Thursday, August 12, 2010

Elders and Jedis and Wizards, oh my!

the conference was amazing. from minute one and throughout the entire event. however on sport day it rained so hard the entire sports facility field was under 2 feet of water, so all the outdoor games could not be held. so that was a huge bummer as Adam had put so much time and effort in planning and every thing,. had several tournaments rained out, a football(soccer) tourney from each of the countries represented, a volleyball tourney, the arm wrestling was held, but all the outdoor events were cancelled. dang. other games were invented at the last minute at the hotel, there was lots of room and the kids had a blast anyway. about 200 kids from 15 countries were there, plus about 50 senior advisers, a huge success and the speakers were beyond belief, Elder Schutze, area seventy and past temple pres, and seminary/institute teacher gave several workshops and one of the fireside speakers, a most amazing man, Each time I saw him he would ask me "is this the most correct way to say this phrase or word:" his English was really quite good.Then during his address at the fireside he was trying to say a word and asked me "is that the right way? I just nodded yes. Really was a very delightful man, and his wife was the sweetest lady you could imagine.

don't know if I will ever have quite another opportunity like this in my life, The conf. next year in is Romania, however Andziez Wentzel said if I wanted to be a part of that one, it could easily be arranged, I only would have to extend my mission a couple of weeks, It is always held the end of July. I really won't have a responsibility in that conference, just to be there with the Polish kids. who knows , that's a long way off. You cannot imagine the Spirit that prevailed throughout the entire conf. from each workshop and class and event and even the dances were so good. There should be some pictures on the conf. website. I think there is one with a lot of people with the yellow service vest on, the lady with her hand in the air is my comp. and you can just see the top of my head in the crowd, the white haired one. in a month or so there will be a lot of pictures available and I am in some of them, like the monster one in the treasure hunt. for what ever reason there wasn't a pic. of Master Yoda or Gandalf. those costumes really turned out pretty good, especially Yoda's green face. Elder Harding was called Elder Yoda the rest of the conf. just too cool.

Monday, July 19, 2010

De train, de train!

Latest train adventure during travels for Young Single Adult Conference preparation:

the trip was an event to record, I left here at 11:;30 am to catch the 12:07 train, got there in plenty of time and waited on the peron, got on the train and it was PACKED, STANDING ROOM ONLY, and it's a 21/2 hour trip to Poznan and then about 4 more hours to Wroclaw. , so I got off and the conductor told me I was on the wrong train and to take the next one. Here when you buy a ticket it's good for 24 hours and one can take any train, so I didn't understand how I could be on the wrong train, so waited for the next train at 1;30, only it never came, and it's 35 C, that's about 100 degrees and the humidity is about 90%, and that's sweltering. So I waited for the next train, only it didn't come. I asked a young girl if she spoke English and yes she did, so she was helping me, She was told the next train to Wroclaw was at 2;30pm so I waited there with her, She was such a sweet girl, 19 years old and wanted to go to England to be an au paire and learn better English, So we waited for the next train, and waited , finally she went to the Kasa and asked the clerk about the train, and was told I had the wrong ticket, so was issued another ticket, no different from the first one, so don't know why another one was needed. and didn't cost anymore 51 zl. Finally her train came and I just waited there, Then I met fellow, German army guy on leave and going back to his unit, so he said he would make sure I got on the right train, he spoke English, German, Spanish, about every language one can imagine except POLISH. so the train came and had Poznan stated on the front, so he checked with several other passengers and they all said the train went to Poznan, so we got on and the train was absolutely packed, lots of people on vacation at this time of the year. Then the conductor came by checking tickets, looked a mine, both tickets and said "NIE-NIE blah blah stuff in Polish at 90 miles per hour, all this time she was talking to the German fellow not to me, so he told her the ticket was mine, she looked at me said more stuff in Polish, which I have no clue what she said, then said "baggage-Inawroclaw- off 3:22" I definitely understood what she said, take my baggage and get off the train in Inawroclaw at 3:22" Inawroclaw is a small town about 1/2 way between Bydgoszcz and Poznan. so got off I did and the train went on.

