Monday, April 20, 2015

April 20th....

Hey fam!

yep.... so I'm still hanging in there! :) This week has hands down
been the toughest week of my life- but looking back, I've absolutely
loved it and been so grateful for it because of all of the things that
I was able to learn throughout it all. Things are going good. I've
talked a lot with president, and things really look like they're
winding down to an end.... Essentially we're just
waiting for the results of the MRI... which is kind of unnecessary
because if the results are bad- they have to send me home to get my
back fixed. If they're good, then they have to send me home because
they don't know what's wrong with me. My only two saving outlooks are
if 1) the results come back and it's a minor problem with my back
causing all of this pain that can be fixed in Poland, or 2)
Miraculously all of the sudden I get up and am perfectly fine.
I know that God has a plan. I trust in the Lord 100% and know that His will
will be done. If He wants me to be healed, then I know I will be. If
he needs me to go home for a time, or go home for good, then there's a
reason for it. I'm just doing my best to trust in Him, and work every
single day like it's the last day of my mission. I even tried going
out the other day, out of the office,  to see if I could do real missionary work. It ended
up getting to me pretty good, so right now it's not looking good.
However, we will see! There's a huge mission president conference in
Germany these next few days that all of the doctors will be at...
which means that I will just be waiting to receive news for another
little while. It's been really hard to have absolutely NO control over
my situation, but instead have to trust 100% in the Lord. Throughout
all of my life, I have not had many opportunities to do that. My life
has been filled with situations where I had full control over
everything that was happening. If I wanted good grades, I went out and
got them. If I wanted to start on the soccer team, I had to go out
there and win it. In this specific situation, literally the only thing
I can do is work my best to keep my head up, continue to work, and be
grateful for each and every day. This trial is allowing me to learn
lots of patience and trust in God. It is also helping me learn empathy
for others like I never would have imagined. It is so much harder to
judge others and be impatient with people when I realize that at any
moment, they could be going through a fraction of what I'm going to,
which instantly makes me feel so much more patience and love and
concern for them. I am working to become more loving and kind to
everyone, despite their differences, idiosyncrasies, and
imperfections. I am grateful for the trials and challenges in my life,
and for my Savior, Jesus Christ who carries me through them. I am
grateful for the chance to be tested and tried in my life, and I am so
grateful for the gospel which gives us perspective in our lives. I
love the Savior, and I love all of y'all! Make it the best week of
your life.
-Elder Quackenbush

April 13th

This has been a tough one to send out this week.  The Mission President is doing all he can to try to get Elder Q to the right doctors and figure this out but it sounds like we may be getting him home so we can figure out his health issues here in the US.  Thank you for all of your love, prayers and support!  They are all felt...
Tiffany Quackenbush

