Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas in POLAND......

Hey fam!
Man, this week was a REALLY good week. I got to talk to the family, I had some super sweet adventures and some good times together with my district, so that was way fun!
On Tuesday we had zone conference in Poznań, so we got to take a really early train out there, and I got to see all my buddies and everyone in the zone. I absolutely LOVED it! There's just something about Poland, Warsaw missionaries that I love so much! I got to hang out with Elder Coutu, and Elder Wilcox and Jeffs from the MTC. I sure miss those guys! We had a musical/video program together with President and Sister Edgren, and I got to play the piano for that... it was way sweet... I think I played just about every Christmas song in the hymn book throughout the program!

Wednesday night (Christmas Eve), Elder Weiler and Elder Blunt slept over at our house, and we had a really amazing Christmas Eve together, and even got to spend some time at the Gays, watching the Bible Videos that we got from President! It was a really good Christmas eve!

Christmas day was good but definitely tough... I loved being able to talk to the family, but afterwards was a little tough.. However, I really got a chance to remember WHY I'm out here... why I'm giving up my family and friends for 2 more years. It was a really neat opportunity for me!

The rest of the week was interesting. I
n Poland, the holidays are much longer(I think it's so they have a hangover day or two... #Polska ), so we were out on the streets talking to people, and there was NOONE... and if they were there, none of them wanted to talk about Christ during the holidays.... so that was interesting..!

Elder Berlin and I did get to go on a sweet scavenger hunt last night for a member who's been lost for forever. It was a 7 mile round-trip out to some random little town with one street, and we got there and found out the address didn't exist... we did meet a really cool guy, though.. who helped us figure that out! All in all it was a little disappointing, but a good adventure to go on, i guess..! :)

OH, also, we were invited to Jacek's(a less-active, only because he lives and works like 150 km outside of Szczecin) grandmother's house in Szczecin. They fed us legit Polish food, and it was literally AMAZING. After, we did sort of a testimony meeting, and the Spirit was there so strongly. his grandmother has even been reading the Księga Mormona, and is already in 3rd Nephi... Miracles happen ever day, guys! I sure love Jacek. He's literally one of my favorite people on the planet. I just wanna give that guy a hug every time I see him... it was great!

Love y'all.. Please make it the best week of your life!
Elder Q




Christmas Eve 2014

Christmas Crepes


Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!!

WITAM WAS!
This week has been such a good week! It wasn't actually that cold this week... we were above freezing, which is great! Elder Berlin is awesome. He's a lot like me, which is both good and bad, but I'm really expecting it to be a really good transfer! We've been working really hard and having some really cool experiences! We found 2 new investigators this week in the park earlier this week and set up another meeting with them. Unfortunately they were more interested in the messengers than the message, and invited us to a club afterward... which was weird. So that was kinda a bummer... but that's okay! ha  But we also met a really cool guy named Michał. We taught him a Restoration lesson on the street, and gave him a Book of Mormon. He is really interested and is going to read it. He also has our number in his phone, but Polish people are different and don't like to give their numbers to other people, so he said he would call later. I told him that when God tells him the Księga Mormona is true, to give us a call, and he laughed and said he would. :)
I definitely miss being companions with Elder Weiler, we got along really well.  But, I'm also super glad to be companions with Elder Berlin. We're going to get work done this transfer and I'm so excited!

We also got to meet with Zbyszek at his house. We went in there, and it was dark and kinda scary, but we had a really cool meeting with him. He ended up showing us Polish Tv shows(he does it every single time... we're trying to get over that...) and I actually understood what they were saying.. and they were REALLY funny. hahaha We ended up teaching him about the church attendance and the sacrament covenant, and then he came to church yesterday! He even had me come and sit by him, and it was way cool!
We also had the sweetest Christmas program in Church yesterday. I got to play a bunch of Polish Christmas songs and hymns, and even had to make up my own Christmas solo...(thank goodness for my piano teacher... big S/O to Bob Heck) and we read the Christ story in Polish. It was awesome and the Spirit was there SO Strongly... it felt a little like home!
We also got to go out to Warszewo(like an hours worth of street teaching North of us) and start tracting. It was a pretty sweet adventure through a dark and muddy neighborhood, and I got destroyed by a huge mud lake on the way there... so that was pretty cool...!
Oh, I also talked to Lynn on the phone from a few weeks back, and it was going really well until she started asking me if I could hang out.... It's getting really old having people want to hang out with us instead of meet... separating those that are genuinely interested I guess...?
The District is doing great! Elder Weiler has his trainee, Elder Blunt, and he's waay cool! I really like him! He's from good 'ole Tucson, Arizona, and he's a baller. I got to work with him on a whiteboard at the end of this last week, and it was waaay cool! It's going to be a good transfer, for sure!
Love y'all, Merry Christmas, and make it the best week of your lives!
Elder Justin Quackenbush

Monday, December 15, 2014

The week before Christmas....

Hey y'all!
Man, this week was a HUGE one!! SO much happened, Elder Weiler and I get to the end of the week, and can't figure out how so much happened in only 7 days... it's incredible!

We started off the week with an Exchange. I had Elder Taylor(a trainee-I love that kid so much) with me in my area, and Elder Weiler went with Elder Fogg in theirs. I had such an amazing time working with Elder Taylor and doing everything we needed to do!
 
We also had Culture Night this week. We get one a transfer and Elder Weiler and I hit a super sweet Polish museum. The World Wars section was the sweetest thing ever. It's so much more meaningful to be able to read these people's quotes in their own language... It actually makes sense. I also realized just how evil of a guy Hitler was... he used some pretty terrible Polish words..... :/ We also went out and got on a docked Russian boat/restaurant thing... so that was pretty sweet! Also, we went and hit Cafe 22, which is this super fancy restaurant that overlooks all of Szczecin. It was sooo cool, and Yes.....They had milkshakes!

I haven't actually talked much about it, but the last two weeks have been entirely dedicated to putting on a Mormoni Night at the branch. We had posters up, 600 ulotki on the streets, a free table, presentations, and testimonies. It was absolutely KILLER!  Elder Weiler and I both felt like we needed to do that kinda thing two weeks ago, and have worked out butts off for it over the last two weeks. It happened Saturday night, and we had two Really good looking potentials come- Olek and Tateusz.  Olek even came to church the next day, and he's coming to Institute on Thursday. We're working with him to try to meet with him, and I couldn't be more excited!
We also got transfer calls.....(drum roll)..... I'm staying in Szczecin. BUT, I'm going to be the new District leader, and I'm getting a new companion. His name is Elder Berlin, and he's still a trainee... which means I get to finish his training! That also means I'm senior companion, and that we both are super young this transfer again... which is going to be great!  hahaha  Can't wait. I'm so excited for this next transfer, and to be working with Elder Berlin! he gets in tomorrow night, and then we get to work!

