Monday, August 26, 2013

Week of Miracles

Sometimes you feel a little sorry for yourself because you have to train in your second transfer and don't speak Russian, but then your dad is called to be stake president and you realize that you really have nothing to complain about! I don't really think that this timing is a coincidence. Man our family is gonna be ultra blessed for the next 13 or so months! 

Okay so everyone thought I was super depressed last week or something but I want you to know that we're fine! We are alive and happy! This week has truly been a miracle. I have seen miracles every day this week, and I know it is because the Lord wants me to succeed in doing His work. Everytime that we talk to someone on the street and I can catch just a few words of what they are saying, I know that it is a miracle. Every time I am able to express myself clearly to someone in Russian, I know it is a miracle. I have seen my ability to understand Russian grow immensely just in these past 7 days. I know that has very little to do with my own capabilities and has everything to do with the Lord blessing me. Sister Campbell and I decided that the only way we are going to have success in this transfer is if we are completely obedient, and not just doing the minimum amount required, but giving absolutely everything we have to the Lord. We are definitely seeing results from that decision.

This week we had a lesson with our recent convert Nadia and her sister Olia. We talked about enduring to the end, teaching and learning in the church, and scripture study. We gave them colored pencils to mark their scriptures with and practiced reading a chapter with them to show them how we study and apply the scriptures to our lives. They really enjoyed the lesson and seemed excited to actually study the scriptures rather than just read them. This week we also had a special moment when we found a less active lady named Klavdia. She is a very old lady who is physically unable to come to church. As soon as she opened the door and saw us she immediately started to cry because she was so grateful to see us. We gave her the latest Liahona and she was so grateful. We couldn't understand a word she said, and she couldn't understand us, but it didn't matter. We could feel her love and she could feel ours. I know that when I feel that kind of love for others, I get a glimpse of how our Father in Heaven feels for all of His children. I am so grateful to be a part of this work and to dedicate all that I have to the Lord. This week has been such a blessing to me. I am so grateful for the 'soul stretching opportunity' that I have to train so early in my mission. I didn't necessarily want this calling, but now I know that this is the Lord's will for me, and that I will be helped along every step of the way.
One of the many miracles this week was two girls in their 20s stopped us on the street and started asking us who we are and why we're here in Russian but as soon as we said that we are from America they said "oh good you speak english!" Those are literally my favorite words to hear haha. Marina, one of the girls, speaks pretty much perfect english and wants to practice english, but only if it's about God because that's all that's important to her. What?!!? Anyways the miracle was that we accidentally got off at the wrong bus stop and would never have run into them if we got off on the right one. They are very religious and actually active in their church, but want to learn about what we believe. It is pretty rare to run into people who actually speak English and even more rare to run into people who are interested in the church, so when they are combined I think it is safe to call that a miracle. Even if it doesn't go anywhere with them, I know that it was blessing to me, to help me realize that the Lord is in control and leading me to where I need to be.
Oh I realized that i have never told you about our crazy neighbor babushka Lydia. At least I don't think I have. She is always out at the little park behind our apartment, so we see her pretty much every day. We gave her a book of mormon awhile ago and she decided to start reading it from the end and work towards the beginning (of course that makes sense) but she is actually reading it so that's good. She is obsessed with the picture of joseph smith in the beginning of the book of mormon and she always shows it to her friends and says "look at this pretty mormon. isn't he pretty?" haha we've tried to explain to her that his name is joseph smith, not mormon but she doesn't get it. Anyways, she totally rules this park and has all of her babushka friends who sit on the bench with her and chat, but she is the ringleader. She is always telling us that we need to go dancing and stop working all day. It's really cute though, she's super worried about us now that Sister Erekson's gone. She is worried about what we're going to eat. She told us yesterday, "You don't even know how to make borsh! How are you going to live?" haha she is awesome. She loves us though and totally has our back so if we ever get into a tight spot we just have to call Lydia and she'll take care of it.

