Monday, April 24, 2017

Wrocław, Poland - My last letter home - Po polsku, wiem że jest prawdziwa! - It is about HIS love!

It was incredible day on Saturday!
We panicked that we might be able to reserve a pool for her baptism since it was on a Saturday!
We found one!
The member here are such great examples!
So helpful, so accepting, so encouraging!
Isn't she beautiful?!
I wish you could know her heart!
She is the greatest person!
She continued to listen and learn - kook po kook as she followed Christ!
Later that night we had a culture night where she helped us make pierogi!
She knew what she was doing!
Learning the technique - getting ready to roll them out and add the filling!
The Wrocław Women!
I love this siostra!
Siostra Gheen and I feel so blessed to have met her!
Our Legnica investigator!
She and her mom! 
Wrocław member - she exudes happiness! 
Wrocław member - such a beautiful, strong woman!
Love this couple!
Love this family!  Look at those kids!
Wrocław Głowny - train station!
I love it here!
Starszy Kryzer, Starszy Jablonski, myself and Siostra Gheen
A perfect companion to end my mission with - I couldn't have asked for anyone better!
April 24, 2017
Cześć Family and Friends!!!!
This will be last email I will send to all of you on my mission! I don't really know where to begin! There are so many tender thoughts and feelings I have that it is incredibly hard to sum it all up in just one short email!
I’ll begin by sharing what an amazing week we had this week! I want to start by giving a final update on the incredible people we have been working with here in Wrocław!
We were able to meet with our young investigator this week and teach her about the word of wisdom! I love our meetings with her because she asks such sincere questions and really tries to figure it all out as well! She had some questions about certain things. She has read how some of things we don't drink are healthy for you. We explained to her that sometimes we don't understand it all, but if we trust in God's plan and are obedient we will be blessed! We told her that we can only see what is right in front of us but God has an eternal perspective! She thought for a second and then she said, with so much confidence, "spróbuję!" or "I will try!" It was seriously so amazing and she is just incredible! She had texted us Sunday morning that she couldn't come but then she showed up! We asked what had happened and she said that she realized she wanted to come and so she changed her plans and came! I know that wonderful things are going to happen for her and I can't wait to see what all comes of it when I hear about it at home! She has taught me so much about having courage and just going for it! She has such incredible faith - I feel so grateful I was able to meet her! 
We were able to meet with our investigator in Legnica! We had an entire lesson focused on Christ's and his life! We read the Living Christ with her and talked about our favorite parts! We brought pictures and went over everything He did here on Earth! We asked her who Christ was to her and she told us He was her Savior! When we finished the Living Christ we could tell it had impacted her! It was so incredible! The Spirit is a real testifier of truth!  Truth feels so good!  She is really progressing now and it has been amazing to see her faith grow! I know that good things are in store for her as well and her faith in Christ will continue to develop as she allows Him to come into her life! 
We also had the most amazing weekend ever! That young college age student we are teaching....WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!! It was incredible! We set her date my first or second day in Wrocław! Sister Gheen and I have been praying throughout the transfer!  Every single time we would just tell each other how much peace we still feel about that date! Last week she still wasn't sure if she wanted to be baptized but then we had a meeting with her on Tuesday! She came with so much light and happiness - she was just different! We asked her about her weekend and she told us it was the first time the entire holiday had been focused on Christ! She thought about Him often and this holiday meant so much to her! We had decided to review Gospel of Jesus Christ and we went over what having faith in Him means and how we can use His Atonement in our lives! We talked about repentance and how it allows us to change! We then brought up her baptism and how she felt about it all! She said she still felt kind of divided and we told her that you are never going to feel 100% IN KNOWLEDGE BUT CAN FEEL IT IN YOUR HEART! And that sometimes taking the first step or even saying the words "I want to be baptized" can be the hardest part! We then looked at her and asked her if she wanted to be baptized and she said, "Myślę że tak" or " I think so!" I then asked her “Do you still want to be baptized this Saturday?” and she said again, "Myślę że tak!" Sister Gheen and I were both like “OK!!!!!”  We all sat there smiling for a moment and then I couldn't take it anymore I got up, squealed, ran over and hugged her! She laughed and hugged me right back! She was just so happy!
