Monday Night – One of our Favorite Evenings

Monday night we had another great Family Home Evening.  The lesson was on the Holy Ghost in our lives – the importance of listening, recognizing, and responding to  promptings.  The lesson, the game, the refreshments, and the fellowshipping all made for a valuable experience for all of us.

The group is reading a scripture from the Book of Mormon about the Holy Spirit.

The group is reading a scripture from the Book of Mormon about the Holy Spirit.

The ways the Holy Ghost helps us in our lives.  Anybody recognize any of these?

The ways the Holy Ghost helps us in our lives. Anybody recognize any of these?

Three different groups are sharing their experiences in receiving promptings from the Spirit.

We broke into three different groups and shared experiences in which we have received promptings from the Spirit.  There were some very interesting comments made in each group.

The game for the evening was Spoons, and everybody really got into it.

The game for the evening was Spoons, and everybody really got into it.

Grabbing for a spoon!

Grabbing for a spoon!

I got one!!!

I got one!!!

Who didn't get a spoon?

Who didn’t get a spoon?

The two finalists, Kevin and Rafal, battled it out at one of the tables.  Kevin was the grand winner.

The two finalists, Kevin and Rafal, battled it out at one of the tables. Kevin was the grand winner.

At the other table Sister Pearson and Sister Packard were the finalists.  Sister Pearson prevailed, and Ola is consoling Sister Packard.

At the other table Sister Pearson and Sister Packard were the two who prevailed.  In the end Sister Packard was the winner.  Ola is congratulating her.

It wouldn't be Family Home Evening without some food.

It wouldn’t be Family Home Evening without some food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Guido Coal Mine

The southern part of Poland is noted for its coal mining industry, Katowice especially.  In Zabsze, a city west of Katowice, is a mine which they have made into a touring attraction in this area.  It was a fascinating experience for us, and we learned a great deal about coal mining in days gone by and modern day mining.   The mine was established around the 1860′s, was closed and reopened several times, and now is a mining museum.

Alex, a university student here in  Katowice who is from Ukraine and is in our English class at church, was our guide for the tour.  We have certainly enjoyed getting to know him during our 8 months in the city.  He will study next fall in the Czech Republic.

Mining is a dangerous occupation, but being in a mine itself, you realize just how hazardous it really is.  Our hats off to these hard workers around the world.

We are getting ready to go into the reception center for the mine.  The tall structure is used for lowering the elevator down into the mine - kind of a bumpy, noisy ride.  (We had to wear our P Day clothes for this excursion  -  a coal mine isn't very clean!)

We are getting ready to go into the reception center for the mine. The tall structure is used for lowering the elevator down into the mine – kind of a bumpy, noisy ride. (We had to wear our P Day clothes for this excursion – a coal mine isn’t very clean!)

The huge wheel holding the cable for the elevator.

The huge wheel holding the cable for the elevator.

The tunnels are all reinforced since it is a tourist attraction.  This is looking toward the elevator shaft where were descended to the first level.

The tunnels are all reinforced with metal and wood since it is a tourist attraction.  Only wood was used for reinforcement during the earlier days of the mine.   This is looking toward the elevator shaft where were descended to the first level.

Horses were used to pull the coal cars through the mine.  They  had their own stable in the mine and lived there around the clock.  They were blind because of the lack of light, but they knew what to do from sounds they would hear.

Horses were used to pull the coal cars through the mine. They had their own stable in the mine and lived there around the clock. They were blind because of the lack of light, but they knew what to do from sounds they would hear.

We descended here to one of the lowest levels in the mine, about 320 meters underground.

We descended here to one of the lowest levels in the mine, about 320 meters underground.

This is one of the drills to cut coal from the wall of the tunnel.

This is one of the drills to cut coal from the wall of the tunnel.

Alex was a great translator for us during the tour.  We rode on a modern "people mover" for a short distance in one of the tunnels..

Alex was a great translator for us during the tour. We rode on a modern “people mover” for a short distance in one of the tunnels..

