Monday, March 31, 2014

March 31, 2014

Week 57 "aka craziest and happiest week of my life!"

Being a missionary is the absolute best thing ever!!! I have such a fulness of joy when I looked at our mission email and saw that 3 people got baptized this weekend in Poland! This country really is so ready for the gospel! I feel so blessed to be able to be teaching several progressing investigators who are working towards baptism in 2 weeks!!! Oh my goodness! Nothing feels better than working so hard to earn the trust of the Lord and then actually feeling and seeing the blessings and being the one to reap! I've had faith my whole mission that with the Lord's help, I could be a reaper and not only a planter of seeds! The Lord has been blessing my faith as we have 3 of my best friends getting baptized on April 11th! I knew these women before, there is no doubt in my mind! How blessed I am that I can meet them again here on Earth so we can all live together again after this life and in the presence of our Heavenly Father!

This has been the absolute best and craziest and unexpected week of my life! First of all, on Tuesday, we had a meeting with the greatest girl in the world, Aleks!!! She has been so prepared for the gospel and is practicaly already a member! and a strong member at that! On her ipad, she has practically every LDS app that you can download! She has started marking her scriptures not just with highlighter, but she has a system of sticky notes where she marks topics and answers to her prayers! She went to Warsaw last weekend for heaven's sake to help plan the YSA conference in August! The only thing she was lacking was a baptismal date! So on Tuesday, we sat down with her and we were pumped for the lesson, but she had a horrible day and Satan was putting doubts in her head...she didn't pray in the morning and just didn't feel like reading the BOM (first time that's ever happened to her). But when we opened the Book of Mormon to seek some answers, she immediately felt better! We encouraged her to REMEMBER the spiritual experiences she had had to do away with those doubts! By the time she was finished telling us about the YSA council meeting in Warsaw, she was SO happy and was amazed about how remembering lifted her spirits! I was reminded of 2 Nephi 4 (  Nephi is having a bad day...he remembers his blessings and just reboots and is ready to live and preach the gospel forever! And that exact same thing happened to Aleks! What started out as a down and doubtful lesson transformed itseld into something beautiful! We extended a baptismal date of in 2 weeks... after all of us kneeling down and saying silent prayers (hers asking for confirmation and ours praying our souls out that she's accept the date) she looked up with a smile and said, "yes! I want to be baptized on April 11th!" !! All 3 of us started screaming of happiness and Aleks for the rest of the day was telling everyone she saw, "guess what?! I'm getting baptized!!" She kept saying things like, "I have never been this happy! This church is SOOO true or else I wouldn't feel like this! I want everyone to hear about this!!!" Oh my heavens!! My joy has never been so full!!

Another amazing experience: the senior couple invited Sister Moncur and I to a Catholic school to practice English with some English students there...we accepted the invitation and this Friday was the 2nd time we did it... the first time we met a girl named Magda and I just had the best feeling about her and knew that we had to go back for a 2nd time to talk with her some more! We gave a presentation in the English class about Easter (half about American traditions and half about our religious beliefs...with a special emphasis on Christ's visit to the Americas after His resurrection on that Easter morning! Our lovely Magda came up to us after our presentation in which we without reservation bore our testimonies of this truth and said, "You know, I'd really love a Book of Mormon...It's so amazing to me how passionate you are and the excitement you feel from this and I felt it too! ...or at least I think I did." I was dying!!! Near tears!! We totally had felt the Spirit confirm to us that we needed to come back and teach about the Book of Mormon and we now have a meeting set up with Magda! I know this sounds crazy because we've only met twice, but I truly feel such a connection with her! Like I already know her! I KNOW that I am here right now because she specifically needs to hear from ME! It stresses me to think about transfers coming up because I want to stay here and keep teaching these amazing people who I have such a spiritual connection with! But I know that the Lord has a plan for me! I am so blessed that we are teaching these amazing people and so beyond words for how much I LOVE them! I didn't know I could love people this much after only knowing them for a few weeks! I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me and helps me feel for others!

