Tuesday, July 30, 2013

July 29, 2013

Week 20

Hooly Cow! So much has happened in this week i don't even know where to start! haha

First of all, we had Sister Allen from Kraków come and do exchanges with us for a couple of days! Having her here was such a blessing. It was so fun and I was happier than I have been this entire transfer! It made me realize that I really needed to change something so I could be that happy all the time and not just when Sister Allen was here with us. I have been learning to more easily forgive and forget and to love bez względu (without regard) to whether I feel like it or not. That's not what true love really is anyways. It's loving all! Just like Christ did, and showing them you love them! Praying for them...out loud so they know you recognize their trials and their efforts. Serving them despite whether they serve you back or not, etc. etc.

The principle I learned this week is sincerity. This week I had a couple moments of feeling absolutely inadequate because I realized that I was not the missionary that I want to be. I found that I was teaching lessons (especially the first lesson) in rote presentation...pretending that I was applying it to their needs. But in reality, I was not applying it to their life at all! I was not asking enough questions, I was not applying enough scriptures, I wasn't being truly sincere. I had a little break down in personal study when one of the personal studies in PMG asked "how could you apply a principle to a woman you passed by sitting on a park bench who is crying". I realized that I had no idea! Definitely not a moment to say: "Hi! We're missionaries and we know that God reached out in love to the world and restored His church through a living prophet!"...she's probably start crying harder and shoo us away! As the week progressed, I tried to have a genuine conversation with everyone I met, both investigators and strangers on the street. Talking about their life and then explaining why we're here in Poland, or why I'm learning this crazy language. Talking to them as real people and not "contacts" has really helped me gain a greater perspective and feel greater joy that I really am helping REAL people! Real children of God! Asking lots of questions (which are actually harder to come up with than I originally thought!) that help them go into their own mind and really think about why they believe in a certain way. I'm still working on it, but I'm excited to turn the way I teach upside down and start focusing on the PERSON I'm teaching and not WHAT I'm teaching.

An amazing experience this week was the fact that Sister Ellis and I reached the standard! We worked our TAILS off to achieve the goal!!! Every person we talked to, we asked for a referal. I knew and had faith that if I asked every single person we talked to that day for a referal, that the Lord would eventually bless us with referrals because we were showing real intent! It was just so amazing to see how obvious the Lord's hand was in our day yesterday!! And when I say working our tails off I mean it!!! We talked to people for 4 hours straight on the street in the blistering hot sun (37 degrees Celcius) and were sweating like crazy and ended up accidentally skipping dinner (sorry sis bez) because we refused to go home until we reached the standard! But the Lord blessed our hard work! I also learned to not procrastinate trying to reach your goals until the last minute! haha

Also, I picked a hangnail last week and it got infected, so i had to go to the doctor's...who didn't speak English! haha it was interesting, but i just got some topical antibiotic stuff and the swelling has gone down a lot...i'll attach a really gross picture of my self surgery so Sambo and Huddy can laugh and see how gross it is.

Also, last week we went to the zoo and I was staring at the seal swimming in the nice cool water for about 10 minutes in a trance.. haha Oh it looked so nice as I was standing there dripping sweat!! ah.....summer time. oh well...in a month from now next year, i'll be swimming so for now i just need to not think about how lovely the disease infested seal pool looks and keep working hard! haha

I also have quite a nice tan line from my shoes!

Why am I here in Poland? (summarized in simple Polish): Jestem tu, w Polce bo chciałabym dzielić się czemuś, które daje mi szczęście i spokoj co dziennie. To podstawa na Jezusie Chystusie. Dzięki temu, mam związek z Bogiem i wiem, że On kocha mnie.

I love you all!

Funny moment was that i saw a naked lady this week... oh what the heat does to our little human brains.


