WESOŁYCH ŚWIĄT!! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!! I'll get right to my week!
So to start off, the whole week we did a renovation of an entire apartment for a family, who had gone to their grandparents for the holidays! One of the members here had the keys to the apartment, so pretty much every day of the week we ran over to the apartment and built new furniture, cleaned, and just rearranged everything! It was an amazing experience to look outside of myself and to help others who are in need. I am so grateful for everything that I have, and for the opportunity to serve!
On Christmas Eve, we did some renovation, and then we had a "BROBIAD", which is what we say when we have a combined lunch with other Elders, and made some sloppy joes and mac n cheese. Oh yeah, full American right there. Afterwards, we got all dressed up nice and went over to a member's house for Wigilia (Christmas Eve). We had some excellent food and read Luke 2 and sang carols all together. After the dinner, we headed to the mission office and watched Mr. Kreguer's Christmas and some other Christmas Church videos, and then headed over to Pasterka (midnight mass). It was an amazing experience that I will never forget. We drove about an hour outside of Warsaw to a smaller village, where one of our investigators lives. He was actually participating in the mass, so we went to support him. It was so cool to see such a traditional midnight mass and to learn and appreciate the Polish culture. We sang carols, listened to mass, and wished each other wishes. That's one of the cool traditions of Christmas in Poland, where you take "wafer" things and break them and wish each other good luck and other things in the new year. Great experience that I will never forget.
In the morning, we opened up some packages from home and did some ab ripper x in our Christmas PJ's. It was legendary. Then we drove over to the Marriott hotel and had an amazing buffet with the Office Elders. Endless eggs, bacon, sausage, fruit, oatmeal, omeletes, pancakes, juice, etc. It was the best I've eaten my whole mission. Good thing I did the ab ripper x in the morning cuz I stuffed myself haha. After that, we went to a little Christmas get together, that one of the members put on. We brought a member with us who needs some comfort as well! We spent some great time together, and opened some nice gifts that they had bought for us on behalf of our parents, so that was really cool! After that, we went and taught a lesson to a friend who is not Christian, who stayed around for the holidays to experience what Christmas was like. We read Luke 2 with him, and watched the Nativity. The spirit was very strong. It was cool to teach someone from scratch why we really celebrate Christmas. After teaching him, we all went caroling on the cold winter streets to those who were alone on Christmas. One guy particularly stood out to me, as he was alone and freezing in a wheelchair. We sang to him, and gave him a scarf. Moments like those are what Christmas is all about. After caroling around the streets, we headed toward "Nowy Świat" street, the most famous street in Warsaw, and 4 of us Elders stood up on a bench, and belted to the crowd Polish Carols. It was something I will never forget. People video taped us, and sang along with us. It truly was the highlight of my Christmas in Poland. After singing, we headed to President's house for waffles and games, and excellent way to end our Christmas in Poland, and then I headed home and skyped home for some time, which added the cherry on top of the day.
During the rest of the week, we were able to carol more and give more service to those in need. We also taught a nice couple, who is very interested in the church and in family history! We also were able to visit some members who were in need of some comfort and gave them spiritual messages.
It was definitely one of my favorite weeks on the mission. Though I missed my loved ones at home, I was able to focus on other people and especially on the Savior Jesus Christ. It was a Christmas that I will never forget, simply because I forgot about myself and remembered Him, who was born for all of us, the Savior and Redeemer of the world. I want to close with my testimony. I know He lives and that He loves me. He's helped me every single day, especially when it's been hard. I know that as you turn to the Lord and look unto him in every thought, your doubts and fears will go away, and He will lead and guide you every step of the way.