Sister Moncur and I love each other so much!! Especially after what happened on Friday! Sister Moncur's body kind of just gave out... her heart was beating really fast and when I looked at her in the middle of a lesson, her eyes were totally glazed over and she stood up to walk out of the room and practically stumbled out! Our investigator (ALEKS :) ) was there and Sister Moncur kind of collapsed. She was still conscious, but unable to muster up enough strength to really control her body...  We thought she was fine after drinking some water, but then it happened again! She was given a blessing as she sat on the flooor and I KNOW that the power of the priesthood really is power to speak and bestow blessings from God! It was so powerful and I was just sobbing (the only part where I lost my cool). An ambulance had to come and we went to the hospital for the rest of the evening! Despite the craziness of the situation, some wonderful things came out of it! Aleks got to see the power of the preisthood working, Aleks told her mom about it all and her mom now wants to meet with us (!!!), I met a man in the Emergency waiting room who I gave a Book of Mormon (!), and we grew in love for the members that were there to help, our investigators who showed so much love and worry for Sister Moncur, and just so many amazing blessings from this happening! Sister Moncur is still a little tired from the whole ordeal, but she's back to her old self and humor and doing bounds better!! We're taking things not too crazy so we don't end up in the hospital again and for now that's been working :) We're kind of just trying to do all we can to avoid having to come to Warsaw because we have these amazing investigators who we need to prepare to be baptized! We love the work and despite all this crazy stuff happening, Sister Moncur and I agree that this is the happiest week either of us have had in our entire missions!

P.S. we're going to be performing at a Catholic mass with Mormon hymns and doctirne and a closing prayer next week!!  Oh my gosh it's going to be amazing!!! 300 people will be at this mass to hear us sing!! hahahah AHHH! Wish us luck!! The church was established in the year 1820..sound familiar to anything in church history!?!?)

Sorry for the longest email ever!

Funny: Poor Sister Tueller the senior couple "mom" here in Łódź was worried that the curry she bought us for lunch sent sister moncur to the hospital! hahahah oh we love her so much!

Me with one and only time on the mission with straight hair
Our weird hair cuts
Sister Moncur and I :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

March 24, 2014

This week was absolutely amazing! This transfer has been one of sheer joy! I am loving my misison so much and I know it is because we are seeking the Spirit in all that we do and the Lord is blessing us immensely! I am constantly thinking about our investigators and about how much I love them and just all the timemy thoughts are on the work and all the different things we get to do! I have loved not thinking a smidgen about home this whole week! This week was the fastest week ever (unfortunately). It was filled with repentance, growth, baptismal dates, member lessons, talking to every one, sunny days, rainy days, a fantastic branch (each one of whom I love with all of my heart!), and a wonderful and hilarious companion!

We saw so many miracles this week! Beata so wonderful and has a continually growing testimony of the gospel! She came to church all dolled up and looked SO cute! She even had eyeliner that matched her dress! Aleks went to Warsaw this week and just can't stop talking about how many wonderful young adults she met at the YSA planning council and at church on Sunday! Aneta has felt the Spirit in really obvious ways and recognizes it! And our little Alicja Siuda is amazing and progessing towards baptism and her parents (formerly inactive members until 2 months ago) are totally on board and are so supportive! It's taken her a while to open up around me since she's only 9 and a little shy, but she's so much more willing to pray and participate in our little simplified missionary discussions we have for her! I love teaching her because I'm learing such obvious skills for being a mother in Zion in the future! I just love missionary work so much! Sister Moncur and I just shed tears of gratitude several times this week!