The mine experience was unique and extremely interesting, and we were glad that we could see what is such big part of the culture of this southern area of Poland.

The mine experience was unique and extremely interesting, and we were glad that we could see what is such an important part of the economy and culture of this southern area of Poland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Reunion

Last weekend a family from The States had a family reunion for their Polish relatives at our Branch building in Katowice.  It was quite an undertaking for them to organize this half way across the world, but from the reports we heard, it was a great success.  Elder Reed helped them quite a bit from this end, as they did their part across the miles.  There were about 60 of their relatives from various places in the country, and as we talked with the Pendergrasses, who organized the reunion, we found that many of these relatives didn’t know their extended family members from Poland.  So it was a great gathering for the Poles, too, to get to know one another or reconnect with their relatives.

In the center is Sister Pendergrass with her two daughters.  Her daughter on the left, who is majoring in music, sang in church on Sunday and it was real treat for the Branch members.  Brother Pendergrass and their son were not at church that day.

In the center is Sister Pendergrass with her two daughters. Her daughter on the left, who is majoring in music, sang in church on Sunday and it was real treat for the Branch members. Brother Pendergrass and their son were not at church that day.

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Summertime in Katowice

Today after our Missionary District Meeting with our Elders and Sisters we had some errands to run around the city.  When we arrived last January the city was pretty bleak looking, as most cities around here look in those cold, gray months of winter in Poland.  But summertime brings a whole new look to Katowice, in spite of all the construction that is going on in the city center where we live.  We had to get some pictures of the sights we saw today as we walked the streets viewing the charm of some of the promenades.  When the renovation taking place here is completed, Katowice will have a fresh, new look.

At the end of one of the promenade walkways in Katowice sits one of the most beautiful churches in the city.

At the end of one of the promenade walkways in Katowice stands one of the most beautiful churches in the city.

Looking the opposite direction from the church is one of the sidewalk cafe centers in the city.  In the warm summer evenings, the tables are filled with people enjoying the weather and their friends.

Looking the opposite direction from the church is one of the sidewalk cafe centers in the city. In the warm summer evenings, the tables are filled with people enjoying the weather and their friends.

The new mall which will be connected to the new train station will be completed sometime in the fall.  The train station, on the left, seems dwarfed next to the mall, but it is quite large and beautiful on the inside.  The windows of the mall artistically reflect the buildings which are across the street from the building.  The renovation in the city is a major undertaking and will be completed in three or four years.  Everything around our apartment building is completely torn up at this point in time.

The new mall, which will be connected to the new train station, will be completed sometime in the fall. The train station, on the left, seems dwarfed next to the mall, but it is quite large and beautiful on the inside. The windows of the mall artistically reflect the buildings which are across the street from the building. The renovation in the city is a major undertaking and will be completed in three or four years. Everything around our apartment building is completely torn up at this point in time.

Looking down the street from the train station is another sidewalk cafe area.  In the center of the picture was a young woman who had a horse costume and was passing out flyers advertising a certain business in the city.

Looking down the street from the train station is another sidewalk cafe area. In the center of the picture is a young woman who had on a horse costume and was passing out flyers advertising a certain business in the city.

The frog in this little fountain on the walkway doesn't seem to mind the emerald green water.  The weather is so hot that it's hard to keep the algae from growing in the little ponds around here.  This is the spot where we usually see long-haired youth with their guitars sitting on the edge of the pool serenading the passers-by.  But today they were elsewhere.

The frog in this little fountain on the walkway doesn’t seem to mind the emerald green water. The weather is so hot that it’s hard to keep the algae from growing in the little ponds around here. This is the spot where we usually see long-haired youth with their guitars sitting on the edge of the pool serenading the passers-by. But today they were elsewhere.

We got so hot that we had to stop for a refreshing drink at this "sidewalk orange".  We then went to a table on the promenade and sat for a bit enjoying the people of the city as they went to and fro.  We love this city and have truly enjoyed our 8 months here.

