Monday, July 1, 2013

Last departing missionaries under President Nielson's watch...

 June 28th 2013 - Our last group of departing Missionaries!

Well, all good things come to an end; and we have come to our last group of missionaries that we will send home.
Sister Masters volunteered to go first to leave something behind with me.
Sister Bezdjian followed--donating a favorite sweater.
Sister Young had already gone through this procedure when she returned home because of health issues for 2 months last summer. She actually is making two donations...both have meaning to us.
 There you have it...Sisters Young, Bezdjian and Masters...three of our great sister missionaries will be leaving for home very early in the morning. We love and appreciate all these Sisters have done.  They truly served with all their heart, might, mind and strength.

 Bright and cheery our sisters arrive at the airport. Thanks to Sister Hutchinson, we have boarding passes! That may not sound exciting to you; but what that means to us is that we get to wait in the line with 4 people instead of 40!
 One last picture with our wonderful sisters:  Sister Bezdzjian, Sister Masters and Sister Young.
We love these Sisters and wish them the best. They have all served well and given it their all. Much has been learned to help them with the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A few more days!!

Dear Hannah, Mom, Andrew, and Dad, (and family and friends)
Thank you so much for all of your support as I've been serving in Poland. I really appreciate all the help and prayers and emails and letters. I have felt your support and I am really grateful! Sometimes I just needed a boost mid-week and then one of Mom's letters would come in the mail or I'd reread Dad's email or think of Andrew and Hannah and it always lifted me up and gave me more energy. 

Also just wanted to say how grateful I am for President Nielson. He's been an amazing mission president. He has taught and helped me so much. It's exciting that we're going home together!

The principle I learned this week give it everything. And to do it out of love and let God do the rest in His wisdom. It was an amazing week and getting the standard was no small feat. It took every ounce of energy and concentration. My feet are sooo tired but I am so glad because I wouldn't be comfortable ending my mission with any reserved strength. There were two nights, when at 9:25 we ended a lesson and had to sprint home to make it by 9:30 but it was so worth it. There is so much comfort knowing that I have (and still am) given it my all and that the results I can't see now will come with time. 

There's a quote I saw in the MTC that has really influenced me and how I think about things:
"When you've done all you can do and have reached the limit, what will happen? As always as in the past, man's extremity is God's opportunity. The Lord never helps us while we can help ourselves. This is our day. We don't expect him to do miraculous things that we can do ourselves. When we have done our utmost, then will come God's opportunity"
 Melvin J. Ballard.

I think that says it all.

The most amazing experience this week was...sitting in sacrament meeting with our new investigator/baptismal-candidate, Lucyna! She is really an astounding person. When I stopped her on the street a week and a half ago, she just seemed so sad. She spoke in a kind-of depressed tone and you could just tell she wasn't really happy. To be honest, I only half-expected her to come to our appointment. But then she did! We had a meeting and then this past Tuesday we met again. The change in her just from Thursday to Tuesday was unbelieveable! She walked in, even SMILED at us, and just looked so much happier! Then we asked how her reading from the Book of Mormon went and she had read!  So a few days later we had a "film night" and we watched the Restoration. She loved it! and she even said she "feels love" when she comes to the chapel for our meetings. It was really amazing. And if that wasn't enough, she came to church, dressed in a beautiful dress, and ready to attend sacrament meeting. The change that we're seeing in her is amazing and I know it's because she's chosen to follow the example of Jesus Christ. Her date is for the 27th of July and Sister Blake (who will be training by the way!!) and her new companion will be right there to help her.

Sister Blake and I are...doing so so well. I love Sister Blake so much! It is going to be really hard to leave, not only Poland and not only the mission, but also my amazing companion. I'll really miss her. She's taught me a lot this week about obedience and sacrifice. We talked about what we can sacrifice to be more obedient. So she inspired me to sacrifice our comfort and we ran home so so tired in order to be home on time. She is such a disciple of Christ and I'm so happy we will be friends long after the mission.

I love you. Can't wait to see you all in just a matter of days!!
Sister Bezdjian

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

last full week....

Dear Hannah, Andrew, Dad, and Mom,

Hey y'all! I am so happy to be writing you once again! This week has gone by really fast. It's crazy. I can't believe how fast it is all cool to hear about Hannah and her conference in Armenia! She is such an inspiration to me. 

