Monday, August 26, 2013

August 26, 2013

Week 23

 I met a lady and walked into her house and her whole house was practically a gallery! She does beautiful paintings! Here is her blog!!

Kendall mentioned in her last letter that she might be being transferred in the next couple weeks, so any mail for the time being until we get her new address will be the Warsaw address below. Thanks for your love and support of her. - Proud Mom/Karen
Sister Kendall Taylor Blake
Poland Warsaw Mission
Swietych s. Dniach Ostatnich
U1. Wiertnicza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa

Coolest thing ever happened this week!!! We had Zone Conference and it was President Edgren's first Zone Conference (The President of her mission is from Danville, CA and just got over there this summer). He ended up throwing out all the rules that we had before! He said they are a wonderful resource, but that we are only going to be sticking to the white handbook! I am so excited about it because now I can be more a more consecrated missionary by CHOOSING to be so, not under the obligation that I need to be obedient. It really puts a HUGE responsibility on us missionaries, but also allows us to use our agency more on if we WANT to be led by the Spirit or not! President Edgren also did this to encourage us to have more creativity! He and I are EXACTLY on the same page! I am so blessed to be a missionary under this man! I Have been thinking about it a lot this week and I really think this is an inspired thing! We are told time and time again to "give everything to the Lord" during our missions... I think that a lot of people think that that means giving UP your personality and your talents and your passions for 2 years to a year and a half...but I have been thinking that the true meaning of that should be that we give everything we have FOR the Lord! Rather than handing Him a box of "me" to putting in safe keeping for the next year and a half to two years, I am putting all I am on a platter and asking him to USE all that I am for the people here! In the process of being encouraged to be creative and to be ourselves in this work, I know that the Poland Warsaw mission is not only going to yeild the best missionaries, but the most consecrated Returned Missionaries, who don't have to adjust to "going back to themselves" after the mission...because we'll have already learned how to be our selves ON our missions in order to be diligent disciples of Christ here and for the rest of our lives!! I just think it is the most amazing thing and feel honored to be in the mission at this time!

I also feel so honored to be able to get a TINY taste of how Christ feels while I'm on a mission. Yesterday, we went by an investigator's house who has practically fallen off the face of the Earth. We felt like we should stop by one last time before we let her have a little break from us for a while. We went by and rang the doorbell. I heard feet inside the apartment and shuffling around. We knocked on the door. I heard a person come close to the door and stand there for a little bit. We knocked very lightly again...and we heard her walk away from the door! I wanted soooo badly to just use the door handle and let myself in but I couldn't!!! Our hearts were broken as we walked away from her home that night. As we walked away, I thought of the painting of Christ, where He's standing at the door, waiting for us to let Him in. I sort of felt like I could relate to that picture so much better now! What meaning it has! The Lord not only waits at the door for us to let us in... Sometimes he even rings the door bell! Or knocks! But we have to be listening and recognize that He wants to come into our lives! While I was waiting at the woman's door, waiting for her to open it, I had this vision that she would open the door and I wouldn't even let her say a word, but that I would just give her a huge hug!...I realize that this is exactly what the Lord does for us as well...He wants nothing more than to wrap us in His arms of love! But we have to be the ones to open the door, even a crack, to let Him. I love my Savior. I love how much He loves me! And how much He loves every single person that lives, has ever lived, or will ever live in this universe!

This week, I have been learning a lot about prophets. To tell you the truth, I never really understood the importance of prophets before. But after lots of studying, I realize now that prophets have ALWAYS been the Lord communicates with His children. Think of how we got the 10 commandments even! Through a prophet! Well if God loves all His children equally, wouldn't it make sense for Him to call a prophet now as well as in ancient times?! How do we recieve guidance about things in the world today? such as drugs? pornography? etc? Through a prophet of course! What a blessing that the Lord never leaves us to figure it out on our own! What a blessing that He gives us guidance that applies to us TODAY! I am so grateful for Thomas Monson and I know that he is a prophet of God! Prorocy ZAWSZY są sposobem, że Bóg komunikuje się z Jego dziećmi! Myśl o Mojżeszu, na przykład. Bóg nam dał dzieśenczorgo (my Polish spelling is awful!!) przykazania PRZEZ tego proroka! On też daje nam przewodnictwo w dzisiejszych czasach przez proroka Bożego! Jest cudowny, tak?!

