Monday, June 27, 2016

Week 1 in Whoo-hoo Łódż!! :)

Dear Family and Friends,

Pronunciation help!! :) Łódż is pronounced - "whoo" (like... whoo hoo!!) + J (like... friDGE)! TA-DA!! :) Such a fun name!! 

Oh man, this week was amazing!! I've only been here for a wekk, and I already love this little town so much! :) (side note: My companions told me the Łódż was voted the ugliest city in all of Europe by popular poll... hahaha! But hey, if you ask me, it just has a lot of character ;) I love it here!)

We've seen a lot of miracles just in the seven days that I have been here, and it amazes me!! The Lord's plan is perfect. He definitely knew something more than I did when He sent me here to this city. :)

One of the biggest miracles for me this week has been my companions, Siostra Gheen and Siostra Carlson. They are AMAZING! Siostra Gheen is still a trainee, so Sister Carlson and I are finishing up her training this transfer, but seriously you would never guess that she has only been here for 2 months! Her Polish is INCREDIBLE! She is so motivated, so spiritual, so sweet, and seriously just wonderful. She is so brave, and is always so excited to talk to people! She is so patient, and always sees the good in others, no matter what. :) There is a lot that I can learn from her this transfer. I just love her! And Sister Carlson... Oh myyyyyy... I love her!! She is seriously the finniest person you will ever meet! I feel like I've been companions with her and Sister Gheen forever - we get along so well!! Sister Carlson is in her last transfer, and she is one of the most amazing people I have ever met. I look at her, and hope to be just like her when I am in my last transfer. She loves life, and is always making people's days with her smile. She is so genuine and sincere, and I seriously get teary-eyed each time she prays. She has such a wonderful relationship with the Lord, and I love listening to her talk to Him. She is the most amazing person I've ever met at acting on spiritual promptings she receives. I can't even count the number of times we have been walking and all the sudden she will stop and stand there with her eyes closed for a few seconds, then turn around and go a completely different way. And the amazing thing is, every time that happens, we are always led to someone.

In fact, I have a story about that... 

So, yesterday evening we were tracting some apartment buildings by our house :) We had been tracting for quite a while, and it came to the point that we were just rolling through the motions. We finished one building, and then on our way to the next one, Sister Carlson stopped. Sister Gheen and I just looked at each other like, "YES! Here we go!", and before we knew it, we turned right around and started walking a completely different direction. :) We asked her where we were going, and she said, "You'll see!" So, we walked, and finally got to a building. It was a building that we had been working on, but hadn't gotten all the way through yet and I thought, "Alright, this is it!" So, we all smiled, and started ringing the domophones! :) (I love Polish domophones!) Well, literally the second house Sister Carlson's rang into, a young man answered. She told him who we were, and why we were here, and honestly - he was a little hesitant to let us in. But Sister Carlson is amazing, and just bore her testimony to him, through the domophone, and after that, he didn't even waste a second letting us in. :) We were able to meet with him, and teach him a little bit about the Restoration, and it was one of the most spiritual first lessons I've had on my mission. He was so kind, and told us he wanted to continue to meet with us and learn more about everything our church believes! I couldn't believe everything that happened in the course of that half an hour, but... It was definitely because of the Spirit. It amazed me.

So, that is just a short little story of one thing I have already learned from Sister Carlson, and I've only been here a week. Her favourite thing in the world is the Holy Ghost, and I just love it. That is going to be my new motivation this transfer - acting on spiritual promptings. :) I have no doubt in my mind that the spirit guides us, not only in this work, but just in our daily lives. One thing that has been playing in my mind over and over this week, is a simple statement by President Uchtdorf... "We would do well to slow down a little." :) It is only when we are listening, that we can understand the whisperings of the spirit. Sometimes life is crazy, but... It is eternally worth it to just slow down a little. :) 

I feel so lucky to be here, in such a wonderful city with such amazing companions. I think the Lord knew that I still had new experiences waiting for me outside of Bydgoszcz, and that I really needed them. If my mission has taught me anything, it has taught me to trust in my Father in Heaven. I know if I do that, that He will always guide me to where He knows I need to be. Being a missionary is the best thing in the world. I am SO lucky. 

I love you all so much, and I hope you all have an amazing fourth of July weekend there in the US! :) I am so grateful for that country, my country, and the freedoms it gives me. 

