Monday, September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

Week 27

Boy does it feel good to repent! I have learned so much about repentance this week! When I say repent, I am not necessarily talking about in prayer (although that is an important part of the process of repentance). I am more talking about repentance as change...improvement. For example...honesty circle here: The branch had been planning this Grill for about 3 weeks. Sis. Pok and I knew about it, we wanted it to be successful, but we weren't really doing any thing about it. On Tuesday, we recognized our fault!...keep in mind the Grill was on Saturday! We hadn't contributed a single thing to this Grill! We hadn't even told a single investigator about it! This is where the repenting came in...I didn't necessarily get on my knees and apologize...I ACTED! We recognized that we were in the wrong. We stopped doing what was wrong. And we started doing what was right! Once we realized that we had been slacking on our end, instead of saying: "Oh well! Too late!", we decided to start doing what was other words: repent! We immediately started making plans for what we could do to help! We called people to prepare a spiritual thought, we put together Family: Proclamation to the World as party favors, we made invites, we called and texted everyone, etc. We changed! We improved! We stopped being complacent, and started being proactive! We repented! And boy did it feel good!

I learned that repentance is always hardest in that moment where you have to humble yourself! It is so hard! You say a rude remark to someone, you realize it was wrong...and then it's that really REALLY hard moment where you have to admit that you were wrong...where you have to humble yourself. But as soon as you do it, you feel so much better!! We feel better because we're repenting! We are tapping into the first steps of repentance...of using the Atonement of Jesus Christ! It is through Christ that we can feel better! It is through Christ that we can be relieved of guilt and shame! What an amazing gift we have! Yes repentance can be hard...but it's only that first step that is hard! If there is something in your life that you recognize you're not doing all that you could, or that you're not doing what you should...I encourage you to take that deep breath, admit (to others if you have to, to yourself, and to the Lord) that you were wrong...and then allow the Lord to help you to change! It's never too late! Even for us...with the Grill on Saturday and our first step of repentance on Tuesday...we ended up having 2x as many nonmembers at the Grill than members! The Lord will always enhance and sanctify your efforts to change, to improve, to repent.

Maybe it's just because Sunday's are the most recent days to when email, but I always feel like I write about Sunday's in my letters home! But again, this Sunday was so great! Such a wonderful Branch (smaller church congregation than a Ward) we have here in Wroclaw and every time I go, I feel edified! I always feels the Spirit and am Always uplifted! What an amazing thing. People we talk to every day say: "I don't need church. I am my own church. I pray every day. I read the Bible every day. Why do I need a church? I'm too busy for church." The list goes on and on. But something that's amazing about the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that the "church" helps you develop yourself. This is a church of people. Yes, I suppose it is an institution...but really, how could anything function without organization? But it is not the institution that receives or gives inspiration. It is the people that make up this church! The people that lead the ward, the branch, the relief society, the stake, the district, etc. are amazing people who we can be strengthened by! Even more amazing about this church is that anyone can be in it! You don't have to pass a test or memorize so many scriptures to contribute! Everyone can contribute! Even if you're not a member! I find this something truly amazing and a true sign that this is the true church of Christ...because Christ Himself would never turn anyone away from participating or contributing if they had a desire to!

Sister Poklinkowska and I are doing wonderfully! We, together, are stretching ourselves. We're trying to replenish our teaching pool and have been looking for more people to teach. In doing so we've been getting out of our comfort zones and trying different ways of talking to people...trying our hardest to be genuine and not just strive to get their phone number, but really try to get them interested in the message! It's much harder because it is a lot more of OURSELVES that we are putting out there...we've started wearing our heart on our sleeves...and gaining a greater understanding of what it means to give our whole HEART to this work. Genuinely telling people how much this message means to me, and having people not care in the slightest, has given me a greater appreciation for what I do know! As I have been sharing more of my own heart, I have recognized how much I really cherish every piece of knowledge that I preach!

