Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Carpet of Snow

Dear Mom,

No, we haven't found anybody new yet to teach. We have found or taught quite a few people on the street who go into the area book as being potential investigators, but the hard part is setting up that first meeting with them. People are ALWAYS so busy. I think that the biggest obstacle in teaching people on a mission is that everybody is always so busy. They never have time. It really stinks. I mean, if they knew how important this is, they would take the time, But they don't even have the time to take the time to find out how important it is! haha Yup. Yup yup yup.

I sent Drake this Facebook post from the mom of the  missionary who took his place in Poznan' (click on the picture to make it big enough to read)

Yeah! I talked to Elder Peacock on the phone this week and he told me all about what has been going on with Maciej! It's going super well! He's a miracle story!!
He's getting baptized in less than 3 weeks! It's so wonderful.  
I am so happy that I handed him that pass-along card and got to find him! :)

Maciej is a miracle. He's super awesome. I am a little sad that I didn't get to stay there and be teach him all the way up to his baptism. But I am at the same time so happy that he is getting baptized! And that happiness overcomes that little sadness! :)

It's been pretty darn cold this week. It think it got to sub-zero temperatures Fahrenheit. I think it isprobably the coldest temperature that I have ever experienced. It snowed quite a bit too. There is a nice pretty soft thick blanket of snow outside. I found out this week that Poles don't say that there is a "blanket of snow" but rather that there is a "carpet of snow". haha. Pretty funny.

So! Guess what! I did some voice recordings this week. And took pictures. But we came to this library today that is closer to our apartment. And guess what! You can't send pictures or attachments on the computers here! It's really dumb! So we'll probably have to start going back to the other one that is farther away.
We take turns translating. I didn't do it the week before. Elder Wilson did. But I did it yesterday.

No, there are actually quite a few American families in the ward.
I haven't met the Weisenburger's yet, and the Edgren's are never there. They are going inactive... Haha. Just kidding. They are always traveling to other cities and stuff! :)

That's so cool that Nathan bought Grandpa's old Porsche! I bet that made Clay, Mark, and Dad so happpy! :)

Have a great week! :)

Elder Drake Allen

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cold Weather and No Donuts!

Reading the Book of Mormon in the snow

Dear Mom,

This week was the first week in my whole mission without a donut day!  Haha. A donut day is when all the key indicators are Zeroes, so it looks like a whole bunch of donuts when you count up the numbers at the end of the day. So this is my first week on my mission where we got a a number in at least one key indicator ever single day of the week. So that was pretty cool! 

Snowy last week! Snow is still on the ground. But it stopped snowing. But it is so dang cold that it isn't melting.

Yeah, it's pretty cool. Like really cold. But we are doing pretty well. Elder Hubbard and I get along very well, which is fun.

Gotta run! Have a great week!
Elder Drake Allen

It looks like it is going to be SUPER cold this week
Just before Elder Harris left

Monday, January 13, 2014

Transfer to Warsaw

My new companion
Dear Mom,

Warsaw is pretty cool. There are SO many missionaries. It is CRAZY! I have only ever been in cities with only 4 missionaries. So it's pretty crazy to go to a city with like 24 missionaries!!! and 12 missionaries in my district! I met so many people at the train station coming into Warsaw on transfer day. I had always been out in the Bydgoszcz Zone far out in the West and didn't really ever meet too many missionaries. I heard about lots of missionaries and saw their pictures, but now I am in the Warsaw Zone and will finally meet all of these missionaries that I have heard about for so long. Like, I met Elder Boyce, Elder Brown, Elder Richins, Elder Hubbard, Elder Tingey, Elder Baranowski and others. Sister Missionaries as well.

I got sick before I left Poznań. I like always get sick before the start of a new transfer. I think it must be subconscious stress or something. So I was sick the past few days. But I am starting to feel better now. The bad news is that I passed in off to Elder Peacock before I left and I have now given it to Elder Hubbard. Oops.