With all the hussle and bussle of life, it may be a little much to ask... But I encourage you all to take President Uchtdorf's advice this week, and slow down a little :) Life is so much better when you take time to smell the roses. 

Have an amazing week, everyone!!
Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

 Kochamy Łódż!!

We made cookies for English, and took them around Łódż with us all day! Sister Carlson called it, "findin' with the cooks", and made us all do our "gangster cookie faces"... I love them!! ("Our stomach's represent the gospel... FULL." hahaha!

Street art is everywhere here!! I love it!! :)

 Janina and I. I LOVE this woman... She's the cutest!! :)

Sister Gheen... she's our moth catcher. :)

The longest street in Poland... Piotrkowska!! :)

When it's so hot outside that you use part of your dinner hour to soak your feet in a fountain... And realize 15 minutes later that there is a homeless guy bathing in it... 

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

His plan is PERFECT. :)

Dear Family and Friends, 

You all ready for a huge surprise?!?! Wait for it..... I'M IN ŁÓDŻ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know what you all are thinking... How in the WORLD do you pronounce that? Well... Just have fun with it ;) 

I have so much to write about! For some reason so many amazing things happen every week here! Weird, right? haha. But I don't have a lot of time today, so I'm going to just touch on a few of the most memorable parts of my week this week. 

This week was amazing. I will start with our Church meeting yesterday!! It was a miracle. It really was. When Sister Craig, the Elder's, and I walked in to sit down for sacrament meeting, there were so many people there that we did not recognize! There were probably 7 people there that we had never seen before. Well, we introduced ourselves to them, and they told us that they were originally from Poland, but lived in Switzerland!! They told us they had been doing a lot of family history work, and had basically come back to Poland to find the relatives they had found through geneology! But it was incredible! There was the mom, the dad, and their 25 year old son who served a mission in France, then along with them they brought 4 of their relatives they had never met before that week. AMAZING. I can't even describe it! I was in shock! They added so much to that meeting, and before they left they made sure to get a few boxes of Polish material (Book of Mormons, Liahonas, Pamphlets... you name it!) to give out to their friends and family, or anyone else they met along the way! It was such a miracle, and I can't wait to see what happens with all of that :) I'm sure the missionaries in Bydgoszcz are going to take good care of them! :)
Our Sacrament meeting was wonderful. Agata gave the most amazing talk (her first one! Ahhhh!)  about "My journey to the Church". She talked all about the wonderful experiences she had had that had led her to her decision to be baptized, and it was the most amazing talk. One thing I just loved that she said in her talk was, "I was asked to talk about my journey to the church, but... I like to think of that journey as my journey to God." She has such an incredible testimony. I am amazed by her every single day. The way she loves the Lord and the way her faith influences the way she lives her life... Meeting and being able to be influenced by someone like Agata is not something that happens just every day, and I am SO grateful to the Lord for letting me be in Bydgoszcz these past 5 months with her.
Sister Tufts and Elder Coutu were also able to speak in sacrament meeting, and their talks were so amazing. Elder Coutu is flying back home to the US today, so his last Sunday was definitely a bitter-sweet moment for the branch, and our district.. He is amazing, and I look up to him so much. He has taught me so much these past two transfers, and I'm so grateful that I was able to serve in the most amazing city with the most amazing people!! I seriously couldn't feel more blessed. 

One other miracle that I experienced this week... 
I was a little intimidated when my mission president called and told me I was being transferred to a new city, and a new zone, and new companions... If you ask my Bydgoszcz district, they will tell you it is really hard for me to try knew things. I've never been good at that. Even if it's just a McDonalds menu, I have a set thing I get every time! I know, it's ridiculous! haha!! :) But yes, I was a little scared. When I told Elder Coutu how nervous I was to go to Łódż, he said, "Well, isn't that the same way you felt when you came up here? And what happened with that?" Then I remembered the call I had gotten in Katowice, where President had told me the same thing - new city, new companion, new zone, and how scared I was. I thought I could never love anywhere in Poland more than I loved Katowice, and I would never have as good of member relationships, or investigators, or district members, or experiences... But after Elder Coutu said that, I couldn't help but think, "Well, the Lord sure proved you wrong there, didn't He?" haha! So, after that little realization, I remembered the trust I have in the Lord, and after that... Everything was a little more peaceful. :) My heart broke a little as I said goodbye to my district, the branch members, our friends, andthe wonderful memories and experiences of the past two transfers in Bydgoszcz... But, I trust the Lord so much, and I can't help but know that He has a bigger plan than I can see for me here in Łódż.

