Thursday, August 21, 2014

Missionary Homecoming: August 31, 2014

We invite all those that have read this blog to hear Kendall share her experiences from her Polish Mission on Sunday, August 31st from 9 a.m.-10:15 a.m. at the Park City LDS Stake Center,  2300 Monitor Drive, Park City UT 84060. 

If you are looking for uplifting words and inspiring videos please visit or the Mormon Channel on YouTube. 

Thank you again for all your support of Siostra Kendall Blake!


Karen (Kendall's mom)  and Kendall and Family 

Monday, August 11, 2014

August 11, 2014

Week 76

Hello all!

Starting with the funny moment slash picture this time! This week we proselyted about family history on the main street of Warsaw! We dressed up like we were from the 50's for an extra umph! :)

So...the last email! I guess I don't even know where to start because how is one possibly supposed to sum up a year and a half of their life... not just that, but a year and a half of growth, miracles, realizations, new friends, new places, new responsibilities, changed desires, and a stronger testimony all in one email?

I was praying last night and asking Heavenly Father what exactly it is that He wanted me to talk about in my last email home because i was actually pretty nervous for it. I was looking through some old journals and some spiritual notes, and something that stood out to me is LIGHT! I really didn't understand the idea of light before my mission. I'm sure you've all heard  many times that some people just have "a certain light about them" or that someone "is glowing". People have even said that to me a few times in my life, and I always just thought they were just saying words that were kind...but I have learned over the course of my misison that this light is absolutely real! It is the light of The Savior that is with in us all (Moroni 7, Book of Mormon). I think a way that helps me understand how this light works is by thinking of a mirror behind our eyes...The light from our Savior reflects off of that "mirror" and projects out of our eyes! When the mirror is dirty, it doesn't reflect as well...when the mirror is clean, the light reflects bright and strongly! Our choices influence the cleanliness of this mirror. Listen people, everyone makes mistakes...everyone dirties their mirror! Eventually the grime on the mirror can get so built up that not very much light or no light at all can even reflect off of it. But all that grime and dirt can be washed away!...through the Savior! I have learned and seen first hand on my misison that when someone repents and stops doing what is wrong (whether it be pride, addictions, a dirty mouth, or laziness in keeping the commandments), Jesus Christ cleans our mirror and His light brightly beams from out of us! When we are made clean enough for the Spirit to fill us, His light shines out of us! I just wanted to write a couple of instances where I have witnessed this light:

--When I moved to Katowice in November, an investigator helped me get off the train...I remember being struck by the light that shone from out of his eyes! I knew that he was a true seeker of Christ and had been changing his life around to live more in line with what the Savior teaches us! 
--When I saw a picture of two people who were in the same room and same lighting, and one's face sort of looked hidden in a shadow and the other one's face looked radiant and beaming light! One had been living the standards of the gospel and the other one hadn't.. The spirit truly shone out of that person's eyes and smile!
--I've seen it in Łódź after the baptism of 3 of my friends...something was different! Something was clearer! Cleaner! I know the Savior's light really truly changed them!
--I've seen it in myself too. When I have have recently recommitted myself to the Lord, I am serious, my eyes truly are bluer! When I feel joy, they even sparkle! 

I know that this light of Christ is a clear manifestation in those who are repenting and who are filled with the Spirit! For those who haven't cleaned off their mirror in a while, I know with absolute certainty, that The Savior can help you clean it off! You can have that light in your life again. Commit yourself to loving the Savior. Do what He asks because you LOVE HIM! Not because you're told to and not beause you know you it because you love the Lord. His light fills with more joy than I can even describe! It can change people! It has changed me! 

I know this is the Lord's church. I know it because I have experienced what it's like to be led by Him as I've been called to invite people to it. It's not just "a church" is "THE church"! There is no other way to feel completely free of past mistakes without coming to the Savior...that can mean "coming to church and renewing your covenants and being clean again". That can mean "coming to the waters of baptism and becoming ellegable to partake of Christ's Atonement". 

You know...I've been doing this for a year and a half and I could not be more grateful for this training for the rest of my life. My mission has taught me lessons and given me tools that have prepared me to "live in the world but not of the world". To have other priorities, but make the Lord my first priority. To not just do things because I know they're right, but do them because I have a desire to! Because I know the Lord wants me to! I'll honestly say that I haven't made a 180 degree turn around in who I am (seeing that I did live the gospel before my mission), but I can with complete confidence say that the few degrees that I have turned have made all the difference, and I feel like I have become what Heavenly Father needed me to become during this time. He has helped me become a more deeply dedicated disciple of His Son. It is my lifetime goal to do and say what I do in his name, even in writing this email. He really turly is the light of the world...look to Him and make Him your priority, your goal, and your path.  I love Him and am so so so grateful that I got to serve Him among some of his most beloved children in Poland!

Niech żyje Ewanglia w Polsce!

