From the worldwide fast until now, I have been overcome with feelings of gratitude for all that I have been given because of the sacrifice of my Savior. Things were feeling pretty rough and rocky as we were stuck inside, braving another week of studies and Facebook. During the fast I asked Heavenly Father to help me understand how much he loves me. I received an answer to my prayers as I diligently made little efforts each day to show him that I care, and because of those efforts, the Lord brightened my days and gave me the clarity I needed. Along with that, last night I was given the most personal and beautiful revelation from the Spirit. It completely changed everything and the way I look at life as a missionary. I am going to keep that experience sacred and hold it close to my heart, but I just wanted to testify that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. The answers come. I know they come because they came for me after waiting for 5 months. The Lord cares and will never let you hit rock bottom without picking you up. If you feel any different, than maybe you haven't reached that rock bottom and you are stronger than you know. Jesus Christ will be there. I'm so grateful for the gift of his atonement and the hope that it gives me to know that I am good enough for him and I am good enough to achieve salvation and exaltation if I am obedient. In my personal journey of conversion I have discovered a new meaning to the phrase "because I have been given much I too must give." Honestly, it's hard to express the kind of feelings I have right now, but you can experience them too if you allow yourself to be humbled to your knees and show God each day that you sincerely desire revelation. You show God that you are sincere by being obedient and by putting forth new efforts each day. Just a little at a time, step by step, higher and higher! You can do it!
We celebrated a really fun holiday in Poland yesterday (at home obviously haha) which is called Śmingus Dyngus! This is probably my favorite holiday in Poland!😂 I don't quite know the history behind it, but everyone dresses up in lederhosen and traditional Polish dresses and they carry around buckets of water and then they pour them out on girls! It is so funny! Since everyone is at home we had people sending us videos of people throwing water at the camera haha! I might just have to celebrate this holiday each year when I get home next summer haha! 😆 Watch out Shelbi!
As far as experiences, we taught 3 people this week which was fantastic. I also got a soccer ball and have had a great time using that in my free time! 😂 We also had exchanges with our Zone Leaders over Facebook which was great! We are continuing to have devotionals each night as well! I hope that the virus will peak in Poland so that we can get back to our normal schedules!
I got to call home for Easter and talk with some extended family, and that was such an edifying experience! I am so grateful for such a wonderful family!
My family and loved ones are all healthy and safe, which is such a huge blessing and yet another testimony to me that God hears my prayers and He cares and loves me!
I love you all and hope you have a great week. I would love to hear from you if you have any time. I miss you all. My email is Zakary.firstname.lastname@example.org.
I found this explanation of Śmingus Dyngus!
from the travel.lovePoland.Magazine, March 2020
"Easter Monday, which is called " śmiguszt" in Orava, and in other parts of Poland "wet Monday" or Śmigus-Dyngus, is a very old custom cultivated already in pre-Christian traditions. Undoubtedly, we associate it with the popular custom of mutual pouring with water. However, it is worth asking the question what depth or symbolism lies behind this eagerly reproduced custom.
Originally, these were two separate, very old family rites. The first term in the name 'Śmigus' meant the same as 'beating' or 'striking'. Ritual spanking with pussy willow branches or whips woven from them was meant to oust all weakness and disease. The magical power of willow branches, which at the time of impact was to pass to the person, ensured prosperity and health. "Dyngus", the meaning of which might be translated as "buying out", was a kind of scavenger hunt game, played by young men, often in disguise, holding door to door processions to the houses of the girls, who were ready and eager to get married soon. These visits were accompanied by the custom of throwing water on all the brides as well as young married women. Water is the most significant symbol of life and purification in folk culture, followed by rebirth. Both touching with a green branch and pouring water, characteristic of folk spring rituals, is a relic of eternal magical practices designed to ensure the abundance of rain, continuity of vegetation and plant fertility. The ritual purification is to ensure beauty, vitality, fertility and numerous and healthy offspring.
Therefore, wet Monday was usually full of 'dyngus' fun. The atmosphere in the villages was full of joy and the inhabitants used to spend this day visiting one another. This custom is common throughout Poland, but in almost every region it is celebrated somewhat differently.
On Easter Monday in Orava, early in the morning, the bachelors came to the houses of marriageable girls and threw water on them. There were times that the farm workers were violently knocking on the closed door, willing to achieve their goal, as a consequence of which the door often needed repair after such a visit. They took buckets, bowls, jugs or other dishes and carried water from a well. If the girl was very resistant, she was often dragged to a stream where she could not avoid bathing in cold water. The number of 'polewacy' (the bachelors with water)visiting the girl showed how popular she was in the village. Potential victims often decided to stay at their neighbours for the night to avoid such situations. The, processing from house to house with sticks in their hands would hit them on the floor and recite:
„Przyśli my mu po śmiguszcie/ We came here cause of śmiguszt
Ale mnie tu nie opuście / But do not leave us here”
They continued to ask for donations and made wishes to the hosts, leaving one stick for them, which the host could use to prod the cattle to the pasture for the first time. In return, they received eggs, pies or money from the household members.
Nowadays, only the custom of pouring water has survived, but it is usually a symbolic delicate indication of tradition, usually without a conscious understanding of the rite. It is a great joy to be able to convey to the young generation these extremely important messages and to engage them in consciously recreating the traditions of our ancestors."