Anyway! I can see and feel myself spiritually growing SOOOO much since I've been here! The more i understand, the more i understand that I don't understand very much! haha But I'm so grateful for how humbling and wonderful and what a growing experience a mission is!

I also made Grandma Ruby's snickerdoodles this week to thank a few people...every person I gave them to asked me for the recipe! Thanks Grandma Ruby!

Funny moment: Sister Ellis has some shoes that really give her some terrible blisters. We were reading in 1 Nephi 18:15 and stumbled upon a verse about Nephi being bound... he said "and also mine ankles were much swollen, and great was the soreness thereof."  ... I just about died laughing! what do you know! a scriptural referance to Sister Ellis's poor blistered feet!! (it's okay...she was laughing pretty hard too)

Anyways, The church is true and I love you all! Here is a pic of me in the Lake winnepesauki sweatshirt you sent me mom!! LOVE IT! :)

Monday, August 19, 2013

August 19, 2013

Week 23

So last Pday, Sister Ellis and I went to a castle! Yes, a castle!! It was so fun and so pretty and smelt like the old houses in NH. Other than the smell I felt like I was in the Sound of Music the whole time! It was so gorgeous and really fun to get out of the big city where there's so much hustle and bustle! haha. So a pic is attached of me in the ballroom! and Sis Ellis and I with the senior couple with the castle behind us.
Also, Mom! I got your package on Wednesday!! I LOVED it! I've slept in the new sweatshirt every night :) a little bit of home! I was so happy! And it got here so fast! They said they had to take out some "liquid" but so the box was opened but I hope that they didn't take anything of huge importance out. I did get the syrup though! Tender mercy since they don't have that here! haha or chocolate chips or brown sugar!! haha

This week I have been thinking about something a lot! The Lord has called some very intelligent people to the country of Poland, and I personally am not convinced that it is because He knew that we'd be able to speak the language well. I truly believe that the Lord trusts each of us here in this country to put our heads, talents, and intellects together to think outside the box. Any old Joe can "contact" and "tract" but the ways that we do that can be tailored to be most effective if we use the talents the Lord has given us! For example, Elder Smith in our district was studying advertising in school. He understands what needs to happen to appeal the "product" to the "buyer". Of course, the product being the gospel and the buyers being new investigators is much more eternally important than a product and a buyer, but those principles that Elder Smith understands can be utilized in great ways. I feel like I have a certain talent with social skills. Putting our two talents together, and those of Sister Ellis and Elder Stumpf as well, we have come up with a couple ideas of ways that might be effective to get people to slow down and listen to our message! (I think Elder Stumpf will maybe tell you about a few of the ideas and run them by you before we do them.) But It just made me realize, that I specifically am here because I have something to offer.
We also tried something new that I had in my mind would be SO successful! We created this bubble thing and I pictured thousands of kids surrounding me and Sister Ellis not having enough Book of Mormons to even give out! Turns out I am a total amatuer and could make even one giant bubble! I do not think it was very effective, but i'm glad we were at least TRYING to think outside the box here there's a picture attached of this sad excuse of trying to attract families to the gospel. haha

Another miraculous story. We were walking along the sidewalk leaving a meeting when we decided to turn around and go see if a former still lived at the address that was written. By doing so, we ran into a mother and her son. The woman's sister was baptized into the church 10 years ago and now lives in England! We were shocked! We spoke with this woman for a few minutes and exchanged phone numbers and are going to call her when she comes back from vacation. But it was just amazing that the smallest little thought allowed us to run into this amazing woman! It was truly amazing to be guided like that by the Lord.
Funny moment: while we were walking on the street, there was just kind of a twilight zone few moments. First an old babcia (gma) was trying to feed a cat a hot dog. Then the lady started talking to us and tried to practically play charades to tell us that someone was drunk and she ended up looking like a drunk zombie trying to tap dance! It was pretty hilarious! Then some other lady two seconds later, stuck her head out of a window and gave a loud howl of despair! It was all so strange but so funny!! hhaha
Well, Love you all! Transfers are in 2 weeks, so if you're going to send something, send it to the mission home until I know where I'll be next transfer :)

