Sunday, 27 December 2015


Me with Ania

Me with the Primary kids in the branch

Kasia and I domophoning to get into the building of the member we were snowflaking

Kasia and I with the 'snowflaked' door

Sister Young, Kasia and I with our snowflakes

Us with Olga at the chapel

And Sister Young thinking she's coming with me to Australia ;)

Me with Kasia (from Gdynia) and Krowa (dog named 'cow')

Me and Sister Young

Me with Wioletta

Our district singing Kolędy (carols) at the Care Home

This week is my last week here- how strange! Well, I guess it's not so strange, I mean it had to happen eventually, it's just a weird feeling to be at this point already. This past week we've had yet more great experiences. Yesterday we got to help out at an elderly home and we all had such a good time :D Sometimes people/organisations are hesitant to let us help out/give service, because they're afraid/don't like that we're mormons (we were looking for some opportunities to serve and were rejected a couple of times on that basis). But last week Sister Young and I went to a Dom Opieki (care home/home for the elderly) and asked if there was something we could do to help out, like sing carols or organise/clean etc. The ladies there were so excited to have us help out (even after finding out that we weren't Catholic), and invited us to sing at their Christmas party/celebration. So that was yesterday, and we were greeted and treated very kindly by the workers, priests and guests, and it felt so good to see people singing and smiling along with us- celebrating the birth and life of Christ! They even fed us afterwards (even though we didn't want them to, because we wanted to be the ones doing the washing up and everything!), it was very kind of them. Although I won't be here for much longer, I'm excited for the other missionaries here to continue to have good contact with those people and hopefully they'll have plenty more opportunities to serve and help out there. They're going to have a mini play/reenactment of the nativity early next year actually (the Christmas season in parts of Europe carries on longer than it does in Australia), and one of the ladies asked if the missionaries could help out with that. She really wanted Sister Young to be Mary because she looks the part hehehe, well that'll be a good experience for whoever's here next transfer :)

Oh, this past week we got to meet with a lot of the branch members! We met with Kasia (she's in Young Women's) and made snowflakes, then 'snowflaked' (taped them up on) another member's door and left cookies for her. Hehe it was pretty fun- and a little tricky, because we had to be super quiet, and ask a neighbour to let us in the apartment complex! We got to meet with Marzena and teach her about Family History :) She created an account and got started right away (I got to show her my account and family tree, and she thought it was pretty cool!). We showed her how you can add photos and stories, and how connections are made etc. And of course most importantly, the WHY behind Family History work in the church- it helps us feel more connected to our ancestors, we remember and honour them, and we perform saving ordinances like baptism for them by proxy in the temple. It was so awesome to see such enthusiasm for doing this work from her so immediately! We also got to meet with some members to practice musical items for our Sacrament Meeting (of course, Christmas focused), and then singing them on Sunday was lovely :) We also got to meet with Kasia (from Gdynia) and talk about Family History work (it was possibly my last time seeing her, so that's really sad for me, but I'm so glad we have the internet!). We got to meet with Olga (also my last time seeing her) and read a General Conference talk with her about finding answers to our sincere questions -our lesson was perfect timing, because the Polish General Conference Liahonas only just got to our chapel a couple of hours before the lesson. Witali and Marzena gave us cute Christmas presents (angel candle holder things), and we gave them a photo album with photos from their wedding day (Sister Young was the photographer). I'm really going to miss all of the wonderful people I've met here. Gdańsk will always hold such a special place in my heart, and I can't wait until I get another chance to be here. The people I've met mean so much to me, and all the experiences I've had here have moulded me into the better person I am today (and I know I of course still have a long way to go haha!).

I look forward to talking with you on Christmas Day and then it really won't be long at all until I'm back in that Australian heat with all of you!
Love you so much,
Siostra Grgich

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I Wanted To Start With A Story

In Szczecin- I arrived just in time for the end of the branch's 'Family Home Evening', and met Grzegorz! (I think that's his name!) He knows a lot about Yugoslavia (bosnia and slovenia- he has sung in a choir there), his name is based off of the same language root as Grgich (from gregorius) and he's pretty funny hehe.