Hey guys!
   Well I've got some unfortunate news: Things aren't going exactly as
we had hoped. Unfortunately, this isn't going away, and actually
getting worse in a few areas. Essentially the doctors don't have any
idea what's wrong with me at this point and basically it looks like
this: I have a doctors appointment at 11 today here in Warsaw. Unless
he has some significant insight/many miracles happen, then it looks
like they will be sending me home to figure out my medical issues. I
have 100% faith, and know for a fact that if the Lord wants a miracle
to happen, then a miracle WILL happen. However, at this point I really
don't feel like that is what he is planning for me. Over the course of
my mission, I have been tested and tried with many, many physical and
other trials. Each one was significantly more challenging than the
trial before, and I have really learn and grown a lot throughout my
trials. I have been fully aware since the beginning of my mission that
the biggest trial I could possibly go through as a missionary would
probably be having to get sent home for medical problems. I have told
President Edgren, and others that if that were the case, that they
would have to track me down, find me, and then drag me onto a plane.
And so here we are... with me staring this airplane right in the face.
I'm not happy about it, but I'm definitely not letting it get me
depressed. I know that whatever happens will be 100% the will of the
Lord. I will follow His plan for me, and be faithful in every way that
I know best. Thankfully, the Lord has been walking with me throughout
this the entire time. I have had some amazingly spiritual experiences
over the course of the last few weeks that have helped me through
these trials. Miracles really have happened. Over the past week, I've
been able to serve with Elder Campora and Elder Swicegood. They were
literally the 2 missionaries in the mission that could keep me
laughing and enjoying my time throughout something like this. I have
really loved serving with them this week.  Also, throughout my trials,
I really have come so much closer to my Savior Jesus Christ. I don't
even know how to describe it-other than by referring to the talk by
Jeffrey R. Holland "Lessons from Liberty Jail". I have such a more
personal relationship with Christ than I EVER have in my entire life.
I have been fortunate enough to rely on Him for the last 6 weeks, and
know Him so much better throughout it all. I have become so much
closer to the Spirit, and absolutely love the relationship that I have
gained. Also, every time I have thought about the situation(a LOT)
over the past few weeks, I feel the Spirit so strongly, and the
thought comes into my mind Every.Single.Time. "Everything will be
okay". That doesn't mean that I will be able to stay in Poland, but
that does mean that Heavenly Father is watching over me throughout
this all. I know that He is our Father in Heaven, and that He loves
us. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ is true, and brings us true
happiness in this life. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and
has already experienced Everything that we have experienced in our
lives. I know that He can help us through our trials if we only turn
to Him. I love Him and I love all of y'all. Make it the best week
Starszy Quackenbush

April 6th ...The Battle continues

Hey y'all!    Man, this week was really a good week! Some crazy stuff happened,and I'm so excited to tell all about it!    I never thought I'd say it... but Elder Berlin and I have abaptismal date with a murderer :) Czyli we met a guy on the street,had a cool talk, and then walked him to the chapel where we had amember waiting. We had a member lesson, and taught him about thegospel, and invited him to be baptized. He wanted to be baptized onthe 30th of May. Unfortunately, he's not exactly all the way there,and needs some professional and medical help.... but that was a greatexperience, and he didn't kill us. So that was a plus :)    A lot of funny things happened this week. Elder Berlin and Icontacted some guy on the street who was wearing huge headphones(likethe Beats style). We told him we were inviting others to listen to amessage about how we can come closer to Jesus Christ through acceptingrestored truths, and he just laughed. He took off his headphones andput them on me... and he was listening to hard-core satanic was awesome. It was almost as weird as this one time where some guyhad me read the poem that he had tattooed on his chest... that wasanother good time!     Really, though, miracles are happening in Szczecin. We finallywere able to meet with a referral from Poznan named Mariusz. He's afirefighter, 27years old, and has a fiance. He's the coolest. He ispreparing to be baptized on the 30th of May, and he's so ready. He hasbeen searching for the true church for 10 years. We told him aboutMoroni's promise in Moroni 10:3-5, and all about how he could gain asure witness through the Holy Ghost that what we are telling him isthe truth. Since then, he has been texting me Daily, searching thescriptures, and even watched two different live sessions of GeneralConference on his computer. He's golden. I'm so excited to work withhim. The Lord is really blessing us! I'm so grateful for theopportunity to get to work with him and help him come unto Christ. :)   Other great news is that Lech is back! He had been going throughsome tough times, and has finally come back around. Everything isgood-we had a meeting with him this week, and he even came with us tolook for less-actives Saturday morning! Also, we found Ewa!! She is amember that has been gone for a while, now. We finally caught her athome, exchanged numbers with her, and will be in contact on Wednesdaywith her so that we can meet with her at her home... we are soexcited!    General Conference has been absolutely amazing. I have loved everysecond of it. I have a sticky-note about the questions that I haveneeded answered, and prayed for help in answering my questions-andeverything they're saying is exactly for me. It's the most beautifulthing ever... the church is so true, and God has given us a prophetand apostles in our day. Please make sure and get as much as you canout of conference... I promise that something will touch your heart ifyou are seeking answers and searching with real intent! :)     Unfortunately, I did end up getting sent back to Warsaw Saturdayafternoon. Things aren't really getting better, and I'm in some prettygood pain. I'm back in the mission home, and have been in a fewhospitals here in Warsaw over the past few days. (It was actually areally good experience... I was stuck in some nasty polish hospital atlike 2:30 in the morning trying to tell people in Polish why and whereI'm hurting and all that fun stuff.... it was a really good experiencefor me! I have an appointment with an internal medicine doctortomorrow at 11:00 so that someone can finally figure out what's wrong.I don't really know what to do, other than continue to have faith andtrust that the Lord knows what he's doing with me. I know that God hasa plan for each and every one of us, and I am so grateful for theopportunity I have to be able to learn and grow so much throughoutthis earth life. I have really learned a lot, and realized some thingsthat I have never realized before. This life's a test, and I'mdetermined to make the best of it! I'm going to make this week thebest week of my life! Love y'all. Stay classy!Love,Starszy Quackenbush
Picture #1:  They have this thing called "Spring" here.... In a 30 second time
period I walked through hail, into rain, into complete sunlight.... we
don't have that kind of stuff in Gilbert.
Picture #2:  Resting at the bus stop

