Monday, October 28, 2013

Ready For the Circus, October 21

Finally went to McDonald's! First beef in five months!

Well the good news is if BYU doesn't work out I can always join the circus. So let me explain something to you about Ukraine. When it rains, it floods. Every time. So there are 3 options: 1.walk on the walkways which are completely submerged in water, 2. walk on the grass which is absolutely 100% mud, or 3: develop the skill of walking on a 2 inch wide curb that separates the walkway from the grass/mud. I can now say that i can confidently run across a 2 inch wide surface while holding an umbrella in one hand and a Book of Mormon in the other. If that isn't good training for the tightrope, I don't know what is.
Our taxi driver the other day was this super nice guy with 2 young daughters and he was asking all sorts of awesome questions like "what does it mean in the bible when it says baptism by fire?" and "how can i feel the holy ghost" so we gave him a Book of Mormon and hopefully we can meet with him this week. oh Angelika, the girl who came with us was explaining about the Priesthood and how the elders were able to give Sister W. a priesthood blessing, and he said, "Wow that's cool. I bless you too." See this is the thing about Ukrainians, they are all under the impression that they have the power to bless people by simply saying it. Whenever Ukrainians are saying a significant goodbye (like when I left lugansk) they bless you with health, a good husband, lots of money, etc etc. this is why blasphemy is kind of a problem with the saints in Ukraine, they think they can just bless people by simply saying the words haha.
Okay so I thought i would be smart and introduce myself as sister shrek to everyone in Mariupol because schrecengost is way too hard for Ukrainians. The problem is whenever I introduce myself and say "hi i'm, sister shrek" people always look around and are like "wait, do you know that's a movie? that's like a big green guy, that's not a name" and every single time i have to explain, yes i know it's a movie, but you can call me that, really i promise. luckily you sent me that picture of you and sarah with shrek at universal studies so i have that taped to the inside of my planner and i show it to people and say "look that's my family, we like shrek" haha. it has turned out to be a bigger hassle than just teaching people how to say schrecengost. oh fun fact, the g in ukrainian is pronounced like an h, so people who speak ukrainian (there's not that many here) call me schrecenhost which sounds hilarious. also a couple of members have started calling me sister fiona because shrek is a boy name. whatevs.
Since Sister W. was sick most of the week I got to spend a lot of time re-reading my conference notes and picking my favorite parts. Here's my favorite part from each talk (I'm not sure if they actually said these things, but it is what i learned from them)
Elder Hales:studying conference will protect my family
Elder Soares (I met him! He came to Donetsk in June): only the humble recognize answers to prayer
Sister Stephens: I need to think about my divine nature and destiny more often
Elder Dube: the Lord cares less about what we have done or where we have been than where we are willing to go
Elder Bednar: pray for assurance, peace, faith, and hope of deliverance, rather than deliverance itself
President Uchtdorf: doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith, stay yet a little longer
Presdient Packer: never give up, righteousness is more powerful than wickedness
Elder Christofferson: cultivate the innate moral power within me
Elder Nielson: work with the members!!
Elder Valenzuela: only the humble can invite others to Christ (He and elder Soares were on the same page)
Elder Dyches: it is not our forgiveness, but His.
Elder Holland: trust in Heavenly Father's love, it never changes it is always there. FAVORITE: If the bitter cup does not pass, drink it and be STRONG.
Elder Ballard: Today my voice is His voice. If I want to teach more I need to talk to more people every day.
President Eyring: I knew you could and would love him no matter what he did.
Elder Oaks: What is my ultimate priority??
Sister Oscarson: I need to exercise faith in something before I can receive a testimony of it.
Elder Maynes: to endure in righteousness i need dedication, perserverence, and self-discipline
Elder Scott: the Lord sees weaknesses differently than He does rebellion (thank goodness!), He knows what it takes to become like Him
President Monson: "I will not fail thee or forsake thee" We truly need Him every hour.
Elder Cook: we must improve the moral cultures around us\
Elder Andersen: the Priesthood prepares us for eternity
Elder McConkie: stand as an independent witness of what i teach
Elder Hamilton: very small decisions can take us off the path
Elder Ochoa: don't forget to look up!
Elder Vinson: the Lord will answer a simple girl like me
Elder Nelson: I will account to Jesus Christ for how I treated my body, developed spiritual attributes, and followed God's pattern for marriage and family.
Wow okay that was a lot! The very first one struck me a lot. If studying conference is going to protect our family then there's not even a question, of course i am going to do it. i hope you will do it too! 

To answer your question, as of right now we do not have any investigators that are progressing, but that is going to change this week! we decided to pass the 3 young guys to the elders because the elders can relate to them much better, and also we just wanted to be positive that they were meeting with us for the right reasons. the members here help out so much!!! we are very lucky and have several members with almost perfect english which is such a great help. there is a girl Tanya who is 23 and leaving on her mission next month to Ekateringburg Russia, so she's way helpful too. 

As far as your Chicago ladies girls night, i don't really have any deep or profound thing to say to them, just that I love them all and am so grateful for their influence and example in my life. I think every single one of them has taught me either in primary, young women's or sunday school. but more than just teaching me lessons, they taught me by example the kind of woman and mother i hope to be someday. Although I was usually goofing around with Shannon and probably didn't seem that invested in lessons, I was probably impacted more than they know. And now their influence is being felt in Ukraine. Unfortunately most church members here don't understand how to teach lessons, so one thing we do as missionaries is try to explain how sunday school and relief society lessons should be taught. so basically i am taking everything that these ladies have taught me and passing in on to Ukraine. I am so grateful to have grown up in BG2 with such a solid ward surrounded by many examples of faithful women. thank you all!!
okay that's it for this week! i love you and miss you all!!! have a great week!!!
p.s. mom this week several people have told me that you look russian. and adam too. the first few weeks in a new area all you do is show members your pictures and listen to their conversion stories, it's great.
p.p.s. i don't want to overexaggerate or anything, but last night i was laying on the floor with my feet up on the bed and my head on a chair (it was really weird, i don't know why i did it) but my back cracked in approximately 42 different spots and it was probably the single most satisfying moment of my mortal life. so if you ever need your back cracked and your chiropractor sister isn't anywhere nearby, just try laying on the floor with your feet on a bed and your head on a chair. it works.

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