Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Miracles & Tender Mercies

Dear Friends and Family,

If I could desribe this week in two words, it would be "Miracles & Tender Mercies"​. This week was so full of them! I have so much to tell you all. :) (But, what else is knew, right? ;) )

First of all, exchanges in Krakow!!! Siostra Johnston and I were able to travel to Krakow for a day this past week, and it was amazing to see! The architecture there is beautiful, and there are so many big cathedrals and statues! It was amazing to see a different city, but it sure felt good to come back home to Katowice, too. :) I had a couple miracles happen in Krakow, so I'll tell you those first!

While I was there, we had a meeting with a woman named Iwona. We had heard from previous missionaries that she was a little... I'll just say, crazy! But, nonetheless, we went into the lesson with an open heart! Well, the lesson was wonderful!! We taught Iwona the Restoration. :) I am still working on my Polish (I've got a long way to go!) so, normally in lessons I don't say much, then at the end I bear a little testimony in the best Polish I can! Well, this lesson was different. The Sister's in Krakow had heard that I had been working on memorizing the account of Joseph Smith that we call "The First Vision", so, during the lesson, Sister Anczak had been talking about how Joseph Smith had been confused about which church to join. She talked about how he read James 1:5 in the Bible, then after she had finished saying that, all three of the sister's (including Sister Johnston my companion) turned and looked at me with that look like, "Alright, Siostra! Take it away!" and inside I was saying, "WHAT?! Ahh!" But, I took a deep breath, and as soon as I opened my mouth, the words just came. I was able to talk about how Joseph Smith took that verse to heart, and he knelt in a grove of trees and inquired of the Lord to know which church he should join. I then talked about how his prayer was answered, and he was visited by our Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, and quoted the words written by Joseph Smith about his experience that we call "The First Vision". When I was finished, I looked at my companion and Iwona, and they both had tears in their eyes! The spirit was so strong in that room from the words of Joseph Smith, and the spirit bore witness to me so strongly as I spoke, that the words I was saying were true. Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord. The same church that Christ established while on the earth was restored through Joseph Smith. It is on earth today. And everything I believe in, everything I testify and teach of each day... It's true. All of it.

I have tried since then to say what I said in that lesson, but I can't do it. I don't even know how the words came...  Don't overestimate my language skills, y'all... I can barely order a hamburger from McDonald's! :) It was a miracle, and a little tender mercy. That was all the Lord, and the spirit of the Holy Ghost.
I also had the opportunity to visit a member of the Krakow branch while I was there, and that meeting had to have been one of the most humbling experiences I have ever had. The Krakow sister's had told us before we went over, that Romek is very poor. His apartment has no heat, no running water, and it is a very humble environment. We stopped by a small bakery on the way there, to pick up some warm Rolls to give him, and then went over to his apartment. When we arrived, Romek welcomed us in, helped us take off our coats (Polish people are so hospitable. I love them.), and welcomed us into the living room. His home was very humbling to me. There was almost nothing in his home, except he did have a wall of just books upon books. He told us he loves to read, and make models of little ships and things. :) But anyway, so, we sat down, and he walked over to a little backpack he had on the ground, and pulled out five little packets of hot cocoa, a water bottle, and a little box of chocolate cookies. He looked at us and said, "I know it's not much, but..." then he walked to the kitchen, made us our hot cocoa, and came back in. I have never been more humbled... Here was a man with almost nothing, and he had gone out of his way to make sure he had something to give us when we came. If you ever here me say, "Polish people will give you the coat off their back, even if it is all they have.", I'm not exaggerating. They are wonderful people. I am so humbled and blessed to be serving such wonderful people, in such a wonderful place.
Last story for the week! Tracting!! A quote from Elder Einfeldt on the subject- "I love tracting. It's like trick-or-treating, but we have the treats!" (I love that! ha ha!) So! Siostra Johnston and I had been tracting with the Elder's, which is when we go to neighborhoods and knock on doors, and... we had no success. I can't count the number of doors I have had slammed in my face this past month, but it's funny, because even when people are rude to us... I love them. I love them. Because I know the Lord loves them. You know what, not everyone is going to care what you have to say, not everyone is going to accept your message. And I think that can go for all of us, even if we aren't missionaries. :) But, everyone wants happiness, and everyone wants peace. What some people don't realize, is that this gospel can give them more of those things than they could even imagine. But to all my fellow missionary friends out there... DON'T GIVE UP. As my friend Elder Einfeldt says, "Sometimes, you'll have a bag of jelly beans that is all black licorice. And you'll be super discouraged because you hate black licorice. But, you still go through the bag, hoping that somewhere in there, there'll be a raspberry jelly bean. You may have to go through a lot more black licorice jelly beans than you want, but how worth it is it when you get to the bottom of the bag, and stuck in the corner is your raspberry jelly bean? :)" There are people waiting for you. :)
Well, that day, after a lot of unsuccessful tracting and black licorice, Siostra Johnston and I found our raspberry jelly bean. :) Her name is Gabriela. She is amazing! We met her and her 8 year old son, Milosz, and they were an answer to our prayers! They welcomed us into their home without a moment of hesitation. We talked with them, and it was another little tender mercy to me because Gabriela speaks wonderful English! It was wonderful to talk with them, and Milosz even played us some songs on the piano that he has been learning. :) We will be returning to her home this week to teach her about the Restoration, and we are also teaching Milosz english! :) I can't wait to tell you all more about them next week!! They are SO wonderful!!
I'm out of time for the day, but I hope you all take a few minutes at the end of the day to think of how the Lord blessed you this week. He is always there, every step of the way. I promise you that. :)
Miracles happen every day. It's all about the little things.
I love you all, and hope you have an amazing week!!
∞, Siostra Kamp