With charity,
Sister Kendall Taylor Blake

Sunday, August 10, 2014

August 4, 2014

Wow!! Of course this week was a rollercoaster! Czyli: lots of valuable lessons were learned! You know, to be perfectly honest, I have been pretty stressed about "finishing strong"... This whole transfer, I've been trying to decide and seek revelation about what that actually means. This past week, I made the mistake of thinking it meant "go unto your legs give out from underneath you and you fall asleep in contacts because your so tired" or "talk to every thing that breathes while you still can". After a spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically painful few days, I realized that for me at least, that is NOT what "finish strong" should mean. After talking to President Edgren and to his sweet wife (who is seriously one of my best friends!) and Alex Modzylewska, I realized that "finish strong" should mean "keep going strong". I have been going strong my whole mission! Going any harder would honestly put me in the hospital! (or so i found out this week!) The last thing I want to happen is for me to not have any fuel left when i get home... because if i had no fuel left when I got home, that would mean that I wouldn't want to or be able to keep doing missionary work when I got back! That sounds awful! I know my mom would NOT be happy if i ran myself so into the ground that I slept for 3 days when i got home and didn't have the energy to speak to anyone... No no no. Talking to president really helped me understand that my mission has been for me a training ground! I get to go onward with the tools and lessons I've learned from my mission into the rest of my life! My mission isn't ending! It's just beginning! I need to just keep being invested in the mission! Keep being excited that i'm a misisonary! and love enery moment! And look for eternal friendships!

Speaking of searching for eternal friendships, I was actually fasting and praying that I'd be able to do so... that I'd be able to have love for the people that I met! My prayers were answered! I met a girl named Monika in the tramwaj in May. It was actually pretty funny: I was in such a good conversation with her that i didn't notice my companion getting off the tram and I drove away without her (don't worry, we pretty easily reunited after a minute). But after tries and tries of getting ahold of her for the past few months, we finally did and we had a meeting yesterday! She is 23 and so cute and looking for her purpose in life! The gospel has touched her heart and she got goosebumps when we told her Joseph Smith's first vision! She was so excited when we invited her to baptism on September 20th (the day after my birthday!)!! I know the Lord wants us to be eternal friends! I'm SO SO SO grateful that He answered my prayers because Monika is so wonderful and I already love her so much! 

The second opportunity to love was when we decided to do something totally outside of the box! My friend Ella who is serviing a mission in the United States, set up a finger painting stand or coś w tym stylu in a park and had been having success! So we decided to try it out!... IT WORKED LIKE MAGIC! It was so awesome! We lugged and dragged and carried this table and 6 chairs to the park and invited little girls and their mom's to get their fingernails painted for free by yours truly! It was the best thing ever for so many reasons: a) people actually came and once their nails were wet with polish, they couldn't leave! muahaha! I was able to have some really REAL and Genuine conversations with some amazing women! that leads me to point b! b) in my whole mission i have had the hardest time contacting and having success with stopping moms on the street..but they're the ones that need the peace and guidance from the gospel the most as they try to raise children! These women flocked to US!!!! and they listened! Oh my it was wonderful! I got to really get to know and love the people whose nails I painted!

Another amazing thing: On August 1 was the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising!! Oh my goodness I feel so grateful to be here in Warsaw during that!!! The Polish people are so interesting: theynever really speak their emotions, but inside they really feel a lot of passion! Especially for their heritage! The past few days, everyone has been wearing their Poland / Warsaw uprising tshirts. Everyone was parading around the streets paying tribute to their grandpfathers who had the courage to stand up for their freedom! I pretty much ahd the goosebumps all day! I grew in so much love for Poland, the Polish people, and the brave people who fought in the warsaw uprising! We went to a giant gathering of people during our dinner break and got to sing with thousands of polish people songs that were banned during that time about freedom and God and courage! I felt so honored to be a part of it all!!

Funny: an elder in our distrykt is really flexible and we were trying to come up with out of the box finding ideas... basically we were starting to run out of ideas and one of the ideas thrown out there was: Elasti-elder! hahaha

pic #1: nail painting
#3: Warsaw Uprising Anniversary

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28, 2014

Week 74

A picture's worth a thousand words:
Pic #1: Me and Teresa and Barbara! Teresa got a calling this week for Sunday School Teacher!! Ah! and Barbara just got baptized!!

Monday, July 21, 2014

July 28, 2014

Week 73

This transfer I've been learning a lot about not being perfect. I'm learning that the Lord definitely does not expect perfection from us. Sometimes, we as members of the church can stress ourselves out wondering if we're doing enough to become like the Savior, but in reality He is already so pleased with us and what we our doing. We can know if what we are doing is right and pleasing to Him when we ask ourselves the question: "Am I doing the basic things I should be doing" like reading the scriptures daily, praying daily, going to church, striving to be kind to others and give of myself. I've learned on my mission, that, of course there is always something that we can improve upon, but when we're doing those basic daily things, the Lord IS proud of us and will help us keep growing. I've learned that when we're at peace with the growth we've already made and stive to continue to do those things always, the Lord inevitably builds upon that. Yes, everyday we should be repenting and improving, but I've learned that we need to be grateful to the Lord for the progress He's already helped us make!