If any of you have seen the corny but funny movie The Best Two Years it was exactly like that moment when their investigator tells them he wants to get baptized! We then sat looking at each other just smiling and we were like “well now what?!”  ha-ha! We then told her the details of how it is and she was ready! We were nervous about getting a pool because it was that Saturday but I prayed and said out loud, "I have faith we can find a pool," and of course...WE FOUND A POOL!!!
She was nervous on Wednesday and she again wasn't sure! She had her interview with President Turek, because he had come for our district meeting! She came out and just looked at peace! We asked President Turek if she was ready and he looked at me and said, "Oh tak!" or “Yes!” We were so excited! We then met with her again on Thursday and had her try on the outfit! She was so cute and just beaming! She is so small so it was huge on her but she didn't care! She told us she was excited now!!
Saturday was beautiful! Couldn’t have been better for her!  It had been one miracle after the next that had lead us to that point! She asked me to speak about baptism and I felt so privileged! It was incredible! She was baptized and she came out smiling so big! All the members shook her hand and I didn't care if I got wet, I gave her a huge hug! I had happy tears watching it all! We then came back and she gave an amazing testimony! She thanked the branch for all their help and how they had all each personally touched her life! She thanked all of us as well! She shared her testimony on Christ and on “light!” She talked about how it was ok that the entire path wasn't lit but that krok po kroku it would get lighter! She also shared that she knew it was a coincidence that she had been led here! She could see so many good fruits because of it! She said that "na pewno"(for sure) she would continue to learn and grow in this church! It was so beautiful!! 
On Sunday both she and our non-smoker were confirmed! The Legnica branch was with us so it was a full house! It was so special and these two women looked so full of light! Everyone congratulated them afterwards! I also had the opportunity to speak on obedience and share my final testimony with them all!
I love the people here in Wrocław! They have all taught me so so much!
The day was filled with Sunday meetings and then a huge lunch all together afterwards! It was just incredible and there was so much love! That night we also had culture night with our young college aged student and she taught us how to make pierogi! It was so much fun! I asked her in the kitchen what she thought about the weekend. She said that she would remember it for the rest of her life! It was one of the most special weekends of my mission! I could not feel more blessed to have ended it with that!
I have loved my time here in Wrocław! I love this city and its people! I am sad to say I came here with a little bit of a heavy heart but I am so happy! I was humbled in the beginning and we went to work! There are countless blessings I have received here and one of the biggest is my companion, Sister Gheen! I love that little girl with all my heart! She is one of the strongest people I know and man does she love the gospel! She has helped me so much to find peace with it coming to an end this last transfer! She has comforted me through the break downs and celebrated with me during the many joyful moments! I will forever be grateful for her!!  Thank you Sister Gheen!  I love your small but mighty loving soul!
Now, this is where it gets hard!
How do you sum up everything that has happened to you in the last 18 months in just a few paragraphs?! I am not quite sure what to say but I do know this - Poland will forever have a part of me!
I started this journey in the decision process of not even sure if going on a mission was the right thing to do! It required every little bit of faith and I had to say the words out loud, "I need to go on a mission!" The preparation was done in a whirlwind and I left by giving a talk on love! I knew through many conversation with the Lord that if a little girl from Boise, Idaho could come here and love the people that it would work out! However, little did I know how much more I would come to learn about love and the amount of God’s pure love I would feel in return!
I walked into those MTC doors and met my amazing district! They each individually taught me so much and I know we were all supposed to be put together!  I know “real life” will happen but I sincerely hope we remain in contact forever!  Shout out to our Poland Warsaw October 28, 2015 District – Starszy Josef Ashworth, Siostra Lexi Kamp, Siostra Whitney Barney, Siostra Lauryn Lerch, Siostra Christie Yocum, Siostra Gretchen Dekker!  I LOVE YOU!  When Starszy Ashworth comes home our journey as a district will be complete! 
I came into the country a little bit terrified ha-ha and wide eyed but ready to go! President and Siostra Edgren stood there with their hearts wide and arms wide open to love and laugh with us! I had an incredible trainer, Siostra Brooke Pierson, that set the pace of my mission! She loved me and we had an instant true friendship!  She was so diligent and unwavering!  I still look up to her! I started off in powerful branch of Szczecin with great districts!   Elder and Siostra Cutting held the fort down for us in Szczecin – dinners, fun and love! 