Thank you also for all the cute pictures from Father's Day get together. I love seeing your smiling faces.

The principle I learned this week was...God is really so wise. He knows when and how and how fast He leads the growth of the church and the work of His missionaries. We ALMOST had the standard but then Sunday morning we only had 1 investigator in church...It turned out to be really good because we didn't try to bend over backwards all day sunday striving for the standard. 

We came home soooo exhausted last night. Sister Blake and I both felt like we had given it every last drop of our energy so it was so good that God knew how much we could handle. He really is in control of everything we do. All we have to do is be worthy of His divine help, desire the salvation of souls, and He puts the rest into action.

The most amazing experience this week was 8:30 on Saturday night and we were heading home. We had just had a meeting fall through and we wanted to be home on time so we started walking towards home. Then we noticed this really cute big family sitting in the park. They were dancing and singing (but not drinking) and just seemed SO happy. So we stopped and talked to them. Turns out they are gypsys and very open and they love Christ so we taught them on the park bench. It was so fun. One is actually from Brooklyn and we talked to him about the Book of Mormon quite a bit. So we just got about 10 new potential investigators and they all live pretty close to the chapel and would love to come to church. Talk about amazing!

Sister Blake and I are...doing so good! She said her goal this week is to run me to the ground. I was feeling exhausted Sunday night so I said to her "...Sister Blake, I'm on my last leg." She looks at me and says, "I'm gonna run you to your last toe!" Which is so awesome. I'm so glad that she's my companion. She really is a hard worker. That's what I learned from her this week. Just to give it everything we've got. I hope I survive this week...just kidding. 

There's still lots of miracles waiting to happen!
Sister Bezdjian

Pictures from the grill - the piñata broke so the grocery bag piñata was used:)

Monday, June 10, 2013

International Week!

Dearest family,
This week was amazing! I am having the time of my life. Sister Blake and I are working so hard, laughing off the rejections, and enjoying missionary work. 

I think that is part of why I am depressed about going home...I know that the things I will be busying myself with are going to be so trivial compared to missionary work! But to every thing there is a time and a purpose (Ecclesiates 4).

 I am more and more grateful for the chance, the opportunity to serve the Lord as each day passes. The Lord has blessed me so much and I will be ever grateful for the time I have as a full-time missionary to more fully represent Him.

The principle I learned this week was...believe in miracles. They happen! We set some high, some might say ridiculous goals but we had the faith that we be given opportunitites and all we had to do was seize them. So when our previous baptismal candidate, Danuta said she didn't want to meet anymore (has lots of family problems right now), we didn't lose hope. We were shooting for the standard and when we planned on Saturday night, we said, let's get one more baptismal date! So the next day, we worked so hard and we were blessed with someone amazing. 

Which leads most amazing experience this week was...when we taught Faruk. We met him a few days ago as we were walking to the chapel. I noticed that he was slowing down, like he wanted to talk to us, so I said "Dzien dobry" and it turns out he speaks English! (As well as about 8 other languages.) We talked about church, God, and our role as missionaries. He set up a meeting with us for Sunday afternoon. So we had planned to teach him about the Restoration. But as we were talking about prophets, it just didn't feel right. It felt forced and...not right. So luckily my wonderful companion Sister Blake took the discussion in a different direction. We talked about Christ and how we can follow Him and instantly the Spirit was there. 

You could tell Faruk was feeling the Spirit too---he kept patting his chest and saying "Yes, I know." So when we invited him to follow the example of Jesus Christ, it was perfect. He accepted the invitation to be baptized on July 20th.

The Spirit is so crucial in everything we do---I am learning the lesson again and again. I am so grateful that we are not alone in missionary work. We have a strong, wise, third companion who is always with us as long as we are worthy of his help.

Sister Blake and I are...doing amazing. I love Sister Blake. She is so in tune with the Spirit. 

Let me just tell you a quick story. We had just been flaked and were finding a place to eat dinner. The way it worked out, we didn't have too much time to pick where to eat---just had to find somewhere. So we sat down and this restaurant under a bridge we've been dying to try but again, it just didn't feel right. After a few minutes of looking at the menu we looked at each other and just said....yeah, let's go. 

