Tuesday, July 11, 2017

46. 7/10/2017 Week 46 (10th week in Gdansk): shield ball


In our efforts to get this branch more involved/unified/self reliant, we started up FHE last transfer. However, nobody.ever.comes. BUT, this week, the rockstars of the branch, Harol and Zoija (an older newlywed/newlyconvert couple), came! We did the object lesson where you have the sand and rocks and talk about priorities...the rocks go in first (scripture study, church, school, etc) and then the sand goes in after (social media, etc)...but then vice versa not everything fits. Except, we are ghetto and used noodles and sugar instead. I think they got the point, though. It was solid! Then, we played with nerf guns and shot Elder Dooley with his new sword/shield combo from Malbork. They loved it. They may be on the older side, but they act like they are so young! After that, we played an American card game called Wackee 6 (my new favorite game). It is complicated to explain in Polish...but once they figured it out, it was so fun! And Zoija got really, really competitive. Trash talk and everything. When she finally won a round, she stood up and yelled, "jestem najlepsza dziewczyna!!!!" (I am the best girl) hahaha. 

Overflowin' the chapel...say whaaaa?
A typical non-summer sacrament meeting in Gdansk looks a little something like this: a room with 30 chairs and about 12 seats are filled (including the 4 missionaries).
However, a typical summer sacrament meeting in Gdansk looks a little something like this: All 30 chairs are filled, plus the extra chairs in the Priesthood room, plus people standing in the hallway. 

What a good sight. A full sacrament meeting! Lots and lots of international visitors. 
We also had 2 investigators there :) We are seeing miracles! The mustard seed of faith is real. 

Bart came up to visit us this week! Elder Baldwin taught him when he was being trained in Warsaw...and then I got to see him baptized, etc when I came in the country...so it was really neat to all be together, almost a year later! 

We Will Not Come Down:
Elder Baldwin shared the last part of this talk during district meeting on Tuedsay. Wow, it is incredible! I encourage you all to read it--it has been my motivation during this hard week.(https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2009/04/we-are-doing-a-great-work-and-cannot-come-down?lang=eng\)

-Trump was in Warsaw on Wednesday and caused the worst traffic jam of my life. 
-Bart always tries to sneak-attack hugs during pictures...

happy late 4th!![?] (we celebrated by buying extremely expensive american root beer and ice cream to make floats!).

sister beem
ul. Wiertnieza 135, 1 Pietro

Mom note:  I'm never sure what the meaning is behind Tal's email titles....this one included!!!
B was on business in Gdansk and visited Tal!  

The Lake Oswego Ward is having a "CTR around the world" bulletin board at church so Sister Meerdink photo-shopped this CTR shield into Tal's picture for the bulletin board....pretty cool, huh?
02-952 Warszawa Poland

45. 7/3/2017 Week 45 (9th week in Gdansk): ...but a trillion lions


Transfer 4 (news and highlights):

-Today marks the start of my fifth transfer! Fifth. How? I am staying in Gdansk with Sister Munyan and we are the new STLs for the North Zone. President Turek called on Saturday and was like, " I know this makes no sense because you are finishing training, Sister Munyan is a very young missionary, and you are super sick....but it's what the Lord wants". Yay....mustard seed of faith....yay. 
-Elder Curtis got transferred this morning to Szczecin (cue the tears)...so we get to "babysit" Elder Dooley until Elder Baldwin comes in at 16:30 tonight. Party, party. Elder Curtis is a way solid missionary and friend. He will be greatly missed, that's for sure. 

-Creating Operation Dream Catcher (pictures attached)
-English Class. We tried to get really creative this transfer with our conversational English class. We played headbands, "contact!", did some mind games, challenge/curse, and more! Last week with our beginners class, we made some pb & j's. Sounds easy, right? Wrong. The students had to explain every little step as if the chef, Elder Dooley, had never made a sandwhich before, including: how to pick up the knife, how to spread the peanut butter, how to hold the bread, how gently to place the jelly knife back in the jar, etc. It had Elder Dooley in tears, it was so funny. 
-A highlight for all the wrong reasons: When Elder Curtis threw a rotten banana at me through a 2 story window. I was so mad at him for that because I hate bananas more than anything...but it is something we can (kind of) laugh about now.
-Visiting with my sweet Marinella here in Gdansk. We do her dishes every week and she makes us the yummiest tea in the world. She has been sick lately, so we stopped by the other day to give her some soup. It happnened to be POURING outside (the streets were flooding, etc)...so she invited us in. She did what every grandma here does. She immediately roasted what I was wearing. "You mean to tell me you are wearing a short sleeve??? In the humid 30 degrees??? And in the rain??? Honey, you could die!!!" So, she sent me on my way with a grandma bucket hat, scarf, and some dry socks. I love her. 
-Trying to unite the branch.
-Culture Night--District takes on Malbork!

