Monday, February 22, 2016

Szczecin, Poland - Sickness, adjustments, goals, and humility!

Picture this path when the leaves are on the trees!
Meet my new companion: Siostra Stephanie Sloan! 
Our apartment's "great room!"
Our bedroom
Siostra Sloan (Colorado raised - currently from St. George, Utah), "The Terrific Twins: Ola & Nick,"
Starszy Court Einfeldt (Cedar City, Utah), Starszy Nathan Garrison (Boise, Idaho)

Boise missionary:  Starszy Nathan Garrison - this one is for his mom Amy!
One of Park Kasprowicza's public art pieces
ParkKasprowicza is the gem of Szczecin!
I love it!
Cześć Family and Friends!!!!

This week was the first week of the new transfer and I already can tell miracles are going to be happening here in Szczecin!

First off - I love my new companion! 

Siostra Stephanie Sloan from Colorado!  She is incredibly artsy! An amazing artist, smart, cute and she sings! She loves books, movies, and music!! (How is that for a good match up with me?!) She is just so much fun! She cries everytime she laughs which is the best thing ever and she also has an amazing testimony and insight into the scriptures!!  I'm ready to learn what I need to learn from her!  Can't believe how blessed I've been thus far with my companions!  It is never perfect but we've all been willing to work with and love one another.  So blessed with Kamp, Pierson and Sloan!  

This letter will be short and sweet.  Our week was shorter due to transfers and Sister Sloan also was sick. She was so pale and I knew something was really wrong.  It was difficult to watch her with a fever from a migraine with aches, sweats and nausea and not be able to help her.  I was so sad for her.  The twins and family brought us soup and some medicine.  (They are seriously the best!) I was going a little stir crazy being inside but I ended up studying Polish and following the rules with media - music and church stuff.  I don't know how I just chilled at home all day before my mission!!!  

Grateful that Siostra Sloan is better!  We are up and running and trying to HIT IT HARD!

We have kind of had an adjustment period this week! Sister Sloan has served in Szczecin before so she knew how everything worked but both the Elders have never served here so we were trying to catch them up to speed!  

We set some awesome goals as a district and as a companionship! That is something I have really come to love on my mission is setting goals! They give me such a better focus and direction! I can tell that this district is going to work hard and make some changes that Szczecin really needs! 

We have already had miracles happen this week! We did some area look ups this week and it seems like Sister Sloan has the magic touch because we have three meetings set up for this week - real, actual meetings! I have never been so excited in my entire life!  Hopefully the seeds planted will start to grow here in Szczecin!  

One of them is a girl I contacted with Sister Craig! I have been trying to get a hold of her for forever and she finally answered! I am so excited!! We are also meeting with a girl that Sister Sloan met with last transfer that attended a baptism! She seems really awesome and willing! 

We also had seriously one of the most amazing things happen to us as we were leaving the chapel - this guy was walking down the stairs of the building our chapel is in and he is asked: "Is this a church? Do you have meetings here?" We explained everything to him! He was like "Ok I want to come!!" Ahhh talk about a miracle - just the fact he was interested and knows where to come is a plus!  

I keep thinking...Szczecin is ready for the gospel or why would we be here!?  I can feel it!  We are just going to have work and work and work! 

This week was also a huge learning experience for me! I am the only one who stayed in Szczecin so I have had to update everyone and help things get running! I was a little nervous at first just because everyone was relying on me and I have only been in Poland for a short time now! I was feeling a little inadequate and was doubting myself about how our district was going to be able to do everything this transfer, but seriously the Lord works in mysterious ways!  I just kept moving and He kept leading.  

We have had all these "mini miracles" in this short work week.  I feel this motivation to improve in every aspect of missionary work as well as just improve who I am! 

Missions are hard but sooooo good!  Poland has lived up to its name for being a hard mission but miracles are happening and will continue to happen!  I keep looking for and noticing the Lord's hand in all things.  Sometimes we forget that God's plan is greater than ours and just have to keep going, learning from the past and working smarter!! 

I recently re-read the talk about a currant bush! (Mom- please post it!) My favorite line is "am the gardener here. know what want you to do." and then the reply, "Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down.’” 

I have come to know that sometimes we need to be humbled and trust in the Lord's plan and have faith in Him and his His plan - later on we come to realize how much we needed that trial!! 

Our loving Heavenly Father knows and loves each of us - He truly does have a plan for all of us!! 

Kocham Was!!

Siostra DeMordaunt

(From Madre D: Here is the story:  The Current Bush by Elder Hugh B. Brown.  There is also a great three minute video. Tap on this link for the video:  The Current Bush /The Will of God or copy and paste this link: )