This week I've really been realizing the way the Lord has molded me into what He needs me to be and helping me come closer to achieving mission long goals that I made in the beginning of my mission. I have a goal that while on my mission, I want to have developed the ability to speak about the gospel in any turn any conversation into one where I can share this essential and eternal knowledge with those I speak with. I made this goal in a hope to be a missionary for the rest of my life... My Grandma Nancy is a wonderful example of this as well as many other members of my family! She can go on a drive in a taxi and by the time she gets to her destination, the taxi driver has an invite to church and a Book of Mormon! I want to be just like be able to share the thing I love most with everyone I meet for the rest of my life! So I set the goal and I have seen how much Heavenly Father has helped me in getting better and better at it! I feel like it's really actually turning into one of my strengths! Oh! You're going to go on a ski trip? Aren't the mountains just beautiful? A place where you can really enjoy nature and feel at peace. Sometimes when I go in the mountains, I like to pray...where it's peaceful and quiet... BOOM! Gospel talk time! The thing I realized is that just like the example given above, I realized I never have to be fake...I can really use my own experiences and joys to relate to their lives! I love it! It is so fulfilling to show love to someone by listening to them and show them my love AND the love of the Savior by telling them about the gospel! I'm not saying it's easy... but with practice, it has been getting everytime better.

Funny: well I've successfully avoided the hairdresser here in Poland for months, but it's beinginning to be summer and I needed a trim! So I went in there thinking, oh I've been here for a year! I can communicate!...... well turns out my vocab for going to the hairdresser's is pretty slim! The lady thinned my hair a TON and my pony tail now feels like just a few hairs!!! My companion too is freaking out about how much of her hair has been chopped off!!! We're kind of dying laughing about how there's nothing we can do about it now! NIECH BĘDZIE as they say.


Sister Blake

Picture: me and Sister Oncur with our CUTE investigator Beata on Sunday with her matching eyeliner and dress :)

Monday, March 17, 2014

March 17, 2014 ST PATRICKS DAY

This week has been so amazing! Not because we had anything that's worth writing in a General Conference talk or including in a book of miraculous stories, but it was so special to me because this week I just felt so close to the Lord and the Spirit all week. I felt like this week I was able to achieve as best I could to remember the Savior in all of my doings. I love being Sister Moncur's companion because we are both trying so hard to allow ourselves to be led by the Spirit. In everything we do: streets we walk down, apartments to tract, phone calls to make, etc, we are always asking ourselves "what is the Spirit telling us to do?" Even if it's just seeking a confirmation. This week I have more conciously than ever allowed myself to be guided through the Savior's vineyard here in my area in Łódź. Whenever we feel like we're doing something just to do it, we stop and pray and seek guidance again. It has given my work real purpose. 

I have been focusing on the work so much more and every night I flop into bed because I am so dead tired from being spiritually guided all day. Nothing feels better than being so tired at the end of the day, not from contacting for hours, and not from lack of sleep, but instead being tired because of the energy we are constantly trying to put into being guided with all that we do. This week hasn't necessarily yeilded the best numbers I've had on the mission...we didn't necessarily have tons of people's contact information at the end of the week or a mnóstwo of baptismal dates or anything, but I feel like this week was one of the most successful I've had in my mission because I realized whose work this really is. Not mine, but the Lord's. Sister Moncur an I have been so happy and are constantly feeling uplifted by the Spirit in all that we do! And the results we HAVE seen may not have related directly to the activities we did during the week, but the blessings we saw from diligently and happily following the Spirit in the work yeilded really quality and wonderful results! The investigators we have are progressing so well and coming closer and closer to their Savior and I know will be really solid members of the church when they join the church by becoming baptized and starting a new life as a disciple of Christ.

I'm so grateful to be a missionary. My life is so blessed and I am so indebted to the Lord for all He has given me. I'm grateful that I get this opportunity to give back a small portion of what he has given to me!

Funny moment: it's been sunny and beautiful all week! But yesterday was a different story! It was drizzling I saw out the window, So I decided to put on my gloves.. I turned around for one second and 3 seconds later Sister Moncur says, "Siostro..." I look back out the window and HAIL is pouring down! Or rather sideways!! We walked outside with our umbrella literally held out straight infront of us instead of above us to block ourselves from the rain and hail! Ahhah oh heavens! Welcome spring!

