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!
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!!