We got so hot that we had to stop for a refreshing drink at this “sidewalk orange”. We then went to a table on the promenade and sat for a bit enjoying our fresh orange drink along with the people of the city as they went to and fro. We love this city and have truly enjoyed our 8 months here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Women’s Conference in Warsaw

Last Friday and Saturday a Women’s Relief Society Conference was held in Warsaw.  Three of us from Katowice attended, and we were thrilled that we could enjoy our wonderful sisterhood with other sisters from around the country.  There were about fifty sisters in attendance, and it was uplifting for all of us to be able to meet and talk with other women who share such strong faith.  The District Presidency prepared and presented excellent activities including discussion groups, talks from our leaders, craft activities, and an abundance of good food, beautifully presented.   The two day conference was inspirational, uplifting, and unifying for all of us.

This is a picture of the Mission Home in Warsaw.  It has four levels and can hold and sleep quite a few people.  The Spirit there is always felt in a most heart-warming way, and the hand of welcome and fellowship is always extended.  Sister Hutchinson (office couple) and Sister Lloyd (Lodz) are standing in front of the home, and Krystyna, from our branch in Katowice, is standing at the door.

This is a picture of the Mission Home in Warsaw. It has four levels and can hold and sleep quite a few people. The Spirit there is always felt in a most heart-warming way, and the hand of welcome and fellowship is always extended. Sister Hutchinson (office couple) and Sister Lloyd (Lodz) are standing in front of the home, and Krystyna, from our branch in Katowice, is standing at the door.  This is where all the sisters met early Friday evening for the commencement of the conference.

As we were waiting for other sisters to arrive for the evening gathering, everyone was chatting with one another.

As we were waiting for other sisters to arrive for the evening gathering, everyone was chatting with one another.

There were about 40 women in the living room of the Mission Home that evening.  We all introduced ourselves to the group, and then . . . . .

There were about 40 women in the living room of the Mission Home that evening. We all introduced ourselves to the group, and then . . . . .

the women did what women love to do  -  just chat with one another and get to know each other, along with a light supper which was prepared by the Senior Missionary Sisters who live in Warsaw.  It was a delightful evening for all of us.

the women did what women love to do – just chat with one another and get to know each other, along with a light supper which was prepared by the Senior Missionary Sisters who live in Warsaw. It was a delightful evening for all of us.

That night Marta, who is now Siostra Antkowiak, was in attendance.  Sister Reed and Sister Sheley are her greatest fans.  The Reeds got Sister Antkowiak started in the direction of being a missionary, and the Sheleys, who now serve in Poznan, are the ones who were there when she got her call, and they sent her off on the mission.   Sister Antkowiak was serving in Warsaw waiting for her Visa to arrive before she could go to the MTC in Provo, but she left yesterday for The States, and she is now preparing to serve in the Chicago Mission.   We are all so happy for her.

That night Marta, who is now Siostra Antkowiak, was in attendance. Sister Reed and Sister Sheley are her greatest fans. The Reeds got Sister Antkowiak started in the direction of being a missionary, and the Sheleys, who now serve in Poznan, are the ones who were there when she got her call, and they sent her off on the mission. Sister Antkowiak was serving in Warsaw waiting for her Visa to arrive before she could go to the MTC in Provo, but she left yesterday for The States, and she is now preparing to serve in the Chicago Mission. We are all so happy for her.

After the evening's activities the Missionary Sisters helped clean up and put things back in order.  Sister Lloyd (Lodz), Sister Edgren (Mission President's wife), Sister Jensen (Young Single Adults - Warsaw), Sister Sheley (Poznan), Sister Hutchinson (Mission Office - Warsaw), and Sister Reed

After the evening’s activities the Missionary Sisters helped clean up and put things back in order. Sister Lloyd (Lodz), Sister Edgren (Mission President’s wife), Sister Jensen (Young Single Adults – Warsaw), Sister Sheley (Poznan), Sister Hutchinson (Mission Office – Warsaw), and Sister Reed

Then we decided that we couldn't be so serious all the time and just had to have a little fun.

Then we decided that we couldn’t be so serious all the time and just had to have a little fun.

