Thursday, October 24, 2013

Drake -- SHORT haircut

This is a store that dad used to go to on his mission
when he was in Germany.
Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday once again!
Wszystkiego Najlepszego z okazji urodzin! :)

That's so crazy that Emma is getting married. That's cool that Terra gets to go to it.
Racer probably won't be happy that he has to go and doesn't even get to attend the wedding... haha :)
That was so funny when he did that at, was it Audrey's wedding?

Speaking of Audrey, when does Trevor get home from his mission in Brazil?

Thank you for the Jammy Scone recipe! I am going to make them this week. Tell Shauna that.  (see below for recipe, if you're interested).

Thank you for the Polish Months meanings! That is perfect and just what I wanted!!

I have given a couple talks already, I think. But they just cycle through missionaries and members.
But guess what I heard today!
Elder Peacock's friend is serving a mission in Long Island, New York. And his mission is a only a third of the size of our BRANCH boundaries but his mission has almost 5 times as many missionaries! Our mission has like 60 and his has 280!
AAAH! Haha! Our mission boundaries are huge and we have like no missionaries! haha
But I guess you could say that we are slowing growing. The amount of incoming missionaries each transfer is always bigger than the outgoing, ESPECIALLY when it comes to sisters!

(Note from Renee:  I wrote and told him that Lexie went to a Decades Dance in Fremont last weekend.  Drake had this idea to have a Decades Dance last year and planned it when Santa Cruz was in charge of the Multi-Stake Dance.  They started with the 50's and played music from that decade for 20 or 30 minutes, then switched to the 60's, 70's and so on.  The kids dressed up for whichever decade they liked and Drake got to play his favorite music from every era!)

A decade's dance, huh? So they got that idea from me? I guess that is pretty cool. Did it go well?
Yeah, Fremont is where I went with KayLee to the first LDS prom.

This week I have my 8 month mark on my mission. That means I will be a third of the way through my mission. That is sooooo crazy. It is going by waaaaay super fast. Well. I don't know. Not really. It does seem like forever ago that I went into the MTC. But just thinking that it has already been 8 months is just insane. Pretty soon I am going to be saying that I at my year mark!!

Yesterday there was District Conference in Warsaw. (Like Stake Conference) But no one from our branch could go... so our branch didn't attend. Instead we had a Sacrament Meeting and then watched talks from the last General Conference. (In Polish)
We watched President Uchtdorf's. It was super good! Now I want to watch it in English! haha :)

We have a Chinese investigator named Chris. And he has been coming to church almost every week. We invited him to get baptized yesterday, but he said that he would, but he wants to learn more about our church first and read the Book of Mormon. So we gave him a goal to finish the Book of Mormon and are helping him with that.

Polish people look different than Americans. And they never smile. Haha. It's weird, because I can't describe how they look different, but like when you see some man or lady walking down the street and look at their face, I just think, "Well that doesn't look like someone you would see walking down the street in California." It's interesting.

I got a haircut this week. The sisters were getting after me and telling me that it was too long. So now it is short.
But it is getting cold. So now my head is cold. But it's ok. Because I bought a hat. Well actually two. One is a fluffly fur one. Like real fur. It looks like the one that Russian people wear. But it hasn't gotten cold enough to wear it yet. The other one is the old man British golfer one. It's nice. It's fun wearing a scarf.

Elder Drake Allen

Note from Renee -- Just for fun, a flashback to Drake's old hairstyle.  It would often get much longer than this and we had many conversations about "it's time to get your hair cut" -- now the Sisters get to tell him :) .

Jammy Scones

3 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
3/4 c. + 2 T. butter
1 c. buttermilk (or milk + 1 T. lemon juice or white vinegar)
1/4 c. favorite jam

Heat oven to 425  degrees.  Combine dry ingredients.  Use a pastry cutter (or two butter knives, one in each hand) to cut the butter until the dough resembles coarse cornmeal.  Avoid overhandling the dough. Add the buttermilk.  Gather the dough into a ball.

Pat the dough on a lightly floured surface and form it with your hands into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Spread jam on half of the rectangle.  Fold the other half onto the jammed half and roll out into a long rectangular shape about 3/4 inch thick.  Cut the dough into 12 diamonds.  Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake for 14-15 minutes.