Love you guys! Make it the best week ever!
Love,
Starszy Quackenbush











Monday, December 8, 2014

Hey y'all!
This week was a really good one. It was definitely a tough one, but it was a good kind of tough. I definitely am being BLESSED with trials and difficulties to overcome every single day, and I am just working my hardest to push through them. I love the line in "Approaching The Throne Of God With Confidence" that says something along the lines of " Trials come as a necessary part of this mortal experience. They may come because God is testing you, or because this is a fallen world. Trials do not necessarily mean you have done something wrong..... but when you find yourself in the midst of trials, have faith, gaze heavenward, and say 'I know what this is... a time to test myself.' and work through it." (those are in Elder Quackenbush language, so don't judge plz) I've really been learning to do that, and to rely on the enabling power of my Savior's atonement every single day to help me through. I am so grateful for the trials and the experiences I am having as a missionary!
So something waay cool happened this week. Elder Weiler had to do some legal work, so we were at this huge Urząd working through some papers. I wasn't doing anything, and off to my right, I could hear problems happening. Some girl(obviously not z Polski) was speaking english and saying "I don't understand... I speak english"... and the Polish teller-lady wasn't being patient. They asked me to help translate for her. I translated what the lady was saying, and essentially this girl needed to fill out this huge legal packet in full-polish. I helped her work through it, and we talked while doing so. Her name is Lynn, she's 22 and from Norway, studying medicine here in Szczecin. We talked for a while, and I helped her until the Urząd closed(not THAT long). After when we were walking out, she was asking me a whole bunch of questions...why are you here? who are you? have you ever sworn in your life? and then the golden question... "can I ask you...... Do you really believe everything your religion believes".... I had the wonderful opportunity to testify that I know 150% that what I have is true. I explained about the Book of Mormon and about praying to know. She is way interested, and was going home to look it up( I only had Polish Księga Mormona's...) so that was way cool!

Also, we tried something different. I got close to that guy from English named Peter, and he wanted me to come play soccer with him and his friends. I tried some soccer contacting, brought Elder Taylor with me(he plays soccer, too), and we went out and played soccer/ talked about the church with a bunch of people. We told them who we were and some of our beliefs, and got to school some Polish people in soccer... so it was a super fun experience!
Love y'all! Make it the best week of your lives! Be good!
Love,
Starszy Q

Monday, December 1, 2014

Super Sketchy....

Hey family/friends/concerned individuals:
What a week...! Elder Weiler and I definitely learned a lot this week, and saw some pretty cool miracles!
I've really gotten to see just how much the gospel, and the Book of Mormon(combined with the Spirit) can change people's hearts! We were doing a whiteboard with Elder Fogg earlier in the week, and we were all solo-contacting in this really busy area in the middle of town. Things were going well, I was really enjoying myself, and having a blast! I ended up talking to a lady with a baby stroller, and telling her about eternal families (definitely my favorite thing to talk to people about). She was waaay interested! But, all of the sudden, in the middle of the conversation, some Polish guy walked up and butted into the conversation. (he looked A LOT like the evil scientist/bad guy from the movie Red 2... so that was great...) This guy then proceeded to yell at me (while I'm still talking to the lady) that I was too young and too stupid to convince him of anything and all this stuff. I completely ignored this guy until he stopped yelling, and continued teaching the woman. She ended up taking a Book of Mormon, and said she would read it! Then, I talked with the guy for a second, then walked over to our free table and grabbed a Book of Mormon. I began explaining about what it is, and how we can come to know of it's truthfulness, and the whole conversation changed. He ended up taking a Book of Mormon, as well, also saying he would read it. The gospel changes people. :)
We also definitely had a super sketchy experience. We went out finding investigators one night, and were following the Spirit north of our apartment. We started talking to this guy that was literally like twice my size. He told us he was homeless, and said he was hungry. So, we took him and got him something hot to eat (yeah... it's freezing and windy here...), and then went and sat down on some sketchy bench in the near-dark, in some sketchy part of town that I've been to like once. We started telling him about what we believe, and where our church came from (we essentially just started teaching a 1st). We showed him Moroni's promise, and read part of it out of the Book of Mormon with him, when he started freaking out. He started shaking his head, put down the kebab, and started like...... judo breathing? his fists clenched up, and he walked into some sketchy alleyway in the dark and leaned up against a wall for a bit. This whole time I'm telling Elder Weiler the game plan if this guy wants to fight... (essentially if I say run, then Elder Weiler will start booking it :)... when this guy came back, he was still freaking out. Elder Weiler took a fake polish call to give us an excuse to get out of there, and I dealt with the guy. He essentially yelled at us in Polish (I didn't understand all that much of it), and then used a word that I really needed to understand. Here's where the miracle comes in. Before we left home that day, I felt prompted to throw one of the Dictionaries in my bag... At that point, I stopped listening and looked it up in the dictionary. We used that word to figure out what he was saying, and then explained to him about the Book of Mormon, and what we do as missionaries. I thought this guy was going to kill us, but he eventually calmed down, joked with us that everyone thinks the missionaries are crazy, and he ended up taking a Book of Mormon, promising to keep it safe, and said he would read it. The gospel changes people, for sure!
I sure love this gospel! I love being a missionary and being able to have this time to better myself and work through trials and get better every day! I love my Savior, Jesus Christ, and I am lucky enough to get to rely on Him every day! Love y'all, make it a fantastic week!
Love,
Elder Quackenbush

Pictures of the Thanksgiving Day nap at the Gay's home.  
 


Monday, November 24, 2014

The Week before Thanksgiving...

Well this week was a great one again! We worked really hard, and really learned a lot this week!! 
     So Elder Weiler and I are getting really good at trying to follow the Spirit. It kinda sounds ridiculous, but we literally stop and wait at every crossroad for the Spirit to tell us where to go. We've realized that literally we can't do anything without Him, so we try to rely on the Holy Ghost as much as possible out here!! This week I really learned that God has a plan, and when we're obedient to His plans, everything works out. On Saturday night, we prayed before we went out that God would help us find those that were ready, as well as teach us and help us become better. Wellll... we were out talking to people and trying to follow the Spirit, and after a while, I got the impression that I needed to let Elder Weiler follow the Spirit, and to do what he was prompted to do. Shortly after, he got the impression to sit down on a bench by the Urząd, and wait. We didn't know for what, and we didn't know how long. We sat there, waiting for a while, before asking again if this was what the Lord wanted us to be doing. We got the answer something along the lines of "Did I not speak peace unto your soul concerning the topic?"... so we waited some more. Turns out, the Lord was testing our obedience to the Spirit, and teaching us patience, because we sat and froze on that bench for 2 hours. we looked at eachother, and just said we would trust in the Lord. It was literally one of the hardest  things I've done on my mission... this place is absolutely freezing!:)
     So you know those stories that every missionary has about something weird and crazy that happened to them on their mission? Yeah, well I think I've got one. Elder Weiler and I were out doing a whiteboard by a busy mall. I was out in the middle of the street talking to everyone I could, addressing crowds of people, and dancing just a little bit(I can't dance, but I always feel like dancing now for some reason...?), and I contacted a man that didn't want to hear our message. He walked away, and returned after a bit, interested. I told him about some of our beliefs, and he told me that he is a Green Witness.... (breakoff from JW's?).... Turns out he wasn't that interested, but he asked if he could pray for me. I made sure he was praying to God, and was like "yeah man, I guess". So, he stepped aside, and mumbled something to himself, and then walked over to me and put both hands on top of eachother on my right shoulder and started mumbling another language. I was freaking out. I totally thought this guy was trying to give me an unclean spirit. I was praying the entire time. After this "muttering wizard" was done, he said goodbye and left, leaving Elder Weiler and I standing there in the middle of the sidewalk wondering what just happened... I sure love Poland.
     The biggest miracle also happened this week. There has always been a guy on our branch directory named Jan T. He was baptized and received both the Aaronic and the Melchezidek Priesthood in the year 2000. The branch fell apart in Gorzów, (1.5 hrs away by car), and he's been missing for 14 years. We've been actively searching for him for about a year now. Elder Weiler and I went out to Gorzów with the Gays, and searched for him. We knew he was said to live in this neighborhood of 100+ działki.(little garden/summer hut things). The lady we needed who had the resident list was gone, so we talked to a super sketchy looking guy with a hack saw. He referred us to a mechanic down the road that might know Jan. We went and talked to the mechanic. He told us that he recognized him(we had a picture), and that there were 2 options... 1)He might have played music with a man down the road somewhere with a green car, or 2)he was dead, and his son worked at some piekarnia somewhere in town-Polish directions are terrible. So we decided to look for the green car. As we were driving down this country road, we saw a green car. We got out and went and yelled at the house, honked the horn, and two guys came out. They said we were JW's, and almost went back inside. We told them we aren't, and that we're looking for Jan. The bigger fellow said that was him. He came up, looked at the tags, and yelled "Bracia!!"(brothers!!) or coś takiego. Turns out he's not been able to find the church in 14 years. He's still faithful, living the commandments, and was so grateful we found him. He now lives on a huge działka lot, and houses 3 homeless people, and helps them get off alcohol addictions. He literally started crying, and I've NEVER seen a Polish person cry. We got numbers, heard stories, visited, and invited him to church. He came to church for the first time in 14 years yesterday, and he's as strong as ever. He took the sacrament, met the members, and we gave him like 2 years worth of church writings. I love that guy so much, and he definitely gives the best hugs ever, so we're so grateful to have him back!
    This week I really learned just How Much the Lord knows us. I was fortunate enough to receive a blessing this week, and literally I had to stop afterwards, and say a prayer, and just tell God that he is right, and that he knows me better than anyone, and tell Him just how grateful I am to Him! I love being a missionary. I love serving Christ, and teaching people about the Gospel. It makes me so happy! Love you all, make it the greatest week of your life!

