing that for Drake, I learned that Fordon is the largest district of Bydgoszcz, with over 75,000 people, dating back to 1112).

Old Town Fordon

Church in Fordon

Good news!

There was a miscommunication between Sister Edgren and the APs and the Zone Leaders and we ARE allowed to hardboil eggs!!!

She just said that we need to made sure that eggs are thoroughly cooked and somehow when it got down to our level, it came out as "only scramble eggs."

It's like the telephone game!

So I have egg salad sandwiches for breakfast! Yay!

I got the package!
It was awesome!
I love all the chocolate milks!! I got so excited about that!!!
The muffin got kind of moldy, but I took off the mold and still ate it!

So, I am not the biggest fan of Cheez-its
So I will be sharing a lot of those with my companion... haha
But I do like the Goldfish!

And thanks for the Johnny's!!!!

Love, Drake

Elder Stockford eating a Kabob
Church near where we live

Monday, July 22, 2013

Drake -- I'm not a trainee anymore!

Polish License Plate!

Dear Mom,

So, the 12 week training program is over and I am no longer a trainee! Now I am just a junior companion!

So, we went back to get the information on the guy who died in the creepy house. And we got some different stories. One person said he died a year ago, one said two years ago. One person said he died in the hospital in Wrocław. but it seems like all the stories sum up to that he died about a year ago in a hospital because he was really sick.

We also went to Toruń again this week. Like always, it was awesome! I love that town. We want to go back there again for culture night and visit Copernicus' planeterium!

Statue of Nicholas Copernicus

He was born and lived in Toruń!!!

It's what Toruń is famous for...

He's the famous astronomer who discovered that the center of the Solar System was the Sun, not the Earth.

Remember on Bryan Regan,
"The big yellow one is the sun!!"
"Wow...You're breaking some new ground there, Copernicus..."

That is SOO crazy that James has a job! Does he just love it? I laughed so hard at that! His costume is awesome!

This week we had a miracle. We went out contacting on the street with the destination of stopping by a less-active members home. We contacted to their house, but when we talked to them on the domofon, they said we couldn't come in and hung up on us. So a little discouraged, we went back on the street to keep contacting. Nobody was stopping to talk to us. 

But then, all of a sudden a teenage boy came and rode up on his bike as fast as he could and stopped right in front of us. Completely out of breath, he said, "Mam do was pytanie!" (I have a question for you!) It took him a while to catch his breath, but afterwards he told us that a while ago one of our missionaries had invited him to come church, but he had never gotten around to it. He saw us and wanted to ask us what our church is like. He had so many questions. We talked to him for almost an hour. We were able to teach him about the restoration and answer his many questions. 

He told us that he had been in an accident recently and was near death. The doctors told him that he wasn't going to live. For the first time in his life, he began to wonder if there was a God, and if there was, if he could save him. So he began to pray. He says that he knows that God saved his life and now he has faith in God.

As we told him about our church and about the Book of Mormon, he just kept saying, "Na pewno to jest dla mnie!" (For sure, this is for me!) He told us that he doesn't drink or smoke. We gave him a Book of Mormon. He kept saying, "Przeczytam! Naprawdę przeczytam!" (I going to read this! I am really going to read this!)  He gave us his number and wants to meet with us. He wasn't able to make it to church because he was out of town with his family, but we are in contact with him. His name is Dawid and he is 17 years old.

Toruń church

I learned a few things from this wonderful experience. First of all, it is SO important that we are actually outside and working. We may not always be able to find people, but being outside looking for people sure makes it a lot easier for them to find us!

Second, that missionary who invited him to come to church may have thought that nothing would ever become of that contact he had. But he planted a seed. We also do that for future missionaries.

In Toruń

Oh, because missionaries are getting sick. Some new mission rules were made. We are only allowed to scramble eggs!

Do you know what this means?!?! I can't fry or HARD BOIL eggs!!! I am heartbroken and devasted because I make egg salad sandwiches ALL the time! AAAH! :( But maybe it will be just temporary.

Oh, in your next package, I don't know when that will be. Can you send me some red pencils? For scripture marking.

Alrighty, this week is my 5 month mark!

Elder Drake Allen

Toruń street
They sell all these medieval weapon things -- it's cool!

 Sword duel in Toruń -- cool stuff!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Terra -- Back Home!