Elder Hubbard and I
So, Warsaw is super huge. So it is split up into a bunch of areas for each companionship. It's usually like the name of a district in the city. Ours is called Mokotów. It's not the best contacting area though... it's just a whole bunch of old catholic ladies who don't want to talk to us and crazy drunk homeless people. Pretty cool. Not very cool actually. And you are supposed to stay within your area and do missionary work there "bloom where you are planted" kind of thing. So we like aren't allowed to contact in the middle of the city, where the best contactng areas are with TONS of people. They give all those best areas to the Sister Missionaries. Sigh. So we have Mokotów. Well, actually we share it with another companionship. Elder Tingey and Cieślak. But they live in a different apartment. The chapel is in our area. Yes, we are in the same branch as President Edgren and the Office Elders. 
Elder Vernon is in our district. He is the AP with Elder Wilson. Which is super fun because they were companions together in my district in Bydgoszcz as Zone Leaders! :)

You're going to be a yoga master! That's super! Oh and wow. They rank Polish as being the hardest language to learn in the world? haha... I could see that! :) But they should also rank it as the most fun! :)

So this week, it was my first Sunday in church in the Warsaw 2 branch. All of a sudden, one of the Members of the Branch Presidency came up to me right before Sacrament Meeting and told me that I was going to be translating. So they gave me a little headset with a microphone and a little radio, and I went and sat in the back. And I had to translate all the talks and everything from Polish to English for the American members of the branch. They all wore these little stethoscope-looking headphones. It was SO much fun!!! It was way cool and I hope I get to do it more!

Our view of Warsaw from our apt. 5th floor balcony
(click on photo to see it bigger)

We got to meet with Maciej one last time before I left. That was pretty good. I got to say good bye and everything. I think that he has so much potential to get baptized. When we met with him the Tuesday right before I left (So 2 days after he was in church) he had been reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. He told us that he really felt that there is something there. We just bore simple testimony to him about the Book of Mormon and what it means to us. It was really wonderful. He is making so much much progress and is well on his way to obtaining a testimony of his own.

Oh! I totally forgot to tell you guys about what my birthday was like and how Poles celebrate New Years. So. All new years eve people are lighting off fireworks all over the city and in the streets. And their fireworks are way different.... It seems like in Poland, it isn't the appearance of the firework that makes it cool... but the SOUND! So their fireworks are just pretty much BOMBS!!! And they are SO loud! So all New Year's Eve, it sounded like Poland was being bombed. Like for real. People were just lighting them off right in the street! It was crazy. They would go off right next to you and you would have thought by the sound that a car just exploded. So as the night went on, the explosion got more and more frequent. I went to bed at 10:30. But the sound at midnight woke me up. It sounded like a war zone outside. It was INSANE! It was so loud. It was like crazy loud thunder of a billion giant bombs getting dropped on the city of Poznań and it went on FOREVER! It was crazy. They sure celebrate New Year's quite differently. I think the fireworks they use would most definitely be illegal in America. 

It's fun being with Elder Hubbard. I think it's going to be a super fun transfer. It better be! It is 14 weeks long! Oh, and i did get the Pond's package! Tell them thank you! :)

Elder Drake Allen

He is an AWESOME companion!
He is super fun and happy and hilarious and we get along so well.  He kind of the same personality of Will Sutherland.
And it's super fun because we both had Elder Harris as our trainer so we are constantly asking thngs like, "Oh hey, did he do this when he was with you too?!" and just cracking up
It's super fun! :)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Birthday Blessings!

 Castle in Poznań
Dear Mom,

just got to emailing 
got a call that we have to go pick up an elder from the train station
i don't know if i will be able to come back
we'll see.  love you!

