Hull - November 26, 2012

So, on Thursday we were sitting in our flat having Tea (dinner), I suddenly looked up at Elder DeShazer and said, Oh! It’s Thanksgiving. We had both forgotten that it was even Thanksgiving. So that was sort of weird. My first Thanksgiving away from home and I forgot it was Thanksgiving. Eh, that's alright though.

I'm glad to be with Elder DeShazer again. Also we've been speaking more Polish together than we originally did. It's hard though because we're talking to everyone and that includes English people as well as Polish, so we have to speak English as well. But when we're walking to go somewhere and/or there's no one around we try to speak Polish.

Our investigators are doing great. We taught a class of four Polish people this past week in the Olsen's flat. It was alright. I don't really think any of them were interested in the gospel. it helps me learn Polish though, and we're planting seeds I think. Elder DeShazer and I are covering the Hull 1st Ward, which is basically West Hull. If you look on Google Maps the boundary is the Hull River and it goes a ways westwards. But we mostly stay in the city and Hull, although once I've been to Borough and South Cave. Also a lot of the members live in Wilerby. A lot of the older Polish people are deep Catholic, but some of the younger ones start to venture off, but a lot are still very Catholic. In the Hull 1st Ward there are eight missionaries, including the Olsens: one Chinese speaking, three English speaking and two Polish speaking missionaries and then the senior couple, who work with the YSA.

A Chinese group is going to be started soon in this ward and I think that will help the ward get ready for an upcoming Polish group. Hopefully, things will kick off again soon; we just need one good person to come. We have Daniel and he's amazing. He only sleeps four hours the night before, but comes to church anyway. I know that we were led to his door; I remember praying to find someone and then being led to that street. I know that God has a plan for all this.

So Elder DeShazer and I were searching for potential Investigator when it was raining late at night. An older Polish man answered the door and started asking us questions. Then, he let us into the hallway (in was a shared living house above a store) so we were dry. He said he was very strongly Catholic. At first he started referring things as to our religion and his religion, but then at one point he realized that our religions weren't very different. And I guess he sort of started to take a bit of a liking to us. He invited us in for a chat and offered us coffee or tea. We told him we don't drink that but that we can drink milk. So he left us sitting alone in his kitchen while he traveled downstairs to the store and bought milk for us. Then we talked and were able to give him a Book of Mormon. He was drinking a bit and it was funny because he asked where our ancestors were from and I told him from Germany. Then he was like, 'but you don't look like Hitler'. That was sort of weird. Well we planted a seed with him I think.

Also the other night we were walking when we heard some people talking in Polish. We got excited and felt like we should go back and talk to them. We met a man who said that he'd turned his life around before to religion and to Christ, but had a bad experience in his church. He said he'll bring his family to church.

I've realized that in these seven months I've learned more than I ever had before (life wise). I think I’ve grown a lot already, and I fell that I’ll continue to grow a lot as well. I used to be scared to talk to random people or to talk to store clerks and stuff. Well, I'm getting better I feel. I've been forced as you might say to talk to people I usually wouldn't want to talk to.

I love going on a mission. I love meeting people and learning all about them. Because it really isn't a building that we meet in that makes a church, it's the people that meet there. I think that this world is about people. Its people that make it up and its people that live in it. We all have different lives, different stories, different things that make us tick. I love just making friends with random people on the street and then giving them the opportunity to learn more about their Father in Heaven who loves them even more that anyone could. And about their Savior who died for them and took their pains in life.

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Hull - November 20, 2012

I love England and I love being in Hull. So, transfer calls were last night. Elder Ball is going to Peterly, which is up north in the cold. He will be serving with Elder Richards. Elder DeShazer's companion, Elder Christensen, will be staying and serving with another elder. And I will be going to the great land of...Hull! (I’m staying) and I will be serving with...Elder DeShazer! So, I guess we'll serve together again. I'm excited, this is a good opportunity for me to speak Polish more, and also we will be focusing a lot on Polish people. Hopefully, we'll see some good things happening this winter.

My cold has died down. I've been on medicine and that's helped immensely. Also, I feel a lot better, not all the way, but a lot improved.

