Saturday, 31 October 2015

Final Transfer

Missionaries on funky coloured benches!

Sister Young and I got tired so we sat down in the sand

Our district went to the zoo for 'culture day' of the transfer

Sister Young, Sister Grgich, Giraffe :)

Sometimes we pretend to be zoo animals (when in Rome, right?)

So it's transfer time, and I'm staying in Gdańsk with Sister Young for my final transfer in the mission :D That's right, 7 out of 8 nine-week transfers in the country, I'll have served in the beautiful northern coastal town of Gdańsk! Haha, it's sort of comical how long I've been here (it's not so common for young/solo missionaries), but of course I'm so grateful to still be here and to have the privilege of continuing to work with my companion, the investigators and members in this area. I would feel torn if I had to leave this area, because I've really come to love the branch so much and I feel a great responsibility to it. Heavenly Father has blessed me over and over again, and I can't imagine my life without the experiences I've had with the lovely people in the tri-city area.

I want to talk a little about yesterday because it was such a beautiful Sabbath day! First of all, the weather was great- the sun was shining and the temperature increased a tad, so I even got to wear my lighter jacket! ;) We had 2 great talks in Sacrament Meeting- one from a member from Sopot, Magda. She spoke about temples and family history and her mum came to church too (haven't seen her in a while so that was lovely!). The other talk was from Elder McPherson who's getting transfered to another city- he spoke about the Gospel of Jesus Christ (faith in Him, repentance, baptism for the remission of sins, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end)- it was a perfect topic, because we had an engaged couple visit us (he's from Ukraine and she's from Poland), and they're not members of the church, so it's a pretty good summary for them to have heard :) They said they'd come to English class this week too, so we're excited to see them and we'll ask if they're interested in learning more about the church. He had met with missionaries before in Ukraine and managed to find us on google maps here in Gdansk- pretty cool guy!

Then during Sunday School we got to teach a lesson for Young Women's- it was about patience and we read the story of Job and watched the Mormon Message associated with Dieter F. Uchtdorf's talk "Continue in Patience" (the one about the experiment with kids and marshmallows). I'm just so inspired every time we teach her- she really wants to live a Christ-like life, and she's so open to learning and growing and changing for the better. I'm so grateful for the examples of the youth in the church- it definitely makes me want to be better and remember to consistently and constantly apply the principles of the gospel in my everyday life. I'm so grateful for the example of Jesus Christ- to know that He is still relevant in a world where the values are everchanging and separating from those of God. He is still the Master, it is always from Him we can find solace and to Him we can look, so we can pattern our lives with the same charity, obedience and diligence that He had and has.

Yesterday evening we got to meet with a girl we found tracting a couple of weeks ago. We got to show her around our modest chapel, and then got to explain a little about the Restoration and Book of Mormon. We had such a great meeting with her- she was patient with our Polish, asked honest questions and even wanted to know the best place to start reading form the Book of Mormon! Sister Young and I were amazed haha- we're excited to meet with her again and teach her more, and we pray and hope that she will come to a knowledge and testimony of the truth for which she's searching.

Today there'll be a baptism in Gdańsk!!! We've been teaching her for a couple of months and today's the beautiful day she has chosen to follow her Saviour by being baptised in His restored church. Her husband has been a member for quite a few years now, and she has had a lot of contact with the church and has been building a testimony of these things. Words can not describe the excitement we have for this married couple to start their new life together on the path of the gospel. I know that they as a family will be blessed as they apply Christ's teachings in their lives, and one day I know they will look forward to being sealed for eternity in the holy temple of the Lord. Ahhhh we're just so excited for them and we love them so much! God is aware of His children, and He unconditionally loves us all. His work is continuing to roll forth, and I'm so blessed to be a part of His sacred work and see the miracles and blessings that come into my and other's lives because of Jesus Christ.

Wishing you all a lovely week, I love you so much!!
Siostra Grgich

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Sick and Getting Things Done

we've been sick and boring haha..
Sister Young and I again (surprise!)