Sister Blake

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 22, 2013

Today we get to go to the zoo!...not going to lie, I'm not much of a zoo fan, but if it's district bonding we're going for, I'm all for it! I am so blessed to have such an amazing district! It consists of two hilarious elders, and 2 wonderful and sweet older missionaries. Elder Stumpf, Elder Smith, and Elder and Sister Durrant! I must say, being a part of this distric and this branch [a small ward/church] have been SUCH a blessing from heaven this transfer! Not to mention the greatest girl named Tracy Allen is here (she served in Poland 2 years ago) and she's been so much fun to have around! I love them all so much and we all support, love, learn, and laugh together!

Something amazing that happened this week was in church yesterday! 4 of Sister Ellis and my investigators showed up to church AND stayed the entire time! When Relief Society was over, we usually are trying to introduce all of our investigators to people and running around like crazy trying to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome! This Sunday, we felt like fishes out of water and like we didn't know what to do because we didn't have to do anything!! The members had already started conversations with each of our investigators and were making them feel welcome and fellowshipping! It was so amazing and I really feel so blessed to be a part of this amazing branch!
So I was reading in Alma 5 this week and it talks about judgement day a lot. Alma is crying repentance unto the people of Zarahemla I believe and he asks them what they would say and feel if they were put in front of God to be judge that very day. It really makes you think! If I were to be put infront of the Lord today and talk about what I've done to follow Him, would I be scared,  worried, feel unworthy? Or would I feel peaceful and comfortable and run into the open arms of my Savior? I hope the latter! Matthew 25:21 is my ultimate motivation. My goal in my life is to be able to return to the Lord so I can joyfully embrace Him and have Him say "well done thou good and faithful servant". It's the motivation for my life! For my mission! For each day!
Funny thing that happened this week:...(kind of not funny...kind of horrible, but anyone who reads it might get a kick out of it....we will see): Yesterday, we went to the outskirts of Wroclaw to find someone...ended up getting eaten my mosquitos (or "komary") and I guess you could think of it as karma because as they were eating me, I opened my mouth for a split second and ate one of them!!!! (obviously on accident, but still!!) It was REVOLTING!!!!!!! ew. So I hope I don't get some crazy disease as a could for all I know accidentally ate a misquito that previously had sucked the blood of a homeless man!!! Truly sickening, I know!
Well! Love you all! 


Sister Kendall Blake

Here are some answers to my questions I specifically asked Kendall: 

Who is your companion now and where is she from? Tiffany Ellis. She's from Sandy Utah

What city are you in? How long are you there? 
Wroclaw...will be here until beginning of Sept. [you can still send Kendall letters- takes 10 days to get to her address from USA]

If in Wroclaw is your address the same?
 yes. Komandorska 53F/12 Wroclaw 53342 Poland

Is your new mission president arrived? 
Yes!  Have you met them? Yes! So nice and fun!Sounds like you will love them.

What is "the standard" ? 
The standard is a number for like how many baptismal dates you have, how many investigators you have, how many people came to church, how many lessons you taught, etc. The standard is the "bar" so to speak. If you get the standard, you are doing above average! I've gotten the standard 3 times! :) obviously ALL attributed to the Lord and NOT NOT NOT to me! haha

How is Polish coming? 
Good! Being a trainer forces me to speak A LOT more! But It's coming a long so well and I've been told many times that I have a good accent even! woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

July 15, 2013

I would like to start this email by thanking all the people who ever laughed at my pathetic excuses for jokes. Here has been a little bit of a drought here on laughter because i think that my comp has her head screwed on straight and has recognized the sad truth that I am not as funny as i think i am! haha So thank you all friends and family who give a kind chuckle at what I say...even if your only laughing at how my nostrils flare when I laugh really hard (something I learned about myself from a recent email from a sister of mine who will remain unnamed).

Second off, I'd like to tell you all the most disgusting thing that i have EVER witnessed in my life!!! Sister BEZDJIAN! She bought some potatoes a few weeks back....let me tell you...potatoes do NOT keep for that long. One day, felt like making potatoes, pull out the basket out of the shelf and the potatoes had developed a brown goo and larva!!!!!!! IT was SICKENING!!!!! lesson learned!

