Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

Hi there!!

Well this week was an absolute blast! As you might have been able to tell from my last email, I was really hard on myself the week before this one. I was doing the best I could do, but expecting more of myself than was even possible! During companionship inventory (where me and my companion have an honest heart to heart about how we felt about the week and help each other to know what we can do better the next week), my companion pointed out that I was being a little too hard on myself and that I needed to lighten up a bit and give myself a little more slack. I really tried to do that this still work hard and do my best, but to also have a little bit of fun!! And this week ended up being a blast!! My district is SO funny! We make up the most hilarious and elaborate stories to help us remember Polish words and every one just loves each other (in a missionary appropriate way :) ) and we just have the greatest time! One thing that for some reason I was laughing so hard at was today, my companion said, "Ya and then he was going to give me a ring for Christmas...or something like unto it." I was laughing so hard at that! That's when you can really tell that we've been studying the scriptures for a few hours a day! haha "something like unto it!" hahaha! Another thing I found hysterical was that we were teaching our investigator and assumed that he was like 27 or so (meaning the role that our teacher was playing as an investigator)...but come to find out, we have been teaching a 16 year old!!! we were laughing so hard at this and especially when our teacher said "what do you mean you didn't know I was 16?! I said I liked soccer and video games!" and we laughed even harder because how the heck were we supposed to know that vocabulary!?! ahahah

Speaking of Polish, my companion and I have actually learned a lot of words! We can actually say quite a bit during lessons and things, but it's just the vocabulary that we need to use in a normal conversation that we don't know yet.. haha so we have  a LONG way to go! We started learning the grammar for the past 2 weeks. Polish is an inflected lagunage meaning that the order of the words doesn't really matter but the endings of words do. So you can pretty much talk like Yoda and as long as each word has the right ending on it, it will make sense to a Pole.

I have made so many amazing friends here! I don't think that I was 100% prepared to make so many new friends! I love all the people here and just love all the people I have met. But nothing beats friends from back home! I LOVED LOVED LOVED seeing so many friends at the temple this past week!! What a ball!! Makena, Ella, Alex, Doug, and Megan! It was so much fun! and such a blessing! I was just so happy to see them!

Like I mentioned last week, I've started reading the Book of Mormon again from the very beginning and I start every scripture study out with a prayer asking for the Spirit to let me notice things that i haven't noticed before that can help me. It has been so fascinating!! I LOVE reading the Book of Mormon! It's chalk full of truth and blessings and happiness!

So every Sunday night, we get to watch a film (by film I mean just a church video or an old MTC devotional that they play on the big screen). But this Sunday they played the movie the Testaments. I LOVE THIS MOVIE! It is so amazing! It was a movie about people living in the Americas when Christ was preaching in Jerusalem. In the end of the film, It shows Christ coming to the Americas to His "other sheep" (who we believe are ancient American peoples). He preached to them and healed them and loved them. The movie was so touching, especially the last little bit when Christ comes up to a man (the main character of the movie) and calls him by name and heals him. This movie just strengthened my testimony even more about how much Christ loves me...individually and personally. He know that my name is Kendall. He knows that my jaw pops whenever I chew. He knows that I have a mole on the right side of my nose. He knows that my favorite kind of ice cream is Java chip. He knows what makes me happy. He knows what makes me sad. He knows how He can best uplift me and comfort me. And He loves me more than anyone in the entire world (and that's saying something because I have such loving and wonderful family and friends.) Jesus Christ is the most loving, humble, giving, patient, and merciful person that has ever walked this Earth, and I am so honored that I get to follow in His footsteps and so honored that I can call Him my Older Brother.

I love all of you so much and am so grateful for your support and love. How incredibly lucky I am...actually no... how incredibly BLESSED I am! Who am I to be have been blessed with such a life! I thank the Lord everyday for the cards I have been given!

Lots of love,
Sister Kendall Blake

P.S. I sang in the choir the other day when people came to film it!! They are giong to feature what they filmed in between conference sessions! Make sure to look out for me!! I am on the right hand side in the last row of girls before it turns into boys! Keep an eye out for me!!
P.S.S.. Thank you mom for the BREAD!! So yummy!! also, thank you Kate for the dictionary and the goodies!! YUMMY!

picture 1: an elder going to Bulgaria got 2 black eyes from falling on the floor face first!
picture 2 and 3: me and some of my closest friends! I love them so much!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

March 19, 2013

Hi family!
This week was much different than other weeks I've had...much more humbling. I've come to a new understanding of the song "I need thee every hour". The song goes: "I need the every hour in joy or pain. Come quickly and abide or life is vain." I have completely felt that way. When people used to tell me that missionary work was hard, I never understood what that really meant? like physically? or spiritually? or what? But now I get it. Going on a mission is hard because I am constantly battling discouraging thoughts and trying to improve myself so that I can better feel the blessings that The Lord has in store for me. It's WORK! Not necessarily only working at the language, or working on preparing a lesson, but it's also work to keep my Spirits up. Work to keep my faith strong. Work to keep my thoughts focused on serving the Lord. Work to have patience and love for those around me. It's this inward work that is the hardest thing for me. But it's also so rewarding at the same time! Because I can see how the Lord blesses me from working so hard! 

For example, this week the language was coming a lot easier! It's! haha but things were just clicking and making sense! BLESSING! Another example, I was really praying to know something. I really wanted to know the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon for myself...not just because I have been told my whole life. So I prayed harder than I ever have before. I wasn't really receiving an overwhelming confirmation that it was true like a lot of people do, but I had a thought (that I know came from the Holy Ghost which testifies of all truth) to open my scriptures. They just fell open to Alma 32 which talks all about how you don't always know things right away. How sometimes you just have to start with hope. Have a hope that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Then that will lead to faith. If you have faith in the word of God, you will know that it is good. And when you continue to nourish that faith, more and more truth will be shown to you that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. And then eventually, you will just know! These are my sincere thoughts and they're very personal...I am on this journey to know that it is true. But I know for sure that this is good! And I am working on nourishing myself to know that the Book of Mormon is the true word of God (of course in addition to the true and beautiful Bible) But anyone who is reading this... I encourage you to go on this journey with me! Find out for yourself (whether you've been a member of this church all of your life or if you have never heard of the Book of Mormon before). But anyways, that was another great blessing that I have seen this week!
It has been so sunny and beautiful here! We've been studying outside a ton and it's been so nice!
Funny moment of the week: I was walking up the stairs to go to my classroom and who do I see?? (Elise would've passed out! I nearly did!) Harry Styles and Zayne Malik (spelling?) from One Direction!! Attached is a picture! It was hilarious! What was more hilarious was that every time I saw them I would gasp because I kept just for a split second thinking it was them!! ahhaha

There is such a great quote that my companion told me: "Bloom where you are planted. You need both sunshine and rain to bloom." This is hard work here, but I know that I am not alone. Not only do i have the support of all of you and from the missionaries that surround me, but most importantly from the Savior who know exactly what I'm going through and is walking beside me in all that I do in His name.
I love you so much!!! And thank you so much Grandma Nancy for the packages! I've been getting them all!! Thank you thank you! :)
Love love love from the MTC :)
-Siostra Kendall Blake

With "Harry" and "Zayne" from One Direction ;)

Poland Group with reflection in temple windows

Kendall and Anne Collins

Kendall and Jacob Peterson

Kendall with her District

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013

This week was fantastic! I'm really getting the hang of it here and have grown to really love it! People are still fun and still make jokes and still sing songs, etc! Just now a chorus of missionaries in the laundry room starting singing 500 miles by the proclaimers! So needless to say it is really fun! There is a french girl in my zone and she is so nice!! We talk in French all the time and I love it! I love keeping up the language! We've been learning more about Polish and what kind of language it is. It's a case language meaning that the way the word is used is more important than the placement of the word! We haven't really gotten into that yet, but it's still very interesting! Mom, I really want you to sign me up for a linguistics class when i start school again!

So the third day that we were in the MTC, we taught our first POLISH! His name was Arek and it turns out that he actually ended up being our teacher. But the first lesson was awful! We didn't know how to say anything and we were so nervous! We taught him 3 more times after that. The 2nd time was awesome! We studied vocabulary like crazy so we could actually have things to say! We felt the Spirit the whole time and felt really inspired. The third lesson we invited him to make a promise with Heavenly Father that you will follow Him and turn your heart to Him and change your ways...this promise is made through baptism! the lesson went super well and he said he wanted to be but he needed more time! The last lesson went so well and we knew a lot more words and felt so much more comfortable! We taught him about the plan of salvation and then asked him to be baptized again...he said yes!! It felt so awesome! We were so happy! Anyways, the whole thing was an awesome experience and I'm so grateful that we were thrown into that situation even though it was super uncomfortable because I learned SO much! I've gained a testimony of being inspired while planning...otherwise we wouldn't have been able to teach Arek well at all! The point of the whole first week: to absolutely overwhelm us so that all we can think of to do is to rely on the Lord. What an inspired program this is!

My favorite part of each day is personal study! We just get an hour to search the scriptures! Whether it's to uplift me, or to answer a question that I have, I can always find what I'm looking for in the scriptures! I've grown to love the scriptures so much!!! They are so amazing and really can answer any question that your soul has! I wish I understood that before I came here. I've always just read one chapter a night and called it good. Granted, I did try to read that chapter sincerely and get something out of it, but I didn't even ever think to have a question and then go to the scriptures.  It's great to study a certain topic! This week I was realding in Alma chapter 53 and 56 and was reading about the army of Helaman and realized that I am in an army very similar to that! I don't have enough time to include the whole story, so if you don't know it, look up in the Book of Mormon in Alma chapter 53 and 56. I am in God's army and Christ is the Captain leading me. Everyday when I put my tag on, I am puttin gmyself on the front lines of this spiritual battle. It's such an amazing feeling and I feel honored to have been chosen and called as one of Christ's soldiers!

I just wanted to say a quick thank you to Grandma Nancy, Marlene Gallacher, Lauren Greenwood, Mom and Aunt Sandy for the packages! Thank you so much! And I love all the letters! Dearelders and hand written! Thank you thank you thank you everyone!!!

Lots of Love,

Sister Kendall Blake

Beautiful day in the sun at the Provo Temple

Me and Melissa Stewart

 Me and two sisters in my zone (one is from England and one is from France and I get to speak in French to her all the time!)

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013

Well, this week has been nuts!! The MTC is nothing like I imagined it to be: cold and stone and no fun at all. It is just the opposite! It is really fun and I feel like I can totally be myself even though i am Sister Blake here! Well actually Siostra Blake! My district is great! There are 12 Polish speakers here. 6 elders and 6 sisters. All 6 sisters share a's PRETTY crammed in there! haha My companions name is Siostra Barth. I actually was friends with her on facebook before I came here! So it's really fun that we're companions! She's super cute and really nice! She's a movie enthusiast so obviously we get along quite well! The other sisters are super cute and nice too! And the elders are great as well!
So the first day I got to the MTC! Holy COW!!! It was a whirlwind of emotion all day!! I was so excited! I saw so many people I knew and contiune to see at least 4 or 5 people I know every day! But that first day it was really comforting to see people i knew because it was all so new! I went into my classroom and my Polish teacher was in there and immediately started speaking Polish to us! I didn't even hear him speak English until Saturday night! After we had dinner on that first day, they told us what some of the rules were and what our schedule would be all was flying RIGHT over my head! And it was really overwhelming! It was at that moment when I started feeling a little overwhelmed. But after unpacking, settling in, sleeping here, exercising and showering here, it started to feel more normal and I started accepting that we were actually going to be living here. And now I really like it a lot!! The language is SO tough! But my teachers are great and so hilarious! They make every class fun! We laugh ALL the time! People say that they have identity crises while they are here, but I feel like I can still be completely myself! I love it! I love living with so many girls! Not just in my room but on my floor too! Everyone is so friendly and nice and so fun to be around! It's super funny: in the showers, if one person starts humming a song, the bathroom all of a sudden turns into a choir! I'm talking harmonies! It is so fun and funny! Every night I like to write down three blessings of the day and one funny thing; that way i can remind myself that the MTC actually is a really fun place to be! The other day a blessing i wrote down was that for dinner i got to have Teriaki Stix!! YUM! and the funny moment was the Starszy Owens (an elder in my district) knows an actual person named Superstar 5 Jemimah Jud! AHHAHAHH I was laughing about that one for a few hours! But it is indeed tough. Not really physically trying, obviously...although we do have 1 hour of gym time which is so fun to get the body moving after sitting all day!) But it's hard because i know that if I think past today...I will become so overwhelmed! So I have been taking it one day at a time! And it has been working beautifully and keeping me happy! :)
It's actually quite smart, the reason why the overwhelm us so much the first few days is for that purpose alone: to overwhelm us! They want us to feel in over our heads so that the only thing we can do is rely on the Lord. And that's just what I've been trying to do. Especially in class. Sometimes there are times when I just don't get it! Or I just CANNOT pronounce that word! But there's this picture of Christ above the door that i face, and every time i start feeling discouraged in class, I look at that picture and immediately feel his love for me and know that He is proud of me! He knows that I am in the MTC training to teach His children in Poland. I was called to teach those people in Poland!....and it just so happens that they speak a different language than me...So I have to learn another language to be able to communicate with them! It's been kind of neat to think about that! I know that the Lord wouldn't have called me to Poland if he didn't think that i could learn the language to communicate with them! He knows I can do it! But I know I cannot do it without His help! Our mission president said yesterday: "From obedience comes blessings. From EXACT obedience comes miracles." I NEED A MIRACLE! This language is so hard and I NEED to be exactly obedient so I can have the Spirit FULLY with me so that i can recieve these miracles!
I can't wait to see my growth by the time I leave this place! In the language and in my spirituality. I know I will grow so much! I love being able to study the scriptures so much every day! It seems like there's not ENOUGH time in the day to study! My study time is that part of my day that flies by the fasted! I crave for more! I am so grateful to be here and am so grateful for the support and love you all give me!!!

Until next week!
Siostra Kendall Blake

Kendall's Polish Classroom

Kendall and the two other sister missionaries that are going to Poland

Sister Blake and her companion Sister Barth

Friends from BYU that are also in the MTC

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February 24, 2013

Tuesday, February 23rd we had all of Kendall's immediate family for dinner: Drew, Lucienne, Hudson, Karen, Nathan, Kendall, Sydney and Sam. Kendall was set apart as a full time missionary for the next 18 months by President Palmer and President Hardman at the Park City LDS Stake Center. That night we packed up the rest of her 2 bags and one carry on that she can bring with her and then headed to bed. Our spiritual thought that night was about "Courage": to not be afraid, especially of doing what is right. Nathan made the good point, it is easier to be courageous when we are prepared. When we have done all we can do, than we don't need to be as afraid, since fear is not of God and we can combat fear with preparedness. Kendall does not have a lot of fear about going on her mission, because she is prepared. She has been preparing for years and as a result is excited and ready to learn and serve.

Wednesday, February 24th we took Kendall to the Mission Training Center (MTC). Before entering the MTC we said goodbye to some family and friends at the Provo Temple.  Then, Drew and I  pulled up with Kendall to the curb of the MTC,  lined with over one hundred elders. Kendall was excited and ready to go. We gave her hugs and then  before we knew it she was following the elders with her bags into her new home for the next two months. The drop off wasn't teary, but happy and exciting.