Monday, January 31, 2011

Crazy Driver!

from email sent January 31, 2011:

will be home in about 6 months, however I still have tons of work here and tons to do.

Polish people are so amazing, wonderful and in some can see the value of some of those Polish jokes. some of these people seriously need an attitude adjustment. mostly the tramvie and autobus drivers, I think they for the most part are aspiring race car drivers or demolition derby drivers. and rude beyond belief, their favorite past-time is to watch an elderly person run across the street to catch the tram, then take off just as they get to the door, I am amazed there are not more fatalities than there are, and there is usually at least two or more a month. drivers just taking off with people not even fully on the tram. seriously (gwupi drivers) stupid, but just have to be careful and pay attention. My favorite statement is that "I was blessed to be kept from harm's way, not stupid's, so pay attention."

so love love love ya and today is a real P day, first one this year, so I think we are going to Adam's Ties and don't know what else, probably out to lunch somewhere. Sister Sheets is here from Wroclaw, so the three of us are having a great time. do widzinia, MOM

ps, on Sat. went to the renik and bought some fun kids toys and had an interesting lunch, will attach a couple of pics, one of my lunch and one of me seriously impressed with the presentation, but it was good.

Missionary Work

Had the opportunity to go with the sisters on a teaching appointment, since I know so little Polish , I generally only bear my testimony of a particular issue, seriously wish Julie was here , one of the investigators is from Tibet and speaks some English, some Polish and mostly Mandarin Chinese, he said he will be here in July when you all come and wants to talk to Julie, it's very interesting teaching someone with absolutely no knowledge of Jesus Christ and see the light go on as a small amount of understanding begins. He is reading the BOM, but doesn't understand much so far. I think he has the same book as the one I sent Julie, funny to see him read from back to front. .... love ya and gotta run. MOM


From email sent January 1, 2011:

Oh here it is cold alright, about 2 feet of snow on the ground and snows almost every day, and it's a bitter cold that goes right through your body, standard dress for going outside is....garments and thermals, one layer of shirt/sweater, skirt, another sweater. all long sleeve,scarf, coat..another scarf, wool, knee high socks over the tights, fuzzy socks over that and then boots. and 2 pr gloves. sound warm.... not really enough and still get cold. oh and the wind blows so cold. welcome to Poland. predicted to be the coldest and snowiest in 100 years. I think Julie would turn into a popsicle. love ya Mom

Happy Birthday Song

from email sent December 4, 2010:

this is the birthday song like the American happy birthday
Sto lat sto lat
NIECH zyje żyje nam
Jeszcze raz jeszcze raz
niech żyje, zyje nam
niech zyje nam (only once)

at the end yell Sto lat very loud

Polish Christmas Traditions

From email sent November 29, 2010:

On the nite of Dec. 5, the kids put their shoe by the window so Santa can put candies in them. then on the 25 they celebrate regular Christmas day with big dinner,12 dishes , but don't know what each dish is. one is borst, a red soup, several meat dishes and don't know what else, and an empty place is set in case a stranger comes in, I think that's from the Jewish custom of setting a place for Elijah and leaving the door open a bit. he would be a wecome guest.

another tradition is on Christmas day the family sits in a large area and the head of the family gives everyone a wafer, like the ones Catholics use for sacrament, and each person goes around the circle and gives a piece of the wafer to each person and wishes them luck or happiness or something good to happen in the coming year.

also the tree is decorated on Christmas eve by the older children and adults. with lights and whatever they choose, usually a real tree and stays up til the needles literally fall off. and the last was, there's lots of eating and drinking.


From email sent November 28, 2010:

here's a couple of pics of the branch in Bydgoszcz, guess who the old white haired lady is???? look like somebody's grandmother, oh I am a lot of bodies g'mother. love it. there is one family of 7 kids missing from this pic, they were all sick today with a stomach flu, no fun.