This week has been a roller coaster! The worst days were also the best days! It's so amazing that despite so many things that happen, that the Lord is merciful and allows one good thing to overshadow all the bad! It's truly remarkable that the Lord has the ability to do that! One day we had 5 lessons fall through...all of our lessons for that day! That was a little sad, but we still worked hard anyways and ended up getting a lot done! The very next day was the complete opposite! We had 7 lessons that day and every single one did NOT fall through! It was a best/worst day! Worst because it took SOOOO much energy out of me to teach that many lessons basically on my own and try to understand everyone's needs in a language I am still learning, but the best because not only did we teach so many lessons in one day, but more importantly that the Lord gave me strength to keep going despite my incredible mental, physical, and spiritual exhaustion! It really was an amazing day!

A principle I learned was how to have a true foundation on Christ. I have been reading one general conference talk a day and it's so amazing how each one builds my understanding more and more day by day. (I want to continue this when i get home! Read or listen to a conference talk a day!) I learned that to have a foundation in Christ is to study and ponder the scriptures daily, to pray sincerely daily, and to partake of the sacrament weekly. I realized that it's these things that give the members of our church that stability in Christ that so many people who believe in Christ but aren't of our faith don't necessarily have. We have prophetic counsel that guides us in how to be more Christ centered in our modern lives. What a blessing. I was able to teach this principle in a lesson and to many people on the street! It's like learning the language...it's so much more helpful when you use what you're studying in the day because you learn to implement the things that you learn!

Anyway, this email is a little weak and i'm sorry about that, but I love you all so much!

Sister Kendall Blake
P.S. if you have access to it, read Richard G. Scott's "For Peace at Home" It's so amazing! Filled with so much council!!! WHen reading general conference talks, make sure to highlight all the things that we are told to do! it's so amazing to see!

July 8, 203

This is from last week...don't know why it didn't send!

World! (meaning the select few friends and family that look at this blog/emails when you are bored :) ) How blessed am I! We had zone training yesterday and I got to meet my fantastic new mission president, President Edgren! He is amazing! After the training, when we were saying our companionship prayer, I was completely overwhelmed with a fire for missionary work! I know that this work is hastening! There is a curse here in Poland among the missionaries that I am beginning to realize...Sister Bezdjian was immune to this curse and taught me how to be too (which i am eternally grateful for!) But the curse is a mindset. A mindset that the Poland Warsaw Mission is a low baptizing mission with lots of Catholics who aren't willing to budge on their belifs. A mindset that lessons with members are impossible to get and referals you only come by once in a blue moon. A mindset that writing a block in your planner simply with the words "contacting" is okay. Well...it's not! All of that is a curse among the missionaries here! It IS possible to do all these things! Thanks to Sister Bezdjian and the bar she set for me and the lessons she taught me, Sister Ellis and I are applying ourselves SO much to prove this wrong! After Zone training yesterday, Sister Ellis and I were really really excited about our vision! We have a vision of a STAKE of Wroclaw! I have faith that one companionship can change this mission, and we really want to do our part in making this mission a high baptizing mission again! We have the faith! We are going to work hard! And we are going to try to help the other missionaries ehre overcome their mindset and fill them in on some of the things that we think are inspired that we do that allow us to have much success with lessons and bringing people to Christ throughout the week! This transfer is ggoing to be amazing! I can't wait to get started in bringing this fire to those missionaries who think that the Poland Warsaw Mission is not a place for success...because it IS! And it all starts with one! And I can be that one!! HOORAH FOR THE LORD! And HOORAH that I have the chance to be a part of His Mighty and Amazing Work!
Anyways :) I have been learning a lot about family this week...how this gospel blesses families! Every day, I talk to families on the street and say "we believe that families can be together forever!" the response we receive is: "ya...we do too"... huh? you do? Of course I don't want to get into a big huge thing about how they can only be united as a family through the sealing power of the Lord's holy priesthood which can only happen in sacred temples right there on the street! Then we also say "This gospel brings unity and direction to families in a world where sometimes it's hard to find that direction and peace" ...the response usually is: "i have peace!" ... or "i AM happy"...In the beginning this was a little worrying to me...what is different in families that have the gospel... Well this Sunday, we had 3 American families visit Wroclaw and they brought there families...the Spirit that was in the sacrament meeting was so different and amazing and tender and full! I was smiling the whole time and was absolutely filled with joy! THIS is what's different! Families that are built on the foundation of Christ can withstand the winds and the storms that might come in life in unity and with eternal perspective! No matter how happy or content you are in/with your life and your family...the more you put Christ as the center of your family, the happier and more peaceful and unified your family will be!

