Saturday, April 26, 2014

Kraków -- Rynek, Easter Festival, and nearby Salt Mines

Me in the Kraków Panorama
Rynek Panorama (click to see full size)
Dinner to celebrate Easter just before
at a restaurant like Ratatouille!

Dear Mom,

Sorry that I have like no time to write today! Yesterday was a holiday and so we didn't get to email. 

My new companion that I'm training is  Elder Remy.  He's from from Plain City, Utah . . . which is near Ogden.  I took a 3 hour train by myslef to Warsaw to meet him (while Elder Taylor rode to Lodz).  Then Elder Remy and I rode back together.

On Elder Remy's first day in Kraków, we met a young man while contacting with the white board (Amazing -- his FIRST DAY!) who agreed to meet with us.   He's excited and eager to learn the gospel and has already set a baptism date for May.  

I've got to go, but I'll send some pictures! From the Saltmines! and from the Rynek.


Together for Culture Night
Our district just before the transfer

Elder Remy and I
Easter Festival
With traditionally dressed Polish ladies
“Wieliczka” Salt Mine
Deep in the Salt Mine 
We went down 56 half stair cases to get to the bottom.  At the end, they SHOT us up a shaft to get to the top -- we could see the walls WHIZ by as we rocketed up super fast -- it was crazy!

The walls in the salt mine taste like . . . yep, salt!
Everything is sculpted out of salt
In front of the nativity sculpture (detail below)
There are dozens of statues carved out of salt
There are 3 chapels carved out of salt

And there's an entire cathedral carved out of salt -- all carved by miners hundreds of years ago.  The wood beams are 500 years old and are in perfect condition because the salt has preserved it.

P.S. from Renee -- There is a legend about the salt mine -- copied from Wikipedia:

There is a legend about 
Princess Kinga, associated with the Wieliczka mine. The Hungarian noblewoman was about to be married to Bolesław V the Chaste, the Prince of Kraków. As part of her dowry, she asked her father for a lump of salt, since salt was prizeworthy in Poland. Her father King Béla took her to a salt mine in Máramaros. She threw her engagement ring from Bolesław in one of the shafts before leaving for Poland. On arriving in Kraków, she asked the miners to dig a deep pit until they come upon a rock. The people found a lump of salt in there and when they split it in two, discovered the princess's ring. Kinga had thus become the patron saint of salt miners in and around the Polish capital.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Exciting Transfer!

On the streets of Kraków
Dear Mom & Dad,

You have already heard about my transfer call, I assume. But I talk about it in my voice recording this week too.
I am training!!! :) I am staying in Kraków as District Leader and training! :) I've trained for the 2nd part before, but never the first training.  I am so excited! I got a new calling as well! I am going to be the District Leader here in Kraków and I am going to be a trainer! which means that I will have a brand new greenie! I am so excited for that! I go up to Warsaw to the mission home on Wednesday to be assigned to my trainee and then I bring him back down to Kraków on a train. He's in the MTC right now. He'll be flying over from Utah tomorrow I think.   I haven't been to the mission home since I first arrived in Poland!  That was such an exciting time.  This is  the best transfer call I have gotten yet! haha :)

Did I not tell you about President Uchtdorf 
coming? hmm... I thought I did! Whoops!
Yeah, he is coming in the middle of June. And it's going to be a Mission Conference.
So ALL of the missionaries will be going to Warsaw for the conference as well as ALL of the members in Poland. So it's kind of like a giant Stake Conference for the entire country of Poland. It's going to be so awesome. I will get to see missionaries that I haven't seen in forever. Like I haven't seen my MTC companion Elder Blom since we've been in Poland. I will also get to see Elder Harris and that will be fun because he is going home like a couple days after the conference. All the missionaries in his group are. Also, I will get to see members from the branches that I served in, like Maciej who got baptized in Poznań! I really hope he comes. I have been emailing him about it.

So during General Conference, President Eyring was talking about how children who are brought up in the church will always remember the songs they sang in church. I started to cry because suddenly I remembered something very special to me.
When I was little, we would sit in the second row of the chapel in the McKinleyville Ward building. Before I was able to read, when we would sing the hymns in Sacrament Meeting, dad, you would whisper into my ear the words of each line of the song before each line so that I could sing the songs too. I still remember that, Dad. And that's a special memory to me. I am blessed to have the best Dad ever, who raised me in the church and helped me to grow. I want to be a Dad like you are to me.
This is the new group of missionaries who arrived in Warsaw from Utah on Tuesday.  I wonder which will be Drake's companion. I only know it's not the one in the middle, because his mom posted this on FB and said her son is going to Lodz.  I'm sure Drake will tell us on Monday!