This is the group that stayed at the Mission Home that night as we gathered for breakfast in the morning.

This is the group that stayed at the Mission Home that night as we gathered for breakfast in the morning.

Before we left for our meetings on Saturday, the Polish sisters sang, "Love One Another", for the Senior Missionary Sisters.  It was beautiful.

Before we left for our meetings on Saturday, the Polish sisters sang, “Love One Another”, for the Senior Missionary Sisters. It was beautiful.

The sisters in attendance were divided into three discussion groups, and we were each given two questions to discuss regarding faith. Each group recorded the main points shared in their groups and then reported these points to the entire group.

The sisters in attendance were divided into three discussion groups, and we were each given two questions to discuss regarding faith. Each group recorded the main points shared in their groups and then reported these points to the entire group.

A very colorful visual was made by some of the sisters to show the important components of faith.  The "faithful sister" is holding in her hand a copy of Preach My Gospel.

A very colorful visual was made by some of the sisters to show the important components of faith. The “faithful sister” is holding in her hand a copy of Preach My Gospel.

Attending the conference was a mother and daughter from one of the branches in attendance.  The daughter, on the left, was recently baptized, and her mother, who is 90 years old, will soon be baptized.  The mother has seen quite a bit of history during her lifetime here in the country.  It was interesting to talk with her.

Attending the conference was a mother and daughter from one of the branches. The daughter, on the left, was recently baptized, and her mother, who is 90 years old, will soon be baptized. The mother has seen quite a bit of history during her lifetime here in the country, and it was interesting to talk with her.

The Relief Society District Presidency, the President in the center.  The Presidency is composed of two Polish sisters, and the woman on the right is from the States (her husband works for an American company which has an office in Warsaw).

The Relief Society District Presidency, the President in the center. The Presidency is composed of two Polish sisters, and the woman on the right is from the States (her husband works for an American company which has an office in Warsaw).  These faithful and dedicated sisters did a beautiful job, making this conference a highlight in the sister’s lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Hawaiian Luau

Saturday afternoon we had an activity which was a first for the Branch, a Hawaiian luau  -  minus the roasted pig!  We had many visitors and investigators join us for the fun, and it was FUN!  To feel the brotherhood and sisterhood of each of these wonderful people is one of the treasures of Poland which we will take back with us when we return home in about 5 weeks.  The year and a half has gone by quickly, and our experiences keep getting better and better.  The Polish people are choice, and they will be forever in our hearts – both from Poznan and Katowice.  This mission has been a blessing beyond words, and we have thanked our Heavenly Father continually for giving us this experience.

Here is the group all ready for some games, food, and fun!

Here is the group all ready for some games, food, and fun!

 

After the spiritual thought, the games began  -  the first being the balloon smash.

After the spiritual thought, the games began – the first being the balloon smash.

Sebastion just can't seem to get those balloons to pop.

Sebastion just can’t seem to get those balloons to pop.

Everyone got their fill of barbequed pork, chips, and fresh fruit.

Everyone got their fill of barbequed pork, chips, and fresh fruit.

Then the Sisters came out ready to teach a hula dance.  (They made their skirts from a curtain purchased at a second hand store - pretty resourceful and creative!)

Then the Sisters came out ready to teach a hula dance. (They made their skirts from a curtain purchased at a second hand store – pretty resourceful and creative!)

We all got in a big circle, and they taught us the dance by just following their actions.

We all got in a big circle, and they taught us the dance by just following their actions.

The hula students at work

The hula students at work

Then we got in a group and followed the Sisters who were in front of us.

Then we got in a group and followed the Sisters who were in front of us.

How often do we see our Elders doing the hula????

How often do we see our Elders doing the hula????

We all paired up next for the three-legged race.

We all paired up next for the three-legged race.

It just wouldn't be a Hawaiian party without the limbo.

It just wouldn’t be a Hawaiian party without the limbo.

Four teams ready and off to a start for the Hawaiian clothes relay race.

Four teams ready and off to a start for the Hawaiian clothes relay race.

