Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New transfer: Sister D

One of our companionship goals this transfer is to try to talk with people a little more on the trams. In the past we've waited until the prime is time, in other words someone is looking straight at our badge on our left shoulder. Then we would ask them if they have seen missionaries like us before. 

Well unfortunately the prime situation doesn't happen all too that frequently and we do quite a bit of travelling! Sister Dekker and I hope to be a little more bold and to maybe jump into any situation and make it "prime." It is usually easiest just by talking Polish on the tram and then when we have a question, we can ask the presumed Pole sitting across from us. Sometimes I play the "I-am-just-a-twenty-year-old-Canadian-girl-living-in-Poland" card and so I ask random questions about the city. 

As we've been doing so, there have been some pleasant interactions. One older lady and her daughter who was visiting from the UK were so thrilled. The older lady has been trying to work on her English, (she is about intermediate level) and so we spoke to her in Polish and she spoke to us in English. We corrected each other as we did so. Anyways we told her all about our free English class and she was just so HAPPY and EXCITED! Needless to say things went well and we exchanged numbers and parted ways with a hug. Oh Sister Dekker and I were so warmed, it is the little things that can brighten our day (or in this case the freezing cold nights.)

Here are some other random bits from the week: 

​-on our way to zone training we picked up some rolls z makiem (poppy-seed). Sister Dekker's first and well unfortunately she doesn't quite enjoy them as much as I do, but that's alright!


-reunited with my MTC sister, sister Craig (all of the sudden the north zone feels a little warmer, Sister Craig has the biggest heart and is like a little beam of sunshine)

Christmas Miracle

Along with the festivities of the season, I was able to recognize a number of tender mercies or miracles. Each day in the month of December, I made a special note in my planner. At the end of the day I would write something down that I did not want to forget. Here are a few:

#christmasmiracle -Ilona got a job in Gdańsk! She will be moving here on the 23rd!! (3. XII)
#christmasmiracle -a former investigator let us into her home and we were able to have a delightful meeting/lesson with her. She invited us back. (5. XII)
#christmasmiracle -i translated Sister Grgich's testimony in fast and testimony meeting. The gift of tongues does exist! And well sometimes polish makes sense! (6. XII)
#christmasmiracle -i was able to translate for the senior couple and a member in a meeting! (sister Grgich was coming back from an exchange.) (9. XII)
#christmasmiracle -during a finding activity with the elders, a man walked by and gave each of us a krówka, onyl my favorite polish candy! It was so unexpected and such a surprising gesture of kindness. (12. XII)
#christmasmiracle -it's always a miracle when investigators/friends come to sacrament meeting. We had a couple show up and it was delightful. (20. XII)
#christmasmiracle -we were able to meet a Polish poetess who writes poems and verses for children. We met her while volunteering (also another mircale ebcause finding community volunteering opportunities has been a struggle!)
-while we were volunteering a lady told me I looked like Holy Mary. They love their Mary here. (21. XII)
#christmasmiracle -skyping my family and seeing them all well and healthy. Technology these day, it is such a blessing. (25. XII)
It's the little things that make the season all the more enjoyable. The pierniki here itself is a Christmas wonder. It is everywhere and it is so good! They have pierniki (gingerbread) icecream, truffles, cakes, bread, cookies, drinks- there is chocolate covered, glazed, fruit infused, sugar powdered, itd. All kidns basically. I wqas going to send a bunch of different pictures, but maybe I will do that another time. 
My favorite Polish traditions around this time of year have to do with Wigilia (Christmas Eve.) We spent Wigilia with Józef and Irean, the two kidnest people in maybe all of Poland. Dinner starts when the first star appears in the sky and then they always set an extra table setting for anyone who might be lonely and come by. I like that, it keeps us thinking about others and our neighbours. 
-wigilia (Christmas Eve dinner. Karp is the specialty. Oh and we're drinking Barszcz -beet soup!)

-Irena made the most gigantic cake I have ever seen. How this cake came to pass, I'm not sure. Most big cakes taste... not all that great. However those four sticks of butter must have done some wonders because it was delicous and fruity and not too sweet but rich and dark. Oh and so polish as there was a touch of alcohol in the candies on the top.  I'm done salivating now.