Well sorry my brain is not really working right now, I read Sarah's email first and thought it might be a joke. I can't believe it! Dad is gonna be awesome, and I know you will help him so much. I am so grateful for your amazing examples to me. Today we are having a family home evening for any members of the branch who want to come and we're teaching about having Christ centered homes. We are going to talk about in 1 Nephi Chapter 1, Lehi started to receive revelation and then he went home and received the rest of the revelation. As I was studying that I realized that his home must have been a place where the Spirit could reside. We are going to read from Elder Scott's conference talk about how no matter your family situation, you can center your home on Jesus Christ. I am so grateful to have been raised in a home where I always felt loved and important, and also where I could always feel the spirit.
Thank you for being the best parents ever! I love you and am inspired by your examples every day! I will be praying for you, and you know missionary prayers are answered the fastest :)
Have a great week!

Cool Sky

Crepe Fail

Monday, August 19, 2013

Abandoned Orphans


I'm so happy you went out with the sisters this week! We love love love it when members come out with us. You should get Sarah to go with them sometime, it would be good for her. That is so crazy about the Philippines! I'm so glad we don't really have natural disasters to worry about here. Just freezing cold winters haha. Oh I'm probably going winter shopping this week so I'll take the money out of my account today. I'm glad you had fun on your trip! Are you finally done running around for the summer? When does Sarah start school?

Wow so this was a week that happened. On Wednesday we found out that the new missionaries who were supposed to be coming in next week (including Tyler Saunders) were delayed 2-4 weeks and so our transfer is being extended until they come. That doesn't really change anything except for the fact that Sister Erekson still goes home at the same time which means I will technically be training in my 2nd transfer!!!!! I'm not sure if that's even legal. We dropped off Sister Erekson at the train station this morning and it was the saddest moment of my life. Sister Campbell and I feel like abandoned orphans. It's okay though, we've already made plans to buy lots of ice cream this week so we can eat away our sorrows.

This week we had specialized training on friday which basically means president and sister lochhead come and teach us a billion ways to be better missionaries because they're so dang smart and sister lochhead cooks us real Mom food and it is amazing. Anyways, Sister Campbell asked president "is it really gonna be just me and sister shrek? really?" and President looks at her and says "for reals." hahaha it was awesome. I had an interview with President and first thing he asked me was how long i've been here and I told him almost 12 weeks and he just shook his head and said "I am so sorry." hahaha that made me feel real good. But I was just smiling and keeping a positive attitude and he told me "I'm going to write about you in my journal tonight if that's alright. Here we are asking you to do so much and you're still sitting here with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face." Little did he know it was a tear, not a twinkle in my eye! It'll all be okay though. Now I know why we had such a miracle last week, it was to get me through these next few weeks! Luckily Sister Campbell and I get along really well and can make each other laugh so we'll get through this by laughing rather than crying.
Oh I can't believe I forgot to tell you what happened last week during church! Obviously it was a big week because I forgot to tell you about the building that EXPLODED during relief society! It was the craziest thing...there was this huge BOOM and the walls rippled and I thought the glass windows were going to shatter but they didn't. Sister Campbell and I both thought it was a bomb and were so scared but everyone in Relief Society just completely ignored it and kept going with the lesson! it was so weird. anyways we found out after church was over that three stories in the middle of this huge apartment building just collapsed. somehow the stories above it stayed in tact which does not make logical sense to me, but whatever it's ukraine. apparently it was some sort of 'gas explosion' but the road has been closed off all week and there's always big crowds of people just staring at it. we know a guy who lives in that building and he said his inital thought was "well, this is it. this is the end." haha welcome to ukraine i guess.
Since this was Sister Erekson's last week we spent all week trying to accomplish some goals that she had set to do before the end of her mission, namely to catch a pigeon. There are pigeons EVERYWHERE in ukraine and they are huge and ugly, the only problem is that they are sacred for some unknown reason to the people here, so we can only try to catch them when there's no people around which is pretty much never during the summer. We spent the vast majority of last Pday trying to catch one, well Sister Erekson tried to catch one and Sister Campbell and I took pictures and laughed at her. It turns out she is far too nice to catch a pigeon because she was afraid of hurting them, so we never accomplished her goal. Who would have thought that we could get a baptism easier than we could catch a pigeon in ukriane?
So Nadia is doing AWESOME. She was actually Sister Erekson's last companion, because they rode the train to Donetsk together this morning, because Nadia's going to Donetsk to get her Patriarchal Blessing today!!! Her sister got hers last week and she heard about it and decided that she needs to get one ASAP. Since we don't have a stake here, there's a traveling patriarch that comes once in a very long while (some members have been waiting over 10 years to get one) so Nadia is so so blessed to be able to get her blessing literally 9 days after her baptism! The Lord is definitely blessing us out here in Lugansk this month.
Sister Campbell
Okay well that's it for this week, sorry it's a shorter letter this week, we've mostly just been helping Sister Erekson get ready to go. We made her a list of movies and music to catch up on and even put them in order so that she can be eased back into society haha. I told her that you would probably add her on facebook this week and she said that's totally fine haha her name is Amberlea Erekson (it's deactivated right now but it will be back on in a few days). Okay well, I'm about to start the hardest week of my mission (so far!) so please pray for me! I pray for you every day! Be good and go do missionary work! 

