Thursday, 26 November 2015

She Thought We Were Amish

Ooh, so the other day, we went with the Elders to a fairly busy pedestrian area in the old town, and set up a 'free table'. It was pretty cold, but so worth it, because got to meet a lot of people, some who are interested in meeting with us to have lessons :) There was one lady who was really nice and had heard of Mormons, and then asked "Why aren't you dressed in the.. you know?" (she said, making the shape of a bonnet and apron) hehe, I told her we're not Amish and she was probably still not convinced that we were actually "Mormons", but we invited her to come to our Movie Night this Wednesday, where we'll watch Meet the Mormons :) I hope lots of people will come, and then they'll maybe have a better, more correct view of us. Hehehe, ah well, sometimes I think that everyone must know who we are already, because there've been missionaries here for over 25 years, but then I wonder why I meet so many people who have abosulutely no (correct) idea of who we are or what we do! And so, the work goes on of course! I like the scripture, Doctrine and Covenants 123:12 "For there are many yet on the earth among all sects, parties, and denominations, ... who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it", it certainly makes me want to work hard to find them! We've been blessed with many opportunities to teach those who are seeking for truth, we hope and pray that they will have their hearts and minds open to the Holy Ghost who testifies of the truth of all things!

This week I've been studying from Alma, and now I'm up to the part where he's talking to his son Corianton (chapters 39-42). His son commited a very serious sin, and so Alma uses his wisdom to teach about the Plan of Salvation- particularly about the ressurection and judgement. I think Alma was a great dad- he was helping his son understand these important truths because he knew that when we understand God's plan (our purpose in life), we will also understand that there are consequences for sin. How can anyone who believes that there is no life after death really care about what they or anyone else does here? Likewise, how can anyone who believes that all will be 'saved' and go to heaven, or that all paths lead to God, care what they do here? Where's the room for morals? Well, it wouldn't matter if those statements were the case, because without commandments there'd be no punishment, nor justice, nor mercy etc. etc. (There are a lot of scriptures in the Book of Mormon that talk about this very subject). The truth of the matter is, absolute truth exists! That means that God exists and has commandments, whether or not people believe in Him. Choosing to not believe in Him won't change His existence.

Alma 41 13:15:
O, my son, this is not the case; but the meaning of the word restoration is to bring back again evil for evil, or carnal for carnal, or devilish for devilish—good for that which is good; righteous for that which is righteous; just for that which is just; merciful for that which is merciful.
 Therefore, my son, see that you are merciful unto your brethren; deal justly, judge righteously, and do good continually; and if ye do all these things then shall ye receive your reward; yea, ye shall have mercy restored unto you again; ye shall have justice restored unto you again; ye shall have a righteous judgment restored unto you again; and ye shall have good rewarded unto you again.
 For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, and be restored; therefore, the word restoration more fully condemneth the sinner, and justifieth him not at all.

However we choose to live in this life, will affect our 'rewards' in heaven (after this life). It's like a boomerang (sort of). Or some people call it karma. Basically, the things we do right now, are of importance and govern what kind of life we'll have. If we want to be happy, then we should follow our Heavenly Father and His Son, for "wickedness never was happiness". Those who do bad and do not repent, will one day stand before God to be judged of Him, who is perfect and knows all. I have a lot of comfort knowing these basic truths, because I know that all the unfairness about this life, will be made right in the end. I believe in a loving Heavenly Father, and know that if I do my best, the Saviour's arm of mercy will be extended toward me, and I will one day be with my family for eternity and in God's presence- true and everlasting happiness :) Life is our choice, and I'm grateful for this wonderful gift I've been given- my own life!

I hope you all are getting some great studies out of your scriptures! Enjoy the sunshine and have a wonderful week :)

Love Sister Grgich

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Look to the Scriptures

Hey, we went bowling! (I came last the first round, but won the second.. I was just warming up of course)

Oh, another bowling pic! This is how we get people to listen to our message ;)

Sister Young and I on the train down to Poznan for Zone Training.

