Sunday, 27 December 2015


Me with Ania

Me with the Primary kids in the branch

Kasia and I domophoning to get into the building of the member we were snowflaking

Kasia and I with the 'snowflaked' door

Sister Young, Kasia and I with our snowflakes

Us with Olga at the chapel

And Sister Young thinking she's coming with me to Australia ;)

Me with Kasia (from Gdynia) and Krowa (dog named 'cow')

Me and Sister Young

Me with Wioletta

Our district singing Kolędy (carols) at the Care Home

This week is my last week here- how strange! Well, I guess it's not so strange, I mean it had to happen eventually, it's just a weird feeling to be at this point already. This past week we've had yet more great experiences. Yesterday we got to help out at an elderly home and we all had such a good time :D Sometimes people/organisations are hesitant to let us help out/give service, because they're afraid/don't like that we're mormons (we were looking for some opportunities to serve and were rejected a couple of times on that basis). But last week Sister Young and I went to a Dom Opieki (care home/home for the elderly) and asked if there was something we could do to help out, like sing carols or organise/clean etc. The ladies there were so excited to have us help out (even after finding out that we weren't Catholic), and invited us to sing at their Christmas party/celebration. So that was yesterday, and we were greeted and treated very kindly by the workers, priests and guests, and it felt so good to see people singing and smiling along with us- celebrating the birth and life of Christ! They even fed us afterwards (even though we didn't want them to, because we wanted to be the ones doing the washing up and everything!), it was very kind of them. Although I won't be here for much longer, I'm excited for the other missionaries here to continue to have good contact with those people and hopefully they'll have plenty more opportunities to serve and help out there. They're going to have a mini play/reenactment of the nativity early next year actually (the Christmas season in parts of Europe carries on longer than it does in Australia), and one of the ladies asked if the missionaries could help out with that. She really wanted Sister Young to be Mary because she looks the part hehehe, well that'll be a good experience for whoever's here next transfer :)

Oh, this past week we got to meet with a lot of the branch members! We met with Kasia (she's in Young Women's) and made snowflakes, then 'snowflaked' (taped them up on) another member's door and left cookies for her. Hehe it was pretty fun- and a little tricky, because we had to be super quiet, and ask a neighbour to let us in the apartment complex! We got to meet with Marzena and teach her about Family History :) She created an account and got started right away (I got to show her my account and family tree, and she thought it was pretty cool!). We showed her how you can add photos and stories, and how connections are made etc. And of course most importantly, the WHY behind Family History work in the church- it helps us feel more connected to our ancestors, we remember and honour them, and we perform saving ordinances like baptism for them by proxy in the temple. It was so awesome to see such enthusiasm for doing this work from her so immediately! We also got to meet with some members to practice musical items for our Sacrament Meeting (of course, Christmas focused), and then singing them on Sunday was lovely :) We also got to meet with Kasia (from Gdynia) and talk about Family History work (it was possibly my last time seeing her, so that's really sad for me, but I'm so glad we have the internet!). We got to meet with Olga (also my last time seeing her) and read a General Conference talk with her about finding answers to our sincere questions -our lesson was perfect timing, because the Polish General Conference Liahonas only just got to our chapel a couple of hours before the lesson. Witali and Marzena gave us cute Christmas presents (angel candle holder things), and we gave them a photo album with photos from their wedding day (Sister Young was the photographer). I'm really going to miss all of the wonderful people I've met here. Gdańsk will always hold such a special place in my heart, and I can't wait until I get another chance to be here. The people I've met mean so much to me, and all the experiences I've had here have moulded me into the better person I am today (and I know I of course still have a long way to go haha!).

I look forward to talking with you on Christmas Day and then it really won't be long at all until I'm back in that Australian heat with all of you!
Love you so much,
Siostra Grgich

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I Wanted To Start With A Story

In Szczecin- I arrived just in time for the end of the branch's 'Family Home Evening', and met Grzegorz! (I think that's his name!) He knows a lot about Yugoslavia (bosnia and slovenia- he has sung in a choir there), his name is based off of the same language root as Grgich (from gregorius) and he's pretty funny hehe.

Jan, Me, Dagmara and Sister Sloan (she was companions with Sister Smith last transfer) at the chapel in Szczcin.

Sister Young and I before Vitali and Marzena's wedding.

