Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Strength in Numbers

Sorry this one's blurry- me with Kasia (Young Woman in our branch) making ANZAC bikkies!

And me with Ewa (member from Bydgoszcz) in the Gdansk chapel (we had District Conference yesterday!)

Sister Young and I on Ulica (street) Długa

Marta (member from Poznan) and I

Sister Young, Magda (member in our branch from Sopot) and I

Yesterday we had our district conference! It was held at our Gdańsk chapel, and members from Bydgoszcz and Poznań came. It was such a great occasion! We prepared food with members and others beforehand, and had a lot of fun doing so! Then we got to enjoy the different talks and musical items :) It was really nice seeing the different members being so involved, and it was just such a great atmosphere being with everyone in such an uplifting and loving environment. It reminded me of how there can be strength in numbers- and it just really make me yearn for more here in Poland! The church organisation is so important, we're all needed and can all play a part. If we think we don't need church, at least we can be selfless enough to say that the church and it's members need us! Because it really does. And church is such a great place to find people to strengthen and serve. There are so many people that need our help, and being in the church gives us SO many opportunities to work and teach and love others.

This week we had a lot of wonderful experiences- one that stands out to me was when we were walking around the town just talking to people and inviting them to learn about the restored gospel, and we started talking to one girl who said she didn't believe in God. After a while, she admitted that she would like to believe that there's life after death and that she could be with her family again after this life. We told her that we know that there is a life after death and that families can be together forever, but unfortunately she had to go pretty quick back to work (she was on her break) so she just left. It made me sort of sad, because I know that her life could have so much clarity and purpose if she knew the truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I hope that she'll one day come to learn and find out more for herself, but in the meantime, I know that God is very aware of her and her life, and I am so grateful for the knowledge that "every creature" (Mark 16:15) will have the gospel preached to them- whether that be now or in the Spirit World. I'm so grateful for the people who are using this life to learn and show their faith. This Gospel- the Plan of God isn't for us to have some type of restricted life filled with commandments that we "have" to keep and a list of "do's and don'ts", but rather when we learn and live it, we find true peace and freedom from the consequences of sin. We have purpose in life and want to help others along the way. This life is the time to prepare to meet God (Alma 34:32), and the faster we do that, the faster we'll have clarity and purpose, and we'll feel the Atonement of Jesus Christ working in us to change us for the better and best.  

I'm so grateful for the blessings of God I've seen in my life and in the lives of so many around me. I know that even when we make mistakes, God's arms are outstretched and we can see a change in our own lives and we trust in the power of Christ's Atonement, and use our agency to make good decisions from this very moment on. I love you all so much and wish you a happy, love-filled week!

Sister Grgich

Friday, 11 September 2015

The American and his Polish Girlfriend

This is Sister Young and I with the beautiful Kasia and her amazingly large dog Krowa (which means cow) <3 Her family met with missionaries 20 years ago, we've miraculously gotten in contact and have been helping her learn about the Church. She is so incredible and we love her so much :D

We went to the beach at Sopot last Pday, and we just had to take a jumping photo of course! We went bikeriding for a bit, it was so relaxing and peaceful, ahh I love being in nature!

I'm not sure where to start so I'm just going to do a day-to-day type thing. Ok, so on Monday, we went to the beach at Sopot, went for a walk and a little bike-ride, a really nice and relaxing p-day, afterwards in the evening we had a Family Home Evening at the chapel, and got to be with some of the members and investigators- it was really cool because we were able to be with an American member who's visiting his Polish non-member girlfriend- they're so sweet and we actually were able to have a lesson with them a couple of days later- hopefully the girlfriend can start meeting with the Sisters in Bydgoszcz (she lives a little bit out of our area unfortunately!). It was awesome to see what a great missionary this guy was/is, helping people in Poland learn about the Gospel from across the internet! She had such a great testimony of the Book of Mormon and I really hope she can continue to learn about us and the message of the Restoration.