So now I'm in Inawroclaw, went to the Kasa to see about the train to Wroclaw, " at 3:30 peron 3, so I got a bottle of water and went up the stairs to peron 3, a lady and man were waiting there, I showed them my ticket and asked if this was the peron for the train to Wroclaw, Nie-nie peron 1 , so I hurried down the stairs and up the other stairs to peron 1, no-one was there and no train, so by then it's 3:35 so went back to peron 3 and the same lady was there, so I asked her again, is this the peron for the train to Wroclaw, she took me and my luggage down the stairs, across the station and up other stairs, outside to another peron and showed me across the tracks where another station was. and indicated that was where I needed to me. Need I say I was a little distraught by now.There was no one there and no activity and I didn't feel like that was where I needed to be, so back down the stairs and back up to peron 3 this time here husband looked at my ticket and said " tak-tak' I was at the right place all the time and they took off, with the lady apologizing of course in Polish,
so I went back to the Kasa and met another girl that did speak English and she went to the kasa with me and then was told the train came at 5:30pm on peron 3 and would not need to go to Poznan, the train would go straight to Wroclaw, so I just sat there and waited, and met another lady with two little girls , her granddaughters, the youngest reminded me so much of Brynne, all pink and bling. so cute, so they invited me to sit with them on the train, in a 1st class car, still hot as blazes, but not crowded, so in about 11/2 hour we got to Poznan and then went on to Wroclaw, even though I was told the train would go directly to Wroclaw. so got to Wroclaw about 9pm that night. tired, hungry, no food. and so sticky hot I probably looked like a homeless person, should have rolled my knee-hi"s down to my ankles, would have looked the part then. So I took a taxi to Sister Kimball's apt and went to bed,
On Sat. I walked to the church to teach the sewing class,there were 2 young women and 4 sisters and we had such a good time ;and the time went by so quickly and then had to leave to catch the train to Warsaw for the YSA conf.meeting NO problem on the train and met a girl traveling to visit her family and she spoke very good English and is a Spanish teacher. so we talked for about for a while and then took naps and read, It's a 5 hour trip to Warsaw, then the last 3 hours of the trip we talked about the Church, she asked so many questions, great questions and we had such a great time discussing the biggest differences in the Mormon church and other churches. So many points we talked about she said made so much sense, I asked her about her upbringing and she was of course raised Catholic but was leaning toward Buddism, One of the things she liked about Buddism is that they believe in re-incarnation and I asked her how or who decides how and where they come back as, She said just where ever one was needed and in what ever form was needed. So I explained to her that we believe we are always who we are now, when I see her in the next life she will recognize me as a lady and I will recognize her as a lady and if she was a dog or some other animal how would I know who she was, She decided that made perfectly good sense. She asked how did Joseph Smith come to translate the plates and how could he do that if he didn't know the language, so we talked about revelation, and she said that made sense too. She said she wasn't ready to make a commitment to any religion and was investigating many things, so I had her read Moroni 10:4 about the Lord's promise and suggested she pray about it as she did believe in prayer. and several other passages she was interested in, by then we were Warsaw and parted, but not without a hug and kiss. I did love give her a pass along card but didn't have a Polish BOM, she said she would stop and ask a missionary for one if she felt so inclined, Who knows what will happen, but I do know the Lord prompted my answers at that time and gave her information needed to help her make a wise decision. maybe a seed was planted and will continue to grow til she understands what to do. She asked why I came to Poland and not to somewhere in the US, I told her maybe to bring this information just to her. and it was worth it. she did agree. Wohoo.
So my trip back to Bydgoszcz was so uneventful . 7 hours and still hot, too hot to eat. The conference is in a little over a week, there are people coming from15 countries and even 2 guys from Canada. come on over. ok, better get busy , the elders are coming to learn how to cook fried chicken , hope they hurry, I am hungry, haven't eaten much in the last 3 days, only drank a LOT of water, hope all this makes sense, was a very long hot 3 days.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

YSA Conference Location

Here are some photos of Szczyrk and the Polish Olympic Sports Facility where the upcoming Young Single Adult Conference will be held.

