Sunday, 26 October 2014

An Odd Little Encounter

Our District Elders Jourdan and Wolfley and Sis Montesinos and I

This super blurry one is of my companion and I, and the senior sister missionary, Sister Shaw in the lift on the way up to the chapel in Gdansk

Me on the Długa (the main tourist street in Gdansk)

I'm a tad sick today, so please excuse me for this week's email if it's really boring!

On Monday we had a Family Home Evening at the chapel, and a couple of different members (and a nonmember) came which was really nice. We got to talk together and played a card game called 'golf' (it's super fun, you should look it up if you have time!). The senior missionary couple (Elder and Sister Shaw) run the FHE every week, so normally everything's in English, but one older member came last week who can't speak English, so it was actually pretty cool for me to try and translate for her. My Polish is still quite terrible, but it really helped us bond together with me trying to speak in Polish with her, explaining the rules of the game and what not. This lady also won the game, which made her super happy and she kept hugging me heheh so that made me feel special. It reminds me of the good ol' days ;) back in Germany, when I just somehow made friends with people, even only being able to speak my broken German. This language is still frustrating, and every day I'm learning more, but I know it will take some time until my understanding skills (in particular) will start to pick up.

This week we went tracting a few times (our mission president has been pushing for us to do more) so that's been very interesting! We haven't been let in anyone's home yet, although we have hope! One day (I think it was last Tuesday) we were ringing the domophone of an apartment building (it's not so common for people to live in houses on one block of land per family like is common back in Oz- so our tracting normally consists of speaking to people over the domophone of big apartment blocks, and hoping they'll buzz us in) when the light from within the main staircase came on. We had just finished talking with a super sarcastic man and it was time for us to head back home so we moved a couple of steps away from the main entrance while my companion wrote some things in her planner. Then as we're about to go, this elderly lady comes out of the block and tells my companion to go walk down a certain direction. At first my companion thought she was showing us the way to go back to the main road, so she heads down that way, but I'm like "Hey Sister, it's this way" (the opposite direction). Then the lady looked really angry and was just staring at us and then said something (I didn't really understand) and my companion is like "just go this way" but I was really confused because it was a really round-about way of getting back to the main road. So then my companion was like "Come on, she's angry with us" so I went down the other way (still wasn't sure what was going on) and I look at my companion all confused, and she says quietly "The lady's angry with us and wants us to leave and now she's following us". We went down some stairs (this is out in public mind you, not on anyone's private property or anything) and the lady mumbles something else and stares at us as we walk away. I look back, and she's still sort of following us with her arms crossed.

So that was an odd little encounter. I asked my companion what was going on (I couldn't understand anything the lady had said), and she had apparently said something about how we're terrible people for bothering people at this time of night (it was 7-8pm...) and that we need to go away. It made me really sad to think about why this lady felt it necessary to be so mean and rude to us. We weren't being noisy, we weren't rude or abrupt or unfriendly on the domophone (we only ring the bell for an apartment once, and simply state something like "we're missionaries etc, do you have some time for us to teach more..."), we speak kindly and with manners, we're dressed conservatively, and aren't nagging or pushy in our words. I can't see anything that would be threatening about us- and yet some people unfortunately see the need to be so unkind to us. This bothered me for a little while and I was still thinking about it as we went to bed.

The next morning for personal study, I was thinking about why there's so much opposition and ill-feelings towards missionaries. I started reading from the Book of Mormon about Alma and Amulek (around Alma 14). These missionaries had so much opposition, simply from sharing the gospel.They had not done anything wrong, in fact they were doing the best thing for these people who needed the blessings of the Gospel in their lives. Many people even accepted their teachings, and repented, or turned their lives around for the better. Yet for some reason (and we know that reason is Satan), Alma, Amulek and all the believers, were mocked, persecuted harshly and all but Alma and Amulek were killed for their beliefs in a most horrific way. I then thought about our very Saviour, the one perfect man to ever live on this mortal earth- even Jesus Christ. His life was never easy. He was persecuted by so many, even when He was performing miracles in plain view. There were still people that used their agency, to mock Him, and try to put Him down- try to make Him feel bad for doing so much good. I love the scripture in Luke 23: "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots." I can't ever imagine the pain and trials that my Redeemer went through on earth, and yet He had so much love, and truly was so perfect, that He was able to forgive His very persecutors in the act of their wrongdoing.

I know that missionary work is not often easy, and why should it be, when Christ truly is at the head of this Church. I have such a strong testimony that "it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things", but that doesn't mean that we can't have so much joy from this work- even amongst the opposition. I'm so grateful for the 3 hours of study we get to have as missionaries every day. It's really been bringing me closer to my Heavenly Father and my brother and Saviour Jesus Christ. I know that they love me, even when others may look down on me for being a missionary. I try hard every day to go about with a smile, because I know this work is important, and I know that I have a clear conscience before God. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to be serving in Poland among such beautiful, hard-working people. I'm so grateful for the trials in my life, that are only making me stronger, and I pray that God will continue to make my weaknesses become my strengths. I pray that you are all happy and well, and remember that even when others around you may put you down, you are nothing less than a daughter or son of God, and He knows your divine worth and potential for greatness.

Love you so much,
Siostra Grgich

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