Picture #3:  Elder Swicegood wanted a quick pic on Sister Edgrens computer in the mission home... lol smacznego!

March 30th ...Whew...on the mend maybe.

 Well guys, Jeszcze Żyję:) So this week was another one of those weeks
where you almost just have to laugh at the fact that you Ever had yourlife together...! This week I really learned that God really is incontrol-and if we just follow His plan, then everything eventuallyworks out! It was a really tough week, but it really made me gratefulto be able to be a missionary. After being stuck inside or in theoffice for 3 weeks, I almost went crazy! God pushed me and tried mejust to the point of breaking, and then everything turned back around.I went to the hospital again on Thursday, and everything is going tobe fine. I'm obviously not all the way better, but I told PresidentEdgren that if I stay in Warsaw for another day, then I'm going to gocrazy. He laughed and let me go back to Szczecin on Friday!!!! Itfeels SO good to be back. I've sure missed this place, and I've reallymissed Elder Berlin. I really really enjoyed being in the office withElders Swicegood and Guthrie(love those guys-they're pretty awesome!),and I really got to realize how tough it really is to be in theoffice. It used to be that trouble missionaries got sent to the officebefore President Edgren came, but President changed that. Right now wehave an AP and a branch president in there, and they're really got themission on their backs... I'm proud of those guys!     Anyways, Szczecin is doing really good. Elder Berlin and I havethe opportunity to work with some really cool people. Unfortunately, abunch of the baptismal dates have fallen off the map/went to Germanyfor a month/other excuses... but that's not going to stop us.Dawid(the one we've been working with for forever) is doing SO good.He's still searching and reading and meeting with us, and he'seven wanting to come to church! It's a miracle seeing that change! Wehave a meeting with him with Jerzy on the lesson this Wednesday! :)     We had a branch party at the Gay's on Saturday night before theyleft today. It was literally some of the most fun I've had in my life.We had investigators and members there, and it was hilarious. I ReallyReally love these people.    Also, I got sustained as Branch President in Szczecin yesterday,which was really cool! I've known for a little while, and I'm soexcited and ready to serve here in Szczecin and to work with ourawesome members in our branch! I'm really going to learn and grow alot-that's for sure!     The Gays left this morning to Warsaw. They're flying hometomorrow. It's really tough because over the last 5 months, they'rebecome my 3rd set of grandparents. We're not supposed to hugsisters(that's for sure) but I gave Sister Gay and Elder Gay huge hugsbefore they left. I promised to visit them, and even told them I'mbringing a girl to them for approval before I agree to marryanyone-because she's got to pass the Sister Gay test :) They're great,and we're sure going to miss them!     Other than that, everything's good! I'm really excited to getback to work and to work together with Elder Berlin to help peoplecome to Christ. Miracles are happening. I am grateful for the trialsin my life that help me to better myself, and come closer to mySavior, Jesus Christ. I love Him, and will follow Him! Love y'all,make it the best week ever!Love,Starszy Quackenbush