On the train ride down here, I made a new best friend. Her name is Klaudia. :) I talked to her the entire train ride, literally from the moment I sat down, to the moment she helped me load all my bags off the train. She helped me with my Polish, we talked about our lives, and then we had the most amazing conversation I've ever had with anyone about the gospel. I felt so comfortable talking to her, it was like I had known her forever. I was able to share my testimony with her about so many things, and talk to her about this gospel and why it means so much to me for so long. It was so natural!! She is not a believing person, but at the end of me telling her about my journey in the church, she just looked at me and said, "I've never felt like this when I've heard someone talk... I wish I would have recorded that entire conversation so I could watch it over and over again." I was seriously taken aback. I honestly felt the same way. It had never been so easy for me to talk to someone I had never met about things that mean so much to me. I've never had an experience like that. It was SO amazing. I showed her a polish book of mormon and talked to her all about it, and she asked me, "Can I take a photo of this?" Of course I said yes, so she took a photo and told me she was going to find a copy of that book and read it, no matter what. She said, "I just want to know what you know... :)"  It touched my heart so much... So obviously I told her to take the book I had. She was so sweet, and said there was no way she could take my book (little did she know I had seen it on the table that morning and thought, "I'm going to need that today", and packed it in my backpack just for her. :) ) I told her I wanted her to have it, so she could know what I know, and she just held that book the rest of the train ride!! 
My heart literally was so full of love for her, some stranger I had never met.. It was the most amazing experience I have ever had. I wish I could tell you all everything that happened on that train ride.  We joked and laughed and cried, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my mission, if not my life.

I don't know why I got sent to Łódż.. But I can't help but think that maybe, a small reason was because of her. Maybe I had to take that train, on that day atthat time, and sit in that seat... Klaudia told me that she was only going to be in Poland for that one day, before she traveled back to Norway for work.. What are the odds that I was on that same train? Meeting Klaudia was so much more than a coincidence.. The Lord really does know, doesn't He? :) 

I don't know what I did to ever get so blessed to be here in Poland as a missionary. I seriously think about it all the time. The Lord really does have the perfect plan, and every day I am here my testimony of that grows. :) 

I'm sorry again to blab all your ears off about the miracles I experience. I should stop apologizing for that, because it happens every single week... but, I can't help it :)

I hope you all had an amazing week!! Thank you so much for your love and support. You all mean so much to me! 

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

Elder Coutu's parting gift to us :)

The cutest primary girls :) I'm going to miss them!

My Relief Society in Bydgoszcz! I love these women!! 

My lovely new friend Klaudia :) I LOVE HER SO MUCH!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A week of "I love this!"'s

Dear Family and Friends who I just love so much,

In the words of my favourite homeless man here in Bydgoszcz, "Gooooood MooooornING!" hahaha :) (He doesn't speak any English, besides that. But he sure does love to wish us a good morning each time he sees us!)

Man, I have so much to tell you all! (What else is new, Sister Kamp?) 
So, I'll just jump right in to the miracles/amazing experiences of this week. :)

Siostra Craig and I were both reunited with our MTC companions, and got to spend 3 days with them in the beautiful Gdańsk! :) It was SO much fun to be able to serve with Siostra DeMordaunt again. She is so incredible, and I love her so much. It's amazing to see how much we've both grown and changed since we served together almost 7 months ago. I love hearing all about her experiences, and being able to see the way the Lord's hand has been so present in both of our lives. Being able to serve with Sister D again just made me think so much of one of my favourite scriptures in Alma 29:14 - "My joy is more full because of the success of my [sisters], who have been up to the land of [Gdańsk]" :) (With a special appearance from some added words by me... but still!) That's exactly how I feel about Sister D! She is such an amazing missionary. 
While on exchanges, I was able to have Young Women's with the cutest girl ever! Kasia!! :) Here in Poland, there are not many young women. The entire country has maybe... 4? So I've never been able to participate in the young women's program here in Poland, until this week! Spending time with Kasia was such a little miracle to me. I think about where I was when I was her age, and I was no where near as spiritual and close to God as she is. She literally has no young women in her entire city, or in the entire North of Poland to look to, but yet her testimony is unshakable. It is amazing. We talked with her about the temple, and I was able to think back to the wonderful day that I was sealed to my parents and sisters. That was the best day of my entire life. I was able to share that experience with Kasia, and we ended up talking about it for quite a while :) I love thinking about that day. I love it. Kasia has been doing so much family history work for her family, and it is incredible how much she has done! I cannot wait for the day that she can go to the temple and perform all the ordinances for those ancestors she has found :) It's going to be the most wonderful day. 
After that I was able to spend most of the rest of the day with Siostra D, just contacting around the city :) It was so amazing to be with her, I just can't stop saying that! She has a spirit about her that even strangers can't help but notice and be drawn to. She's such an example to me, and I'm just so grateful for the time I was able to spend with her! We met so many wonderful people contacting! And some crazy ones as well ;) (We can now say that not only can we say "Goodbye, Goodnight, What's up, and Hello" in German, but we also met a woman who is apparently the mother of Jesus... And lives in Paradise with dragons... How many people can say that?)