The work is good. On Sunday we had a Polish fireside where we tried to get as many Polish people there as we could. We only got Daniel and Justina and their family. They are doing great. They're making plans for their holiday in Poland, which we are keeping our fingers crossed for (or in Polish, our hands in a fist with our thumbs tucked in). Daniel is pretty solid on joining the church. So we told him of our experience finding him. He told us that he had prayed about 2 weeks before we first met him, asking for God to show him where the truth was and when we knocked he was like, 'maybe so'. So, I think things will go well. We also taught a Polish Lady this past week. It was an interesting lesson, but we'll be persistent. She said she'll read the Book of Mormon, and that's a good start, I think. We've also been trying to meet with a man from the Czech Republic named Peter who's hit a hard time trying to find a job. I called Grzegosz and Anna last Friday, and Grzegosz said that things still aren't too well, but they are better the baby has made some improvement but is still in the same critical condition room. They spend a lot of time in the hospital. We haven't been able to see Nikola again yet, but hopeful someday. We met a new Polish man who is a lorry (truck) driver and so is his wife. He says they've talked to the missionaries in Poland. We'll be going back there on Sunday, which I'm excited for. I hope things are going to explode in this area. I feel like they can, we just need to be ready so that the Lord can trust us with these people who are seeking the truth.

I love the Polish people. When I meet one I get excited and I just love them. I think things are going to start picking up with them as well, well I have hope it will. We're meeting with some really good people.

It hasn't snowed yet, but I've seen some frost on the ground in the mornings, and I think they're preparing for some snow soon. But, it is getting really cold. It also gets dark at five at night and I hear at its peak will get dark at 4pm, which is kind of weird to be out knocking in the dark and it only being 4pm. But we'll survive.

I actually find a lot of people who speak Russian here, as well as Lithuanian, Latvian and Slovakian, and Czech, and so on. There is a dear older lady here, Nelly, and her daughter Ala, who live in our ward. They are so kind and so nice, and so humble and grateful. They speak Russian, and Nelly loves the missionaries. I think one day I’ll give learning Russian a shot. It is a language I want to learn someday, but I think Polish is good enough for me right now.
An elder from Sweden who is leaving soon gave me one of his old suits that he was about to just leave behind. Since I’ve lost weight my suits were really loose, and now we have to wear a suit everyday until it gets warmer. So, this one is a bit smaller and fits me a bit better, but the other's still fit as well.

Ah, sadly, no they don't celebrate Thanksgiving here. But, did I tell you about bonfire night? They celebrate a guy burning at the stake by having bonfires. That was new to me. Hey, it's only temporary that I’ll miss Thanksgiving, and it's worth the sacrifice. I've found I've grown a lot already on my mission, and lost some of myself (my weight a bit) but I hope that I'm not done growing because I'm still very imperfect. One thing I've come to realize is that pride is not a good thing; I need to strive to be a more humble person. I didn't think I was prideful, but I guess we never do. I guess the change comes when we realize that it's not about ourselves.  Enjoy Thanksgiving, eat some turkey for me, alright?

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Hull - November 12, 2013

We’ve been doing a lot to try to find people who will listen to our gospel message this week. I'm really glad I made the choice to go on a mission. I've grown so much (and lost so much weight) and also I've seen the difference it can make in other people's life, even with just small and simple things. I often think ‘what if we didn't go down that street?’ or ‘what if I didn't talk to that person?' You never know what difference a little decision could make.

The past few days I've been sick with what I think is a sinus infection. It's not so bad that I can't go out and work, just a bit irritating. But I found that I can't be angry about it and be effective at missionary work. Elder Ball tells me that one secret to missionary work is to be happy, even when you're tired because you'll always be tired. I've found though that I really enjoy talking to people

The other Elders said that I talked in Polish in my sleep one night, so that's sort of a good sign. Some Polish people still like to speak super fast. One day I'll be good at it, I just need to be patient.

Just earlier today I was pondering on how amazing it is that Heavenly Father gives us the authority to act in His name, to heal the sick as long as it's according to His will and our faith. I've been studying about how to give a blessing in Polish because I will need to do that someday. It's helped me realize that we need to be always worthy and always prepared and willing to use our priesthood authority to help Heavenly Father's children in His name.

Also, there are some members of the church here from Peru. I told them that you, Dad, served there and they said they joined when they were a lot younger, but they are going to ask their mother who is staying with them right now if she knows you. Wouldn't that be amazing if she did? It's amazing to think how much your mission in Peru has affected other people and your own life. I hope that my efforts and my mission can have that kind of impact on me and the people I meet.

I know that this truly is the work of Heavenly Father. I know that the Church is true. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we can overcome any obstacle, any hardship; and also that if we have faith in Him and repent of all our sins, we can once again return to live with God.

I love you so much,

Starszy Ressler

P.S.  No snow yet, but it gets really, really cold in the night. It looks like we aren't going to have Thanksgiving; maybe we'll celebrate in a different kind of way, though.

Hull - November 5, 2012

Hello everyone,

I think it's amazing that we're going to get quite a few more missionaries in the world. I know that it is no mistake me being here in England. I know that this is what I've been preparing to do since I was small. I also believe that I was meant to be part of the work here.

