Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Dearest family and friends...

Dearest family and friends,
Good morning, everyone! I hope your week has been full of sunshine - both inside your soul and out! :) Ours sure was. (Maaaaaybe a little more inside though... *she said as she stared out the window at the pouring hail* :) ) 
But no really - what a wonderful week!!
This past week we met SEVEN of the most wonderful people I have ever met, and experienced a miracle when we were able to set up meetings with each one of them to talk more about our beliefs! The Lord's hand was so present in it all. We met all seven of these amazing people in different ways - one person we met simply by talking with people on the streets about what we believe. Another we were able to meet from some of the members in our branch. We also met one woman simply helping her clear dishes at the restaurant we ate lunch at that day. Another, because of our work with family history... The ways in which we met those people were all very different, but even despite the difference in the "how", there was no difference in the "why". I know with all my heart that each person I have had the privilege of meeting here was placed on my path for a reason. Every person I have met, each miracle I have experienced - they repeatedly testify to me of the reality and the goodness of God, and His perfect plan. Just when I think my heart can't possibly be any fuller - He allows me to witness another heart-filling moment.
I was able to have another one of those heart filling moments just a few days ago, as I watched my sweet friend Simon enter the waters of baptism surrounded by friends and family who love him - and again yesterday as he was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and received the gift of the Holy Ghost. More tears were shed than I would like to admit - but hey, when your heart overflows all that joy has to come out somehow, right? :) I love Simon so much, and am so lucky to have met him. It was a beautiful, perfect weekend, and I could not be more grateful to the Lord for letting me witness it all.
In the scriptures, at the end of the mission of any great missionary, there is such a powerful testimony written with their "last words". Those powerful testimonies have been something I have taken a special notice of this past week of study, and as I sit here in this little library in Bydgoszcz, Poland for the last time... it is difficult for me, wondering how I can possibly sum up all I have experienced, all I have learned, all I have been given during my short time here... Is it even possible? I have prayed and prayed to be given the inspiration and words to convey my "last words" to you all just as the missionaries of old - and I trust that the Lord will give me them in due time. :) But, the time for "last words" I guess hasn't come yet. As the Lord has told me recently, "This is really just the beginning." :)

But - in this last email to you all, I just want you all to know... I am so grateful to my God for giving me this opportunity to serve by His side these past 18 months. How He trusted such an imperfect 19 year old girl like me to come among His precious children here and share with them such a perfect gospel - a gospel of peace, hope, and everlasting joy - I do not know. How He has been able to show me such mercy and tenderness by giving me such miracles and answers to prayer, I don't know. His hand in every moment, the patience He has had with my constant pleadings, and the forgiveness He has so readily offered me of my innumerable mistakes. The trust He has put in me as I have put my trust in Him, and the many opportunities He has given me to see the testimonies of others strengthened and hearts changed - including my own... I just can't help but ask Him, "Lord, how is it done?" 
He lives. He loves us. And I have never been more sure of anything in my life. With every moment, whether it be the difficult ones or the ones full of joy, the Lord has given me a little glimpse into eternity. There is a peace, a joy, and an everlasting love that comes from this gospel that I took so for granted before my mission... I was so blind. He was always there, and He is always will be - no matter where we are on our path back to Him. 
Jesus Christ is our Saviour. He lived, He healed, He suffered, He performed miracles, He atoned, and He was crucified - for us. For you, for me, and for all of us. I have felt the enabling, strengthening, and cleansing power of His atonement more these past 18 months than I have in my entire life, as I have relied on Him with all I have. The Book of Mormon is the true word of God. Joseph Smith was a prophet of our God, and restored that same gospel Christ taught on the earth in it's fullness. Life continues beyond the veil... I know it. I could go on forever about the testimony I have received of the truths of the gospel.

Nothing will ever be able to take away the testimony I have gained of my Saviour and His perfect gospel, and as my time here comes to a close - my final prayer is this:
"But I have prayed for thee, that they faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen they brethren." -Luke 22:32
I love you all, and cannot thank you enough for your love, support, and endless prayers for me and the wonderful people of Poland. I am so grateful to God for all He has given me, and all He has done for you all as I have been away. He lives, and He loves you. Jestem tego pewna. <3
How good is our God?
Kocham was bardziej niż umiem opisać. Do zobaczenia wkrótce <3
Z wielką miłością,
Siostra Kamp

The zoo felt like a little bit of home - goats and horses!! <3

Failed selfie with the bear!