The other day I found a Book of Mormon Seminary Teacher's Manual at the chapel (in English), so I'm borrowing it now and it's like the best thing ever! I never had the new curriculum (it started a couple of years after I finished High School), anywho, so I'm halfway through reading the Book of Mormon for my personal studies (I'm at Alma) and now I have a great study companion (the manual) to accompany me! It's super helpful and gets me to ask questions that I probably wouldn't have asked by myself. I read a Liahona article not long ago, and the author suggested we 'probe' the Scriptures with questions- it really is a great way to study! One of the most enjoyable things I've found on my mission, is having an investigator or member ask a question or have a concern, and looking for answers in the Scriptures (or from words of prophets) to prepare to teach them. It's great when they can learn to do that for themselves, because then they'll gain that testimony that God really does speak to us through the Holy Ghost, and He's given us the tools to find our own answers. I hope you all look to the Scriptures when you have a question come up in your lives!

This week we had a 'Zone Training' in Poznan (it also just happened to be Dzień Niepodległości (Independence Day in Poland) and is was really nice being with the other missionaries whom we haven't seen in a while. We learnt about having vision and keeping up with our goals and working to fulfil them. We also spoke about being time efficent and how to decide where to go (thinking physically and asking for guidance spiritually). I had my guitar and a book of Polish Christmas carols (called 'kolędy' in Polish), and my companion and I sung some during the little break of the meeting. It was really fun, and we're looking forward to spreading Christmas cheer this year! Some people think it's a little cruel that we go home only a couple days after Christmas haha but I'm okay with it. I love Poland and hey, I probably won't have many other Christmases in this country, but I'll have plenty with my family in Aus! I love this time of year :D We're going to have a Christmas-themed fireside, and maybe a separate branch activity for a Christmas supper. It'll be great! It's a good time of year too for talking to people about religion, because they're naturally thinking about it more. (Well I hope it'll be that way haha, I actually don't remember much of what it was like last year!).

Oh, this week we got news that Meet the Mormons was available with Polish subtitles online (yay!), so we're organising an activity soon to show after an English class one day. We'll invite everyone of course, so we're hoping it'll be a good turn-out, and that people will be able to understand more about the members of our church, and what type of a role it plays in our everyday lives. There for sure is a lot of misunderstanding about us (as a church and as members of the church), so things like this are just helpful- people learn best by example and so with that'd I'd add, don't forget to be a good example to all around you, at all times! We can all work on that! (Mosiah 18:9 "Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life")

Love you muchly, wishing you a lovely week!
From Sister Grgich :)

Thursday, 19 November 2015

We Will Get Stronger

We had a Tim-Tam Slam! (for the new Elder especially, because it was his first time)

And in other Aussie news, Elder Zelezniak (Jayden) visited our branch on Sunday! I told him to say hello to you mum :)

Yesterday was super awesome! We've been meeting with a less-active member for a while and trying to encourage her to come to church, then yesterday out of the blue, she finally came! My companion literally jumped up and down when we found out she came :D Well, I guess her appearance wasn't out of the blue, because a couple of days prior, we were able to have a lesson with her and the senior missionary couple (the Taggarts) and it was a very powerful one! I'm so grateful for the love and support they give us as missionaries, and how Elder Taggart loves and serves the branch members. I'm so grateful for his wise example and insights of the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is truly a man who has lived and experienced the gospel in his own life, and is therefore so good at helping others see how they too can apply Christ's teachings to their lives and make use of His Atonement. I love seeing how the Lord works through multiple people and means in order to bless all of His children.