Jan, Me, Dagmara and Sister Sloan (she was companions with Sister Smith last transfer) at the chapel in Szczcin.

Sister Young and I before Vitali and Marzena's wedding.

At the branch Christmas party/fireside (with Olga and Marzena, and the Christmas tree :D)

Singing Christmas carols (kolędy in Polish) - yeah, we all have funny faces, but that's what happens when you're singing and having a great time! ;) (oh, now Nacho Libre is stuck in my head, that scene where he's like "I yama seenging at dee parrrtyyy" hehehehe)

Klaudia doing my hair- didn't she do a great job? Hehe :D

Us in Wejherowo with Marzena

This week I wanted to start with a story- I came across it while doing my daily morning personal scripture study (it's from the Book of Mormon seminary teacher's manual):
“Some time ago there was an interesting article about mountain climbing in a medical magazine. …
“The article was about a man named Czenkusch who runs a climbing school. Czenkusch was describing to the interviewer the belay system in mountain climbing. This is the system by which climbers protect themselves from falls. One climber gets in a safe position and secures the rope for the other climber, usually around his or her own body. ‘You’re on belay,’ means, ‘I’ve got you. If something happens, I will stop you from falling.’ It is an important part of mountain climbing. Now note what followed next in the article: ‘Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer [Don] arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. “Don saved my life,” says Czenkusch. “How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him”’

This story could be applicable to/a metaphor for a few things, but quite obviously to me, it encourages me to think about the saving Atonement of Jesus Christ- how He has truly saved my life. Every week at church, we have the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament- we remember the Saviour's sacrifice in our behalf, and as a form of gratitude (and for other reasons), we promise to always remember Him, and keep His commandments throughout our lives. I'm so grateful that we've been given one day in the week to particularly slow down and remember Him- we do different things on the Sabbath day, because in fact, is not just another regular day. We take the time to think of Him who has done so much for us, that we can never truly 'repay' Him- but we remember

Well yesterday was a very special day- I had a wonderful time at church and afterwards. A man came and visited our branch for the first time- I had never seen him before (as a reminder- I've been here for 13 months haha), then when I introduced myself to him after Sacrament Meeting, he told me he's Polish but has been living in Germany for quite a while, and he had met the missionaries there. Long story short (it's a great story and I'll have to tell you some time)- he now lives in Gdynia, he has a strong testimony of the Holy Ghost and His presence in our church and with the doctrines taught therein, his dad lives in Solingen, and he lived in a city right next door! It was so uplifting to talk to him and hear his 'story', his testimony about how the gospel has changed his life for the better, and how it is positively affecting his life right now. I'm sad that I'll be leaving the country so soon, but I'm so happy that the branch here continues to be strengthened by such wonderful people, and I know that wonderful things are happening in the lives of the people who live here.

This week Sister Young and I went to Wejherowo for a wedding of 2 of our friends. We've been teaching them lately, and they both love the doctrine of eternal families and being sealed in the temple- we're continuing to help them learn, and we're so blessed to know them and see them start their family together. I know the gospel will bless their lives so much (I've already seen how it has), so I pray that they will continue to seek for truth and read the Book of Mormon, because I know that God will answer their sincere prayers and they will find more joy in their lives than they've ever known before :)

This week we also had our branch Christmas fireside/party- we had a great turnout and it was just so nice being with everyone to focus on our Saviour and the true meaning of Christmas. We had a great discussion, a talk, Klaudia read the Christmas story from Luke, we sung carols and we had lots of good Christmas-y snacks like mandarins, gingerbread and kompot :). 