An upside down house?!

Skyping with the Elder's in Warsaw for a training!  I'm so grateful for these goofs.

The hardest goodbye in the world.  Saying "see you later" to my best friend. <3

Family home evening with some members of the branch! :)

English class - 27 levels of Jenga.

The most perfect day <3

Elder Barlow being his crazy self.

The best district selfie proooooobably ever taken.

Our sweet friend!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Prince of Peace - what Easter is all about.

Dear Family and Friends,

Happy late Easter!! I hope you all had the most wonderful Easter Sunday, and that you could truly feel the Spirit as the day went on. The love I have for this day set apart to remember our Lord Jesus Christ and His resurrection is indescribable. I can't even tell you the gratitude I feel for my Saviour, and for all He did, does, and will do for me. Being in His service these past 18 months, I have grown closer to Him that I ever could have imagined. I love Him. He has truly changed me.

I apologize for not having had the time to be able to write much the past few weeks, or send many photos! This week I will send lots :) 

We have had a lot of wonderful adventures this last week, and it has been amazing to see the Lord's hand in our lives! We have had many meetings, and even more miracles! The highlight of it all though was definitely the Easter holiday :) 

Easter here in Poland is just as celebrated and loved as Christmas! I have loved being able to experience the Polish Easter traditions, and seeing the impact they have on the lives of the people here. The blessing of the Easter baskets of food for Easter morning, the special ceremonies on Palm Sunday, and throughout the week. The Easter games, the special foods, prayers, songs, plants, decorations, and everything my wonderful friends here have showed me about Polish Easter... It is all so surreal! 
But even more than that - I've been blessed to see the love the wonderful people here have for their Saviour, and all He for them did. My heart has been filled to the brim with love for them as I've seen them celebrating the life of Jesus Christ, and I can't help but feel so grateful to have the testimony of Him that I do. I feel blessed beyond measure to have had the opportunity in my life to personally feel Him by my side. To experience the enabling and purifying power of His atoning sacrifice for ME.  To feel Him lifting me when times are harder, and to share my joy with Him when the times are better. 
I know He lives. He lived, died, and rose again the third day - for me. And for you. And for all of us. He is my closest friend, and the source of my greatest peace and I will always be so grateful for Him. 

If you haven't been able to watch the Easter video put out by the church, please take the 2 minutes to do so. It brings me to tears. Every word in that video is true. Jesus Christ is the Prince of Peace.

As the end of this mission nears, the peace I have been given from my Saviour has been the biggest miracle for me. I know without a doubt that His peace is real. It is real, and it is for every one of us, no matter what we are going through. He can calm troubled seas, and troubled souls. Even yours :) I know, because He has done the same for me. 

I love you all so much, and hope you have an amazing week! Thank you for all your love, support, and prayers. I hope more than anything that you can feel mine too. :) 

Z miłością, 
Siostra Kamp

Toruń, Poland!

Gathering sticks for our craft at the branch party!

My favorite people!

Saying goodbye to my favorite Ukranian in the whole world <3

This lovely friend of mine is moving to Germany today...  A picture was absolutely necessary!  I love her!

My Polish Grandma <3 I LOVE HER.

Stole my camera!  I love these goofs.

Skyping with my favourite Szczecin missionaries :)  We had a training with them - one last goodbye!

My favorite man in the world!!!

Saying goodbye to President Mowes.  He is the biggest example to me.  I just love that man.

At the Cathedral for Polish Easter tradition with our favourite person :)

Elder Barlow carved a lamb out of butter... We were so impressed!

Elder Barlow - taking on Toruń.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Conference - the light of spring!

Dear Family and Friends,

Good morning, moi drodzy! I don't have much time for a group email today... But! General conference this week was such a miracle for me - and I am sure it was for all that were able to listen to it. I haven't had the opportunity yet to watch the Sunday Afternoon session, but the one's I have been able to watch have been such answers to so many prayers. I wanted to just very quickly share a few of my favourite quotes, even there are way too many to put in one email!