At the branch Christmas party/fireside (with Olga and Marzena, and the Christmas tree :D)

Singing Christmas carols (kolędy in Polish) - yeah, we all have funny faces, but that's what happens when you're singing and having a great time! ;) (oh, now Nacho Libre is stuck in my head, that scene where he's like "I yama seenging at dee parrrtyyy" hehehehe)

Klaudia doing my hair- didn't she do a great job? Hehe :D

Us in Wejherowo with Marzena

This week I wanted to start with a story- I came across it while doing my daily morning personal scripture study (it's from the Book of Mormon seminary teacher's manual):
“Some time ago there was an interesting article about mountain climbing in a medical magazine. …
“The article was about a man named Czenkusch who runs a climbing school. Czenkusch was describing to the interviewer the belay system in mountain climbing. This is the system by which climbers protect themselves from falls. One climber gets in a safe position and secures the rope for the other climber, usually around his or her own body. ‘You’re on belay,’ means, ‘I’ve got you. If something happens, I will stop you from falling.’ It is an important part of mountain climbing. Now note what followed next in the article: ‘Belaying has brought Czenkusch his best and worst moments in climbing. Czenkusch once fell from a high precipice, yanking out three mechanical supports and pulling his belayer off a ledge. He was stopped, upside down, 10 feet from the ground when his spread-eagled belayer [Don] arrested the fall with the strength of his outstretched arms. “Don saved my life,” says Czenkusch. “How do you respond to a guy like that? Give him a used climbing rope for a Christmas present? No, you remember him. You always remember him”’

This story could be applicable to/a metaphor for a few things, but quite obviously to me, it encourages me to think about the saving Atonement of Jesus Christ- how He has truly saved my life. Every week at church, we have the opportunity to partake of the Sacrament- we remember the Saviour's sacrifice in our behalf, and as a form of gratitude (and for other reasons), we promise to always remember Him, and keep His commandments throughout our lives. I'm so grateful that we've been given one day in the week to particularly slow down and remember Him- we do different things on the Sabbath day, because in fact, is not just another regular day. We take the time to think of Him who has done so much for us, that we can never truly 'repay' Him- but we remember

Well yesterday was a very special day- I had a wonderful time at church and afterwards. A man came and visited our branch for the first time- I had never seen him before (as a reminder- I've been here for 13 months haha), then when I introduced myself to him after Sacrament Meeting, he told me he's Polish but has been living in Germany for quite a while, and he had met the missionaries there. Long story short (it's a great story and I'll have to tell you some time)- he now lives in Gdynia, he has a strong testimony of the Holy Ghost and His presence in our church and with the doctrines taught therein, his dad lives in Solingen, and he lived in a city right next door! It was so uplifting to talk to him and hear his 'story', his testimony about how the gospel has changed his life for the better, and how it is positively affecting his life right now. I'm sad that I'll be leaving the country so soon, but I'm so happy that the branch here continues to be strengthened by such wonderful people, and I know that wonderful things are happening in the lives of the people who live here.

This week Sister Young and I went to Wejherowo for a wedding of 2 of our friends. We've been teaching them lately, and they both love the doctrine of eternal families and being sealed in the temple- we're continuing to help them learn, and we're so blessed to know them and see them start their family together. I know the gospel will bless their lives so much (I've already seen how it has), so I pray that they will continue to seek for truth and read the Book of Mormon, because I know that God will answer their sincere prayers and they will find more joy in their lives than they've ever known before :)

This week we also had our branch Christmas fireside/party- we had a great turnout and it was just so nice being with everyone to focus on our Saviour and the true meaning of Christmas. We had a great discussion, a talk, Klaudia read the Christmas story from Luke, we sung carols and we had lots of good Christmas-y snacks like mandarins, gingerbread and kompot :). 

Many other wonderful experiences happened this week (like getting to visit Szczecin- ah we had such a great lesson with a lady after English class about the Plan of Salvation). I'll have to tell you all about it when I get home haha, I have to much to say! ;) Ok, love you so much, have a wonderful week :D

Siostra Grgich

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Artwork Was Amazing

They had a Fender Strat made out of amber! I think it looks pretty cool.

I finally went to the Amber Museum (Gdańsk is famous for amber)!

I like the moose (or elk or whatever it is, I don't know animals)

Fancy places in Gdańsk (we went to 4 museums for our culture day).

The artwork on the ceiling was incredible!

Sisters from our Zone (except for Sister Sloane, but I'll be going to join her in Szczecin today for exchanges).

Elder Jeffs, Sister Woodward and I (we were in the MTC together)

Sister Young and I with Agata from Bydgoszcz :)

Me and the Silver Tree

We got cookbooks :D- I love the Sarma recipe fambam!!

More museumy things (back when the German influence was strong in Gdansk/Danzig)

Me with the Bydgoszcz missionaries- Elders Garrison and Sidwell and Sister Larcade (whom I won't see again until after the mission!)

This week we took our culture day going around some free museums in the old town area (on Długa Street), it was cool to do something that I've not done yet in Gdańsk (I've been in the area for 14 months- been running out of ideas haha). I kept sitting on forbidden chairs at the museums hehe, they didn't have guard rails up, so I thought we could sit on them, but apparently not, because in 2 different museums, the lady would see me and say "We don't sit there!" (in Polish) haha what can I say, I like to sit down! 