Many other wonderful experiences happened this week (like getting to visit Szczecin- ah we had such a great lesson with a lady after English class about the Plan of Salvation). I'll have to tell you all about it when I get home haha, I have to much to say! ;) Ok, love you so much, have a wonderful week :D

Siostra Grgich

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Artwork Was Amazing

They had a Fender Strat made out of amber! I think it looks pretty cool.

I finally went to the Amber Museum (Gdańsk is famous for amber)!

I like the moose (or elk or whatever it is, I don't know animals)

Fancy places in Gdańsk (we went to 4 museums for our culture day).

The artwork on the ceiling was incredible!

Sisters from our Zone (except for Sister Sloane, but I'll be going to join her in Szczecin today for exchanges).

Elder Jeffs, Sister Woodward and I (we were in the MTC together)

Sister Young and I with Agata from Bydgoszcz :)

Me and the Silver Tree

We got cookbooks :D- I love the Sarma recipe fambam!!

More museumy things (back when the German influence was strong in Gdansk/Danzig)

Me with the Bydgoszcz missionaries- Elders Garrison and Sidwell and Sister Larcade (whom I won't see again until after the mission!)

This week we took our culture day going around some free museums in the old town area (on Długa Street), it was cool to do something that I've not done yet in Gdańsk (I've been in the area for 14 months- been running out of ideas haha). I kept sitting on forbidden chairs at the museums hehe, they didn't have guard rails up, so I thought we could sit on them, but apparently not, because in 2 different museums, the lady would see me and say "We don't sit there!" (in Polish) haha what can I say, I like to sit down! 

In the week we got to meet with a couple of super awesome people, one lady has been out of our branch for a long time because she was living somewhere else, but now she has come back and it was nice talking to her about spiritual experiences and sharing our testimonies with each other. We're so happy to have her back in the branch! We also had a really awesome lesson with one girl about the Plan of Salvation- Sister Young and I love preparing lessons for her, because she's full of questions and really wants to find answers! It's a lot of work trying to learn the vocabulary and grammar to know how to explain things properly to her, so it's good for my Polish too :) I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have here to share my testimony with others, especially about Christ's reality and God's presence in our lives. I feel it so strongly and it's the driving force for my life. Sometimes wish I could just force people to be happy, but I know it doesn't work that way! Living the gospel is a choice, but when that choice is made and commitment is sure, then comes that true inner peace, happiness and direction that we all long for. I'm so grateful to have that in my life :) I love life! And I love you and am so grateful for you (family) for bringing me up the way you did so that I have seen through your examples and have learnt through my own studying and actions, to live life the way I do. Life is great :D

We had our Zone Conference this week in Poznań. We spoke about ways we can use the Christmas season to really focus our efforts and serving others and helping them think of why we celebrate- to really focus on the Saviour. There's a new video from the church regarding Christmas, and we have a lot of pass-along cards to hand out, so we're excited to get people thinking about the importance of Christ and hoping people will watch and share the video with their friends. We're planning on doing some Christmas themed free tables, we'll invite people to go to the church website (with the video for Christmas), we'll sing/play some carols, and of talk to people about why we celebrate Christmas, and what it all means for us as families and individuals. It's a great time of year, and hopefully we'll all have a deeper appreciation for this time and recommit to making our lives Christ-centered. If I can help others (and myself!) do that, I'll be a happy chappy :D

On the train home from conference, we got to talk to 2 guys about our church, it was really cool, the natural way it came up. We had 8 missionaries all on one train coming back (4 going to Bydgoszcz and 4 to Gdansk), so of course people would have been wondering who we were and I'm sure it caught a lot of people's attention (maybe not so natural, haha). After the Bydgoszcz missionaries left (sad moment for me, because I won't see them again!), us and the Elders got to know the people sitting around us on the wagon, and we were able to share with them a little about our church and the Book of Mormon. It's nice to have people tell us that they appreciate what we're doing, and that they respect us. Too often, people are just very cold and harsh to us, and I know it's just because they don't know what we're about, and they give up on us before we have a chance to explain why we're here. I have seen time and time again, that when people take the time to understand why we're here, they respect us, and even enjoy talking with us. I'm thankful for moments I get to show people that I really do care about them, and I'm here because I want to help them (and for sure, others I meet here help me too!). 

