Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014

Week 44

Holy cow I can't believe this week was just one week! It seems like forever ago that I last emailed you! Things in Łódź are really great! We had a ton of lessons with members this week and tried to really establish some trust between us! The members here are absolutely amazing! We even have two blind members that somehow come by themselves almost every week! I have learned so much from the Polish saints here! I have committed to myself and the Lord that no matter where I live in my life, it is NEVER to far away to come to church! I mean, if people come from two hours away by train, a 20 minute car ride is nothing. I am so grateful for the accesibility to the church where I grew up! This week we also worked with a less active family. They have two sweet little girls and were married in the temple even! But they haven't been to church for a while. We had a pretty straight forward lesson with them and talked about repentance and change and how the way to progress and become a better person is by starting to do the things the Lord wants you to do! This family is not doing anything that is against church beliefs...they simply aren't doing the things the Lord wants them to be doing. We talked about that and about how action is necessary in this life if anything is to get done. If any progress in ourselves is going to be made, it always takes a pretty uncomfortable first step. And they took that step 6 days later when after months of inactivity, the whole family of four came to church!! Sure they had to endure some hugs and kisses and some "we're so happy you're here"s, but that's not really "enduring" anything anyways! As a sat in church with this sweet family, my joy was full! Seeing these saints recommit to what they knew deep down to be true was deeply touching.

Another really amazing and yet so simple moment happened last night. It was Sunday night. Dark. Cold. Snowing. But despite that, it was our will and also the Lord's will to go out and work! To be diligent with a smile on our faces! We went out and the first miracle was the snow boots I inherited from Sister Smithee (or maybe Sister Ence)! My feet weren't cold at all walking through snow! miracle #2: it wasn't windy a single smidge! small little snow flurries were so beautiful! miracle #3: we spoke to one of the only people on the street and it turns out that we actually met her a few days ago but she didn't have time to stop because she was going to a dentist appointment! It just goes to show that when people say they are "śpieszyć się"-ing (in a hurry), they really mean it! oh it was so cool! We had a whole heart to heart about her worries about life after death and prayer, etc, etc! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Everyone knows I already LOVE my heart to hearts! and I just get to have them with everyone that I meet! on the street, on the bus, even just now i just stopped typing for about 5 minutes because the lady next to me started talking to me and I just 2 seconds ago got to testify of this gospel!!!!!! SOOO COOL!!!

Oh many... miracles are happening everywhere! Naprawdę! I can see how the Lord is blessing me for trying to be diligent and consecrated, but not because I have to! Because I want to! Anyways, after our sweet friend who we met last night (who looks like a little elf from Lord of the Rings or something since she is super short and has long red curly hair and is super earthy), we met another girl who is a photographer (Nicole! I used you to start the convo!) and looked just like Melissa Stewart! We ended up walking her all the way home and had the greatest heart to heart too!! Oh it was so fun to testify of these things that I know and love! at the end of our walk, she said that she'd write down our number and would send us a text later (NOOOO!!!! [usually that means we'll never hear from them again]) but we said a prayer of gratitude for her and later that night we actually DID get a text from her!! MIRACLE!! I just love being a servant of the Lord! ESPECIALLY here in Poland!!

Funny moment: Sister Montesinos and I tried to make this P{olish food called placki ziemniaczane (potatoe pancake sort of things that they love here) (dziękuję Siostro Kukurendo za przepis! mimo to, że tym razem nam się nie udało, dziś jeszcze raz gotowałyśmy i było pyszne...jak powinno być! :) )  and we were feeding the sweet senior couple because they do so much for us so we invited them over for our dinner hour...maybe we should've tried to make them before because it was our first time and it was just a disaster!! hahaha!! We ended up feeding them practically burnt hashbrowns! The house was so smokey and it was a bit of a mess haha! I felt sort of bad, but it was mostly just pretty hilarious!

Me making placki ziemniaczane
and mm and my sweet and fun companion Sister Montesinos :)

Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014

Week 43

This week was a really great week! The opportunity to be on a mission is such an amazing one! I not only get to help others grow and become new creatures in Christ, but I get to do the same right along with them! I don't necessarily thing I have become a completely different person on my mission...I still like to talk with people and laugh and eat sweets and have adventures... but the good qualities I had before are becoming more amplified, the strong parts of my testimony are becoming stronger, whereas my not-so-good qualities are improving and the weaker parts of my testimony are being strengthened. I'm so grateful that I had submitted myself to be clay in the Lord's hands. He knows what I need to become. He knows what strengths I will need to have in my future and He's helping me to become that right now! What a blessing to be an angel in the Lord's holy work at this time in my life.