Last week we had a great meeting with a girl who has just recently been interested in the Church (we met her tracting a few weeks ago). We got on the topic of personal revelation and how we recognise answers from God, or how we can know that He's speaking to us. Sister Young and I were able to share our own experiences during the lesson, and later in the week we continued to study the topic. We read multiple scripture verses about the different feelings or impressions we can get. As we stopped to talk about each verse after reading them, I realised that I've actually experienced many of the things spoken of. For example, D&C 128:1- having a certain thought occupy my mind and press on my feelings- that's the way I decided to serve a mission! Those feelings and thoughts that were 'occupying' me, were also accompanied by enlightenment and feelings of peace and comfort. A multitude of verses in our Holy Scriptures talk about how we have good feelings from God. If we have bad feelings, or we have 'a stupor of thought' (D&C 9:9), chances are, we need to rethink our options! Sister Young and I also discussed how important for us to have listening ears- meaning, we should first and foremost make sure that we are putting ourselves in situations and giving sufficient time (when possible) to listen to the 'whisperings' (Helaman 5:30) of the Spirit. We should have time to meditate, to ponder the scriptures, and to wait and listen for an answer when it comes. Secondly, it means that once we DO get an answer from God, we should not ignore it or forget about it. It's unfortunately too easy for us to do that sometimes, due to a lack of care and attention on our part. We should make sure then when God speaks to us, He need only do it once. We should trust Him, and if we have received a sure answer from Him, we should be willing to act on that answer and not 'desensitise' ourselves to receiving further revelation. In the same vein, if we teach ourselves to pray, listen then act on answers, we will get stronger and will be more able to do so in the future. Faith is a principle of action, and like a muscle, must be exercised in order to stay strong. I'm so grateful for the things I've been able to learn this past week, I hope that you're all having some fulfilling personal studies, and exercising your faith in the Lord!

Love you all so much,
Sister Grgich

Monday, 16 November 2015

A Great Start to the End of the Year!

Sister Young and I with some cool knights!

Sister Young and I with a couple in the branch

All Saint's Day at a cemetary in Sopot (national holiday in Poland, remembering and respecting their dead) SO many candles!

This week we've officially started the new transfer, I have a new planner (covered with paintings from the nieces!) and we had a baptism last week and the confirmation yesterday at church :D What a great start to the end of the year!

Some cool things from this past week- we have a new Elder in the district (fresh from the MTC), we did a 'musical free-table' in a tunnel this week (haven't done one of those in a while- had some people stop and talk with us which was great!), we got to meet with 3 new people and teach them at the chapel, we got given giant chocolate bars from a member, got fed Polish/Ukrainian breakfast from another member, advertised for english class and had some new people come to that, and yesterday after church we went to a cemetary for All Saints Day.

Yesterday we had a visitor come from the Bydgoszcz branch, she's the Family History Consultant in our district, and so we had a combined class for Priesthood and Relief Society and learnt about how to get started with family history/genealogical work. It's one of my favourite topics, and super relevant to the Poles at this time of year, especially because we just had the Wszystkich Świętych holiday. I love seeing how the enthusiasm of members has grown for theis sacred and important work. Sister Young and I have been trying to help some members with filling out information (it's tricky because Family Search isn't totally translated into Polish yet, but we get by), and we've been seeing progress and know that this will benefit the members so much more than they can even imagine!

We've made a lot of good goals for this upcoming transfer, I love working with Sister Young and being in this beautiful country with the beautiful people here. I know that the Jesus Christ's true church has indeed been restored with all His authority, doctrine, principles and ordinances. I'm so grateful that people have the gospel here and we continually work hard to make sure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to hear it and accept it. I have so many blessings in my life and I really can't count the incredible blessings I've received so far from just being in Poland on my mission. We are here to 'bring the world His truth', and I stand as a witness that truth really does bring freedom and happiness, and actually living and applying that truth gives us joy as we strive to choose the right and put our trust in our Heavenly Father. I want nothing more than for my fellow brothers and sisters to experience that joy and have it guide them throughout the rest of their lives.

Have a great week, I love you veeeeeeeeery much! :)
Sestra Grgić