Monday, July 16, 2012

A Gdansk Baptism

Matching shirts....

Hey all of my friends and family!!!

     Wow, this has been a wonderful week! It sure flew by too.  Thanks for your awesome email Momma :) I loved it.  And you too Ash, and Dad, and Makell! You're the best :) 

     Okay, there's so much I want to say! First I'll start with the greatest thing ever! Saturday we had a wonderful baptism.  Basia Kupieraczyk.  She's 64, and she was so ready to be baptized.  She is an amazing example to me.  Her best friend, who introduced her to the missionaries 2 months ago, turned on her, and told her she shouldn't get baptized and a bunch of other stuff, 4 days before the baptism! Basia was so strong though and knew she wanted to get baptized.  She said she couldn't wait to have the Holy Ghost with her all of the time.  So we had a pool in the basement of our chapel and it was so neat.  After she was baptized, I said, "you look beautiful" and she said, "Thank you, that's because I'm without sin now."  She was just gleaming! Truly, she is so sweet and so .... inspiring.  Sunday was amazing too.  When she was confirmed, the spirit just filled that room and it was a very special experience.  One of our fantastic investigators was there too and I looked over and she was crying and she said to me, "That was wonderful".  She wants to be baptized.  What an amazing experience.  If that was all that happened my whole mission, it would be worth it.  I am learning how truly valuable one soul is in the sight of God.  I love this work! :) 

     So that was great.  This week was great, but it was also challenging because of all of the lessons that fell through or some of the people that didn't meet us. :( It is really heart breaking.  But it is sure great to see some of our progressing investigators.  This week Sister Bezdjian and I focused on Charity and Christ-like love.  It was really great.  We also focused on being very specific in our prayers.  We pray for a certain time of the day (tracting or contacting) and pray for someone specific to come into our path, or a family, or an unplanned service opportunity. It went really great, and we're excited to continue to do this.  I personally have learned a lot of lessons about Charity and the root of Christ's love for us.  It is so deep and so powerful, and we only experience a small part of it in our lives, when, if we were obedient and faithful all of the time, we could experience more and more of it in our lives.  I am hungry for that love, and I want so badly for people here in Poland to feel that love and hope as well.  They need it! Well, life here in Gdansk is great.  One great lesson I learned I call "Just Do It."  We were about 30 steps out the door and I thought, "maybe we should grab the umbrella" then sister Bezdjian said "Hmm, maybe I should grab a jacket".  We both decided against it because we didn't want to go back and get it, and it would be inconvenient to carry, right? So then, a few hours later, the storm settled in and we were soaked from head to toe, freezing and looking rather..... sheepish :-/ We learned a pretty awesome lesson.  Just Do It!!!! I don't know how many times in my life there has been a rule that I don't understand or it may not seem THAT important, so I go on and avoid it, perhaps it is "inconvenient" or a "hassle", and then, later, of course, I regret it greatly.  So that is my lesson.  We may not understand the why, and perhaps it may be a hassle for a little bit, but you will be so grateful and you will be blessed!!! (and dry, and warm and happy!) :) 

       So yesterday in church they asked me to translate.  I was pretty hesistant, but said I'll do my best.  But then luckily I was saved!!! this great member from warsaw was here with her dad.  She translated.  I am not quite to that point yet, so I was glad.  But happy they asked me... I guess ;) So like I said earlier about Charity, I had a really monumental moment for me a few days ago.  I was just being... selfish.  I was frustrated with myself and I really just wanted to overcome the natural man (woman) in me and become a missionary!! It was a mental challenge for me.  So I put my personal study towards learning about charity and Christ-like love.  Wowie it was sure a powerful hour for me.  I read in True to the faith about charity and one part says, "He will strengthen you in your efforts to live this gospel." Then it says to strive to love as Christ loves, with unfailing compassion, patience, and mercy. Powerful words huh? I thought about that for a long time.  Compassion.  How can I have more compassion? As human beings, how can we have more compassion? Read Moroni 7, it's great when you have a specific question you need answered.  So anyway, that was a powerful experience for me.  My heart has been filled over and over :) 

      So one thing we are learning to do to get into the hearts of the people here in Poland is to serve them first.  You can't just walk up to people and start talking, or else they think you're a sales persona and they just seem afraid of you.  They really do.  It's tough.  So we are trying so hard to be creative.  We are learning that we MUST serve them first.  Once they know we care and love them, then they may open up and listen.  Then they will also come to know that Christ loves them.  I thought about that, and it sure relates to everyone around us, does it not? Who do you know that you would like to be closer to? I'll tell you how- Serve them, love them, care for their general welfare, and be their friend.  Then teach as Christ would teach.  We're still trying to figure this out with complete strangers.  But we learn something new everyday! :) 

Look how beautiful this new investigator is

An everyday event...being caught in the rain

Shelby's first written letter to Poland.  She wants mail......

     Okay, so some random stuff for you.  First of all, after tracting for a few hours yesterday, we got home for dinner and I came to the conclusion, "Chocolate never Faileth!" :) Mom, that awesome truffle you sent me in the MTC says that on the package and we sure needed that! It saved us haha :) Also, the best juice in the world- Kaktus Sok! (Cactus Juice) :) So good! Oh, and another conclusion: The only reason missionaries bring jeans on their mission is to measure how much weight they gain! :) We never wear them, just try them on the see how we're doing hahaha :)

     Okay, well, I better go.  But know that I love you all so much.  You mean the world to me. I appreciate all of your prayers.  You amaze me.  :) Keep living the gospel, you'll never go wrong.  Go to the temple as often as you can.  I sure miss it.  What a blessing it is to have members and temples, and churches and every resource you could imagine in Utah.  Take advantage of it all :) Okay, gotta go! Love you!!!

  Love, Sister Shelby Ostler

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