Other than that, we went to an amazing Pierogarnia (Pierogi place), went to the beach for our morning run, had some amazing lessons, and just had the best time doing the best thing... Missionary work! That exchange was exactly what I needed. :) 

Well, one other miracle this week... 
We had the most amazing lesson about the Plan of Salvation with our lovely friend Małgorzata! And guess who helped us teach her?!? AGATA!!!!!!!! :) Oh my, it was amazing! We asked Agata is she would like to help us teach that lesson to Małgosia, and she said, "Yes, of course!! Wow, now get to be the member helping you! Oh, this is wonderful!"   And it really was. :) She has such an incredible testimony. I've never met anyone like her. Everything she says is directly from her heart, and I just know that she is going to be such a wonderful influence to all those around her in Poland. She is incredible. It is so amazing to see how far she has come from the time I first met her, to now. In a way, she is still the same Agata that I met 5 months ago, and just loved! But in another way, she is completely different. There is something about her now that you would never be able to describe unless you saw it for yourself, but I am just so grateful that I was able to meet her. She has been such a huge influence on me, and she is a living breathing testiment to me of the truthfulness of this gospel. 

Well, since this email is already almost as long as the essays my little sister's have to write in school... I'm going to cut this short :) But, I'll just end with a couple quick side note miracles...

One year ago, when I thought about how my life would be in a year, I never ever thought I would spend a Saturday evening in a little park in the middle of Bydgoszcz, Poland, playing soccer with people from 5 different countries. That just never occured to me, can't imagine why! ;) But... IT HAPPENED and it was the BEST thing of my entire life!!!!!!!! :) I miss soccer! And being able to play it with my district and some of our members/investigators... Oh man, I had the time of my life. :) 

and last thing... I saved this for the end for a reason....

AHBRAHAM AND RAFAEL (our bff's from Nigeria) ARE GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can you believe that?!?! I couldn't believe my ears when they told us!! :) They are seriously the most amazing people, and have the most incredible testimonies. I am so happy for them! It's an amazing thing when you get to see the way this gospel that means the world to you touches the hearts of the people you have grown to love the same way it touches yours. It's a miracle that I have never really been able to experience the way I have here, and one I will never forget. I've learned so much from Ahbraham and Rafael, and am just so grateful for them. :) One thing I will never forget, was sittting there listening to Rafael pray, and hearing him call Heavenly Father "Daddy" in his prayer... He was so sincere, and truly just having a conversation with His father during that prayer! I sat there in awe of him a little that night, because here I am, a missionary, always telling others that God is literally our Heavenly Father, and I have really really thought of having a conversation with him in my prayers as I would with my own dad. Obviously I talk with the Lord in my prayers, but I don't know if I've ever really registered how close of a relationship my Heavenly Father and I really have, until I heard Rafael call him, "daddy". Cutest thing ever! :) 

Anyway, that's the end of my long story time for the week :) I'm sorry I always type so much!! Ah!
But I love you all, and I hope you have the most amazing week!!
There is something in this gospel that just makes every day so wonderful, and I'm so grateful to be a missionary.

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

We got the biggest kick out of her English apron! :)

Making Polish food with our lovely Małgorzata!! :)

We painted our nails for Young Women's when I was in Gdańsk on exchanges! :) Kasia is such a pro at painting nails. She says her nail salon one day will be called, "Spaaaaaa with me. Like... Ahhhh like you're relaxing." hahaha :) Love her!! ​

Siostra DeMordaunt took me to the BEACH for our morning run on exchanges!! Ahhh I love her!! And the beach!!! :)  So good to be reunited with my MTC comp :) Gdańsk 2016 exchange!! :)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Sometimes, little things are the biggest.

