Monday, September 22, 2014


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!
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

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Let me just tell you!!

Dear Family, Friends, and Interested Readers:
     This week in Poland has been absolutely incredible. Let me just tell you! Elder Blom and I have worked super hard, contacted people for who even knows how many hours, and seen miracles like no other this week. As always, I'll start from the beginning.
     This week we had zone conference here in Kielce. The Elders in the zone and the Sister Training Leader came down and spent a day with us. We had a meeting where we read the dedicatory prayer for Poland, among other things. Some of the promises in that prayer are absolutely incredible. The work here in Poland is definitely difficult, but incredibly worth it! We then had a testimony meeting with all of the Elders from the surrounding cities. The Spirit was super strong and we were all uplifted throughout the meeting. There are really some great Elders in the zone that are really good examples to me!
    During the testimony meeting, I bore my testimony of the Atonement, and that we can turn to the Lord in our challenges and our tribulations, and that He will carry us through and help us to be better. I talked about how challenging Poland missionary work is, and even made the mistake of saying how people don't just exactly come up to us and ask us to be baptized here... but that we actually get shut down a lot. The Lord sure corrected me on that one. A few days later, Elder Blom and I were contacting down a side-street on Sienkiewicza. We weren't having much success, until a man rode up on a bike and told us that he was coming to sacrament meeting on Sunday and would like to join our church...... LIKE WHAT?? Yeah, Christ is leading this work, and is VERY aware of each and every one of us. That was such a testimony builder for me! *sidenote: He didn't actually come to church, so Elder Blom and I are calling him tonight to check up on him.*
     Another miracle we saw this week was when we were talking to an 18 year old kid named Macze. We contacted him on Sienkiewicza and he was super interested in our message. Elder Blom was doing most of the talking since I wasn't exactly understanding a ton of what he was saying, and then at the end of the conversation, I felt myself bearing testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, that I KNOW that it's true, and that if he will read it and ponder on it and pray about it, that God would answer his prayers. The Spirit was totally guiding me, and my Polish in that instant was absolutely fantastic. It was a blessing from the Lord and I am so grateful! We are setting up a meeting with him tonight for sometime this week and I am so excited!
     Another huge miracle: We teach weekly English classes in the chapel on Wednesdays. We pass out flyers, and then when people come, we teach them English and share a brief spiritual thought at the end. Two men came to our beginners English class-which is fantastic, because Kielce REALLY needs a Priesthood holder and a family in the Church... like badly. Kielce is known as a female town, because like everyone is a female. But they came and we taught them English, and then Elder Blom shared a spiritual thought at the end. One of the men was an absolute genius. He was one of those guys who was fantastic at physics and literature and whatever, and he was just brilliant-I found that out when teaching him that night. But he absolutely loves reading, and we gave him a Book of Mormon to read if he wanted to. He ate it up. He'll have that thing read by this Wednesday is my guess. But Elder Blom was talking to the other man, and this man was watching me without trying to be noticed. I pulled out my Book of Mormon to Moroni 10, and started reading. He slyly tried to open up to where I was. I told him I loved verses 3-5, so he read them, and then I was able to bear my testimony of this, and my Book of Mormon conversion story, and promised him that if he would read it, ponder it, and follow those verses, that he would receive a witness that the Book of Mormon is true. It was amazing, and I'm so excited to talk to him on Wednesday to find out what became of it!
     Elder Blom and I have a really good time together- and we kind of have to, or else the work gets a little depressing with all of the denial and blasphemies and such... so we crack jokes and talk and sing and do everything we can to make missionary work fun, as well. I made a goal to smile after every contact, good or bad, as a way of keeping myself positive and uplifting rather than down in the dumps. It's really been working, and I am grateful to the Lord for giving me the thought earlier in the week! Elder Blom and I also get really creative with our cooking... last night we tried putting curry powder in our spaghetti sauce.... Don't try that at home. It's honestly terrible, but we were so hungry we ate it anyways.
    I know that the Lord is leading His work here, in Kielce. Elder Blom, me, Elder Torres, and Elder White are the only Elders in the whole city, and we are being tremendously blessed. We made goals at the beginning of the week for how many lessons we wanted to have, and how many Book of Mormons we wanted to give out. This week, we smashed our goals, and it was nothing we did differently. The Lord blessed us so much. This last week, we had 17 total lessons, and gave out 12 Book of Mormons. Tell me that isn't a miracle. I'm so grateful!
     The Church is True! Missionary work is hard, but it is SO worth it! I love you all back home, keep doing good things! Love you,

Elder Quackenbush

Elder's White, Torres, Quackenbush and Blom