We made cinnamon rolls with the Elder's :)

Elder Jourdan bought us Peanut Butter!!!! Best. Day. Ever! :)

Krakow sister's :) I love them!!

We went to Gabriela's restaurant in Krakow! It is BEAUTIFUL and DELICIOUS! :)

Walking the streets of Krakow :) (That's Sister's Allowitz and Anczak)

Gabriela gave us homemade pickles and jam! Sooo goood :)

Saying bye to our Elder Hon!! He got transferred to Lublin for a few weeks :) We love him!!!

Monday, January 18, 2016

"And with Him... Everything else."

Dear friends and family,

I always love emailing days because I get to tell you all about how AMAZING Poland is, and how much I LOVE this gospel!! It's the best! :)

This week we did so much! I'll just mention a few of the highlights :)
So, first, we met with Beata, and little Yazminka again this week! Along with her mom, Marysia! Can I just say, cutest. family. ever. I literally feel like I have gained a second family here with them. :) Little Yazminka would not get off my lap the whole time we were over there! It melted my heart. :) I love meeting with Beata and Marysia, because they bring such a spirit into our lessons. They are not members of our church, and they are not even really investigating the church. Us missionaries have been meeting with them for about the past year! But they are SUCH faithful women... It blows me away sometimes. I love them. Anyway, this past visit, we talked with Beata and Marysia about the Book of Mormon. They each have their own, and they even read from it! But we just talked about the importance of the Book of Mormon, and shared personal experiences of how the Book of Mormon has impacted our lives... It was an incredibly spiritual lesson for me, because... You guys, I LOVE the Book of Mormon. I can't describe how much I love it. Everyone in my district makes fun of me because I literally carry my Polish Book of Mormon with me EVERYWHERE. I've grown to love it so much, that putting it down is hard for me. But anyway, during that lesson, I bore my testimony of the Book of Mormon, and as I said the words "Wiem ze Ksiega Mormona jest prawdziwa." (I know the Book of Mormon is true) Beata looked at me and said, "It is. It is true." and then bowed her head, and smiled. It was amazing!!!! I couldn't help but feel the spirit as she spoke. She has committed to read the Book of Mormon each day, and pray to know if it is true. I can't wait to see her again and talk with her about it more :)

Our investigators Priscilla and Mickey also came home from their vacation this week, so we should be able to start meeting with them again!! Wahoo!! :) They are so cute. We are meeting with them on Tuesday, and then on Friday they invited us out to dinner with them! They came to church yesterday, and it was so good to see them! The Prezydent of my branch called me up to the pulpit (SURPRISE!), and asked me to introduce myself and share a testimony. So, in my very broken Polish, I introduced myself and bore my testimony. It was very intimidating walking up to the pulpit, but once I got up there, and looked out at all the smiling faces of the branch, I couldn't help but just be so happy and at peace :) Anyway, when I sat back down by Priscilla, she just smiled and hugged me, and said she loved me. That meant the absolute world to me. I wish I could describe to you all how much I LOVE the people here. They are so wonderful.