Love,
Starszy Quackenbush



Thursday, November 20, 2014

Crazy packed week....

What a long week this week! Oh man, literally it was the weirdest week of my mission.
Oh Monday I got on a train to Bydgoszcz for an exchange with Elder Hubbard, the zone leader. It was such a cool experience! We ended up teaching a SUPER cool hour long street lesson to a guy named Paweł and his friend. He ended up taking a Księga Mormona, so that was waay cool! I also got to see my boy Elder Sidwell... I sure love that guy! He's in the group ahead of me, and it would be a blast to get to serve with him! Bydgoszcz also has Sister missionaries, so we did a whiteboard with them, and got to go to a famous Naleśniki restaurant named Manekin. It was super cool! I also solo-taught a Baptist couple on the whiteboard. It was like a 20 minute lesson, and it was super interesting. They were trying to tell me that they didn't believe the Joseph Smith story because the Bible says that no one can see the face of God... which I think it does, but it's a bad translation, meaning no one "unclean/unworthy" can see the face of God. Eventually I found out that I wasn't helping them, and they weren't ready to hear it, and let them keep going... I was really blessed in that lesson, though. I understood like so much of the entire conversation, and was able to talk back to them and quote scriptures and reference the bible without any help (except for the good 'ol Duch Swięty),... it was really cool!
    I ended up heading back to Szczecin for literally less than a day, before getting back on a train. We had Zone Conference in Bydgoszcz with the entire zone. It was such a cool experience to get to learn and testify with all of the other missionaries. The Spirit was there so strongly, and the Lord surely blessed me with personal revelation through the Spirit that was much-needed!
     Lech's Baptism was on Saturday!! It was such a cool experience! I was able to confirm him a member of the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints, bestow upon him the Holy Ghost, and give him a blessing during sacrament meeting yesterday. Everything was in Polish, and the Spirit really blessed me with what to say and how to say it, so that it made sense, and was what he needed. I am so grateful!!
     This church is SO true. I love the gospel of Jesus Christ-especially the fact that we can live with our families again. That is my absolute favorite thing to tell people on the street... and I love it so much that I can live forever with my family! The Gospel is the best, and I absolutely love my mission. It is literally the greatest decision I have ever made, and it's blessing my life so much!
     Love you guys!! Keep up the good work back home!
Love,
Elder Quackenbush
Zone Conference

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hey all,
Really there are absolutely NO words to describe this week. None at all. Elder Weiler and I have been blessed beyond comprehension. We started off the week suuuper pumped about the week. The Spirit just hit me and got me all excited, and Elder Weiler and I decided to do a "Heaven Week"...working even Harder than we did last week..(if that's possible)... We wanted to get the "Standard of Excellence"....which includes 2 investigators with baptismal dates, 2 progressing and in sacrament meeting, 3 recent convert/less active lessons, 3 new investigators, and 4 lessons in the presence of a member(sorry that sounds awkward...this is Polish we're talking about)......... Many missionaries Never make the standard their whole mission, and some only make it once. It is special enough that it was one of the first stories Elder Blom told me during our transfer together. We knew it was a HUGE goal, but we worked our tail off for it.
   This week we kept meeting with Lech(the younger)... he's progressing SO well, and so ready to get baptized, confirmed, and to receive the priesthood on Saturday/Sunday. We gave him his last 2 commitments on Sunday, and he's ready to get Baptized! His interview is on Tuesday, but we've already done a mock interview and he passed with no problems at all.
    We also met with Paweł. He's a very soft-spoken guy from Ukraine, and he's awesome. I sure love that guy. (He's the guy to my right in the pictures at the Gays home). Lessons with him are super hard because his Polish isn't that good... so a bunch of the words are Ukrainian... and I thought Polish was hard enough. We met with him, and talked a lot about the Plan of Salvation, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ, how it is the "good news" from Christ on how we can make it back to him. We invited him to be baptized, and he said he would just like to read and pray first! We're so ready for him!
     Bartek. We met with this guy twice this week. He's an atheist that we found in the area book, and we're trying SO hard to get him to read and pray. We'll keep working with him.
     Old Lech. This guy we also found in the area book. He was also an old investigator, who used to have problems with the Word of Wisdom. We met with him last week, and invited him to baptism and to change his life, and said not yet. We met with him again, yesterday. We taught him about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he loved it. He accepted a baptismal date for the 13th of December. We also found out in the last 2 meetings that he's been changing his life. He no longer drinks, and barely smokes. He even read out of his Word of Wisdom pamphlet that he had kept, and was pumped about the blessings. We're so excited for him!
     So when Elder Weiler and I were out teaching in the parks one day, we gave an Ulotka to some guy and his wife that weren't really interested in the gospel. Later, we were walking through the park, praying at most of the crossroads to know where to go, and felt that we should go back up these steps back into the park. We saw Romald and this lady Again, and they talked with us this time. We talked for a while about the church/what we're doing. Then, a day or two later, we saw him AGAIN. We talked for about an hour about Everything... Word of Wisdom, Law of Chastity, Everything. He told us he wanted us to come teach him and his sister in their home on Saturday. We went on Saturday, miraculously found his house, because his Sister showed up at the perfect time, and helped us get there. He had invited us to Family Dinner. His two sisters, one of their husbands, the lady we had met in the park, and his Father. We had some amazing conversations about the church, and invited them to church, and to Lech's baptism on Saturday. At that dinner, they (forced us to) allowed us to eat Sledge. Yeah... it tastes worse than it sounds. It's pickled, raw herring. And they made us eat a lot. It's like a Polish favorite, and it's terrible. It's a missionaries worst nightmare. Literally I'm still tasting it.
    By Sunday night, we were finally able to take Lunch at 6 o'clock at night. We knew full well that we could take the night "off" due to the fact that we had another meal hour and some studying that we could have done. But, Elder Weiler and I were both impressed that we needed to go out and put that last bit of effort in for the week... to try to find our last two needed Investigators. We had very little success that night, until about 8:30. We met the most prepared girl named Sophie, who didn't speak Polish, but spoke really good English. She was Really interested in our beliefs, and in the Plan of Salvation. We taught her, and then set up to come back to that same spot on Tuesday night with an English Book of Mormon. I'm really excited to see how that meeting goes. Then, we kept looking and looking, knowing our time was running out, and praying at every crossroad to know where to go. We felt like we needed to go a certain way, and the Last possible guy we could have talked to was incredibly open, accepted a book, liked what we taught, and set up with us again. Miraculously, we made the standard, knowing full well that everything that happened was a blessing from God. I am so grateful for this week!
The Lord is really blessing us. I know He is leading us, and protecting us every single day. I am so grateful for the enabling power of the Atonement. Literally it carries me when I'm sooo out of energy during these hectic days. Wiem że ten kościół jest prawdą. Kocham tę ewangelię, i błogosławi mi każda dzień. Kocham to, że ja mam okazję aby głosić że możemy żamieskać razem że naszą rodziną na wieczność, po smierci. Kocham moją rodzinę! trzymajcie się