Note from Renee -- As many of you know, Terra came home from her mission in Ohio a little over a week ago.  She completed her mission at 6 months due to some health concerns.  It all came about quite quickly, and we were in Utah for a family reunion, so she flew into Salt Lake City to be with us there.  We are so proud of our Terra for the fabulous work that she did and know that she touched many lives in the Ohio Columbus Mission!  

The kids made welcome signs at Cebre's house

We know you want to see the details on James'
morphed Ditto welcome sign

We waited and waited and waited and waited.

And after seeing over 100 people come down the escalator, 
(and look at our signs) we finally spotted Terra!

Tears of joy

Together with Terra again!

As we left the airport, Scott suggested that Terra have a simple answer for any friends or relatives who may wonder what happened, how she's doing, etc.  Terra said that she liked Kirby Heyborne's response in "The R.M." movie . . . , so we'll just let him answer for her:  :)

Terra's home and she's doing great!  We love having her with us again!

(edited several months later -- I just have to add this fabulous picture of Terra at BYU -- she's doing great in school and loves working on campus as a Graphic Designer)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Drake -- Scary Building

Note from Renee:  I woke up at 4:00 a.m. today so I could be on the computer when Drake was writing -- so we mostly wrote back and forth and by the end, he realized he didn't have time for a longer email.  So today  it's mostly pictures with a "scary story" about this building he found.  Too bad it's not Halloween, so this post would be more fitting!

I cut my own hair for the first time in my life!
Also, here I am in my European missionary garb. 
Slim fit shirt with no pocket and a skinny tie. Yup.

Scary Building 
The story is coming...
Wait for the story...

So, one evening we were going out searching for less active members in our branch.
We saw that this one man lived really close to us, so we decided to visit him.
When we got to the address it was this scary old worn out building from a ghost town.

But we went inside where it was super dark and it felt like we were in a horror movie. We went up these creaky old wooden stairs and found the door to his apartment. We knocked, but no one answered. Then this old man came out of his apartment across the hall. We told him we were looking for Andrzej.

He told us, "On nie żyje." That means, "He's dead!"
He told us he died two months ago, but that he lived there.
We thanked him for the information and left.
We got out of the building and were like, 
"What just happened?!?! Are we in a scary movie or something?!"
It was crazy. 

So we told the branch president because no one in the branch knew that he had died. He told us to go back his apartment and ask his neighbor about the details of his death. So we are going to be heading back this week. Hopefully the only ghost there is the Holy Ghost helping us!

(In case you missed the look on Drake's face!)

Teaching Adam the Word of Wisdom
We played Jenga and used the analogy that when we disobey the Word of Wisdom (taking a block out) it makes our body weaker.
He thought it was fun.
Everytime we took turns taking out a block, we had to say something that was against the Word of Wisdom.
Do zobaczenia!! 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Terra -- Transferred!!

Got to do exchanges with Sister McDougle!!

I'm no longer in Lancaster!! There was an emergency transfer this past Wednesday morning and I was moved up to Delaware, Ohio and am now companions with Sister Stump. And I love Sister Stump. It is very fun being with her. I already know that we're going to be good friends forever. And I mean forever. 

So Delaware, Ohio. It's a cute old city town. Well, it's got a cute downtown. Our apartment is two stories like the one in Lancaster. And it has been raining like CRAZY this week. Which is wonderful, because of my new love for the rain. Last night was a crazy storm again. The thunder was so loud!! It was as loud as that one time Jenna spent the night and we both woke up and got super scared. I think the lightning must have been right above us. BECAUSE IT WAS LOUD. Kind of fun, but I really wanted to sleep.

Visiting someone in the hospital-
we got to wear fun yellow dress things!

We have some investigators, none are really progressing. The work isn't going very swiftly here. There are elders in our ward as well, they're our zone leaders. So we share the ward, which confuses things sometimes, but I think we've figured it out. 

For the fourth of July we decided to do some street contacting, because we figured people would be out downtown. We planned to go during the parade at 4pm. Well, it turns out the parade ended at 4 and started at 3, so no one was there. But we walked up and down the street and talked to some people. We talked to one guy named Josh who was sitting by a building out of the rain, and it was a really good conversation. We got super wet, but it wasn't cold so it was okay. Sister Stump and I both felt that the Spirit was there and that the conversation went really well, and he accepted a return appointment, but the next day he called us and told us he didn't want us to come, and then he hung up. We had a few people drop us this week. Never fun. But Preach My Gospel in chapter 9 says that no effort is wasted! But sometimes it feels like it is. Sometimes it's hard to be faithful. Sometimes it's hard to be a missionary.