We also were able to meet with Anna again! (Our recent convert) We brought the Elder's with us again to teach her son Adam, who is now investigating the church, and it was a wonderful lesson! Adam is about 23, and has been struggling with depression for most of his life. When we first met him, he would not come out of his room. We were finally able to get him to come listen to our lessons, but he would cover his face with his hands the entire time. It was really sad. Well, this past week, when we came over he was sitting on the couch, waiting for us! And the entire time we talked with him and Anna, his hands were clutched to the Polish Book of Mormon the Elder's had given him the week before. :) And guess what... HE PRAYED!!! We asked him if he would be willing to give the closing prayer, and he just looked at us and said, "Please." Then, he offered the simplest most heartfelt prayer I have ever heard, and it brought tears to my eyes. He finished, looked up at me and said, "That's the first time..." and he just could not stop smiling! Ah! I just wanted to HUG HIM!!! It was amazing! :) And the Elder's surprised him yesterday with a suit and tie, and brought him to church with us!! That was probably my favorite part of yesterday. Just looking over at Adam during sacrament and class, and seeing the smile on his face. How present is the Lord's hand in our lives? I can't help but recognize all the ways the Lord is present in my every day here.

One of the member's of our Branch told me a beautiful quote this week that I have absolutely fallen in love with. It doesn't translate to English exactly, but I will just summarize! She basically said, "Look for Christ, and you will find Him. And with Him, everything else." How beautiful is that? Being on a mission has opened my eyes to how present the Lord really is in our lives. How much He loves us. How much He knows us. He is there. He's always been there. All I had to do, was open my eyes. I promise you all, if you look for the Lord's hand in your life, you will ALWAYS find Him.

That is about all the time I have this week, but I am incredibly grateful for all of you, and love you all so much!! Thank you for everything you do for me. :) You're in my thoughts and prayers each day!

Siostra Kamp

P.s. I am going on an exchange to the city Krakow for a few days this week!!! I can't wait to see how that goes, and tell you all about it!! :)
Have an amazing week, everyone!!

Some of our cute Branch members!! Kumo, and her mom, Sandra! :) They always invite us over for Family Home Evening on Monday night's, and make us the most delicious South African food! I absolutely love them :)

We made homemade Cinnamon Rolls!! (Kumo loves them!) :)

My mom sent me flowers! How cute is she?!? I am the luckiest missionary!! :) (But apparently our neighbor's think we are nun's.... ha ha!)

{Story that goes along with the flowers, from me to Lexi:  So funny story!  Last Monday when you told me you didn't receive the flowers I sent, I emailed the man who told me he delivered them to you in person and said that you had never received them.  He said that he would check with his delivery person to double check.  He then emailed me back saying that he had mixed up and your flowers were at your neighbors. He said he would make you a new bouquet and talk to the neighbor to see why they never gave you your flowers.  Well a day later, he emails me and says, "The neighbor said that she never gave them to you because you are a Nun, and you are not allowed to open your door to anyone."  Lol.  Soooooooo, maybe it might be a good idea to go tracting to your neighbors in your building, so they get to know you. Lol.  I thought that was pretty funny.  But he said he made you another bouquet and left it at your door.  
It was very kind of them to do that.  I hope you found that bouquet outside your door. ;)}

The Elder's took me to get my first Kebab!! :) (SO GOOD!!) Elder Einfeldt is a doll, and Elder Jourdan just despises me. (As pictured) No, I'm just kiddin! Our distrikt has the best bond! :)​

We found a trashcan called, "Home"! Wow! What a find! ha ha :)​

Bundled up on a tramwej ride home :) I love being an eskimo!!!

Polish chocolate's!! Also known as... heaven. 