Sister Blake

Sister Blake and Sister Moncor at the new great restaurant they just found in Lodz
So our apartment here has a chalkboard painted wall! So we wrote our goals up for the transfer on them and I love it so much I just had to share it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

March 10, 2014

The work is going so well here in Łódź! Beata is still progressing despite the fact that she got SUPER sick and couldn't come to church this week! She's still excited and working towards baptism and recognizes that Satan is doing all he can to prevent her from baptism, but knows that the Lord's strength is infinitely stronger! It's so amazing to see how determined she is! We finished teaching her the lessons the other day and so now we are preparing her for baptism and helping her to set habits now to become a real "kingdom builder" in the future. Baptism is not the end! The blessings of being baptized extend throughout our whole lives as we partake of the sacrament everyweek and after a year of membership can go to the temple and extends into the eternities! Aleks is another investigator who went on a trip to Scotland this week...we were worried that she'd decide to stay there in Scotland once she got there and we never heard from her all week! But then Sunday came and she came to church all on her own and totally amazed me with how faithful she is already! She's learning more about the Saviors power. She said, "I've only met Christ 2 weeks ago, and now I'm working and wanting to actually get to know Him." It's so amazing to see these amazing women deepening their faith in Christ and feeling His power as they pray for strength and guidance! I'm so blessed to be able to work with them!

It's already time to put away our big down jackets here in Łódź **knock on wood** and I'm SO excited! It's getting sunny and beautiful and Sister Moncur and I even got to go contacting in a park yesterday and there was a man with a popcorn and cotton candy stand! It's officially spring and i LOVE it! It's a time of rebirth where the world can start with a clean slate. It's just like with baptism and repentance! I love the primary song that goes "I like to...ponder on the beauty of an Earth made clean again. I want my life to be as clean as Earth right after rain. I want to be the best I can and live with God again." I love that! As we repent and are baptized, we are cleansed from our sins and are reborn... colors are brighter and the light in our life is more aparent and bright...just like during the springtime when the light starts to come a little sooner in the day and it's a little brighter and warmer...dethawing the cold just as repentance through Jezus Christ dethaws and brightens our souls. It's so amazing and I'm so grateful not only for the gorgeous weather and chirping birds, but for the opportunity to repent and undergo the glorious change and rebirth that the Earth undergoes at this time of the year. :)

Sister Moncur and I are doing great! We are teaching and contacting each day a little more in unison...she made phone calls for the first time on her mission the other day and did a great job and set up 2 meetings!'s our goal that in 2 weeks we will be doing everything 50/50 and the week after that that she'll play the role of senior companion! So things are going really great here and we're making progress and loving the sun!
Funny: Sister Moncur and I were in Warsaw for 2 days this week for zone conferences and legal work and stuff and so one day were just got lost in Warsaw contacting and loving the whole time! There was a lady walking her dog that was absoltely not interested!... but her DOG WAS! The dog just sat right at our feet and REFUSED to budge! The lady practically yanked his collar off of his neck, but the dog did not want to leave our side! At least somebody there knew who were were and who we represented! 

Spiritual: Today I had an amazing personal study! Being 100% honest and absolutely open here: everyone here on the mission always says, "I've come to know my Savior so much better!" and I have always thought that I must be doing something wrong because I feel like I have, but not like a 180 degree change or anything... but today, I think I really made leaps of progress on my very gradual road to coming to know Christ better on my mission. The Spirit testified to me so strongly today as I studied to teach a woman who believes that Christ is only a historical figure that He is in fact the Savior. As I studied, my understanding was enlightened! Things were clicking and I finally know what it means that "Christ Lives!" And I know He does! I know that Christ died...His spirit left His body and He died just like each of us will. But He resurrected! His body and His spirit reunited! He is alive! He breathes! He loves! He is sad when we do what we shouldn't. He is happy when we do what is right. He has emotion! He doesn't live on the Earth, but reading 3 Nephi 11, I know and cannot deny that Jesus Christ AFTER He was killed, was a living being when He showed Himself to the peoples of America. He lives today and loves us and directs this church! I know that this church is true and I cannot deny it. I'm so grateful for this sacred experience of being able to come closer to my Savior this morning. Coming to know the Savior is not always a sudden thing like Alma the younger or Saul/Paul...for me it has taken time and much effort, but I've always had faith...and today I feel like a portion of that faith has become a knowledge, just like it is promised in Alma 32. These things are true.

