Monday, August 22, 2016

Warsaw, Poland - A perfect Saturday!

Jarmark!  St. Dominick's Fair!
Sheep's cheese with cranberry jam!
Siostra Groesbeck!
Little did we know this would be one of the last days of our companionship! :(
Piergoi making with one of the dearest members in the Gdańsk Branch!
Such a sad goodbye - I'll forever be grateful for all I learned and shared with this girl!
The AMAZING Taggarts!
I was so, so sad to say goodbye to them!
View of Warsaw from the Stalin Tower!
My MTC companionship!
We spent Pday together!  I loved seeing them!
Warsaw II District!
Looking forward to getting to know them!
Siostra Thornton!
Cześć Family and Friends!!!!

First week in Warsaw... check!!!! 

This week has been filled with so many emotions!! I am still trying to figure it all out but I am getting there krok po kroku (step by step!)! 

Warsaw is huge and so different than anywhere else I have served! Sister Thornton has helped me so much! She is constantly asking, "Does this look familiar? or Do you know where we are now?" She is helping me get my footing for which I couldn't be more grateful!  

So much happened this week so I will just jump right into it!!

We had our Pday on Tuesday.  It was so much fun! We went to a giant tower called Stalin's Tower! You can see all of Warsaw from the top of it!! And it make it even better I was able to see my MTC comps, Sister Dekker and Sister Kamp! We spent all of P-day together! We walked around the centrum or the central area of Warsaw! I couldn't get over seeing huge skyscrapers everywhere! It was a great way to start off my time here in Warsaw!!

Wednesday we jumped right into missionary work! We did some contacting! Oh my does Warsaw have beautiful parks! We were able to spend the day with the sisters from Katowice - Sister Barney and Sister Gheen! They are so sweet! We were able to do mini-exchanges where we would switch companionships and contact together! 

Sister Gheen and I talked to a man sitting on a bench! He invited us to sit down!  We talked to him a lot about the Book of Mormon! He was joking around with us when I told him we could get answers from it! He said, "I could just count the number of lines and get to a verse that has my answer!" We laughed but then he did it! He read the verse out loud and it was exactly the verse he needed to hear! It talked about repenting and coming back to Heavenly Father and eternal life! He read the verse and was quiet for a moment! We were honestly stunned too! He then asked if he could have it and I said of course! He wanted to read first and then he would call us! He thanked us though for that conversation and said it told him he needs to search for God again! We walked away but we both turned back and there he sat reading the Book of Mormon!!  It is incredible how even in times when you don't expect miracles they still come! 

Then there was English class! They have three different levels in Warsaw.  Sister Thornton and I teach the beginning! They are a group of these old women and men that are so cute! They all help each other out and get excited when one of them answers it correctly! I am so excited to teach them again!! 

The siostry spent the night at our place and needless to say there were many laughs and crazy stories about our missions shared!

The next day was MLC (Missionary Leader Conference)! It was so good to see so many familiar faces, Sister Sloan, Elder Garrison, Sister Barney, and the AP's as well as meet some new missionaries! I loved this meeting because... IT WAS ALL IN POLISH!!!! 

There we were - all these 19-20 years olds, sitting discussing about the Poland Warsaw Mission in Polish!!  President Turek started it off just by asking what we think our zones need! We narrowed it down to four points: planning, no surprises after baptism, ciągłość (continuity), and working with branch leaders! It was incredible to just talk with one another about how we want to help this mission! 

My favorite thing we talked about was ciągłość (continuity)! We talked about how a lot of the time we forget to keep up with what we did the transfer before! We called it the "don't mess with a good thing" point! We should constantly be building on the things we learn and do - line upon line! We talked about how we need to get a routine down and what that means! We discussed how it means understanding our missionary purpose and then having it be our motivator! 

My new favorite Polish word is "uparty!" It means stubborn but not in the sense where you won't do something, in Polish the meaning is "determined!" I love this!! This goes way beyond a mission! The gospel is so much more then just sitting, studying, and learning!  It is about becoming! Our actions cause us to become something more, however if we let the ground we have built on slowly crumble because we neglect to do something then it doesn't grow to become something beautiful! 