And well that was my Christmas in Poland. Also that was the last week of the transfer. You're probably all wondering what is going to be happening to me next! Esecially now that my little Koala is on her way back to her home country of mangos and musk flavoured candy. Well I will be staying in Gdańsk, our transfer will also be only 7 weeks this time. (They usually have a couple shorter transfers randomly through the year.) Currently I am in an internet cafe in Warsaw. I am waiting to pick up my baby. Prezydent seems to think training would be a good experience for me, zobaczymy! I am excited but also rather nervous for the change. On the bright side, the north zone will have the wonderful additional of Sister Craig in Bydgoszcz, she too will be training. We can struggle together! Maybe I will start a new hashtag and call it #trainertrauma !
I will miss my little Koala though, I know I couldn't have her all to myself forever! Now I get to take care of her queendom and make sure all of our hardwork doesn't fall apart :/
(i'll be sending some photos of us parting ways)

SZCZĘŚLIWEGO NOWEGO ROKU! happy new year! I'll see you all in the 2016. Assuming I make it out alive being a mission mom this transfer!

the LAST transfer with Sister G

I never really know what to write. Sometimes I think, hey give them a spiritual thought, or a personal experience, or maybe just a cute story will do. Then after e-mail time is said and done, i think OPE i forgot to mention... i tak dalej. 

In the spirit of Christmas we have been taking up a spirit of service! Funny as our whole time here has missionaries is a spirit of service.

Last week we went, "snowflaking". We met up with our one and only Young Women and well... this is how one goes snowflaking in Poland. 
1. get in touch with your YW
2. cut out some lovely snowflakes 
3. go to the address of the person you will be "snowflaking"
4. awkwardly domofon all the apartments in the building to try and convice the neighbours to let you in (all in Polish of course)

​5. tape the snowflakes to the door 
6. leave a plate of cookies on the ground (homemade of course)
7. ding and ditch
8. treat everyone to some classy starbs (I recommend a soy steamer with gingerbread.) 

And well that is one of the things we did this last week along with out trackting, teaching, visiting, helping, studying, lots of -ings. 

Yesterday we volunteered at a dom opieki. We were part of the Wigilia celebration (Christmas Eve minus that where it is actually christmas Eve... but that is when they wanted to do their big dinner.) We sang kolęndy and they fed us a big traditional Polish feast afterwards. I think they were the ones serving us. 

NXT WK: update on transfer calls (I am pretty sure I'll be going to Australia z Siostrą Grgich) and well maybe a little note on Polish Pierniki. Also I might be emailing on Tuesday (plan for Monday but know that it might be tuesday) due to transfers. 

​-going to Australia, I FIT! (sidenote: i got to study marc chagall in one of my art classes and I was always perplexed at how he painted some of the angles of people's ehads... maybe he just imaginied them in suitcases... look at the Kiss)

WESOŁYCH ŚWIĄT! xoxo sister Young

Miracle Skirt Story

FIRST OFF, my Miracle Skirt Story. Sorry I couldn't come up with a better and more creative title. Maybe A Skirt Full Of Miracles?

Nearing the end of my MTC visit, I packed up some things to send home. I debated over a couple skirts which where kind of riding on the Sister Missionary skirt guide line- they didn't go past my knee but ended at my knee. (It seems so silly and inconsequential I know.) Well I had decided to send a couple skirts home, afterwards though I realized I didn't have tons of clothes to being with and after I had even less!
Later on that day another Sister missionary was carrying two skirts and put them in the "free for grabs" bin. I went over and unfolded the skirts, they looked about my size. I went and tried them on and they were a perfect fit! I kept the red one because it looked warm and I thought it was fitting for Poland. 
I learned that it is true, when we do our best to live righteously we are blessed. Our Heavenly Father loves us and desires for us to be happy. He can bless us in both spiritual and temporal things. The red skirt reminds me of the commitment I made to my Father in Heaven when I decided to come to this Earth. I plan on wearing my miracle red skirt oft this Christmas season, mostly though because it is warm! 
"Christmas is not a day or a season, but a condition of heart and mind. If we love our neighbors as ourselves; if in our riches we are poor in Spirit and in our poverty we are rich in grace; if our charity vaunteth not itself, but suffereth long and is king; if when our brother asks for a loaf, we give ourselves instead; if each day dawns in opportunity and sets in achievement, however small- then every day is Christ's day and Christmas is always near." -James Wallingford (Words of Life, Charles L. Wallis Ed.)
This season Sister Grgich and I have been keeping busy by:

- teaching this little cutie in Primary

-making and delivering ciasteczka for almost everyone

-having a wonderful ognisko Bożego Narodzenia (Christmas fireside). We read from the Bible, sang songs, listened to a talk and some testimonies, sang kolędy and stuffed ourselves with kompot and gingerbread

this is S. Grgich and I and two lovely ladies we have been privliged to have met and been able to teach! We were so happy they could come to our ognisko! (NOTE: Polish people don't really smile in photos.)

just singing some kolędy. Most people had left, we had a few tricklers so we kept on singing.