March 23rd...Health Trials

Hello everyone,
Thanks so much for the prayers and love this last week- they reallymeant a lot throughout this week! It was definitely a tougher week,but it really was one of the best weeks of my life.
Something really cool happened this week. I didn't want to lay down and donothing while I was down, so I made a bunch of calls through the areabook, and set up a meeting for Tuesday night with a former namedAgnieszka. The other elders met with her while I had to come down to Warsaw,
and now her and her boyfriend have baptismal dates... The Lord has reallybeen blessing me!
So on Tuesday last week, I got a call from President telling me that I needed tobe on the next train to Warsaw (never thought I was going to be thatmissionary that got sent to Warsaw for health problems... but there Iwas). I had really the coolest experiences on the train. I told myselfthat I probably couldn't do normal missionary work for a little while,but I could definitely talk to people on trains. I made a bunch of newfriends. I talked to a lady and her husband who live a little waysoutside of Szczecin. They were really cool, and even gave me theirnumber when they left. I had given them an ulotka, and they werereally excited to go look us up. Then, I had a really coolconversation with this lady who had just become a grandmother like afew hours before. She was headed right then to England to see her grandson. Shewas excited to go learn more about us, also. Then, my train layover inPoznań was super late, so I was running around the train station withthis girl (It's really long and polish and I can't even remember it...oops), and we ended up spending a while together-and I got to teachher all about the Restoration in the train station. So that was reallycool! But the coolest part was that when I got onto my train fromPoznań to Warsaw, I met Ula. She's a member, about 40-50 years old, 
and from Warsaw. She's SO cool. I talked with her for literally 3 hours straight.
She bought me dinner on the train, and we talked all about her family and hermission to the United States, and her church calling. She's honestlythe sweetest person in the world-I already love her so much... I thinkI'm going to keep her;) She ended up calling me later in the week justto check on me, and then she found me at district conference onSunday, and gave me the coolest present I've ever gotten. She gave methe Poland, Warsaw mission tie that was given to her by the missionpresident 2 transfers back-it's the mission tie that all of the reallyold missionaries that have been home for years have. I almost criedand then almost hugged her, but was able to refrain myself.
So in Warsaw I spent a lot of time in hospitals (I had to go to twodifferent hospitals). Essentially all three hospitals I visited told me threedifferent things. Unfortunately, they were all right lol. It's coolthough. Everything is going to be fine and work out in the end. I getto stay in Poland!! :) I'm also on a bunch of medication (I look like adrug dealer), which is really helping. I stayed at the mission home for a few days and Sister
Edgren took great care of me.  Now I'm in the office helping out the office elders while I recover.
I have another hospital appointment on Thursday night with the Specialist at 18:00,
and hopefully after that I should be able to return to Szczecin! I'm so excited to get back. Abunch of these people that we've been teaching and finding want to bebaptized. We have 9 baptismal dates in Szczecin. The Lord is Reallyblessing us:)
So this week I've been really trying to understand the enabling powerof the atonement in my life-and to apply it when I didn't think Icould go any farther. I've been really turning to the Lord, and givingeverything to him. So last night in the middle of the night I woke upin just so much pain. I was somewhere between almost crying all overthe place, and just starting to punch everything in sight. I literallyhurt so bad. In faith, I said one of the most sincere prayers I'veever prayed. I prayed that the enabling power of the atonement wouldhelp lift me and carry me through my trials and that everything wouldbe alright. Instantly the pain went away. I went back to sleep andwoke up in the morning with no pain. The power of the Atonement is soreal. I am so grateful for the many opportunities that I have had overthe past 3-4 weeks to rely on the power of Christ's atonement, and togrow closer to him. I really have, and I've really come to understandthe power of the atonement on such a deeper level.
This week I was also working on not "murmuring", but being positiveand thankful. I really tried my best with that. I am happy to say(Idon't want to say "proud" or that might just have to become nextweek's attribute) that I didn't complain once. Sister Edgren, my mission presidents