Sister Turek related it to gardening! Really all a plant needs to grow is soil, sunlight and water! It is our job to water the plant every day! If we do these thing the plant will grow! However, we can get more creative! We can add fertilizer, different things to protect it from bugs, etc., but we must always remember to water it!! This is the same for us! What we do daily: prayer, scripture study, etc. is the water! As we do these things we grow! From these basics we can then add on deeper studying, fullfiling callings, etc. and as we continue to grow we can't forget the basics! I loved the meeting! I just felt such a love for my whole zone and I feel really blessed to be able to help them in this way!! 

We also met with one of our investigators that day! I want to tell you a little bit of background on why this meeting meant so much to me! We had just gotten a baptismal date in Gdańsk and then I was transfered! I was really upset but then I received a text that same day that Sister Thorton and Sister Allowitz had just recieved a baptismal date that day, for the same day as our investigator!  I know this may seem silly but I was so grateful for this opportunity to teach someone committed to baptism! So I was elated when we were finally able to meet with this investigator! He was a little late so we had a short meeting on prayer and coming to church!! There was a really beautiful spirit in the room!  I am so excited to continue working with him!!

We were also able to meet some really incredible people this week!! We met this one man from India who is here on study abroad! We talked to him about the Book of Mormon! He wanted a copy and we happened to have one in Hindi in our apartment! We told him we could meet tomorrow to give him one! When we met with him later he only had a few moments but told us to tell him what he needed to know! We both testified of it and how it would bless his life! He read Moroni's promise and was quiet and then he thanked us for giving him the book! It was such an a amazing feeling! The conversation was short but you could tell that it left an impact on him!!  And I believe it isn't just coincidence that we had a a Hindi Book of Mormon in our apartment! 

Saturday was my favorite day of this week!! 

Elder Schwanke, an Elder in my district, and been working with an investigator for a while and on Saturday he got baptized!!! It was held in the Warsaw I chapel - which is an actual chapel! I got teary eyed walking up to it! I haven't seen a chapel of my entire mission! To see it in Poland with the name of the church in Polish on it seriously touched my heart! It made me want to work that much harder to have them all over Poland!! I just wanted to walk around and see everything!! I could not get over it! It was such a miracle to me!! We sat in the chapel (yes a real chapel!!!) and their investigator walked in dressed in white!! The Spirit was so bold! We sang hymns and then we went to the font and Elder Schwanke performed the baptism!! I became emotional! This was the most incredible sight to me that I had ever seen! This was my first time seeing a baptism here in Poland! I can't even begin to describe the feeling I had! I watched someone enter into an incredible covenant with God, who you knew had to change his life to get there!! I pictured people I had met in the past and them entering! It was as if someone grabbed me and shook me and said "This is it!  This is why you are here! This is why you come! This is for every door slammed!  For every rejection! They all lead to this moment!  They all make it worth!" 

After the baptism he bore his testimony! It was simple and beautiful! He said that he had never felt this way before and he didn't know how to describe it!! I was smiling so big my cheeks hurt! He understood and he felt it! It was such a special day! To end the day we had Sports Saturday! We had a bunch of people come out for ultimate frisbee! It will go down as one of my favorite days of my mission!! 

Baptism means something so much different to me now!! I am so grateful for it!! I can barely even write this with out becoming emotional! This day also brought me so much peace of being here in Warsaw!! I am ready to work and do what is asked!!  

The week ended with church!! The best part was.... OUR INVESTIGATOR CAME!!! He was so peacful and relaxed! He wants to talk about it at our next meeting and we are so excited to be able to work with him!! 

I was also able to translate for Primary! It was so fun to sing primary songs in Polish! Those kids are so cute! One little girl prayed that, "The missionaries will teach the people of the whole world," I was like AMEN!! It made my entire Sunday!!

I am so excited to be here in Warsaw and to be a missionary! Saturday put everything in perspective again! That one moment makes it all worth it!!

Kocham Was!!!!
Siostra DeMordaunt

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