We ended up going across the street. With all the rush to go to the next place I didn't replace my badge on my coat and it was still on my shirt so it wasn't visible. I didn't realize this but Sister Blake did the same thing. We walked in the restaurant and it's kind of like a Chuck-u-ama deal where you can walk up and get your food and sit down. We went up to the Chinese area and we ask the man working there how it all works, etc. And suddenly he (in his thick chinese accent) asks, "are you missionaries?" We say yes and look to where our badges should be, thinking that he saw the name tags. But they weren't visible! We're like how did you know? He's like...[struggling for words] "you guys just are so nice....and you're higher." Turns out his name is Johnny and he already has a book of mormon! In chinese! I am so excited to meet with him this week and it is the best feeling to be led by the Spirit to those people who truly need and want to hear the restored gospel.
Other fun events/things:

*We met and taught a man named Kamal from India who is way cool! He even came to church with us and I translated for him.

*Roman, a guy we met on the street, also came to church and and loved it!

*We went to "europe on a fork" on the rynek for lunch on saturday. So fun! an big international food fest and food from all the countries in europe! we had italian dessert, portugese mouse, finnish crepes, and hungarian goolash. yum!

*we have new english students who are becoming investigators! it's great!

I love you all!
Sister Bezdjian

Monday, June 3, 2013


Dear Hannah, Andrew, Mom and Dad,
Thank you for the letter mom and dad! I just got it today. So good to hear from you :) I can't wait to see you all again!!! (Minus you han, sorry.) It's so crazy to think of how much is left as a I'm not thinking about it! I appreciate all your prayers and support though. It really does mean a lot. This week was amazing and full of miracles.
The principle I learned this week was...go with the flow. We had some really great plans for this week and ALL of them changed completely! It was cool to learn to just take the path that was given to us--even if it meant cancelling some meetings to serve our members. Because it all worked out wonderfully in the end and we got more done than we could have if we had relied on our own wisdom and strength.

Sister Blake and I are...having so much fun! She has been so great this week (as always). We were talking about what we learned this week on our way to the library and Sister Blake just talked about how being able to go with the flow is so important in missionary work. Being able to be elastic on plans is so essential because it gives room for the Lord to work miracles. As Sister Blake so wisely said, "Don't stress the small things. And everything is a small thing.

She is amazing! I don't think I could ever write enough about how cool my companion is. Another thing I've been learning from her is to just be more open and communicate more. One of my weaknesses is that I just figure my thoughts are pretty obvious so I don't communicate that well. But Sister Blake is awesome at it! She is really straight-forward and it's so much nicer to just talk about things and deal with them than wonder how she's doing, etc.

On Thursday we had our once-a-month leadership meeting with the Zone Leaders and other sister training leaders (Allen and Howells!). It was an enlightening meeting. I learned a lot and it was really helpful to see how the other missionaries are being creative and what ideas Sister Blake and I can use,


(A Special) Mission Leadership Council...

This morning our Assistants, Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders all traveled into Warsaw.
We held Mission Leadership Council at a very special place to all Polish Saints... Nowy Swiat.  We use Nowy Swiat to teach lessons and hold special meetings.  It once housed missionary couples, Church meetings, the Family History Center and our Young Single Adults.
Elders Wilson, Vernon, Neuner, Dopp, Tingey and Raines with Sisters Howells, Bezdjian and Allen.
President went over goals and heard reports from our leaders and what their plans were this coming month.  President also spent time going over the Dedicatory Prayer offered by President Spencer W. Kimball for the country of Poland and then the Prayer of Supplication and Thanks offered by President Thomas S. Monson.  Then we all walked to the special place where this occured.
 As we walked down Nowy Swiat, the missionaries contacted people along the way.  Here all four elders are about to speak to the crowd they are approaching.
 Sister Howells (on the left) is talking as she walks; and Elder Vernon is running to catch up to the couple he wants to share our message with.
 In front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and as you enter Saski Park, Elder Raines is contacting people and talking about the Book of Mormon.  Our other missionaries are scattered around doing the same thing.  We worked our way back into the park where we wanted to meet and visit.
This is where Presdient Kimball offered the dedicatory prayer.  We sang a hymn and had a wonderful prayer.  It was our last Mission Leadership Council, but one I will always remember.  Elders Zelezniak, Tiner, Tingey, Raines, Vernon, Wilson, Neuner and Dopp.  Sisters Howells, Bezdjian and Allen.  What a great spirit there is here in this park and at this special and sacred spot.  Nothing is better than to be in places like this and with the missionaries of the Lord.