In the week we got to meet with a couple of super awesome people, one lady has been out of our branch for a long time because she was living somewhere else, but now she has come back and it was nice talking to her about spiritual experiences and sharing our testimonies with each other. We're so happy to have her back in the branch! We also had a really awesome lesson with one girl about the Plan of Salvation- Sister Young and I love preparing lessons for her, because she's full of questions and really wants to find answers! It's a lot of work trying to learn the vocabulary and grammar to know how to explain things properly to her, so it's good for my Polish too :) I'm so grateful for the opportunities I have here to share my testimony with others, especially about Christ's reality and God's presence in our lives. I feel it so strongly and it's the driving force for my life. Sometimes wish I could just force people to be happy, but I know it doesn't work that way! Living the gospel is a choice, but when that choice is made and commitment is sure, then comes that true inner peace, happiness and direction that we all long for. I'm so grateful to have that in my life :) I love life! And I love you and am so grateful for you (family) for bringing me up the way you did so that I have seen through your examples and have learnt through my own studying and actions, to live life the way I do. Life is great :D

We had our Zone Conference this week in Poznań. We spoke about ways we can use the Christmas season to really focus our efforts and serving others and helping them think of why we celebrate- to really focus on the Saviour. There's a new video from the church regarding Christmas, and we have a lot of pass-along cards to hand out, so we're excited to get people thinking about the importance of Christ and hoping people will watch and share the video with their friends. We're planning on doing some Christmas themed free tables, we'll invite people to go to the church website (with the video for Christmas), we'll sing/play some carols, and of talk to people about why we celebrate Christmas, and what it all means for us as families and individuals. It's a great time of year, and hopefully we'll all have a deeper appreciation for this time and recommit to making our lives Christ-centered. If I can help others (and myself!) do that, I'll be a happy chappy :D

On the train home from conference, we got to talk to 2 guys about our church, it was really cool, the natural way it came up. We had 8 missionaries all on one train coming back (4 going to Bydgoszcz and 4 to Gdansk), so of course people would have been wondering who we were and I'm sure it caught a lot of people's attention (maybe not so natural, haha). After the Bydgoszcz missionaries left (sad moment for me, because I won't see them again!), us and the Elders got to know the people sitting around us on the wagon, and we were able to share with them a little about our church and the Book of Mormon. It's nice to have people tell us that they appreciate what we're doing, and that they respect us. Too often, people are just very cold and harsh to us, and I know it's just because they don't know what we're about, and they give up on us before we have a chance to explain why we're here. I have seen time and time again, that when people take the time to understand why we're here, they respect us, and even enjoy talking with us. I'm thankful for moments I get to show people that I really do care about them, and I'm here because I want to help them (and for sure, others I meet here help me too!). 

Well I'll be going on exchanges today until Wednesday (going to Szczecin) with Sister Sloane, so I'll of course miss Gdansk and Sister Young, but it'll be a great experience I'm sure. Maybe I'll have another good train conversation :D Have a great week, have fun and look after yourselves :D

Love, Sister Grgich

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Especially Special

At the Taggart's dinner table for Thanksgiving (US, not to be confused with Canadian, which happens on a different day). The lighting was a bit strange, so everything looks sort of angelic haha

The painted roof at Gdynia's Main Station

We had a film night at the chapel after English class (we watched Meet the Mormons with Polish subtitles).

It started snowing!

This last week we had the opportunity to teach 2 university classes about our church. It was a lot of fun, and it was an especially special experience for me, because I had actually done this a year ago for the same teacher here in Gdansk. In comparing what it was like one year ago, to just now, I can say that I am living evidence of the blessings of God and His reality and presence in our lives. I know that I've been blessed with the gift of tongues, and I can't believe how much I'm able to say now, and how comfortable I feel in talking (particularly in Polish, but even just the added confidence I have with public speaking is an improvement). I know I would not have been able to accomplish the things I have, on my own. I have been strengthened intellectualy, spiritually and emotionally as I have gone through so many different experiences throughout the duration of my mission. I've gone through a lot of trials, and I know that if God didn't allow me to go through those trials then I would be weak, and for sure, I wouldn't have been able to learn and grow as much as I have. Basically, we need trials- they're essential. As unfortunate as it may seem, if we didn't have them, then we'd never truly learn. So I'm grateful for my trials :)

Yesterday at church, a member was encouraging a bunch of us to "ponderise" (remember that talk?). I'm a little ashamed because I haven't been doing it- but now I am, so hey, all is well! There's a girl in our branch who's almost 9 years old. We're both working on learning a verse from the Book of Mormon (in Polish) this week, and we're going to check up on each other come next Sunday. My verse is Alma 11:45 (it's about the universal ressurection). I'm excited about doing this with her, and I hope we can continue to check up on each other for many weeks to come. Children are so important, it's said time and time again, but somehow the human race just seems to forget it. It's the youth of the Church who are it's future. It's so important that they too are nurtured by the good word of God. I feel so honoured to know so many great youth and children, and I want to my best to make sure that I'm always influencing them for good and encouraging them to make the best use of their precious time on this earth. I have been so greatly influenced by my parents, leaders, teachers and other adults of my childhood, so I feel it is only right to continue being that support and example for the next generation. I know that the Lord needs us all to help and uplift one another, everyone plays a part in His plan, and we all have responsibilities and abilities to do so.

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the beginning of Christmas month! :D