I love being with Sister Hemming!! We are learning together how to enjoy the moment while still working hard. It's being interesting as we've been seeking the gift of discernement more of telling us the people who to talk to. Both of us in our missions have talked to anything with legs all day everyday, but we've been realizing lately that that hasn't been as fulfilling or Spirit filled lately. So lately we have been really seeking which people to maybe let walk past...and believe it or not, it's actually been pretty difficult! haha  But it's been really amazing to see the Lord lead us to the people we DO need to talk to. It's interesting how the missionary you are evolves in all sorts of ways as you're on your mission. 

Funny: Yesterday, it was warm but POURING RAIN!!!! When we left the house that morning it was boiling hot! and all of a sudden a downpour started!!! It must've looked so hilarious to see us: the only two souls on the street, waiting for a tramwaj, literally dripping, and pulled out our cinnamon rolls, and being splashed on by cars! haha I must say it was pretty rewarding to feel like a true blue missionary in that moment! :)

Monday, July 14, 2014

July 14, 2014

Week 72

Each week seems to go by faster and faster...this week just flew by! You know, this week, to be 100% perfectly honest, I was having a little bit of a hard time with missing home. I just love my family so so so much and I was really thinking about them in New Hampshire playing in the lake and having a good time. The hardest part was that the thing I was feeling bad about wasn't that I was missing out, but rather that I felt bad for missing home. I learned throughout the week however, that thoughts of home aren't bad, but that I just shouldn't let them take me away from the work in my day dreams, etc. After I realized that, I didn't feel so bad and also just changed the thought to investigators and members when I would get too carried away. So that's the honest truth there for you :) But I'm doing super well now and loving every second of Poland (as always)!

One of the miracles this week is how Teresa who got baptized a month ago is just continually progressing! She used to work inside of a mall. She owns her own store but rented a room in the mall to have her shop...but her work prevented her from coming to church for all 3 hours on Sunday and from coming to the church activities she wanted to come last week, she left the mall and found another place just 5 minutes away that's a cute shop that you can walk by while on a jaunt with your family!! She said she felt like the Spirit prompted her to do so so that she'd be able to come to more of church and more activites!! It is just absolutely amazing!! I can't believe it!...well yes I can because Teresa is fantastic, but still! Because of that she's been coming to all 3 hours of church and loving it and is even getting a calling as a Sunday school teacher soon! This week she even came to an activity that most long-time members didn't even show up to...And this is the most amazing part of all! The activity was missionary splits! (This is when members go out with the missionaries to teach investigators.) Sister Hemming and I taught her a little shpeel about why we all should do missionary work and share what we believe and did a couple roll plays and then headed out on the streets!!! She came with us contacting and was so NOT afaid of bearing her testimony and sharing her experiences and inviting people to come to church and to learn more with the missionaries! Oh my goodness it was so fantastic!! There is so much joy when someone changes themselves to become a deeper disciple of Christ and I feel so blessed that I get to see these transformations happen!

I also got to go on an exchange with Sister Poklinkowska! (This was one of Kendall's earlier and favorite companions from last fall in Wroclaw) Yahoo!!! I love her so much! As always, she was so inspired! We started the exchange in the evening and followed the prompting she got to go to a less active's house that just seemed to pop out on the branch list. When we went to visit, her apartment building door was open!! Miracle #1! We got in and knocked on her door and she was talking on the phone and ALMOST shut the door in our faces, but then we said that we just wanted to sing one song for her that "we've been practicing"....I am a Child of God. She let us in and told us to sit down on her couch! We commented on a pretty wood chair she had in the corner (definitely inspired because she collects old pretty antique chairs) and that totally opened her up and she offered us something to drink! In Poland when someone offers you something to drink as a missionary, you know that you'll be there for more than just 2 mintues to sing a song! WOOHOO! Her heart continued to get softer and softer especially when we sang for her. The words rang true to her and she totally opened up! It turns out that she is not the less active we were looking for but her non-member sister! She told us about a spiritual experience about how she went to "the other side" during an operation and felt peace and joy there which led to us reading about the joy Alma felt at his near death experience after repenting in Alma 36! It was just an amazing experience where Sister Poklinkowska and I taught in unity and by the Spirit insomuch that her heart was touched and invited us back again! I stand all amazed!! It was such an incredible expereince and the Spirit was surely felt by all of us :)

#1- Sister Hemmings birthday we went to a sushi place for dinner and she got given a cake by the Elders so we ate it with chopsticks!
#2- Sister Poklinkowska and I on exchanges with the miracle "less-active", who's actually not a member's, house!
#3- Fruit stands EVERYWHERE all spring summer and fall!