Monday, February 23, 2015

Transfers to the Northern Land

February 23, 2015
Dearest Family,
I am packing my bags and following in the footsteps of my wonderful trainer and going to the Northern seaside city of Gdansk. It is a tri city and covers Gdansk, Sopot, and Gdynia (however you spell all of that)! It is about 5ish hours from Warsaw, and I am honestly really really excited. This is the fresh start that I was looking for. My new companion is Sister Bak from my MTC group and I already have a ton of love and respect for that woman, it's going to be a good transfer, I can feel it. She is also a super crazy adventurer, spunky thing, I am excited! Gdansk is the only date city in the mission, that meaning that it only has two sisters and two elders; definitely a huge change from Warsaw. Here I have had at least 22+ missionaries and at least two other sister sets.  Up there it will be pretty isolated. I am moving to the Bydgoszcz zone, the biggest zone in the mission. Interesting thing with that is that it used to have six sisters. Well Szczeczine got closed to sisters because there weren't enough, and this transfer we lost 4 sisters, were supposed to gain 4 sisters, but only two are showing up. Thus Bydgoszcz is now closed to sisters too. So Sister Bak and I will be the only Sisters in our entire zone. 5 hours from the closest set haha! Crazy, quite a change, but I really look forward to it. Google my new area, it’s beautiful! Sister Tobler loved it, and I have heard really good things. One of my new elders is Elder Whiting who is from Idaho Falls as well, the Dopps know him well, he is a pretty cool elder, I have only met him a few times. I am off on the train early tomorrow morning, lets hope I can refit all of my stuff back into my luggage. Sorry this is all super scatter brained, I am out of time again.

This past week was a good last week in Warsaw. Pretty hard to say goodbye.We had some crazy fun experiences though. Looking back on my past six months in this area and I feel so blessed. A lot of it was definitely not easy, but I look at all of the growth and I am so grateful. People I have met here have changed my life, and will continue to affect my future. This area has brought me Sister Tobler, Anita, Kaja, Molly, Karolina, Wojtek, Slawek, and so many others. My testimony of the gospel has grown so much and I love seeing how my conviction has deepened.
I love this gospel, I love the opportunity that I have had to be a missionary right now, and I love my Heavenly Father and Savior.

Love Sister Benson

Monday, February 16, 2015

O Tym Wiem! About this I know!

February 16, 2015 
Dearest Family,

This week we got invited over to the Warsaw I zone to help with a chapel tour. We didn't really know what to expect. We had all of the Warsaw I zone missionaries to help, plus the Ap's, plus my companion and I. We planned on showing a religious tour group the Wolska chapel and give them just a little presentation from the missionaries about what we believe. Next thing we know a group of like 45 old bapcia's (grandmothers) show up, definitely not what I was expecting. They
were so interesting, most were really staunch Catholic, yet they all were touring all of these different religions. We split them into two groups, my group was a bunch of angels, minus one lady who kept acting ridiculous and kept trying to speak to the missionaries in English. Apparently the other tour group was naughty though haha, their main guy had to tell them to calm down. He said "Ladies, Ladies, they are not trying to convert you, they are just teaching you what they believe. We managed to give out over 40 Book of Mormon's! Good experience. It made me grateful for my own grandparents who are really lovable and kind.
Sister Benson and Sister Simkins on Splits
I think I have finally started to master my fear of tracting. It always used to terrify me because I didn't understand what people were saying, plus so many people get angry and yell at you. Basically tracting is a challenge for me, but it gets easier when you can kind of tell what people are saying, and this week I really focused on the fact that our message is for everyone, regardless of whether they accept it or not. We are offering them an option of salvation. We have been tracting so much lately because we received an on line referral that a woman would like to meet with us. So cool! But apparently she forgot to list her apartment number, phone number, or email. Thus we only have her street and building number, so we are tracting every door in the hopes of finding her. We write down the doors that dome answer and then we are going to go back until we have hit every door. Now that is thorough! We hope we find her this week, we have done about two thirds of the building, but I know we need to find her soon. Bring on the tracting!
We have been helping teach a Polish class to some of the Americans in the area and from the branch. The funny thing is, we have been here for a way shorter amount of time than some of them and we are teaching them? Gift of tongues baby! They are really great though, this is a crazy language and I admire their desire to try. I definitely wouldn't say we were qualified for this job quite yet, but that is why we need the other elders there to correct us when we accidentally give false information haha!
Well this transfer is almost over. I love love love Warsaw still and it has been a privilege to serve here. I am anxious to find out what the next transfer will bring. As this transfer draws to a close, four sisters will return home. Then my group of sisters from the MTC officially becomes the senior sisters of the mission. There is only one group ahead of us and then an eight month gap of no sisters. We are essentially the leaders now, which is crazy. It is a unique yet slightly scary opportunity. Everyone who comes in after will now look to us. I look forward to the challenge and blessing it presents.
Sister Benson and Sister Moncur
Both from Idaho Falls
Hey Family, be watching for a certain Sister Lexi Moncur. She is from Idaho Falls and will be returning in the group going home next week. She has served around me here in Warsaw since I got here six months ago. She will hopefully be bringing something by for you all from me, and she may have some pictures and stories to share with you. I send my love with her, she is the best!
I am so grateful for my family, I am so grateful for missionary work! This mission has changed my eternity and I am so grateful not only that I made the decision to serve a mission, but to serve it well while I am here. That is not to say that I don't have any regrets, because I always do, but I know that I try and work hard every single day! One of my current investigators is named Kaja, she is so amazing. I know that one of the reasons I was called to Poland was to meet Kaja. She doesn't have a baptismal date yet, but I know she will someday be a kingdom builder here in Poland. There are miracles happening in this mission!