Ready to pass of those clothes to the next person on the team.

Ready to pass of those clothes to the next person on the team.

Sometimes it was hard enough to figure just how to put the piece of clothing on.

Sometimes it was hard enough to figure just how to put on the piece of clothing.

There were lots of laughs just getting the clothes off and on!

There were lots of laughs just getting the clothes off and on!

The proud winners!

The proud winners!

Virginia brought her two whippets, and they even got into the spirit and had a good time.

Virginia brought her two whippets, and they even got into the spirit and had a good time.

Dusk was coming, and all bid each other "Aloha", helped take things to the car, and then headed for home.  What a great activity it was!

Dusk was approaching, and we all bid each other “Aloha”, helped take things to the car, and then headed for home. What a great activity it was!

 

 

 

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Family Home Evening Fun

Monday night was again another great Family Home Evening.  Elder Reed taught one of the very important Christ-like attributes, humility.  Why we need this attribute was found in ten scriptures which we all read and discussed.  Pride, the opposite of humility and the universal sin, was brought out in the discussion during the lesson.   It was a valuable night of learning and introspection for all of us.

After the lesson we played a couple of games which brought out the love of laughter in all of us.  One was the Animal Sounds game, and the other was “Put the Necktie on Adrian.”  It was President Urban’s birthday that day, and we also discovered that Basia’s birthday was the next day.  So we celebrated both birthdays.  Pretty fun night!

Sister Petherbridge is giving is passing an animal sign to another "animal" in the circle.  This game always brings a lot of laughs to the group.

Sister Petherbridge is giving is passing an animal sign to another “animal” in the circle. This game always brings a lot of laughs to the group.

Basia is being cheered on by the group as she heads out with her necktie.

Basia is being cheered on by the group as she heads out with her necktie.

Elder Wilson gets the spinning around treatment before heading out with his tie.

Elder Wilson gets the spinning around treatment before heading out with his tie.

He got a little off course, and this is where the tie ended up!

He got a little off course, and this is where the tie ended up!

Basia was the grand winner of the game.

Basia was the grand winner of the game.

President Urban (Adrian) is enjoying the treat for the evening, his and Basia's ice cream birthday cake.  He decided to wear one of his neckties from the game.

President Urban (Adrian) is enjoying the treat for the evening, his and Basia’s ice cream birthday cake. He decided to wear one of his neckties from the game.

After an evening of spiritual enrichment and then some fun and games, we all gathered for a group shot.

After an evening of spiritual enrichment and then some fun and games, we all gathered for a group shot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camps

Last week the Durrants from Wroclaw and the Lloyds from Lodz came to Katowice for the day, and we all visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau prison camps.  It was a sobering day for us, but yet it is something every person should see.  It’s a lesson in history which should never be repeated.  The two camps are about three kilometers apart, and there are shuttle buses which go between the two locations.  The grounds now have some trees and grass, but when the camps were operating, there was nothing but dirt and mud.  When the Germans knew the war was ending, they bombed and burned the camps in hopes to destroy the evidence of this atrocity. Parts have been reconstructed, and some of the the sites were left in rubble.  We saw many heart-wrenching pictures and sights, enough to bring tears to our eyes.  It’s all a very sad memory of people  who had totally lost the Spirit of Christ and were without conscience or feeling.  We pray it will never happen again.

At Auschwitz we were greeted with barbed wire fences everywhere.  These buildings have all been reconstructed using as much as the original material as was possible.

At Auschwitz we were greeted with barbed wire fences everywhere. These buildings have all been reconstructed using as much as the original material as was possible.

The barracks were lined with tiers of bunks for sleeping.  Sometimes as many as 10 had to sleep in one bunk.  One barrack, which was not a very large building, held as many as 700 people at one time.  People had to find a spot anywhere they could for rest at night, and it was wall-to-wall people.

The barracks were lined with tiers of bunks for sleeping. Sometimes as many as 10 had to sleep in one bunk. One barrack, which was not a very large building, held as many as 700 people at one time. People had to find a spot anywhere they could for rest at night, and it was wall-to-wall people.