So my most amazing experiences this week were both on trains! 

First...we were rushing after English class on Wednesday to make our train at 18:35 leaving for Katowice. (we spent the night there and the next morning at 6:20 AM! we had a train to warsaw.) Well when we got to the station Wed night, there was quite a large line to buy tickets. Luckily a girl working there came up and told us we could use the automatic machine to buy our ticket. So we went and tried. By the way this is at about 18:25. 

Well the machine didn't have our train as an option--probably because it was so close to departing. So we tried again to go in the line and get a paper that said we couldn't buy our ticket but we will on the train. The lady 'didn't understand' (aka wasn't in a good mood) so we just had to go on the train and tell the conductor (It's like 8 złs more to buy on the train). Well we did that and the conductor lady told us we could sit down and she'll come to us. About 30 min later she came BUT it turns out we had to pay CASH!!! With all the traveling of the last week, I'm afraid to say we didn't have any cash on us. I was planning to pay with personal funds with my VISA credit card. So there we are, sitting in the caboose with a bunch of hippy Poles who have their bikes, looking helplessly at the conductor who just told us the fine is 200 złs EACH. 

We scrambled some change to pay for one ticket but we still didn't have enough for the second one when a lady sitting on the other side said "How much do you need girls?" We were like AH! thank heavens! She lent us 50 zł and long story short, she has a Book of Mormon now and we're meeting her later this week to pay her back and teach her the gospel.

Second...we were coming back from Warsaw to Wrocław and we met the coolest people, Maria and Grzegorz. They were SO prepared and we spent the next few hours talking about prayer, reading from the Book of Mormon and hearing their life stories. It was a testimony to me of how God really does prepare people to receive the gospel. Maria had miraculously survived cancer and had been wondering about infant baptism. We explained it and read from Mosiah when Abinadi talks about how children are alive in Christ. She totally understood and wants to read the Book of Mormon. So cool! she lives in Szczecin so we got her info and gave it to the elders there. The other guy lives in Poznań (woot woot) so Sisters Blake and Litka are all over it.
Other cool incidents:

*With the Lord's help, Sister Blake and I got the STANDARD of excellence! It was amazing and everything came together at the last minute!

*Danuta, our investigator who is 62 years old, called us an hour after our meeting. We had extended a baptismal invitation but she said she wasn't was too soon. Well she called and said I've thought about it. Yes, I want to be baptized! She's got a long way to go though so we're going to work a lot with her. She liked church on Sunday so that was great.

*We finally met with a mom and her son who come to church pretty often. They invited us to a grill in a park yesterday so we went and it was so fun! Her son has been coming to church for 10 years on and off but hasn't been baptized yet. Please pray for them! They are really amazing.

*Cynthia is doing great! She is such an example to me of faith and patience. She takes care of the kids during church and is so patient with all of them.

Everything happens for a reason!
I love you all. Have a great week :)
Sister Bezdjian
Poland is beautiful!

Monday, May 27, 2013


Dearest Family bo bamily,
Thank you so much for your letters! I got a few from Mom and one signed by all the family and one from Hannah and Brother Yeager. It's so good to hear from people. I'm sure there are some people thinking ''oh I don't need to write, she'll be home soon." WRONG. Those letters make my day! Oh and the pictures from Hannah's farewell look so good! We have a good-looking family :) So thank you all very much!

pictures from today on the rynek :)
The principle I learned this week was...what we talked about in our interview. Love and the Spirit are the most important aspects of this work. President was telling me in our interview--when we truly love the Lord and our fellow brothers and sisters, we will want to be obedient (for the right reasons) and we will teach with the Spirit and according to their needs.
these pictures are from Sis Nilson's blog during the specialized training.

The Katowice District. Sisters Pearson and Packard with Elders Dopp, Rittmanic and Neuner along with Elder and Sister Reed, our Katowice Senior Couple who does so much for this great Branch. SARA WAS SO ELATED TO SEE THE REEDS - SHE SERVED WITH THE REEDS IN POZNAN AND LOVES THEM VERY MUCH!!!

