Friday, June 20, 2014

President Uchtdorf's visit

Drake didn't write much this week (and promised to send pics and details next week) , so I'm going to give you Kelley Kagele's blog post and pics on President Uchtdorf's visit for now (which is wonderful! Thanks, Kelley!)

click here... Never a Dull Day in Poland blog

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Out in the Country Side -- Marcin's Story

With Marcin in the Forest

Dear Mom,
The Jensen's called me up in the morning during companionship study on Saturday and told me that I was an uncle!! :)
Then they showed me pictures! :)
How exciting!
How do you feel being a grandma? Is it fun? Does that mean that people are going to stand up for you when you get on trams now? Did you ever listen to that voice recording?
They moved transfer calls to Wednesday night.
So the transfers are just going to happen a long with the Uchtdorf conference.
So on Saturday, ALL of the missionaries in Poland will be going to Warsaw.
And we will have a special missionary conference with President Uchtdorf. And then we will be all staying the night in Warsaw, so there will probably be like 3 companionships per apartment in Warsaw. SUPER SLEEPOVER! WOOHOO! :) 

     The sisters and Danka
So we had some cool things happen this week. There was a baptism on Saturday! The sisters investigator Danka got baptized. It was awesome.

On Friday we had a branch picnic and it was super awesome. Elder Remy and I had 4 investigators there! Pretty crazy.
Marcin was there.
We played sports, played music (brought my ukulele) and ate food.
We like did a interactive Lehi's vision thing
It was cool.

We had this rope going through the park the length of a football field, and it went through and around trees.
And it was the iron rod.
They then were blindfolded.

Holding to the Rod

And we missionaries were encouragement/temptation
The branch president and I were paired up together as temptation
Telling people to let go of the rod to come with us. Telling them that they are wasting their time and that it's only going to get harder and there is nothing at the end.
Some people let go. But then there were good people who were cheering them on and helping them.

At the end of the rod was a tree. The tree of life. It had the "fruit" hanging on it. They were little white envelopes with pictures of different temples in them.
It was really cool.
We had a good turn out and perfect weather.

Our branch under the Tree of Life

Okay, and then on THURSDAY
We went up to Marcin's house for lunch.
Don't worry. I have pictures.
Elder Remy, Elder Saltmarsh, Elder Brown, and I all went up there.
He lives in a tiny village a half hour outside of Kraków called Czajowice (we are actually going there today again for P-Day. :) )

We went to his house which is out in like farming country. It's almost like it's the same as where Joseph Smith lived. In a house in the country outside of the main town in farm land and there is a big forest right next to his house.

Marcin's House

We got to his house and went to his back porch where he had a Barbeque going. We all sat down at the picnic table and he grilled us some kiełbasa, which is Polish Sausage. It was super good. Then we talk for a bit. I went and walked around in his backyard and found a cherry and ate it. It was good.

Kiełbasa on the grill
Then we went into the forest with him right next to his house. It was so cool. Because it was like perfect sunny weather and forest was nice and cool and there were birds singing and everything.

