|A view out my train window of some Polish fields|
|Zone training in Poznań and Bydgoszcz last week (me and my district and then some elders from Szczecin and Poznań that were in my MTC group)|
|Me saying goodbye to the Gdańsk flat (that's Sister Wood in the background)|
|Sisters Bąk and Wood eating my Nutella and pretzels on the kitchen floor, as you do when you mourn the end of a companionship|
This week has been a bit different (well I could probably say that about every week, but anyway...) so I'm no longer serving in Gdansk, but rather in that town you (mum) can't pronounce that starts with a 'B' heheh. So this past Tuesday my Gdansk district all went over to Bydgoszcz for Zone Training (hosted by the Zone Leaders and myself) and our mission president and his wife were there too, so we had a great time for learning and uplifting each other. We spoke about specific goals that we want our Zone to work on (a lot to do with having unity and being consecrated) and then afterwards the Bydgoszcz district served us all home-made pierogi (Polish dumplings) that they'd made the day before- it was so delicious! Then I stayed the night with the Sisters there because the next day we went over to Poznań to give the Zone Training for the other half of our Zone (it just works out better because of the distances of the cities to do it that way). Then on the train home I got a call from the Mission President telling me I'd be going back to Bydgoszcz to finish at least the end of this transfer (and probably next, but we'll see). So I was really sad when I told my companions and realised I'd be leaving my favourite (well, it was my first and only) city, but we ended up making the best of our last 2 days together. So now I'm in Bydgoszcz and that explains why!
So after packing all my things and saying goodbye, (and getting to have one last lesson with our 2 investigators, a married couple who are the sweetest!) I arrived in Bydgoszcz just a few hours before an Open Day activity they were having at the chapel there. So we had a couple of hours to prepare (and eat) and I'm so grateful I got to be here for that experience! They (the district of missionaries in Bydgoszcz) had organised an open house with the help of the local branch members, and it was basically an opportunity for people to get to know more about why our church exists, some of our basic beliefs and then what we do on Sundays (like the different auxillaries and Sacrament Meeting). Some members brought their friends along, and it was just a really good environment. One of the recent converts in Bydgoszcz is from Austria (so speaks German!) and his German non-member friend came and I helped translate for them (from Polish into English, with a few German words here and there haha), so it was really fun! I'm so grateful for the opportunity I had to learn German (mostly at church in Solingen) because now I know all the 'gospel' terms like revelation, covenants, priesthood etc. It worked out well! I got to meet a lot of the members in this branch, and they've already helped me feel so welcome. A lot of people here actually know the Ireland's from when they served here as a senior missionary couple a little while ago! And there's a whole new realm of people here who have to struggle with learning to pronounce my awkward surname hahah :p
Yesterday at church I gave a short testimony and introduction, and we had some great talks about prayer and modern revelation through prophets and apostles. It was really insightful, and I also coudln't help but feel so overwhelmed with joy that the members in Poland have such strong testimonies of the restored gospel of Christ. I feel so blessed to be in Poland, because almost all of the members are converts (as in, their parents aren't members) and a lot of them have sacrificed so much to be in this church- you can see that it's all worth it because of the happiness their knowledge of the gospel brings them. I'm so grateful for the missionaries before me, who've taught these people and extended the invitation for them to simply follow after Jesus Christ. These people are now such great examples to me- I think of the wonderful members in Gdansk that I've had such a privilege of getting to know, and now I can see in Bydgoszcz how they are just as amazing and I'm so thankful that God has given me this opportunity to meet even more precious souls.
I'm so excited to hear about how things are going well back in Australia! I feel like I have a personal attitude of it doesn't matter what problems we have in life, everything will always end up fine in the bigger scheme of things, as long as we just keep the faith and endure to the end. I know I got a lot of this attitude from you (mum and dad) and I wouldn't want to see life in any other way!
Have a great week and I hope things continue to run smoothly with all the moving around and renovations! Oh, I got a really lovely email from Sylvia today, and she put this quote in it which I love: "THE GRASS IS ALWAYS GREENEST WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW!!"- I appreciate this saying so much in my life right now! I love my friends, they're the best :)
All my love,