Monday, April 4, 2016

Do you believe it, or not?

Dear Family and Friends,

Hellllllloooo! :) How are you all? I hope you all had as great as a week as I did!

This week wasn't as action packed as last week, but it was still amazing! :) The Elder's from Szczecin came to Bydgoszcz on exchanges for a few days this week, so I was able to see my pal Elder Einfeldt again! That was soo much fun! ​We did a few street contacting activities with them, and it was such a highlight to my day!

So... one of my miracles from the week! Our friend Hanka!!! We met her on March 13th, when we were out tracting apartment buildings! No one had been answering their doors, but we kept going until we knocked on the last door of the last floor of the last apartment building... That's where we found her. :) God gives us the opportunities for miracles, but we have to do the work to find them, right? :) So, anyway, this week we dropped by to see if we could set up a time to meet with her, and guess what? She told us she was just leaving to take her dog for a walk, but that we could come over in a half an hour! Whoo!! So... We did! :) I just love her. She's so real, and just so down-to-earth. (And she speaks very clearly so her Polish is easier for me to understand than most people, which I really REALLY appreciate! haha!) But anyway, she welcomed us right in and hugged us, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "Alright, lovely girls, now... You know I love you, but I am not a woman that can be easily convinced. So, don't try to convince me of anything, okay? You are very interesting to me as people, but I'm not interested in church. I believe in God, and that's enough for me. So... let's talk!" See what I mean by "She's so real"? I LOVE HER! That's totally something I would say if I wasn't a member of this church, and missionaries came knocking on my door... haha! It was so funny though, because we told her that we are not here to convince people, and she just said, "Well why on Earth are you here then? Why would you leave your family, and your education, and your friends, and your jobs, and your life back home, to come to a foreign country if you didn't plan to convince people?" I love that question. Why on Earth am I here? That's pretty simple, I think. I didn't come here to convince people. I'm here because I have found something worth sharing, something of eternal importance. It's like, when you find a really good song, or recipe, or movie, and you just want everyone you know to experience it, so you post it on Facebook, or Instagram, or you send it to your friends over text. It's a little like that I think. :) But this is SO much bigger than just a Facebook post, and I couldn't imagine not sharing that peace and comfort I have found in this gospel with others. I was able to tell Hanka (in my super limited Polish...) that I am here because I know that God is our loving Heavenly Father. In a very literal sense, we are His children. I know that He loves us, and that because He loves us, He did not create us to be sad, He created us to feel joy. This gospel has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine. And I couldn't imagine not at least TRYING, to share that happiness with others. That's why I'm here, and I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. :)

Soooo as usual, long tangent of words brought to you by Siostra Kamp! But really, after Hanka heard our testimonies, she kind of stood there for a moment, and thought about all we had said, then she turned to us with tears in her eyes and said, "You are so brave... You know what? If you would leave everything you have, just to come here and share a message with me, that message must be something pretty special." That just made me so happy. :) This message IS special. The message of this gospel means absolutely everything to me, and I'm so grateful for the knowledge I have of it. :) So, we taught Hanka a lesson about the Restoration, and she had a hard time believing what we told her about Joseph Smith, as I'm sure we all have! But she loves the thought of the Book of Mormon. She told us, "The people in Jerusalem had God. They knew Him, and they knew He loved them because they had prophets, and the Bible. So... what about the people of the rest of the world? God didn't love them? There's no way that's right." She's so real! I love it! So, it was amazing because we were able to give her a Book of Mormon, and promise her through our personal experiences, that if she read it and prayed about it, her doubts would be swept away, and she would know for herself that it is of God. And if the Book of Mormon is the word of God, then Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Lord, and he truly restored the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth in these latter days. It was an amazing lesson, and she asked us at the end to come back again! I love her so much, and am seriously so grateful to know her! :)

Well, GUESS WHAT THIS WEEKEND WAS?! GENERAL CONFERENCE!!!!!!!! :) This is quite possibly one of my top 3 favourite Times of the year. I just love being able to listen to our prophet and His apostles, and all the other leaders of our church. There is a spirit in that Conference that is too wonderful to describe! I've always loved being able to watch it. It's a little different here in Poland, because we're 8 hours ahead of you all! :) So, Siostra Craig and I, the Elder's, and some of our members got together yesterday and were able to watch the Saturday morning and afternoon sessions, and we also watched the Sunday morning session LIVE!!... Right before we went to bed.... haha! It was awesome. :) I'm hoping we'll be able to watch the Sunday afternoon session today! But, I absolutely LOVED this Conference. There were many talks on Our Eternal Identity, which I absolutely loved. We are all children of our Heavenly Father, and we should see others with the pure love that He does. It was an incredible conference. I don't have much time, but I'll share with you a few of my favourite quotes from it. :)

"You can have what you want, or you can have something better." -Jeffrey R. Holland

"Open your arms, and your hearts, a little wider."

"In today's world, no matter where we live and no matter what our circumstances are, it is essential that our pre-eminent identity is as a Child of GodThe knowledge we have of our eternal identity is extra-ordinary. Knowing that will allow our faith to flourish, will motivate our continual repentance, and will provide the strength to be steadfast and immovable throughout our mortal journey -Donald L. Hallstrom

"I looked at them, and I saw them as they were. They were Sons and Daughters of God, who knew it." -Donald L. Hallstrom

"Christ will always go after His lost sheep, until He findeth them. The sheep is worthy of being found, simply because it is loved by the Great Shepard." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf

I just loved this Conference. One thing that really stuck out to me was the talk by Bonnie L. Oscarson. In it, she said a simple line that really struck me... "Do you believe it, or not?" I just finished reading the Book of Mormon yesterday, and this is the first time in my life I have read every single word of that entire book- from the introduction pages, to every footnote. It took me a while, but I honestly cannot describe the testimony I have gained from those 531 pages. I have read that book cover to cover, with such real intent, and I have knelt in prayer asking sincerely if that book is true. I can promise my investigators that they will receive answers if they do this, because I have done it myself. I finished the Book of Mormon early yesterday morning, and immediately following I went to my bedroom and knelt in prayer. I told my Heavenly Father that I had been told by so many people that the Book of Mormon was true, and I believed it was. I had prayed about it before, but I wanted to know again. Was that book true? I can't describe the peace I felt as I prayed that morning... But all I can say, is that when Sister Oscarson asked that question, "Do you believe it, or not?" I looked down at my notes, smiled, and started to cry...

I believe it. I really believe it. This gospel is true, the Book of Mormon is true. Jesus is the Christ. We are sons and daughters of an Almighty God who loves us, and knows us each individually. I'm so grateful to be a missionary, and to be able to tell people this everyday. I'm the luckiest girl in the world!

I love you all, and hope you have the best week. Find someone to serve this week. :) We're all children of God, right? :) If He loves that neighbor of yours that always lets their dog poop all over your nicely cut lawn, you can too. ;)

Kocham was, i jestem tak wdzięczna Bogu za twoją miłość!

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

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