Miracle! Yesterday, we ran into someone that we've been trying to get a hold of all week! We were SHOCKED to see her and Również was pretty shocked to see us! But it turns out that she just didn't have credit on her phone to call us but has thinking about us all week!! We obviously set up a meeting and she is so prepared to hear the gospel! We are so excited to see her on Tuesday and so amazed at how the Lord literally puts people in our path! I love the Lord and I love this work!

Funny: Sister Poklinkowska and I were talking about how people probably thought that when we invited them to the Grill that it was a trap for baptism! "Hi ma'am! We're having a party this weekend! It will be at a pool! And everyone is going to wear unique, body length swimsuits!" We were laughing pretty hard about that one!

Sister Kendall Blake

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

September 23, 2013

Week 26

Well this week was my birthday! Officially old maid.. just kidding! It's just the beginning! I spoke with an old Polish woman named Krystyna (who's straight out of Great Gatsby!) in the hospital the other day and she related a story of how she was in love when she was 21 and went on about how great an age it is! So I'm grateful! :) Thank you to all the wonderful family and friends I have who made my bday special for me! I have been overcome with joy about how amazing my family is! I have such determination to do all I can to be able to live with my family (past, current, and future) for the rest of eternity! I'm so grateful for a knowledge of God's great plan for us!

This whole week, Sister Poklinkowska and I have really been trying to make plans with the Spirit, then tell those plans to the Lord and trusting Him to sanctify our make them efficient, to make them worth while, to put people who He's preparing in our path! Well we did that after church this Sunday. We told the Lord that we were going to go and visit a very old less active member who can't leave her house. It turns out she was in the hospital! But we told the Lord that we would see her so we stuck with that plan and rejoiced in the opportunity to be prompted to go and visit her in her time of need! On our way to the hospital and returning back home from the hospital, we ran into probably 5 GOLDEN people that I just know the Lord has been preparing to hear His gospel! The first girl was Zoey...she is from the UK (Liverpool) and she said that she wasn't sure if God existed... we told her about prayer and I shared a personal spiritual experience with her and she agreed to meet with the missionaries in the UK! Next was Ola...she said that she doesn't really know if she knew God all that well and we bore testimony about how we are LITERALLY God's children and we can have a Father-daughter relationship with Him! Turns out her mother is in the hospital and she's going through a really lonely hard time and we gave her a Book of Mormon and are going to set up to meet in a week!

After our lovely visit in the hospital with Sister Ciechowska (who really loves us and was SO grateful that we came to see her) we were walking home and ran into Wojtek, a man with twin daughters who will benefit so much from the unifying power of the gospel in families. Then we literally almost ran into Jacek! Jacek was closing up shop when I felt like I should turn around and go talk to him...turns out he knows exactly what the Spirit feels like saying that he every once and a while is told what to do in his life by a quiet voice "not a literal voice, but that's the only word I can think of to describe it"!!!!! Needless to say, I was practically in shock by and yet not surprised about how well our Heavenly Father knows each of us so well...He put Sister Poklinkowska and I in these people's paths for a reason and I'm so incredibly grateful to be a part of this amazing work!

Sister Poklinkowska and I are doing so well!! We're learning better and better how to teach together and are really enjoying all our time together! I love her so much! She is always serving me which makes me want to serve her and as a result we love each other so much! I'm grateful for her desire to learn and improve! She is so humble (maybe sometimes even a little too hard on herself) but we're helping each other have more faith in the Lord and faith that He will help us teach and speak in Polish!

Funny Moment: For my birthday, sweet Sister and Elder Durrant invited us over and made STEW!!! (KARNies...not lamb, but any stew is fantastic as I know you 3 would agree) The funny part is how funny my district leader thought he was to give me a present...a huge jar of rotting pickles!!! He also gave me a Rubix cube made "especially for me" so I could master it... all 6 sides of the Rubix cube are one color... I must admit, it was pretty clever and actually pretty funny! But of course I couldn't really let him have too much satisfaction, so the below picture is a picture of this pretty funny event!

Also! Something else that not many missionaries can say is that I went to a ballet with my mission president and his wife the other day! Sister P and I took our culture night on Saturday night and it just so happened that the president was in town so we invited him and his wife to the ballet too!! I actually didn't know what kind of ballet it was so I was scared out of my wits that we would have to walk out or something if it was "contemporary" and not suitable for the eyes of innocent missionaries! hahaha but everything ended up being okay! haha

Well I love you all so much! Thanks for all the support and prayers and love!