So we all sat down on a log in the forest. And we had a testimony meeting. All 5 of us.
I bore my testimony, and then Elder Saltmarsh bore his, and then Elder Remy, and then Elder Brown.
It was cool because we all bore testimony about different things and they all went together.
Then after Elder Brown finished, Marcin was like, "Well! I guess it's my turn! Let me tell you my story."
So he started by telling about how he was raised in the Catholic church. He was even in the ministry there and was active there. But then he started to notice that things were missing in the Catholic church. Things that he believed, truths were not there. He noticed that a lot of what they do is just for show and for gain. So he left that church to search for the truth.
He searched in different churches. They had interesting doctrines. But they just weren't right. He kept searching. He finally found a religion that told him something interesting. That you shouldn't just believe that something is the truth because someone tells you it is. But that you should find the truth for your self through prayer. So he started doing that.
And one day he was sitting on a bench in a park in Kraków, during this time of searching. It was a rare time where he wasn't busy and actually had some free time. He had had a certain word on his mind for a long time and he wasn't quite sure why. It had some special meaning and he didn't know why yet. But it was while he was sitting on this bench that two young men in white shirts and ties walked up to him.
From my point of view. It was another day of contacting. We had been walking down the street and for the past half hour, EVERYBODY was saying "No." Nobody was stopping, nobody wanted to talk to us. So we decided to walk into this certain park. We were walking in the park and still no one was stopping. But then I saw this guy sitting on a bench a ways down. And I got the impression, "This guy is gonna talk to us." So we went up to him and introduced ourselves and sat down to start talking to him.
From his point of view. These missionaries started sharing their message with him. And it was quite interesting. They gave him a Book. Exchanged numbers and set up for a meeting in a week. At the end of the conversation, he asked us what our names were. I told him that my name is "Elder Allen" and he asked if that was my first name. I said that it wasn't and he asked for my first name. I told him that it is, "Drake." And he seemed a bit surprised.
He told me later that for some reason that he didn't really know, for a long time a certain word, rather a certain name had been on his mind and had some special meaning. This name was Drake. My name.
He said that that was his first sign from God, his first answer that there is something that He is trying to tell him. He later told me that it was that sign, my name, that brought him back to the second meeting.
Then we started meeting with him. And as he met with us and came to church he found that we were teaching him the truths that had been lacking. We were filling the spiritual holes that he had that he had never known how to fill.

Marcin's forest
(click to see full size)
While we sat there on that log he told us about the things that he really likes about the Church. About how the priesthood isn't a job to get gain, but it is a sacrifice and is service. He loves how the branch is like a family and everyone knows each other talks to each other, and care about each other.
The day before, he had told me in a meeting that he believed that Joseph Smith was a prophet. So I asked him so more questions.
Do you believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet?
Do you believe that the Book of Mormon is true?
Do you believe that the Church is true?
You have baptismal date for the 28 of June. Do you intend to get baptized that day?
It was a really powerful experience. We then all knelt down right there in the forest and Marcin said a prayer. It was really powerful.
It was one of the coolest and most spiritual experiences that I have had on my mission.
I really hope that I can stay here in Kraków to continue teaching him and helping him.
I really feel like God sent me to him. That I needed to find him.
And he is probably coming to the Uchtdorf conference!
That will be this weekend. It's going to be so awesome.
Alright we are going to get going to Marcin's house.
Talk to you later!
Elder Drake Allen
Note from Renee -- (The pictures below are from Siostra Pearson's blog -- as well as the pics above from the Branch Picnic)

Picnic on Culture Day
A bit of Rain --
Sister Swenson, Sister Pearson, Elder Brown, and I
Singing and walking with Sister Pearson

Monday, June 2, 2014

Soap Boxing

Teaching the doctrine of Baptism

Dear Mom,
Yeah, I got to have a really great exchange with Elder Vernon this week.  As you can see in the picture... haha :)

Maybe I will be an uncle by the end of this week. That will be cool.
Have you ever sent a picture of the Audi? I don't think that I have ever seen it.
(Responding to my letter, telling him I've been watching The History Channel's documentary "The World Wars.")  -- Yeah, Poland has a pretty crazy and rough history. They've been through a lot.
Wait so you are going to Utah this week, and then also going to be there for Elder Harris' homecoming?
Transfers are coming up this week. We find out on Saturday. I really hope that I don't leave Kraków. I really want to stay here to help and teach my investigators. Especially Przemek and Marcin.
I think I talked about it in the voice recording, but we got dropped by Zbyszek this week. :(
His parents said that he can't meet with us anymore.
It's very sad.

Our last meeting with Zbyszek
The sisters' investigator Danka is getting baptized this Saturday. That will be super awesome!
I will send some pictures now.
Elder Drake Allen

Soap Boxing on the street corner