wife had to tell me to stop smiling and acting fine so that the hospital wouldtake me seriously. They said I would be the only person ever to smilethrough something like this. I definitely wasn't trying that to be"seen of men", but that was definitely something cool to see that agood attitude really does affect everything. Some nights I would justbe in so much pain, but stopped and told myself to look for thepositives. I usually focused on the fact that my ears almost Neverhurt. I was really grateful that night for the fact that my ears feltgreat and that everything was going well with them. I also learnedthat God has a sense of humor, because the next day my ears startedhurting... haha :)
So that's me and the update... I'm actually really grateful for the manyopportunities that I've had over the past few weeks to really grow andto experience trials. I am grateful for the relationship that I havegained with my Savior. I am so grateful for the Atonement, and that wecan use it's power every single day of our lives. I know that thischurch is true. I know that Christ is my Savior and yours. I am sograteful to Him and to my God. Love y'all. Make it the best week ofyour lives.
Elder Quackenbush

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Hey y'all!
     This week was a really good week! I was able to work a lot on
Caring for Others this week. I always feel like when I pray for the
ability to love others and work towards that goal, I'm always blessed
with situations where it's really hard to love others/be caring/etc,
which sometimes makes me ask myself WHY I would pray for such
experiences... but I absolutely love being able to progress and work
towards becoming more Christ-like. I also had a goal to leave the
house with a smile(to facilitate having a better attitude about what
we're out here doing). It was way cool to see the difference between
the times that I did start the teaching blocks with a smile, and those
times that I didn't... attitude is everything! I also tried to be less
selfish and give of myself to others throughout the week. It makes me
so much happier when I am concentrating on blessing the lives of
others instead of just focusing on me.:) This next week, I am working
on a few different things 1)Loving it 2)Being even bolder and giving
up on people less 3)Focusing. I'm really excited for this upcoming
week to learn myself, and to also work with Elders Fotu and Allen.
They are coming into Szczecin for an exchange. Elder Allen is knows
for being a Polish wizard, and Elder Fotu is one of my mission role
models... so I'm way excited!
     Sunday was really cool because the district president, President
Isaac, was in Szczecin for church. Also, I was able to have a really
cool  meeting with Elder Gay and Jan Tamborowski. Elder Gay and I were
also able to meet with Agnieszka, an eternal investigator, and help
her continue to work towards a baptismal date. I gave a talk about
Baptism in Sacrament meeting, and it was super cool because I didn't
actually write it out... I just kinda put ideas down on a paper and
then let the Polish do it's thing. I'm super grateful for how much the
Lord has blessed me in my life and over the course of my mission,
especially with Polish! We also had a special musical number, and
Elder Jourdan and I had solos, and it was a super neat experience. It
was Miłość ma tu plon... and I can't remember what that is in
English(and the translation is Really rough.... so...)
       It looks like the Lord has blessed me with another trial in my
life-one of the biggest ones I've had yet. I was able to spend almost
the entire day yesterday in a sketchy Polish hospital(Let's be real...
it looked like the hospital from the first episode of Walking Dead).
Thankfully it's not very bad. I've been in contact with a bunch of
doctors, and had a pretty bad scare the last few days-not gonna lie...
they were some of the hardest days of my life- but all is well. I just need to slow down for a
little bit and make sure I don't get hurt further. As I've thought and
pondered and prayed a whole lot the last few days, I've decided that I
really have 2 options. 1)get mad, ask "why me", and maybe even cry,
or 2)trust, love, be diligent, and learn something from this all. I
know that I'm going to have a wonderful and extensive opportunity to
rely on the Lord and to learn more about Him and to come closer to
Him. I'm really excited about that! I've decided that I'm not going to
let this slow down my missionary drive, or affect my attitude, but
that I'm going to keep going(carefully of course) and put my trust in
the Lord. I'm so grateful for this opportunity to learn and grow
through trials and tests, and am determined to prove myself worthy to
stand, even through trials. I know the Church is true. I really do. I
know my Savior lives, loves us, and is always there for us. I love all
of you-make it the best week ever.
Elder Quackenbush
picture: Szpital time!