So this email isn't 100% super cheery. But it is cheery because I'm with Sister Stump again, and I love her. I wish we could be companions my entire mission. The rain is good too. And it was fun feeding a baby cow. 

Love, Terra

Feeding little cows (calves, if you want to get technical)!
They were strong little fellas.
Columbus zoo!  Bats.  Aren't they wonderful?
Our friend, the gorilla
Windy, windy on the bridge

Drake -- SPLASH!

Patriotism! ~ 4th of July

Dear Mom,

So this week was interesting. A lot happened.

First of all, one evening we were contacting in a park. And I saw some little ducklings in a pond. I knew how to say duck, but not duckling in Polish.
So I went and asked some old ladies sitting on a bench how to say duckling. (Whenever we have a question about the language we always ask someone, like the next person you see, because it's a great conversation starter and the next question they ask is always, "Who are you? Why are you learning Polish? And why are you in Poland?") "Well let me tell you..." :)

So they taught me how to say it, "Kaczuszka". Then they were asking me about who I was. Then one of them asked me what I thought was, "Jak polski ci się podoba?" meaning, "How do you like Polish?" People ask that a lot. So I said, "BARDZO mi się podoba!" meaning, "I REALLY like it!"
But... that's not what they asked... See, there is one letter difference between "polski" and "polki" The first one means the polish language, which is what I thought she said, and then there is "polki", which means Polish Women...
...So she had asked how I liked Polish girls. And I had replied, "I REALLY like them!!"
Then Elder Stockford realized what they said and said to me, "Elder, they are talking about the girls, not the language!"
So I was like, OH!
So I turned back to the lady and said... "Well, we are missionaries and we need to focus on our work."
Oh gosh...
Elder Stockford would not stop laughing afterwards.
So that was funny.

For the Fourth of July, we wore patriotic ties. (See picture I sent) We taped a little American flag to the railing of our balcony. We sang the National Anthem and America, The Beautiful. We read scriptures from the Book of Mormon that prophecy about the USA. And we zapped flies with our electric fly swatter for fireworks. Then, for the finale, they was a thunderstorm at night, which was our fireworks.

(see the little flag? -- and look at our ties!)

Then, last night, We were contacting on our way home along the river. On the other side of the river, there were some drunk guys on the shore next to some jet skis in the water. I looked over and said, "Oh look. Drunk guys and jet skis. That doesn't seem like a good combination." Then one of them gets on a jet ski and starts riding around on the river all crazily. Then he sees us and started driving towards us at full speed, and then turned right before the shore sending a wall of water at us to splash us. We got soaked. But we just kept walking. Then he came and did it again. So we just walked home soaked and he eventually drove away.

Stupid Drunk Guy on Jet Ski

Wait, why is Dad going to the doctor for head injuries? And is the Family Reunion this week?

The package home should be on it's way. I think Sister Kagele sent it this week.

We have Zone Training this week and it will be the Edgrens' first time in Bydgoszcz. It will be fun to see them!

Elder Drake Allen

Teaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ

The steps are:

Gift of the Holy Ghost
Enduring to the end

Friday, July 5, 2013

Terra -- Rain Time!

It's been raining a lot in Lancaster. I've never particularly liked the rain. Well, no I've always liked it, but I only like it when I'm inside and I'm dry and warm and watching it be pretty but not being affected by it. Well truth, I really don't like my hair being wet, and my clothes being wet. So I don't like getting wet. But guess what. Another opposite affect from the mission. I love the rain!  I love getting wet!!  I woke up one night hearing light booming noises. I thought, "ARE WE GETTING BOMBED??  Why would anyone bomb Ohio, it's so friendly!!!"   At night time, nothing makes sense. Anyways, it was a thunderstorm. Super loud thunder. Not as loud as the time Jenna was spending the night and we ran upstairs and slept on the couch with Cebre. But it was loud.  And the lightning lit up the entire sky. It was neat watching the windows light up.