These freeze really well!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Drake -- Tie Quilt

President & Sister Nielson had a Mission Reunion in Utah conference weekend.  They had a giant quilt with all of our ties that were cut when we said our goodbyes.
 Elder Harris couldn't bear it :)
All of our zone -- click to see full size
My tie on the tie quilt! :)

Dear Mom,

Happy Birthday!!! (You can read this again tomorrow if you want...)

Something interesting. Women in the United States are always hiding how old they are and stuff. But in Poland, when you walk up to an old lady the first thing she tells you is how old she is!

"Hello there! I am 97 years old and I am still walking around!"

I have never seen so many grandmas walking around on the street until I came to Poland. They are ALL over! And it doesn't matter if they are 80, 90, or 110, they are still walking around the streets all short and hunched over on there little canes with their purse.

Anyway. Happy Birthday!! :) Haha

It's starting to get colder here in Poland. I am having to wear my coat, sweater, and hat. And yesterday I even pulled out my scarf!
Our investigator Ziemowit told us that some meteorologists are predicting that this winter could be the coldest in Poland in like 50 years or something! Uh oh!
Did everybody like the stuff in the package? It was sent so long ago, I don't even remember what was in it!!

We had Zone Training and I bought Elder Mikołyski's guitar. It's cool.
We found out that we won't be having Zone Conference at the end of this transfer.
Instead, we'll be having it at the beginning of next transfer. And it will be at the beginning of the transfer from now on.

Something intriguing.
And so I am kind of sad that we won't be having Zone Conference, but it's kind of okay because there is no one from my MTC group in my whole zone. And they are the most exciting people to see. So maybe I will have one in my zone next transfer.

I gave a talk this week in Church. In Polish of course.  It was 20 minutes long! It was about the Sabbath Day and keeping it holy. I think it went pretty well! My notes were just in English and I just translated them in my head. I think that translated is SO much fun!
I get to do it a lot.

Okay, well I better go!
I hope you have a wonderful week and a happy birthday!

Elder Drake Allen

the Poland Warsaw mission reunion with President Nielson!
See Stuart Tribe on the let near the top?
(wearing black 2nd row down, 2nd person in)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Drake -- General Conference!

Note from Renee -- Before I post Drake's email, I have to explain about Drake's love for the ukulele.  When he was in 9th grade, he wanted an electric guitar for Christmas.  I didn't want the noise of an electric guitar (too much possibility for HIGH volume) and thought of getting him a regular guitar, but thought he'd just think, "But I wanted an ELECTRIC guitar."  So I thought a ukulele might be different enough that he wouldn't as readily make the connection :).  Little did I know that the ukulele would soon become a part of him wherever he went.  I guess that's to be expected since whatever he's been interested in since he was little, he has dove COMPLETELY into.  He never goes part way.  This is what it was like whenever we went on trips in the car:

We had missionaries in our ward who brought a guitar or ukulele with them on their missions.  Drake loved going with them to teaching appointments and would bring his ukulele and play and sing with them.  He loved it!  After he got his mission call, he wrote to his mission president to see what the mission policy was for musical instruments (it's the mission president's decision from mission to mission).  The reply was that the missionaries could not bring musical instruments to Poland.  *sigh!*  Drake was willing to follow that, but had a hope that his new mission president who would begin in July would have a different view on it.  And he did!!  So Drake was excited to find himself a ukulele or guitar.  

The Kagele's gave him this ukulele last week as a gift since they said their daughter hardly used it (and they knew what kind of smile it put on Drake's face when they let him play it when he came to their house):

And now Drake gets to play it as he sees fit -- which for now is on the streets to help draw attention to their free table.  Wish I could be there to hear it!  But for now, we get pictures.  Enjoy!

So this is a finding activity that we do.   We set up a table with lots of free stuff, like Books of Mormon, pamphlets, etc. And we have a white board that says, "We are giving out free treasures!" -- then the name of the church.  And then sometimes I go play the ukulele to get people to stop!
And Sister Ott plays the violin, and we play hymns and stuff.

Dear Mom,

I am not sick anymore. So that is good.