Elder Quackenbush





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Halloween Week

Hey fam!
Oh my goodness... what a week we had this week! The Lord really blessed us this week as we worked and worked and worked!  I'm so grateful for Elder Weiler and his good work ethic... it really helps us get things Done out here in Szczecin, and the Lord has been right there by our side!
So I got to meet Jacek. He's a member that lives Way outside of Szczecin, and he's super strong, but can never come to church! This guy is like 5'2, and has energy like the Breinholts... i.e. a LOT :) We were able to meet with him for a little while while he was in Szczecin, and it was suuuper cool!
Lech: So I don't even know where this guy came from. He is literally the most prepared person I've ever met. We just gave him one of his last commitments before baptism, and he's set! Next Friday, the 14th is the date... and we're so excited!  He is also prepared and accepted the call to receive the Priesthood after his confirmation.... I'm so excited for him!!
Older Lech: So this is a miracle... Old Lech was a past investigator that Elder Weiler and I found while calling through the area book. We called, and he said: "Brothers! Why haven't you called me in so long??"........ so we met with him this week. He had a baptismal date like a year ago, but relapsed on alkohole(I don't know how to spell it in english anymore... oops ) right before his baptism.  We brought Serguisz, and taught him the Word of Wisdom in no uncertain terms...(Well, Sergiusz did... the Spirit was just spitting words out of his mouth) and Lech agreed to try his best to live it! We encouraged him, and he's going for it! He told us he wants to set a baptismal date soon after he switches his work... so we're pumped! and then, he came to church Sunday. If that's not a miracle.. .then I don't know what is!!
So Jan is a member, and he's a master on the piano. He plays by ear kinda like Mckenna Breinholt. He is secretly writing a song for Lech's baptism. He found out I play the piano, and this week, we put two pianos together at the chapel, and he gave me the chords for the song, and we put it together as a kinda duet. It sounds sooooooo sweet, and I'm so grateful for it! We're going to play it at Lech's baptism I think!
So I actually kinda got Halloween... like the most legit Halloween of my life. Elder Weiler and I purposely saved all our meal time for the day until nighttime on November 1st... which is All Saints Day in Poland. Then, we went to the 3rd(the Poles were wrong.. it's not the first) biggest cemetery in Europe, and just walked through. It was the foggiest night I've ever experienced, and cold and thick enough that we could feel our breaths hitting us in the face. The only lights out in the cemetery where we were, were the candles on the graves. hahah We didn't turn our flashlights on. It was one of the most legit, eerie things I've ever done, but it was SOOO fun!
The Gospel is So True. Let me say that again.... The Gospel is the truest thing on the earth. I am so grateful for the experiences and trials I've had that have helped me realize that even more out here in Poland. Missions are great, life is great-and I'm absolutely loving it, and the gospel is great! Love y'all... keep doing good things!

Love,
Elder Q








Monday, October 27, 2014

Miracle Week!

Oh. My. Goodness. This week was Literally the best week of my mission. I've never been so busy in my entire life- literally Elder Weiler and I went without at least one meal almost every day this week because we were sooo packed! (it's probably waaay good because now I can fit back into my blue slacks again :) ) 
     The week started off great with Branch Home Evening at the church with the entire branch/investigators/everyone we know in Szczecin. We had a spiritual lesson, and then all spent time as a "family" playing games and eating treats and laughing! It made Szczecin feel like home, and I sure love it! Jerzy came to Branch Home Evening, which was Super cool!
     Speaking of Jerzy....(the less active man that has the ROUGHEST life)  Man, I love that guy so much!! We met with him 3 or 4 times this week and tried to help him in his life. Essentially our meetings are 2-2.5 hours long, and 98% of that is him talking and us listening. Then, we share a spiritual thought and tell him we love him and to keep pushing through and having faith. It has been a miracle to see how much better he is doing! And guess what...... He came to church for the first time in 4 months on Sunday!(More info to come)
     Big News, too!! Our investigator Lech is getting baptized on the 15th of November!!! This guy is more prepared than ANYONE I've ever met in my entire life. Everything about his story is a miracle. This guy is a super-genius. I have no other words to describe him. He looks a lot like Uncle Kurt, and his humor kinda resembles his as well, and he's the smartest man I've ever met before. He knows everything about history and religion, he's a writer, and he is a language master. It's really incredible. He had been living in Berlin for a while, and was looking for a new place to live, when he visited a friend here in Szczecin for the day as he was passing through. He had absolutely NO plans to stay here, but when he first got into the city, the thought came to him that he needed to stay here, (which he didn't recognize at the time was the Holy Ghost), but he brushed that off. As he met with the friend, his friend invited him to live in this apartment he owns for free. Lech obviously agreed, and has been living in Szczecin for a short time. He actually contacted the missionaries and told them that he already lives the Word of Wisdom(which is the BIGGEST miracle in Poland, it really is.). He went to english for a while, and had just become an investigator when I arrived here two weeks ago.(He had been taught one lesson). Elder Weiler and I have been teaching and working with him for the last two weeks, and he committed to baptism on Wednesday of last week. We have already taught him almost all of the things we need to teach him, and he accepts every commandment and commitment willingly, because he knows it's true. I have been able to witness the miracles when he would start to say things like "well, WE as the LDS church"... and "Why would I have to pray to know it's true when I already know it's true? Do I need to go out on the street and ask if the sun is shining if I can see it right there?" or "You know, I used to think about going out and creating my own church that would be true, but I don't have to anymore because there already is one, and I just have to join it."............ Like I don't even know. The Lord works miracles. 
     We went on Wednesday morning to Poznań for Zone Training. It was super cool to get to meet with the other Elders and Sisters and talk about the gospel and learn from all of them... it was super sweet!
     We've also been meeting with Serguisz, the Recent-Convert that was baptized two weeks ago. This guy is SOLID. He has the strongest testimony and the strongest desire to follow Christ that I have literally ever seen. We met with him about the temple and the Melchezidek Priesthood, and he is preparing to receive/attend both. Also, we asked him to be on a lesson with Lech that we had yesterday about tithing and fast offerings and how to pay them. We worked with him in advance, having him read Preach My Gospel(like the greatest book ever), and then told him a few things that we would like him to share. HE TAUGHT THE WHOLE LESSON. Literally it was the most beautiful things seeing a recent-convert explaining hard concepts, sharing experiences, and even giving commitments. I've almost cried a few times...! 
     When we weren't meeting with any of those people, (which wasn't often), we did have time to go out and teach on the streets like one day this week. We taught over to the cemetery(The biggest one in all of Europe), and then some super sketchy looking guy came up and talked to us, and took us into the cemetery, and showed us like the Gypsie King and Queen's tomb, and the church in the cemetery and everything. I thought we were going to die, but it turned out suuuper cool!
     Quote of This Week: "The most important thing is to keep trying... keep your heart close to the Lord, and He will give you the power of deliverance. He will make you free." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf   'Are you sleeping through the Restoration?'
     Now a word to my boys in the Priests' quorum back home: How are you boys?? Are y'all doing good things, reading those scriptures, saying prayers, and staying clean? I know y'all can do it-I really do. stay worthy so you can come out on a mission, and if you are, I promise it'll be one of the greatest experiences in your life. i love you boys, and I pray for each of you daily. you've got this, boys! I know it! If I could ask y'all to do something for me... go home when you have some time, and read 2 of my favorite talks for me... "Are you Sleeping through the Restoration?" and "Be Strong and of a good Courage". Start with a prayer, promise to do the things the SPirit tells you to do, and it will bless your lives so much. I know he can help you! I love y'all! Be good, and know I'm so proud of you guys! 
     That's the end. Love y'all... make it an amazing week!
Love, Elder Q

