Monday, September 9, 2013

Message from Claire (Sister Shrek's mom):

We have received an email from Katie's mission president. Unfortunately, not every country enjoys the freedom of expression that we do here. We have been asked to make the missionaries' blogs private - by invitation only. We also ask that you please not copy, paste or forward anything that you read or view on Katie's blog to anyone else. If you know of other family members or friends who would like to be invited to this blog, please let me know at claire4kids@sbcglobal.net

This is a little sad for me, as Katie writes such interesting and entertaining emails, I think that we will notice much less information in the future, as she has been counseled about sharing personal information about other missionaries, members and some of their activities. I hope you will stick with her blog and be patient as we all try to sort out how to deal with the new restrictions. We definitely want to comply with the rules and not do anything to risk the safety of the missionaries or put in jeopardy the status of the church in Ukraine. Thanks for supporting Katie. Keep the prayers coming!

Love,
Claire

Cool tire toys
Sister C. with zebra

Fun, colorful playground



Okay wow okay I'm not really sure what I'm allowed to email about anymore so this is going to be interesting. I'll try to set my blog to private after this but if it doesn't work I'll let you know.
so fall is officially here! starting september 1st it was just BOOM cold! i already broke out my boots and tights and wool socks! the socks may have been a bit premature, but whatever. So apparently Fall in Ukraine means rain, so we're going to buy rainboots today. all of the elders wear sweaters now and it's adorable. i feel like i'm at hogwarts.
this week we have been trying really hard to find someone to teach, so in the mornings we find a bus that has a circular route and we just ride and ride it talking to different people who get on. it's more effective than walking around parks because only crazy people sit in parks at 7 in the morning. I mean we still haven't found anyone to teach, but at least we've had a few conversations.
we also have spent several hours this week making phone calls, which as you can imagine is not something that i particularly look forward to, but it actually hasn't been too bad. it's actually hilarious because no matter who you are calling the first minute of the conversation goes exactly the same. The person says "hello, who is this?" and we say "we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' and they say "WHAT?" and we say "we're missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and they say "WHAT?" and we say "WE'RE MISSIONARIES'" and then they say "ohhhhhh, what do you want?" hahahaha it happens literally every single time.
we had our first cleaning check this week and passed with flying colors! the senior couple was shocked by how nice our apartment was and told us that we definitely have the best in the mission! we told them to keep it a secret though so that all of the sisters don't put in requests to come to Lugansk haha. Sister Campbell and I are trying to figure out a way to stay here our whole missions. 

this week we have been focusing on increasing our expectations. in district meeting we were asked to think about what we've been praying for and to think if there's anything greater we could be asking for. I have always thought that if I ask for big blessings or a lot of blessings in my prayers it means I am being selfish, but as a missionary the things that i want most (investigators, lessons) are really all to help others anyways. so i thought about it and basically for the past 3 weeks I have just been praying to survive and I could definitely raise my expectations for myself. I can expect to have success and to be happy now! This week I have been praying to believe in myself and my abilities to be a good missionary, even though my Russian is not very good.
this week we started what we're calling the 'open door policy' where we have missionaries at the church building pretty much all the time so that people who are curious to learn more can walk in and ask questions. Sister Campbell and I were the first ones to try it and someone walked in the first hour we were there! She came in and said "Can you tell me what is the church and who is allowed to come and what do i need to do to come?" We were like ummm of course we would love to tell you about our church haha. we gave her a book of mormon and she was really excited, but she didn't come to church so we'll see what happens with her.
this week we had a lesson with a former investigator who had one lesson 4 years ago. we never thought she'd agree to meet, but we called her anyways and she said yes!!! we taught her the restoration and she was really open and interested! it was a really great experience for me because our member who was helping us out came late, so sister campbell and i fumbled through 90% of the lesson on our own, and it proved to me that we can do this. definitely not perfectly, but we can do this! Heavenly Father is continuing to bless us so much because we definitely need it!!! I'm grateful for this experience because I am learning so much every day. Thanks for all of your love and prayers, I definitely appreciate them!!!
Love you and miss you! Have a great week!!!
p.s. Zach Labrum and Steven Bevan are in the same mission right now, you should tell them to look out for each other!

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