Monday, November 24, 2014

Meatloaf But Not Meatloaf

November 24, 2014
Dear Family,
Wow, what a great week it has been! Really up and down, but great all the same. My language is finally barely starting to turn the corner. It’s still bad, I can't casually converse with people, but I get the gist of what is going on. I am excited for continual opportunities of growth!
I just have to say that I have a FANTASTIC district. I love them so much, they are a huge support here. It is comprised of Sister Tobler and I, Elders Retallick and Jourdan, and Elders Wride and Write. For Thanksgiving this week we are actually having a district dinner at our apartment to celebrate. We are buying rotisserie chickens, and then everyone is assigned to bring a couple of things. It is going to be a smashing hit, I just know it!
In reference to the title of this email, Meatloaf but not Meatloaf, allow me to explain. We went to visit a friend who surprised us with dinner; seriously so kind! There were two thick slices of meatloaf, vinegar salad, and some very interesting tea. I look over at Sister Tobler and she has panic written all over her face. She hadn't been feeling that well all day and eating this meal might push her over the edge. I mean what and the heck do you do in that kind of situation, you can't just refuse a meal that someone so lovingly made you. So we sat down and dug in! Turns out, the meatloaf, was not meatloaf. It was comprised of Kasha, onion, cranberries, dates, chicken broth, and some kind of crazy spices all smashed into a pan and then chilled. The vinegar salad actually tasted good in comparison, and then to wash it all down was that nasty strong herbal tea. I started choking it down bite by bite. I wonder if she noticed that I wasn't exactly chewing my food. I could barely manage smashing it around in my mouth and then swallowing as fast as I could. Sister Tobler only made it through the first of two slices before she excused herself to go to the bathroom. I knew the second she left what was about to happen. I almost busted straight up laughing, but then I realized I was the one left to finish my food and wished I could go join her in the bathroom. She came back five minutes later little pale and shaky and got excused from finishing the meal because she wasn't feeling well. Meanwhile I am in the middle of tactical deep breathing exercises trying to finish.  It was quite the experience, but I love how willing people are to serve us.
Sunday evening we did whiteboarding with the AP's and it really changed my perspective. My first few day's in the country I was just constantly scared. It was awful, suffocating. That fear always comes back when doing street teaching, whiteboards, tracting, etc. But last night, I was just like, you know what I am tired of my fear trumping my faith. So I just faked it until I made it. I tried to be bold and talk to everyone, and soon my fear went away and I was just full of faith and happiness. It really boosted my confidence and motivation to continue to learn Polish and be a confident missionary/person. Really tender mercy to experience such an opposite change. I want to be that kind of missionary all of the time.
Today we are going on exchanges again with the Warsaw IB sisters. I will be with Sister Poklinkowska for the next few days. She is such a sweetheart and I we are really going to focus on learning to love the Polish language. I know that I can learn this language so much better and faster if I loved it, so we are really emphasizing that factor. It's gonna be great! Today we are also going to go and finally tour the newly dedicated Jewish museum with our awesome investigator Kaja. She has been making such good progress and I just feel such a connection with her. I looked at her the other day during a lesson and the thought came to mind, you are one of the reasons that I was sent to this country. It was such a special thought to have, and to think that I almost decided never to turn in those mission papers. I would have missed an innumerable amount of growing experiences and might have never met some of these people who I know will be my lifelong friends.
Anyways, it was a really good last week. I love being a missionary! Just know that the Lord loves all of you so much. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The knowledge that we have of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is so important, soul saving, and brings true happiness. It is true! I know it is true because I have studied it out, lived it, and loved it! Prayer and Scripture study sure goes a long way!
Love Sister Benson

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