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Week 1 in Szczecin

Oh man.... this week has been Crazy!!! I finally made it to Szczecin late Wednesday night after 9 hours on trains.... it was insane. Szczecin has definitely been worth it, though!
     My new companion is Elder Weiler. He's from Utah, and he loves anything that flies. We've had a great time, and we're definitely on that road-learning to work together well and teach with unity!
     The branch in Szczecin is absolutely amazing. It's so beautiful it makes me want to cry. There are like 6 active Priesthood holders, and there's Dagmara-the backbone of Szczecin. She's 25, and she holds everything together here in Szczecin. There's only one problem-her Polish is like 3 times as fast as anyone else's, so it's SO hard to understand! She's great though... and she's awesome to have on lessons! Szczecin has a senior couple from Utah. The Gay's are the absolute BEST! They're the sweetest grandparents Poland has ever seen. They know people don't understand English, but they just go for it, and let us translate for them! It's a super good time!
     Elder Weiler and I have been working a lot to strengthen the members in Szczecin. There are many less-actives and recent converts that we are working to prepare to advance in the Priesthood, and to also go to the temple! It has been so exciting to gather those people and teach them about the gospel and strengthen them!
     One of those recent-converts is named Serguisz. I've only known him for like 3 days, but I already love the guy so much! He is such an example to me of what it means to be a follower of Christ. He was baptized a week ago, and is already one of the strongest members I have ever met in my life. His love of the gospel really inspires me to do more and to be better. He even came back to the chapel later Sunday afternoon because he wanted to talk with Elder Gay. He essentially wants to be able to preach the gospel on the street(which he determined to be his priest duty as found in the Doctrine and Covenants). This guy has been baptized for only a week, and he's trying to be a legit missionary. I'm so excited for what's in store for him!
     Miracle time: I see miracles every day, and definitely don't have time to explain all of them, but I deifnitely saw 2 big ones this week! 
1) Jerzy. Jerzy is a less-active member. He has a REALLY rough life, let's just say that. He hasn't been in contact witht he church for a Long time... but the night I got here, he contacted Elder Weiler and said he wanted to meet. When we met with him, he was sooooo down-like I can't even describe it. He looked terrible. We met with him that night, and met with him the next night, and prayed for him, and gave him a blessing, and I can't even describe the change that we saw. The Spirit touched his heart and he was uplifted and strengthened so much.... It was a miracle just to witness!
2) So Elder Weiler and I have to send in pictures to President for a slide-show or something... and we didn't have any... so we went out solo-contacting and getting pictures of eachother. While solo-contacting, I contacted this young dad with a baby, and talked to him about how families can be forever. I bore testimony, and he took a Księga Mormona, and said he'd read it! He has my number and he's going to call when he prays and receives his answer that the book is true. I recognize it to be a blessing from the Lord, and I'm SO grateful! 

Love y'all! Keep up the good work and I'll talk to you soon!

Elder Q
                                             

   











Monday, October 13, 2014

October 13th...Transfer Week

Hey y'all!
Wow, so this week was one for the record books! It was Heaven Week for Elder Blom and I... meaning we pushed 120%, go-go-go all this week trying to make that difference and find that one! It was an amazing week and we felt the Spirit a bunch!!

We had to do a lot of cleaning(the house hadn't been really cleaned in like a year, and plus cleaning checks were this week, and plus Małgosza came over and yelled at us that it was a disaster-even though it looked Better than when we got there... so we did some cleaning! We made cinnamon rolls for Marta's baptism.... since the missionaries are also the Relief Society in Kielce... so that was great!
The biggest part of the week was Marta's baptism... it was the most beautiful thing I've seen im my whole entire life! Marta technically wasn't "our" investigator, but I had been on a lesson with her, and we were with her all the time and became really close! She's the best! Marta's baptism was absolutely amazing. I loved it so much! The Spirit was there SO strongly!! We started at the chapel, and I played the opening hymn, and said the prayer(she had asked me to before). Then, there were some talks, and then we did this special surprise musical number with Mateusz and his guitar.! It was an old Christian song about Christ, and it was so cool! But a miracle happened....!  Before the first song, he had a prompting to silence his phone... and it went off during the song!(he had followed the prompting)... and I got to explain to him how that was the Spirit, and how the Spirit works! It was so super cool to see the Spirit touch this man that we've been working with and inviting and explaining things to for so long! It was definitely a blessing from the Lord! After, we walked to this spa that had a pool that we had rented out, and she was baptized! It was like the coolest thing ever and I absolutely loved every second of it.... the Church is SO TRUE! man... it was the coolest! After, we walked back to the chapel, and had the other musical number(Come Unto Christ-mutual theme song 2014), and I had the opening solo... ! I was so nervous, but the Lord blessed me with His Spirit and I was able to do my best with His help! After, she bore her testimony, and we closed and had desserts! It was such an amazing day!