The Current Bush
Elder Hugh B. Brown
You sometimes wonder whether the Lord really knows what he ought to do with you. You sometimes wonder if you know better than he does about what you ought to do and ought to become. I am wondering if I may tell you a story that I have told quite often in the Church. It is a story that is older than you are. It’s a piece out of my own life, and I’ve told it in many stakes and missions. It has to do with an incident in my life when God showed me that he knew best.
I was living up in Canada. I had purchased a farm. It was run-down. I went out one morning and saw a currant bush. It had grown up over six feet high. It was going all to wood. There were no blossoms and no currants. I was raised on a fruit farm in Salt Lake before we went to Canada, and I knew what ought to happen to that currant bush. So I got some pruning shears and went after it, and I cut it down, and pruned it, and clipped it back until there was nothing left but a little clump of stumps. It was just coming daylight, and I thought I saw on top of each of these little stumps what appeared to be a tear, and I thought the currant bush was crying. I was kind of simpleminded (and I haven’t entirely gotten over it), and I looked at it, and smiled, and said, “What are you crying about?” You know, I thought I heard that currant bush talk. And I thought I heard it say this: “How could you do this to me? I was making such wonderful growth. I was almost as big as the shade tree and the fruit tree that are inside the fence, and now you have cut me down. Every plant in the garden will look down on me, because I didn’t make what I should have made. How could you do this to me? I thought you were the gardener here.” That’s what I thought I heard the currant bush say, and I thought it so much that I answered. I said, “Look, little currant bush, I am the gardener here, and I know what I want you to be. I didn’t intend you to be a fruit tree or a shade tree. I want you to be a currant bush, and some day, little currant bush, when you are laden with fruit, you are going to say, ‘Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for loving me enough to cut me down, for caring enough about me to hurt me. Thank you, Mr. Gardener.’”
Time passed. Years passed, and I found myself in England. I was in command of a cavalry unit in the Canadian Army. I had made rather rapid progress as far as promotions are concerned, and I held the rank of field officer in the British Canadian Army. And I was proud of my position. And there was an opportunity for me to become a general. I had taken all the examinations. I had the seniority. There was just one man between me and that which for ten years I had hoped to get, the office of general in the British Army. I swelled up with pride. And this one man became a casualty, and I received a telegram from London. It said: “Be in my office tomorrow morning at 10:00,” signed by General Turner in charge of all Canadian forces. I called in my valet, my personal servant. I told him to polish my buttons, to brush my hat and my boots, and to make me look like a general because that is what I was going to be. He did the best he could with what he had to work on, and I went up to London. I walked smartly into the office of the General, and I saluted him smartly, and he gave me the same kind of a salute a senior officer usually gives—a sort of “Get out of the way, worm!” He said, “Sit down, Brown.” Then he said, “I’m sorry I cannot make the appointment. You are entitled to it. You have passed all the examinations. You have the seniority. You’ve been a good officer, but I can’t make the appointment. You are to return to Canada and become a training officer and a transport officer. Someone else will be made a general.” That for which I had been hoping and praying for ten years suddenly slipped out of my fingers.
Then he went into the other room to answer the telephone, and I took a soldier’s privilege of looking on his desk. I saw my personal history sheet. Right across the bottom of it in bold, block-type letters was written, “THIS MAN IS A MORMON.” We were not very well liked in those days. When I saw that, I knew why I had not been appointed. I already held the highest rank of any Mormon in the British Army. He came back and said, “That’s all, Brown.” I saluted him again, but not quite as smartly. I saluted out of duty and went out. I got on the train and started back to my town, 120 miles away, with a broken heart, with bitterness in my soul. And every click of the wheels on the rails seemed to say, “You are a failure. You will be called a coward when you get home. You raised all those Mormon boys to join the army, then you sneak off home.” I knew what I was going to get, and when I got to my tent, I was so bitter that I threw my cap and my saddle brown belt on the cot. I clinched my fists and I shook them at heaven. I said, “How could you do this to me, God? I have done everything I could do to measure up. There is nothing that I could have done—that I should have done—that I haven’t done. How could you do this to me?” I was as bitter as gall.
And then I heard a voice, and I recognized the tone of this voice. It was my own voice, and the voice said, “I am the gardener here. I know what I want you to do.” The bitterness went out of my soul, and I fell on my knees by the cot to ask forgiveness for my ungratefulness and my bitterness. While kneeling there I heard a song being sung in an adjoining tent. A number of Mormon boys met regularly every Tuesday night. I usually met with them. We would sit on the floor and have a Mutual Improvement Association. As I was kneeling there, praying for forgiveness, I heard their voices singing:
“It may not be on the mountain height
Or over the stormy sea;
It may not be at the battle’s front
My Lord will have need of me;
But if, by a still, small voice he calls
To paths that I do not know,
I’ll answer, dear Lord, with my hand in thine:
I’ll go where you want me to go.”
(Hymns, no. 75.)
I arose from my knees a humble man. And now, almost fifty years later, I look up to him and say, “Thank you, Mr. Gardener, for cutting me down, for loving me enough to hurt me.” I see now that it was wise that I should not become a general at that time, because if I had I would have been senior officer of all western Canada, with a lifelong, handsome salary, a place to live, and a pension when I’m no good any longer, but I would have raised my six daughters and two sons in army barracks. They would no doubt have married out of the Church, and I think I would not have amounted to anything. I haven’t amounted to very much as it is, but I have done better than I would have done if the Lord had let me go the way I wanted to go.

I wanted to tell you that oft-repeated story because there are many of you who are going to have some very difficult experiences: disappointment, heartbreak, bereavement, defeat. You are going to be tested and tried to prove what you are made of. I just want you to know that if you don’t get what you think you ought to get, remember, “God is the gardener here. He knows what he wants you to be.” Submit yourselves to his will. Be worthy of his blessings, and you will get his blessings.

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