My second transfer again I was blessed with an incredible comp, Siostra Stephanie Sloan, that became one of best friends! Her insight and talents were exactly what the Lord knew I needed! She helped me with my caving self-doubt! That transfer was filled with ups and downs but also miracles! We met two people seeking truth and one decided to be baptized while I was there!  It was so exciting!  And because the Lord knows best He had me leave before his baptism!  However, I felt at peace as I looked forward to the adventure that awaited me in Gdańsk! 
In Gdańsk I was surrounded by beautiful, colorful buildings and water and WONDERFUL members who welcomed me with open arms and sang to me “Sto lat” on my birthday! I was no longer a trainee and I started to learn how a mission really works! I continued to learn the language krok po kroku as I trusted in the promise that if I open my mouth it will be filled! I worked well with my sweet comp, Siostra Madison Young – she encouraged me and let me try to lead!  I then became a trainer and with that came feelings of excitement and inadequacy! However, God blessed me with the most amazing trainee, Siostra Janie Groesbeck!  We shared the love of music!  She relit a fire in me as I was almost half way through my mission!  We believed in the power of miracles, and boy did we see them!  Training helped me understand even more of the work and pushed me to becoming bold!  I wanted to give my trainee!  Elder and Siostra Taggart became like a favorite aunt and uncle to me!  I cried and cried when I left them!  They made our district feel like home!  
I said good bye to President and Siostra Edgren with fondness, gratitude and love!  They’ll always be a part of my history and I still quote them! 
We welcomed President and Siostra Turek and their three young kids with love!  He is the youngest mission president in the world!  The first Polish mission president in this mission.  Siostra Turek was German and served a mission in Temple Square!  They live the Gospel!  President Turek traveled and met the Polish saints all over Poland!  They have a gift to teach.  He streamlined our English classes.  And he insisted we speak Polish all the time!  My love for this language grew!  My interviews were more spiritual because we spoke in Polish.  He is considered “a homie” by his missionaries with amazing respect!  I love how he’ll tease us but also encourages us.  He is divinely inspired and I have seen the fruits of his inspiration!
I then was taken away from my beautiful Gdańsk and was asked to adventure into the city of Warsaw – the one place I didn’t really care to serve! (I knew nothing about it - just never had the desire!)  I was a very sad and reluctant at first however I now understand the meaning of a refiner’s fire! I also had a little bit of homesickness – something I had never experienced until now! That transfer had very high ups and some very, very low downs but I came to know Christ and his atonement!  I learned what it means to feel it work in my life!  He become MY Savior and brother!  I walked with Him.  He healed my heart and helped me love myself in a way I had never done before.  I learned more about selfless service! I was blessed as well to have a wonderful companion, Siostra Savannah Thornton, help me through it all – she simply offered love!  Thank you Siostra Thornton!  We had fun despite my emotions!  And of course, the most amazing part of Warsaw was when I met “THE FISH” while street contacting!   He changed my life and continues to do so! He has crazy energy and seeks the good through goals and fun!  To see him change was complete joy!  It was the Lord’s and Christ’s love!
I stayed in Warsaw for six months! I was asked to train!   “The Dream Team” was born!  Siostra Talia Beem entered the scene!  We named our companionship that and it helped us live up to higher goals and standards!  We experienced the many wonderful holidays that Poland has to offer together!   That girl changed my life! I laughed and smiled so much and I needed that desperately! I was blessed to teach more than I ever had before!  I saw “the fish” get baptized! The next transfer again I stayed in my "queendomship" of Warsaw! I worked harder than I ever had before! I had some ups and downs with the language but I learned to love Polish again!
Finally, I ended here in Wrocław and was blessed far beyond what I could even imagine! I was able to see miracles and people change because of the gospel and then get baptized! I met incredible members and had an amazing companion, Siostra Lucy Gheen, that helped me find peace in realizing my mission was ending!
Finally, this weekend I can now say that I have found peace! It doesn't mean that I am not scared!  I am still incredibly sad to leave!  However, I have learned this transfer to trust in God's plan and to fear not, but only believe!  I know Christ is there for us!  I know God is aware!  I know this plan and gospel are eternal truth!