I got my first transfer call... and I'm heading to Szczecin to serve with an Elder from the group ahead of me... so we're both super young missionaries. That means that we're going to have to rely on the Lord even more than before(If that's even possible??) and we'll definitely be learning a lot! We'll have some definite tough times, we'll probably be super awkward in our broken Polish, but you can't grow if you're not in the Refiner's Fire... am I right?? I'm honestly SO excited for the challenge, and the opportunity to learn and grow so much! I can't wait to get up there on Wednesday and meet him and get to work! We're going to give it our all, I can tell you that much! :)
I am super sad I have to leave Elder Blom. I've grown to love that guy so much over the past 8 weeks, and I'm going to really miss him! I don't even know if I'll see him in the next 4 months before he goes home...(Szczecin is about as far North-West as you can go... right up there next to Germany) so I'm pretty sad about maybe not seeing him... but it'll all be for the best!
I love y'all and I hope you're doing good things back home for me!
Love,
Elder Quackenbush





Russian Royal Ballet for Culture night

 "Bigos" from an Authentic Polish Milk Bar


 Pday


  Me and my companion Elder Blom 


Cinnamon Rolls we made for the baptism

October 6th...

Hey fam!
Hope y'all are doing well and doing good things!
This week was super sweet! I had some really amazing experiences! I started off the week on an exchange with Elder White!

On Tuesday night, we had a lesson with Marta(She's getting BAPTIZED on Saturday... the Church is Soooo True!). The problem was, he had read an article from an ex-missionary that had her doubting Everything she had learned. I was SO mad... I sat there just fuming for part of the lesson. But, Elder White and I shared experiences and scriptures, bore testimony, and both cried right in front of her... and the Spirit was there, and the Lord softened her heart, and we got a text later that night that she knows the website isn't true!! By the end of the lesson, she had taken my badge, and was taking selfies with my badge and a Księga Mormona as a missionary... It was great!  It was a miracle and it was the coolest thing ever. We also went out to visit a guy named Piotr. He's an amazing guy, but kinda went apostate soon after his baptism... but he needed some service. So we went out(on Tuesday and Wednesday, because we couldn't find his house the first day.) and we lifted these 200-300 pound heaters for him and carried them all the way out to his garage. We talked with him, and when we were done, he invited us inside. He gave me a bible, and told me to pick an interesting verse that we could talk about. The Spirit whispered to my mind to share Joshua 24:15- about "Serving the Lord". I had actually thought it was a different scripture, but I shared it anyways, and I bore testimony in Polish and we talked for a little while. The verse hit this guy SO hard. It definitely was from God, because he invited us to come back and talk about Joseph Smith and the church another time..... The Church Is True. That was one miracle, and the other miracle that happened, is happening, and hopefully will continue to happen... He told me that my Polish is really good. I told him I'd been there for 6 weeks and almost didn't believe me. He told me that within a year, I would speak Really good Polish(He even toasted Elder White because he thought he was my trainer).... Like What? Trust me... I know that I am nothing of myself... I have actually realized just HOW imperfect I am... and how much I need to improve... But I realized that the Lord truly has been helping me. Nothing I've done, no studying I've done or conversations I've had or people I've talked to could have helped me learn Polish like I have. The Gift of Tongues is 10000% real. I know it. The fact that I can even speak ANY Polish is a testimony to that! I know God lives, and I know that He has been helping me and supporting me every day of my mission, and helping me with my Polish! I am so grateful to Him and so grateful for all He does for me!
On Friday, we were blessed AGAIN as we planned for next week. We decided to make this week a "Heaven Week"... meaning 120% go-go-go always contacting and making calls and following up and hitting the streets harder than we've ever thought possible-in order to find the one who needs the gospel, here in Kielce." We planned for FOUR hours straight. (you should see my planner right now... it's a colorful and beautiful mess of reminders and plans and notes and lessons and general conference notes. It's super sweet!) We are ready to rock it this week, and push out the last full week of my first transfer!
I saw another huge miracle this week... I've been Senior Companion this week... meaning I lead the planning and have the phone, and keep in contact with investigators and make calls and call members to remind them of things... and I've been loving it! As Senior Companion, I got to teach institute on Thursday night almost completely by myself for an hour. I was super scared, since I had almost NO time to prepare for it(Exchange with Elder White), but I said a prayer of faith, and went for it! The Spirit was in that meeting, and I was so grateful! I just had to stand up there and follow the Spirit, and say what He told me to! It was super cool and the meeting went really well! It was a blessing from the Lord, and I know I couldn't have done Anything like that without Him and the Spirit!

We're still playing soccer in the mornings... and I'm loving it! Me and Elder Torres are always on the same team, and we both take on Elder Blom and Elder White.(Those are the fairest teams) We have a really good time, and it's always a good game because every single one of us is super competetive!
We're singing a song for Marta's baptism on Saturday. Mateucz(her ex-boyfriend turned best friend) is playing the guitar, and we're singing for everyone as a surprise to her! I'm super excited, and we've been practicing hard for it!
Thanks for all the love and support... keep doing good things, and know of my love!
Love,
Elder Quackenbush

Sept 29th...another great week in Kielce

What's up, fam?
     This week in Kielce has been an absolutely amazing one! I started off the week on an exchange with Elder Torres. He's one transfer ahead of me, so we both pretty much don't know anything... I absolutely loved it since I got to take a HUGE role in talking to people and maneuvering around sticky situations, and trying to help investigators with their problems... it was the best!! While on the exchange, we visited Ella, the first member in Kielce. She's this sweet old babcza who loves to share her testimony with ANYONE.(But watch out, because sometimes tithing or other potentially harmful subjects have been know to come up... she's the best!! haha) She fed us some weird vegetable mixture with polish sausage and who knows what else... and it was surprisingly pretty good! But wait, there's more... If you know me well, you know how much I DON'T like hard-boiled eggs, and how much I DON'T like mayonaise... well she gave us hard-boiled eggs and... wait for it... ENTIRE SPOONFULS OF MAYONAISE on top of each egg... and in Poland, they don't let you stop eating. Ever. So I had to down like 5 of those bad boys, and it was such a funny experience...! She actually adopted me as her Polish grandchild, so that's something good that came out of it! She also told us of how she saw the path to heaven when she fell and hit her head a few months ago... and I really don't know what to believe, so I just smile and nod my head and laugh when everyone else is laughing... it's great.
     We didn't have much time to contact this week since we were super busy getting ready for the Jestem Mormonem(I'm a Mormon) fireside that we had in Kielce on Saturday... but we did get to go out once or twice. I decided to split off of Elder Blom for a little while, and contacted this younger woman on a bench who was smoking. She let me sit down and talk with her, and we had the most amazing discussion and I taught her the Restoration lesson. It was SO cool! The Lord definitely helped me understand her and be able to speak my mind, and I was blessed with the Gift of Tongues... and it was amazing! She took a Księga Mormona, and I'm hoping something will come of it!
     The Jestem Mormonem was a HUGE success. We spent like 2-3 SOLID days in the chapel preparing for it, and making everything look nice and clean, and preparing videos and Mormon Messages. We didn't even have time to eat a real meal for like 2-3 days... just a roll of bread and some cheese, and maybe a chocolate bar late at night... it was great! hahaha pretty much we had a super spiritual message from the Branch President, President Najberg(He's the MAN), and then the missionaries presented about themselves to show that we're normal people, too, and not some weird cult. (That's what was on the flyers we passed out. We are not a cult. Seriously. Come for a night with the Mormons) or something like that... we had a huge turnout! Members and investigators from Kielce and Kraków came and it was definitely a good thing! I got to play Waterfall for them, as part of my talent, and they loved it! It was super sweet.
     Elder Blom and I had a pretty funny experience this week. We were both super tired and frustrated from the day on like Friday(plus he had just beaten me in chess), so there was some tension in the apartment. He loves to wrestle, and I told him not to wrestle me that night, but he did anyways and tried to put me in a cradle. I don't even know what happened, but I body-slammed him so hard on the ground that his head whip-