Goodbye My Trainer

Wow sounds like you guys just can't sit still this summer! Well I can't either. so I guess that's good.
Here's the thing about miracles: they happen. Here's the thing about fasting and prayer: it works. Here's the thing about baptisms: they're the BEST.

Okay let me tell you the story of my good friend Nadia. 2 weeks ago we challenged Nadia to commit to the baptismal date of August 10th. She was a bit surprised because it was only 2 weeks away, but we had her kneel down right then and pray about it. We promised her that if she commited to this date, it would be showing the Lord that she was exercising her faith and that He would answer her prayers before that date (she had been reading the Book of Mormon every day and praying to know if it was true). She definitely felt the Spirit during that prayer and promised to continue praying about it. The problem was, she left that week to go to her parents house (they live an hour or 2 away) and her parents are strongly against the church. They don't know that her older sister, Olya was baptized a year ago. Last week on Sunday Nadia was completely distraught and she told us that her parents forbade her from ever coming to church again, let alone being baptized. Nadia is 19, so she doesn't legally have to listen to her parents, but she obviously cares about what they think. Anyways, she basically came to church to  tell us goodbye, but she was so upset about it. If she hadn't really cared about the church or wanted to be baptized, she would not have been so distraught about it. Olya suggested that she get a priesthood blessing, so we went in and talked with the elders about what was going on, and they gave her a blessing. We also decided to fast together from Monday night to Tuesday and we promised her again that we would receive her answer. She admitted to us that she had a strong feeling that she should be baptized on Saturday. So Monday night we had a Family Home Evening at the church, so we saw Nadia and Olya at the beginning of our fast. Nadia said that she was pretty sure that she wanted to be baptized on Saturday but she would let us know for sure on tuesday. Tuesday night we had a lesson with Nadia and Olya before Youth Night and she told us that she had received her answer! Monday night she and her sister were praying together and Nadia explained that before the prayer she felt the worst she had ever felt in her entire life. She was distraught and worried and just felt bad inside. Then as soon as they started praying she felt the happiest she has ever felt in her life. This complete peace and joy completely overcame her. It was her answer, and she knew that she needed to be baptized. Miracles happen!!!!! So anyone who has ever planned a baptism knows that 3 days to prepare is not really sufficient, but we pulled it together alright. Luckily Sister Erekson has a lot of experience. We basically spent all afternoon Wednesday putting together a program and figuring out how to print it and then all Thursday afternoon scanning the hymns and figuring how to put them on one page and printing those haha it was way more complicated than it should have been, but it all worked out. Also on Saturday about half of the active members were going to Donetsk to get their patriarchal blessings, so we were worried about the turnout. Amazingly we had a huge turnout and also the weather cooperated beautifully so it was literally a perfect day. A member of the branch, Brother Koshelev (basically the branch grandpa, he was the branch president a while ago and everyone still calls him president) baptized Nadia and after she came back up from the water he gave her  a big kiss on the cheek and it was the sweetest thing ever! Olya, her sister and Natasha another girl from the branch gave talks and the 5 of us missionaries sang Called to Serve and it was just great.Oh and Sister Erekson drew a picture of Jesus for Nadia and we bought a frame for it and she loved it! She had it out on her lap and was just looking at it the whole ride home. Oh so we all ride a bus down together and sing hymns the whole way there and back. Well as I've already mentioned, Ukrainian singing is sub-par to say the least, and also they love singing Christmas songs year round which makes me happy of course, but singing the chorus of Angels we Have Heard On High on a bumpy bus ride with a bunch of Ukrainians is probably one of the funniest things I have ever experienced. Also they believe in singing every verse to every hymn so we sang all 7 verses of How Firm a Foundation which took at least 10 full minutes haha.