I was talking to another missionary here a few days ago and I was describing how I felt like I was failing and drowning a little bit...with all the responsibility, health issues, etc. And he said, "Sister, you have a lifeguard". That hit me like a ton of bricks! What was I thinking? I don't have to bare all this on my own! I learned that sometimes I have to stop treading water for a little bit and rely on the life preserver (atonement) to keep me afloat. 

This has easily been the hardest transfer of my mission, for multiple reasons. But I also have learned so, so much. 
I can't wait to see what transfer 5 has in store (birthday...year mark!!....baptism?!?). 

Thank you for all your love, prayers, and support!
I know I have angels around me and an army fighting with me back home!

siostra talia beem

ul. Wiertnieza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa Poland

In the Poland Warsaw mission the missionaries get to have a "culture activity" once a transfer (every 9 weeks--separate from p-day) so the Gdansk gang chose to go to Malbork, the largest castle in the world.  

Elder Curtis being transferred :(
Talia's operation "Dream Catcher"

Tuesday's endoscopy went much better than Monday's endoscopy...happy girl...thumbs up!


44. 6/26/2017 Week 44 (8th week in Gdansk): The Mustard Seed

Hey ya'll. 
Long time, no talk. 

The Mustard Seed:
Firstly, sorry I have not emailed in a few weeks. Hopefully this will explain a little bit. For about 3 months now, I have been having horrendous stomach/gastrointestinal issues. After being in and out of various doctors and having various tests, it was decided that I needed to have an endoscopy in Warsaw last Monday. So, off we went. After arriving in Warsaw, I was taken straight to the American medical clinic. I started having this procedure done without being put asleep or being numbed. If you really know me, you know that medical stuff is like my worst nightmare. So, I totally freaked out during the procedure (especially because I have the worst gag reflex...ever). The doctor decided to stop the endoscopy and do it again Tuesday so I could be asleep. Anyways, no sugar coating, Monday was quite simply a terrible day. I was feeling defeated and hopeless. I was scared. I was beyond tired. My body hurt everywhere. I just wanted my mom. I think I cried for 4 hours straight. I had been fasting all day. I had been poked and prodded what seemed like a million times. All I could think was: How Much Longer Do I Have To Endure This???  Why Me?? Why On My Mission??? Are You Even There, God???? Is This Ever Going To End?????
It sounds dramatic, I know....but I was just so sick and tired of feeling sick and tired! 
The phone call that changed it all: I got to call home to fill in my family on all my medical stuff ...which is where the (much needed) pep talk of a lifetime happened. My mom did a lot of talking and I did a lot of listening. After venting about my horrible day, she kinda low-key roasted my lack of faith (which now I can totally see I had). I kept saying things like, "Mom, I cannot take another minute!--I cannot do this alone", etc. And then she said, (pretty bluntly), "Tal, you've got to have that mustard seed of faith". After that phone call, I did a lot of thinking, studying, and praying. How much faith really is a mustard seed of faith? Do I even have the faith that I can get better? I read in Matthew 17, "...If ye have faith as a grain of mustard...nothing shall be impossible unto you". 

This week, I stopped saying "why me?!"....and instead, "what can I learn from this?--how can I be better through this??--how can I be strengthened through this??"

I love my mom. Moms really do know how to help you, even if they are thousands of miles away. 

A dear friend just sent me this in an email: " 'the quorum of the twelve apostles never say they ‘fear’ something, they say they have ‘concerns’ because fear implies a lack of faith.'"

So, now....am I still in a lot of physical pain? Yes. Have things improved? Not yet. BUT...I have the faith that things will work out how the Lord wants and in His timing. 

Operation Dream Catcher:
I had a dream about a month ago (right after the Anderson conference) of this really cool finding activity. And in this dream, 400 people got baptized because of this display. This display, was a 3D model of the Plan of Salvation...kind of resembling a giant elemetary school solar system project and was done on the beach in Sopot, Poland. I woke up and told the district that we have to build this model and that we have to take it to the beach!! So, we bought some PVC pipe, styrofoam balls, paint, etc...and went to work! This thing has taken 2 weeks to construct, but it is just about ready! It looks really good. It is 5 ft. tall and 9 ft. long! I'll attatch pictures next week. 

