These last few weeks have been major testimony builders! At the beginning of the week on Monday, we were contacting and I stopped a man who turned out to be from Detroit! In a small city like Kielce you don’t run into Americans, in fact we only know one other American here, so it was a really cool experience! He agreed to meet up with us for lunch to get to know each other a little better!
We ended up having to go down to the Police Headquarters this week so that an officer could evaluate the Southards and see why they were living in Kielce. It was really fun actually, the officers all seemed like really good guys. We see them a lot on the streets and always wave or say hi or have a good laugh together! It's great!
Anyways we ended up back at Sister Sałatas house again this week. But this time things were different! This time we bought her groceries and brought them over. We thought by doing that we would get out of eating because she had no other food in the house.. Well, we were wrong. She got out the food we just had purchased and we got to eat cold hot dogs on bread. My favorite...😂😂😂 she is such a sweetheart! She is always so sweet to us and is always concerned for our well being. Gotta love it!
On Thursday we taught a great English class and had alot of new people show up! I thought that it was just going to happen that one time, but I was amazed when Fridays class came and we had 11 people show up!! It was the coolest thing ever! I've never had so much fun in an English class before!
Saturday was busy! We had some pretty prestigious genealogists come to our family history opening! Total we had about 15 people there which is a huge success! I was able to say the prayer and take pictures of the event! I guess the genealogists from Kielce are bringing in the newspaper to interview us about the new geneology center in order to inform more people about it! How great is that?
The dance class this week was fantastic! We had 4 brand new people attend! They all had a great time and we all were able to bond and quickly become friends through dancing together! Afterwards we all sat in a circle and held a discussion about faith and what it means to each of us individually to have faith in something we believe in. Sitting in our circle were 3 Catholics, us, and a man who is of the Muslim faith. It was such a special moment! It was uncomfortable for everyone at first to open up, but after a few minutes the spirit was able to touch everyones hearts and each bore a testimony of what it meant to them to have faith. I'm grateful for the new friendships that have formed because of the events this week! I have been taught so much about other religions!
Transfers are almost up! I'm excited to see what will happen next... Things are going to be different but I think I'm ready for it!
The local volunteer group contacted us this week and asked if we could help escort a man in a wheelchair to the Urząd by the Cathedral in central Kielce. We gladly agreed and traveled for about an hour to find this man. I was surprised to discover that this man had no legs! He had gotten a disease some years ago that required half of his body to be amputated. It was a humbling moment. We all quickly became friends, and I was able to feel the love of God for this man as I pushed him in his wheelchair around town. He wants to meet with us again and go for walks together!
I've been teaching Sunday school each week from CFM! It has been such a great way ti build my conviction to the Book of Mormon. With each week I become more and more excited to read the Book of Mormon and share its message with others! I encourage all to read the Book of Mormon. Start by simply trying it out first, then nourish it daily and then look back and see how you have grown! It will work, I promise! In the world we live in today, they best way to protect ourselves and help others is by studying the Book of Mormon daily. You have to have your own testimony of the gospel in order to make it out there. Even as a missionary I have had many reasons and many times when I've questioned everything I believe in. I'm on my own having to discover what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The best comfort comes from prayer and earnest scripture study.
My beautiful angel of a mother's birthday is today!!! Mom I love you more than words can describe. You have never left my side and with each day that I've been away, I've more clearly recognized the amount of love that you have for me. I also see the sacrifices you have made for me. Including letting me leave you for 2 years in order to preach the truth to the Poles. Thank you for loving me enough to let me go. It's not easy but you are worth fighting for! I am blessed to call you my mother, and I hope that each day, I will continue to gain a desper understanding of the love you have for me. 6 months down momma, 3 more rounds to go. Just keep thinking about that hug after I get off that plane. I promise I'll make you proud! Thank you for directing me in the paths of virtue, and faith and righteousness! Thank you for never growing weary of my weaknesses and for supporting me each day. The amount of love you show me is unmatched. I love you with my whole heart and soul. You mean everything to me, and I hope you have an amazing day!!!
Also congratulations to my amazing sister for graduating high school early! Way to go sissy! I'm so proud of you, trying every day to be more like you. Love you girl.😘 Keep up the hard work!