So anyways, we were kinda worried on Friday during Weekly Planning because we realized that our only investigator was no longer going to be an investigator after this weekend, so our investigators were going to go from 1 to 0. And Sister Erekson is LEAVING US next week so here we are, two completely new missionaries who don't know how to do or say anything with zero investigators. I mean, having someone get baptized is the best way to lose an investigator, don't get me wrong, but Sister Campbell and I were stressing a little bit. We decided that the best way for us to find new people to teach is through the members because contacing is nearly impossible here, especially when you can't understand anyone. Anyways, so we have been praying so hard these past few days to find a new investigator through the members. Lo and behold, Sister Valentina, an awesome member from the branch, brought her non-member adult daughter to the baptism!!! They showed up about half and hour early and Sister Valentina was like "You missionaries need to have a spiritual thought with my daughter right now. She wants to hear the word of God!" haha we of course said yes. So us sisters and the elders had a lesson with Lilia and her mom Valentina. We taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ and then Elder Withers asked Lilia if she reads the Book of Mormon. She said yes. He asked her if she knew it was the Word of God. She said yes. He asked her if she would follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. She said yes! He asked her if she would commit to the date of August 31st. She said yes!!!!! What is this South America!??!?!?! Miracles happen, even in Ukraine. We were stunned. The only problem is Lilia lives outside of Lugansk and only is here sometimes to visit her mom, and she doesn't have a phone. We will have to coordinate through her mom, but she is so golden. This week has been such a testimony builder for me. Seriously everything that we have prayed for this week has happened...we don't even know what to ask for anymore we are so blessed! It is incredible.
This sunday I spoke in church on the Holy Ghost which goes up there on the list of scarier things I've done in my life but it went fine. All of the members were amazed at how good my Russian was, but little do they know that I gave it to one of the Elders and had him correct my grammar, so basically he re-wrote the whole thing for me haha.
This week we went and worked on a dacha (summer house w/ a garden) again, which would have been fine, except we were fasting for Nadia so we nearly died. It was of course the one day that was super hot and we were weeding for like 3 hours but we survived and Nadia got baptized so it was all worth it. Also this week Nastia an awesome member from the branch got her mission call to St. Petersburg!!!! She leaves October 16th for the Spain MTC! We're so excited for her! She has more missionary experience than I do...she is helping missionaries on lessons all the time. She's gonna be incredible.

Okay last funny story for this week. I was telling my companions during dinner how we would always impersonate each other and our teachers in the MTC and Sister Erekson asked me to impersonate her, so I stood up and opened the fridge to say "Sisters, what do you want for lunch?" because sister erekson hates choosing and always makes us do it. Anyways, I didn't even get the words out because as soon as I opened the fridge, a soy sauce bottle came flying out and hit the floor and shattered everywhere!!!! I had glass all up in my feet but it only cut me on one toe and it's fine now, but that's what I get for making fun of my companion!!!!! But then the next day a can of beans fell from our top shelf and hit sister erkeson on the head and we think she got a slight concussion, so there may or may not be an evil spirit living in our kitchen. I'll get back to you on that one.
T-shirt of the week: Our branch president's 17 year old daughter wears a Jack Daniels Whiskey shirt to church every week. We're fairly certain she doesn't know what is says....but you never know.

