Hull - July 29, 2013

England is great! It's pretty warm, but also raining a lot more now. I think we've reached the rainy season. It's almost August, I can't believe it. You know I talked to a senior couple and the husband said that when he served his mission, he served in an area for 13 months as well. He said that he knocked a sky scraper apartment building seven times! So I guess it's nothing too new. Members sometimes joke and laugh about how long we've served here, but whatever; I'll go wherever I'm needed.

One night (I think Thursday) we got a visitor during our planning. It was Elder Vest and his Dad. He's gone home now, but his father picked him up and he was showing him around. I'll really miss Elder Vest; he was our district leader a while back and a good missionary. I've seen a lot of friends I've made go home and now I'm getting to the point on my mission where the missionaries that I know, or the ones that were our leaders are going home, like Elder Griffiths, Elder Taylor, lots of legendary missionaries. There are more and more newer missionaries. We got three brand new missionaries in our ward (out of the 10 of us) and then we are also going to get new senior missionaries. The Olson’s are going home this week. I'll miss them as well. The Gibbs, I think, are the new ones. They come the day after the Olson’s leave, I think.

Daniel really liked the temple. Justyna didn't go with him. He tells us that she feels something it's just that she is shy (a lot of it has to do with the usual Polish concern of family and tradition of being Catholic). He said that he wants to take her there and walk around the temple grounds with her and then maybe she'll take an interest. I haven't seen the family in weeks, but Daniel at church. He's good and faithfully and comes each week.

Brendon seems like he's getting closer and closer to leaving. It'll be crazy when he actually goes. You'll have to get me his address (the mission home) so I can send him letters. And he can email me as well so that's all good. He's only got a few weeks left. I hope the family is well and safe and having fun. Enjoy the time left you have with Brendon, make some fun memories cause you'll not see him for a few years. Also, Harrison will he not see him for three or four years, if he goes on a mission right away.

I'm really glad that I went to Pennsylvania before I left. I really enjoyed connecting with family and hearing my grandparent’s conversion stories. He'll have to ask them about that. Funny enough English people are fascinated with Amish people!

I miss the temple. I'm excited to go again someday. I think I'll understand more as well, just because I've got a whole new perspective now on life and some experience in the work of salvation. Oh, I long for the day when Daniel and Justyna get sealed in the temple. I've come to love Daniel and his family so, so much!

Thank you for your prayers and your fasts. I know now what it's like to come to love someone and then see them not accept the gospel even after they have had a spiritual witness. I can understand just a little bit more what Heavenly Father feels when we aren't obedient either, even when we know it's the right thing to do. I'm not quite done with the work and as far as I'm concerned I'm going to try my best to move the work along.

Elder Owens and I are doing really well together. He's getting used to me. I've realized something about myself. I don't understand some forms and concepts of sarcasm! I first really realized this when serving with Elder DeShazer in the MTC. I think there is some sort of social sign that I just don't pick up. I've been told every once and I while that someone is just being sarcastic! Elder Owens is a great elder. He is very obedient and does well. I've seen his Polish improve quite a lot in the past 12 weeks I've been with him. I think that it'll continue to improve. I hope that my Polish will continue to improve as well.

We're doing really well. I can't complain. You know a friend once asked me about how my mission was going. He asked if I'd been successful in bringing anyone into the gospel and I said that I've helped five people get baptized, but that only a few were still active. He just looked at me and said something I wasn't expecting. "Then it's been a success!" Remember in the scriptures is says "oh how great shall be your joy" if you can bring one person to the gospel. I know that you'll be a great missionary. No matter what work you do, or even how small or big it is. If you do your best, then your mission was a success!

I love hearing from you all!

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Hull - July 23, 2013

It's a bit cloudy and rainy today, but it's been pretty hot lately.  We had transfers and I'm staying (slept in the same bed my whole mission, so far). This week should be good. We are on a hunt now to find more Polish people to teach.

Daniel went to the temple, he described it as majestic! You know, I don't think a lot of missionaries get to stick around long enough to see people they work with go to the temple. Daniel said that before he felt stressed, but when he went in the temple he felt the spirit and felt that peace that you and I know is like leaving all the worries of the world behind you. I wonder if they had trouble pronouncing his last name. I had trouble at first, too. I miss the temple a bit.

I'm super excited for Brendon to go to the temple today. I hope that it'll be a good experience for him. And his mission will be something that'll bless him in all aspects of his life.

John was baptized and confirmed! It was terrific! Elder Olsen was able to connect well with him when we went on exchange, so he got to baptize him (his first baptism and he didn't think that he would baptize at all on his mission), so I'm counting this one a "district effort" since we all pitched in a little. I gave the talk on baptism.

