Monday, June 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

Week 70

I feel like for the most of my mission I have been really happy, but this week I have been happy in almost every moment! Even if the situation isn't so great, I've still been able to maintain this happiness that comes from sharing the gospel and from accepting that I'm not perfect. I've been learning a lot about that this past week...that the Lord does not expect me to be perfect! I learned this lesson a while back when I was training in my second transfer. It was pretty stressful and I felt like I had the weight of the world on my shoulders. But One day, I recognized that the Lord doesn't want me to have all that weight on me....that's why the Savior performed the Atonement, so I don't have to do that! SO me holding onto problems and blaming them on myself is totally not right. I learned this lesson a long time ago it feels like, but in the beginning of this past week, we were feeling pressure to be perfect. I think a lot of people, including ourselves, have pretty high expectations for this companionship...we are best friends, we work hard in the same way, we're both older in the mission, etc, etc. But I think that pressure really got to us in the beginning of this week and came out as us trying to be perfect. On Tuesday, I realized the trap Satan wanted me to fall into and I re-remembered the lesson that I learned last year....that perfection is not what the Lord is looking for...He's looking for a dedicated heart! He wants us to have the correct motivation! I went to sleep on Tuesday night, committing to the Lord that the next day, I would be more calm in order to allow Him to direct my path a little bit better.... When I woke up the next morning, it was literally a night and day difference! From that day on I have been feeling so at peace and happy, even despite the unexpected "glitches" or mistakes that we make throughout the day. I have been at peace with the fact that my desires are good and I'm working with my heart turned towards Him :)
A MIRACLE happened!!!! So we went running the other day, and on the way home from the run, I wanted to print off a picture of Teresa's baptism to give I put my camera SIM card on the inside of my pants by my hip so I wouldn't have to carry around the whole camera... Well after we had run probably a mile or so of different side streets and through a park, I realized that the SIM card wasn't there anymore!!! It had fallen out!!!! This SIM card has ALL of my pictures from my ENTIRE MISSION! Some how I stayed calm, however...we said a prayer and I had complete faith that we'd find it or some miracle would happen so some one could give it back to me...We walked back almost to where we started, looking under cars, going through trash cans, looking in bushes, etc. and when we got to basically where we started, I FOUND IT ON THE GROUND!! Oh my gosh! I was LIterally in SHOCK that I found it!!! I was trying not to think of all the things that could've happened to it: a dog could've swallowed it, a bird could've picked it up and flown away, a car might've ran over it, someone might've taken it! We are in the biggest city in Poland and somehow, the Lord kept my little SIM card safe that means more to me than any large sum of money!! It was such a miracle to me and a sign to me that the Lord really cares about the little things...even as small in size as a SIM card :)
Another thing that has been so amazing to witness is the change in a woman named Ewa Conn (the same lady that had bugs coming out of her wool coat). This past week, we taught her about repentance...we gave her a For the Strength of Youth pamphlet and told her that in this pamphlet are the ways revealed to prophets that we can live the commandments in today's day! We told her that repentance is becoming aware of the things that we can cahnge to live more according to God's commandments, and then changing! We we asked her to choose something out of the pamphlet and change that part of her life. The next time we saw her she was wearing a modest shirt and said that she read that God wants us to value our bodies and show respect for ourselves and Him when we are wearing modest clothes! It's so cool to see the real and noticable changes this gospel makes in peoples' lives!
Funny Moment: Oh my heavens...a lot happened all in a few moments! A wheel flew off of a car whizzing by while Sister Hemming is on the phone with someone who she's trying to console! She runs after the car waving it down while still trying to console and listen to a struggling investigator and waving her arms like a crazy person! no avail! It was hilarious from my side of it all at least!
Picture: we got a referal who lives in a NEIGHBORHOOD!!!!! because on the missionary areas are in the big cities in Poland, we rarely see houses... but we got to go into a GATED COMMUNITY!! and we found a house with a picket fence and berries! How quaint!
Sister Blake

Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 2014

Week 69- Warsaw, Poland
This week has been really wonderful! It's the beginning of a great transfer and Sister Hemming and I have come up with some really faith filled goals that we are SOOOO excited to see come to pass!

I think something the Lord has blessed me with in my life is hope. I have been learning in studies and experience that hope is the thing that can keep us praising the Lord in all that we do. Having hope for a brighter future! Having hope in becoming what we need to become and achieving what Heavenly Father knows we can acheive. When we have hope and think about our challenges in a perspective where we are looking forward, then our challanges seem lighter...and they are made lighter by the Savior as we include Him in the work that we do and ask to feel His power in our prayers.