Friday, June 11, 2010

June 8th Email

The mission conference was absolutely amazing. Elder Kerr(sounds like Care) was there for the Friday afternoon meeting and it was about an hour til lunch time, so when Elder Kerr got up there he said Pres Engbjerg told a little fib, do you know what a fib is, in our country we don't say someone told a lie, they told a fib. and Pres. Engbjerg told me a fib, he said you would rather listen to me than go to lunch, and I know that is a fib. Such a funny sense of humor, and such a command of the scriptures, I would indeed rather listen to him than go to lunch.
Then after lunch the video conferencing with Elder and Sister Hales was for the afternoon and evening conference. It was schedule to last only 75 minutes, but actually lasted nearly 2 hours and was wonderful. That's the first time video conferencing has been done in Poland through the church. To be taught by an apostle is truly an event and to hear him bear his testimony of the Saviour, the Prophet and the atonement in words no more eloquent than a child is truly amazing, There is no stronger testimony needed than to say" I know the Savior lives, I know Joseph Smith restored the gospel in the latter days and I know that Thomas S. Monson is the prophet for today. so with those simple words we can know our testimonies are as simple as a child's and as powerful as a prophet of God. I seriously love the Lord and love serving Him in Poland.
Then on Sat. we , all the senior missionaries and Pres. and Sister Emgbjerg went to visit the birthplace of Chopin and had a wonderful day of relaxation and visiting and picture taking. only somewhere along the way all my pictures on my card got erased and I have no clue how that even happened, so all I have now are about 15 at Chopin's and all the ones of the zone conference got erased/and all the ones I took on the way there from Warsaw, some of a stork's nest with 4 babies in it and the mama and papa taking turns on the nest. Hopefully I can get some pics of the nest. Then we had a picnic in the parking lot, no one had even heard of a tailgate party, is that just an Arizona thing? Now they know about it. All in all it was a wonderful weekend and we got home about 11:30 Sat. pm and then had church on sunday. Each fast sunday the branch president asks one of the auxillaries to sing for 15 minutes before Sacrament meeting and this time is was the missionaries. for that I could have stayed home. 4 elders and 2 sisters and we sounded quite BAD. no other words for it. I know I sound sad and Sister Marshall is just a bit better and I think the elders whispered. seriously was not a pretty sound or sight. Hopefully we won't have to do that again soon..

May 26th Email

hey, I finally got my package and thank you soo much for all the goodies, think I'll have grits for breakfast tomorrow wohoo I like everything in there and another couple were here when I opened my box, they brought it to me so I gave one of the scrabble games to them for their center in Luge, that's about 3 or so hours from here and they do the same thing there that we do here, they just came down to visit with us and see how we are doing, thank you for all the stuff!

May 23rd Email

Have you heard on the news of all the flooding in Poland? There has been so much rain that there is serious flooding in several parts. In Torun, where we went several weeks ago, it is now under water - like over our heads under water! The Visula river flooded way over the banks and there's no president at this time, the election should be in June, but maybe not til Oct or Nov and there's no one to make a decision as to what to do. that's a bit scary for the farmers.

May 21st Email

we finally got home last nite about 11:00pm, it was a wonderful zone conference with Elder and Sister Paya of the Seventy, He talked about obedience as it relates to being better missionaries He used many scriptures as it relates to the promises made by the Lord as we are obedient in teaching the gospel. He and Sister Paya are from France and his Polish is very limited and it was cute how he would ask " how to say" a particular word, He asked how to say Poland in Polish, It's Polska, then he repeated it about 5 times and said see how well I'm learning the language,?. In Sister Paya's talk she talked about the words of Pres. Faust,
Faith is the
Obedience is the Price.....qualifies to be an instrument in the Lord's hands
The Spirit is the be effective
Love is the the people
And Christ is the Reason.... made it all possible and how we can apply each of these to our lives as missionaries.