(Thankfully, he was able to come back and email about 2 hours later)

Dear Mom, 

So as you already know, I am going to Warsaw 2 to be with Elder Hubbard. I am sad to leave Poznań, but I am sure that Warsaw will be great. Also, the transition from trainer to second companion is THE hardest transition to make on your mission. Because you are only used to one way of doing missionary work, your trainer's. BUT Elder Hubbard had the same trainee as me, so it will be super awesome!

My birthday was pretty good. Reading all of the letters was amazing!!! It was so awesome and wonderful. I think that is probably the best present to give a missionary on their mission. I especially loved getting all of the letters from my uncles because they all gave me mission advice and stuff. It was really neat.

Taken in the mirror on my birthday

We had a pretty cool miracle happen this week!
On my birthday, we got a text from the office with a self-referral from Mormon.org.
So! We headed out to where this man lives. His name is Maciej. We actually WALKED all the way there. It was crazy far. We walked off of the map of Poznań and almost out of the city limits. Really far. I don't know why we walked. Probably silly idea. ANYWHO!  We got there, and we knocked on his door, and Maciej came out. 

We asked him if he had ordered a Book of Mormon. He said he did, because just 3 days earlier a missionary had handed him a pass-along card while walking through the city. He then pointed at me and said, "It was you! You gave it to me!" It was way cool. Then we taught him the first lesson right there at his door and he said he would come to church.

Then he showed up for church and I asked him if he had been reading the Book of Mormon since we met him. He then pulled out his Book of Mormon. There were bookmarks everywhere, and scriptures were marked and he even wrote his name inside the front cover. He then started sharing with me his favorite scriptures he had read so far. He told me that he really likes it and that it is having a positive effect on him. Sacrament Meeting went smoothly. But then in Sunday School a crazy lady came into the chapel who used to be an investigator and just started disrupting the whole lesson! It was chaos! But Maciej was super understanding about it and kind of just chuckled at her. 

Then we had a meeting with Maciej afterwards. We talked to him about how his reading has been going and about how he can find out for himself if it is true. He accepted the commitment to read and pray every day, and even said that he will get baptized when he gains his own testimony. Super cool! 

That kind of makes me sad that now I have to leave Poznań and won't be able to teach Maciej and help him progress, but we do have a meeting with him tonight at his house and that will be my last meeting with him. I really hope he gets baptized. That will be so cool! :)

The miracle of it all is that it all came from just one pass-along card. We probably give out 300 of those on average each day. We just hand them to EVERYBODY! It is so cool to know that wasn't just for nothing.

We don't have much time left. Got to go!

Love you!

-Starszy Drake Allen

Sitting with all of the balloons that the Fjerstads sent!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Christmas Morning in Poland!


(Note from Renee -- Much of this is in answer to some of my questions).

Dear Mom,
I got a package in the mail that feels like it has a book inside. It says on the outside that I am not supposed to open it until my birthday. Soooo I am assuming that that is a birthday present.
But there is only one package though.  So far at least. 

So does that mean that you and Dad are going to come pick me up??? I think that would be so cool! I really want you guys to. That would be so much fun! And it would be you only chance to ever see me as a missionary in Poland.
I think you might have to like get special permission from the mission president though.

Polish people dress more niceley? hmmm... well, most of the people walking around on the street are like homeless... so i think you'll be ok...

My tree
I was okay after our phone call. It was so fun to get to talk to you all. I wish it was longer though. It seems to fly by way to quickly. But it was so cool to get to hear from everyone.

Transfer calls are this Sunday! Pretty crazy! I could be staying in Poznań or leaving. Since Elder Peacock and I got here at the same time, it really could be either of us that are leaving. Or course, I would love to stay. I love the branch here and I am so close to the members. But like, I would be okay with leaving. It's just nicer to stay. :) So,, we'll see!!! :)

Elder Drake Allen

To hear Drake singing a Polish Christmas Carol -- click here

Scarf from Grandma -- I have actually been wearing it a lot lately -- it's super nice!
                           Yay! I have already made a ton!