On Tuesday we went to Bydgoszcz for Zone Training (for the missionaries). We learnt so many wonderful things- one thing that stood out to me was how we need to be humble and have faith, and then we will see the miracles of the Lord- "manifestations of His divine power" as the Bible Dictionary says. We came back for the evening, and my companion and I were on our way to the chapel to prepare for the Patriarch who has been giving blessings all around Poland (he's American, and is able to give blessings in English and Russian), when we ran into one of our branch members! It was really cool that we were able to talk with her and get to know her a little better, she's got such a strong testimony of Jesus Christ and the Church, I love being around her and feeling her spirit. There's of course nothing wrong with being 'born in the Church'- in fact, that's aweomse! But there's just something so cool about hearing converts bear testimony, and seeing them live their lives in accordance with the Gospel knowledge that they haven't always had growing up.

On Wednesday we had that great lesson with the American member and his Polish girlfriend, then we did some last preparations for the patriarch. We also taught English class which went fairly well. Then on Thursday, we had 5 members from our branch receive their patriarchal blessings!! We had set up the chapel with fresh flowers, and simple tablecloths, a church painting (we only have 1 at the moment, but we're getting a few more that have been ordered in) - it was all made to look as 'temple-like' as possible. The way everything looked really helped set the scene, and made it so easy to feel the Spirit, which was so strong as the Patriarch and members were in the chapel/building. My companion and I felt so honoured to be a part of this very special occasion- it was so beautiful to me, knowing that these strong and faithful members had received something so special and personal for them directly from their Heavenly Father, spoken through the words of His chosen and authorised servant.

On Friday we got to visit Kasia in Gdynia- we had a lesson about the Plan of Salvation (just from the beggining- we've still got a bit more to teach about it), it was just so special being with her and reading from the Book of Mormon together. She is such an incredible soul, and we've been so blessed to have come across her and to be able to help her come closer to her Saviour through her gaining a personal testimony of Him. I know that He has always got His hands outstretched to us, and I'm confident that in time Kasia will receive an answer from God about His reality and importance. This Gospel brings so much light and understanding, and I love feeling my faith grow every time I testify about my experiences with God and coming to know of the truth of this message. The teachings of Jesus Christ truly are a light, and we will feel our souls enlarged! I love this from the Book of Mormon (Alma 2:34-35):

"...for ye know that the word hath swelled your souls, and ye also know that it hath sprouted up, that your understanding doth begin to be enlightened, and your mind doth begin to expand. O then, is not this real? I say unto you, Yea, because it is light; and whatsoever is light, is good, because it is discernible, therefore ye must know that it is good..."

Ok Saturday and Sunday were also incredible days, especially when the members bore their testimonies yesterday during Sacrament Meeting- it was so special :'). I love the people here so much, I see miracles every day. They have not ceased, and my life has witnessed to me of that eternal truth. I am so grateful for my Saviour and His role in Heavenly Father's plan of happiness for us, His children. 

I love you so much and wish you a faith-filled week!Love from Sestra Grgić :D

Thursday, 10 September 2015

One of the Coolest Things Happened

Elder McPherson and I singing after English class

My companion Sister Young and I awkwardly hugging photo ;)

The old town of Gdansk

This week we had some incredible experiences! I'll try and condense things because I don't have a lot of time- but first off- one of the coolest things happened! So last week Sister Young and I were walking to the nursing home to visit a former investigator and sing songs for her and just talk, so I had my guitar, and we cut through the mall to make our way over to her residence. In the mall, a security guard all of a sudden saw me with the guitar and said "Hey, play something!" and I was like "ehh.." haha then we ask who he was, and he just says "oh, Mormons, right?" and we say "yeah! have you met us before?" and he says "Yeah, but I'm Jewish" and then he asks to play my guitar and I say "No, it's mine" then he plays it anyway haha (it's all good, I really didn't mind) then he plays a Jewish song for us right there in the mall (it's in Yiddish! which is really cool, because it's similar to German) then he hands back the guitar and tells us to just wait for a second, then he gets on his phone and is talking to his daughter and asks her if she wants to meet with the Mormons, then he gets off the phone and tells us to take down her number and it's best to call in the evenings. Then he says he needs to go to work, and goes along his way, and Sister young and I are just left so confused but amazed at what just happened! So we eventually were able to set up to meet his daughter (who speaks incredible English by the way) and we got to visit with her and teach her about the Restoration and the Book of Mormon, and a little bit about the Plan of Salvation- ah it was the coolest thing ever, and she was the sweetest, coolest girl! She also had a really cool dog, nicknamed "cow" (krowa, in Polish) haha it was one of the biggest but happiest-looking dogs I've ever seen. We can't wait to meet with her again. So it turns out, her family met with some Elders about 20 years ago- and they even remember one of the Elder's names! She had a photo with her and the Elders when she was a baby hehe so cute. So now we'll try and find out where this elder is now haha- we'll figure it out somehow! Yeah, so that was an amazing experience- that was no coincidence- God is activiely a part of all our lives and He wants to help us! I know that He loves us, and all of His children, all of the people we meet with and walk past- they are all His children and He loves us all more than we can comprehend. That was a great day to see the hand of the Lord in our lives (and in others'!).