Well I'll be going on exchanges today until Wednesday (going to Szczecin) with Sister Sloane, so I'll of course miss Gdansk and Sister Young, but it'll be a great experience I'm sure. Maybe I'll have another good train conversation :D Have a great week, have fun and look after yourselves :D

Love, Sister Grgich

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Especially Special

At the Taggart's dinner table for Thanksgiving (US, not to be confused with Canadian, which happens on a different day). The lighting was a bit strange, so everything looks sort of angelic haha

The painted roof at Gdynia's Main Station

We had a film night at the chapel after English class (we watched Meet the Mormons with Polish subtitles).

It started snowing!

This last week we had the opportunity to teach 2 university classes about our church. It was a lot of fun, and it was an especially special experience for me, because I had actually done this a year ago for the same teacher here in Gdansk. In comparing what it was like one year ago, to just now, I can say that I am living evidence of the blessings of God and His reality and presence in our lives. I know that I've been blessed with the gift of tongues, and I can't believe how much I'm able to say now, and how comfortable I feel in talking (particularly in Polish, but even just the added confidence I have with public speaking is an improvement). I know I would not have been able to accomplish the things I have, on my own. I have been strengthened intellectualy, spiritually and emotionally as I have gone through so many different experiences throughout the duration of my mission. I've gone through a lot of trials, and I know that if God didn't allow me to go through those trials then I would be weak, and for sure, I wouldn't have been able to learn and grow as much as I have. Basically, we need trials- they're essential. As unfortunate as it may seem, if we didn't have them, then we'd never truly learn. So I'm grateful for my trials :)

Yesterday at church, a member was encouraging a bunch of us to "ponderise" (remember that talk?). I'm a little ashamed because I haven't been doing it- but now I am, so hey, all is well! There's a girl in our branch who's almost 9 years old. We're both working on learning a verse from the Book of Mormon (in Polish) this week, and we're going to check up on each other come next Sunday. My verse is Alma 11:45 (it's about the universal ressurection). I'm excited about doing this with her, and I hope we can continue to check up on each other for many weeks to come. Children are so important, it's said time and time again, but somehow the human race just seems to forget it. It's the youth of the Church who are it's future. It's so important that they too are nurtured by the good word of God. I feel so honoured to know so many great youth and children, and I want to my best to make sure that I'm always influencing them for good and encouraging them to make the best use of their precious time on this earth. I have been so greatly influenced by my parents, leaders, teachers and other adults of my childhood, so I feel it is only right to continue being that support and example for the next generation. I know that the Lord needs us all to help and uplift one another, everyone plays a part in His plan, and we all have responsibilities and abilities to do so.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the beginning of Christmas month! :D

Thursday, 26 November 2015

She Thought We Were Amish

Ooh, so the other day, we went with the Elders to a fairly busy pedestrian area in the old town, and set up a 'free table'. It was pretty cold, but so worth it, because got to meet a lot of people, some who are interested in meeting with us to have lessons :) There was one lady who was really nice and had heard of Mormons, and then asked "Why aren't you dressed in the.. you know?" (she said, making the shape of a bonnet and apron) hehe, I told her we're not Amish and she was probably still not convinced that we were actually "Mormons", but we invited her to come to our Movie Night this Wednesday, where we'll watch Meet the Mormons :) I hope lots of people will come, and then they'll maybe have a better, more correct view of us. Hehehe, ah well, sometimes I think that everyone must know who we are already, because there've been missionaries here for over 25 years, but then I wonder why I meet so many people who have abosulutely no (correct) idea of who we are or what we do! And so, the work goes on of course! I like the scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 123:12 "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, ... who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it", it certainly makes me want to work hard to find them! We've been blessed with many opportunities to teach those who are seeking for truth, we hope and pray that they will have their hearts and minds open to the Holy Ghost who testifies of the truth of all things!