My mission has changed me in more ways than I can count!
I fell in love with this country, this culture, and these people and as I said before I received more love than I could imagine! This land and these people became my home and my family! They welcomed me in and showed me kindness and provided me with joy and comfort every step of the way!  I felt akin to it from the beginning when I received my call.  I knew this was where the Lord needed me.  Those roots have only grown deeper and stronger.
I am so grateful I was also able to learn this crazy language they call Polish! It pushed me at times but it also taught me so much about relying on the Lord and that if I do my part, He will keep his promise! My mouth was filled over and over again!  I’ve prayed to never forget it!
II was supposed to be called to Poland!  It forever changed me and it will forever have part of my heart! I LOVE YOU POLAND!  I’m so thankful the Lord trusted me with these people and land!
I want to end with sharing my testimony! I know God is my Heavenly Father!  I know I am his daughter! I have discovered what it means to have a relationship with Him! I know He cares about each of us and His hand is in our lives every single day! I know He listens to me when I pray! He answers my prayers, maybe not always in the way I may want or in the timing I want, but His way and His timing are always so much better!  I know that God has a plan for each of us! Sometimes it requires a little faith to trust in His plan but if we can have that faith, He will take us to higher places than we could ever imagine! I LOVE MY LORD!
I know the Book of Mormon is the word of God and it has provided me with so many answers! There is something so incredible about that little blue book! I am grateful that I have had this time to learn and to study from it both in English and in Polish!
I know that this Church was restored by the prophet Joseph Smith! I know He saw God and Christ in that grove of trees many years ago! I know that we have a living prophet and living apostles that are called of God!  Their words are inspired and they have given me so many answers as well! I have learned that miracles are real! I do not believe in coincidences anymore!
I know that Jesus Christ is MY Savior and MY brother! I know He is YOURS as well! I know that if I would have been the only person to have lived on this Earth He still would have come and atoned for me! His love is that personal and real!  I know He loves me! He is a big brother to all! I have learned to allow His atonement to work in my life! I have made mistakes and I am far from perfect but I have become better because of Him! He sets us free from unnecessary heavy burdens!  I felt His cleansing power in my life and He has given me comfort in times when I needed it most!  I LOVE HIM!
For 547 days I have worn Christ’s name over my heart!  But most of all, I am so grateful that I have learned to let Him INTO my heart as well! He has changed my life!  I have seen Him change others’ lives as well! I know that this gospel is true, NO MATTER WHAT, it is true! I BELIEVE THAT!  Selfishly I needed to come on my mission to learn this truth!  And I pray to continue to live it and share it!
I will forever be grateful that I discovered all of this in MY Poland!
So, here we go krok po kroku - going forward! Ahhhh!
My mission is ending but the things I have learned here and the relationships I have are not! I hope this is just a beginning!
I am grateful for every companion, every missionary I have crossed paths with, my mission presidents, my family, and all of you!  I LOVE AND THANK YOU!
You have all provided me with the support I needed to keep going!  
Was it at times hard? Yes!! But was it worth it? More than I could ever imagine!
I am looking forward to seeing all of you and thank you again for everything!
Once again “Po polsku, wiem że jest prawdziwa!”
(“In Polish, I know it's true!”)
Kocham Was!!!!
And for one final time with a heart bursting with love I am signing off as....

Siostra DeMordaunt

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Wrocław, Poland - He allows us to be free - A Happy Baptism, Happy Easter

Such a happy Easter!
A special moment for this lady - no more smoking, gospel driven life now!
The changes I have seen in her are incredible!  She just continues to get brighter!
The Wrocław branch has been so helpful!
Here is where she was baptized.
I have to believe there will some day be a chapel here with a its own font!
These members are incredible!
Two ladies going to get their Easter food blessed by the priest!
We dyed eggs thanks to our investigator giving us dye!
Poland Warsaw Mission 2017
Easter dinner Siostra Gheen and I made for ourselves!
Singing hymns as a district on the rynek!
I love doing this!
Prepped meal by our Babcia!  Love her!
Cześć Family and Friends!!!!

This week was an INCREDIBLE week!!
