November 3, 2015
Oh what a week it has been! This week was the Polish holiday All-Saint's Day on November 1st. We spent much of the week preparing for the open house at our chapel on Wolska as a way to invite the Polish people to come and learn more about the Mormons. On All-Saint's Day, or Day of the Dead, the Polish people honor their families by going to the cemeteries and cleaning off the graves of their passed loved ones and decorating them with tons of flowers and candles. The chapel on Wolska is between two really old and beautiful cemeteries in Warsaw, so it was a great opportunity. We made a huge Plan of Salvation chart and put it up in the cultural hall with refreshments and the office translated some really cool Mormon Messages and Bible video's that we also had playing. At night we lit up the walkway's in front of the chapple with paper bag lanterns (which was kind of my project of the week), and it actually turned out pretty cool. Sister Tobler along with the AP's Elder Fotu and Swicegood spent a good chunk of time this week putting it all together and it turned out beautifully. I have to admit that of the throngs of people walking by outside, not many actually came in, but I have hope that maybe one of the twenty or thirty people who came in will be a little better because of the experience. It was a blessing to be able to try to serve the Polish people a little more as they honored their families this holiday.
Afterward on Saturday night we took our dinner hour and went and walked around the two cemeteries. I wish you could have seen it. So many fresh beautiful flowers just covering these ornate and beautiful graves, and don't even get me started on the miles of candles. I didn't have a chance to send all of the pictures, but all of the graves were just covered in these mainly red and white candles that lit up the night. Near the West cemetery was a monument and graveyard honoring those who lost their lives in the Warsaw uprising, and surrounding the base of this monument for like twenty feet was just a sea of candles. It was pretty incredible. One of our brilliant and super cool investigators Kaja came with us when we visited the monument and she told us some pretty cool histories. She is an intern at the recently dedicated Jewish museum here in Warsaw that opened last week and she wants to give us the grand tour of the museum one of these p-day's. We are pretty excited!
Last night President and Sister Edgren had all of the sister missionaries serving in Warsaw, the six of us, come and stay at the mission home for a sister's retreat last night. Sister Edgren fed us soup and cooked us breakfast and we were able to kinda just relax and unwind. I am really grateful for the breather, it was well needed. This morning president gave us a nice long pep talk about our importance as sister missionaries and the role that a mission will have for us personally as well as in the lives of others. The mission age change is something that has and will continue to affect the entirety of church culture, especially for the women. Never before has the voice of women been so respected and heard and what an opportunity for the women of the church to represent the Lord as a missionary. It is life changing for us now, and for the lives of our future families. I loved what mom said about me being a different person now. I really am. I could not have progressed as far or fast if I had simply remained a student at BYU instead of serving a mission. This year and a half I have as a missionary has farther reaching effects than I first realized when I pushed that submit button on my mission papers. Missionaries have to do hard things every single day, and as dad say's, it builds character. I guess I am just saying that I am grateful for the opportunity that I have to serve as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I may not be perfect, but through the enabling and cleansing power of the atonement I know that I can change. This morning really reawakened and enlarged my perspective of Heavenly Father's love and care for His Sister missionaries.