I also recognize that i only have a limited time left as a full-time missionary and I wanted to extend a commitment here: I'm going to make it a goal to read my Preach My Gospel more...but I also want you to read it to! I know that missionary work does not just happen when you have a black tag on! And PMG can help everyone become the missionary and person that the Lord expects us to be. Also, I'd really like to get some input on how I can use PMG when I get back in my member missinary work! So i hope that's not a selfish motivation, but as you read, think about how it applies to disciples of Christ who aren't full-time missinaries, so you can help me know how to use it better when I am a member missionary :)

Funny: during studies, a bug fell into my companions mouth!! EW!

#1: man selling yummy bread out of the back of his truck!
#2: view out our window at 4:30 am...after the sun has already risen!!!! I love how bright it gets so early!

Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

Week 68

So we got transfer calls this past week! And for my last transfer, I'm serving/staying with Sister Hemming and staying in the central/busy part of Warsaw!!! I'm SO SO SO excited! She is one of my best friends and it's so fun because she and I work and think really similarly!  I feel like we are both just on the same page, and I'm so grateful that the Lord sees fit to put me with a companion, with whom I have comp unity so we can fully focus our efforts on the Lord's work! 

This week we also had the blessing of being able to listen to an apostle of the Lord! President Uchtdorf came to Poland! We had a missionary meeting and all the missionaries from the whole country (so around 74 plus senior couples) came to Warsaw! President Uchtdorf talked about a lot of things that I am so grateful that I could hear! He said that us missionaries serving here now and before us are the pioneers of this mission! He said on Sunday in a conference with all the polish members of the church that soon enough there will be several stakes in Poland!!! Everyone was near tears! I feel SOOOOO blessed to be a part of this momentous moment here in Poland! To be witnessing the changes! I know that the mission really has started picking up it's pace in gathering the Lord's sheep and it was confirmed to me this weekend that it is giong to continue to grow! It's just about to take off and I get to be a part of it! I had a little break down for a minute being so sad that I would have to leave the mission so soon and right when things are really starting to get good! But I know that they will continue to get better and better throughout the decades! There is no doubt in my mind that this conference really sparked something within the members! In the meeting there was like an electricity! I don't know how to expain it! But It was so amazing and I am so grateful that I have had the sacred priveledge of serving here in Poland!

Pictures are from the conference on Sunday! There were so many smiles and tears shed and laughter! I have a family here in Poland! And it was a giant reunion! I felt more joy than I could ever explain! What an amazing blessing to see so many people who I have grown to love SO SO SO much! It was the closest thing to the celestial kingdom when one day we'll all be reuinited again!

Funny: Sister Hemming and I looked like total bafoons when we were taking all of Sister Pok's stuff over to where she'll be serving in Warsaw for the next few weeks! We dragged it and things were falling off and boxes of flash cards were falling all over the place! We made it with help from Heavenly Father and others! But it was a pretty hysterical sight I'm sure!


Sister Blake

Kendall was also able to speak directly with President Uchtdorf, a member of the First Presidency of our church who is also a good friend of our family's. I asked my father to forward him my note which included a photo of Kendall  and asked that he might be able to seek her out and give her a big "hello", can't hug the sisters ;), from us. He did and I am so grateful that he was able to communicate our love to her. Here is part of the personal note she sent to me this morning:

"He knew who I was right away and he really communicated your love! I felt so grateful to feel a little peice of my wonderful family through him! :) Thank you for going out of your way to make sure he said hello :) It was a really special experience! I hope that when the day comes that he'll be able to seal me in the temple with my husband. What a beautiful experience that would be to always remind me of his coming to my mission! I love Poland with all my heart and I am forever grateful to the Lord that He trusts me enough to be a pioneer in this country!"

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 9, 2014

Week 67

This week has gone by so fast! And I know that the next transfer will go by even faster! But I am determined to enjoy every minute of it and work hard! We feel like there are people so ready for the gospel! The field is SO white and ready to harvest! People are dying for the light that the gospel brings and I'm so excited to keep teaching those who have started on their path towards this and who have yet to be found as well!

This week Teresa got baptized! She is an amazing woman who has been prepared by the Lord for years! She already has a super strong testimony of this gospel and the light and joy that it brings! Teresa is so sweet and instead of shedding tears when she feels the Spirit, she laughs! She was so full of laughter after her baptism and was joyfully trying to hold in her cheerful chukles as she partook of the Sacrament on Sunday after her confirmation! She recognizes that this is the beginning of her path and has so much support as she continues in it!