The family pic in the snow I mentioned last week!! I love my distrikt!!! :)
Left to Right: Starszy Hon, Starszy Einfeldt, Me, Siostra Johnston, Starszy Jourdan, Starszy Alvarez, and Starszy Connelly.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Everytime I say my week can't get any better... I'm always wrong. :)

Dear Friends and Family,

Wow. My first real full week in the beautiful country of Poland!!!!!!! :D Can I just say, (because I don't think I tell you all enough...) I LOVE IT HERE!!!!! :)

I have so many experiences to tell you all from this past week that it is hard to keep track of them all in my head! So... I'm just going to go day by day and tell you about them :)

The 5th!
IT SNOWED!!!!!!!! Poland has been bitterly cold all winter, and we haven't even had snow here! But, on the 5th our prayers were answered, and the snow came!!! (And somehow, it got warmer!! It was only -26 degrees! How that happens... I don't know! But I am definitely not complaining! :) ) My district and I all went out tracting that night, which is when we go knock on doors and share messages with the people :) It was the best tracking day so far! We actually were able to give several lessons that day, and it felt so wonderful! Even though I am far from being helpful to my companion in those situations because my Polish is far from stellar! ha ha :) Anyway, it was wonderful to tract, and I could see the Lord's hand in my life so evidently that day.
The 6th!
The 6th was wonderful! We were able to meet with our recent convert, Anna, and her son who is the Elder's investiagtor, Adam! They are so wonderful! Anna was baptized before I got here, but we still meet with her :) The Elder's (Hon, Jourdan, and Einfeldt) came with us to teach, and we taught a little lesson on the New Year, New Years Resolutions, and how this gospel is a gospel of change. It was a wonderful lesson, and Anna really liked it :) I love the topic of change too. No matter how far we think we have gone, and how much we think we can't come back and undo what we have done... We can. The Saviour provided a way for us. There is no place so dark that the Light of Christ does not shine. :)
We also had English class that day, which was so much fun!! Two of our students, Olaf and Kate, are absolutely hilarious! It just made my day to talk to Polish people in a language I understood! ha ha :) But they are great!
Okay, I'm running out of time, so I'll just finish up the rest of the days really quickly. We were able to meet with a woman named Bejata, and her mother Marysia, and her little daughter Yasminka :) It was wonderful!! They are so sweet! Bejata made us Pierogi, and some kind of delicious soup, and then we talked with them about change, and examples of people who changed their hearts in the Book of Mormon. It was a wonderful lesson, and I actually spoke some Polish!!!!!! Marysia even complimented me on my Polish! It was such a tender mercy :) But the spirit was so strong in that lesson. We are going to meet with them again, and hopefully we can get them to start coming to church with us! :) Little Yazminka is just beginning to talk, and she is the cutest thing! She loves my long hair, and playing peek-a-boo, and she is just adorable. I love her!
I had a lot of firsts this week too! I ate my first Kebab (the most delicious burrito looking thing you will ever eat!!), I contacted my first stranger on the street! Just sooo much!! :)
I'm out of time, but I will email more next week! The Elder's are pulling on my leg about leaving, because we are going to a Trampoline House for Pday today!!! What!!!! Anyway, I love you all!!
Siostra Kamp

{no pictures this week}

Monday, January 4, 2016


Dear friends and family,

WOW!!!! What a week this has been!!! I have so much to tell you all, and like no time to do it!!! :) So, here we go!

I'M IN POLAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Holy cow. Poland is absolutely incredible. Every positive word you could ever think to describe something, that's Poland. :) That, and so much more! It is absolutely beautiful everywhere you go, the food is delicious, the people are wonderful, and I have just fallen in love with Poland so much. :) It is everything I ever hoped it would be, and so so much more!