Right now, we aren't teaching very many Polish people. The other elders are teaching two pretty solid people, Ivy and Tomek (different Tomek), who seem to be doing well. Our Tomek, sadly, we haven't been able to get in contact with him.

Starszy Ressler

Hull - July 15, 2013

I'm doing terrific!

John is getting baptized soon on Sunday. At his baptismal interview he studied and prepared a five page presentation on his journey to baptism. He did it on his own and it was almost identical to the Doctrine of Christ in chapter 31 of 2 Nephi. He did it because he said that anyone could just simply answer ‘yes’ to the questions and get baptized, but he wanted to show that he is serious. He's pretty much a member now; he participates in church and is really good. I get to give a talk at his baptism.

Also, I got to conduct my first baptismal interview. Her name is Pauline. She's a very nice lady. It sort of hit me with amazement that Heavenly Father trusts me enough to call me as a missionary and as a district leader, and that I have the authority to judge in His place if someone is ready to be baptized. It was quite the spiritual experience. I felt the spirit and could feel God’s love for her. It's hard to explain, but I know that this work is true and of God.

In the Ensign there is an article about a Slovakian group being started in Sheffield, England. I know some of those missionaries! The 'new companion' Joe McKay was one of my zone leaders after that happened. And Elder Page (in one of the photos) was an assistant (both are home now). And the missionary shaking hands (the Czech Republic missionary) is Elder Juran, He's still here in the mission and is a really powerful missionary. I've met the group leader, Ferro, and talked to him in Polish/Slovakian! Pretty amazing stuff; that group is now a branch.

I can't believe how fast time has flown. I've really been here for a whole year (longer now). I'm a dinosaur! But looking back I have really seen myself grow a whole lot. I know that Brendon will enjoy his mission, the hard times to grow from and the good times to remember forever. There are so many spiritual experiences. I've felt it's helped me grow my own testimony as I try to help others grow their own testimonies.

I've realized that God is preparing me to be a parent someday. We had a meeting for district leaders and basically it was on obedience and how we need to be a bit more diligent because the standard of obedience doesn't change, it's us who just get lax about it. They made a comment about how this will help us be a better parent someday. So that sort of hit me that I need to prepare now for that blessing someday. I think Heavenly Father is a perfect example of a good parent. He has his standards (the commandments) and he blesses us when we are obedient to them.

Yea, Elder Owens is a great cook; I sometimes see what he does. He said he's going to make popcorn with coconut oil or something like that. I'm excited!

Daniel has his temple recommend, but didn't get to go. The ward organizes temple trips where they all pitch in and drive together or rent a coach (bus). So maybe in a few weeks he mentioned something about taking Justyna and walking about the temple grounds... :)

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler

Hull - July 8, 2013

On the Fourth of July we had a tea appointment, which means that we go to a member's house and they feed us. We went to the Taylor Family. They are really funny. There are nine kids living there currently! We usually share a spiritual thought. We read a scripture about America and then all four of us (the Polish Elders) burst out and sang to them the National Anthem. It was really good and patriotic. Then, the dad was like, "that's a lot of rubbish" (because they're English). I didn't realize how much I love our country until I left for two years.

In Hull there were at one point two teams of Chinese speaking missionaries, because this is where the Chinese group is. It's crazy right now, Sister Lam from Hong Kong is the only Chinese speaker and she's basically running the whole group. She’s pretty stressed I can tell. They need backup for her or she'll burn out. Training usually takes 12 weeks. This is her first area. She was trained for six weeks then asked to train. And now she's pretty much trained a new sister and the only Chinese speaker. I know that there are about eight other Chinese speakers in the mission. I think they'll have someone come help her out or something. If Elder Li does come to Hull, I'll have to tell him I know the Roberts. Oh, the Oreo and doughnut thing was a zone P-day. Once a transfer, we get together as a whole zone and do something. The zone leaders planned out some fun activities. They were trying to do a bob for apples thing, but instead they bought eggs (they're cheaper), so it was like a bob for eggs. It really didn't work out too well.

I remember a man that we contacted on the street said something like that leaving the Catholic Church is like saying you're not a Pol. I guess that's what I've been facing this whole time. And now I can see even more what a miracle it is that Daniel got baptized, even more that his family was okay with him being baptized. Daniel told an experience. He went to a friend’s birthday party and was the only one not drinking! Then, one of his friends told him that he would like to not drink like that as well. Justina keeps commenting to Daniel on how much he's changed. I told him that he is setting the example for his friends and family. Daniel got a temple recommend to do baptisms, he is going this Saturday!! I'm really happy about that.

Well, we got a new mission president, President Pilkington. He is from England and is pretty funny. He's not used to shaking hands or giving hugs, yet....that'll change soon, I think. He talked to us in York and he gave a speech and reminded me a bit like Winston Churchill. I wrote in my notes "President Pilkington=Winston Churchill? (then a few minutes later) yep!" I like him.