Oh, later that day was pretty incredible too! We had gone around the old town and contacted some people on the streets, trying to talk to people who're interested in learning, when all of a sudden a couple of guys walk past us and one says "Siostry!" (meaning "Sisters"), and we trun around and they turn around, and we're like "Czy pan zna nas...?" (Do you know us?) and then we started talking and find out they're 2 return missionaries (Americans) and one served in Russia and the other in Poland (about 20 years ago), and they're just in Gdańsk for a couple of days. They've been in Poland for a little while (staying in Kraków) checking out things for work/business. So yeah, we had the whole conversation in Polish (they're both learning, but they both spoke so well!) and then they came to church yesterday which was really cool! Ah.. anyway, pretty amazing how people are put in our paths (or us, in theirs).

Well, a lot of other great things have happened this week, but I've got to go! So have a great week and be happy and I love you all so much!!!

Siostra Grgich <3

Monday, 7 September 2015

New Companion

This is my new companion Sister Young :)

This past week was the last week of the transfer, and now we've started a new one! Well the news: I am now starting my 6th transfer serving in the Gdańsk branch :D That's super awesome news, on a sad note, Sister Smith is now in Warsaw and I miss her so much. But on a good note again, my new companion is really awesome too! Sister Young is from Canada (we're Commonwealth buddies ;)) and she's been in the country for 2 months and she's already a pro at the missionary work (I'm seriously so impressed)! Our mission president wrote to us today telling us about his hope that this transfer would bless us with some "mountains to climb"- I feel really good and dare I say, comfortable, about everything right now! But I know there will be challenges every day as we strive to find and teach and serve more and more people, and I know that it's most often in our discomfort that we have those learning opportunities that make us better people. Anyway, I'm very optimistic about this upsoming transfer, and I look forward to telling you about it for the next 2 months! :D

Last week on Monday we had a beautiful lesson with a current progressing investigator. Sister Smith and I found him while tracting a few weeks ago, and he's just so awesome! We met with him and the elders, and spoke about many fundamental things- he had a lot of questions (which was great!) and he is so in tune with the Spirit. He told us how he felt impressed to listen to us while we were at his door- even though he at first thought we were salespeople! He told us how he felt impressed to meet with us, and we assured him that he was feeling the promptings of the Holy Ghost. He has read from the Book of Mormon and had real questions about what he had read. He has been to church a couple of times, and we are so excited to see him progress in the gospel. I really can't express my joy at seeing someone learn the simple and eternal truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I think of all those verses in the Book of Mormon where a missionary like Ammon just rejoices in the knowledge that others have come unto Christ through faith and repentance- I love this one:

Alma 26:16
"Therefore, let us glory, yea, we will glory in the Lord; yea, we will rejoice, for our joy is full; yea, we will praise our God forever. Behold, who can glory too much in the Lord? Yea, who can say too much of his great power, and of his mercy, and of his long-suffering towards the children of men? Behold, I say unto you, I cannot say the smallest part which I feel."

This week we also had our fireside! It was based on the Restoration- we started with a few short talks from the members, then we watched the Restoration film (with Polish dubbing), had a couple of testimonies from members and Elder Kimball (who's just finished his mission!), then Sister Smith and I did a musical item, and we had refreshments afterwards. I can't even explain the overwhelming feeling of the Spirit during that meeting! It was so beautiful hearing from the members- bearing their sweet testimonies of Christ's church, and how they came to know of its truthfulness. We had a few guests, and I think it was such a great atmosphere for them to be in the feel the power of the Holy Ghost for themselves. We would love to organise another fireside like that in the near future- we all need spiritual uplift, and firesides are such a great way for us to be in a place where we can easily feel the Spirit and listen to what our loving Heavenly Father wants us to know! I never realised how incredibly lucky/blessed I was to be in an area where the church membership is large and we have firesides and church activities all the time! I will never take that for granted again.

