For the next year and a half, I will be serving as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Poland Warsaw Mission.
"And thus they were instruments in the hands of God in bringing many to the knowledge of the truth, yea, to the knowledge of their Redeemer." --Mosiah 27:36
So! Because of some emergency changes going on in the mission, my area is being dissolved for the time being! :( But I am still staying in the same branch and city luckily!!! The Lord just planned everything out perfectly so that not too many dramatic changes would have to be made! I can still work with our golden investigator Teresa (who's getting baptized on June 7th!)! But my companion has to leave Warsaw and gets to go down to Katowice! As a result, I will be in a 3-some with Sister Poklinkowska (who I was comps with last September!) and Sister Hemming (who I've always wanted to be comps with!)!!! So I'm just jumping into their companionship for 2 weeks before the actual transfer calls happen. But I am SOOOO excited because the Sisters I'm going to be serving with are my 2 favorite Sisters in the mission and are 2 of my best friends!! I wrote President Edgren like a few months ago just saying that if I ever got to serve with Sister Poklinkowska or Sister Hemming it would be a dream, and now I get to serve with BOTH! At the same time!!! I'm so stoked!!! But it's only for 10 days and then we'll get our transfer calls and off I go to where the Lord needs me! Could still be here! But we'll see. That's the amazing thing about a mission. You don't need to seek any revelation whatsoever about where you need to go for the next few months or how long you need to stay there...basically you're just told by a man called of God who received revelation on your behalf! And you just know that's where the Lord needs you to be and you do it! Not huge decision making stress like at home! So I'm enjoying this time of just knowing that where I'm sent is exactly where the Lord needs me to go!
This week a member of the 70, President Adler, from Germany came to Warsaw and spoke to us missionaries and came and spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday! He is a man just full of love and light and it was really inspiring to hear and feel the Lord putting words in his mouth that each person listening (with open ears and heart) to hear. From him and the Spirit, I learned a lot about revelation. that it comes with simply prayer and scripture study! I experienced this on Saturday. A few weeks ago, I prayed to Heavenly Father with a question about what to do. The answer I got was to ask again in 2 weeks. So this past Saturday, 2 weeks had passed and I asked again. I got specific answers to my prayers as I asked specific questions and paid attention to the Spirit speaking to my heart. I felt prompted to ask President for an interview since he'd be in our branch the next day. It turns out that the timing of my prayers was just exactly perfect and in the end, I ended up being an answer to his prayers! It was SO amazing to feel like a tool in the Lord's hands...to listen to that inspiration to wait to weeks and then be able to answer someone else's prayers! I'm so grateful for the fact that we have access to our Father who lives in Heaven. His is so mindful of us and is "in the details of our lives."
Funny Moment: Yesterday, we were doing a "whiteboard" in a park with the elders and a little girl came up and asked if she could pass out some ulotki (pass-along cards)! She started running (literally running!) around to everyone (literally everyone! Even people on bikes and on jogs!) and giving them pass along cards saying "Here you go!... Here you go!" It was certainly what I'd call hastening the work and feeling urgency about it! :) When she had to leave I gave her a stack more to hand out as she went on her way!!
1: This is Elżbieta and her 91 year old mother Ciesława! They are HYSTERICAL! They do everything together and are the bestest of friends! It's so sweet!
The past couple days have been a day of miracles! I'd like to start off by telling some stories and then tell what major lesson I feel like I've learned this week!
First of all, yesterday was the craziest most miraculous day!!! Sister Owen and I started the day thinking it'd be a normal missionary Sunday...hardworking and spiritual, etc... but it ended up being filled with so much more than just that!! First: I've started translating in sacrament meetings and it is the most fun thing ever! It is so good for my language skills and I love being able to feel the gift of tongues so wyraźnie!
After church, an active member who's our age came up to us and said she wanted to talk with us! She's so amazing and is such a rock! We had a meeting and talked about the blessings of dating people who have your same beliefs...specifically dating people who one day you would have the posibility of marrying in the temple! It was such a genuine discussion we had and I hope that the Spirit was able to give her some guidance during our meeting!
Next we made some phone calls before our next meeting and we set up with 2 new investigators! ***I have totally stopped long ago using numbers as my motivation for work. But for us this week it nearly seemed impossible to reach our goal and by getting those two new investigators, we reached our goal!!! Which put us 1 member lesson away and 1 baptismal date away from reaching the standard of excellence!! **Like I said, the numbers are not what drive me at all...but I knew that they Lord would help us reach this because we were SOOO close! I said a sincere prayer of faith asking for miracles for the rest of the day, that we might be able to reach the Standard [their goals for teaching investigators, and having members be a part of teaching investigators with them, and scheduled baptisms] this week!