Okay that's it for this week. All I can say is, miracles happen!!!!!! I am so grateful to be here in Lugansk right now. I miss you all every day but I know I'm where I'm supposed to be. My flipchart this week is from Paul and it talks about how any righteous desires will be granted by the Lord and I can definitely testify to that after this week. I have to admit I was a little doubtful if Nadia was going to get her answer in time for the baptism, but she did! I love the Lord and am so grateful to be serving Him. I can't believe that I am losing my trainer next week. I feel like someone is about to take off my training wheels and I'm not ready yet! There will definitely be some scraped knees in the next few weeks, but I will also learn the most. I will definitely be needed your prayers next week. I love you and thank you for all that you do for me! You are the best!!!! Have and awesome week! Love you!!!!!
River

Nadia and Brother Koshelev
Nadia and Me

Sister Erekson's artwork

Monday, August 5, 2013

Chicken Hearts and Orphan Sweaters


I'm so glad that you had such a good time in Nauvoo! We've been having pretty cool weather here too. Today I had to wear a cardigan against my will (I want to save them for the winter so that I can trick myself into thinking I have more outfits). Oh man that family cheer is making me laugh so bad right now. I don't know how I could have helped that. The ending is great. I can't believe Sarah is getting her wisdom teeth out without me! You better record her, she is gonna be the funniest of us all.
So this week we went to see our new best friend Candy 3 times. She is 21 and from Africa and doesn't have any friends here so she loves us and wants us to be her best friends. She has a super solid testimony but doesn't like to come to church because she doesn't understand Russian so she doesn't get much out of it (I can relate). The first time we visited her she bought us pizza (which let me tell you is not the same here), and the second time she cooked african food for us! there were chicken legs and shishkabobs which were so spicy i thought i was going to die. later sister erekson told me that the meat on the shishkabobs was chicken heart, so i mean that's good. my lips were literally on fire for 2 hours afterwards but I'm alive. Luckily the third time we came over was on fast sunday so we had a pretty good excuse. She tried to leave and buy us mcdonald's but we wouldn't let her. Also she showed us the trailer to a movie she wrote and starred in called "Secret Murderer" hahaha it was hilarious.

Tuesday after Youth Night we were walking home with Sister Zoya the crazy lady who reminds me of what barbara probably was like 20 years ago, she is the bossiest person in the world, she just comes to youth night and takes over but it's okay because she's hilarious and so much fun. Anyways, we're walking home with Zoya she pulls us over to the side of the road (it's completely dark outside) and says "Listen to this" and she pulls out her phone and plays a recording of her nephew singing Phantom of the Opera in the circus, and the whole song he is holding himself up on a rope with one hand. hahaha most random thing i've heard in my whole life! she was so proud and singing along the whole time. Sister Zoya is in love with President Monson and always pretends that he is calling her. She pull our her phone and say in english: "oh hello? hi thomas s monson. oh you're coming soon? okay good! love you!" hahaha she always says that she's going to the temple to meet thomas s monson. we had a member lesson with her this week and she showed us a bunch of baby sweaters that she had knit to give to orphans and sister campbell said that she really liked them so Zoya gave her 2 to give to her neice! haha it's actually a thing here where you have to be careful of what you compliment because if it's small, people will just give it to you. Like if you compliment someone's watch, they'll probably just take it off and give it to you. Also during our lesson Zoya made us each eat 4 ears of corn on the cob and 1/4 of a watermelon. I thought I was going to explode but I'm still alive, don't worry.
Funny story this week there was a super old lady crossing the street and a younger guy following behind her. They were both yelling at each other and sister erekson was laughing at them so we made her tell us what was happening. The younger guy said "grandma, you can't cross now, it's red" and she said "do i look like I care if it's red?!?!?" hahaha the old people here just cross whenever they want to but the young people are super scared to cross when it's red, which i feel like is backwards from america.
Fun fact, the members here love to sing "God Be With You Till We Meet Again" as an opening song which I find hilarious but they don't get why it's funny.