-we attended the wedding of two of our "friends" (sounds much better than INVESTIGATORS.) We were so happy to be with them on this happy day!
​Oh they are just too cute. Maawiiiiage is what brings us together today.
-I had a fabulous exchange with ex comp S. Pierson who is serving in Szczecin. It was nice after our somewhat traumatic time in Warsaw. We were able to confirm that the emotional difficulties we went through weren't because we didn't like each other. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to serve together again. You can also get an idea of how adorable the markets are! Look at the size of that bread!!
-it is easy to enjoy the season when in such a beautiful city. Here are some of the city lights on Ul. Długa

our giant city choinka! 


D E C E M B E R is here and the air smells oh so clear. Okay so rapping/rhyming has never been a talent of mine, sue me for trying. However I will rub in the fact that I am near the Baltic Sea and sometimes the air really is so clear and fresh smelling. Also the weather has been so mild as of lately, it makes up for the awful rain we had. However I recognize the rain was necessary for helping the leaves fall off the trees in order to prepare for the Winter season. 
Along with this season comes CHRISTMAS! I have been reading through some December Liahona's from over the year's. President Monson invited us this year to, 
"Take a peaceful moment to contemplate perhaps the most serene moment in history of the world- when all of heaven rejoiced with the message 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.' " 
He then shares some words from Bishop Tutu (the Anglican archbishop in South Africa), "Yes I am learning to shut up more in the presence of God." He would approach heaven with what he called a "kind of shopping list." But now, he said, "I think I am trying to grow in just being there. Like when you sit in front of a fire, and you don't have to be smart or anything. The fire warms you." 
President Monson, invites us to sit with the Lord and to let him warm us like a fire in the winter. 
In the Spirit of Christmas we had our Zone/Christmas conference. We met as the North Zone. Missionaries from Szczeczin, Gdańsk, Poznań, and Bydgoszcz all gathered together. There were some Polish kolendy (carols) sang, some yummy apple cake eaten, spiritual thoughts shared, and gifts exchanged which we are now supposed to give to a Polish person.These are the sisters, minus Sister Sloan:

-Presydent Edgren may have given me a box of grape nut cerael. Our love for the fibrous cereal is something we have in common.

The red skirt is one of my miracle skirts from the MTC. I don't know if I already shared the story. If not... Mum you'll have to let me know, stay tuned for next week! 
Do zobaczenia!
-Siostra Young


-we have had alot and ALOT of rain. This is the part of my dress that is not covered by my coat, it got completely soaked. Why might Sister Grgich and I be out in such conditions you might ask? 
D&C 18: 10 "Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." 
Mother Teresa said, "What we do is nothing but a drop in the ocean. But if we didn't do it, the ocean would be one drop less [than it is]."

Even if all our labours amount to a single drop in the ocean, then we have done our part. All it takes is serving or loving one person. Whoever's life we are able to touch- it is precious. We are all children of a very loving Heavenly Father and we have infinite worth in his eyes, each and every one of us. That is why we have missionaries. That is why even in the most hopeless of circumstances where pride may close every door in your face and the people might laugh at who you are representing, it is because one drop makes a difference- that one drop has so much worth and all the wet dresses and pouring rain in the world can't stop the work from going forwards.
​-then sometimes the rain makes a light dusting of snow

​-then because it is almost that time of year, the lights start to come up

​-and when it is not dark out sister Grgich and I get to see the funky graffiti in the tunnels when we are on our way for some university presentations
​-and we had a movie night at the chapel! Poznaj Mormonów! (Meet the Mormons!) We invited memebers, our english classes, the university students we met earlier that day, and well anyone we thought would be interested. We had a total of maybe 18 people there including missionaries, so that would be 12 people. We topped it off with some juice and popcorn, can't go wrong there. 

And well that's all I got for this week. We have our Zone conference/ Christmas conference coming up on Friday in Poznań. 

Well dowidzenia !