9th Floor, First Door:
Yesterday, we planned to take Operation Dream Catcher to the beach. We were all really excited. But, on our way, it started POURING. Pouring. So, we had to take the materials back and go tracting. I kept thinking, "Why did it have to rain RIGHT here....RIGHT now...?"  God knows we want to do this activity! But, we moved on and went tracting. A famous quote in this mission is "every door you knock on is 10 baptisms in south america"...meaning we don't see a ton of results from our tracting efforts :) But...we had the faith (something I am working on) that something would happen! We had been knocking on a few floors by this point...and reached the 9th floor of this apartment building. The first door we knocked on, this really cute girl invited us in and was so happy to talk with us! She was even in the middle of painting her nails. I gave her my number and she said, "I am very interested. I hope we see each other again!". Me too. MIRACLE. 

great faith precedes miracles.
go after that mustard seed.
siostra talia beem

ul. Wiertnieza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa Poland

43. 6/19/2017 Week 43 (7th week in Gdansk): Endoscopy

Mom note:  No letter from Tal this week as well.  She had an endoscopy on Monday the 19th.  They didn't use any anesthesia, sedatives or numbing for the throat.  She was scared out of her mind and she started throwing up so much that they had to reschedule for the next day.  I was able to talk to her that night and she was struggling.  She said it was the single worst day of her life.  Tuesday's endoscopy went much better (because they put her completely out).  

Tal's email after Tuesday:

Hey ya'll,

I just got done with my endoscopy. All went well. MUCH better doctor and atmosphere this time. I had to get 2 IVs because I was so dehydrated...but anything to make yesterday not happen again. 

He took 8 clippings of my intestine/duodenum (sp?).
Sister Turek was in the room while they did it--she is brave! 
He did say that part of it was inflamed--but he wrote up a report in Polish so a member here is going to translate it and let me know ASAP what it said. He said that I did not have an ulcer. He said I will get my results in 2-3 weeks. 

Super nice...I feel like we are on a good path now. 

The AMA is making me get 4 more blood tests tomorrow morning before I leave. To test my iron, thyroid, etc. 

I love you guys. Thank you for everything...sorry for the breakdown yesterday. 

I have that mustard seed. 
If I don't get to talk to you/email you before Friday--safe travels.
Kocham cie <3


42. 6/12/2017 Week 42 (6th week in Gdansk): Feeling sick (boo)/ DeMordaun'ts came to visit and playing with kittens (yay)

Mom note:  No letter from Talia this week.  She has been sick for about 2 months with stomach issues.  She's been to the doctor twice and is on 3 prescription medications (that don't seem to be working).  She has an endoscopy scheduled for next Monday in Warsaw.  Cross your fingers that they can figure out what is going on.  

Here is the last simple little email that she sent after many back-and-forth emails trying to ease her frustrations and fears about her illness.  

"Love you"

Here are some pics of the week.  Tal's first companion (her trainer) and her family came to Poland to visit (she went home in early May). I know it was a much needed boost for her:)

Playing with kittens:)

Members in Gdansk

Saying "goodbye" to the DeMordaunts

She said "I lost it" when Dr. DeMordaunt hugged me, "It was so embarrassing".

The DeMordaunt's took the Gdansk gang out to dinner!

In the streets of Gdansk.

41. 6/5/2017 Week 41 (5th week in Gdansk): Dooley and the zoo

This week was crazy busy! I only slept in my bed 2 nights--some of that was intentional, some of it was not. Sister Munyan and I basically made a giant circle around the northern half of Poland this past week. 

Here's what happened: 

Monday: We went to the Gdansk zoo near Park Oliwski. It was so fun! I don't know if any of you have seen the video of Snoop Dogg narrating Planet Earth, but that is what this field trip was like with Elder Dooley. Snoop Dool?

Tuesday: Went to Bydgoszcz for exchanges. I spent Tuesday with Sister Groesbeck--we did some family history work and taught a lesson or two. 

Wednesday: Spent the day with Sister Larsen. Taught the cutest 15 year old girl who looks about 10 years old. She is sooo tiny! She is a self referral and seriously is the definition of golden. We taught her the Plan of Salvation and gave her a baptisimal date--June 17! She accepted. Ah! Miracles are happening in this mission!

Thursday: Traveled from Bydgoszcz to Poznan for Zone conference. We talked a lot about what we learned during the Elder Anderson conference. Here are a few of my notes:
-"thy faith hath made thee whole"
-Our faith allows God's power to come into our life--> the more faith, the more miracles!
-Sometimes, our faith needs to be tested!
-It takes faith in every step--maybe more, or different effort. 
-Study, Ponder, Apply--the learning cycle!
      -Pondering: time to think and receive revelation, learn through and with the Holy Ghost. 
-"Look at people the way Elder Curtis looks at deer"
-How do we sanctify ourselves? Repentance! 