Health tip of the week: I had a headache last night (i'm fine now don't worry) so we had to cancel on Albina which she was totally fine with but she called back half an hour later and said told sister erekson to put a single leaf of cabbage on my forehead because that gets rid of headaches instantly. Now I can't promise that that works because we didn't try it, but there you go.
This week we helped teach Young Women's which was so much fun! Man I miss Young Women's. We talked about what we want our future families to be like and how they compare to our families right now. I honestly couldn't think of anything that I want to do differently in my future family than how you raised me. I am so so so so so grateful for the family that I have been blessed with. You literally have taught me everything that I know. I am also so grateful for awesome young women's leaders. The more people I talk to the more I realize that my young women's experience was pretty unique. I LOVED young women's and girl's camp and can say that a huge part of my testimony came from those experiences. I think if there's anything that the young women need to learn it is that they're important and they are loved. I'm sure your laurels know that, but it never hurts to remind them.
So we may or may not have a baptism this saturday....Nadia the girl whose sister was baptized a year ago has been praying about the baptismal date of August 10th. She feels like she should be baptized, but the problem is her parents are strongly against it. She's 19 so she doesn't have to do what they say, but still that's really hard. They forbade her from ever going to church again, let alone being baptized. I can't imagine doing something that you strictly forbade me from doing, but then again I don't think you'd ever forbid me from doing anything in the first place. So we're having a special fast for her this week to give her the courage to do what she knows is right. She's been coming to church for a year and keeps all the commandments so she can be baptized as soon as she wants to. We just don't want to rush her into it. So we'll see what happens, either way it is going to be an interesting week!
Love you lots and miss you! Have a great week! Don't get dry sockets SARS!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Baptism, Dinner Appointment, Nauvoo Advice