From email sent November 5, 2010:

On Tuesday/Wednesday of this week, Sister Marshall and I went to Krakow to visit, one of the things we did was to tour the Jewish Quarter during the war, mostly it looks like every other city in Poland, very old and dirty, slowly the cities are being refurbished, painted and cleaned up. All of the synagogues except the one we are standing in front of is the only functioning one left in Krakow. At one time there were five and most are now being used for other purposes., like museums or just left in ruin, Oddly enough Krakow wasn't bombed during the war, so the old castle and churches are still standing. wish we would have had time to visit the palace as well, but we choose instead to visit Auschwitz and Bierkenau. That will be a memory forever engraved in my mind. to see the reality of the brutality of the war. When we went to Birkenau it was nearly dark, so by the time we went inside one of the buildings it was very dark and there are no lights, I did have a small flash light so used that, However when those women and children were imprisoned there, there were no lights, and all had to be done in the dark, hungry, tired, cold any other debilitating adjective one could imagine, and there I stood, cold but with a warm coat, scarf, and SHOES. and there because of my choice, and not HUNGRY, and could go buy whatever kind of food I choose. I think seeing it in the dark with a tiny flash light left much more of an impression than seeing it the daylight. to maybe feel to a very small degree as those women did. How is it that I am so blessed?? There is a brick chimney(heater) in each room, however they had nothing to burn and if they used the beds slats they would have been shot, literally, There were 3 levels and each level about 6 feet across and to each level. about 5 people were assigned.
As I walked through Auschwitz and went up and down the stone stairs, there are indentations where thousands of people walked and hand rails they touched and I felt to a small degree the sadness, the terror, the finality of life in that camp. The displays of hair, shoes, (men, women, children and babies) the personal items, shaving brushes, shoe polish, leather suitcases, glasses, anything a person could use to sustain life to even the least degree of comfort was taken from them, artificial limbs, canes. braces, the list is forever long, all were taken and these people slaughtered as animals. as that is how the German political leaders looked on these Jewish people. So completely sad to see a pile of little boots.

Many of the children were adopted by the other citizens of the cities, and raised as their own, so their heritage was lost, but their lives were saved. I think I shall never complain about my black shoes not matching my brown skirt ever again, I have sufficient for my needs. and more.

So of course I have a question, how does the atonement cover those people who committed and allowed to be committed against those people.? Is there enough time in all eternity to even come close to repenting for all those acts of atrocity?? and if they willingly did these things, how can this be?? I remember the story told of Corrie ten Boom in conference about meeting one of the guards from the camp where she and her sister were imprisoned and her sister died. he had asked her forgivness for all he had done. and how she felt, so in this life time must he seek personal forgiveness from each person?? and what of those that died, must he ask for personal forgiveness from each of those people. so many questions and I do have a tiny tiny tiny understanding of the atonement, but not much. and so many questions,

Pretties and Parties

From email sent October 29, 2010:

Poland is very beautiful and the people ,for the most part, are really quite nice and friendly, probably would be more so if I could speak the language better, but keep on trying, it's a VERY DIFFICULT language to learn and my memory just ain't what it used to be.

Pictures include beautiful tree, Fall in Bydgoszcz a mistletoe tree, here it's a parasite that grows in lots of trees, and a birthday party for one of the elders

Halloween Party

from email sent October 28, 2010:

this year in Oct.there are 3 Fri, 3 Sat. and 3 Sundays and that won't happen again for about 834 or so years. interesting bit o nonsense, Someone has way too much time on their hands to figure that out, not me, that's for sure, tomorrow we are planning a Halloween Party for the branch here, not really a big holiday here, some of the western events are just coming here, so we're looking forward to a great time. BOO

one of the elders just called and wanted an idea for a costume, I suggested a "Larry" that's what they call homeless people here, or hobos are the same thing. not a lot one can do with your basic black suit and white shirt maybe a ya bunches, Mom

Classes, Travelling and a Birthday Party

From email sent September 19, 2010:

jak sie masz?( how are you?)the class went well, we reviewed reading a pattern envelope and the guide sheet and how to make t shirts. Sister Zan said to thank you so much for sending them, seriously the Burda patterns are a joke however there is a place on line like ebay one can purchase patterns very similar to American ones, only have to have an account and I don't know how to see the catalog, perhaps on line as well. who knows, I just really appreciate you sending those. one set is left in Wroclaw for that branch and the sisters will trace off the sizes they want and not cut the patterns, hopefully that is the way it will be done.
So on tuesday we leave for Warsaw and the senior outing and then the plan is to go to Morlbork, the largest standing castle in Europe and be there for two days and come home and then Sept. is nearly over, time is flying by so fast. amazing.

