Monday, December 8, 2014

Tis the Season To Be Jolley!

December 8, 2014
Dearest Family,
I can’t believe that Anni got baptized! Wow my little sister sure grew up fast. I am so glad that you made such a great decision to be baptized. I promise that so much good will come because of it! I love you so much and I want you to know that I am leaving my legacy behind here so that when you put in your mission papers in ten years, you can come and help the missionary work here in Poland too. I am so proud of my beautiful family.
I just want you all to know that I have changed so much. Haha but I still am the same old Ellie. This morning I got up and ate a banana for breakfast, but then I was still hungry so I ate a cup of noodle (european style of course) haha. Sister Tobler was so grossed out! bahaha. Funny food story of the week. We have been making the rounds running all over visiting all of our members, less-actives, and investigators last week and this upcoming week because Sister Tobler is leaving. Yesterday we had two later evening appointments with some members from this branch, so we made a huge batch of crepes for lunch/dinner and rushed off. We went to the first appointment and she had made us soup. Thus I had my first run in with Barszcz soup. Mum would love the stuff, because it is essentially beets and carrots in broth. It is this crazy purple red color and stains your teeth. It is actually not as bad as all of the other missionaries led us to believe, kinda tasty, until you get a huge heaping bowl of it after you just downed 6 crepes. So yeah, Barszcz soup is not too bad, unless you go to your next appointment and they make you fish sandwiches. So then we had to down these slices of bread covered in butter, fish, and fresh onion. Plus this tea, that I am pretty sure was not tea. Anyways, my tummy was in a rumble all night long. People put food in front of missionaries, and we just basically breathe it in as fast as we can, its just a weird missionary thing.
Tuesday the Kosanoviches had us over for Thanksgiving/ Christmas dinner. Seriously this family is simply fantastic! Friday we got to go to Wilanów palace with a Hungarian member whos husband lives here in Warsaw and saw all of the Christmas lights. Then we made crafts with the relief society sisters that night. Saturday we went out and visited another member outside of Warsaw. She bought us lunch, took us out to a bakery, and then sent us home with a box of Florentine cookies. We were so surprised by her generosity but she said that because the Americans took such good care of her son when he served in America that she tries to take good care of the missionaries here. It was just such a good reminder to us that every missionary has a home and family somewhere out there. Then that night we had a super cool YSA Christmas Party! We had about 7 YSA investigators there that the missionaries brought, more than the YSA members who attended! The growth of the church here is going to start with the YSA's, and the I feel that things are going to really take off in this country! Some day there will be a temple here!
Simply put, we worked a lot! This coming week will be kind of insane. Today we are going to see the Rynek all lit up as our last p-day all together. We have Róża's baptism next Saturday, plus a ton of other meetings set up, then add Christmas on top of all of that and we have a very full, great schedule set up. It has been a blessed four months serving with Sister Tobler. I don't think anyone else on this earth knows me as well as this point in my life, she knows me even better than I know myself sometimes. I guess the best way to put it is, I am "forever grateful" for the time that we have shared! She leaves me next Monday and it is going to be a hard goodbye.
I love being a missionary. I know that I am where the Lord needed me to be right now, and I am grateful that the Lord blessed me to be able to serve a mission. I will never forget this blessed and sacred experience. Dearest Family, this church is true, it truly is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is my privilege and duty to testify of that message. I can't believe how long it took me to realize it, but the true gift of Christmas was given long ago, it was our Savior Jesus Christ. Being away from my family this holy season has reminded me of that very simple and basic message. We are beyond blessed to have the knowledge and opportunities we do! I love you all and wish you a very merry week!

Love Sister Benson

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