Sister Blake

Monday, September 16, 2013

September 16, 2013

Week 25

First and foremost...last week I said that that reference was in Acts's actually Acts 19:1-6...where Paul had to baptize the people a second time so it could be done by water AND the Spirit!

Next item of business: This is going to be SUCH a great transfer!! Sister Poklinkowska and I are getting along so well and I feel like such an equal with her! I'm teaching her as much as I can, but really she is teaching me SO much! I'm so grateful to have her as my companion! I truly feel like my work here in Wrocław is just beginning! My first transfer I was here, I white washed this area (means that they were both new to the area)  and was a trainee...needless to say, I didn't really have a clue of what was going the city, in missionary work, or in the lives of my investigators! My second transfer was a little better...I knew where I was in the city and everything, but because I was the senior companion but could only speak the language "tyle", I really didn't feel like I completely understood what was going on all the time. I feel like this transfer is just the beginning of my work here in Wrocław simply because I finally understand the background of the people I'm working with! I'm able to discern their needs better! I'm able to see where their coming from! The relationships I've built here over the past few months are finally starting to reap... In all honestly, I really feel like I could stay here for at least another transfer after this one! I feel like I have just barely reached the level with the people here where I can actually make a difference! Where I don't feel like I'm drowning, but that I have my head above water. I know that the Lord directs all His work, but I'm so glad that I'm in the boat, which He is the captain of...instead of trying to swim (practically drowning!) to keep up! I'm the happiest I've been in my whole mission so far because I really have started to truly grow a love for the people because I understand them now that I have developed a relationship of trust and service with them! I'm so excited to be serving here this transfer and hope the Lord sees fit that I stay for another one after this!

A miracle that happened this week was completely a direct result of complete faith. Sister Poklinkowska and I were really striving to achieve the standard (meeting their goals for lessons taught, investigators that come to church, ....) this week! We worked and did all we could to achieve our goal and everything was all set and achieved except for the number of people in church and a new investigator. Church started and we had 2 wonderful investigators in church...the sacrament hymn was being played and we were still waiting for Lucyna to arrive, who had committed to come. Instead of losing faith, I just prayed so hard and had the faith that whatever happened would be in the Lord's will. And who walks in?! But Lucyna! During the Sacrament hymn! Faith brings miracles! And now my faith is doubled! Which I hope will bring double the miracles next week! On top of that, the Lord helped us set up a meeting with a woman named Marta who says she has been praying to know the right path for her and that she wants a deeper meaning in religion than what she is currently experiencing! She became a new investigator! The Lord wants to bless us! He wants to help us achieve our goals! We just have to have the faith that He will help us get there!

I love this mission so much! I'm so grateful to serve at this time! I love the mission, I love the people, I love the members, I love Wrocław, I love my companion, and I love the Lord! What a fantastic life I'm am blessed to live! The Lord has given me everything and there is no way I can ever repay Him for all He's given and done for me. I am serving "Him who has created [me] and is preserving [me] from day to day, by lending [me] breath, that [I] may live and move and do according to [my] own will, and even supporting [me] from one moment to another... If [I] should serve Him with all [my] whole soul yet [I] would be an unprofitable servant" (Mosiah 2:21).

Now...the funny moment! What you've all been waiting for... So we went to this less active woman's home...she's SO old and her husband is like 20 years younger than her... but he always feeds us...usually it's soup or something sort of tasty...right now it's mushroom season and I really love mushrooms, so he offered us some and of course I said yes! ....... what he brought out was.... I don't even know! It was this brown GOO and it looked like pond scum and was brown and looked as though it was alive! There were slimy mushrooms in it!! I honestly felt like I was eating slugs!!! I took about three bites and then set it aside...but he would NOT let us leave his house until I ate it all!!!! FLASHBACK SYD!!! Does this remind you of anything!!! Except this was not tortellini! It was sluggy mushroomy goop! AH! it was horrible  but also so hilarious! I've been laughing a lot's very healthy..i recommend it :)