This week was full of so many tender mercies- I've been so blessed this past transfer, too many blessings to mention here! I thank the Lord everyday that I have the light of the gospel in my life. I have been blessed by living according the principles of faith, hope, charity and repentance. I know that God wants the best for us, and always has His arm outstretched toward us.

May you all have a fantastic week! I love you all so much!
Siostra Grgich

Sunday, 6 September 2015

It's a Lifestyle

I got fairy floss (or cotton candy as Americans call it) for my birthday!

Pictures from the Solidarność Museum

Sister Smith and I visiting Wioletta in hospital
And we went to the Hard Rock Cafe and I got my favourite drink ever :D (it's like pineapple and strawberry and stuff- so good!)- and Sister Taggart made me a necklace for my birthday too :D

For culture night we went to a park near a forest, and had kiełbasa (polish sausage) and smores, and went for a bit of a walk through the forest

Dinner at a member's place- I've actually sort of come to like the taste of pickles, strangely enough!

Us at the Taggart's place yesterday for dinner

Then we went tracting and found where Eminem lives in Poland!

This morning I read a really cute letter from Maddie. She asked me why I wanted to be in Poland and why I wanted to be a missionary. I hope she understands my response, but if she doesn't, then I hope that you all know why I'm here :) I love being in Poland, and I know that I was sent here by a prophet of our Heavenly Father. I love and am so grateful for the many opportunities I've had to work amongst the different members here, and among those who are not of our faith too. I've been so blessed to see greater light come into my own life, through studying and pondering the scriptures, through prayer and receiving personal revelation from God. It has been made so clear to me since being on my mission, what a difference the gospel makes in people's lives. It's not just a belief system, being in the Church- it's a whole lifestyle- it forms the way we make our choices, and our perspective on everything just has such deep meaning. We know that families can be together forever. We know that repentance and forgiveness are not only possible, but are essential to our eternal progression and happiness. We know that life is a place for learning, and that's what's going to come with us after this mortal experience. The relationships we have with people matter, because we know that they can last forever.

Yesterday we had sort of a milestone in our branch! Sister Smith and I together with the Primary President (who is currently an American senior missionary, Sister Taggart) organised a Primary/Young Women's Presentation for Sacrament Meeting, and it went so well! There are 3 Primary kids and 1 Young Woman in our branch, so we made up a type of script over the past couple of months, based on the topics from the Primary curriculum for this year (and from responses from the children themselves), and sung a few songs in between. Apparently this is the first time this has ever happened in the Gdańsk Branch, so it was awesome that it went so well! The kids sung and spoke beautifully, the Spirit at the beginning and throughout the entire meeting was so strong and sweet, and it was wonderful listening to the simple truths of the restored gospel, laid out in such plainness. I am so grateful for the mothers, who are such good examples for their children in bringing them up with the knowledge of these truths. It's such a joy having children in the branch- they just bring a wonderful light!

Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."I'm so grateful for the lights in my life, the wonderful examples I see from good people every day- whether it be my companion, other missionaries, investigators, older members in the branch or the kids :)

This week we're preparing for a fireside on the Restoration that we have coming up on Saturday. Then it'll be transfer calls, and we'll actually be moving around on Monday, so Tuesday will be our p-day. I have no idea if I'll stay or go, but I know that Sister Smith and I have done a great work these past 4 months together. I love the feeling in the branch when we meet with the members on the Sabbath Day (oh, I just remembered, there's a cute video from the church-A Day to Focus on What Matters Most). We recently had a couple of Priesthood holders come back from their first trip to the temple. They went to Germany with many other Polish saints, and got to meet a lot of other European members too! It was so cool seeing these members on church on Sunday- they were just radiating, and I knew it was because they had been in the Lord's house and have been strengthened by the sacred covenants they've made with Him there. It's such a beautiful thing to know that Poland is filled with strong and faithful members of Christ's church.

Well we had a lot of other incredible miracles happen this week, I'll tell you all about them some time in the future haha :D I hope you all have a fantastic week!

Love from Sestra Grgić <3333333333333