Drodzy Rodziny i Przyjacieli,
I love you all so much! :) Is Spring in the air over there in America?! :) I have so much to tell you all this week! As soon as I'm finished with this email, Siostra Craig and I will be heading to the train station to go to Gdańsk!! Ahhh!! We are going on an exchange with the Sister's up there, and I will be reunited with one of my MTC companions- Siostra Dekker!! :) We will be up there until Wednesday night! I can't wait!! I've heard that Gdańsk is absolutely beautiful... So, next week- expect lots of photos!! :D Ahh I'm so excited!!
Well, this week Poland celebrated a special day called the "Day of Women" where women are celebrated! Whoo! Yeah! (Don't worry, men! The Day of Men is two days later! :) ) Sort of like Mothers day, or Valentines day, and started in the communist times here in Poland. ALL around people are giving out Tulips and hooligans are running around trying to kiss as many girls as they can - Needless to say it was nice to have my companion's crutches on us... they may or may not have been used as a weapon... CLASSIC. ;)
On the "Day of women" we received a bunch of Flowers from members, and other men whom we know in Bydgoszcz, which completely made our day!! So sweet! :) Lots of kisses on our hands and cheeks too... Polish culture... Sometimes so weird.. But you just gotta love it!!! :) We even got a beautiful pot of flowers from my mom to celebrate the opening of her studio (Happy Birthday, Daisy Tree!! Little did my mom know that it was also the day of women! :) Double win!!) delivered to our door! ...WELL almost our door... this is where it gets interesting...
So we get home at the end of the "Day of Women" and discover a note on our door, requesting us to immediately contact the room directly above us. Sister Craig's initial thought was "OH NO WE WERE TOO LOUD. QUICKLY HIDE YOUR TAG. OH NO WE ARE POOR REPRESENTATIVES OF THE CHURCH" etc. I just LOVE her!!! hahaha. So, after she calmed down, we went upstairs, and knocked on the door. Soon we were greeted by a Family - a larger man with a GIANT handle bar mustache, an older woman, and their 30 - something year old daughter, with BRIGHT orange hair - with her little 3 year old Daughter. They told us how they had accidentally received the flowers, and as such, wanted to return them to us! We took them and then they proceeded to invite us in - We just looked at each other like: "Uhhh, okay!" They were the nicest people ever! Maybe a little too nice. Okay well, they had done a little TOO much celebrating. They were all heavily intoxicated. As we came in the larger mustache man insisted we have something to Drink, and each time we refused, just lowered the amount he offered us. Oh gotta love these Polish people. We told him that as representatives of our Church, we don't drink. Well, soon enough we had the opportunity to teach a whole discussion and even directed them to our internet page! It was so funny, because they just went off the whole time, and as they were having a little too much fun on the "Day of Women". But they just took in everything we said! The larger man told us that we did not understand the Polish Culture, and could not relate to them. And although that is true, we were able to bare testimony that we may not be able to understand perfectly what they have gone through, or still go through today, but through our own trials and experiences, we have become very well acquainted with the only one who can... I think, although they were not "All there", that really hit home with them. It was wonderful to talk to them, and be able to testify of what we know to be true. It's amazing the comfort just knowing that there is someone who knows EXACTLY what we are all going through can give to someone. Well, after that fun meeting, we decided it was time to head home! We got up to leave, and the older Woman said: "Okay, we will see you at Church tomorrow!!" :) What?! I was so excited!!!... but then realized, it was only Tuesday... So... hopefully they remember who we are, and will come to Church. But we shall see... So many fun adventures over here! Never a dull moment. :)
We also had the opportunity this week to meet with Aydin again! He is amazing. He came to church yesterday, and it was so good to see him there! Everyone in our branch just loved him, too! :) We were able to teach him the Plan of Salvation this week, and that was so great! I always get so nervous to teach people about the Plan of Salvation, because... everything about this plan just means the absolute WORLD to me. I'm always afraid that I won't teach it in a way that gives it enough justice. But, it turned out to be such a wonderful lesson. Aydin is so receptive to everything we tell him, and I just am so grateful to have met him! He offered a prayer for this first time at the end of our lesson, and it was probably one of the highlights of my mission. There is something about being able to hear people pray for the first time that is so hard to describe. It's the most incredible feeling! As soon as Aydin opened his mouth and started praying, the spirit just FILLED the room, and it almost brought me to tears. :) That is one of those moments I will never forget. We ordered Aydin a Turkish Book of Mormon after our first meeting with him, and have been anxiously waiting for it to get here... Well, it finally came!! We were able to give it to him, and I SO wish I could have captured his face when he saw it. :) He just looked at it in amazement and said, "Oh my... Oh my GOSH! It's... It's in Turkish!!" and his face just LIT UP! :) It was the highlight of my day. Little moments like that - I love them. :)