Wrestling

Ahhh.bisquick

lashed and hit the couch... then we were both mad.haha We pretty much had a fight to the death for like 3 minutes-resulting in him having a fat lip and the start of a black eye, and me having a black eye and some gnarly bruises on my biceps... and I don't think we've ever been closer before! haha
     So at church yesterday, which was Branch Conference, I gave a talk on the Holy Ghost. I had had like no time to prepare it since we were so busy all week, so I finished it up that morning and went for it! The Lord blessed me with His Spirit! I was calm, I knew what I had to say, and I was given things to say that I had never planned for... and it was amazing! Then, I played a special musical number, and the Lord definitely helped me with that one, too! The Spirit was there, and they were super grateful for it!
     The Lord is definitely watching over and blessing us so much! I know He Lives and that He hears our prayers! I love being a missionary, even when it's freezing, and I'm tired, and don't want to go out contacting, and it's the best!
     Love y'all, make it a great week!
Elder Quackenbush

Monday, September 22, 2014

Polska.....

I don't even know where to start with this week, this week has been up and down and sideways and backwards, but I've absolutely loved it!
I'll start with an experience that I had over the past two weeks that has been such an amazing blessing in my life, even though it definitely was a tough one for me! Some of the Elders and I go out early in the mornings sometimes and play some soccer on this rubber field a bit from the apartment. We love going out there and playing, and it's such a huge stress-reliever. Two weeks ago, I fell while we were playing( and by "fell" I mean "was taken out by another player") and landed on my knee pretty badly. I thought nothing of it and kept on playing. Later that day, my knee started to Really bug me... but I've always had knee troubles and pains, so I just kept working and running around Kielce like all missionaries do. As the week progressed, and as I walked more and more(btw: when I say we walk in Kielce, I mean it... If we walk as fast as we can, czyli speed-walking, we still won't get there for 20-25 minutes or so... and we do that all day every day), my knee started to absolutely kill. I literally could barely walk. It took me forever and a half to get down and up the start, because my knee literally barely worked. What freaked me out the most, however, is the fact that European missionaries aren't allowed to go to the chiropractor. They send you home on medical release.... Yeah, that wasn't happening. I was praying to the Lord every night to help me out with my knee. He let me suffer just long enough to realize that there is absolutely no other place on this earth that I would rather be. I wouldn't want to be back home, I wouldn't want to be in some short-term states mission while they fixed my knee, heck... I even considered being on the back of a Dragon snowmobile with perfect snow, jumping snowdrifts. THAT'S how much I want to be out here. Once I realized that, my knee got better within like a day. The Lord blessed me with that trial and with that miracle to help me realize that, and I am so grateful for the opportunity!
This week was great! We had zone conference in Warsaw on Wednesday, and it was So Good!! I got to see a bunch of my boys from the MTC, and I especially loved getting to see Elder Campora and Elder Wright. I almost jumped into Elder Campora's arms when I saw him, I was so happy to see him. I got to meet and talk to a bunch of the Elders and Sisters in the zone, and there are some super cool people out here! I bonded really well with Elder Veggerson from Norway. He absolutely loves soccer, and we got really close really fast! At the conference, we learned how to plan better. I learned SO much, and have been working hard this week to incorporate what I learned, and to do better with that! I also got to play the piano for the conference, and it was super cool!
The Lord is definitely blessing us here in Kielce. We have been Searching EVERYWHERE for a possible future Priesthood holder here in Kielce. We need one SOO badly. The Lord blessed us this week with TWO NEW INVESTIGATORS, and one golden potential investigator, All Males. I am SO pumped!
Miracle time: Last week I talked about placing my first solo Księga Mormona... well I didn't end up actually being able to get his number. I saw him this week on the street with Elder Blom. We went over and talked to him, and I asked him a bunch of follow-up questions. I asked if he read from the book(yes), if he prayed about it(yes), and if he received an answer that it was true(Also Yes!)! We got his number, and set up a meeting for Saturday! It was such a miracle from the Lord, and I am SO grateful!
I got the sweetest letter from Paige and Brooklyn and Aunt Jamie, and it was seriously like the best day of my life! It was sooo good to get a letter from them!
Elder Blom is making me go on a healthy diet so I don't get fat... I guess people love me less when I'm chubby...? So that starts today. Not exactly super excited for that, but we'll see how it goes!
Last Sunday, Elder Torres was singing while I was playing prelude music, and the Branch President asked us if we'd do a musical number in church in like 5 minutes... so we played A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief, and it was super awesome!
Next Sunday is Elder Quackenbush day or something I guess... It's branch conference, so people are coming into town for sacrament meeting, and I'm giving the only assigned talk, and playing a musical number... so that'll be interesting!! haha
I'm loving every second here in Kielce. I smile all the time and it's such a joy being able to walk down Sienkiewicza and talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ! I absolutely Love It!
Love you all back there, keep it real!
Elder Q


Monday, September 15, 2014

One of the best weeks.....

Well this week has been one of the best weeks of my life.
 
I've honestly learned So So So much this week from Poland, the Polish people, and the scriptures. I read the talk "Beware of Pride" by President Ezra Taft Benson, and realized that I've been absolutely terrible with that in my life. I'd like to make a public apology to everyone right now and say I'm sorry, and that I promise to get better with that! I've got a bunch of goals I'm working on, and know that If I keep working on them and trust in the Lord, that I can get better!
 
This week was the fastest week of my life. It honestly FLEW by, and I don't even understand how it's already Monday again. We had some trials in our lives this week.... Elder Blom and I both got super sick from some of the food we ate one night, but weren't about to sit inside all day, so we said some prayers and hit Poland running. It was a tough day, but the Lord sure blessed us to carry on and work hard! We experienced a lot of denial and discouraging situations this week. I had to exercise patience when people were raising their voices at us, and asking us why we are even out here, and telling us we look gay walking around with a dude all day every day. The Lord definitely strengthened me during these situations and helped me work on my patience and love with these people. The Lord really is blessing me with love and charity for the people of Poland. It surprises me sometimes when we're talking to a Polish person and I just get the overwhelming desire to hug them and tell them the gospel can make their lives better and easier. It is honestly so hard not to hug these people... and I love it!
 
We sure saw miracles every day, but I saw one of the hugest miracles of my life late into this last week. Elder Blom and I were out on Sienkiewicza witht he other elders, doing a whiteboard. The question we wrote of the board was "Where can we find peace in this life"? What was different this week, was that I was pretty much solo contacting. I didn't have an elder with me, really. Elder White would come over if he saw me having trouble, or if I contacted someone with a wicked accent, but other than that, I was "alone" for part of it. I say "alone", because the Lord and His spirit were with me, and that's all I need! I prayed for strength and help,and went for it. The gift of tongues is honestly SO REAL. I don't even know what happened, but I was understanding people, and they were understanding me. The Lord(through me) taught two Restoration lessons to potential Priesthood holders, and even placed my first solo Ksiega Mormona for me. I am so incredibly grateful, and know that I wouldn't be able to do ANYTHING without the Lord. I am so grateful to Him and to my God for answering my prayers and for always being there for me!
 