Dear Family and Friends,

Hello, everyone! Kocham was! 
Wow, so many little things happened this week that I am in a stupor about what to write about!! 

This past Tuesday I spent the day in Warsaw with my lovely friends Siostra DeMordaunt, Siostra Dekker, and Siostra Barney!! It was so wonderful to see them! We were there for our legal work - and we are now officially Polish citizens!!! :) Siostra Dekker is so funny, and the whole time we were there she just kept saying, "Started from the bottom, now we here!" hahaha. I love her. :) It was a wonderful experience to be able to travel to Warsaw for the day though. The 4 hour train ride there, and the 4 hour train ride back gave me plenty of time to stare out the window and feel SO blessed to be in such a beautiful wonderful incredible place. I fell in love with Poland all over again on that train ride. This country has so much history, it is amazing. I feel so blessed to be able to be a little part of it all. Poland is so much more than a place. 

But seriously, so many little things have happened this week to make me feel so grateful to be here. Siostra Craig and I were tracting this week, in the middle of nowhere with these beautiful rolling hills of Canola and Alfalfa, Storks flying over our heads, and wild strawberries EVERYWHERE, and I just couldn't help but feel so grateful to be here. This little place will be embedded in my heart forever. :) 

As far as our wonderful friends go... I LOVE THEM!! 
Our little branch here in Bydgoszcz had a Branch BBQ this past Saturday (blood sausage and everything ;) ), and it was so amazing! I love seeing the members of our branch all together, just enjoying each other's company. It's hard to describe how happy it makes me. So many of the people we are meeting with were able to come as well, and to see them all getting to know the members and each other... It was a little tender mercy for me. :) So many people I love in the same place! My heart was so full! :) The spirit the member's here in Poland have about them is something so special, and every time I am able to spend time with them - I relish every second. :) They just glow. 

All us missionaries of the North here were also able to have Zone Conference this past Friday! It was so incredible. President and Sister Edgren (our mission president and his wife) will be ending there mission this month. Can you believe that? So it was so amazing to have this last conference with them! :) I loved it. It's amazing how much of an influence two people can have on your mission, but I can honestly say that this mission I've been able to be a part of would be no where near the way it has been without President and Sister Edgren. I just love them so much. Zone conferences are some of my favourite things in the world. They always give me this renewed sense of motivation to be the best missionary I can be, and I always leave them on a spiritual high. :) 

Well, I'll share a quick little miracle with you all before I leave, because Siostra Craig and I are off to Gdańsk for our exchange with Siostra DeMordaunt and Siostra Young!!!! (AH! :) ) But, I had briefly mentioned how Siostra Craig and I went tracting this past week, but it was such an amazing experience! This week we have really been praying as to where we should be, and when we should be there to find the people to Lord has prepared for us. Well, this week we have come to realize that being on a mission... This is one of the only times in our lives that the Lord will tell us exactly where He needs us to be... down to the street address. I won't go in to much detail, but that night we were tracting, we were led to two of the most amazing people. Down to the street address. The Lord really is in this work, and the Lord really is so present in all of our lives. Prayers are answered. There truly are Angels round about you to bear you up... I have the most amazing story about that to share next week when I have more time. :) 

But, until then... I hope you all know how much I love you, and how much I love this gospel!! I am so incredible grateful to be a missionary. It is the most amazing opportunity to be able to look others in the eyes each day, and testify to them that I know that God lives. As much as I like to think that I did before, I never knew the love of God until I was able to feel it for people I had never met. God loves his children. He loves YOU. 

And so do I. :)
Have an amazing week, everyone!! You're in my thoughts and prayers each day. 

Z miłością,
Siostra Kamp

Starszy Hon came back to Poland to visit!!! We love him!!! :) You can take the boy out of Poland, but you can't take the Poland out of the boy!

Starsi selfie

Małgorzata! :)

P-day shopping... I mean... Photoshoot?

All the Siostry with our favourite Siostra Edgren!!!

My favourite Siostra DeMordaunt :) One reason I love zone conferences!

Siostry Selfie

Branch BBQ - featuring, our favourite Nigerians and Sri Lankans!!