My new companion is Siostra Ellen Johnston, and oh my word. She is the cutest thing ever!! :) When President Edgren told us who our companions were, the first thing Siostra Johnston did was hug me and say, "I knew it! I knew you were mine right when you walked in!!" :) It just made me so happy! She is so sweet, so selfless, extremely genuine, and pretty much the funniest person I have ever met. She is amazing at speaking Polish, and she helps me so much with my language! But even more than that, she helps me build my testimony so much. She has the most incredible testimony of this gospel, and I just look up to her so much. She is the kind of missionary that I hope I can become :)

After getting my companion, I was assigned to a city and I'm in..... KATOWICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am absolutely positively BEYOND excited to be in Katowice :) From the moment I heard all the cities in Poland, I couldn't get Katowice out of my head!! It was the one city that I always said, "If I could pick any city to serve in, it would be Katowice :)" and MY WISH CAME TRUE!! Man, I just really feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be in Katowice. :) Everyone says Kato is the Ghetto of Poland, but OH MY WORD. If this is the ghetto, then I can't even imagine what the rest of Poland looks like! Wow!! :) It is beautiful. The buildings are incredible, we ride a tramwaj and autobus or train everywhere we go, their is hardly any light pollution so the stars and moon are amazing every night (you can't get that anywhere else :) ), the food is heeeeavenly, and I just feel so blessed :) I'm in the best place on Earth, and I couldn't be happier. :)

My district is absolutely the best ever! It is me, Siostra Johnston, and 5 of our Starszi:) Starszy Hon is our district leader, then we have his two companions: Starszy Jourdan, and one of my good friends from before the mission- Starszy Einfeldt!! Then we have the other companionship of Starszi- Starszy Connelly and Starszy Alvarez. :) They are all absolutely hilarious, and have made me feel so at home! From the moment they met me, they adopted me into their little Kato family, and I couldn't love them more. :)

Since being in Kato, I have done so much!! I feel like I have been here way longer than 5 days! :) I have contacted so many people on the street, and they always ask me how long I have been studying Polish! Whenever I tell them 9 weeks they are always so impressed!! Polish people are wonderful. :) Even if I go up to someone and they aren't interested in what I have to say, they politely say, "No thank you miss. I am Catholic, but you have a beautiful smile. Have a wonderful day." Or something like that!! They are just so wonderful, and I have grown to love  the people of Poland so much. :) They are very different from Americans in many ways, but they are some of the most wonderful people I have ever met.

It is incredible to me that I can be on the opposite side of the world, in a foreign country, not understanding a word of what anyone is saying, and standing outside in -20 degree weather all day, and still be sooooo incredibly happy. :) It's definitely not because of me! I could never do this by myself. That's why I am so grateful to have a Savior. He walks with me every step, and I have come to notice how present He really is in my life. :) This gospel is true.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to church (in Poland!) with my little Branch :) There were about 10-15 members there, and we had a fast and testimony meeting for sacrament... Oh my. I wish I could bottle up some of the spirit that was present in that room and send it home for you all to feel. The testimonies these people have of this gospel are incredible, and they are such an inspiration to me. They have been through so much, and the gospel is the one thing that keeps a lot of them going. They have found peace and comfort in this gospel that nothing else could ever bring them, and it is incredible to see. They have touched my heart in a way I never thought was possible, and I just can't believe how lucky I am to know them. :) And you want to know something crazy? I have not been able to understand more than a word of every sentence any Polish person has said since I have been here, but during that 1 hour of testimony meeting, I understood every. word. I can't even describe the spirit in that meeting. It testified to my heart the truthfulness of this gospel more than ever before. I know it's probably hard to imagine how much of an affect that could possibly have on me, but I hope you all know, that i KNOW this church is true. I have never been more sure of anything in my life. :)

Ahhh I have so much more to tell... But I am out of time for this week! I am so grateful to have all of you! I am so grateful for your love and suport, and your prayers! And I am SO grateful to be in the amazing country on my mission. :) Man, I'm the luckiest girl in the world.

Hopefully I will be able to tell you all more next week!!
I hope you have a wonderful week!! I love you!! :)

Siostra Kamp

The streets I walk down every day :)

Siostra Johnston made me homemade Zurek for my first dinner, and it. was. delicious!!! :) I love Polish food, and my companion is the BEST cook!

My new "Mom" (companion) Siostra Johnston!! I love her more than the world!! (If we look freezing, it's because... we were. ;) )​

Flying into Warsaw, Poland!!!

WE'RE ON OUR WAY TO POLAND!!!!!!!!!!! :D​ The cheesy smiles don't even do how excited we were justice!! :)

Classic picture by the map on the last day at the MTC!!

We're going there!!!