Thursday, 18 September 2014

Those Good Feeling Days

Look Ma! We're Here

Ready To leave the MTC

Our Awesome Polish Teachers

At Provo Temple with my companion and two awesome elders going to Melbourne

My Most Amazing MTC Companion Sister Smith (seriously the best) Who Has to Stay a Couple More Weeks in America, so We Had to Separate :(

Me With My Companion Siostra Montesinos who is on the Far Left and Two Other Sisters
Ah mum! I know a lot about those "good feeling" days. I love them so very much :) And I'm really convinced that your prayers for me are working, because I am seriously serving in the exact area I was hoping for (not that I honestly cared, because I know that God calls us to where and with whom we need to be, but it's pretty sweet that I get to be here) :D I'm in Gdansk (Google it!) it's right up north on the coast by the Baltic Sea, and there are a lot of Germans! My companion's name is Sister Montesinos (she's far left on the photo) and we just work so well together! I really couldn't imagine a better trainer for myself. She is such an amazing example, and is just such a down-to-earth person, so it makes it really easy for us to plan and work together.

The branch here is super cool. There are about 25 active members, and we're certainly working on bringing more people! It's hard sometimes to even get in a conversation with people on the street- as soon as they see the name tags they run! haha but we just try to show the people that we're normal and loving, and we definitely have faith that God is preparing people to receive the message of the Gospel. In the first few days it was really hard for me to step out of my comfort zone and just approach people, but now I already feel more confident with talking to strangers, and I'm picking up new skills every day, and I can really feel the Spirit speaking to me with ideas in my mind that I know aren't coming from my imagination. I can really feel God guiding me in every aspect of missionary work. I know without a doubt that this work is super important. There are so many times in the scriptures where we've been told to preach the gospel, so I'm so happy that you mum have been having good experiences with that too. It really is sad when people feel the need to put others down for believing in God. It's so twisted that people sometimes want to ridicule the one thing in your life that actually is absolute truth, the one thing that brings true and eternal happiness. But I guess that's the whole point of earth isn't it. If we didn't have oppoistion, we wouldn't be able to show our faith. If life was easy, we wouldn't grow and we wouldn't become the amazing people that our Heavenly Father knows each of us can become.

Yesterday in Sacrament Meeting, I got to give a 5 minute introduction to the branch, and I told the congregation how very grateful I am to have been raised in such an amazing family. I'm eternally thankful for my upbringing, and I've always loved that you've let me make all my decisions for myself. It's true mum what you said about needing to look for the truth yourself. No one can give anyone else a testimony. That is something that one can only get through sincere seraching and real intent, to know the truth for oneself. If you want to know something is true, go to the source. One very important thing I've learnt so far from being a missinoary, is that people can say what they will about what they think you believe, but they can never tell you that your testimony is wrong. I have recieved a witness that the Book of Mormon is true, and that God's Priesthood authority truly is on the Earth today. People may not agree with that, but no one can tell me that I didn't feel what I did, and what I still do feel. It's true that a testimony never stops growing, it's something we need to constantly nurture. I love this church so much, and I love the knowledge we have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation. It's such a beautiful thing. I love life, and I love you all my wonderful family and friends!
Have an awesome week!

Siostra Grgich

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

I Went to Salt Lake!

Outside a really cool door at Salt Lake temple :D And kids playing in the background haha it was so nice to see children running about- we hardly get to see any youngins here at the MTC

Outside of Salt Lake Temple

Me inside the Tabernacle (amazing acoustics- dad would love it)

myself and Sister Gericitano (I think that's how you spell it) at the Christus Statue

Conference Centre from the outside

inside the conference centre (those amazing pipes!)

Me and the German sister! (woo)

myself, aussie sister and nz sister outside the Conference Centre.

back-stitching in the church's humanitarian centre with Sister Gericitano (from Perth)

YAY Birthday!