We've been teaching a great man. We met him knocking and he was only sort of lukewarmly interested. We missed our first appointment with him, he wasn't in and we also forgot about it. But then we ran into him on the street. When we went by, he wasn't in, so we continued knocking on the street where we left off. He showed up about 15 min later, he was late for some reason. It was quite a miracle, I suppose, that we even started teaching him. He will even testify to that, that there had to be some divine intervention to us meeting. He hasn't had the easiest life. At first, I didn't really think that it was going anywhere anytime soon. But on Wednesday was the start of the turning point. He had so many hard and difficult questions and we really had to be tested on our patience. Then, we met again on Friday night and it just all (for lack of a better word) exploded. I felt the spirit so strong, it was really weird, I just could feel love for him so strongly, and the spirit was there so strongly. It's a feeling I don't think I could forget very easily. I don't really know how to explain it. Then, we saw him on Saturday and we were all a bit emotionally and spiritually drained a bit. But he’s going to be baptized on the 21st of July. He even bore his testimony on Sunday. He's doing really well.

I'm really happy for Brendon! It's all happening so soon. Soon enough he'll be gone, then it's Elder Ressler. That's crazy to think there'll be two Elder Resslers at the same time. I'd be happy if Brendon, Harrison, and maybe even Sadie and Addie go on missions! I know that it'd be worth their time and effort and that they'd have the time of their lives. I won't lie a mission is hard, but it's definitely worth it, being able to see so many changes in people's lives. Even though a lot of people don't really care, or listen, there are a few who do, a few who this affects. I'm grateful to be here. I'm grateful you (Dad) served a mission and set that example for me.

Love you much

Starszy Ressler (the 2nd) (Brendon will be the 3rd, Harrison the 4th, and possibly some Sister Resslers?)

Hull - July 2, 2013

This week on Friday is my year in England mark. We'll I guess you can really say, my year in Hull mark. All the members are making jokes now about how they should just move my records here and I can just move in. I usually joke with the other missionaries that I meet at Zone Conferences and other meetings that I've slept in the same bed for pretty much my whole mission. I don't mind staying here, but I kind of want a change. Don't get me wrong, I love Hull; I love the people, and the ward. But that's kind of a long time to be in one place. You sort of get to the point where you've knocked the same streets multiple times. I'll try to take more pictures and tell more about what goes on.

So to be honest we Polish Elders don't really compare ourselves to the rest of the mission. We can't compare ourselves to the other missionaries, there are too many variables. All one can do is their own best. Polish people are Catholic, about 90% of Poland is Catholic, it's tradition. Elder Humphries talked to a man who picked up his little son and shook him saying "my son was born Catholic and he will die Catholic" They simply can't comprehend it. To them being Christian is being Catholic. So obviously it's a bit tougher I'd say than compared to the rest of the mission. This week we went to Sheffield to say goodbye to President and Sister Lindley. We have a new mission president now. I'll meet him tomorrow when we go to York.

We met an older man named Steve who got real excited to learn about the Restoration and says that it makes sense to him. I'm excited to see him again on Saturday. Also, we are teaching a man who is still learning English, so it's sort of a struggle.

I think I'm beginning to understand more and more about wanting to help people and not being able to. There's so many people I wish would just let us share the gospel with them, or just read the book! But they have their free will and I can't make that choice for them.

I sometimes get discouraged just like everybody else. I've found that faith is the opposite of discouragement, so we just simply got to have faith that God is preparing people for us to teach and baptize here in Hull. I feel like I've been through a lot of "trials of my faith". You just simply can't let yourself get too discouraged, because then you lose faith. There are honestly times I've felt like I've been only hanging on by a thread, but Heavenly Father grabs on to that thread and pulls me up somehow. But, I know that He's there and He's helping us every step, even if we can't see it. I know that my will alone will not get this work done on its own, it's simply too big. I know of Heavenly Father's power and how it's really him who makes things happen.

As a district I have something called a focus, I can choose one thing to focus on every week. This week we are focusing on getting people to church. To do that we are asking people the question when we invite them "Is there anything that would keep you from coming to church with us this Sunday?" and then try to work out how they can get there. I think I've adjusted quite a lot more to being a district leader. It's still a lot to be responsible for, but it's not as bad as it used to be. I think because I have a better idea of what I'm doing.

Tomek didn't get baptized. He thinks it'll happen, he just needs some time to talk to his family about it.

We're also teaching a man named John. John is very good at studying the scriptures. It has a lot to do with his previous faith. He reads the Book of Mormon and loves to look up all of the verses in the Bible that support it and then types it up on the computer. He hasn't read a lot of chapters, but he goes into depth a lot. It's pretty amazing.

Love you much,

Starszy Ressler