Today, for Elder Taylor's last P-Day in Kraków, we are going to the Wieliczka Salt Mines.
I'll take pictures.
Look it up on Wikipedia or something and share it with the family during FHE! :)
Elder Taylor is transferring to Lodz
I have not opened up the Easter Package yet. I am waiting until Easter.
What was in the package that I sent home that you got a few weeks ago? I don't remember.

Mom, we sang that "Home" song by Phillip Phillips. At the same concert where we did the "I Will Wait" song. Do you not remember? I played the banjo and sang the high harmony.  (Note from Renee -- I wrote to Drake and told him that this song came out after he left on his mission and I thought he'd like it -- little did I remember that he played that song with some friends at a talent night just before he left :) )
"Saving Mr. Banks" sounds like maybe that will be a good movie to watch when I get home.

That's cool that you tell friends about my mission. You're a missionary too!
So you befriended Sister Pawlik on Facebook? :) That's awesome! :)

Elder Drake Allen

P.S. from Renee -- Dieter F. Uchtdorf is one of our family's very favorite church leaders and speakers.  He is from Germany, which first intrigued us because Scott went on his mission to Germany.  He spoke at a conference McKinleyville in January 2008 and impacted all of our lives.  Drake, just barely 14 at the time, went up to meet him and told him that he was learning to speak German (Drake was teaching himself to speak German, quite well, I might add) and President Uchtdorf urged Drake to continue learning the language.  That impacted Drake's love for learning languages and his love for President Uchtdorf.  I'm sure it helped prepare him for his mission.  He will be absolutely thrilled to get to see President Uchtdorf as a missionary over 6 years later).  This is one of my favorite talks by President Uchtdorf:

Saturday, April 12, 2014


The Pawlik Family + the Kraków missionaries
Dear Mom,

That is so cool that you saw Elder Vernon's mom. Elder Vernon is the coolest. He's probably the missionary in this mission that I look up to the most. He's awesome.
As far as the names, those all look pretty good. Except I don't think the Renata has two t's, and Szable ends with an "e", and Jakub is spelled as "Jakub".

(Note from Renee -- Drake told us our names in Polish last week in the voice recording and I wrote and asked him if I had the spelling correct -- these are the names and pronunciations in parentheses):

Scott -- Szkot (ShkOt)
Renee -- Renata (Renotta)
Cebre -- Szable (Shableh)
Terra -- Ziemia (Zemiah)
Drake -- Kaczor (Kauchor)
Racer -- Wyścigówka or Wyścig (Vishkeegowa or Vishkeeg)
Trace -- ślad (Schlaud)
Lexie  -- Ola or Olka (she loves the latter :) )
James -- Jakub (Yacoobp)

That's so cool that you went to General Conference. I did watch it. And I actually watched the Saturday Morning one live! So I  was seeing you guys live! that's cool.
I still have some more sessions to watch though.
Did you ever get the package I sent from Warsaw?

I got a little package from you. Am I supposed to wait until Easter to open it?

Oh, Transfer calls are this Saturday! So I find out this week if I am staying in Kraków.

I have some pictures to send.
We went to the Pawlik's house on Monday, this P-Day.  Brother Greg Pawlik is a Polish man who has been a member for almost 20 years. He went on a mission to Chicago, speaking Polish and English. He is married to an American woman (Lisa Pawlik, look her up on Facebook!) And they have 4 kids. The kids speak both Polish and English fluently.
They both are doTerra people! They are like missionaries for Essential Oils, so their house smells good.
So that is the part that I think you would like, Mom. And now for what Dad would be interested in...   :)


Elder Drake Allen

Shelby Cobra factory (where Brother Pawlik works)
Brother Pawlik giving us a tour of the factory
In front of a Jaguar E type
That's Elder Żeleźniak in the background

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Photos of Kraków

This used to be part of a giant statue  -- at least, 
that's what the legend says...
I am the same as the statue

Cathedral again to the right
The Rynek (or city square)

Pigeons all around!
See the pigeon flying away?