Anyways. I had some things I wanted to share, but that's in my little black notebook which is in my bag, which is about 30 feet away. Hang on, I'm gonna go get it. I just realized it's down the stairs, so never mind. Oh! I'm at the mission house today. But that's a different story that we don't need to tell. 

Gosh I can't remember what I had to say this week! Hmmm. Well, hmmm. Yeah I really can't think of anything. Sister Burton and Sister Reed are still pretty great. I don't think that's going to change anytime soon. 

I know that I must have learned something profound this week! I always do! But alas, my bag is downstairs, and I am too comfortable in my chair. 

Well, I do remember this. I was having a great day. "Great" as in, I was happy. Nothing great was going on in the work, it's still moving pretty slowly, but I was so happy and just laughing at everything that I said. (My companions don't talk too much, so I do a lot of talking out loud and telling jokes to myself.) And I got two letters! Both from you, Momma dear. As I read one, I realized it was a sad letter, bearing the news of Mr. Hart's passing. My heart stopped. But I read on, and I read about how you wrote that he will be able to watch Drake and I from the other side of the veil. And as soon as I read this, my heart was filled and I laughed out loud. I'm so excited for Mr. Hart to watch me be on a mission!! I want him to see me improve. (It's always a wonderful feeling when your teacher talks about how much you're improving or growing.) I pointed my finger up to the ceiling and said with a smile, "You better watch me!"  I loved Mr. Hart.  He will be a wonderful asset to the Spirit World. 

Okay that's enough for today. Spread the gospel. Sing some songs.

Love, Terra

P.S. (I'm at the mission home with Sister Stump for a few days. Today we went to the zoo in Columbus.  It's been really, really nice to be with Sister Stump again).

Drake -- Transfer

This is the famous tie in the Poland Warsaw Mission that gets passed down from Trainer to Trainee.

As far back as I know it has gone:


I don't know farther back than Stohel. But it was here like over 3 years ago.

So now I have it, and if I train, then I pass it on.
Pretty cool.

Hello Mom,

So, I have a new companion and his name is Elder Camron Stockford. He is from Oregon and has been in Poland for 8 months.

Elder Stockford (at McDonalds)
Yesterday, in church I taught a Sunday school class. It was the investigator/recent convert class. I didn't know I was going to be teaching it. So that was pretty crazy. And there was a guy in there who just walked into the chapel during sacrament meeting and during class he was asking all these weird questions. But Sławek, a recent convert helped a lot.

So, I gave a package to Sister Kagele yesterday to be sent to you. It is cheaper to send the packages through her because it is by U.S. mail. I don't know how long it will take to get to you guys. She said it could be as long as a month, but as short as a week. So I don't know.

I learned this week that Bydgoszcz used to be part of Germany. It was a German city called Bromberg. And the crazy thing is, our chapel is was the old Nazi Headquarters in Bydgoszcz (then Bromberg) Isn't that crazy?? So, it became Poland after World War II.

Oh, so I wanted to tell you about some of the cool concerts that are going on and have happened recently in Poland:

Paul McCartney, Warsaw
Toto - Łódź
Roger Waters (Pink Floyd, playing the Wal, live), Warsaw (Tell Dad about that one)
Rod Stewart, Rybnik
Depeche Mode, Łódź

Pretty cool, huh?

Sister Kagele told me about Mr. Hart on Thursday.  I am really going to miss him a lot... :-/   I thought of all the fun times we had together and stuff like that.  I sent him an email last Monday.  I don't know if he was able to read it.  (note from Renee -- Mr. Hart died later that night after midnight).  In my email, I bore my testimony to him about being able to live with our families forever. I hope he got to read it. 

How are Cebre and Terra doing with that?

Him passing away brought back the sad feelings of Grandma dying, and was a reminder that she won't be there either when I get back :(
I decided I don't like growing up, because it's too hard having friends pass away.  Sigh

But I guess I just have to remember the truth of what I am telling people all day ever day on the street. That I will be able to see my family again.


Elder Drake Allen

Robert (and Elder Harris before he transferred)
Elder Wilson -- He's now the Zone Leader in Katowice
Elder Vernon -- He's still here in Bydgoszcz as Zone Leader, now with Elder Rittmanic.
Elder Stockford at the Domofon
Ringing someone at an apt. building

Talking to someone through the Domofon