|Saying goodbye to the Shaw's at Sopot beach (we ended up playing volleyball and the weather was perfect!)|
|Tracting in a very typical Polish klatka (apartment building)|
|We've moved back up to the 8th floor- so we spent Saturday moving all the furniture back into the new rooms for church on Sunday (we all love the renovated space!)|
|Sister Smith and I at the Malbork castle today (we sort of accidentally matched outfits today!)|
I have my planner this time so I'm able to remember things a lot easier (I've been trying to be better at recording things down at the end of the day). So I might just go through each day as per my planner (I'm not very creative-sorry!).
Last Monday went really well- the rain held off and it was perfect weather for beach volleyball. The Shaw's came and we had watermelon together, got to play with some new-found friends (and some old ones), and said our goodbyes to the Shaw's who are nearing the end of their mission here. After pday, we set up a table on a main pedestrian street in Sopot, and we found some great people to talk to. Perhaps one of the best parts of that day was when we had come back to Gdansk, and we spoke to a Belarusian girl about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. She was so open and really wanted to read the Book of Mormon. I had my guitar with me, and she was like "So are you going to play something?" and I said "Sure!" so then we played and sung a short version of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and it was really cool. Ula was so friendly and just made Sister Smith and I so happy. We invited her to church (we were in the vicinity and the big brown building in which our chapel lies is easy to see from many parts of the city), and we're really hoping that she'll come and allow us to teach her more. It was really cool to have someone so open to read the Book of Mormon and to pray about it and Joseph Smith. Sister Smith and I have been praying a lot for people who will receive us (D&C 31:7), and Heavenly Father has been blessing us with wonderful opportunities- we are working hard to have more progressing investigators, who will continue to keep commitments and work towards finding the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, we had a great district meeting and shared our testimonies with each other- it was a special occasion. It's so important to talk with your friends about the gospel, and spiritual things. It helps you feel the Spirit, and can help you realise your own testimony (that often happens as you bear it). When we bear our testimonies to people in Poland, I can always feel the Holy Ghost witnessing of the truth of what we say. It's also super important to be a living testimony by the way we act in private and around others- and as missionaries, we're very aware that people look at us and make judgements on the Church, based on what they see from us, so we need to always be an example of Christ. There's a great talk from Elder David A. Bednar in 2009, I'll just quote some of it:
"We should remember that bearing a heartfelt testimony is only a beginning. We need to bear testimony, we need to mean it, and most importantly we need consistently to live it. We need to both declare and live our testimonies.
The relationship between testimony and appropriate action is emphasized in the Savior’s instruction to the Saints in Kirtland: “That which the Spirit testifies unto you even so I would that ye should do” (D&C 46:7). Our testimony of gospel truth should be reflected both in our words and in our deeds. And our testimonies are proclaimed and lived most powerfully in our own homes. Spouses, parents, and children should strive to overcome any hesitancy, reluctance, or embarrassment about bearing testimony. We should both create and look for opportunities to bear testimony of gospel truths—and live them."
On Wednesday, we finally got to visit and talk with the lady who was in the hospital/care housing. We had such a beautiful time with her- we sung her songs, and spoke with her and her mother (who has been visiting her everyday for the past several months that she's been in hospital). Many other patients really appreciated our music, and I know that it meant a lot to Wioletta to have us just keep her company. She spoke about how she used to be a dancer and teach children, and now her legs are paralysed, but she is slowly getting better, and calls herself a living "miracle". She has great faith and is such an example to me of perseverance and optimism. I'm so impressed by her mother and friend's support, in visiting her often and uplifting her both physically and emotionally. We are hoping to visit her again this week, and I feel so blessed to have that opportunity to serve such a beautiful daughter of God.
On Thursday we went tracting in an area we haven't really been before (we're always trying new areas) and it was a bit hard. We were getting a lot of cold rejection and our spirits were feeling a little low. One lady (whose house we hadn't even knocked at yet) got really angry at us and started yelling that we're a sect etc. and even when we went across the street, she was still yelling at us and being really mean. We offered to help her (she was grabbing a clothes rack at the time and trying to move it) but she didn't want our help. It's a little sad that she had these bad feelings about us, when we hadn't done anything wrong (when in fact we're just trying to do what in our consciences is right). We decided to go to a slightly different area to continue tracting before going home. We were able to speak to a really nice man at his door about the Restoration, and while he didn't want to have a return visit, it was really nice to have someone be friendly to us. But you know, even if we hadn't spoken to anyone that was nice to us, I know that we are doing the right thing, and we are trying to serve and teach people about Christ. Even Christ was harshly rejected by many, and I will never have to go through the type of things He went through. I am so grateful for His Atonement- He is always able to comfort me, and that knowledge has been one of the greatest helps for this time of my life (and will continue to be for the rest of my life as I certainly will go through more trials!).
On Friday while looking for some less-active members of the branch, we asked a neighbour if she knew if anyone still lived in the apartment next door (that was the address of the less-active lady)- she said no (unfortunately) but then we started talking with the friend of the neighbour who was on her way home (she was mostly just interested in the fact that Sister Smith was from America) and by the end of our conversation she offered to drop us off on her way back. It was so nice of her, we still had some work to do out in the area, but it was such a nice gesture from a complete stranger :) Just more proof to us from God that He really does care for us, and that there really are so many wonderful and good people in the world- willing to help a stranger. Oh and just a little fun side-note, we had dinner at a burger place that night, and the song "the Boys are Back in Town" came on the radio, and it reminded me of dad playing that in his band :) Little tender mercy!
On Saturday we helped move furniture from the 4th floor (temporary place of the chapel while our original 8th floor premise was being renovated) back up to the 8th. All of our district worked hard to make the place ready for Sunday, and the hard work really paid off! The place looks so great, and it's so easy to feel the Spirit there. We had church yesterday and the members love the new space. I'm excited for new paintings to come so we can have them up on the wall. I just love the feeling of being in our chapels! I love the paintings of Christ, I love the view of God's beautiful world outside, I love thinking about all the amazing experiences I've had throughout my life, that have happened in or at church sites. Times I've been in the Primary organisation and had wonderful life-impacting lessons from amazing, dedicated teachers, the many mornings of Seminary, building my faith and testimony about the restored church- I just love that we can go almost anywhere in the world, and find one of these chapels in which this truth is taught and learned. I'm so grateful to be a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and I know that this is where Gos wants me to be.
Ok I've run out of time, and there are many other great things that happened this week but I'll have to tell you about them another time! Love you so much, remember to be happy :D
Love Siostra Grgich