This week I've been studying from Alma, and now I'm up to the part where he's talking to his son Corianton (chapters 39-42). His son commited a very serious sin, and so Alma uses his wisdom to teach about the Plan of Salvation- particularly about the ressurection and judgement. I think Alma was a great dad- he was helping his son understand these important truths because he knew that when we understand God's plan (our purpose in life), we will also understand that there are consequences for sin. How can anyone who believes that there is no life after death really care about what they or anyone else does here? Likewise, how can anyone who believes that all will be 'saved' and go to heaven, or that all paths lead to God, care what they do here? Where's the room for morals? Well, it wouldn't matter if those statements were the case, because without commandments there'd be no punishment, nor justice, nor mercy etc. etc. (There are a lot of scriptures in the Book of Mormon that talk about this very subject). The truth of the matter is, absolute truth exists! That means that God exists and has commandments, whether or not people believe in Him. Choosing to not believe in Him won't change His existence.

Alma 41 13:15:
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

However we choose to live in this life, will affect our 'rewards' in heaven (after this life). It's like a boomerang (sort of). Or some people call it karma. Basically, the things we do right now, are of importance and govern what kind of life we'll have. If we want to be happy, then we should follow our Heavenly Father and His Son, for "wickedness never was happiness". Those who do bad and do not repent, will one day stand before God to be judged of Him, who is perfect and knows all. I have a lot of comfort knowing these basic truths, because I know that all the unfairness about this life, will be made right in the end. I believe in a loving Heavenly Father, and know that if I do my best, the Saviour's arm of mercy will be extended toward me, and I will one day be with my family for eternity and in God's presence- true and everlasting happiness :) Life is our choice, and I'm grateful for this wonderful gift I've been given- my own life!

I hope you all are getting some great studies out of your scriptures! Enjoy the sunshine and have a wonderful week :)

Love Sister Grgich

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Look to the Scriptures

Hey, we went bowling! (I came last the first round, but won the second.. I was just warming up of course)

Oh, another bowling pic! This is how we get people to listen to our message ;)

Sister Young and I on the train down to Poznan for Zone Training.

The other day I found a Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher's Manual at the chapel (in English), so I'm borrowing it now and it's like the best thing ever! I never had the new curriculum (it started a couple of years after I finished High School), anywho, so I'm halfway through reading the Book of Mormon for my personal studies (I'm at Alma) and now I have a great study companion (the manual) to accompany me! It's super helpful and gets me to ask questions that I probably wouldn't have asked by myself. I read a Liahona article not long ago, and the author suggested we 'probe' the Scriptures with questions- it really is a great way to study! One of the most enjoyable things I've found on my mission, is having an investigator or member ask a question or have a concern, and looking for answers in the Scriptures (or from words of prophets) to prepare to teach them. It's great when they can learn to do that for themselves, because then they'll gain that testimony that God really does speak to us through the Holy Ghost, and He's given us the tools to find our own answers. I hope you all look to the Scriptures when you have a question come up in your lives!

This week we had a 'Zone Training' in Poznan (it also just happened to be Dzień Niepodległości (Independence Day in Poland) and is was really nice being with the other missionaries whom we haven't seen in a while. We learnt about having vision and keeping up with our goals and working to fulfil them. We also spoke about being time efficent and how to decide where to go (thinking physically and asking for guidance spiritually). I had my guitar and a book of Polish Christmas carols (called 'kolędy' in Polish), and my companion and I sung some during the little break of the meeting. It was really fun, and we're looking forward to spreading Christmas cheer this year! Some people think it's a little cruel that we go home only a couple days after Christmas haha but I'm okay with it. I love Poland and hey, I probably won't have many other Christmases in this country, but I'll have plenty with my family in Aus! I love this time of year :D We're going to have a Christmas-themed fireside, and maybe a separate branch activity for a Christmas supper. It'll be great! It's a good time of year too for talking to people about religion, because they're naturally thinking about it more. (Well I hope it'll be that way haha, I actually don't remember much of what it was like last year!).