Thinking of families so much this week, i decided to apply it to me NOW. Being a trainer is very difficult. It is difficult to know how much to push Sister Ellis without pushing her over the edge...but I think I'm beginning to understand her limits a little better. I never really realized how much a mission will prepare me for being a mother! I've always thought that when people said, "Going on a mission will make you such a good mom and wife!" that they were referring to the blessings I'd receive from going on a mission...but now I realize that it's so much more than that! I am learning so many important lessons (especially as a trainer) about love, patience, and lovingly correcting than I ever thought I would in my life! My future children should be very grateful for Sister Ellis because in a certain way, she's like the guinea pig who is teaching me a lot of the things that I need to learn to be a successful, happy, patient, and loving mother!

I'm so grateful for this experience I have to learn, change, and grow! (also D&C 6:18-19 are amazing verses that pretty much explain the kind of mother and wife and trainer I want to be!....how amazing that what we read in the scriptures really can apply to our life! Nicole Hawkins's last email so wonderfully explains this!! When some verses stand out, or when a thought comes to your mind when you read a certain verse, this is personal revelation!! It is from the Spirit! It is from the Lord! Write down your impressions as you read and you will be amazed at what you find as your study and read the scriptures!)

I love you all!

Funny Moment...it was a little windy outside...i was holding papers and talking on the phone...skirt completely blew up for the whole world to see and there was absolutely nothing I could do!! AHH! It was so embarrassing but so hilarious!! I totally thought of you Nicole! haha love you!!


Sister Blake
OH MAN! Too many thoughts to write down!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

July 1, 2013

Well this has been the longest and craziest week of my life it feels like! I have officially changed companions and am officially training!! Holy Cow! Who would've thought it would be this hard!! Is so interesting because I feel like just got used to the missionary life, and now someone is looking to ME for direction?! Absolutely nuts! But I know that the Lord qualifies His servants. He wouldn't call me to be a trainer for Sister Ellis if He knew I would fail. I just need to constantly have faith...more than ever before!! And patience too!  I want to set an example of hard work and utilizing every second of proselyting time effectively (like Sister Bezdjian set that high standard for me of hard work and using time efficiently), but I also hope that I'm not running her into the ground.
Sister Ellis is so sweet! She truly has a sweet spirit! She is so kind hearted and would never hurt a fly! And all of her goals revolve around working hard and being led by the Spirit...PERFECT! She will teach me just as much as I hope I can teach her! Communicating with people is a little tricky, but I have been feeling the Lord's help with Polish lately too! Thank goodness!

The amazing experience I had this week was when we were walking home for dinner the other day! A woman was waiting at a stop light and we began talking to her. We barely said anything when she started telling us about how her son had passed away in a terrible accident and how her and her daughter-in-law were really struggling. She was asking us all sorts of questions about where we believed her son was! We read with her a few verses in Alma 40, and gave her a Book of Mormon. It was so amazing to see how the Lord put us in this woman's path! And also amazing how subconsiously, she recognized us as servants of the Lord...why else would she tell us all these personal things and ask us these questions which were tormenting her conscience? It was truly amazing.
Funny moment this week: We were stood up by a 15 year old boy...
Sorry for the short letter this week! We really ran out of time this pday! And also, my Pday next week is on tuesday because we have a missionary meeting on monday! So mom, i'm alive, but just doing my missionary duties :)
Love you!!!
Sister Kendall Blake :)