This week I spoke in sacrament meeting on the principle of loving one another! I narrowed down loving one another to 3 action words. To see, to act, and to speak. In no specific order, these actions happen every time we encounter another person.When we encounter another, we immediately have the ability to create an image of who we think they are, how we believe they act, and what they believe in based on first appearances. For example, we might see a man walking towards us who is wearing what seems to be an expensive suit coat, leather shoes, and a designer belt and think to ourselves; this is a rich man, he must not be a very humble man, and I dont think he would be one to accept God in his life. After making this assumption we decide to walk past him, with a feeling of pride or a feeling of sadness, because of that which he possses which we feel we lack. This is a natural event that takes place inside of every person, and it happens far too often. Perhaps while the 'rich man' walked past you, he said to himself, "this man/woman looks very happy. They are wearing relaxing clothes, enjoying time together as a family... I wish I had time to have a family. They will never know how it feels to have to work 7 days a week for 12 hours a day in an office building." After thinking that to himself, the man passes you without saying a word or exchanging a second glance.
The gift agency allows us to think freely about others. But it is important to remember that for whatever judgment we pass on others we will be judged. We must first look at ourselves, and recognize that we too, like everyone else need the sacred redemptive powers of the atonement in our lives.
I have made the personal decision in my life that when I walk down the streets, to look at the people I see and discard their differences and forget about their flaws. Instead I will picture them in the holy temple, happier then they have ever felt before, overwhelmed with the spirit and emotion as they sit, dressed in all white having found themselves on the pathway that leads back home.
We have the choice when we see one of Gods children, to judge them based on what we see at first glance or to see them the way that God sees them each and every day. As His sacred children, as sheep, and as spirits who made the choice to follow him and be sent to earth at this specific time to be tested and find their way home. The Lord has put enough trust and faith in you all to allow his lost sheep to cross your paths every day. He trusts that you will be a strength to them, that you will not ignore them but spiritually edify them and lead them home. The Lord has given us the responsibility and the blessing to be able to gather scattered Israel in these last days. We all must be vigilant and see others the way our Heavenly Father sees us.
After we judge righteously, we make the decision to act or as it says in the Book of Alma, "do good continually". I have learned that it is by small and simple things that great things are brought to pass.
After we have thought about who we are about to encounter, we then make the decision to act on our promoting. We can choose to stop the person, help them carry something, smile and wave hello, or even offer comfort to someone who looks to be having a hard day. Our agency also allows us to ignore the person completely, letting them take care of their own problems, and in the end we ultimately did not let our light shine in the life of another. We cannot spread our joy and our light if we keep to ourselves. After we have made the decision to act and help someone else, we, no matter the outcome, will be blessed of the Lord for our efforts and our sacrifices. On my mission I have been taught that the Lord cares the most about our sacrifices, not our successes. We must respect the agency of others, even if they reject our help.
I want to share this quote from Elder Holland.
"It is with this realization of the power and sanctity of words that I wish to caution us, if caution is needed, regarding how we speak to each other and how we speak of ourselves.
There is a line from the Apocrypha which puts the seriousness of this issue better than I can. It reads, “The stroke of the whip maketh marks in the flesh: but the stroke of the tongue breaketh the bones.”
at least some things we say can be destructive, even venomous—and that is a chilling indictment for a Latter-day Saint! The voice that bears profound testimony, utters fervent prayer, and sings the hymns of Zion can be the same voice that berates and criticizes, embarrasses and demeans, inflicts pain and destroys the spirit of oneself and of others in the process. “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing,” James grieves. “My brethren [and sisters], these things ought not so to be.”
In all of this, I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak—or at least think—critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.
I love what Elder Orson F. Whitney once said: “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things. The opposite or pessimistic spirit drags men down and away from God, looks on the dark side, murmurs, complains, and is slow to yield obedience.” We should honor the Savior’s declaration to “be of good cheer.” (Indeed, it seems to me we may be more guilty of breaking that commandment than almost any other!) Speak hopefully. Speak encouragingly, including about yourself. Try not to complain and moan incessantly. As someone once said, “Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow.”
So, brothers and sisters, in this long eternal quest to be more like our Savior, may we try to be “perfect” men and women in at least this one way now—by offending not in word, or more positively put, by speaking with a new tongue, the tongue of angels. Our words, like our deeds, should be filled with faith and hope and charity, the three great Christian imperatives so desperately needed in the world today. With such words, spoken under the influence of the Spirit, tears can be dried, hearts can be healed, lives can be elevated, hope can return, confidence can prevail."
I love you all back home so dearly, thank you for continuing in the faith. You are such examples to me. I wish to build a Zion here like the one I've always known back home. I'll do whatever the Lord requires of me. He has prepared a way, I dont walk forward blindly. I know he guides each step that I take. Have an amazing week alright? I hope to hear from you all sometime soon and hear how you are all doing. Feel free to message me anytime! You are such builders of my faith! I'm grateful for angels on earth like you! Hold fast! Stay strong!