Such a great conference and so many things brought to our remembrance of why we're in Poland and what our purpose is, Truly we are sent here so specific purposes. so my question continues to be " Lord , thou hast sent me here, what would thou have me do?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

May 17th Email

interesting weather we're having here in Poland this spring, so far there has only been about 2 days with the temp over 60 C. and a comment was made it could be because of the ash from the volcano in Iceland , and it blew again just recently. what it is doing is delaying the planting season and then the growing season is shortened and then the harvest is less. just a vicious circle and then there is less food grown, bottom line is , make sure you have your food storage in, there are many ways food supply is effected. like flooding in New England last year and there was a shortage of pumpkin, and who knows what this will effect??? experts say there isn't enough ash in the air at this point to really matter, anyway just be aware.

here the work continues and is slow but good. there were 2 at FHE tonight and usually 3 in English and 4 or 5 in Institute and 3-5 in YSA..That's a good starting point but not enough yet. The branch president here is very excited about the program and announces every Sunday how much fun we have at the various meetings and encourages the kids to come. and we talk to tons of people when we go anywhere, usually ask if they speak any English and can help us with directions. and we invite them to english to improve their english,some come but most do not. but we'll keep trying and we do meet nice people.
Well keep the faith, and get your food storage in and be strong in the gospel and teach your children the same, and I LOVE YOU ALL BEYOND BELIEF,

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday April 24th Email

So got moved to Bydgoszcz on Friday and that was an event, right after interviews with the mission president. my train left at 3:25pm and at 3 pm I reminded the elders I needed to get to the train station, no problem, plenty of time ,only the whole front of the station is being remodeled and had to go to an underground tunnel to get to the station and it was crowded beyond belief and I didn't have a ticket , so the elders literally threw me on the train with all my stuff and the elder had to get off the train so it could leave, he asked the conductor to find a car for me and my stuff. Pres..Embjerg called and said to get in 1st class, but no way to get me and my stuff there, so finally got a seat, bought a ticket,(bilet) met a man from DC that works for global energy and is very familiar with APS and wants to talk to Aunt Starr's Dan, so gave him the number, so all in all it was a very interesting trip. then on Tuesday we left for Gdansk for zone conference and got in trouble for traveling in P day clothes, jeans and sweat shirt, just doesn't set the proper example for the younger missionaries, so now have to travel in mission clothes, all the time, just a big bummer, the trains are not the least bit fancy, rather plain with very historic lavs, no running water, if there's one at all on a 3 or more hour ride. not a lot of fun but oh well, livable.

Gdansk is up by the Baltic Sea near Russia ,I will send the card home and you can see pics of walls crumbling down, and then new hotels build very near there, the cab driver wanted $50. American to drive us to the hotel, which would usually cost about 10-15 zl. that's about $5, we gave him 20zl and told him that was plenty, we did not want to go on a tour of Gdansk, but he kept saying , But please , madam, please madam, so finally sister Marshall gave him another 5zl and we left him still begging for American $. we didn't even have any $. We went to St. Mary's Basilica where there's a very old picture (1450")of St. Peter welcoming the people of the world in to heaven with a very unusual handshake, you will see when you down load the pics.
So back in Bydgoszcz and on to opening the youth center. We had our first YSA on Fri and there were 3 people there, hopefully more will come in time. these centeres take a bit of time to get going, It's hard to believe I've been here almost 3 months already. sometimes seems like for ever and sometimes like I just got here. miss all of you like I've been gone forever.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tenderizing an Easter Chick

Several days ago I received several packages from my girls with lots of Easter goodies and other things necessary to the ease life in Poland. Among all the goodies was a cute little yellow Easter chick. As I held him in my hand he chirped a very loud CHEEP. then nothing more. I turned him over and over looking for the button to make him cheep again then sat him on my hand to just look at him and heard a faint little cheep. I decided he was frightened about being in Poland and, not understanding the language, was afraid to talk again. So I just sat him on my desk and over the next several days gently massaged him looking for the button to make him talk, not a sound. I finally decided drastic measures were needed so I performed some minor surgery and remove his batteries, and then put them back, still not a sound; not even a tiny little cheep. Poor little frightened chick, very cute but can't say a word.

Then Wonder of wonders, my girls called and asked about the packages and did I like everything? Oh yes, I liked everything even the cute little chick that can't talk, I've done everything I can think of to encourage him to talk. "Um MOM", said Rachel, "just hold him in your hand and it will complete the circuit and he will talk, he has to be sitting on his feet." SO I did and he CHEEPED LONG AND LOUD!