"Even in the most difficult and darkest of times, there is light and goodness all around us." -Mark A Bragg

"Show respect to all, and hatred to none." -Dale G. Renlund

"Christ says, 'Come as you are, but don't plan to stay as you are.'" -Jeffrey R. Holland

"We may need to let go of the world, so we can hang on to eternity." -Gary B. Sabin

"If you listen with the Spirit you will find your heart softened, your faith strengthened, and your capacity to love the Lord increased." -Henry B. Eyring

"It is far better to follow the Creator than the crowd." -Gary B. Sabin

"A strong testimony of our Saviour will help see us through to safety.: -President Thomas S. Monson

I hope you all enjoyed this general conference as much as I did, and that the inspired words we heard are able to bless you, lift you, and strengthen your faith as they have for mine. 
The gospel is true. Thomas S. Monson is the Lord's prophet on the earth today, and I am so grateful to the Lord that He gives us guidance through His prophets and apostoles. 

I love you all, and wish I had more time to write... But I have to be going! 
I wish you all an amazing week!! You all are so loved!!

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

Our lovely Sister's from Szczecin came to Bydgoszcz this week for exchanges!  We love them!! :)

Family Home evening! Making apple crisp!

Our night with my best friend <3

Monday, March 27, 2017

"...but we have to REALLY try."

Dearest Family and Friends,

It is almost April!! :) Happy Spring!!! :) 
I hope you all have a very sunny very smiley week! 

I have been awaiting this week for SO LONG, and it is finally here!! 


Oh my goodness... I am so excited! I look forward to General Conference like I look forward to Christmas day. It is such a special time. Two days of listening to the inspired words of our prophet and his apostoles - there is nothing better. :) 
As I was thinking this morning about what I wanted to tell you all this week, all I could think about was General Conference. I thought back to the past years conferences, and the wonderful experiences I have had because of the inspired words spoken in them, and there is just too much to tell! It's almost impossible for me to sum up through the internet how I feel about this special time of year - but if you can imagine me smiling from ear to ear and jumping up and down yelling "Yayyyy!", that might give you an idea of 1/100 of the excitement I feel! :)

Yesterday in Relief Society, we were reading a talk from last October's general conference called, "Am I good enough? Will I make it?" and it had such an impact on me. There have been so many times throughout my life that I have found myself asking those questions - and as the end of this wonderful mission I've been on creeps around the corner, now is no exception. I have often found myself wondering the same things that are in the title of this talk, "Am I good enough?" "Am I the missionary and the person my Hevaenly Father wants me to have become?" "Will I make the difference I was called her to make when all is said and done?" It is scary sometimes - nearing the end and realizing there is still so much more you have to do, and wondering if you will really be able to do it. But there was a quote in that talk from our beloved President Hinckley that was very powerful to me. He said, "All God expects of us, is that we try. But we have to really try." One of the sisters in our class asked us the question, what does it mean to really try? And another replied, "To do all you can, and not give up. But even when you fall short, to try again." As I heard that, a little memory of my sister came into my head - a memory that I had not thought of or even remembered for years. 
My little sister was probably about two years old. I was just sitting at my kitchen table trying to do my homework, and she was trying to get into the juice on the top shelf of the fridge. :) My mom and I smiled as we watched her stretch her arm as high as she could to reach the bottle, but she was still about two feet too short. She stretched as high as she could for as long as she could and she tried and tried and tried some more... But it was no use. She was just too small. She stepped back from the fridge a little bit and looked at my mom and I like she was about to cry. But just as my mom started to get up to go help her, she stepped back and ran into a stool that was sitting behind her. She turned around and looked at it, and with big eyes and her little smile she pulled the stool over to the fridge. My mom and I couldn't help but smile as she climbed up on the stool and was finally able to reach her juice. 
It's a simple story, and I don't know why I thought of it - but it taught me a lot yesterday. :) She could've given up after she so sadly realized that no matter how hard she stretched she just couldn't reach it. But she didn't. She REALLY TRIED. :) I'm sure she really tried when she stretched as far as she could, but when that didn't work out, she didn't give up. She tried another way. :) That is what it means to really try.
Who would've ever guessed a two year old could teach me such a valuable lesson? :) I love her. 

I testify of the truthfulness of what President Hinckley said to us. "All God expects of us, is that we try. But we have to really try." There are so many wonderful things about that though... Maybe it's the fact that He expects our best effort, but He does not require us to do it alone. Or maybe it's the fact that when we stumble and fall, through the atoning sacrifice of His Son we always have a second chance. It's a lot of things... But no matter what way we look at it - it is wonderful. 

