Monday, December 30, 2013

December 30, 2013

Week 40

Dear Family and friends,

Since I've been slacking so much on my emails lately, I wanted to put a little more effort into this one, so I hope that it is okay.

This week was so fantastic! Having Christmas in the mission field is just the best thing ever! I hope this doesn't sound awful, but I actually didn't miss my family at all! The opportunity to serve this Lord at this time of year is better than any party or present or powder day of skiing that I could ever ask for! I have learned so much about this Savior this Christmas season. I was able to focus on not just the birth of Jesus Christ, but on His life and on His eternal destiny to forever be our Savior and King! I loved singing the Christmas carols because in a very real way, like the angles that the shepherds saw in the heavens on the night of the birth of Christ, so am I an angel singing praises to Christ the Lord!

In addition to it being Christmas time, it is the turn of the New Year. A time for a new beginning. I must say, this week I have been craving a change. I am glad that it's the start of a new transfer with the potential for a new things (missionaries, area, investigators, etc). Allowing you all to peer into the corners of my heart: I feel like I just need a change...I feel like things are just becoming so repetitive. Yes, I am learning new things every day and yes, I do my absolute best to not be rote when I teach on the street and in lessons...but to be perfectly honest, I just feel like something needs to be shaken up. Especially because we have a maxi transfer (aka 14 WEEKS) coming up...I really hope that this 3 1/2 month long transfer won't get me into any ruts or feelings of repetitiveness. Like we all know, my mission is way to short for that kind of thing! After this maxi transfer, I'll only have 2 transfers left...I really can't believe it and don't want it to be true! I love my mission SOOO much! Anyways... just writing what I truly feel here. :) HONESTY CIRCLE! I really hope that people don't think less of me as they practically are reading my journal on this blog! haha

It really is interesting though how I have been craving this need for change. I studied the Plan of Salvation or the Plan of Happiness a lot this week... and I realize more and more as I study it that progression is absolutely essential to our entire existence! I'm still learning exactly why, but I think I'm grasping it better and better. I understand that we lived with our Heavenly Father before we came to this Earth...but because we didn't have bodies or knowledge of good and bad, sadness and happiness, easiness and difficulty, we couldn't progress. That's why we were sent to this Earth! I know that if a person is ever feeling that they maybe don't know their purpose in life or are feeling repetitive or like they are dragging their feet in life, it's because they need to PROGRESS! We need to change and learn and grow! When we're stagnant in a place, we don't feel joy...and we are on Earth to have joy! Yes, sometimes in our life getting out of a routine can be uncomfortable, but the joy that is felt as change occurs or even after change is made, is so worth the uncomfortableness. We experience, change, and grow in this life! This is life eternal! To progress and to upodobnić się do become like God who is perfect! I'm grateful that it is a new year... now is the time that I can reevaluate myself, my work and my dedication to the Lord and make changes so that I can progress into the person, friend, wife, and mother that I need to be and will need to be. The Lord has a plan for me, of that I am certain. I know that He has a plan for every one of us! And we can reach the potential we have by continually progressing.

Funny moment (which always is actually a scary moment that later is funny!)  We went to this old less active man's house because he inviting us over for dinner...I don't know why because he seemed like he hated us the whole time! No matter what we said, we weren't doing it right! If we ate too much of the food, we weren't saving enough for others; if we ate too little, he would get offended because he thought we hated his cooking! It was so awkward, and I was sitting across from Elders Lanham and Smith the whole time, trying with all my might to hold in laughter at their facial expressions as we were all trying to hold down our food after shoveling this VERY Polish food down our throats! hahaha it was all just a very laughable experience!

Well I love you all so much!! Merry Christmas Mr. Potter!... Happy New Year to you.. in jail!

Sister Blake

Monday, December 16, 2013

December 16, 2013

Week 38

Well, last night I had a little reality check. One of the Sisters in my Zone is giong home with no notice for health reasons tomorrow!!! and thought about what it would be like to have to go home at this point in my mission. Am I holding anything back? Would I be sad to go home? I realized that if I went home at this point in my mission I would be devasted because I LOVE my mission! Despite all the Christmas parties, and other festivities that are surely being had at home, I wouldn't ever choose that over the work I am doing now! I LOVE Poland! I LOVE Polish (never thought I'd say that one!)! I LOVE the people here! I LOVE these righteous saints here! I LOVE worrying about people's eternal progression! I LOVE not even having even enough time to clip my toe nails (a little gross maybe, but it's true!)! And I LOVE talking, teaching, and preaching ALL the time about my Brother and Savior Jesus Christ!

The picture is in front of a Polish Christmas street festival thing! I feel like it's Gepetto's shop from Pinnochio!

Funny moment: We were in a lesson with a mom. Her daughter was home sick from school and is 4 1/2. Her daughter was crying whining and crying and so the mom brought her out and sat her on her lap. Then she started cradling her. In my head I thought "maybe she's a little old for that, but sure if It'll make her stop crying". Next thing I know, the mom lifts up her shirt and starts BREAST FEEDING her TODDLER who was in Kindergarten!!!! Oh my heavens!!! hahah I was totally shocked! and it took all my power to control my facial expressions of shock and to keep from laughing!

