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!
Elder Quackenbush

Russian Royal Ballet for Culture night

 "Bigos" from an Authentic Polish Milk Bar


  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!
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-



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