But don't know how I will deal with Christmas, this will be a first ever to be alone, well not alone there are other missionaries here and will probably have them for dinner , it's a three day event and we've already been invited to Andziej and Alicja's for one day and the 26th is Andziej's birthday and he said we had to bring him a present , even if it's just a sucker and wrap it in BIRTHDAY PAPER. they are fun kids and they are kids, he is 23 and she is 26, and they have huge responsibilities in the church, he is 2nd counselor in the mission presidenct and she is the RS pres and institute teacher and also teaches Sunday School on Sunday a month, Andziej is traveling most of the weekends visiting other branches, that's a lot for kids that young, but they do well. Oh and his favorite pasttime now is Books and Runs, even if we just have 15 minutes, it's " shuffle those cards and lets do a hand and save the score til we can play again, and Alicij's favorite thing is to beat him in cards, rarely happens and she saved the last score sheet and is going to frame it and display it, funny kids.

Busy, busy, busy

From email sent September 16, 2010

What a week this has been, first we had zone conference cancelled, our area authority had to remain in Germany for other meetings so couldn't come. I don't know when conference will be, probably another week when we have a milliion things to reschedule. like we did this week, Guess that's the way it goes, a million things to do , or nothing. rather have a million things, time goes by faster.

So next week the schedule at this time is for the senior outing in Warsaw on Wed and thur,travel on tuesday , leave for Morlburk Castle on Thursday evening and be there on Friday and come home on Friday pm. gonna be exhausted from all that travel and then it's nearly Oct.
The sewing classes are going great and leave tomorrow for Wroclaw for two days to teach there and do alterations for the elders, Usually just shirts and suits. sometimes mending their slacks. I do enjoy it and it's a good way to serve. so maybe my purpose is to do just that, oh and teach them how to play Books and Runs. Probably will need more decks of cards if I get transferred again, not in the plan, but one never knows.

Message from Poland

from email sent September 6, 2010:

Dzien dobry,

Tthe work in Poland continues to go forward howbeit very slowly, The vision of L. Tom Perry is truly correct as the youth are the ones generally more willing to listen to the missionaries. Institute here begins in Oct. after a long summer break, so many kids leave the city for the summer it's hard to have much of any kind of program. so we're startig again and hopefully all the kids will return. I do stay busy teaching sewing classes, go to Wroclaw once a month and teach a group there, 4 YW and 4 RS. sisters. and this week will start teaching another class here in Bydgoszcz.

It's so much fun to see the sisters, young and old, excited about making their own clothes. We started with making pajama pants and after class in Wroclaw the sisters did a little fashion show wearing their new pjs and did a funny little stomp dance. it was way cute. This month we are doing baby blankets, a different way to bind the edges, simple projects, but learning none the less. it's great fun.

In August I received a package from my girls, love to get packages and letters and emails with pictures. Among all the goodies from my family there were two letters from Primary kids in their ward in Phoenix with Flat Jim and Flat Choco. two little missionaries to serve mini missions here in Bydgoszcz. we had a great time doing splits with other missionaries and going to church. They will be returning to Phx. this week after about two busy weeks serving here. Hopefully I can attach some pictures. Not always successful there. .

do widzenia, Siostra Austin

Gift of Tongues and Out of Harm's Way

from email sent August 31, 2010:

did you get the email with the Polish words, 'When I get home you can speak some Polish to me. I cannot carry on a conversation, but know lots of words and can read Polish, just dont know what all the words mean, but still learning. Among all the blessings President Ron Smith blessed me with when he set me apart, one of them wasn't the gift of tongues, in fact he set me apart for an English speaking mission, however he did bless me to be kept out of harms way and I am so thankful for that blessing. crazy drivers over here , no speed signs and autobusses and tramvies everywhere, driving like crazy. If one were to get a license, the first thing to do is take the rear view mirror off the car and not see what is going on behind.