Pressies from the Devisons and the Grgichs

Class Photos

Hey fam-bam(and other-bam)! This last week has zoomed by, and I have so much to tell you about. So first thing's first, I went to Salt Lake! Ah, it was so amazing! So on Friday, my companion took me to the cafeteria at 5:45 in the morning, and got ripped from my side, as we said our goodbyes and I went to eat breakfast with the other international missionaries. I must say, it was so strange to not be with my companion for the day! So after a very quick breakfast, we went to the coach/bus and were on our way to the Great Salt Lake! The views are so beautiful, and our bus driver gave us an amazing tour-guide commentary of the surrounding mountains, and buildings, and temples (there are like 5 on the way from Provo to Salt Lake) and he even showed us the area where prophet Thomas S. Monson grew up! It was pretty neat to leave the MTC bubble, and I even met another Aussie girl (she's from Perth and going to Chicago). It was so cool to talk to someone without having to repeat myself every 3 sentences hahah
So then when we got off the bus, we went straight inside the temple. It is so magnificent! There were so many people (so many weddings!) and inside the actual temple, the artwork and architecture is so beautiful. We did a session and it was just so inspiring. It really helped me see things from a different perspective. I definitely encourage anyone who gets the chance, to go to Salt Lake temple!
So after the session, we went outside and split up into smaller groups so that the lovely Temple Square Sisters could take us on a mini tour. So first they took us around the temple- one of the sisters was German, so I was so excited talking to her just wanting to talk about Germany! Haha but we also spoke about some symbolism of the temple. One really cool thing they told us, was that when you actually look at the walls of the temple, there are a lot of big black spots on the granite (i think that's what it is). They're marks in the stone blocks that probably could have been removed in later days, but for whatever reason, they've decided to keep them. And it sort of makes it really unique, and she related it to how we as missionaries, are not perfect, but we are still beautiful in our own individual talents and spirits.
After walking around the temple, we got to go inside the tabernacle (the old building where they used to have conference, and now they use it for choir concerts and as an overflow room when the conference centre is full). It looks really strange from the outside (sort of like a UFO-type thing) but on the inside it's pretty amazing, especially just to think about how many prophets and apostles and great saints have just been in those walls, and declared their testimonies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was actually really solemn to just sit and look around and feel the spirit. After the tabernacle we got to go to the Conference Centre. It was also really special, particularly because I'm so accustomed to seeing that building on the big screens when we watch conference via satellite or internet, but here I was in the building itself, just enjoying the spirit as the sister missionaries spoke to us some more about special symbolism and some major events that have happened there.
At the end of our short tour, we had a bit more time and got to see the Christus statue where they had beautiful hymns playing, and then we went through some rooms (mainly targeted at non-members) which outlined the Plan of Salvation through videos and props. It was so special, and all of us were crying at the end of the presentation. I am so grateful to have a knowledge of this Gospel. I know that families can be together forever only through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Because of Him, we can repent of our sins, and return to live in true happiness with our Heavenly Father who loves us and cares for each one of us so much. This life truly has a purpose, and there is not a soul in the world that God doesn't care so deeply about. I am so grateful for you, mum and dad, for bringing me up in the knowledge of this Gospel. Without it I'd truly be lost, and wouldn't have the amazing life that I do, with the knowledge of Christ that I do have. I love being a missionary. I don't know what could be better than teaching people about the amazing plan of happiness that Heavenly Father has for us, that we all rejoiced for before we came to Earth.
After the tour, we had a quick snack and our last stop was the church's Humanitarian Centre. They showed us a video of what the centre does, and how many people it affects (it's truly great, look it up online if you haven't already!). We then got to back-stick some quilts for about 20 minutes but then had to go. It was also a really special place to be in, just because of knowing what good that place does for so many people in the world- regardless of religion or race or gender or anything else. There are great paintings of Christ all around the centre, and it just really makes you remember how important it is to have charity-the pure love of Christ. I love my Saviour so much, and I know I have such a long way to go, but I'm ever trying to be more like him.
Well, a lot of other things happened this week, that have just been such a testament to me of how God loves His children, but for now I have to go (no time!) and the next time I write you, I'll be in Poland!! Ahh so exciting :D Have an amazing week, and be good to each other. Tell the girls I love them
I love you so much,
Siostra Grgich

Monday, 15 September 2014

I'm so Excited!

Foreword by Kate - Hey sorry about how late this is. My internet connection has been woeful and I've finally gotten around to lugging my iMac out to the kitchen so that I'm closer to the router. Hopefully now I'll get caught up on all the posts and be back on schedual. Ok onto the blog.

The Colour Wheel in our Polish room :) feat. Siostra Bak and myself

Siostra Bak and I in front of the Polish flag. We're really gonna miss each other!

Siostra Kuchar and I getting ready for GYM TIME (one of the best times of day!)

My Plan Zbawiene (Plan of Salvation) diagram feat. Elder Coutu in the background

My companion Siostra Smith being cute in her jammies

I'm on a cardboard phone, of course

My companion didn't want to be in this photo hahaha she may or may not be holding a bunch of her laundry

Siostra Bak, Siostra Kuchar and I in the laundry room where I'm writing this email!

I am so excited :'D Tomorrow morning, I get to wake up really early (haha ok that's the only downside here) and catch a bus with some other awesome international missionaries, and go to Salt Lake Temple! woot woot I can't explain my excitement in this email. Also, I only have 11 days until we fly out to Poland! These past weeks in the MTC have been so incredible; filled with crazy new experiences, and fast-paced schedules, packed in Polish and gym-time and studying, and prayer, and joking and eating and not much sleeping but so much fun and so much learning!
Well let me tell you about some of the things I've done this week. Yesterday we got to Skype a member of the church in Poland, (we got to meet with her last week as well). I felt myself understanding a lot more (even though I of course have SO much more to learn) and my companion and I really felt the Spirit working through us and helping us say the right things. I love when we get to teach, because it just makes me so excited for what things are going to be like in Poland. I know there are plenty of tough times ahead of me, but I also know that serving others is the best way to feel good. Whenever I'm helping others, I suddenly forget my own problems and somehow life gets better again. 

