Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I had wonderful holidays, I hope you did too!
On Christmas Eve, we had a big Mission Christmas Conference where all the missionaries from the entire mission came to Kiev to celebrate. The day started out with a transfer meeting- I'm staying in Kiev with Sister Morton. Then we had a lunch- PB&J- a missionary's favorite since peanut butter is scarce in Eastern Europe. As we ate lunch we watched Dr. Seuss' “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” After that President Steinagel spoke to us on the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was a very powerful talk, and I have no idea how anyone could ever disprove of his divine calling. Then President Steinagel talked to us about our goals for the next six months. Then we picked up our packages and Sister Morton, Sister Pack, Sister Garff and I went to another church building in the center of the city to meet Cveta, and Masha. We had a fun little reunion there and ate pizza as well! I was sad to say goodbye to my former companions, not knowing when we would see each other again.
On Christmas Day we woke up at our usual time and read Luke 2 before we opened presents. Then Sister Morton made me the biggest pancakes I have ever had! I couldn't eat half of them! Then we had our morning study as usual. For lunch we met the Elders in our ward and ate pizza at a place by our house. Then we all went to the street market to do some shopping. I bought some super thick socks and a puzzle to play on New Year's. Then we went and watched “It's a Wonderful Life” while munching on our Christmas candies and sipping hot chocolate. Then we went home and I waited for my mom and sister to call, but they didn't so Sister Morton and I ate some salami, cream cheese and green olives, which didn't taste at all like what I thought it would. Then we started some transfer planning and my phone finally rang! The phone call went way too fast, but at least we still have e-mail. Then we did some more planning and went to bed!

Have a Happy New Year!!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Season's Greeting!

Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat. Please put a kopek in the kosak's hat!
This Christmas season, I have been thinking about what Christmas means to me. I realized that we don't just celebrate Christmas for the presents and family, and we don't just celebrate because Christ was born, but we celebrate because of what he was born to do. He was born to be out Savior, to live and to die so that we may live again- with Him. What an absolute miracle! I love the quote in Isaiah 9:6, "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Councellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." I couldn't ask for a greater gift than that.

Last week we had a lesson with a member and her non-member husband. They have read the whole Book of Mormon together and he doesn't seem to have any objections to anything. We just need to get him to church and then we'll see what happens.
We've been teaching another girl for a while now. At first she didn't want to take a Book of Mormon, but she did and gave it back to us the next week. We gave it back to her the week after that, and now she's read three chapters and says that she knows it is the word of God! We're so happy!

I hope everyone has a warm and toasty Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

It started snowing this week. It's not as cold as I thought it would be- yet. The lowest temperature I've seen on the bank is -7 degrees Celsius, which is 19 degrees Fahrenheit. My biggest fear is the black ice. I slip around three times a day on that stuff, but I have not fallen! Keep me in your prayers and I might make it another week without falling!
Last Monday Sister Morton, our friend Cveta and I went to a miniature museum where there were about 15 works of art the you look at underneath a microscope! One of my favorite ones was a fully functioning lock and key that was displayed on the end of a hair! Another one was a rose that was built inside of a hair. It was incredible!
On Tuesday we had our district meeting at the Goth's apartment. (the Goth's are the doctors for our mission) Since the Goths are going to be traveling until Christmas they threw us a little Christmas Party. Sister Goth cooked us an amazing Christmas feast and gave us hats and stockings filled with candy and other yummy foods! We were all stuffed to the point of explosion and had so much fun singing Christmas carols and telling stories.
After the meeting we had exchanges. I went with Sister Movchanyk to Borshahiivsky and Sister Larson went with Sister Morton to our area. After a couple of lessons with Sister Movchanyk we were on our way back to the church building for another lesson. We were waiting at the bus stop and I was looking down the road for our bus to come and then I looked back to my companion and she was gone. I searched for her through the big crowd of people at the bus stop, but I couldn't find her. I was without a companion. According to mission policy, I waited there for her to return for me. After a while I started asking people if I could use their cell phones to call her, but they looked at me like I was crazy. So I figured that she was probably waiting for me at the church since that was were we were headed, so I got on the next bus and went there. I had always wondered what it would be like to be without a companion, and there I was, by myself, and I didn't like it! So I got to the church and went in and she was there, teaching a lesson. She asked me, “What took you so long?” Apparently she thought that I had been on the bus with her the whole time and I just didn't get off at the right stop. Then I sat down and we continued our lesson as if nothing had happened.
Ever since we moved into our apartment, we have had a cockroach problem. We mop with bleach, keep all of our food in air tight containers, and never leave dirty dishes in the sink, but they keep coming back! Last week we bought some expensive cockroach poison and thought that would finally work. Last night I got up to use the restroom and I saw eight full-sized cockroaches outside of the bathroom door. I grabbed my shoe and chased them around and tried to get them before they could escape. It was like something out of a nightmare. I had a hard time going to sleep after that because I could feel them crawling all over my bed. So if you have any suggestions on what we can do – other than moving, please let me know!
Missionary work has been hard this week. We have a new investigator, but it was a very difficult lesson with many distractions. We had Cveta come on a lesson last night with us, the people we were teaching were not very receptive to the message, but I think it really strengthened Cveta's testimony, which she has been struggling with. Tonight we are meeting with a part-member family, and I think there is some good potential there. All in all we are still pressing forward with the work!