Love to all those reading this message! :)
Siostra K Blake

Monday, September 9, 2013

September 9, 2013

Week 25

Wow what a week! I got to go to the mission home and pick up my new companion! She is SOOOOO CUTE!!! I love her so much already! We're on the same page and she's so cute! I don't feel like her trainer at alL! I feel like her equal! She's from Alabama originally, but has spent the past few years in Washington state. She is a recent convert of 3 years...her name is Sister Poklinkowski...I'm just going to write sister Pok. for short though.. haha She already contributes quite a bit to lessons and I feel like her equal rather than her trainer which is so nice! I adore her and am so grateful for this opportunity to serve with her!

As much as I LOVE missionary work, it was really nice to be able to help Sister Edgren (the mission mother) in the kitchen a little bit and feel like a part of a family. That's something that I really love about this mission: all the missionaries are so close and we are close with the mission president and his wife as well...we're all a part of this mission family and I just love serving with some of the strongest missionaries in the church!

Something that Sister Pok. and I have been discussing a lot in the past week is the importance of being able to share the gospel in any conversation. I love what Elder Holland says about listening... that if we listen with love to someone, there will always be something that you can tie to the gospel and expound upon for them! My Aunt Sandy is an amazing example of this. She can start a gospel discussion with just about anyone! I feel like a lot of the times, when I just start a normal conversation with someone first on a train or a bus, that they are much more open to talking. As we get talking, I start trying to play a sort of game...where I try to figure out what they are saying can tie back to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ... It's almost like a puzzle! I try to fit the conversation together and lead it in a sort of way to be able to testify of this glorious gospel! I really want to master this by the end of my mission! I want to solidify this ability to turn any conversation into a discussion about: our identity as literal children of God; or our ability to return to Heavenly Father after this life and be with our families; or the direction the Book of Mormon gives! Because then when I return from my mission (not getting trunky, just making goals! haha) I will already have those skills to remain a consecrated disciple of Christ and a consecrated missionary despite whether or not I have a black tag on. The gospel really does apply to people in any situation! No matter the trails we have, whether big or small, no matter our age, no matter our cultural background, this church is the only church that contains the FULL gospel! What a blessing to have this knowledge! And what a privilege I have to help people apply this universal gospel in a very individual way!

My mom asked a few questions that I'll answer here:
Tell me some more about the people you are teaching,  are you regularly teaching anyone specifically?
Yes, we have a lot of people that we meet with regularly! I feel blessed to have so many investigators! Most weeks, are days are absolutely filled with lessons! I'm so grateful! I have been teaching Lucyna (with the darker hair) since June...and Czesława we have been teaching for about 2 1/2 weeks. Love them both! Totally opposite people, but that's what's so amazing about this gospel! Lucyna is a slow learner and slowly but surely understands more and more as we teach super simply! Czesława is speedy and understands everything, but doesn't really get what's different about our church and the Catholic church...(for anyone who's wondering, it's priesthood authority, Book of Mormon as full gospel, and a living prophet...just a couple main ones)

Is anyone interested in being baptized?

I think I need to better help people understand the importance of being baptized by don't know how many times I've heard people say "but I've already been baptized...why do i need to be baptized twice?" well because the priesthood authority to baptized was restored straight from John the baptist to Joseph Smith and now every worthy male can also have that authority in our church! Not to mention the gift of the Holy Ghost given by proper authority is also essential...which is given after baptism! Even Paul baptized people for a second time when he found out they hadn't been baptized in the name of Christ or given the Holy Ghost after baptism (i think that's found in Acts 9...maybe)

How often do you get an opportunity to come teach investigators another lesson?
Most of the time! 

How often is tracting effective?
Honestly I've never been tracting because I don't really believe in it...the chances of someone answering the door is super slim and then the chance of them letting us in is even slimmer! I figure that when the parents come home to their kids after work, why would they let two random people come in and share a message? You just want to sit on your couch and relax! I find it's more effective to talk with people on their way home...for instance on bus rides home, etc. Exchange numbers and then plan a time when we can meet...that way they can plan WITH us a time that works for them...rather than us barging in on their family down time when they just want peace. But that's just moim zdaniem.