We met with our young college aged student this week and had such powerful lessons! For our first meeting we decided to review the Restoration! I asked her to stop and really picture Joseph Smith in the sacred grove and then to read the first vision and ponder what it meant! We talked a lot about what the Restoration and the Book of Mormon mean to us! We talked to her about her baptism and how she is feeling about it all! She still feels torn! She said there are times when she just wants to say it is right and true but then there are other times where she is unsure! We talked again about gaining a testimony and how the Book of Mormon helps us to do so! It was a really good lesson! Our next lesson with her was so, so powerful! Sister Gheen and I weren't sure what we should share with her! I had been praying so hard that we would know and so as we planned we tried to put ourselves in her shoes and think of how she felt with it all! We decided that all of it comes down to one thing, Jesus Christ! We wanted to read from the Book of Mormon with her and discuss what Christ means to us! We read with her first about his atonement and how when we repent we are using his atonement and are able to feel incredible joy because of it! We then read when Christ visited the people in America after His resurrection! I told her how I think about Christ in front of me and I’m touching his hands and feet and talking with Him! I told her I picture Him embracing me and loving me! We talked about what faith in Christ is and I shared with her a personal experience I had! I got emotional telling it and so did she! I told her I knew Christ loved her and I told her that she was one of the most Christlike people I have ever met! We all got emotional!  She sat there talking to us about how sometimes it was hard to have faith in Him! It was such a powerful meeting and we both testified of the love of the Savior for her! You can see she is so torn!  Of course we want her to be baptized – not for us, but because I’ve witnesses over and over again how much it changes us and gives us direction! She wants baptism but is fearful! We gave her the Living Christ and she agreed to read it!! 
We also met with our non-smoking investigator and... SHE WAS BAPTIZED!!!! This weekend was filled with so much joy and love! She was a little nervous about being baptized but she felt ready! She had her interview and we practiced sharing our testimony! She was so cute about it all! Saturday came. We went and picked her up! We walked as a branch to the pool where she was to be baptized and it was such a special walk! She got dressed and stood there in white – it was beautiful! She was baptized! She had on the biggest smile I have ever seen! We came back, listened to the talks and a musical program by us – the missionaries! She gave a beautiful testimony about the truths she had found and how much she loves the Book of Mormon! The she took charge and thanked everyone for coming to her baptism! Confidence in doing what is right! She just had a different spirit to her all day! She was happy! Sister Gheen and I felt like we were on cloud nine!! The Spirit has a way of letting you love in a pure manner.  It was so incredibly special!  She now has not smoked for over a month! She told us that she really doesn't even get cravings anymore! The gospel is a gospel of change and it has been such a miracle to see so much change come within her! I will always love thinking about this day!
This weekend was also Easter! Easter is huge in Poland, like bigger than Christmas!! It lasts for four days and it is filled with traditions! In Catholic churches they have a huge grave for Christ and on the third day the grave is empty! Everyone on Saturday goes and gets their food for Easter blessed by a priest! They decorate baskets and bring them to church! On Sunday it is a day filled with family and friends! They eat a huge breakfast and spend the day together! Monday is a fun holiday where people spray each other with water, but luckily this year I didn't get wet - haha! Sister Gheen and I decided to keep the Polish tradition alive and we made a huge breakfast for Sunday dinner! We also dyed eggs!! Our cute young college aged girl bought us packets to dye them! She is seriously the best! The eggs in Poland are brown so it was quite the adventure but so much fun! We also went out on Saturday and Sunday as a district and sang hymns on the rynek! It was so beautiful and I love the spirit that hymns always bring, especially in Polish! People stopped to listen and would smile as they walked past! It was such a perfect way to spend Easter! On Monday went over to Babcia's and she made us some traditional Polish food! I could have not asked to spend Easter in a better way! 
Christ lives!  He loves us!  He allows us to be free from all the stuff we get ourselves into and also to live again! 

I just want end with saying how proud I am of my sister Natalia! She recently got her mission call to go to Korea! I could not be more excited for her! I know she is going to be an incredible missionary! There are so many people in Korea that need her love and spirit! I thought the first day I stepped in the MTC "Tal would love this!"  I love her dearly and although our time will be short together I am so grateful to be able to support her every step of the way!!  Eighteen months is nothing compared to eternity!
Kocham Was!!!!

Siostra DeMordaunt