Sister Young and I with the Taggarts (senior missionary couple serving in the Gdańsk branch)

Sister Young and I near our apartment

This week my companion and I were both pretty sick, but we were able to get a lot of things done. As usual, we know the Lord opens up doors and makes things possible that wouldn't normally be with our own mortal power. We've been blessed with an amazing Branch President who is so enthusiastic about finding less-active members in the branch, so we got to go with him and his wife driving to different houses and trying to find out about these 'lost sheep'. We were able to visit with one very sweet lady and talk with her and her husband- we're opstimistic about helping them 'straighten up' (the words that she used) things in their life so that they can feel worthy and know that the Atonement is truly available to everyone who puts their trust in the Lord. We've also been able to get some phone numbers and we're trying to set up to meet with people- it's looking hopeful and we're seeing where things will go! This work is super important and we must never neglect our duties to look out for those who are struggling with activity in the gospel.

"This work of reclaiming the lost sheep, as Jesus so vividly expressed it, must receive top priority by every stake, ward, branch, and quorum leader. All inactive members should be considered candidates for activation regardless of their response to any previous approach. We must use kindness, patience, long-suffering, love, faith, and diligence. They must feel our genuine concern and untiring love.
For individuals to become fully active in the Church, they generally must experience a spiritual conversion and a social integration. We should strive to teach them the gospel and to extend warmth and genuine friendship and fellowship to them." - Joseph B. Wirthlin

We've met with a lot of wonderful people this week. One of our friends Marzena, made us pumpkin soup- she even gave us pumpkin seeds and yogurt for it- it was so good, especially because it was soothing for our throats :D mmmm. We also got to meet with Kasia this week and we just feel so blessed to have met her and to know her. She just has such a great attitude about life and we really want to help her make the best of her opportunities and live a hppy life :)

Yesterday at church we taught the Young Women's lesson and we got to watch a new Mormon Message- it's called "Am I Even a Good Man?" (I recommend watching it), then we spoke about the character of Christ and how we can follow His example and become more Christlike. I personally have been studying a lot this week and noticing a theme of 'pride' in my studies. I've been seeing a lot of 'the pride cycle' in my Book of Mormon reading, I've been reading articles in the Liahona and then in Relief Society we learnt about how we need to "Beware of Pride"- I guess God is trying to tell me something..? ;) I've been realising more and more just how destructive pride is, and how it just ruins everything. It's at the root of almost every sin, and so if it can be overcome, we will find much more happiness and therefore fulfilment in our lives, and surely the problems we cause for ourselves would vanish. I'm trying to be like Jesus, and I know I've got a long way to go, but that will never deter me from doing my best and daily repenting. Life is ALL about progression, and what kind of life would I be living if I didn't work to fix my problems (which is generally done my looking outwards). "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 10:39)
Hope you all have a great week and remember that we choose how we react to the situations in our lives- we can choose if we want to be angry or full of love- and we all know which one's better!

Love you so much,
Siostra Grgich

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Stand Up!

Exchange to Bydgoszcz- Sister Larcade and I

And Ola!

I woke up sick yesterday, so I'm just going to write a small one this week :D

This week was really fun, we got to do a Skype lesson with a Young Woman in our branch, and another in a branch a few hours away from us. Kasia (our Young Woman) taught the lesson and we all got to talk about one of our favourite topics- Missionary Work! It was super cool hearing the testimonies of these 2 beautiful young ladies, and their strong desires to have integrity and stand up for truth and righteousness. It's also so cool hearing of their spiritual experiences and seeing them grow- ah I just have so much love for them and their amazing families! :') Sister Young and I are determined to find some YW-aged girls to teach so that they can all be friends and help each other out :D Hehe, of course, we're always looking for anyone who is willing to learn and accept the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, but if we can find some YWs that'd be fantastic!

This past week I got to go to Bydgoszcz for an exchange! I was there with Sister Larcade and we had such a great time! We got to teach some people on the streets (street contacting) and then had a really fun English class. I got to see an investigator that we had taught last time when I was in Bydgoszcz for 3 weeks, and Marcus was there too! (Austrian member who was baptised in my 2nd transfer). Sister Larcade and I got to talk a lot about how to plan lessons and learn the language and everything! She's such an amazing missionary and person, I was so blessed to be able to learn from her and hear her testimony. Exchanges are great because you get to learn from new people, and everyone really does have individual talents and abilities that all contribute to the work!

