Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Szczecin, Poland - Zone Conference in Poznań, Free Agency, a Polish Easter & Wet Monday

Poznań Zone Conference March 2016
Two of my favorite people:  Siostra and President Edgren!
I am so blessed to have them as my leaders!
Siostra Dekker, myself & Starszy Coutu
Assistants to the President:
Starszy Jones & Starszy Burdick
It is always so great to see other missionaries!
Back row L to R: Starszy Coutu, Starszy Burdick
2nd row from the back: Siostra Sloan, Siostra Young, Siostra Craig
2nd row from the front:  Starszy Liechty, Siostra Kamp
Back row:  Starszy Liechty, Starszy Ashworth, Siostra Kamp, Starszy Garrison
Front row:  Starszy Einfeldt, Siostra DeMordaunt, Siostra Dekker
Siostra Dekker and I have been together so much!  I love it!
(I have no idea what sassy Starszy Ashworth is doing!)
My first MTC Companion - Siostra Kamp!
Great Elder Liechty from my first Szczecin District!
Polish Easter Basket Blessing
Heading into have our baskets with food blessed by the priest!
Super Sister Sloane and myself and our basket!
Our sweet branch member's basket of food to be blessed!
The siostry's basket: bread, eggs, cereal and flowers!
The starsi's basket: Nutella and a lollipop!
Siostra selfie!
Ahhh SPRING - or at least we had sunshine for a few days!

Cześć Family and Friends!!!!

Szczecliwego Jajka!!! Happy Easter!!! 

I hope you all had a good Easter - mine was full of little Polish traditions that I will talk about later in this email!!! 

This week we had Zone Conference in Poznań and it was exactly what I needed! I am finding that happens a lot on my mission! I will be in need of something and then I will be asked to give a talk or a spiritual thought or read something or stuff like that and it is always exactly what I need! 

I loved being able to see my group from the MTC and all the other missionaries I've met here too! 

President started Zone Conference off by talking about LIGHT!! We talked about how we help others discover the light of Christ within themselves!! Spiritual light allows us to discern and see clearly.  We need to be seeking it in order to have it!! People are searching and looking for the light that will bring them change.  We as missionaries try to bring them to the light switch but it is then their choice to choose to turn the light switch on!! 

We talked a lot about how we were all chosen to come to Poland for a reason and to emulate this life in people! Something I love that President said was, "You were created to be something great!  Sometimes it is easy to forget among the rejection and everyday routine that you were called to the place you serve for a purpose!"

I had kind of lost sight of that! Hearing our President say that just reminded me I am here for a reason and I do make a difference!!

We also talked about setting expectations! This means each time you go out you set  expectations of what you are going to accomplish! I have thought of that every single day since zone conference and it has made a huge difference! It keeps me motivated and makes me want to work that much harder to reach my expectations!! It is easy to fall into the expectation that everyone you talk to will say no but this doesn't allow for the miracles to happen! If you expect they will happen then they will come!!! 

Half way through the conference we did an English class blitz for Poznan!! All of us - our zone of  missionaries - went out with ulotki (pamphlets).  We were passing them out like crazy! It was incredible to be able to walk with a huge army of missionaries!! One of the APs plays guitar. He was playing as we walked through the streets!! It was this intense feeling and just this surge of energy! I felt like our little army of missionaries could do anything! Some of my MTC group: Elder Ashworth, Sister Kamp, Sister Dekker, and I all were singing " We are as the Army of Helaman!" It was honestly the best moment ever!! 

We came back and held a testimony meeting! Every missionary bore their testimony! 

I was one of the last ones to share.  As I sat there listening my heart was just pounding! I felt the spirit so strongly as each missionary got up to bear their testimony! Each individual testimony was something I needed to hear! 

I got up and began to speak.  I couldn't help but become emotional!! I was and am so grateful for the missionaries I am able to serve with! They have forever changed my life!! 

Something incredible happened though as I started to bear my testimony! As I said the words "I know this gospel is true" it felt different this time! I have said it before and I have meant it before while I have said it but this was so different! I felt the spirit so strong and it took me back for a second! It was one of those moments where you want to laugh and cry for joy all at the same time!! I know 100% with zero doubt that this gospel is true. I will remember that moment for the rest of my life!! 

Zone Conference was incredible and I am so grateful for my mission President and his wife and the missionaries I serve with!!  I love and respect each one of them.

This week was also filled with a little sadness! The woman we had been meeting with sent us a text and told us she can't meet with us anymore! Sadly her boyfriend, who is the father of her child, is atheist. He said he would leave her if she continued to meet with us! She doesn't want him not to be in her daughters life! Hard to swallow but I understand this.  She was so sad and said she will continue to grow her faith though and hopefully one day something will change so we can meet! 

Sister Sloan and I both cried! I have never wanted the gospel for someone so badly before!! I prayed about it over and over again and finally the thought came to me that it will all happen in the Lord's time! This right now is what has happened.  We need to respect her homelife.   The seed has been planted and it could be the start of something incredible for her!!!  A lesson about free agency!

To end I just want to write about some of the Easter traditions they do here in Poland!! On Friday everyone had huge grocery bags because they are preparing for Easter!! On Saturday you put food in a basket and take it to be blessed by the Priest!  The food in the basket is what you will eat Easter morning! We all went as missionaries with one of the members!!  We are asked to try to embrace the culture as much as possible as ambassadors for the Lord.  

Saturday night we had a huge Easter dinner at Starszy and Siostra Cuttings' apartment with everyone from the ward! It was so much fun! I love the Cuttings!

On Easter Sunday everyone goes to church and then spends the day with family!! They also have the tradition where they roll eggs down the hill and the person with the egg that doesn't break wins!! 

Monday is crazy!! It is known as Śmigus Dyngus or Wet Easter Monday!! People run around with squirt guns and buckets and dump water on people! The origin of the holiday is kinda vague.  The boys mostly pour water on the girls.  We thought we were safe but then of course our elders wanted to participate in the holiday! We went to the chapel and they poured water on us from the second story window!! You have to love the Elders!! 

Overall this week was amazing! There were definitely highs and lows but I know I am planting seeds and I have a purpose here! I am grateful for be a missionary and to be serving here in Poland! I know this gospel is Christ's and I know I am where I am suppose to be!!

Kocham Was!!

Siostra DeMordaunt

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