Merry Christmas! Sorry this was such a lame email

Sister Blake!

Monday, December 9, 2013

December 9, 2013

Week 37

This week was so wonderful! This week, as you might remember, all of the missionaries in the Katowice zone got together to go to Auschwitz. It really was a tragic place, but I am so grateful for the knowledge we have of the plan of Salvation! Despite those people's atrocious experiences, they are in a state of peace, and they will one day be able to have bodies again in their perfect form...not starved or disfigured, but perfect bodies! My testimony of the plan of salvation was strengthened so much when I was there. I have more motivation to bring people to the knowledge of the gospel now because I know that the gospel is also being preached to those that died during the Holocaust on the other side.

After our time there, all the missionaries were able to go Christmas caroling together! I've always thought that caroling would be a good finding idea, and it turns out that it definetly is MUCH more effective with a lot of missionaries! I don't think the 6 missionaries of our district really would've been able to cut it was really amazing to be able to sing praises of the birth of our Savior and King! I felt like an angel, in Luke 2 singing "glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will towards men!" ... Also, all 6 sisters (8 including sister king and I) slept at our apartment for the night because the next day was zone conference! It was a little crowded, BUT because all of us were together, we had a very rare opportunity to bond as sisters in the mission. 

My tradition always has been with my companions that before bed, we say one way we saw the hand of the Lord in our day that day. but because there were so many sisters, I was able to be 6x as much spiritually strengthened as we recognized the Lord in our work that day! The next morning we also did a big giant comp. study together and I learned SO much from these fantastic sister missionaries! We really do have the best of the best here in Poland and I'm so grateful I was able to get closer with them and have my testimony strenghtened by them.

NEXT, I got to go on an exchange with Sister Poklinkowska in WROCLAW!!!! It felt like I never left! I got to sleep in my old bed and I got to have lessons with the people I used to teach and got to talk with the people I love there! It was so amazing! The thing that was really a miracle for me during that exchange was seeing and meeting with Tamara! When we met Tamara in October, she was PAINFULLY shy! She seemed nervous to share her opinions and was really quiet and didn't ever show much emotion in her facial expressions. I remember, there was one time when we KNEW she was feeling the spirit stongly because she was holding back a smile. But when i got to meet with her this week (3 days before her baptism!!) the gospel of Jesus Christ has changed her!!! She was smiling and laughing and adding her 2 cents with almost everything we said! And when I asked her what one thing was that she's learned since she met us, she said, "I know that God loves ME. That i'm not just 1 out of 7 billion, but that he loves me." When I opened my mission papers almost exactly a year ago, I had this overwhelming feeling like there was someone I had to find that needed to know that Heavenly Father loves them INDIVIDUALLY. Tamara may very well have been that person. My joy is full! She was baptized on Saturday and couldn't sleep that night because she was so excited to receive the gift of the Holy Ghost!
Funny moment: HAHAHHAHAHAHAH We had a meeting with a girl...she was ended up telling us that she smokes pot from time to time and was explaining how it makes her all "spokonie" and calm and la la la... my comp sister king is on her 2nd transfer in the country and bless her heart didn't understand and said, "EXACTLY! that's the Holy Ghost!!!" hahahhaha I was trying SOOO hard not to die laughing in the lesson!
Love, Sister Blake!!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2, 2013

Week 36

Pictures are worth 1000 words, so this week since I don't have ANY time, here are some pictures. [Kendall said she was going to visit Auschwitz today]

We had a Thanksgiving American feast type activity! Here's a picture of my team (Elder Lanham, Elder Smith, Wojtek, and Barbara!)

I got your package, Mom, and now our apartment is super fun and Christmasy! :)

We made food for the feast during our dinner hour and getting ready for bed hour and it was a TOTAL disaster!!! ahahhaa but SOOOOOOO FUNNY!!!!
The amazing moment this week I'm going to include but how fast I type it really won't do it justice. Where our apartment is located is right next to a street where, unfortunately, a lot of prostitutes find themselves at night. Kate, having done a report on the horrors of prostitution last year, has opened my eyes to this sad way of life. One night as we were walking home, we had the impression to go over to a woman and tell her her value as a daughter of God. We expressed to her how much the Lord loves her and how much we love her even though we don't even know her. Shivering in the cold, she was touched by the Spirit and started crying. I felt so much love for this woman and sadnesses at the gloom of her situation. But I saw a light dep in her eyes ignite as we spoke and grow brighter the longer we talked about the Lord's love for her. It was a deeply spiritual experience. I love this Kasia Daughter of God, as we named her in our cell phone, and I can't wait for her to start reading the Book of Mormon to witness to her how much the Lord loves all His children, but especially his daughters :) D&C 25:1-3....

1 Hearken unto the voice of the Lord your God, while I speak unto you, [Kasia], my daughter; for verily I say unto you, all those who areceive my gospel are sons and daughters in my bkingdom.
2 A revelation I give unto you concerning my will; and if thou art faithful and awalk in the paths of bvirtue before me, I will preserve thy life, and thou shalt receive an cinheritance in Zion.
3 Behold, thy asins are forgiven thee, and thou art an belect clady, whom I have dcalled.

I am so grateful for this gospel and that I know my identity and worth.

Love Love LOVE,
Sister Blake