Sister Kendall Blake

The best address to send Kendall letters after today would be: 

Sister Kendall Taylor Blake
Poland Warsaw Mission
Swietych s. Dniach Ostatnich
U1. Wiertnicza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa

Monday, August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

Week 22

This week has been SO amazing and of course like every week has been a whirl wind! It's so interesting the different ways that we are tempted. Each person is tempted in a different way. Mine is that I am contantly doubting my effectiveness...Silly yes, but this is the honesty circle here. 2 weeks ago (and honestly ever since I got here until about last week) I have been stressed out of my brains! But over the course of the past two weeks, I have started to become less stressed! Good? I think so...but at the same time, now I am stressed that I'm NOT stressed! hahaha thoughts yesterday kept coming to my mind of "If I'm not stressed does that mean I'm not working my hardest?!" I want to give the Lord EVERYTHING I have! But I read a general conference talk yesterday that helped ease my worries a little bit. In General Conference (the priesthood session) Pres. Uchtdorf said in his talk Four Titles "Perhaps it is true that we are weak. Perhaps we are not wise or mighty. But when God workds through us, no one and nothing can stand against us. This is why you are needed. You have your own special contribution to make and God can magnify that contribution in a mighty way." Reading that gave me a lot of peace. I am making a difference! Even if it is a tiny one, God will magnify it and make it matter. I AM needed! Even if the fruits of my work aren't necessarily being seen by myself right now. Anyways, I'm really glad I read that talk and I really loved it and I encourage anyone reading this blog/email to read it! :)

Next item of business:
This week I learned so much personally as I learned for our investigators. In the beginning of my mission....(well I guess I still am in the beginning of my mission haha) but I would study everyday the simple doctrines. I learned a lot especially because I had to learn the simple truths since I could only speak in simple Polish. I read from Preach my Gospel everyday and mostly just tried to absorb everything that it said so that I would be able to say exactly what it said so I wouldn't "mess up" in the lessons. Now that I have gotten a little more comfortable with not only Polish, but with teaching and with my studies, I have been seeing how my studies are changing. Instead of trying to absorb the doctrines from Preach my gospel by simply reading through it, I recently have been making connections between doctrines, been identifying principles and how we can live these doctrines, and referencing and cross referencing things in Preach my Gospel to other sections of it and to the scriptures and personal experiences! I have been learning so much!

The principle I learned this week, therefore, is that as we are more spiritually prepared, the more we can receive. In Matthew, Christ teaches that when one has knowledge, they can receive more, but those that don't use the knowledge that they have will lose it. I feel like I have been experiencing this principle. I have been so blessed with a greater understanding of the Atonement and of the Plan of Salvation in this past week...and I believe it is because I have been trying to study during personal study in order to (żeby) teach PEOPLE and their needs and concerns and apply it to them! Trying to apply this gospel to their life has helped me apply it to mine! It has really been an amazing experience to be able to see the growth I have been making even in the past 2 weeks!

Also....miracles for me this week: SISTER BEZDJIAN (aka...sara...?) was in Wrocław!!! Reunited at last!!! Oh my I love her so much and love her sweet family so much! What a blessing that was! A best friend as a trainer?! How many missionaries can say that?! probably not very many, so I am so blessed and SOOO grateful!

Funny Moment this week
I met a lady on the street yesterday who said: "I'm sick and you all can't come over because I'm sometimes stuck at home for 5 days! I have constapation and am sometimes in the bathroom for 3 hours!!" hahahah I was trying so hard to be empathetic to her situation, but tears were welling in my eyes because i was trying so hard not to laugh!! haha anyway!



Sister Blake

*(Sweet Bday Message from Kendall. I also received a birthday video from her old companion's mother as they were visiting Poland yesterday. Best Bday gift ever, video of my daughter joyfully wishing me Happy Birthday while serving the Lord from across the world. I posted video on facebook:)

Mom!! I just wanted to write you a little note and tell you how much I love you and wish you a happy birthday!!! ... I am currently translating one of your emails into Polish so I can give it to a member here because I think you are so inspiring! haha Mom, you are amazing and such a rock. You don't seem a day older than 25!...except for your wisdom is much greater than a 25 year olds :) I love you soooooooo much!....Going to a castle today and leaving in 10 minutes, so can't email very much! 

