Monday, November 18, 2013

Drake -- Funeral in a Tiny Village in the Middle of Nowhere

Elder Peacock doesn't like his picture taken
But here he is!
Dear Mom,

You are probably wondering what the subject of this email is all about!
So on Tuesday we got a phone call and I talked to a lady who works at a rest home in a tiny village called Lisków in the country almost 2 hours away from Poznań. She told me that a man named Jerzy had died that very day and was a member of our church and before he died, had requested that he had a Mormon funeral. There are not any other Mormons in that town (or anywhere nearby) so she had no idea how to run a funeral "Mormon style."  So she got a hold of the office and then us and asked if we could come down to the funeral to do a Mormon funeral for him. 

So the next day, when President Edgren was in Poznań for Zone Training, we talked to him about what we should do. He said that from a mission president stand point, it would be a lot of lost hours for missionary work and would take up a whole day, but from the stand point of the leader of the church in Poland, it would be the right thing to do to help fulfill the request of a member of our church who had died.  So he told us we should go. He told me that I would be the speaker at the funeral and that Elder Peacock would dedicate the grave. 

So on Friday, we drove with the Sheley's down to this tiny little village on old country roads. We met at the rest home and met the staff and Jerzy's daughter, his only family. Then we headed over to this tiny funeral chapel next to a church. In was a cold little chapel with a few rows of church prayer pews. The only people there were a few members of the staff, a few old friends from the rest home, a Catholic Priest, the morticians, and 4 Mormon Missionaries. A total of maybe 15 people. Elder Sheley conducted. There was no piano in the chapel, so I played the guitar as the opening hymn and sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" in Polish. Then I gave my talk. I talked about the Plan of Salvation, the Atonement, and the Resurrection. I read scriptures from out of the Bible and the Book of Mormon. After my talk, for a closing hymn, I played and sang "Nearer My God to Thee" in Polish. 

Chapel in Lisków

Then we left the chapel and walked behind the hearse on the street to the cemetery through this tiny old Polish town. We got to the cemetary and Jerzy was buried and Elder Peacock dedicated the grave. Then we returned back to the rest home and thanked the staff for everything. They asked us lots of questions about who we are, what our religion is like, etc. Elder Peacock and I taught them about the Book of Mormon and the Restoration and left them with a Book of Mormon. Then we journeyed back home. We stopped at a little restaurant in that town and ordered burgers. They were the equivalent of about 2 dollars but they were HUGE. I'll send a picture. Anyway, that was a really neat experience that I will never forget.

I couldn't help feeling that perhaps Grandpa Allen would be proud of me for helping with a funeral and speaking at it. Maybe you can share this story with him.

Walking in the funeral procession

I got one package from Amazon that is not wrapped, but the sisters looked inside and said it's probably a Christmas present. Is that one from you or grandma? Should I open it now or on Christmas?
I have worn the gloves, but for now I just keep my hands in my pockets a lot. I think I will probably be fine for now with my coat. I have two. The one that Elder Harris gave me (the one I am wearing in this picture) and the London Fog one I bought in America. So, if it gets really cold, I can probably just wear both because the London Fog one is bigger. So maybe I'll try that.

Giant burger
April and Jeff have a Japanese foreign exchange student? Do Steve or Jeff talk to her in Japanese?

Can you send me a weather forecast for Poznan next week! :)

I'll send some pictures.


Elder Drake Allen

From last transfer

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Drake -- It's Getting Colder

It's definitely getting colder!!

Dear Mom,

I think that subject line could be the same for a while.    It's already getting super chilly and it's only the beginning of November! There are super icy cold winds that freeze you to the core. Haha. I feel my soul shivering! And it's not even that cold yet! AH!
Lots of layers. And wraping Dad's Germany scarf around my face and neck multiple times to keep my face from falling off. Ah!

Well, it's the beginning of a new transfer. It doesn't really feel like one that much because it's the same companion and place so nothing really has changed. Sister Bown went to another city called Wrocław and Sister Lidtka came back to Poznań. She's from my MTC group, so that's super fun. She was trained here and now she is back.

Here's our district from the last transfer

Elder Harris is training again. He has a new little trainee. Which kind of makes me sad! haha, I feel like a little kid who doesn't want a new little brother because then the attention will go to him. Hahaha. Elder Harris and I have a super good friendship. He is so fun and I miss him a lot. But we email all the time.

We have Zone Training tomorrow.  So I get to see Elder Vernon because he is coming down from Szczecin. Yay! Also Sister Barth from my group will be there with her new trainee!

Oh, I don't know if I told you this, but President Edgren said that like halfway through the transfer I am going to become District Leader.

