Monday, December 7, 2015

Merry Christmas and Lots of Love from Poland!

December 7, 2015

Isiah 7:14
"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel."

Emmanuel, meaning God with us, is one of the treasured names and titles of which we bestow upon the savior. I truly have a testimony that God is with us! Through everything we experience while in this mortal journey the knowledge that a Savior, a brother, a God is with us and understands us probably more than we understand ourselves gives me comfort and the strength to carry on. This will be my second Christmas away from family and friends here in Poland. As I have been reflecting back on last Christmas, it was a decent one, but not what it could have been. As this year has rolled around all of the missionaries in the Poland Warsaw Mission have been focusing on Service and Love in honor of the Saviors birth. I have already felt a difference in this Christmas, it is almost like when we remember and honor Him, He is with us even more. As my mission draws to a close I can barely contain my excitement to see my loved ones again, but I also am grateful for the time I have to remember Immanuel this Christmas season here among my brothers and sisters in Poland. If you are looking for a little Christmas uplift, please go and visit the churches website and view the new Christmas film, "A Savior is Born". Love you all so very much and I wish you a very merry Christmas all the way from Poland!

Oh wow, what another week. So we had some really cool events and things happening this week. I had my last zone conference on Wednesday, I know weird! This year we have focused all of the missionaries on service to bring more love and Christ into our holidays. I think it is going to be wonderful! Recently we have been looking for a lot of community service opportunities. It has been really great having the AP's in my district because we were kind of a trial run for all of the service activities they were looking into so they could present at zone conference. We talked a lot about the new video from the church, which the more I watch the more I love! They even tied a little Christmas program in at the end!

As I sat there I couldn't believe that it was my last zone conference. I gave my little talk, we sang, I even ended up getting called to improv on the piano, but it still felt like just another zone conference. I even found myself looking forward to the next one. But when President got up at the end he surprised our departing group of sisters and asked us to each come up and bear our testimonies. Half of me was glad that I hadn't had time to ponder and mull over agonizingly what my parting words of wisdom were going to be, but part of me was wishing that I could find something really helpful and inspiring to say! Honestly I don't really even remember much of what I said, just that it felt right. I was able to truthfully say that I know the church is of God and that it is true! I really felt through the Holy Ghost the truthfulness of what we teach, and the love that the Savior feels for his missionaries. I am far from a perfect missionary, but bit by bit the spotlight is coming off of my flaws and starting to show me the changes that have happened. The refiner’s fire burns bright, but in retrospect I am so grateful! When president talked about our departing group he talked about how he received a bunch of great missionaries, but sending us home, he now sees great changes for the better. For that I am so grateful!

We also held a Wieczór Kolęd on Saturday evening. I was on a tramwaj the other evening and talked to this sweet lady who said that she is actually friends with a member in our branch. Then she even ended up showing up at our choir night. It was wonderful! We had been stressing all week about trying to get this choir event up and running, but it wasn't really happening. Somehow with lots of prayer and work it came through and we sang a bunch of Christmas songs in maybe four or five different languages, I especially loved the Polish Carols that had like 9 verses. So fun. Even though the Caroling event went well we kind of had a strange day. We were out on the Rynek with some of our members advertising for the evening’s performance when President Edgren called. Next thing you know I am being transferred again. I am going back to my good old Warsaw II area to serve with my good friend Sister Smith. We both are from the same MTC group and will probably end up flying most of the way home together. Well that was for sure a surprise, it had been mentioned to me a few weeks ago that there might be some changes, but all three sister companionships in Warsaw changing really took me by surprise. For some odd reason I always thought I would end it back in Warsaw II, strange how things work out that way. I really have loved my time in the Warsaw I branch though, I am really going to miss it here, but I know the Lords hand is in it. Hopefully putting two departing sisters together their last month does not make for two very trunky monkeys! Haha! I always thought that the end of my mission would be different than it has been this transfer, but looks like things are about to get a pick up my last three weeks.
Sister Benson

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