Dad, ah, I remember the wood cutting. One of the things I'm ever so grateful you and Mom taught me is work. Now I know I'm not the hardest worker, but you taught me that sometimes you don't want to do everything, but you just got to roll up your sleeves and get the job done. That applies to missionary work as well. You just work hard and get over yourself, ah, miracles happen Dad. For example, I met a police officer who was over here visiting his bother from Poland (Polish police officer). He and his brother are very large and it was a bit intimidating, but I just talked to them anyway and we had a really good conversation.

I've had funny stories with translating Polish. There are a couple of Polish supermarkets around the city. One time we went in one to buy some sandwich meat because we wanted to practice some Polish and talk to the meat lady in Polish. Elder Ball told me to ask her what her favorite meat is. This is what I get from learning Polish from the scriptures. So I said, “co jest twoja umilowany?” which is interpreted “what is your beloved?” So I asked her what her beloved meat is. I also just realized that I've been telling people that we're “dividing” a message about the Book of Mormon (dividing mathematically). So I've been there, Dad. All you can do is laugh about it.

I hope elections go well. I think I'm the only one in my flat to vote. I sent the absentee ballot off about a week ago. Isn't it crazy that it's already November? It doesn't feel like it. Tonight is Bonfire Night. It's a holiday here in the UK because someone a long time ago tried to blow up parliament and they burned him at the stake. And so to remember it they set off fireworks and such and have a bonfire. That’s what I hear anyway. We aren't allowed to go out finding tonight, but we can teach lessons to people who we know. So, that should go well, hopefully. It is getting a lot colder; I think I'm going to buy a warmer coat today. I have about five blankets, so I'm all toasty at night.

There is a large possibility, well in fact it's probably most likely, that I'll be in Hull most of my mission, if not all of it. I've heard that it took a lot of work to get Polish-speaking missionaries in Hull in the first place, and so we'll probably be staying here our whole two years, if not for a good long while. We still Skype Poland on Saturdays, which helps us out a lot.

One of my favorite things to share with people is the Book of Mormon because it's probably my most loved book. And I tell people that it changed my life and that that is how I got my belief that Jesus is our Savior and Redeemer.

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Hull - October 29, 2012

It's been a good week. Things are getting on well here. Elder DeShazer and I have been sent to the City of Hull to start a Polish group here (sort of like a branch). Our zone leader Elder Mckay told me that we were sent here not because the president thinks that a Polish group can start here, but because that a Polish group will be started here. That puts a lot of weight on us, but I also know that the Lord doesn't give us something we can't handle. And, I know I was sent here to do this work, I had a feeling that I was headed for hard things.

The stake president here in Hull saw that there were lots of Polish people and told President Lindley and then it moved all the way up until it got approved by Church headquarters, and they called two Polish-speaking elders. We're meeting with a lot more Polish people now which is good, and my Polish is getting better and better. People seem to be amazed with the amount of Polish I’ve picked up in just these three short months.

We've found a few more Polish people to teach. I think we have a couple families. One Polish family we are teaching is planning to go on holiday to Poland in December, and the father wants to be baptized when he comes back to England.  I hope things kick off with the Polish group from this. We're teaching a lot of people to speak English.

At first I was struggling with the missionary work. I struggled to talk to people a bit, still sort of do, but now I'm having some really good conversations with people. I'm sort of happy that most people speak English here, and if they don't I can usually communicate with them. But I'm also sad too because I'm not immersed in the Polish language and won't learn it as well.

This week we met an amazing man. He has a really firm belief in God and is excited for a change in his life, such as baptism. I think as we teach him he will change a lot.

I see a lot of Heavenly Father’s tender mercies on my mission. We are constantly looking for what to do or where to be. We plan where we feel we should go that day or if there's a certain person we need to talk to. We've found people because we felt like we should go to the next street over and then walk down the right side and then two people on bikes ride by and start talking to us. Sometimes we don't really know the reason why things happen, but it doesn't matter how they happen, just that they do. For Instance, we know Heavenly Father and Jesus created the earth. We don't know how exactly, but we know that it happened, so why does it matter. I think people worry too much about the how or the why, and forget the do.

This P-day the whole zone got Nerf guns and had a war. I was able to get this cheap little one that was pretty powerful.

It's weird; England isn't feeling so foreign to me anymore. It seems like it is starting to feel more normal to me. Like the cars driving on the left side of the road instead of the right. Here in England people call each other “mate” and, if you talk to an older lady, you can call her “love”, or if you're being polite.

It's getting colder now. Halloween is going on here, too. The ward is having a “trunk of treat” activity, but Elder DeShazer and I will be teaching two English lessons and another lesson while the two English elder go to it. Eh, I'm fine with it. Halloween isn't too big in England. I guess it's fairly new here and is growing a bit? Ah, time just flies on by. October went fast. I'm still amazed thinking its September, but now here's November or Listopad if you want it in Polish.

I hope everything is going well at home.

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler