Tuesday, June 18, 2013

June 17, 2013

Before I say anything else: Happy Father's Day to Dad and Nathan! I am so grateful for all the support and love you give me! Thank you for both of your examples! It's too bad I can't call you both today, but know that I was thinking about you both yesterday! I love you!

Next item of business: I would just like to start off by clearing up a myth...Syd...remember when we were talking about missions a while back and we were saying that a mission is like every day being a Sunday? Well this week I was having a real good laugh that we EVER thought that! haha Not only is Sunday the busiest day of the whole week, but every single day we are working our tails off! haha Not leisurely going to church, reading the scriptures, la la la...we are breaking a sweat as we literally run from one meeting to another! I can guarantee (my spelling has gotten horrible!) that every single person in this city thinks that Mormon missionaries are the most spaztic and busy people on the planet! Haha but it's a good thing! Shows them that we're in demand :) Every night this week I flopped into my bed with absolutely no energy left! And I love it! The fact that I use every ounce of energy I have throughout the day is so rewarding!

This week, we had a really neat experience with a gypsy family! We ran into them on our way home after a long day of marvelous work! The thing that made it so amazing was how happy and loving they were! We had just finished a lesson with a lady who was really sad...(the gospel will make her happy! so i'm glad that we're teaching her), but the atmosphere of the lesson was a little depressing simply because she had a sad attitude. But with this gypsy family, they were SO joyful! They eminated joy and it not only made me realize that families really are a gift from Heavenly Father, but that attitude is everything! After we left them to go on our way (after receiving their contact info and setting up with them of course!), we were both just filled with joy because they were so happy because THEY were so happy! It made me realize that my attitude effects others, too: companions, members, investigators, and heck! even people on the street!!

I think I've said this in a previous email, but something I realized again this week was that sometimes that is a tablespoon and sometimes it's a gallon. But as long as we're trying our best every day, the Lord will be pleased with my work.
Something else I understand better after this week is the Lord's wisdom. Sister Bezdjian and I were going for the mission standard this week (meaning that we were trying to get reach set mission-wide goals). If 3 investigators showed up in church, then we would need 3 more member lessons and 3 more lessons with less-active members and recent converts. We planned everything revolving around that hope that 3 investigators would come to church! But the Lord knows us and what we can handle so much better than we do ourselves. We only had 1 investigator show up for church, which completely altered our plans for the rest of the day. Had 3 people come, we would have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off because we would've been trying to reach the standard! But the Lord knew that today, we just couldn't physically handle it! We tried our best and worked as hard as we could! And that's all that mattered to Heavenly Father. I'm so grateful for how wise He is!
Miracle of the week/month: So it is summer time...there is a lot of trees in bloom...there is a lot of pollen...there are a LOT of sneezes coming out of me! Mom...you know just how bad my allergies get!!! The miracle is that between 11:00 am and 9:00 pm (proselyting hours) I don't have ANY problems with allergies! But as soon as I wake up in the morning and get ready for bed at night, my eyes get all red, puffy, and itchy! and I start sneezing like crazy! But as soon as we walk out of the door, it is all fine! It's TRULY a tender mercy!
Also, this Friday, we had a GRILL!! It was SO much fun! Lots of yummy food and we had some non-members come and realize that Mormons are normal and nice and we got some people's numbers and we had a pinata and it was so much fun!!
Funny thing of the week: I am making a confession here...the other day we weren't really working as hard as we could to get home on time.. i know i know! bad! but we've repented so I feel like I can share this story: We were running late on getting home and as soon as the clock struck 9, everything shot to poop!! Neither of us could utter a word of Polish and suddenly we were dropping everything and could not focus! It was a learning lesson, but we were also just dying laughing to learn that lesson the hard way!
That's all for this week! Transfers are next week so i'll let you know what's going to happen there! AH! love you all!
Sister Blake

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10, 2013

Dzień Dobry! Mówi tu Siostra Blake!
Wowee!!! That's how every single one of my journal entries starts these days! This week flew by...i cannot believe that it's already Pday again!
Something really really cool happened this week!! (well...a lot of things did, but this is especially cool!) So we were deciding on a place to eat...there's this one place that we've been wanting to go for dinner since like the very first day that we got here...but we sat down and something didn't feel exactly right. We ended up making the excuse that we didn't have time for a sit down dinner so we went to a different place that we walk past every single day but have never had the desire to go in! We decided to eat there (even though this place was a sit down place too of sorts) and ordered food from this Thai man. He spoke English better than Polish so we started speaking in English. We ordered our food and then he said "Are you two girls mormon missionaries?"...our tags happened to be under our scarves and coats... "YES!" He recognized us as messengers and representatives of the Lord without our nametags even showing! He said, "I thought so...there's something about you two...something..higher".... AHHH!! "...yes i actually have a chinese book of mormon at my house! Would you like to come over sometime and meet my wife and children and father?".....OH MY GOSH!!! we were in shock!! I was nearly in tears!!! Johnny Li...sent from heaven! Put right in our path! We are set up to meet with him and his family this upcoming week!

Another amazing thing happened this week! We met a man named Faruk walking on the street the other day. He speaks probably about 8 languages but not Polish. He's Turkish (we think....) but he travels a lot for work. He lives part of the time in Sweden and part of the time here in Wrocław. So we met him on Saturday and set up a meeting with him for Sunday. Sunday came and we met with him. He LOVES people and is so Christlike! He says if he had a million dollars, he would keep 1000 for himself and then give the rest to people who truly need it. He really is so amazing! Anyways, we started teaching him a first lesson about the Restoration because it was our first meeting and usually that just makes the most sense...but not during this lesson! We started teaching the first point about God being our literal Father and that He loves each of us...as the words were coming out of my mouth, it just didn't feel right...I knew that it was me teaching...not the Spirit. Sister Bezdjian and I continued on in the lesson despite this, however, and started talking about how the Lord calls prophets to bless families and reveal the full gospel during dispensations...everything did not feel right. It felt like we were trying to build something with legos and the pieces were just NOT fitting together. All the while, Faruk seemed pretty open and receptive to it all....nodding his head and seemed interested. But -- like i said -- something just wasn't fitting. So finally, I listened to the Spirit and started talking about who knows what! I think I was saying something about how people are individuals and how the purpose of our life here on Earth is to have joy. I honestly don't really even remember what I said, but the Spirit was so strong in the lesson, and even though I don't know much about him or his life, I think that something rang true to him because I looked in his eyes and saw tears welling up in them. Near the end of the discussion...Sister Bezdjian felt prompted to invite him to baptism! And he accepted!! We proposed a date and he said "Yes! I'll be there!" ...WOW! We were so in shock that we showed him a picture of Christ being baptized to make sure he knew what we were talking about and he said, "Yes! I want that!"...WOW! We were amazed!! I don't actually know if we technically even taught a real "lesson" or if he fully understood what we were saying...but all that mattered is that the Spirit spoke to him and told him that this is good...this is right...this is how you can become a better person...this is what you have been searching for.

The principle I learned this week was love. I found another key to happiness. My sweet cousin Allie gave me some really great advice that she learned while she was on a mission. One of the things that she said was to truly love the people around you. Even if it is just one investigator or one ward member. If you truly love someone, you will feel joy! I realized that I really do love so many people here in Wrocław! And whenever we have a meeting set up with one of those people, I just look forward to that meeting so much! And looking forward to that meeting and being in that meeting with the person I love really makes me happy and actually does give me joy like everyone says! It really is an amazing thing. Love is the true language of the universe.
Okay all you future (or even current) missionaries! I did something this week that I wish I would've done before I left. Make a list of what kind of missionary you picture yourself being. What do you imagine missionary work will be like, and what do you imagine yourself as as a missionary. Write this out and then bring it with you on your mission to refer to now and again so you can check yourself and say..."I'm not working as hard as I always thought I could..." then change it! I did this this week and realized that I always pictured myself relating with the investigators...realizing this, I began to change things about the way I taught and interacted with investigators! Writing out goals for what you want to become are so helpful and can really be life changing (even if it only changes your life in that one day) if it is done by the direction of the Spirit.
Something I have learned from the amazing members of this ward is to shareyour testimony with everyone! When ever we take a member with us to a lesson and if the lesson falls through, the members still are wanting to share their testimonies! They do all they can to share their testimony of this wonderful gospel and our wonderful Savior everyday...even if it's to a complete stranger! Tip: always keep a Book of Mormon somewhere so when the time comes (wether it's once in a lifetime, once a month, or once a week), you will be ready to share the light that the Lord has given you in your life!
Funny Moment of the week: for lunch one of the days this week, we went to this thing called Europe on a fork! It was so fun!! There are tons of booths each representing a different European country and its cuisine! It was so much fun! Such a cool idea! Well it started to rain in the middle of it but there was still music blasting! I turn around and the entire city square is empty besides this one lone man with a fadora on and no teeth dancing in the rain by himself! He was SO hilarious! I thought of Avery and Nicole and I KNOW that you two would be dancing RIGHT beside him!! hahah
Well, sorry for how long this email is this week, but life is just wonderful and miracles happen all around us every day! I just had to share a couple of mine with you this week! I love all of you so much! Miłego Dnia!

Love, Sister Blake

sister bezdjian and I teaching in wrocław!
Europe on a fork! So fun!

Monday, June 3, 2013

June 3, 2013

Everyone! I am so excited to share with everyone what I learned this week! Like I mentioned last week, I had been having a bit of a struggle learning to truly enjoy missionary work. But I think I figured something out that, for me, is key to my happiness! This whole week, I've been trying really hard to not get stressed out by things that are out of my control. The other day, a ward member asked for our help with something. We ended up having to change a lot of our plans to help her and ended up missing a lesson with someone! But instead of being totally stressed out by it and getting frustrated, I decided to realize that the Lord's plans are far greater that what I have planned (Avery and I know this all too well!...a long lived weakness that we share that I feel like I am constantly trying to overcome! haha) Yes! Make goals! Make plans! BUT...if those plans end up falling through by ways that are out of your control, don't sweat it! Everything will work out so much better than the plans you had set! The Lord will make sure of it! If you're doing your best, and doing everything you can, the Lord really will make up the difference. So with that grocery store example: I did all I could...we weren't dilly dallying and were trying to rearrange our meetings. Our plans did not go according to plan...but because we did all we could, the Lord ended up giving us a referal from this member and now we have a stronger relationship and trust with her because of this experience. This week I just gave it my all  WITH an understanding that sometimes I can't control the outcome of things...As opposed to previous weeks where I gave it my all and beat myself up or got frustrated with the things that I can't control. President Neilson in his letter to me today wrote about happiness and said: "You won't hear the crowds cheer, but in the quiet of your heart you will know the Lord is pleased."

Something amazing that happened this week was during a train ride to Katowice the night before a Missionary Leadership Meeting that Sister Bezdjian got to go to in Warsaw. Before the train ride, we ended up not having enough time to buy tickets because the line was so long to buy tickets! The information lady said we could buy tickets on the train with a credit card, so we got on the train about 5 minutes before we left...cutting it close, yes.. but (like I was trying to focus on...everything happens for a reason). We got on the train and by the time the ticket lady got to us so we could buy tickets, we were already about 45 minutes away from Wrocław....and she told us that we could not buy tickets with a credit card! We almost started panicking! But a lady sitting next to us offered to lend us 50zł!!! She said she trusted us to pay her back later next week! As a thank you, we gave her a Book of Mormon :) It was just so amazing to see that people really are innately good...at least that's my theory! It was so amazing to see how the Lord puts people in our path to help us along the way!
This week, I my personal Book of Mormon reading, I was reading in Mosiah chapter 26...Here Alma has been given a new calling! He was thrown into a situation that he didn't know what to do. He was the head of the church and had to make important decisions but didn't know what to do. So he went to his friend Mosiah...who told him pretty much "this is your calling, not mine...so you are the one who has the responsibility"...So Alma prays to the Lord with all his heart to know what he should do...and of course, the Lord answers him! from this experience and experiences following, Alma learns how to magnify his calling...despite his intial fear and discouragement about it! verse 38-39 says how: be diligent, teach always (not just in times that your responsibilities require, but at all times!), love and serve always, always strive to improve yourself, pray always, and be grateful ALWAYS! Even be grateful for things that aren't necessarily going your way...So I don't know if anyone reading this has a new job, responsibility, or calling...but I hope this helps someone know that despite fear that come with new responsibilities, we can magnify whatever we are doing by doing these things!

There were so many funny moments this week! Which is another thing that I believe contributed to my happiness! I had forgotten that things were funny! The fact that an investigator's dog thought my arm was a chew toy! I was doing all I could to fight back screams of terror (anyone who knows me know I have a tiny phobia of dogs) and trying not to die laughing!!! Another hilarious thing was that an older less active lady that we visit a couple times a week practically performed a medical operation on herself during our lesson with her! Jabbing needles into her self, throwing back all sorts of meds! Again...fighting back tears of laughter! I had forgotten that small things like that are funny! People always say: "find joy in the journey!"...Kate... :)... and I realized that this is a way I find joy in the journey! Laughing! Anyone out there, having a hard time, notice the funny things in life and you'll be a whole lot happier! I have a testimony of that now!
I love the Lord! I can literally feel Him holding me up everyday! I wouldn't be able to do any of this were it not for Him!
I love all of you! I hope summer is treating you all well (except for August and Carli and Erika, since it's winter in Chile and Peru!)
Sister Kendall Blake!

"what a beautiful place I live in!"