Oh, this week we got news that Meet the Mormons was available with Polish subtitles online (yay!), so we're organising an activity soon to show after an English class one day. We'll invite everyone of course, so we're hoping it'll be a good turn-out, and that people will be able to understand more about the members of our church, and what type of a role it plays in our everyday lives. There for sure is a lot of misunderstanding about us (as a church and as members of the church), so things like this are just helpful- people learn best by example and so with that'd I'd add, don't forget to be a good example to all around you, at all times! We can all work on that! (Mosiah 18:9 "Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life")

Love you muchly, wishing you a lovely week!
From Sister Grgich :)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

We Will Get Stronger

We had a Tim-Tam Slam! (for the new Elder especially, because it was his first time)

And in other Aussie news, Elder Zelezniak (Jayden) visited our branch on Sunday! I told him to say hello to you mum :)

Yesterday was super awesome! We've been meeting with a less-active member for a while and trying to encourage her to come to church, then yesterday out of the blue, she finally came! My companion literally jumped up and down when we found out she came :D Well, I guess her appearance wasn't out of the blue, because a couple of days prior, we were able to have a lesson with her and the senior missionary couple (the Taggarts) and it was a very powerful one! I'm so grateful for the love and support they give us as missionaries, and how Elder Taggart loves and serves the branch members. I'm so grateful for his wise example and insights of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is truly a man who has lived and experienced the gospel in his own life, and is therefore so good at helping others see how they too can apply Christ's teachings to their lives and make use of His Atonement. I love seeing how the Lord works through multiple people and means in order to bless all of His children.

Last week we had a great meeting with a girl who has just recently been interested in the Church (we met her tracting a few weeks ago). We got on the topic of personal revelation and how we recognise answers from God, or how we can know that He's speaking to us. Sister Young and I were able to share our own experiences during the lesson, and later in the week we continued to study the topic. We read multiple scripture verses about the different feelings or impressions we can get. As we stopped to talk about each verse after reading them, I realised that I've actually experienced many of the things spoken of. For example, D&C 128:1- having a certain thought occupy my mind and press on my feelings- that's the way I decided to serve a mission! Those feelings and thoughts that were 'occupying' me, were also accompanied by enlightenment and feelings of peace and comfort. A multitude of verses in our Holy Scriptures talk about how we have good feelings from God. If we have bad feelings, or we have 'a stupor of thought' (D&C 9:9), chances are, we need to rethink our options! Sister Young and I also discussed how important for us to have listening ears- meaning, we should first and foremost make sure that we are putting ourselves in situations and giving sufficient time (when possible) to listen to the 'whisperings' (Helaman 5:30) of the Spirit. We should have time to meditate, to ponder the scriptures, and to wait and listen for an answer when it comes. Secondly, it means that once we DO get an answer from God, we should not ignore it or forget about it. It's unfortunately too easy for us to do that sometimes, due to a lack of care and attention on our part. We should make sure then when God speaks to us, He need only do it once. We should trust Him, and if we have received a sure answer from Him, we should be willing to act on that answer and not 'desensitise' ourselves to receiving further revelation. In the same vein, if we teach ourselves to pray, listen then act on answers, we will get stronger and will be more able to do so in the future. Faith is a principle of action, and like a muscle, must be exercised in order to stay strong. I'm so grateful for the things I've been able to learn this past week, I hope that you're all having some fulfilling personal studies, and exercising your faith in the Lord!

Love you all so much,
Sister Grgich