Something funny happened this week. We were doing a our music table thing that we do on the bridge. And this crazy drunk guy came up. He was nice and funny but super drunk. He kept coming back to the table to kiss the sisters' hands. Then they would put on hand sanitizer afterwards and then he would come back and kiss them again! It was so funny. Haha. As he was kissing Sister Ott's hand for like the 3rd time she was like, "Nooo...! I just put hand sanitizer on again!!" haha

So I had to lead him away and it was fun. I put my arm around him and said, "Let's go this way!" Then we got to a bike on the sidewalk and I asked him, "Is this your bike?" And he said, "Yes! This is my bike!" (It wasn't his bike...) Then I said, "Oh! It's beautiful! What's its' name?" And he answered, "It's a bike! So it's name is Bike!" And I said, "Oh! How very fitting!" haha. Then we walked further away from the table down the street and I asked him, "So what's your favorite color?" and he said, "Not red!" then we kept walking and I said, "Ok! Now you go that way! Good bye!" And he was like, "Ok! Bye bye!" hahaha
it was so funny.

Oh that's reminds me!  Did you look up the website when we were in the news? 
A reporter lady did a little story about us missionaries online on a news website!!
She took pictures of us playing music and talking to people on the bridge!~

Here is the link!!

click on the top link with the pictures!!

You can translate it into English through google translate if you want!
It doesn't translate that well though.

It says that we are "agitating", but it is supposed to mean, "advocating or advertising" :)

On the bridge -- meeting people as they pass by
Having fun playing the ukulele or as the article says "Boy plays guitar"  :)

That is SOOO cool about Elder Haddock!!!!!!!
MAN! We were REALLY good friends with the Bulgarian elders.  And Elder Haddock was in the dorm room right next to mine.  That's so cool because I was talking to him and said, "Elder Haddock, when you go to Bulgaria. You need to find your mom and baptize her! And he was like, "I sure hope so! That would be so cool!"
That is so crazy that Elder Mikołyski and Manwill are home.
Elder Mikołyski was the first missionary I met here in Poland.
I emailed Taylor. He is soooo funny! haha.


Elder Drake Allen

P.S.  from Renee -- I'll have to fill you in on the Elder Haddock story -- for now, here's a photo of him from the MTC.   He's serving in Bulgaria now, but was in Drake's MTC zone. And he's on the cover of the October 2013  New Era magazine.

Elder Haddock is in the middle in the MTC cafeteria

Elder Haddock on the right teaching in Bulgaria

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Drake -- Many MORE photos

Dear Mom -- 

Lots of stuff happened this week and I have lots of pictures.
So instead of sending one long email, I am going to send lots of pictures with the stories and explanations that go with them.

Photography Merit Badge -- Who got that badge?  I did!  :)
Fuzzy warm hat bought in Poland

All Saints Day
This is like the Day of The Dead
They decorate all of the graves and the whole cemetery is all glowy
lots of pictures

We did this for culture night

Monument at the graveyard -- creepy
Cool candles
Military Cemetery
Looks like stars

Elder Peacock and I dressed up as each other for Halloween!

We switched coats, scarves, hats, glasses, ties, bags, nametags and even heights!

This is the death camp in Poznań.  It is called Fort 7.
The man in the middle is Marian. He is a member of our branch and gave us a tour of the camp.
The Sister Missionaries were there, as well.
Gas Chambers at Fort 7
The Nazis killed lots of Poles, Jews, and mentally-ill people here.
They actually said that Fort 7 here in Poznań
 was the first Nazi Death Camp in Poland.

We went to a WW2 Concentration Camp with week.
The Nazis tortured and killed thousands of Polish people here.  These are the Stairs of Death. It was a form of torture.

The Nazis would put something super super heavy on a persons back and force them to run up and down the stairs. They would also throw people down the stairs to torture them.

Deptak -- This is the pedestrian Zone in Poznań
Just me
Me and Elder Peacock
Cool Sky
Rynek at night (ghosts running behind me :) )

Street at night
Painting an old lady's house.
We took turns painting because there weren't enough paintbrushes.
So I played the guitar when it wasn't my turn!  :)

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Drake -- Photos of Poznań & some talk with James

Note from Renee -- James woke up extra early and emailed Drake back and forth for about an hour last Monday.  By the time I woke up, I wrote a few questions to Drake and that's about all he had time to write to me.  I'll post his photos and will share some of his and James' banter:

Drake:  Where are you going on your mission?

James:  Germany --  because I'm learning German, right?

Drake:  Oh yeah!  How is that going????

Drake:  Wie geht es dir?

James:  Great, but I've been hearing by ear and not seeing the words, so I can't type German.  And I'm great.

Drake:  Okay, James!  I have to go.  Have a fun day! :)  Love, Drake

James:  Bye, talk to you next Monday.  When I have glasses!

The Opera House
Castle (behind the trees)
The Library where I email
Street by the Library