** (Note I received titled Happy Birthday from Kendall's first in country companion, Sister Sara Bezdjian's mother)

Dear Karen, this is Lindy Bezdjian, Siostra Sara Bezdjian's mom.  We were touring Sara's mission and our first stop was Wroclaw so we were able to meet your daughter.  As we were walking to church we met up with Kendall and Sis. Ellis.  But we didn't walk with them long.  Kendall broke off from us to invite a lady walking down the street to church.  It was so amazing to watch her focus on the Lord's work even though we were there and could be considered a distraction.

It was very touching to see her dedication and love for missionary work.  I am so glad Sara and Kendall were able to serve together!  Lindy Bezdjian
Library from where Kendall sends her weekly letters in Wroclaw

Photo sent from Kendall's companion after first seeing her in Wroclaw on the way to church. Love it since it is as I can imagine catching her walking down a street if I were to run into her in Wroclaw. xo

Monday, August 5, 2013

August 5, 2013

Week 21

So this week...I'm having an honesty moment with you all...I was missing New Hampshire really really REALLY badly!!!! haha But the Lord gave me little tender mercies that reminded me of New Hampshire! One night was the craziest thunderstorm ever! And it just felt like New Hampshire and smelt like NH, and it was just so nice to have a little part of it! It happened again Sunday morning! It down poured in the morning, but by the time we walked to church, it was fresh and dewy and smelt like cut grass in some places! Sometimes on the walk there I would close my eyes and just picture me being there (not in a distracted way) but it just made me feel a little more at home. THEN! Today, we went on this super fun bike ride through an area that reminded me SOOO much of New Hampshire! And the Lord just rained down little tender mercies like that all week! Including the postcard I got from you Mom of the red house in NH :) Thank you! Another tender mercy!

This week was a humbling one! It is sort of humorous that the week after we had this amazing success of reaching the standard, The Lord totally humbled us to remember that EVERYTHING is in His hands...especially our success from last week! Not that numbers matter, but this week, i got the lowest numbers that I have gotten on my entire mission so far! And despite it, I was trying my hardest and everything was out of my hands. So it just goes to show that the Lord's work is run by He Himself and that I really am just a little week tool that He makes strong. I also re-recognized that people have their agency despite how hard I work. So I was grateful this week for the humbling experiences where I learned to give everything to the Lord. To try my hardest but recognize that I can only do as much as I can do and then I need to hand it over to the Lord. I was grateful for learning that this week.

An amazing experience this week was that this week we met with a woman who says she doesn't know if she believes in God because she doesn't trust whether or not feelings are from herself or not. She asked a really interesting question, "How are you so sure if your church is true? A Muslim might pray about his church and get the same confirmation and feelings that you all have confirming to him that his beliefs are right." Tracy Allen, the most fantastic person in the world (she's returned from her mission in Poland a couple years ago and is here for the summer doing a study program), she answered in a way that really made sense to me. She said, "Well it makes sense if that's the case. If someone is asking if they should follow a certain belief that is good, and they haven't had (or are unable to have) the gospel in their life, of course the Lord will say 'Yes! I can't get you the complete gospel right now, so yes, live the good principles that this teaches because it is good and will make you happy until you meet the Full and Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ." When she put it in that way, it was just really neat to think about! Many religions (I'd dare to say nearly all) have really amazing, great and truthful principles that can help someone become better. But it's only through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that is that truth in FULLNESS. It was really amazing to learn that lesson this week.

Sorry that this letter is a bit short this week, but....oh well! haha

Funny Moment of the week: Sister Ellis has Dansko shoes and they are good missionary shoes, but i think they're a half a size too small for that's not good... but the funny part is that we were at a less active member's house and her husband suggested her to buy some new shoes because they were too small and because "they look like shoes that you'd dance in while in Ireland!" and I was trying so hard not to laugh, but it was SO darn funny!

Well. I love you all!


Sister Blake
This is from our bike ride today! We went with 2 awesome members! 
The tall red head is named Ola and the other girl is named Cindy!