I had a bit of a sacred moment this week that I would like to share. For the most part, becoming more consecrated, diligent, time-efficient, and obedient in the past week or two has really helped me develop a real DESIRE for the work! I want to go out and talk to people about the gospel! Even in the freezing hail and snow! But the other day, I was talking to people on a tramwaj (a form of public transportation here) and I was feeling really down, a little discouraged, and a little defeated. During lunch time, while my companion was using the bathroom, I had a quiet moment to myself (despite the fact that it was in a busy mall bathroom) and said a little prayer to Heavenly Father telling Him how I was feeling and why and asked for a little help or encouragement or advice or comfort....pretty much anything to just know He was there. I opened up the mini English Book of Mormon with me that I have in my purse and opened up to Mosiah 26.

14 "And it came to pass that after [she] had poured out [her] whole soul to God, the a voice of the Lord came to [her], saying: Blessed art thou, [Sister Blake], and blessed are they who were baptized in the waters of Mormon. Thou art blessed because of thy exceeding faith in the words alone of my servant[s]... And blessed art thou because thou hast established a church among this people; and they shall be established, and they shall be my people... Thou art my servant; and I covenant with thee that thou shalt have eternal life; and thou shalt serve me and go forth in my name, and shalt gather together my sheep... Therefore I say unto you, Go."

In this mall bathroom, I got all choked up... I knew in that moment that God really does hear prayers and answer them. He supports and comforts us in our time of need, and as we are doing our best, He is there right beside us.

The Lord is really blessing us in so many ways! I'm so grateful to each day love this work more and more! What an exciting and wonderful thing! I'm grateful to be Sister Montesinos' companion, grateful to be in Łódź, grateful to have the Tueller's here as the senior couple, grateful to get to see some snow, grateful to be serving the Lord! I am loving every second of this work!

Funny moment of this week: one of them that's fresh on my mind is something Elder Tueller said (the husband in the senior missionary couple here). We got a GIANT bread bowl at this popular place called Manekin here, and he said, "WOW! That'll warm up your innards!!" What!??!! hahaha I was dying! His wife started dying laughing and giving him a hard time for sounding like a hillbilly! haha I'm so grateful for this sweet senior couple we have here!

Sister Blake

Here are some pictures of our brand new apartment! It's practically out of Ikea! haha it's SUPER nice! Like I think one of the nicest apartments in the mission! P.S. you pronounce the city Łódź, "woodge".

 These are some pictures from Christmas time that I never got a Chance to send! It was so fun! On Christmas Eve, we rode a train home from Krakow and I felt like I was on Polar Express! Sister King and I on Christmas morning decorated stockings! and I love the new boots you guys sent me! I've worn them every day since Christmas! and we also made Christmas sugar cookies before going to bed! Christmas in the mission is unlike anything else! I loved it! :)

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014

Week 42

Dear Family and friends... so this email I hope makes a little bit of sense... I'm pretty much copying and pasting my letter to the mission president onto this email with a few minor changes, so hopefully you all can figure out what's going on. [Kendall has to report to her mission president each week as a Sister Training Leader]

This past week was transfers. I'm in a new area, in a new zone, with a new comp. We had mission leadership council on Thursday and we talked mostly about desire. I learned so much about my desires and what I need to do to change them! I need to want to do the hard things on a mission... I need to want to do them because the Lord wants me to do them. As I put my own desires on the sacrificial alter, I can ask the Lord to fill me with His desires... and by doing this, I'll be aligning my will with the Lords... and this is the thing I've been trying to do for this past week... give up my own desires and do this work with enthusiasm because the Lord wants me to. The Mission Leadership Council really changed me. I feel like there were certain things that stood out to me that were absolutely essential for me to hear. Being about half way through my mission, I needed to be shaken up a little bit and called out to repentance. In the last transfer (don't get me wrong, I've been working hard!) but I don't think I was truly giving my whole heart and soul to the work. I'm so grateful that I've been given this new opportunity to start anew with new expectations for myself. I was really struck with the idea of consecration. I realize that lately I've been being a good missionary or even a great missionary, but I haven't necessarily been a fully consecrated missionary. I want so badly to be absolutely 100% dedicated to the work during this short time that I have as a missionary. I, in fact, have started a 40 day fast of 8 things that I'm putting on the sacrificial alter! One of them being eating sweets. Another one being guesses and desires for future transfers. These are 2 examples of things that I'm wanting to get rid of completely for the next 40 days so I can focus more fully on the work. The greatest desire of my heart is to give my ALL to this work ... without running myself into the ground. "Oh that I were an angel!" I have this Alma desire to be super human so I can be 100% consecrated and FULLY dedicated to the Lord!