Sister Blake

Monday, March 3, 2014

March 3, 2014

Week 53

This week has been one for the books! One of my favoties of the mission! And to think I was stressing so much last week about how it would turn out ! Like I knew it would, my testimony of the Savior's grace and ability to take care of the rest as I'm trying my hardest was strengthened! I was worried about our temporary mini missionary Cindy Call having a good experience, about getting Sister Montesinos all packed up and ready to be transfered, about picking up my new companion, Sister Moncur, about an "American" break-the-fast meal that the branch asked us to make for Sunday after fast Sunday, about a baptism here this weekend, and everything in between. But somehow, someway, as I just took one day at a time and focused on just doing my best and enjoying it all, The Savior was able to step in and save the day. There were minimal stressful moments and this week had the potential to have thousands! So I am so grateful for His help this week!

Our time with Sister Call was SO amazing! It's what made this week so amazing! She just has such a desire to serve and love the Lord! I learned so much about being genuine with people from her! Not to mention I felt like I was almost cheating having a Pole walking around with me helping me with Polish all the time! It was so awesome! I love Sister Call! She was so sweet: she kept on saying how happy she was that I was her first companion ever! I loved being someone that she looked up to and worked hard with and got along with. We had so much fun this past week! She is hysterical and gave me lots of secret pointers from her mom about 101 things you can use chamomile for! All in all, I am SO grateful that I got to spend this time with her and be her very first companion! I hope that she'll look forward to a mission in the future because of her experience this week. I know that I'll always remember and cherish this past week with her as she helped me say goodbye to and get used to my new companions and taught me so much Polish and health tips, and gospel knowledge! I am amazed by Sister Cindy Call :)

Saying goodbye to Sister Monetsinos was sad, and I'll miss her a lot! And now it's me and Sister Moncur and I love her so much!  We have some great goals based on helping each other love our missions even more and taking advantage of the short time that we have! She's super fun and I'm looking forward to to working with her and loving her this transfer! I'm really excited for this upcoming spring transfer and I just know it will bring miracles!

So we've been teaching a girl our age named Aleks. She is SO cool and I love her so much already! Things just seem to really click for her and she is really seeking to come closer to Chirst on her own! We committed her to read in the Book of Mormon every day and a few days later, she told us that she additionally started reading the Bible as well because she knows that they go together! Ah! It's so amazing! She has had some real prayers answered and it's absolutely a priveldge  to be a small part in her conversion! She had been debating whether or not to go back to Scotland for school, but after praying about it, she felt the most peace when thinking about staying! So she's staying! We're going to be able to keep teaching her and preparing her for baptism (since she says that she'd really like to be baptized!) The Lord really loves her so much and is trying to do all He can to lead her to Him. It's an amazing process to see and amazing to be able to peek a tiny bit into how much the Savior REALLY wants her to come unto Him. I love this work so much and am so honored to be a part of it!
Funny Moment: There was a baptism on Saturday evening, and we were in a huge rush to get there, but we were still super far away! So how would we get there on time!?! Out of the corner of my eye, I notice on of those bikes that has a three seater seat attached to the front. Well you can probably guess what happened! We paid the guy and hopped on the rick-shaw thing and started towards the baptism! We were dying laughing at our spontenaity and engeniusness of how to get there the fastest way possible! .. and then the even funnier part is that the fast speedy ride I imagined resembling a rickshaw ride in Thailand where you're going 1000 mph, turned out to be SO SLOW!!! hahaha oh sheesh... typical me.'s a picture of the whole escapade!

Sister Blake
rickshaw ride fail
departing sister montesinos
slumber party missionary style with sister call and moncur :)