Sunday, September 7, 2014

Chasing the Day

August 25, 2014               
Hello Everyone,
I have officially arrived safely in the country of Poland and what a journey it has been. It was really weird actually being out in public again after being locked away in the MTC for so long. People actually recognize the name tag with the name Starszy and Siostra plus the name Jesus Christ and it really sets us apart. We flew to Minneapolis, then to Amsterdam Netherlands, then on to Warsaw Poland. It was seriously such a long flight!!! Flying over Ireland, England, and then the Netherlands coast again when we landed just at dawn with the city lights below was probably one of the most beautiful things that I have seen in a long time. Its strange how beautiful all of those city lights were below our plane, but more importantly is all of the lives that they symbolize below. Wow, I am officially a weird sentimental sister missionary now after those comments. 

We landed on Tuesday Morning European time and were greeted at the airport by our mission president and his wife. President and Sister Edgren are amazing!!! They are so full of life and energy and they are really shaping the mission and the whole country of Poland through the work they are doing here. I had a hard first couple of day's with jet lag because I only got three hours of sleep the night before we left and then couldn't sleep on the plane. Thus I spent all of Monday through Tuesday with no sleep, and ended up paying for it the rest of the week. On Wednesday morning we got our companions and said goodbye to our MTC group. That was harder than I thought it would be, but my group of missionaries from the MTC is the largest group of Polish missionaries to have ever arrived, so I know we are going to make a big difference here. My companion's name is Sister Cassie Tobler and she is from Mapleton Utah and she is simply fantastic. Seriously she is so kind and patient with me it really helped ease my heart when we arrived. We are stationed in the Warsaw II area and we are seriously pretty much living right inside the heart of the big city. Our apartment is actually really really nice, and rumor has it we have the nicest apartment in the mission. The balcony overlooking a little park by our building is my favorite. I never would have guessed Warsaw before but this city is so cool. When you think of Europe you think of big old beautiful buildings, but that is not Warsaw. Much of it was destroyed during WWII then rebuilt under communist influence, thus not gonna lie most of the buildings here are pretty ugly. Then you find the rare old buildings every once and a while and it takes your breath away. The mission home is actually stationed right by an old palace that survived the war I believe, and that is a stunning sight. 

Okay so I will try not to overload everyone on the details. Our first day here I was walking back to the mission home from the mission office, when an elder we were with was like... "look at that old bapcia (grandma) over there, let's go and try to contact her." So he walks right up to this fierce looking old lady and we hear him saying some things in Polish, next thing we hear is.. "hey these two sisters want to say something to you" in Polish. The old lady takes one look at us and starts screaming at us in Polish, stiff arms the elder and then walks away. I think my heart shattered into a gagillion pieces right then. I had to pick up what remained of my dignity and soul. After that I just about swore it all off, missionary work takes courage! We worked on building that courage later that evening on Tuesday and thank goodness the Lord is merciful and gave us some positive experiences to help save us from despair. Missionaries don't really get to have pride or dignity.
On Wednesday after dropping my bags off at the apartment our investigators called and wanted to meet me. Yayyy! We are teaching the only family that is currently interested in the church in Poland right now, it is pretty cool! So I will admit that I can be a bit of a chicken sometimes. My first like 4 days in country I was so nervous and scared all of the time that I made myself sick, add jet lag on top of that and I was barely holding my shoddy courage together. We head off to meet our investigators at their apartment. The are an amazing couple with a daughter who is 7.  I was super nervous to meet our investigators because of course you want to just love them and vice versa. Everything went great.  

Anyway, I do believe I am finally settling in and getting into the swing of things, the jet lag is wearing off. We go street contacting or whiteboarding a lot because sisters here don't really go door knocking for various reasons. I have to admit I have surprised myself with how courageous I have been, not to pat myself on the back or anything. But I think doing so many hard things is really stretching me as a person and forcing me to grow. God gives us challenges because we wouldn't normally grow without things like trying times or challenges, trying to become more like Christ and Heavenly Father is beyond important. When we go out and talk to all of these many wonderful people in Poland you learn a lot about yourselves and others. The worth of souls, and finding joy in the journey. Many here at very very religious and despise the missionaries. So yes I can finally get yelled at now and take it like a man, probably because I don't understand what people are saying. We have more investigators and people interested in the church that I could have hoped for here so the work is progressing. I cannot say how grateful I am for the chance to be here and doing what I am. It is so hard every single day, but it is so worth the fruits that you reap. I cannot thank you enough for giving me the chance to be out here on a mission learning to love and live, this is priceless to me and I am grateful everyday even when it is hard. I miss you all so much and will hopefully be able to answer some more questions next week. Love you and pray for you daily.

Love Siostra Benson

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