Saturday, 28 February 2015

Cool Experiences

This week we had a lot of cool experiences :) After p-day last week, we went to a newly-wed member-couple's home and had a really good time talking about their conversion stories and then about how we can work together to strengthen the branch in Gdansk. It was super insightful and we all of have a lot of good ideas that we are now trying to put in use. We ate mandarins while we spoke, so I was inspired, and this week I bought a lot of fruit because I remembered how much I love fruit! Unfortunately they don't really have mangos here, but I bought some grapes and blueberries so I'm happy!

On Tuesday we got to help out at a school and teach a couple of different classes about our different cultures (it was so they could learn English and stuff), so I was happy to speak about my country, only 1 day after Australia Day :) Later that day, we visited a lady we had found tracting a week or so earlier, and she and her husband were home and totally let us in to talk! It was a really cool experience- almost as if they had known we were coming (we didn't tell them we were, because we didn't have their phone number or anything) so we were so glad they were both home and able to talk at the time we happened to stop by. We were able to teach them all about the restoration of the gospel of Christ and left them with a copy of the Book of Mormon (Księga Mormona) and we just had an overall great experience with teaching them and listening to them. By the end of the lesson we were able to get their number this time (so we can teach them more) and then right before we left, they even showed us a fish that they had in a bucket (it was really gross and had eyes and its mouth was totally flopping around) so we left cracking up and they invited us over again to have dinner some time (I hope it's not gonna be that fish haha!). The next day we were able to meet with a member from the branch Jadwiga (we try to visit her as often as possible) and had a great time talking with her (our Polish babcia/grandma).

The next day after studies, we decided to go as a district to the edge of the main walkway (Ulica Długa) and set up a whiteboard (saying something like "What do the following things mean to Mormons?- baptism, restoration of the gospel, God's plan etc.) and a table with church materials so we could grab people's attention and invite them to learn about the gospel. We all ended up talking to different people on the street, and even got a couple of phone numbers to stay in contact and hopefully talk to these people some more. I was able to talk to a lady for a little while (Elder Jackson had approached her, but I came over to help with the Polish because this is his 1st transfer) and we were able to talk about the Book of Mormon and how Christ's church has indeed been restored and exists on the earth today. She had clearly been thinking about religious matters, because she was talking (and listening) with a lot of interest and emotion, and brought up some very interesting points about organised religion, and why family is so important. She unfortunately had to go to catch a bus, but she was so smiley and happy and even gave me a hug before she left for her bus :D It was a really cool experience, to have spoken to someone about something so dear to me, and then have her be open and leave happy and smiling. Tender mercy!

Well there were many other great experiences that happened this week (for example, finding more people to teach, planning for our Zone Training this week) but I'm running out of time, so I'll talk to you next week and I hope you have a great trip up to QLD!

All my love,
Siostra Sonya Grgich

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Zone Conference!

Sister Smith (MTC comp) and I. This is with Elder Hon (my Zone Leader) photo bombing in the background

This is Sister Kuchar and I talking with Elder Charles (he was presiding at our Zone Conference).

All of my MTC sisters reunited (except for Sister Woodward- not sure why we didn't get her in the photo!)

Sister Kuchar and I at Zone Conference in the Warsaw chapel
Hi Family! This week I went to Bydgoszcz again! I got to serve with Sister Antczak (she's in her first transfer, and from Texas and is super awesome and sings Australian songs with me) while her companion Sister Owen went to Gdansk and stayed with my companions. We had a really cool experience, we spoke to some people on the streets, sung some songs, taught English class, met some more cool people and then had a great lesson with a Ukrainian girl named Ola who's preparing to be baptised soon, and a member from the branch. I had such a great time and I learnt so much from the other missionaries there :) We prepared a lesson about how to get answers from the scriptures, and it went really well! We were able to teach about how it's important to pray with specific questions in mind, pray to focus during study, then really ponder the scriptures and look for answers. It was really cool having a member on the lesson too because she helped explain a lot of the concerns our investigator had and gave a second witness to what we were teaching. I really felt blessed with the Gift of Tongues- I know God is helping me learn this language, there is NO WAY I could speak as well as I do now all on my own. I'm so grateful for the many ways my Heavenly Father allows me to grow and learn.

On Wednesday I came back to Gdansk and we were able to have a beautiful lesson with a less-active member in our branch. She is the first member I actually met in Poland and she let's us call her our Polish Grandma. She made us Naleśniki (pancakes) and we had a great time talking with her. Sometimes she gets really sad so it's good to just be with her. I'm glad I've had many different trials in my life, because I know they allow me to sympathise with others. I know I don't always understand how other people feel, nor would I pretend to, but I know that all our pains can be healed through Christ. Some things take time (and I can see that a lot in my own life), and it's always so important to have friends to care for you and support you. I can't say enough how thankful I am that we have the organisation of the Church, that allows everyone to be cared for and aims to not let anyone get left behind. One thing we're really trying to work on in the branch, is encourage the members to fulfil their home and visiting teaching assignments. People just need to feel loved! I know that when the members can learn to look out for each other, the church will continue to strengthen and all will be blessed, by being concerned for "the One" (Luke 15:4- "What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?").

This week we also had Zone Conference and we got to go to Warsaw! Elder Christopher Charles (an Area Seventy) and his wife came and spoke to us about the missionary work and gave us a lot of encouragement and inspired counsel. They're both converts to the church and told us amongst many other things, how they came to know the church is true. It was so good to hear from them bearing bold testimony of the gospel. They told us of how one of the missionaries that taught them had only been out for a very short time, and had prayed when he had opened his mission call, that he would find a family that had been prepared to teach the restored gospel to. It was humbling to hear or the kind of missionaries that taught Elder and Sister Charles, and it really encouraged me to make sure I'm the best missionary I can be- humble and loving, yet bold and courageous enough to share the message with those that my Father in Heaven has prepared. After the conference (and getting to see so many of my missionary friends!) I got to stay in Warsaw with Sisters Kuchar and Simkins and we managed to speak to a lady on the tram about our message. It was again a miracle with how we were able to speak Polish with her (and be understood!) and we were able to leave her with a Book of Mormon. We hope she'll read it and want to find out more :) We were able to talk a lot (Sister Kuchar was a great friend to me in the MTC) and the next day (Sunday) I got to go to church there before heading back to Gdansk. I got to meet a few of the members in their ward and I was overcome with the Spirit and immense happiness as I sat in Sacrament meeting. I felt the Lord touch my heart and comfort me. I was looking around at all the families, the old and young, some people who have no other family members in the church, and I just thought how beautiful it is that we have the church in this country. I'm so grateful that we have that chapel, and many other temporary places around Poland for the saints