I am grateful to my Saviour Jesus Christ, more than I will even be able to say, for all He has done for us. I'm grateful for second, and third, and fiftieth chances... all because of Him. I know sometimes in life we may be stuck in those moments that no matter how hard we try to stretch, that juice bottle is just a little too far out of reach - but I also know that He will always be there to help us. There is no place so dark or deep that the eternal light of His love does not reach. It is a beautiful promise, and it is ours forever. :) 

I hope you all take the time this weekend to listen to the messages that have been prepared for us. I promise you that if you have a question, or concern, or even just a desire to know something, and you pray to the Lord about it - He will answer you, He will comfort you, and you will know He hears you - all through the inspired words of our leaders.  

I love you all, and wish you an amazing week!!
Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp 

The painting crew.

Elder Barlow having too much fun in the Tiger store!

Everyone likes to make fun of me for being such a "farmer", but all the teasing was put to rest when they realized they had no idea how to blow out eggs, and only "Sister Kamp the farm girl" knew how... HA.  I haven't heard a teasing word from them since ;)

Painting eggs at FamilyHome Evening!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Contagious Joy!

Dear Family and Friends, 

Hello, everyone! I hope this week has found you all happy and healthy! 

This week was one full of so many smiles - and not just for me! :) 
Sister Larsen and I will be painting our apartment today (wish us luck!) so I don't have a world of time... but I wanted to share one experience with you all that brought a smile to my face (and it still hasn't left!) :)

We were able to meet with several of our sweet members this past week, and they were the most wonderful meetings!! But one of them I just can't NOT share :) 
This lovely member of ours is so dear to my heart, and I just love her! She is the sweetest old lady, and calls herself my "Polish grandma". :) Well, long story's short - we asked her if we would be able to come over this week and help her get started on her family history work, to which she happily agreed, and it. was. the. best. 
We logged in to her familysearch page, and SURPRISE - much of her family tree had already been being worked on! With every name of her ancestors that popped up on the screen, she would let out little screams of joy! "My grandfather!!" "WHAT! My great-grandmother too?!" "Are you serious?! He's on here too?? This is impossible! :O" It was just the cutest thing in the world. :) My heart leaped every time she let out one of those little excited yells! We were able to show her how to find more information about her ancestors, and you would've thought she won the lottery!! Each time we found something (or even a hint of something), she would jump up, do a little dance, then run to the phone and call her brother - her screams audible from the other room! It made me so happy!! :) 
The feeling of sitting in meetings like that, and feeling the Holy Ghost testify to everyone in the room of the importance of this work, and of the eternal worth of families is indescribable. I consider it one of the biggest blessings to be able to assist those love here be able to assist those they love on the other side. :) 
But that wasn't all! Even after we left, she sent me the sweetest sms thanking us for all we did, and telling me how the smile that meeting had brought to her face was never going to leave! Sister Larsen and I were all smiles for the rest of the day :) BUT THEN, the next morning we were at home, studying from the scriptures when my phone began to ring. I went and picked it up and saw that sweet members name on the screen, and couldn't help but let out a little chuckle. :) I answered, and before I could even say hello, I heard this - "SISTER KAMP!! Listen to me!! I am here with my son, I called him yesterday and told him he needed to get over here as soon as possible, and we are both just looking at this page in complete SHOCK. Complete shock! How is this possible?! How?!" I was just laughing and laughing, she was so happy!! :) Her son asked me if this family history website we use has records of only Mormon people, and I explained to him - No way! :) Our church a few years ago had come to Poland, and gone through the records of each city and microfilmed them, so every birth, death, and marriage record that exists in Poland can be found on that site. Sometimes they haven't been indexed yet, so you just have to order the microfilm that record was saved to, and go through it, but every record is on there. He could not BELIEVE it! :) hahaha. They were both yelling for joy and dancing around throughout the whole phone call, and it just warmed my heart so much!! :) 
The joy of family history work is contagious. :) 

Just a short little story to hopefully put a smile on your faces this week - I'm sorry I don't have much time!!
But I love you all so much, and wish you an amazing week! :) 

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

Dinner at the Tufts!

Family Home Evening

When you run into friends on Preparation day...Crazy sunglasses selfie is a must!

Train selfie with the best people!

Train rides with Sister Larsen! :)

Buying paint to repaint our apartment!