This is a view of the tracks inside Birkenau.  The trains came through this archway into the camp, and it was about where this picture was taken that they came out of the "cattle cars" in which they were transported and "sorted" as to where they would go next.

This is a view of the tracks inside Birkenau. The trains came through this archway into the camp, and it was about where this picture was taken that they came out of the “cattle cars” in which they were transported and “sorted” as to where they would go next.

Some of the barracks had bunks which slept three people to one bed.

Some of the barracks had bunks which slept three people to one bed.

The memorial in Birkenau

The memorial in Birkenau  is dedicated to the many people who lost their lives there.

This plaque at the memorial site in Birkenau was displayed in five different languages.

This plaque at the memorial site in Birkenau was displayed in five different languages.

The ruins of the gas chambers which were underground.

The ruins of the gas chambers which were underground.

The remains of the crematorium in Birkenau

The remains of the crematorium in Birkenau

Birkenau covers many acres of land, which at one time was filled with 90,000 prisoners.  These grounds were lined with barracks, the remains of which we see here.

Birkenau covers many acres of land, which at one time was filled with 90,000 prisoners. These grounds were lined with barracks, the remains of which we see here.

The Lloyds, the Durrants, the Reeds, and our guide, Marta  -  Marta's English was excellent  and her presentation was very informative..  She said she has been giving tours for about 7 years.

The Lloyds, the Durrants, the Reeds, and our guide, Marta – Marta’s English was excellent and her presentation was very informative.. She said she has been giving tours for about 7 years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Relief Society Activity

The Relief Society asked Sister Reed to show them how to make a popular American food at a Relief Society activity on Saturday.  I couldn’t think what to make that would be different from what they already serve in Poland.  The food here, with a few exceptions,  is very much like our American food and is quite delicious.  But chili was what we came up with, plus cornbread.  So a group of sisters met for the activity and were put to work cutting onions, peppers, opening cans of tomatoes and beans,  and browning the meat.  As this simmered, we all helped to make a pan of cornbread to put into the oven.

As everything was cooking, Gosia, our Relief Society President, had prepared a wonderful presentation for Pioneer Day, which is coming up in  just a few days.  After this program we all enjoyed a good old American meal.  Everyone seemed to like the chili and the cornbread, and most wrote out the recipe to make at home.  We had three visitors there for this activity, which always makes it even better.

After making the chili and the cornbread, we all enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

After making the chili and the cornbread, we all enjoyed the fruits of our labor.

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Creative Contacting

The Elders and Sisters decided that they would create some new ways to contact people on the street, so they, along with President Urban, took the ping pong table down to the walkway behind the church and set it up.  They also had a white board with a message on it and a table with pamphlets, brochures, and Books of Mormon.  As they invited people to join the ping pong games, they had some interested individuals.  In fact, some people came back again to try to beat President Urban at a game, but none of them prevailed!  This contacting activity produced 8 lessons taught between the two sets of missionaries, and about 6 Books of Mormon being passed out.  And, of course, lots of ping pong games.  The gospel of Jesus Christ can reach people in many different ways, as we found out that afternoon.  These missionaries are great!

This is the setup on the walkway behind the church.  The table, the white board, the ping pong table, and now they are just waiting for some interested people to come by.

This is the setup on the walkway behind the church. The table, the white board, the ping pong table, and now they are just waiting for some interested people to come by.

President Urban (Adrian) and Sister Pearson manned the table for awhile with all the information about the church.

President Urban (Adrian) and Sister Pearson manned the table for awhile with all the information about the church.

After about 15 minutes of inviting passers-by to come and play, there were two young men interested in a game of ping pong.

After about 15 minutes of inviting passers-by to come and play, there were two young men interested in a game of ping pong.

And a different person came to play after a bit.  As time went on there were quite a few players who joined in the fun that afternoon.

And a different person came to play after a bit. As time went on there were quite a few players who joined in the fun that afternoon.

 

 

 

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