I really think this little chick has been totally tenderized and is just happy to know he is loved.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Here are a few pictures of Mom in Wroclaw, Easter Parachute Eggs with the Elders and the Opera House:

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Saturday, March 27, 2010

March 24th Email

I was told on Tuesday that I'm to be transferred to another place, it was to be tomorrow, but tomorrow I am going to Szczrek to a YSA planning meeting and could not really go 5 hours in the other direction. I just talked to Pres. Engbjerg and he said it would be a while longer as the one sister would be serving by herself and doesn't want to do the FHC by herself, so don't know what will happen except I will be here a bit longer and do not know even how long that will be. He wanted to know if I was ok with all that, and ok with serving in the other city, told him I would go where ever the Lord sent me, I was called to Poland not to a specific city.

Now you will never guess what we did yesterday on P day, went to Carmen the opera, all done in Italian with Polish subtitles, so I could neither understand nor read the script. It was absolutely wonderful, a little risque, director's choices, but still very good and wonderful staging. the orchestra was amazing and over the top excellent. you would have loved it.

love ya, MOM

Monday, March 15, 2010

March 13th Email

The class went really well. I only had one student on Thurs, a man about 30 or so, and we always start the class with a prayer. He did not understand the difference between pray and prayer so we talked a bit about one being a noun and the other a verb. He said it is different here because we believe in Jesus Christ and talk about Him, in his religion, Catholic, they go to church and then never talk about it. I told him he could ask the missionaries any question he wanted, however he said he did not know what to ask, he said he would listen to the presentation and then ask whatever he needed. The elders did a shortened 1st discussion and gave him a Joseph Smith pamphlet which he said he would read and have questions next week. Woohoo, his name is Robert and I cannot spell his last name. Okay so add Robert's name to your list and to the prayer roll.

March 11th Email

Today I will teach my first English class. I have the advanced class, that's because I speak the least amount of Polish and the class is entirely in English, hooray for me.

We now have a microwave here at the church. On Wed. Sister Kimball and I walked to the Galleria and bought what we thought was like a crock pot, cool pot,but not what we needed. carried that 15# pot about a mile and a half home and then about a 1/2 mile to the church the next day. Then the elders carried it back to the Galleria and we bought a microwave and they carried that back.

Monday, March 8, 2010

March 8th Email

Tomas Kofol did a fireside here on Friday after Zone Conference, him and his wife. they are both amazing people, I wrote you a letter and told you some of the things they talked about filming the Testament. They are both from Denmark and have adopted two children. that makes them special to me as well.

On Sunday Sister Kimball and I went "whiteboarding" in the Renik. (That is just walking up to people cold and inviting them to listen for a few minutes about the church, or just give them a flier with information on it.) Not many people were even interested and it was absolutely freezing cold about 8 degrees C. Only stayed out for about an hour and got to talk to maybe 6 people, then today I had to go to the post office and a young girl helped me with the postage, she spoke some English and I told her at our church we taught English lessons every Wed and would love for her to come and even bring her friends. she was very interested and gave me her name and phone # so the elders could call and give her the address. Woohoo!

Friday, February 19, 2010

1st letter from Poland

We received our first letter from Mom today:

"So it's been interesting here. I have two companions and it's very interesting." Sister Kotcsy is native Polish and Sister Kimball is older than me (only by a year or two) and calls everyone "dear" and talks a lot-a lot. The work is slow, s-l-o-w, guess it will get better. I know it will get better. I have my own room, so I study, sleep, dress, whatever in my room, sometimes eat too.

The district leaders are in this area and Elder Henrie from Arkansas is teaching Polish, so hopefully I'll learn more quickly. That and lots of prayers and reading the Book of Mormon.

The city of Wroclaw (Vrotsau) is beautiful. You would love it. Old old old buildings - beautiful architecture. I'll get some pictures to send. There's an old opera house still in use so tell me some good operas to see. We're allowed one cultural event a month so there's opera, museums, old castles, etc.

The apartment is right in town on the 3rd floor - no elevator, but the elders brought my stuff. I should be here about 4 months and am to help plan the upcoming Young Single Adult Conference for 11 countries, not sure where it will be. Should be fun and hard work.

Love ya tons! I'll write again soon.