Alright no pressure, this one is gonna be read at the bevan family reunion! I'll try to make it a good one. This week I had my first ever dinner appointment! That is dangerous stuff in Ukraine because you never know what you're gonna get. The good news is it was with Albina who speaks perfect English, so at least we knew what we were eating. We had this cold soup (I don't know what it's called) but it consists of basically potatoe salad floating in watered down sour cream...YUM. actually that was way more edible than the chicken she gave us which was covered in cabbage and baked apples. Then we had tea which I just hate but sister erekson says i have to get over because that's all people give you in the winter. Everytime I drink something hot (even hot chocolate) my stomach hurts and my head gets hot and I just really have a testimony of the word of wisdom...hot drinks are not for the belly! Anyways, it's fine I'll get over it.
This week I also had McDonald's for the first time here! We were visiting a less-active named Candy from Sierre Leone, she's 21 and studying Economics here. She's so awesome, she just loves us. She said that she wants us to come over everyday haha. Well it was almost time for us to go but then she randomly left and said she would be right back. 10 minutes later she came back with 3 milkshakes and 3 large fries! Haha it was delicious, but then we were late because we had to stay and eat it all to be polite. So to make it home in time we RAN from the bus stop to our apartment which was probably like half a mile away which for some people is no big deal, but for me is pretty much the worst thing you could ask me to do. So we're sprinting with our stomachs full of Mcdonald's and it's UPHILL of course and as soon as we got inside I layed down flat on the floor and didn't move for a solid 10 minutes. I was pretty sure that I was dying. It was pretty terrible. Sister Erekson was like "Sister Shrek, we were only running for like 3 minutes!" And i just gave her this look like, don't even talk to me right now. Haha I always tell her that Satan invented running to make us suffer and she gets really mad. She loves running, which kind of scares me because I'm pretty sure that anyone who loves running has something wrong in their brain (no offense to the running bevans. if you run to be healthy that's good, you should probably keep doing that. if you run because you think it's fun, you should probably seek some help).
The best part of this week was the double baptism!!!! The elders' investigators Galina and her husband Valeri were both bapitzed on Saturday! We got to go down to the river and it was so so awesome. While we were waiting for everyone to get there we sang some hymns and this crazy babushka Lubov was freaking out she was so excited. For some reason they love the hymn Far Far Away on Judea's Plains and sing it year round which is hilarious. I don't think they know it's a Christmas hymn, anyways we were singing that one and she was dancing around and clapping and it was the funniest thing I've ever sing. She is the loudest singer I've ever heard in my life and I don't think she's ever hit a correct note in her life, so it makes for a great combo. Oh right before we left for the baptism the elders informed us that we needed to teach the first lesson while Galina and Valeri were changing after they got baptized. So that was a fun surprise but it went fine, and then the 5 of us missionaries sang I Need Thee Every Hour and the members loved it. I think we all could have sung the same note for the whole song and they would have still loved it. Haha we actually have a really musical district though...Both of the Elders play the violin and sister campbell plays the cello! Too bad musical instruments aren't allowed in our mission, but orchestra kids usually make pretty decent singers too. It's funny we all bond over orchestra jokes like how everyone hates the violas and how the basses never know what's going on....it's great.
Sister Campbell had a really funny experience on a bus the other night. This guy sits down by her and is looking at her name tag so she tries to talk with him. She pulled out her Book of Mormon and he says, no no in English, not russian. So she says "how do you know english" and he looks away really  quickly and it's kinda awkward. Then he leans over super fast and whispers in her ear "i'm a policeman" and then gets right off the bus. it was the funniest thing!!! Also the other day we accidentally set off the alarm in the church building and didn't know how to fix it so the cops came haha. It was really scary but right then sister erekson just pushed some random buttons and the alarm went off so the cops left without giving us any trouble. that was definitely a miracle.
Last night we had a member lesson with Lydia, who is the oldest babushka I think in existence. She is also the sweetest person ever. After we gave our lesson she asked if we could read some of her favorite verses about Jesus Christ. We said yes of course, so she went and found this really old notebook and read us a bunch of poems that she wrote! I didn't know what any of them were saying of course, but sister erekson said they were really good. It was so cool that she wanted to share those with us. The elders are always jealous of how much the members love us and trust us way more than them haha. I think we're just nicer. Also we get to hug all the babushki which helps a lot.
On Tuesday we had another lesson with Nadia, whose sister was baptized and she believes it's all true but she wants to KNOW the book of mormon is true, not just believe it. Anyways, we usually teach her with her sister, but she was out of town so we had a lesson just with nadia which i think was actually good. we promised her that if she took a step of faith and committed to the baptismal date of August 10th that the Lord would answer her prayer that the Book of Mormon is true (She is reading and praying every day to know that it is true). She was really surprised at how soon the date was and wasn't sure if she could do it, but we challenged her to kneel down right then with us and pray about it. As she was praying I felt the Spirit so strongly! I think she did too. She didn't give a firm yes, but she definitely didn't say no either. She said she will keep reading and praying every day and if she gets her answer then yes, she wants to be baptized. We are praying for her so hard to get that answer! I just hope she recognizes it when it comes. We've talked with her SO MUCH about how answers to prayer don't have to be this big huge thing, it can just be a good feeling. But almost every single member here has had a vision or a dream and that's why they know it's true, which means if you haven't had that experience people kinda judge you. It's pretty bad. Anyways, after our lesson was Youth Night which had a really bad turnout so we just hung out with Nadia the whole time which was good because we got to know her better and become even closer friends. I taught her how to play MASH which she thought was hilarious. We also played hangman and ping pong and Uno. I seriously don't get it...the people here are obssessed with Uno! Full grown adults will play it for over an hour and not get bored. That is messed up.

This week we got to do more registration but luckily it was here in Lugansk so no more 11 hour trains for us! Now I'm officially a legal temporary resident of ukraine, how about that?. i only had to sign my name like 3 times...easy peasy.
Oh also every here loves that I'm from Chicago. They always, without fail ask me if I'm in the Mafia of if I've ever seen anyone get shot hahahaha it's great. T-shirt of the week was a Cars shirt that said Lightning McDragon instead of McQueen. So you know, that's pretty close.
Alright that's all I've got for you this week. Have fun in Nauvoo! If you're doing the handcarts don't get lost like me and maddy and landon did and end up on the highway....also stay away from the blacksmith shop! it's hot and smells bad and just isn't worth it for a ring made out of a nail...it's just not worth it. That's all the advice i've got for you. Be good and take lots of pictures! Miss you and love you lots!!!!!

Baptism Day for Valeri and Galina