This week I was reminded of what it meant to "look forward with an eye single to the kingdom of God". I realized that it means to say (for example): "I am going to follow the thought to visit this person even though I have a huge test tomorrow." Doing the things that concern the kingdowm of God FIRST will bless us FAR more than any other thing we have to do! I can follow promptings in faith having trust that the Lord will bless me for putting him and the well-being of His children first! I guess the true lesson I am learning is about prioritizing! Making the Lord my number one priority will allow all other blessings to fall in place... and in the end an A on the test would be worth a lot less than everlasting peace and joy with my Heavenly Father after this life. I want to constantly keep in mind the plan of salvation... the "what for" of all the chores, tasks, tests, projects, and activities that are in life. Of course those things all lead to greater progression! But having the focus on the Lord and our ultimate goal of life with Him can be the motivator and first priority in all that we do! I feel so blessed that I get to focus 100% of the building of the kingdom of God right now with no other distractions or other priorities! The work of the Lord and His angels is my job, homework, and social scene...the work of salvation is my life! And it's not like I'm dying after my mission is over...I can still live this way! With a focus on the Lord and His work.I want it to always be that way, right now and throughout the rest of my life!

Funny/Fun: It has been so warm lately and we have a balcony! So we decided to take advantage of the opportunity of having a balcony and of having companions who are up for it to sleep outside! It was so fun and warm and aside from the dog barking for a while in the beginning, we got some earplugs and had a lovely night sleep! :)


Sister Blake

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Video from Kendall from Sunday, June 1st

So happy to get this video sent to me from last Sunday, June 1st while I was in church as Kendall was getting out of church with Jenny Christensen in Warsaw, Poland. Love Love Love!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

June 2, 2014

I am SOOO happy!! And I'll tell you why: I am constantly being encouraged through the examples of my companions to be work be love sacrifice for others and the pray preach the become the best me I can become! It is SO amazing to have the strength of 2 other fabulous examples! It is such a blessing that I get to work with BOTH sisters.  We were thinking of other three-somes in the scriptures and we discovered the most powerful 3-some of all: the Godhead! Of course I'm not comparing myself to God the Father or the Savior...but the fact that it's the most powerful trio in the universe says something. I truly feel so spiritually powerful working in a three-some with these sisters and am so grateful for this opportunity!

Teresa, our investigator who's getting baptized on Saturday is soooo amazing! We introduced at the beginning of the week tithing...she believed us, but was still not super convinced or willing to pay. We saw her every day this week and each day, her heart softened more and more! 1st she felt a confirmation from the Lord that tithing is a law of God. It was also such a cool thing because I really love her and want her new business to flourish but she doesn't have many clients yet...but I really felt like I needed to help in some way! she had sewed a skirt and I really liked it (bonus!) so I bought it! Of course I'm stoked that now I'll always think of her when I wear this skirt, but I'm even more excited that I was able to give of my substance a little and help her out by supporting her business! Later she said she put 10% of that money away for tithing!!! AHHH!! I can't tell you how joyful the whole thing was!! By the end of the week, she had been setting 10% in cash away of sales she has had in her store this week! I am sooo proud of her! She is truly committed and is truly a kingdom builder! I love her so so so so so so so  SO SOO SO SO much!!! I am so blessed to be here in Warsaw at this time with the branch I'm in, with the investigators we have, and with the COMPANIONS I have!!! I feel like I'm truly becoming what the Lord wants me to become! 

I had the coolest thing happen on Sudnay! JENNY CHRISTENSEN came to our branch!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was the coolest thing to have someone from home there in my mission world! The past few months I've been wondering and hoping that when I get home from my mission, that I'll be able to stay this person that I have become on my mission. The "me" I have become I like the best than at any other time in my life, and I want to stay that way. I was worried that coming home would put me in a different world.. that I'd really have to adjust and be able to some how adapt. I know that i will have to adjust to a certain extent with the lifestyle of a missionary being different from that of a student. BUT! I realized when Jenny was there that I didn't feel like it was mission me fighting against home me. But rather that they were one! My home world is my mission world! I'm not living two different lives...but they really are one! I'm so grateful to have peace that came from that experience that the world I'm in now in the mission CAN and DOES coexist with my home life as well :) I got to introduce a home friend to mission friends and mission family and it couldn't have felt more natural! the mission life here isn't just some dream I'm IS real life! And I'm glad I got the confirmation that this real life will continue, but just in a different way :)
Funny: We had a lesson with Ewa Conn and she had bugs crawling out of her fur/wool jacket!!! She was freaking out!  Yes I'm serious Sister Owen!!! You would've DIED if you were there!!
Sister Blake
We visited Chopin statue in lazienki Park and were rockin out to some piano music :)