Also yesterday, we had a substitute teacher, so we got to practice more teaching skills (as opposed to Polish). Mind you, we do actually learn that stuff with our Polish teachers too, but we just had more time to not worry about the language, and focus more specifically on how we approach the subject of the Gospel with others. The teacher took us all out to the 'rynek' (meaning 'town square' or the main walking area of the MTC), and half of our district acted the part of investigators, while the other half got to try contacting people and having a conversation about the church. It was so insightful, and our teacher gave us a lot of good tips about finding commonalities with others, and how to use your own personality to share this part of our lives that means so much to all of us. I am so grateful that I get to spend 9 weeks here at the MTC. The experiences I've been having here will remain with me forever.

ALSO yesterday (you might tell that my memory doesn't extend much further than that!), while we were waiting to Skype, I found a German hymnbook, and it made me so nostalgic for Germany! I started singing some songs and I was surprised at how much I still know of the language. I've heard that there are a few places in Poland that are heavily German-influenced, so I'm hoping I'll get to go to one of those cities on my mission. Oh wow, just thinking about going there is giving me chills. I can't believe it's only 11 days away! Anyway, that was really nice. But I AM going to Poland, so I have of course also been practicing singing in Polish, and let me tell you, that language is no easy task for the tongue! It's physically a very demanding language haha, well let's hope I'll get a better flow with it after some time. 

I drew a picture of the Plan Zbawienie (Plan of Salvation) in the back of my Księga Mormona yesterday! It was actually really insightful for me (even though most of us Mormons who have grown up in the church, have sat through many a Sunday School, Institute, Primary or missionary lesson about the topic) I still had more to learn! I got the idea to draw it in my Book of Mormon, after seeing one of our teachers' have it drawn in his personal book that he took on his mission. I have become quite acquainted with and recently. I can't believe I wasted so much time on Facebook and YouTube and the list goes on. I could have been using that time to study and make my life better, but instead I chose to use it on a bunch of useless things. Well, I can't change the past, but I am so thankful that the sun rises every day, and time does indeed keep passing. I'm really trying to be a more effective missionary, and just a more productive person in general. I love all the time we have here to meditate and contemplate on life.
Last week we did an assessment thing on the computer, and it was showing us how to use Family History to invite others to come unto Christ. At the end, it encouraged us to go and look at our own family trees and so of course I did! I loved looking through the photos of Uncle Rudy and Djeda. I started looking through more of our family tree, and I really felt the Spirit of Elijah, testifying to me the importance of knowing our ancestors. I really felt the reality of these people- my family. They are still real people today, just as much as they were when they were alive on Earth, and though their bodies may be gone for this short time, they will be resurrected because of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I could not help but feel so much love for them while looking through their names. I really felt a lot of love for you too mum. I am so grateful to think about how much work you put into studying our family history, and finding those names of our ancestors, so that they too will have the blessings of temple ordinances in their post-mortal lives. I really wish I took more time to learn about how to use Family Search. Actually mum, that reminds me... when I log in, there's an asterisk on the word 'temple' and it says there's like 8 people to have work still done or something. Do you know what this is? Or what I am to do about it? Also, do you have ideas on what I can do to study up more about our family? Like where do I start? I know it's really difficult here because I'm not physically with you, but if you could give me some pointers, I would be so happy!!

Well last thing I'll talk about because I'm running out of time. So a couple of days ago in class we were talking about the Law of Tithing. We were all giving input, and we were talking about why all people (even poor) should also pay tithing. I mentioned something about in the Bible when the widow cast in all she had for tithing. So anyway, a few words after saying the word 'widow', and getting some confused looks from my classmates, one of the Elders says "wierdo...?" and I'm like.. "what?" and then I realised, they mistook me saying 'widow' for 'wierdo', and I had to repeat myself like 4 times and point at a picture in the Tithing pamphlet of the widow, before they all finally understood. It was so bad haha.
Oh and then that same day, I was speaking to another Polish sister from the other district, and I she said a Polish word "powolany" and I was like "Oh that means 'called' right?" and she was like "No, i think it means like preach or something", and I was like.. "Umm, really? I thought it meant called?" and she was like "No, 'cold' is 'zimno mi'", and I was like, oh great, here we go again. And I'm like "NO... CAAALLLED" and she's like "NO. Brrrr *rubbing her hands together* COLD is 'ZIMNO MI'" and so then I had to say the word "called" in an American accent, before she finally understood me lol. So anyway, did you know I'm also learning American here at the MTC? Hahah, ok, well I gotta go eat some dinner now!
Love you all, and be happy and tell Stevie and Maddie and Mandy and Kate that I love them and hope they all feel better!
And have an awesome birthday next week dad!
Kocham was,
Siostra Grgich