Today the Kielce Elders are going out to the outskirts of the city to meet the parents of Ania, one of the investigators with a baptismal date. She's great, and she wants us to meet her family, so we're going in a bit to do that... it'll be super sweet!
 
I'm learning a lot, and working hard! I sure hope all of you are, too! Love you all, make it the best week of your life!
Love,
Elder Quackenbush

Pday Laser Tag

Elder Q's "Title of Liberty"

Elder White
Elder Torres
Elder Quack
Elder Blom (trainer)
The 4 Elders in Kielce

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sepp y'all?
 This week was one of the greatest weeks of my life. Everything absolutely FLEW by! This entire month has flown by, too... on Wednesday I'll have been here for a month... LIKE WHAT???
     So in the Poland, Warsaw mission, the missionaries have a little more freedom than most missionaries I guess... President is super chill about us doing whatever we need to, as long as we don't get hurt, and as long as we're following the rules. Last Monday, Elder Blom, Elder Torres, and Elder White took me go-carting... like the legit go-carts that go really fast and have a professional track and stuff... ya those. I am proud to say that I am the fastest go-cart driver that this District has, and probably has ever had... but that's besides the point.
     I've adopted a 4th Mother... (behind my own Mom, Mamma Wardrop, and Mamma Dickson, of course). Her name is Malgosza. She is our landlord and she's fantastic. She is about 50/60 years old, never married, and as grandmotherly as could possible be... We even came home one day and found her doing our dishes-she's great! She has us over for the best soup I've ever had in my life, and even offered to take us to the bazaar to find good fruits and vegetables. She already called Elder Blom and I her boys.
     Elder Blom is super cool. We work really well together, and both try to be super diligent when contacting and doing missionary work, so I love him! He is a super big wrestler though. He's got like 45 pounds on me and was a super good wrestler in highschool-so you could bet I don't stand a chance. He tries to wrestle me, like every night, and usually I don't fight back(I've discovered that going "boneless" will usually ward off wrestling companions... but sometimes I fight back... and we'll go at it for like 20 minutes-destroying the entire apartment in the process... it's a bunch of fun.
     Thursday was one of the longest days of my life, for sure. I got up at 4:30, got ready, and got on a train to Warsaw by myself..... yeah. After a 3 1/2 hour train ride, Elder Pieper and Elder Jaeger picked me up at Warsawa Centralne. They're the best. They are the mission's office Elders, and we get along well. (Elder Jaeger was a marine, and could rip my arms off if he wanted.) I got my legal work done in Warsaw, so I'm finally legal... and then I got on another super long train ride back to Kielce. Once I got back at night, I had to do studies with Elder Blom, and that was probably one of the farthest things from what I wanted to do after my long day. But, we studied and I went to bed right after planning at 9:30.

     Our two possible Priesthood candidates from English last week didn't show this week, and we were super bummed. But, a really nice lady who NEEDS the gospel SO bad did come, and I talked to her the whole hour(Elder Blom was working with another man during English). She is super nice, and we hope to continue to teach her and bring her closer to Christ, because the gospel could totally change her life!
     I love contacting, but I have found one really terrifying drawback.... I am deathly afraid to talk to groups of girls around my age- because chances are they'll just freak out and try taking pictures with me and touching my arms and being all weird and stuff. I don't even know how to handle it. Honestly it freaks me out... like I'm staying away from girls for two years, no thank you!
     If there was one thing about Sienkiewicza I could change, it would definitely be the super big club right in the middle. Every time we walk down that street, there are HUGE innapropriate pictures up on the windows of the club, and seductive ladies with umbrellas who try to talk to us. OH, and there's a little problem here with girls forgetting to put pants on in the morning. I always look at Elder Blom and say: "Man... Don't you just hate when you forget to put pants on in the morning? Like sweetie, let's get you home quick before someone sees you." It's nasty and I hate it.
     On Friday, The Elders in my district and I did a whiteboard on Sienkiewicza. We have a huge whiteboard with a question on it. This week's question was 'What does it mean to Repent/Return oneself(Polish)'. I worked with Elder White, and the Lord blessed us SO much! We taught like 4 or 5 lessons and gave out 5 Book of Mormons in just over two hours. The Lord is blessing Kielce, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it!
     Every Saturday night is Rib night with the District. We go to some pub down Sienkie, and all get ribs and dinner for like 5$. It's glorious. It's one of my favorite times of the week! Elder White and Elder Torres are super cool, and we've become super close this transfer!
     We see miracles every day in Kielce. Every Day. But, this week, there were two HUGE miracles that happened. 1) Remember that guy who came up to us a week and a half ago and wanted to come to church but didn't? Well He Came to Sacrament meeting yesterday!! WOOOO! He was all banged up bad, though. He had bruises all over his head and body, and his hand was all bandaged up-I am 99% positive he got hit by a car. But he came! We gave him a Book of Mormon and set up a meeting with him for later this week! It was amazing!   2) We do a weekly service afternoon as a district, which usually involves us traveling out to the dzialki's(little gardens) and asking people if we can help with service. We went Saturday afternoon this week, and it was amazing! I was absolutely starving, and SO thirsty just as we were leaving... which is a shame, because we walk everywhere, and the walk is about 45 minutes to an hour away. By the time we got to the gardens, I was dying. (Everybody keep in mind that scripture in D&C about not taking care of what you shall eat, or what ye shall drink, or wherewith ye shall be clothed.) Literally the second person we talked to let us come and serve her. We moved tree limbs and cleaned up her yard, and Elder White and I went and talked to her about our church at her little house thing. We explained how we're not Amish(everyone here either thinks were J-Dubbs(Jehovas Witnesses) or Amish), and some of the things we believe in. We did a lot of listening because she did a lot of talking. She fed us the strangest and most amazing fruits from her garden, and gave us as much clean water as we wanted to drink, and even her own Kompot-which is like special boiled fruit drink that they use Polish magic on or something. All in all, we got fed, we got things to drink, we got to serve, we helped a lady come closer to Christ, and we exchanged numbers and planned to meet later this week. The Lord is blessing us so much!
     One of the biggest blessings in my life, however, is the Polish. I have nothing to say other than The Lord has blessed me so much. The gift of tongues is so real. I can't even describe it in words how real it is. The things I have been able to learn, and to say, and to bear testimony of, while only being in Poland for less than 4 weeks is a blessing from God. I would have NEVER been able to do/say anything in Polish without Him.
     I love God and I love Jesus Christ so much. I have come so much closer to my Savior over the past few weeks as I have studied and learned about Him, and then applied His Atonement in my life to help me through the good times and the bad. He is real, and He is our Savior. God answers prayers. He really, really does. I know the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the true church. I am so glad to be a part of it and to be a missionary!
     I love you all, and I'm praying for you! Miss you, love you, talk to you soon

Starszy Quackenbush


Their new investigator in her garden

District in Kielce