Monday, July 20, 2015

Guidance From Above

July 20, 2015
No Hej
We had a really interesting week here in Lodz. I was so motivated by all of the lessons and people we met the last week, but then kinda took a hope crash in the middle of the week. Psh, sister missionaries, we can be overly emotional sometimes. This week we met a man from the faith of "The Flying Spagetti Monsters", yes it is a legit religion here (basically created to mock believing people), ate some really good froyo, and got to spend a lot of time with members which I really enjoyed. Getting to know the members is one of my favorite missionary experiences.

The Gift of Navigation!
Our branch president here, President Połodnikiewicz, is this really great guy that works incredibly hard for this branch. He actually reminds me of dad a bit. He and his wife invited us over for lunch this week. We hadn't really met his wife Mirka yet because she has been recovering from surgery, but I was nervous because I knew she was quite the fire cracker. Old Polish woman style you know! So we stressed all day about planning a super good lesson, being on time, and went and picked out a nice bouquet of flowers. Heck she may be a firecracker, but I love her so much haha. The Lord seriously must have helped us know how to prepare for this meeting, because I swear there was divine assistance helping us. I don't even know how to describe it. The second she saw the flowers she fell in love with us I think. President was just happy because his wife was happy. She kept saying, my lovely girls... you are so beautiful and sweet...and you were perfectly on time... here eat some more of this we will fill you right up. She made us this gourmet lunch, and we were so touched by their kindness. Really our branch president is great. We had the gift of tongues with us and had such a good time getting to know each other better. I love getting to know our members because then we feel the support of the branch as we work in this area. It was hilarious because Mirka love the flowers so much. She said "only one senior couple has ever brought me flowers before, I have never had younger missionaries do so, thank you so much. (then she paused and smiled) but this better be the last time you buy me flowers, ok. We know you don't have the money to do this often!" Just the way she said it was so funny. Another thing I loved is they just got it, they understand what love, sacrifice, and faith truly mean. Stalwart members.

As I said we got to spend a lot of time with members this week... so Thursday we went out to visit the Diarra family. Seriously one of the coolest Polish families ever. They live pretty far out South of Lodz in Tuszyn Las, and we had no idea how to get out there so we were praying for divine assistance in that as well. I must add... on my mission I know the Lord helps missionaries with many spiritual gifts. The gift of teaching, gift of tongues, as I mentioned last week the gift of piano tongues. This week I must add that I know there is a gift of navigation. All missionaries in Poland, minus the APs and office elders, navigate by hard copy map. I didn't know how to drive my car to McDonald’s in my home town some days let alone navigate an enormous city with a dinky map using public transportation. The night before we looked online to try to find a bus route to their town if we could make it to the fringes of Lodz by the public transport routes, but came up empty. I just decided if we could make it as far as we could with our Lodz map then we could walk the rest. ( to be honest we never would have made it if we had done that... it would have been like a 5 mile walk). As we left on Thursday afternoon, I looked at my comp and told her, psh if we somehow find a bus and make it there without having to walk a couple of miles it will be a miracle. We traveled by tram to the fringes, I asked a Polish woman if she knew of country buses to Tuszyn and she kinda gave us a general area where there might be. We hop off the tram walk down a street, and we found this dinky little bus pulling out of its station. I ran up and asked the driver, no idea how he understood my broken Polish, and we somehow had found the random bus stop in the middle of nowhere out to Tuszyn. It was halarious, just imagine this dinky little van, probably a little bit bigger than a normal mormon van, but full to the capacity with around 20 people. We had no idea what stop we were supposed to get off at, there was no air conditioning, and there we are just bumping along through the Polish forests sweating our eyeballs out on this bus. We somehow managed to get off at the right stop after asking a passenger next to us for help. Then we somehow magically found the right neighborhood, bought them a giant watermelon.  We then had a really good meeting with the Diarra family at their beautiful country house. They grilled Kiełbasa for us. Then we missed our only bus on the way back, somehow found another same random dinky red one and made it home exactly on time. Well it for sure wasn't magic that got us out there, it was guidance from above. Needless to say, this story has to be lived to appreciate fully. Good times.

Saturday we had a branch barbeque out at the branch działka. It poured rain on us, we got eaten alive by bugs, but had a good time. We played some soccer as well which was a perk. Today my district is going out to the forest north of Lodz to do some hiking, I am so excited. Living in the city is so different than being able to get out. Then tonight I am back to my sweet homeland of Warsaw on exchanges with Sister Bąk. It is gonna be great!
Missionary life is so interesting. I wish that I had a go pro camera and you all could live this with me via video. I think you would be surprised... I think I would be surprised. My mission has been made up of a million moments; So many hard, awkward, embarrassing moments. So many happy, precious, miracle filled moments. It is hard to describe and hard to depict accurately through email. But I just want you all to know that I am grateful for my mission. I am grateful that I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. It feels right to me and edifies my spirit. I have seen that grow within me and within others as I have served here in Poland. I have also seen much of wrong, things that are heart wrenching and do not feel right. It is hard to not be blinded by the flashing lights the noise and commotion and the voices and people demanding our attention and our lives all around. All my life I have turned to those around me for support and strength. Yet something I have learned, and am still learning on my mission is inner personal spiritual strength. As you turn to the Savior and our Heavenly Father and make living and studying the gospel a personal thing, you too will see your spirit edified and grow with those things that are good for your temporal and eternal welfare.

Love you all have a wonderful week!

Siostra Benson

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