We started working our tails off to make things work! We called a few investigators and our beloved Teresa said she had a lunch break and could meet in 30 mins!! OKAY! So 30 minutes we had to work with to find a member to be with us in the lesson! We were set up to meet with a less-active woman who we've been working with and invited her to be on the lesson and I was pleasantly suprised when she said yes! We picked her up at her house and started heading to the chapel... the whole way I was kind of thinking..."are my motivations for this right?" And after some pondering, I realized all of the great things that would come from this: extra boost of spiritual energy for Teresa, but for the less-active member, she would get a chance to strengthen her testimony by teaching with us! She really needs that spiritual strength and I realized it was actually an answer to our prayers of what we could do for her to strengthen her and bring her back! Things lined up perfectly where a bus miraculously came and we hopped on it just in time to get to the chapel for our meeting! The Lord just put miracle after miracle in our path!
So we got the one member lesson, and then we just needed one more baptimal date! What an amazing opportunity to be bold with everyone we meet! We ended up going to a crowded park and talking to everyone in the park about baptism! We even invited them to be baptized on July 5th right then and there! This was one of the times that I was truly putting every ounce of energy, soul, and heart into talking with people! I felt so sincerely connected to them as I was being bold but not condeming and inviting them to change there lives around in the course of a month and a half! It felt so amazing!
You know...in the end, we didn't end up having someone accept the baptismal date. But I really feel like all of this is an answer to prayer to help me be more motivated and less scared to share what my purpose here is! I felt like I really gave my all yesterday and I saw so many miracles along the way! I know the Lord does have more people that really will accept a baptismal date! Who will want to follow and learn of the gospel! But His plan and timing is SO much wiser and better than mine! I'm excited to see the blessings that come next week and in the weeks to come!
Lesson Learned: I really have been understanding what it means to "take upon the name of Christ". This week I learned what that means to me. I (and every other person who has been baptized by Christ's true priesthood authority) have promised God that I will ALWAYS stand as a witness of Christ EVERYWHERE. President Eyring was invited to give a talk at a university a few years ago and was told that he wasn't allowed to mention Jesus Christ in his speech. Pres. Eyring was really perplexed by this because if he didn't mention Christ and be His witness in ALL situations, he'd be breaking his promise to God! He ended up realizing that his promises to Heavenly Father were more important to him than men...so he did briefly mention Christ in his speech. Afterwards, someone said they heard God's voice when Pres. Eyring said that. This taught me that I don't have to be self righteous about my beliefs or condem others for not believing it, but that taking upon the name of Christ means not being ashamed to say His name in conversations and not ever being embarrassed that we are a part of the Church of JESUS CHRIST. I really loved that this week! That's what it truly means to have integrity!
Funny: When walking by a Tesco (Polish Costco) I saw a VW Bug with Dottie Small's Car Eyelashes!!!!!!! Small world! ...no pun intended!
ALSO!!! Teresa made herself a Book of Mormon case! it's yellow so she now calls her Book of Mormon her "golden plates" !!! AMAZING! Here's a pic!
This week was just filled with miracles! The work here in our area is really starting to pick up! Starting from scratch is always a little rough, but when you start to see the fruits of your labors, it's absolutely amazing and is so rewarding! Today I wanted to focus on the miracle of Teresa most of all.
We met Teresa while walking to a meeting one day and we started talking to her of couse about Jesus Christ. She said that she was pretty on the fence about Jesus Christ lately and was really questioning and doubting His Divine Sonship. So of course, we jumped on the opportunity to help our sister out and set up a time to meet on Sunday. When we met on Sunday, she was saying things about how she knows that Christ existed and suffered for our sins, but that He doesn't really help us... that we're on our path alone in this life. But the next meeting a few days later, I was nearly in tears when she pointed to the Book of Mormon and said, "Ever since I started reading this book and saying prayers the way you girls taught me, I feel light... I feel support! I realize now that Christ doesn't want me to go through life alone. He wants to support me!" Another funny miracle is that she said that after our meeting on Sunday, she prayed and asked Heavenly Father if this was the right path for her. A little bit later, she went to a Catholic mass and the priest read something from the Bible that said something like, "Ye shall know my plan/path for you when you feel it grow in your heart" ...somthing like that. Teresa described it to us saying, "When the priest read that, I didn't feel that way, but it reminded me that when I was in that meeting with you guys earlier that day, I DID feel like that!" AH! So amazing! It was the coolest thing to see in what different ways the Lord answers prayers so His children will know that He hears them! After learning about the Plan of Happiness, she decided that she wanted to be baptized on June 7th! So now we're working towards that date with her! I seriously am so amazed by how the Lord blesses us!