Monday, December 7, 2009


I thought that you might be curious as to how an average day goes for me so I will write to you about yesterday.
It started off like all Sunday mornings with Missionary Coordination Meeting. This is where each set of missionaries tell the Ward Mission Leader who they have been meeting with throughout the week. Yesterday was good, we got encouraged to have more member present lessons, but it was not as judgmental as last week when we were the only missionaries without a baptismal date.
Then we had Sacrament meeting. Constantine was confirmed a member of the Church since he was baptized on Saturday. During the testimony part, I think only three people bore their testimonies because each one was so long. For Gospel Principles we had a lesson on life after death, the teacher spoke in clean Ukrainian, so that was nice to hear. In Relief Society we talked about bearing testimony, and how that helps us and the people who hear it as well. After church we had Ward Council where they discussed the upcoming “Open Doors” it lasted about two hours and was mostly in Russian so I had to fight to keep my eyes open to stay awake. I didn't feel that we really needed to be there because the only thing that they told us was to bring our investigators and walk them through the tour of the church. They could have told us that without having to go to the meeting, but I appreciate that they want us to be involved with everything.
After that I went home and planned on making myself a grilled cheese sandwich with chicken and tomatoes, but then I opened the bread and there were a couple of moldy pieces that made the whole loaf smell rancid. So I just put the chicken, cheese and tomatoes on the frying pan and ate it that way. I think it tasted better than if it had been on bread. It was probably the best home-cook meal that I've had in Ukraine.
We had some time till our next appointment, so we decided to stop by some in-active youth in our area. When we got there only the active parents were home, and they invited us in, so we taught a small spiritual thought. It was the most awkward lesson that I have had on my mission. When we would ask them questions they would respond as shortly as possible and when we were talking they wouldn't even make eye contact with us. So we made it a short lesson and when we ended and started to leave, they asked us why we were leaving so soon. It was strange. Fortunately we committed the mother to talk to her mother about having a family home evening together, unfortunately I left my umbrella there, so we're going to have to go back one of these days.
On our way to our next appointment we heard a huge explosion that shook the ground and scared us. Then we turned to see huge fireworks in the air. It was slightly misty last night, so the mist reflected the light and made it appear even bigger then it was. So as we were waiting at the bus stop for ten minutes we were watching these fireworks that were bigger than I have ever seen them. I'm not sure why they were being set off, they were behind a movie theater, so it was probably a promotion of some kind. I love how fireworks are legal in Ukraine!
For our private English lesson last night we played Bonanza with three people from our large English group. They really liked it and it taught them new words like “stinky bean” and “shuffle” it also taught them how to barter in English. After the game, we asked them how they liked the movie, “The Testaments,” which is what we showed after our last English lesson. They said they liked it, but didn't really understand it. So we told them a little about the Book of Mormon which brought up other questions that lead to a long question answer discussion. It was good, and we learned a lot about them and vice-versa. But next time we meet we want there to be more structure to the gospel part, but I see good potential in them.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Thanksgiving

I hope that you had a lovely Thanksgiving. Mine was very nice.
We started out our day with a combined district meeting with 12 missionaries there. Then we all went down to T.G.I.Friday's for lunch. I had a bacon cheeseburger with fries, then Sister Morton and I split a banana split. Yummy!
The six missionaries in our ward put on a big event for the English group. We started out with country line dancing as everyone was arriving. Then, when everyone was there, we put on a little skit that showed what the first Thanksgiving. Then before we ate, everyone went around telling something that they were thankful for. We had corn, pumpkin, turkey, stuffing, corn bread and brownies. It wasn't super American, but I don't think anyone could tell. I enjoyed it when people put peanut butter on their cornbread and gravy on their brownies. Ukrainians love their condiments.
Now that the swine flu scare is over, and everyone is back at work, it is harder to find appointments because they are all trying to catch up on their work.
We found a new investigator this week. She is very nice, but is very busy with work. We have been working with a woman who is less-active and she is re-discovering her testimony. We are preparing her to go to the temple next year and she has so many questions, it's a lot of fun.
Lately in my personal study, I have been cross-referencing my patriarchal blessing with the scriptures. I have gained much more insights to what the blessings mean, and what I need to do to achieve them. I recommend doing the same thing with your blessing. If you don't have one- get one.