I got healed by some Polish lady this week at like 9:00 PM...
It was weird... She asked me if I was sick and I told her I had a cold
Then she grabbed my hand, looked into my eyes, and said a prayer to tell me to healed.
Kind of weird
But kind of a fun story
And I feel better now! :) haha

So, as a branch, we got together on Saturday evening to watch the Saturday Morning Conference session live. But then we couldn't get the internet to work, so we had to just watch a recording of session from last year's conference...

Then the next day, they weren't able to record the conference session in Polish, so they watched the Relief Society session instead in Polish.
But, because we have a chinese investigator named Chris who doesn't speak Polish, but speaks English, we were able to watch the Saturday Morning Session with him. Also a member here in Poznań is from France, so he watched it in English too.

And then after church, we went to the Sheley's house and watched the Sunday Morning Session Live!!!
So that means we were watching it at the same time! Isn't that cool?
I thought that was really cool.

In Bydgoszcz we had a whole building as our chapel.  In Poznań, we just have the first floor of this building and upstairs are businesses

So, so far, I was able to watch the Saturday and Sunday Morning Sessions.
I thought it was really sad when President Monson talked about how much he misses his wife. :(
But it was a super good talk.

President Edgren said that we are supposed to be able to watch all the sessions, so we'll keep going over to the Sheley's house until we see all of them!

That is SOOOO cool that James is learning German!!! Tell him to keep it up and not give up!!
When I get home, he will be WAY better than me! Polish has taken over my brain!
Oh, also tell James and Racer that I got 2 holographic Tyranitar cards this week.  So they will each get to have one of their own! :)

Yeah, Polish is pretty crazy... And Elder Vernon is SUPER good at it! He was the one that taught me like TONS of grammar stuff!

I don't know if we will be able to Skype! But I guess we will find out pretty soon.
I hope you guys get my package soon.

We have tons of success on those free tables that we do where we play music.  We are going to do it 3 times this week!

Tomorrow, we have Zone Training in Poznań. So missionaries from Szczecin will be here, as well as the Zone Leaders. That will be fun.

Elder Drake Allen

P.S. from Renee -- I thought I'd share one of Drake's early videos of him playing the ukulele.  This was about 6 months after he got it. 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Drake -- Shopping at Biedronka

At the Ladybug Grocery Store
Hey Mom,

This week I had my SEVEN month mark on my mission... At the end of this transfer, I will already be a third of the way through my mission... that is CRAZY.
Sometimes it feels as if time is going by so slow, and then you look back and tons of time has passed.

Our investigator Adam is moving to Warsaw. So that's pretty sad :-/
But we are trying to get him set up with meeting with the missionaries there so that he can be taught and baptized there. I hope it goes well.

I do a lot of translating in church, which I think is super fun.  Because Elder Sheley, the branch president doesn't speak Polish.

Me, Elder Peacock, the sister missionaries, 
Elder Sheley & Sister Sheley at church
This week we had an interesting experience. We went to the train station to pick up Sister Bown. She was coming back from an exchange in Bydgoszcz. And her train came, and she wasn't there!!
It was crazy. So we were calling people trying to figure out where she was and nobody knew. So we had to stay at the train station all day and go to platforms on the train station where there were trains coming in that she might be on. We went to KFC for lunch and dinner... haha. Then finally we found her! She had gotten on the wrong train in Bydgoszcz that had taken her to Toruń! Then she had to get on a train from Toruń to Poznań! It was quite the adventure!
Ulica Mylna -- Mill Street
(the street that we live on)

So, I don't know if Sister Kagele told you, but I am sick!
This is my first time getting sick since getting to Poland! It's just like a cold and sore throat and stuff, but I spent a lot of time yesterday sleeping. And I think I am starting to get better.

As you know, the Kagele's were at church yesterday and it was super fun to see them! And they brought me their ukulele that they say they never play and they gave it to me! It was so nice of them and so awesome.

I think I am also going to buy a guitar from Elder Mikołyski. He is going home in like a month and is selling it to me for pretty cheap.

I hope you have a great week! And Mom, your birthday is coming up! :)
Oh, did you get my package yet??


Elder Drake Allen

We go shopping at Biedronka (which means Ladybug)