Funny Moment: Honesty Circle! So I've been having some skin problems lately. But heaven knows THAT's not the funny moment of this week! The funny moment is something that happened yesterday. I was waiting for my turn yesterday to call my family when I freshly returned Polish missionary (as in a missionary who lived in Poland, left for a mission, and came back to Poland last week) walks in the room without saying a word. He hands me a book, and walks out a few seconds later. The title of the book is "Doctors' Secrets to a Lifetime of Clear Skin".... !!!!!!! hahahah I wasn't sure if I should be offended or feel grateful that he was trying to do something nice! There's Polish tact for you! But me and the sisters in the room absolutely DIED laughing!!!
I would like to start out with repenting for the fact that no letter was written last week! Not making it seem like these little letters once a week are the things that your whole week revolves aound, but I rather need to change and improve because writing these letters on Pday is something that uplifts me spiritually everyweek as I reflect upon the things that have happened and the way the Lord has blessed me. So it was definitely my loss that I didn't write one! But that being said...onto the miracles of this past week!
I feel like a lot has happened in the week! It has been full of uplifting, spiritual, funny, and wacky moments (just as all the best weeks contain!) This past week I was really focusing on teaching by the Spirit. We had a lesson last week where I felt like I simply taught a lesson...compaing it to a bad teacher in high school who just gives all the information but doesn't make it interesting or apply to me. I felt like that, and it didn't feel good! From that moment on I decided I really needed to brush up on my teaching skills and trust in the Spirit more to guide it...czyli: improve (or in other words: repent! :) ) It was really amazing to feel so uplifted during the lessons during this week!
The Holy Ghost always teaches me something new when I teach by the Spirit. For example, this week we were explaining to a Catholic women that the reasons why she feels love when she thinks her own thoughts and directs them in conversation to God is because she is being sincere with Him. With all do respect, I truly believe that repeated prayers that are written on cards or in books can't yeild the same results in any comparison to the prayers that are sincere and from the heart. I learned as I was speaking with her that our relationship with Heavenly Father works in the same way that our relationship with any other person works. When we are sincere with Heavenly Father, He opens up more too and can be more sincere with us. We can feel his love more wyraźnie and feel His influence on a deeper and more personal level because we are being deeper and more personal with Him!
We had zone conferences today and as a mission, we have been asked by our mission president to fulfill our missionary purpose upon the first interaction with people we meet, boldly and lovingly. We have been asked to declare repentance (improvement and change) and baptism when we first meet people. Starting this week, 2 hours a day and 5x a week, we have been asked to contact without beating around the bush and talk with people about how they can change their lives and relieve themselves of the burdens of guilt and shame that comes from making mistakes by being baptized! There have already been many miracle stories from this past week of people who are accepting this invitation and who have been waiting for this invitation! It's so amazing! And it feels so good to know that I am doing what the Savior asks His missionaries to do: "preach repentance to all nations!" I'm grateful for the guidance our mission president recieves from the Lord!
Funny Moment: We got invited in tracting by a man and his 4 1/2 year old son. We weren't exactly sure what to think because he didn't even listen to what we were going to be sharing a message about before he let us in, but he did! We sat down in his living room when his son was playing and he said: "okay ladies, so i'm going to go out for a drink and I'll be back in 2 hours. You guys can handle looking over my son for that long, right?"... i was so shocked, but i mangaged to squeek out a "..Nie." and he says: "oh, okay fine, an hour and a half. See you later Max! Daddy will be back in a little while!" and starts walking to the door! AHHHHH!!!!! sister owen and i looked at each other and then jumped up off the couch and tried to beat him to the door!! hahaha it turns out he was kidding and got a real kick out of the fact at how much he scared us, but we were a little skeptical for the rest of the meeting! hahaha pretty funny, nonetheless!
I'm doing great and loving the mission and LOVE my area and companion and I'm so grateful to the Lord for helping me learn the lessons I need to learn of being integretious and being diligent and being grateful!