After zone conference, we rode back to Gdansk. 

Friday: Woke up at 4 to be at the Dworzec by 5:30 for our train to Warsaw for legal work. I went on splits with Sisters Hammond and Gheen (whose trainees were also doing legal work). It was fun to contact around my old city! Warsaw will always have a special place in my heart. We got unexpectedly stuck in Warsaw for the day and night--so we got to spend the day finding and teaching in Warsaw (no complaints from me, I got to see some familiar faces in my favorite place!). It was especially nice to see squaaaaaa. It was so nice to be around so many missionaries again!

Saturday: We got the earliest ticket back to Gdansk. Got back into the swing of normal missionary work. Went and had a lesson with a member and washed her dishes!

Sunday: 4 people in church! Wooo! Awkward fast and testimony meeting to say the least. It really amazes me, though....the Spirit can be so strong, even with only 4 members there! There may not be many in Poland, but they sure are mighty!

The world needs the gospel of Jesus ChristMay the Lord bless all of His Saints—regardless of where we serve [or HOW we serve*]—with missionary heart.

*sister Beem insert. 

have a great week! finish the school year strong!
siostra talia beem

ul. Wiertnieza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa Poland
The entire Poland, Warsaw mission!  

They went to the zoo on P-day.

40. 5/29/2017 Week 40 (4th week in Gdansk): HALFWAY

Dzień Dobry!

Special Surpise
On Wednesday, our whole mission met in Warsaw for a special conference from Elder Anderson (of the Quorum of the 12) and his wife! It was everything our mission needed to hear! Our whole mission also unexpectedly spent the night in Warsaw so we could all stay for the member fireside later that night. Sister Munyan and I got to spend the night with the Hansen's (the senior office couple)--Sister Hansen is my favorite person ever, so it was good to catch up with her! 
Anyways, some notes I took from both the missionary and member conference:

-"If we have faith and believing hearts, we WILL see that God of miracles"
-"We will never see the church grow here if we do not have an enormous amount of faith
-"Enormous amounts of faith and miracles...start with us missionaries"
-Immerse yourself in faith and belief: Alma 26:27, 2 Nephi 27:23, Moroni 7:33, Ether 12: 6,11-12, John 9:5, Mark 9:21, 1 Nephi 17, Hebrews 11, Mormon 9. 
-"There are angels around you, you have heavenly help!"
-To understand faith...we must: understand the nature of God and know that our path is pleasing to Him. 
-"Don't pray and hope...pray and work hard!!"
-Miracles start with honesty
-"Once you set a goal...you go after it"
-Testifying of the Savior is a blessing
-Uncertainty? Settle it. Pray and read.
-"You are not just a believer...you are a deciple!"
-"Don't fear, just live right" -Elder Niel A. Maxwell
-Be unselfish, forgiving, and kind--->unity!
-What will protect us? Our testimonies! Firm up our devotion! How? Through the Book of Mormon!
-There is nothing better we can do than taking upon His name. 

During the member fireside, I sat next to a YSA from Warsaw and a kind-of eternal investigator from Warsaw. We were singing the opening song (The Spirit of God) and I noticed the kind-of eternal investigator wasn't singing. During the 3rd verse, I noticed she was all teary. Right as I was going to ask her what was wrong, she began to sing the beginning of the fourth verse. The spirit was so strong! I could feel that she was feeling something. It reminded me a lot of that scene at the end of Elf when everybody is singing the Christmas carol except for the Scrooge-y Dad...and then he starts singing and santa's sleigh could finally fly. One of my favorite things to see as a missionary is the Spirit working through people and touching people. And that is exactly what happened during that opening song! 

We can, we will, and we want to:
Sister Munyan and I have had the chance the past few weeks to meet with an active member here in Gdansk. Last week, we found out she has a smoking problem, and has had one for 12 years (keeping her from going to the temple--her #1 goal!). We told her that we can help her, we will help her, and we want to help her. She kept saying, "But why??? I am old and sick!!! I can't do this right now". I had a bold as heck lesson with her (it was obviously the spirit talking, because there is no way in a million years I would have ever said some of the things I did), but now our trust is there and we will start the program next week! CUD!
Remember: our goal is to see our investigators in white, twice (even if it is years and years later!!!).

happy memorial day weekend! do something really american for me! [?]
siostra talia beem

ul. Wiertnieza 135, 1 Pietro
02-952 Warszawa Poland

The Polish countryside

The MTC squad (with Siostra Larsen and Starczy Barlow)