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!!

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!
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!
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!
Elder Quackenbush

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