Sunday night, we went tracting in an area just outside of Bydgoszcz, and ran into a man, who invited us into his home! Unfortunately he was wearing a Bath robe, and did not appear to be "All there"... So we called the Elders, and got them to visit him instead. It ended up being a really cool experience as we went down a few apartment buildings, and got let into one. Siostra Craig is incredible at acting on the spiritual promptings she receives, and as we approached a building she said, "I have a good feeling about this one." :) We knocked and knocked, nobody answered. But, this is why you never give up! On the last floor of the apartment, the last door, a woman opened it. :) As we introduced who we were, she immediately responded: "Sorry I am not a faith oriented person" And began to close the door. We quickly jumped in and asked her if she didn't believe in God, or just didn't believe in Church. Here in Poland, I've found that a lot of people are believing, they just don't believe in church, because they have seen a lot of corruption of the Catholic church here... She responded the Church, and we quickly bore testimony of our Church, being the restored Gospel of Christ on the earth. That many things were distorted after Christs death, and that that is why God called a prophet to restore His true Church. She listened, and the whole nature of the contact changed - "What Church is this?" she asked, and we told her we were from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormons. She expressed how she knew of out church, and had only a few days ago seen a TV show about us. She excitedly took our information and invited us back. This experience, although it may seen small was really meaningful that night. At times the people here in Poland can appear as though as nails, and like they will never change. But, meeting this woman, how open she was, and how only by sharing simple Gospel Truths she opened up - gave us hope. That Sunday in Church, members of our branch shared their testimonies (Everyone here in Poland is a convert) of how they met the church. So many said things such as: "I just came to Church once and knew it was true." I was left wondering, "Where are those people now? There has to be more people like that here, just waiting for this gospel." But this small experience renewed my faith that there ARE people prepared for our message. And a lot of them, it truly wont matter how impressive my language skills are - they will just know. They will want this gospel, and all it has to offer them. I am so grateful for how the Lord acts in small and simple ways.
Well, that's about all the time I have left for today, we have to catch a train to Gdańsk! Whoo! :) But I'll just close by saying I know that this Church is the true Church of Jesus Christ, once again restored in its fulness to the earth. I know with all my heart that the things I talk about with people every day are real, and they are true. I owe everything I have to this gospel, and am so grateful for it.
I love you all, and I hope you have a wonderful week!! :)
My favourite quote of the week:
"Faith can move mountains. But, don't be surprised if God hands you a shovel." :)
Lots of you have been wanting to see the little "tender mercy" I received here... Well, here it is! Yours truly! :) I love this violin... It has the coolest back story. I'll have to tell you all some time! But it seriously means so much to me. :)
Talking about the Plan of Salvation with some of the member's at family home evening! :)
Shout out to Elder Tufts for this picture! This is the day we spent at the doctor's! Whoo! ;)
Looking up a Polish elevator... Literally so sketchy... haha! It's just a platform that moves up and down! No walls or anything! You just stand on a platform, hold a button down to raise you up and down, and hope you don't die. :) (just kidding ;) )
The cutest little girls on the block. :) Anna and Ella! (We have a lot of fun... Can you tell?)
We got the Elder's some Air and Earth for the Day of Men! :) (So, everyone in my district is really into the show "Avatar:The Last Airbender"! If any of you have seen that, you will understand when I say that we all have been assigned "bending powers" by Elder Coutu! haha!)
Crazy comps. I love Siostra Craig!!
Dinner with the Kagele's!! I love them! :)
Flowers on the Day of Women! :)
This one's for my little sister, Emily! I figured she would like this big graffiti we found!! It reminds me of her! :)