Miss you heaps! Enjoy the warm weather :D
Sister Grgich

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Don't You Just Love General Conference Weekend?!

Sister Young and I at Stutthof/Sztutowo Museum

Exhibitions from the museum

Don't you just love General Conference weekend?! :D We got to watch most of the sessions, and already my mind is exploding with enthusiasm hahaha- really though, I wrote down so many precious and important impressions that came to my mind while watching conference, and ever since I just haven't been able to stop thinking about how I'm going to apply (and how I'm currently applying) those things to my daily life. I really love the feeling that God is totally aware of me and I have felt the Holy Ghost testify to me the truths of what these prophets, apostles and other leaders have shared. I cannot deny that God is teaching me- having these things continually occupying my mind (D&C 128:1), and the feelings of peace and love in the truths that I've heard from the speakers are a witness to me that I must act according to these impressions. I feel great strength from my Heavenly Father, and I know that He will help me as I work to improve my life.

One of the things that particularly stood out to me, was how I need to do better at keeping the Sabbath day holy. We actually had the opportunity to prepare and give a lesson on that this week, and then hearing more about it in conference just made me realise how much I need to improve with my observance on the Sabbath day. I think as a missionary, I've done a pretty good job at staying focused on serving others and the Lord in appropriate ways and acitivities suited to the Sabbath, but I also know that I could do better at how I think of the Lord (like during the Sacrament) and how I want to keep up my 'spiritual habits' when I've returned from my mission. I love the emphasis we've been given recently on keeping this important commandment, and I know that blessings await us as we try our hardest to do so (I know, because I've experienced the blessings for myself!).

I'm sorry for the short email- we had so many great experiences this week but I don't have time to write about them all! I look forward to telling you about them in person one day, but for now I hope you'll forgive my lack of detail! ;) I love you all so much and wish you all a wonderful General Conference viewing!!

Love Sister Grgich

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Wiped off the Map for 123 Years!

Sister Young and I at Westerplatte last p-day
Kasia took us to an ice-cream place (homemade, super yummy!)

Please also note her most awesome dog, Krowa!

Oh and I made some more oblatne!

Sister Young and I with Kasia

This past week we went to Westerplatte! (only about my 5th time or something haha)- I didn't mind going there again though, no one else in my district had seen it, so it was a good experience. I got to read more about what happened there, and I felt a lot of gratitude for the Polish people especially, who stood up for themselves and for their rights, and did all they could to protect their freedom. We hear from a lot of Poles that a common characteristic trait of the nation is "stubbornness" hahah, which I can see for the most part of this country's history has proven a sort of protection. Did you know that Poland was completely wiped off of the map for some 123 years? I'm so impressed that the language was able to survive, and Poland was eventually able to be Poland again! (Żeby Polska była Polską). Well today for p-day we're going to check out a historical museum here in the old town, it was a post office where some major event happened (I guess I'm not so clear on the history, so I'll find out more today as we walk around the museum-it's something to do with the start of WW2). Then Sister Young and I want to go to the chapel and check out the General Women's session of conference- we're both so excited to watch it, and as Sister Young said yesterday, "It's like Christmas!" hehehe :D.

Yesterday we had an awesome day at church. Our friend Kasia came all the way from Gdynia (she's a trooper!) and it was so nice being with her and everyone else in the branch (and visitors!). P.S Kasia says hi :) We had some talks on prophets and the Sacrament, we had a lesson about the Life of Jesus Christ, and then read a talk in Relief Society from the last General Conference about protecting religious freedom. It was a lovely day <3 We're excited for next week, I think we'll be able to watch some sessions, and then the week after, some more. I can't wait for the printed Liahona to come out so I can feast on the words of our prophets, apostles and other leaders for the next few months :D Fun fact about Sister Grgich by the way: she loves to read general conference talks (we have a whole bunch of old Liahonas in our flat, although apparently, not enough ;)) I read at least a few talks pretty much daily. Right now I'm reading from the first conference in 2000, it was when the new conference centre had just been built- pretty neat!