P.S. Send any packages, as well as letters, to my Wroclaw address as it takes 4-5 weeks to come from the mission home. Thanks!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 2010 Mission Newsletter

The mission home emailed a copy of their February newsletter that included a photo and paragraph about Mom along with a few photos of the mission area.

"New Missionary Arrival

On Saturday, February 6th, we welcomed Sister Irene Mariner Austin from Snowflake, Arizona, into the Poland Warsaw Mission. She has been assigned to Wrocław as her first area during her mission, to help start up a Center for Young Adults, along with Sister Kimball, assisted also by Sister Kocaj, who is also in charge of the Family History Center in Wrocław. "

Welcome Emails

Now that Mom is in Poland we are taking over her blog! We had not heard from Mom since she had left JFK airport however, we received the following emails with updates:

"YOUR MOTHER HAS ARRIVED IN POLAND SAFE AND SOUND..on Saturday! Right now she is still trying to get into her accounts to send you all an email. She is not having any success so far. She is now in Wrocław, Poland with S. Kimball (senior sister) and S. Kocaj (younger sister). We are happy to have her in Poland with us.

Have a good day.

Sister Thueson
Mission Recorder
Poland Warsaw Mission"


"S. Austin has had a terrible time trying to get into her email accts which is really strange. She even tried at the mission home on the day she arrived without success. I think she was going to try today at the Family History Center.
She is now is a beautiful part of Poland. In fact, most of Poland is beautiful and many of the cities have been around for centuries. Polish history is quite fascinating and in spite of everything and having had Warsaw and other cities totally leveled during WW II, they have already rebuilt most of the cities. They are a rescilient people….but…to be Polish is to be Catholic and that makes it a bit hard for missionary work.

Your Mother is doing well and “hit the ground running” and she is in good hands. Don’t need to worry. Thanks for your help and have a great day. We are 8 hours ahead of you.
Sister Thueson"

Friday, February 5, 2010

My time in the MTC

My stay at the MTC was very short and it flew by very quickly! There was so much to learn and study - I went home every day exhausted and excited.

Here I am with one of my teachers, Sister Christi Grover: This was the group of missionaries I went to class with:

The best picture is me at THE Map! My MTC companion Sister Kleinman is going to the St. Louis Mission - she is from Mesa and we had a lot of fun!

I am on my way to Poland now! I can't believe I am going to Poland! I am so nervous and happy I could bust!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The adventure begins...

I traveled to Provo on Wednesday, January 20th - my birthday, with two of my daughters. We left a day early to beat a large winter storm that was set to hit Northern Arizona and Utah on Thursday. We made reservations to stay in St. George and discovered that the temple was located just a few blocks away from our hotel. So, Thursday morning we attended a session. It is a beautiful temple and we enjoyed spending time in the Celestial Room together. Italic
We continued on to Provo and stayed with my cousin, Marjorie, and her daughter, Zhara. (I truly enjoyed visiting with them and greatly appreciate their hospitality.) Since we had a few days before I had to report to the MTC, we decided to turn our little road trip into a temple trip. We attended the Provo temple on Friday morning. I loved the unique layout of the temple and enjoyed the gentle peace that prevailed throughout the temple.

Saturday afternoon we went to the Mt. Timpanogos temple. It is a gorgeous temple! After the session we drove around the temple and tried to absorb every detail.

Between our temple visits, my cousin Gwen would meet us at Marjorie and Zhara's home and we spent hours talking and laughing, reminiscing about old times and catching up. Sunday we attended church and my sister and her husband, along with Gwen, joined us at the house and we had a fantastic night of dinner and conversation. The house was filled with laughter and it was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday evening.

Monday morning, excited and scared, I reported to the MTC. After dropping off my luggage in my room, I hugged everyone goodbye and my new adventure began...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

I'm glad they called me on a mission


I have been called to serve in the Poland Warsaw Mission and will be working in the Young Single Adult Community Center. I am very excited!

I report to the MTC on January 25, 2010. Right now I am busy putting everything in order and trying to buy warm enough clothes for the Poland winter weather. I have loved working in the Snowflake Temple this past year and am sad to be leaving. I have learned so much and have made some great friendships. I loved serving in the temple and I will miss everyone!

However, I am off to my next adventure. Watch out Poland - here I come!