We also have been studying the question "Why does God allow bad things to happen?"
Many of our investigators, members, and contacts on the street ask this question. So I've been studying it and I came up with 5 main reasons: 

1 There must be opposition in all things. Freedom of choice (our agency) is essential in our progression and for our agency to have any weight, it has to come with real consequences--good or bad. 2 Nephi 2:11. For it must needs be, that there is an aopposition in all things. If not so, my firstborn in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, all things must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.

2 Difficulties are a trial of our faith and patience--which is part of why we came to earth. Mosiah 23:21-22.  21 Nevertheless the Lord seeth fit to achasten his people; yea, he trieth their bpatience and their faith.
 22 Nevertheless—whosoever putteth his atrust in him the same shall be blifted up at the last day. Yea, and thus it was with this people.
3 So the wicked can receive justice. Every person will receive punishment for their own sins. Alma 14:9-11  And it came to pass that they took Alma and Amulek, and carried them forth to the place of amartyrdom, that they might witness the destruction of those who were consumed by fire.
 10 And when Amulek saw the pains of the women and children who were consuming in the fire, he also was pained; and he said unto Alma: How can we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth our hands, and exercise the apower of God which is in us, and save them from the flames.
 11 But Alma said unto him: The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth mine hand; for behold the Lord receiveth them up unto himself, in aglory; and he doth suffer that they may do this thing, or that the people may do this thing unto them, according to the hardness of their hearts, that the bjudgmentswhich he shall exercise upon them in his wrath may be just; and the cblood of the dinnocent shall stand as a witness against them, yea, and cry mightily against them at the last day.

 Alma 60:13.  For the Lord suffereth the arighteous to be slain that his justice and bjudgment may come upon the wicked; therefore ye need not suppose that the righteous are lost because they are slain; but behold, they do enter into the rest of the Lord their God.

4 Trials remind us that we need to rely on the Lord and they help us to humble ourselves. Ether 12:27   And if men come unto me I will show unto them theiraweakness. I bgive unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my cgrace is sufficient for all men that dhumble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make eweak things become strong unto them. 
Alma 4: And so great were their afflictions that every soul had cause to mourn; and they believed that it was the judgments of God sent upon them because of their wickedness and their abominations; therefore they were aawakened to a remembrance of their duty..

5 It allows the Lord to show forth His power. 1 Nephi 18:11 And it came to pass that Laman and Lemuel did take me andabind me with cords, and they did treat me with much harshness; nevertheless, the Lord did suffer it that he might show forth his power, unto the fulfilling of his word which he had bspoken concerning the wicked.

Sister Blake and I are....doing great! She is amazing and I love her more and more everyday.

on the train to Katowice on exchange last monday

 She learned a lot on the exchange about planning with the Spirit and it was cool to hear what her perspective is. I learned a lot from the exchange as well. I realized that I need to focus on what the Spirit is prompting us to do during planning than just 'intellectually' planning out the next day's activities. As Sister Blake and I have been focusing on that more, we have had a better atmosphere in our planning sessions. 
 Katowice Sisters Packard and Pearson with whom Sara and Sis. Blake did exchanges.

Sister Pearson (who I was with on the exchange) is a really positive missionary. I think that was the biggest thing I learned from her---she is positive no matter the outcome of the previous contact and no matter the result of what the next one will be. And she really does love the people. She loves them and wants them to be happy. It was fun to work with her and fun to see another city of Poland! (Even though of course, Wrocław is MUCH prettier!)

Brother Kotliński, Cynthia and her family--Mom (Wioletta), 
Cindy, AJ (who got the priesthood on Sunday)

So my most amazing experience this week was...being a part of Cynthia's baptism! As Sister Blake and I were talking about it she was like "Good job! We got our first baptism!" And I was happy and excited but I replied "We didn't do anything!" And that's really how it was. We were so blessed to be here at this time and teach Cynthia the truths she already knows, lives, and loves. It was great to see her so happy after the baptism and the next day after her confirmation. She was so prepared and so humble and it was just a blessing to be a small part of it.

sister blake at the pool for the baptism

Have a great week! I love you all! See you in 4 weeks!
Sister Bezdjian