Are your days mostly tracting in parks, or knocking on doors, or visiting inactives, or working with members?
When we're not teaching investigaotrs, we're teaching inactives...when we're not doing either, we got and seek out former investigators and talk to everyone in our path along the way. Having that destination (a former's house) allows the Lord to put people in our path rather than just walking in circles in a big area.

So those are just a few Q and A type things :) I'm so glad I get to be here for another transfer! I feel like my work is only beginning! I love the work and love my companion and love the branch and love my investigators and love my family and love the Lord!

Funny Moment: we went to a less active member's house named Katja...she didn't answer her doorbell so we called her...she picked up and said that she wasn't at home...which is a little strange because I could hear her voice through her open window! hahaha Sister Pok and I were laughing pretty hard at that one! But we'll go back sometime next week :)

Sister Blake

Monday, September 2, 2013

September 2, 2013

Week 24

So transfers are officially announced! I'll be staying in Wrocław and I'm going to be training again! Sister Ellis and I had a good last week together! I learned a lot about patience and learning to love with Sister Ellis! She is a fantastic missionary and I think has really prepared me to be a trainer for a second time and to be a better mother and wife in the future. I'm glad I get another chance to develop my teaching skills as a trainer this next transfer :)

This week we had many amazing experiences! We achieved the standard which was truly amazing! I really think the trick (besides relying completely on the Lord and praying every moment!) is to plan your week out in advance. It's really so much more productive that way and you can fit many more lessons in that way! Despite our busy planned out schedule, we were still able to have time to serve Sister Cieleńska (the branch president's wife) twice this week! She's been cooped up at home with her sick children, and we were able to help her do some grocery shopping that she needed to get done! I'm so grateful that we were able to help her! Service brought a totally different light on the week. It made me happier and so much more grateful!

The past couple of days I learned a lot about healing and the atonement. We as humans are both diseased and sinful. We are unclean physically and spiritually. But because of Jesus Christ and His Atonement for us, He literally can heal us from both of those things! He overcame physical death as well as spiritual death! He has "healing in His wings". Our diseases will die with our bodies, and our bodies will be resurrected because of Christ. But our sins will live on with us, UNLESS we partake of Christ's overcoming of spiritual uncleanliness too! It's key to know that one cannot be physically healed by Christ unless first he has faith that Christ CAN heal him spiritually as well! That's why in Alma 15:6-11 Alma asks Zeezrom FIRST the question of "do you believe that Christ has the power unto salvation?" and THEN asks the question "do you believe that through Christ's power you can be healed physically?"...the same thing goes for the story in Luke 5. The man is first healed spiritually before he is healed physically! I just really know how much the Savior wants to help. He loves us so much and I am so grateful for the healing He can do within each of us if we believe in Him and act upon His words. I love and admire my Older Brother and all that He has done for me. was a neat experience this week. Sister Malinowska was on a lesson with us and then spur of the moment spontaneously asked us to come to dinner super fast before our next lesson! Literally that was the nicest thing she could've done! Anyone who knows me super well knows that when i feel super comfortable with someone (ie: Simmons family, Madsen family, etc), if I'm around their house or if I just feel like it, I'll just stop by their house spur of the moment because I know that they love me and wouldn't mind if I did...and dare I say, even enjoy when I do. So to have Sister Malinowska invite us over spontaneously really let me know how much she cares about us and feels comfortable around us! I'm so grateful! ...and also so grateful for all those who let me barge into their home unannounced haha I love all of you my pseudo families! My real one is fantastic too! :)

Sorry this week's letter is a little weak, but because of transfers we're getting a bunch of stuff ready!

Funny moment / tender mercy of the week: I never realized how much I loved the song "You Sexy Thing" until it came on the radio on the tramwaj this week!!!


Sister Blake

1: Sister Ellis and I went to a musical performance for our culture night this week! It was Renaissance themed, but you know what, being at some sort of performance made me feel right at home :)
2: Lady who every day people watches at 8 am