This week we had a lot of opportunities to teach people- whether in their homes or on the street or at the chapel. I love teaching so much, because Sister Young and I get to prepare the lesson the day before or in the morning, then we teach it and learn so much in the process of it all- from our personal studies, to bearing testimony, and hearing the experiences and testimonies of others. It's a beautiful job I have as a missionary. I'd dare say that I'm one of the luckiest people in the world :) I of course also know that the true happiness I have in life, are blessings from God, and He is very much aware of me and a part of my life. Well not only a part of it, but He has given me everything I have, experiences, friendships, trials that strengthen me (many probably caused by my own doing, but some I know are just given me for my good), most importantly He has given me a Saviour and the ability for myself to choose how I live my life and to choose for myself to return to His presence. Ah, words really can't express the gratitude I have for life! Life is beautiful, and the more I see of the world, the more I appreciate how greatly I am blessed, and how great it is that we all truly do have reason to live, and love, and serve and learn. Mission advantage: I just love people more than I think I ever have before. My companion could be witness to how often I've "complained" this week "ahh my heart is so full, I just can't handle so much love!" hahaha I really just get filled with love that I can't NOT take a step back and give a prayer of gratitude to my Father in Heaven for His abundance of blessings.

Hope you all have a great week- I love hearing from you and seeing photos :D Miss and and love you,
Sister Grgich

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Let It Be Known, That This Week Was Really Great

Sister Bąk and I (featuring Elder Jeffs)

Sister Johnston and I reunited!

Me and Sister Young again!

And me and the MTC group again :D

Me and Sister Smith again!

Me with Sister Bąk

and Sister Kuchar
Sister Young (my companion) and I at the front of the Warsaw chapel

Me with Tajger (Tiger), our friend's labrador puppy
On the train ride back to Gdańsk- it was a pretty long day, but so worth getting up at 4:30am for! (Mind you, the Elders had to get up at 3:30, so I can't complain) :D

A gate near Jadwiga's house (we went over there the other day and she made us polish crepes. mmm so good!)

Ok I don't have a lot of time to write this week, so I'm just going to write about what happened in dot points! But let it be known, that this week was really great and I can't even express in an email how grateful I feel for all the blessings of the Lord in my life!

-We made Pierogi (polish dumplings) with the Elders and a friend who works part-time making them! They were blueberry-filled and oh-so delicious! We also got to play with his labrador puppy hehe :D

- We had a big missionary conference in Warsaw, with Elder Kearon from the Europe Area Presidency. All the missionaries were gathered together and we had such an uplifting, revelatory time. I feel so enthused to continue on with optimism and continually refine myself as a missionary here.

- We are currently meeting with a wonderful lady who is working towards baptism at the end of next month :) She is so full of love and we're so blessed to be helping her deepen her testimony of the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. Words really can't express just how much love I have for her, and how grateful we are to be a part of her life, and to be helping her at this very important time.

- We got to meet with a less-active member whom we haven't seen in such a long time. She is just full of love and has such a desire to come back to her faith. We know that even a desire to believe (Alma 32:27), means such a great deal to our Heavenly Father, for truly the "worth of souls is great in the sight of God" (Doctrine and Covenants 18:10). I read a great talk the other day from a General Conference- here's a quote from it that I just love:

"I once attended a stake conference where my former stake president Paul C. Child turned to Doctrine and Covenants 18 and began to read: “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God” (verse 10).

President Child then asked, “What is the worth of a human soul?” He avoided calling on a bishop, stake president, or high councilor for a response. Instead, he selected the president of an elders quorum.

The startled man remained silent for what seemed like an eternity and then declared, “The worth of a human soul is its capacity to become as God.”

All present pondered that reply. President Child proceeded with his message, but I continued to reflect on that inspired response.

To reach, to teach, to touch the precious souls whom our Father has prepared for His message is a monumental task."

I hope you all have a wonderful week and remember how important every one of us is! I love you so much!

Sister Grgich