O Tym Wiem! About this I know! Essentially that is the exact translation, but it means to me this I know for a surety. I know that my message as a missionary about Jesus Christ and the restoration of His gospel through Joseph Smith is true. The Church is so true, the Plan of Salvation brings me so much direction and peace. I love my eternal, earthly, and mission family. I know that this is all true because I have sought it out, learned it, lived it, prayed about it, shared it, and felt it touch my spirit. Because I know these truths it helps me to conquer my fears and try to become better every day with the help of the Savior Jesus Christ. I am grateful for all of the many blessings I have in life. I love you all more than words can express. Have a wonderful week!

Love, Love, Love,
Sister Benson

Monday, February 9, 2015

It's Cold!!

February 9, 2015
I’m short on time this week so this will be brief. I can't believe that it is 60 degrees there. February is one of the most bitter and cold months here and it is pretty dang freezing cold. It dumped a good layer of snow on us this morning as we were out running and throughout studies. The weather is almost as bipolar as Idaho. Yesterday we had like ten minutes of blizzard and then next thing you know the sun is back out! But the worst is when the wind blows, it just goes right through you. Especially made worse when you are wearing a skirt every day!
 Anyways we had our second zone training this week. I just about lost my marbles over putting it all together. Somehow it all turned out well. I love my district family here.
Hope you have a good week!
Love Sister Benson
Sister Benson and Sister Johnston at the Beautiful Warsaw Rynek

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Day In The Life of Sister B

February 2, 2015
Hello Everyone,
I know, I know, it is a rare day indeed when I actually finally getting around to sending pictures. But I thought that while I had the opportunity to send some home today I would just give a little update about my life! Here goes it...

Exchanges in Lodz with Sister Slagowski
Currently I am still serving in the huge, magnificent, beautiful, capital of Poland, Warsaw. I have been super blessed this transfer to be given so many opportunities to grow. I am currently training my wonderful companion Sister Johnston, and we only have about three weeks left of this transfer. Polish is a beautiful language, and thank goodness, I am finally starting to catch on. You would all laugh super hard at me, but at the beginning of this transfer I honestly didn't have a green idea of most of what people were saying to me in Polish and most of my conversations with people consisted of serious charades and lasted approximately 2 minutes tops. Let's just say it was an interesting situation, but finally I get the gist of what is going on and can carry on a decent conversation, even on the telephone!!!! Progress is heaven! I still am about at child level, but heck, onwards and upwards right!
Funny story of the week;  let’s just say I have a reoccurring problem addressing people by the wrong gender. Polish formal introductory form can be tricky, but at least it catches their attention very quickly when I get it wrong haha. The other day I rang someone’s dome-a-phone trying to track down a less active woman in our branch. Well, a man answered but I didn't know what to do because I was looking for a woman named Dorota. Well I called him a woman anyways because I pretended I didn't know he was a man. He acted pretty insulted, needless to say, he didn't let us in. We also went and got our hair cut today. But I had absolutely no idea half of what the lady was asking me, so she ended up deep conditioning my hair and way overcharging me because I couldn't object. They took advantage of my bad language skills ugh! At least I don't look like a sheep dog anymore! Seriously every day there is like a hundred things that happen you would all probably laugh at! It gets boring when I am the only one laughing at my awkwardness and mistakes! Sometimes my comp joins in.

Seriously the world is full of beautiful people all around. You people that I already know and love, plus the new people I meet here every day in this faraway country make up the fabric of my life. You are all a great source of joy to me, and I love you all more than words can express. Serving a mission has really opened up my eyes, and I am grateful to have the chance right now in my life to serve a mission. The gospel is my rock, I know it is true! True lasting joy is found in following the example set by the savior. Thank you for all of the love, you are all the best. Hope you have a wonderful week!
With Love,
Sister Benson