Polish Words

From email sent on August 30, 2010

here are a couple of Polish words to learn with Polish and english spelling and pronouncation

good morning dzien dobry (gen doe-bry)

hi czesc (chest)

good bye do widzenia (doe vid-zen-ia) w's are pronounced like v's

thank you dzienkuje (gen-kulia) sounds like julia with a k

please prosze (pro-sha)

thought this would be fun to learn. It's a very hard language and there are 7 different case endings for it is hardfor me to carry on a conversation, but I know lots of words. I probably sound a lot like a little kid just learning to talk, duh.... I am. love ya bunches, MOM

Sewing Classes and New Traditions

From email sent August 29, 2010

The classes are going really well and the sisters are excited for the next class to begin, It's so fun to teach them. We're starting one in Bydgoszcz tomorrow for karolina, wish you guys could meet her and Tomac, they are such a cool couple, Tomac is quiet and serious and karolina doesn't have a serious bone in her body. she comes over to play cards with us, and the elders come over every Sunday for dinner and cards. so she came tonite and we all played 3 games.but Elder Davis said we CANNOT BREAK TRADITION, so the games and dinner are not part of the routine, besides they never have money for food, I really think they give most of their money away, so we love to feed them whenever possible. great young men, love them to pieces.
From email sent August 14, 2010:

this is a picture of a real stork's nest here in Poland, Storks have been protected for many hundreds of years here, even since the 1300"s. It is considered good fortune if a stork builds a nest in your chimney, mostly now they are seen on the top of poles like this one. They come back each year to the same next and in the sides of the nest other smaller birds build nests. There are not many storks and the mama and papa stork take turns getting food and caring for the young.

the 1st picture is in Gdansk at a parade. love to you all and now you know that storks really do bring babies.

Adam's Ties

From email sent August 14, 2010

pictures of Adam's ties, just a corner of the warehouse and an old 1800's engine I saw on the way home to Bydgoszcz...(ignore the time stamp in the corner-wrong date)

Shopping and Driving in Poland

From Email Sent August 12, 2010:

just got back from Warsaw and am beyond bushed., we had the most amazing
time with sister Nielson, the new mission matron. We met her at the Bubble
Mall in Warsaw and shopped a bit, found my favorite store in Poland Van
Graaf, and they carry Brookshire shirts and clothes and I love the quality
and the style, only a bit expensive, but worth it, a typical button up shire
made from cotton blend is about 99zl, so really that is about $34 or sol.
not too bad and fit so much better than WalMart stuff. sleeves are long
enough. Guess it's about like Miller Rhodes.
So we shopped for a bit then decided to go to Adam's Ties, He manufactures
men' s neck ties here in Poland for several different men's stores. among
them are Pierre Car'mdin and some I didn't recognize, any way Sister Nielson
and I had never been there and sister Marshall didn't know the way, so got
out her trusty map with key places marked, like the mall, the Church, the
mission home and Adam's ties, so off we went Sister Nielson was driving,
Sister Marshall navigating and I'm in the back seat reading street signs,
only one able to see them and somewhat read them, so Sister Nielson thought
we were not on the right road and said we needed a conference, so pulled up
on the sidewalk between a light pole and a street sign and really checked
the map. decided we were on the right track and just waved her arm out the
window and took off. then continued on that way for a bit and didn't get in
the right lane to make a turn, so just pulled in the safety lane and turned
around, After only 5 weeks in the country she's a real Polish driver. Then a
bit later on we weren't sure if we were on the right road again an did
another sidewalk conference. The statement "if you don't like the way I
drive, stay off the sidewalk" really applies here. She is a riot. love her
to pieces. Got to Adam's Ties and that place is amazing, probably several
thousand or more ties. I did take several pictures and will attempt to ssend
them to you and did buy some ties, then went to a Polish Pottery place and then to
dinner and then to the mission home to crash. today was a zone leader
conference and we helped cook for that and then needed to alter skirts for
Sister Nielson, that's what we went over for. and then home on the train,
another 5 hours,

Train rides are no longer an exciting event and next week I need to Wroclaw
to teach another sewing class. hope I don't have an adventure like last

well better get to bed, tomorrow is YSA and I think we're playing Ping Pong

Youth Conference Article

from email sent August 9, 2010

Here is a link to an article written about the July 2010 Young Adult Conference. "Gazeta" is one of the most popular daily paper in Poland.

1st picl. group, 2nd ski lift, took us clear up to heaven 4500 or so ft. 3rd. Esau from Canada, Hispanic, Sister Galbraith, Sister Marshall, my comp, some guy, me, recognize the gray hair and sunglasses, in front are Karolina and Agnieska from Warsaw , all the rest are pics of the group making bird nest(houses) and the last pic is my comp taking a pic of who knows what.
a huge service project, picking uprubbish on the ski trails, and even more huge was the hike down the mountain , just thought you might like to see some of what we did in Szczyrk,