Kendall welcomes her new companion Sister Ellis

Kendall sees off her first companion Sister Bezdjian

June 24, 2013

Hello family, friends, and strangers (maybe...we dont' know)... This Just In! Transfer week is this week and President Nielson called and told me that I am training next transfer!!!! Oh me oh my! For all those out there who don't know what that means, I'll tell you! It means that for the past 8 weeks that I've been in the country, I have been being trained. The training program is 12 weeks long. But I am stopping midway through because I will be training someone fresh from the MTC come Thursday!! In a way I am so scared! But on the other hand, I know that this will be the most amazing experience for me because I will without a doubt have SO MANY trials in this upcoming transfer! But I will be able to exercise more faith than ever before in the Lord! I'll need His divine help as I teach this new sister things, I'll need His help understanding Polish. I'll need His help dicerning people's needs because I might not be able to understand them myself! I'll need His help with LITERALLY EVERYTHING I DO! I am actually excited for this insane trial of faith! I get the chance to put this all to the test! I know that Heavenly Father will help me! SO that's the big news!

I have two amazing experiences I'd like to share. First is with Lucyna (who has a baptismal date for July 27th!). We met her on the street and she just looked so sad! We talked to her and set up a meeting. At the first meeting, she still looked so depressed, and the atmosphere in the lesson was just a little sad (i mentioned her in my last week's email). We asked her to read some of the Book of Mormon and the Plan of Salvation pamphlet. The next time we saw her, we could see a difference in her eyes! She looked happier and seemed to have more hope! We extended a baptismal date for the end of next month and she accepted! A few days later, we had another lesson with her, and she looked even better! This time in a dress and smiled when she saw us! We watched the Restoration film and after it was over she said she could feel the love of God in her heart as she watched the movie! We asked her to read and pray about the Book of Mormon and to ask the Lord if it was true and asked her to pray about Joseph Smith. The next day, we had another meeting with her and asked her if she recieved an answer. She said she believes the Book of Mormon to be true and the Joseph Smith is "the truest of all the prophets"! We were blown away! The change in her has been miraculous to watch and this is only the 4th time we've met with her! She is so excited for her baptism next month! It is just so amazing to be a part of this amazing change in her life!

The other amazing experience was that Sister Bezdjian and I got the standard this week and also reached our goal of teaching 26 lessons (beating Sister Bezdjian's record from her entire mission!) The Lord blessed us with EXACTLY the numbers that we needed to acheive these goals! I have really learned a lot about goal making in the past few weeks! But the amazing thing and Hand of the Lord that I witnessed this week was yesterday in church. We were sitting in church with 2 investigators present and I was praying so hard that Julia would come on time (she would also be the determining factor of if we could get the standard or not). And what do you know, but in walks Julia!!! Everything else after that all just fell into place for us to get the standard this week! It was absolutely amazing to see how the Lord really does listen to my prayers and wants to bless Sister Bezdjian and I for our real intent in goal setting!
Funny thing this week: we were having a really nice lesson about the wonderful and beautiful Plan of Salvation. Over the past little bit, I've been bookmarking good verses in Polish to read during certain topics. I pulled out my BOM in the lesson and started reading about what i thought was about where our Spirits go after death (Alma 40:11-14)....i ended up reading about something totally different and something about the devil or something!!! Sister Bezdjian just gave me a hilarious horrified look!! we finially figured out that I was reading Alma 39 instead of 40!! hahha it was HILARIOUS!!! oh my..... that's all i'm going to say.
Well I love you all so much! Everyday I pray to love the people more, my companion more, the members more, the city more, the investigators more, and this wonderful work more! And guess what, the Lord is answering my prayers!
Sister Blake

P.S.Also! One last thing! I was thinking about this this week and Kate gave me this idea in the MTC! But it really hit me this week...that there are SO many prophets and amazing people in the scriptures who have some of their most spiritual experiences outside! That's where I feel most connected with Heavenly Father, is when I pray outside. I challenge all of you to go outside and have a conversation with Heavenly Father...in your heart but even better, out loud! Be like all the prophets (Nephi, Enos, Moses, the Brother of Jared, Abraham and so many more) who have amazing experiences outside in God's great and glorious creations!

And for missionaries, if that doesn't work out, you should spend a personal study looking them up! it's really cool!
love you!