Sister Montesinos is great! She's super sweet and really normal and nice, which I'm grateful for :). From what I can understand, her last transfer wasn't a super productive transfer for her. Well that is not how it is anymore, especially with me being on this consecrated missionary kick. I LOVE Łódź though! The branch is great and SO loving towards me! The city is definitely NOT as bad as everyone says and I actually really love Lodz and think it's really pretty! I'm also so grateful to live in a big city again! There are SO many streets to explore and people to meet! I'm really excited for this transfer and am expecting miracles to happen here!

Sorry it's so short, we have less time than usual. I don't have time to think of a funny moment, but don't worry, I'm still laughing :)

Sister Blake

Below is a picture that Elder Lanham sent me of the woman Kendall help teach and whom Kendall referred to in her last letter that got baptized just a couple days after Kendall was transfered. Elder Lanham, who was one of the Zone Leaders Kendall served with,  is in the photo with Sister P, Kendall's old mission companion from Wroclaw and their companions. Elder Lanham and soon to be baptized Sister are in all white and are ready to enter the pool which will act as a baptismal font. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints believes in the restoration of full baptism by immersion, like was done when Christ was baptized by John the Baptist.
Kendall sent this last week and forgot to post: We got an article about us in the local newspaper online! I know it's in Polish, but you can go on Google translate :) a few people have actually said to us: "oh ya, you guys were in the newspaper!" So mission accomplished!
Sister Blake
Here is the first part of it so you can see what Polish looks like, but for the whole article, click on this link:
Dwie mormonki z Salt Lake City, gdzie znajduje się główna siedziba Kościoła Jezusa Chrystusa Świętych w Dniach Ostatnich, przyjechały do Katowic na misje. Na ulicach miasta opowiadają przechodniom o swojej wierze i nauczają, jak dzięki niej można osiągnąć spokój i szczęście.

Siostra Blake ma zaledwie 21 lat, ale już pracuje jako misjonarka dla swojego Kościoła w USA. Należy do zgrupowania mormonów, jednego z najpopularniejszych wyznań w tym kraju. Mormoni wierzą, że Bóg porozumiewa się z ludźmi poprzez żyjących proroków, a jedną z najbardziej kontrowersyjnych nauk ich Kościoła jest doktryna o dosłownym pokrewieństwie człowieka z Bogiem.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

January 7, 2014

Week 41

Well, I'm being transferred again! and they are actually white washing this area again! Which is super unusual. I'm staying as Sister Training Leader but in a new zone and I'm moving to a city called Łódź and moving in with my a new companion named Sister Montesinos who's already been there for a transfer! SO! Kind of chuckling that I really brought all this change upon myself as I wrote about how I wanted change last week! hahaha be careful what you wish for! I'm a little stressed about it all, but I know it will be great! You know, I remember when I came to Katowice I didn't think I would love the members here as much as I did in Wrocław, but look at me now! My heart has grown and I'm actually sad to leave!  So if I could grow to love Katowice, I know I'll quickly grow to love Łódź too! There are new streets to walk, new friends to make, new investigators to help, and new people to love! When I think about it in that light, my stress goes away and I'm really excited! "Perfect love casteth out all fear" Moroni 8:16.

My miracle of this week really was an absolute miracle from heaven!! There is an investigator here named (I'll call her Sandra). She has been investigating the church for almost a year. She gained a testimony that the church is true! But due to her living situation with her boyfriend, she couldn't be baptized. So for months, she's been more active in the church than a lot of other members even! She's has a rock solid testimony and is just amazing! This past Friday, she called and said that her situation had changed, she and her boyfriend broke-up, and he moved out and she wants to be baptized this upcoming Saturday!!!! It was so amazing! I was just so blown away for days! What a huge miracle to see right at the end of the transfer! Even though I will be leaving Kato just 2 days before she becomes baptized, I am so grateful to have had a small part in this eternal change she's making in her life! My joy is full!

Sister Blake

Here is a picture that Elder Lanham from Kendall's mission sent me last week and I forgot to attach. What a great group of missionaries she was able to serve with in Katowice. I also attached a photo I found on the internet of her new city, Lodz.