Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Nicknames, Bad luck, Helping out the work in Ohio too!

alright this is going to be crazy short because i spent all of my email time writing an encouraging letter to your recent convert. i hope the sisters living in my room appreciate all that i do for them! anyways, this week Heavenly Father decided to really test my resolve to be positive and not think of myself. literally all of the bad things happened and i tried oh so hard not to be upset about it. first and worst, i lost my memory card with all of my mission pictures. boom gone. okay it was 100% my fault and that makes it even worse because i have no one to be mad at but myself. so that was on monday.

on tuesday real winter hit. it's all because last week i emailed everyone and said "it's not even cold here. it's colder in america than in ukraine blah blah blah" well i guess ukraine didn't like that and it decided to cover itself in a layer of DEATH ICE. poor sister kopta has biffed it 10 times already. luckily i haven't wiped out yet but i know it will happen soon. also on tuesday i attempted my first sunshine ring. what i didn't know what that your recipe for rolls makes enough dough for 2 or maybe 3 sunshine rings? i don't know, but when i rolled that thing up it was ENORMOUS. i know it was wrong, but didn't know what to do about it, so we just baked it as was and it literally filled up our entire oven. I could barely get it out. so the inside never got fully cooked, and the edges were pretty crispy, but we gave it to the elders and they didn't really care.

on wednesday i had the privlidge and opportunity to kill 2 cockroaches. here's a life question for you: can you microwave a cockroach? answer: yes. it takes approximately 10 minutes, but it will eventually die. did i feel a little bit sorry for the sucker? yes. the second one i killed by smashing with our cinnamon jar, it was gross and its guts got everywhere, so i would definietly recommend the microwave option.

thursday the zipper on one of my boots broke. that was pretty upsetting as well. there are little shoe repair stands all over the place, so we are going to go see if i can get a new zipper today, but if not i might have to buy new boots. LAME. this one was also my fault, well half my fault, half my shortness's fault. so it's been pretty cold and i have just been wearing my thermals because SPOILER ALERT: tights don't do ANYTHING. so i was thinking one day, hey these thermals are pretty baggy, i bet i could fit my jeans under here. YEP! so now i've been wearing jeans under my thermals and it is so nice and toasty. anyways, since i am crazy short, i have to roll my jeans and my thermals a bunch of times which makes a nice big bunch around my ankles. so i was trying to zip up my boot and boom the zipper broke right when we had to leave for english and it was stuck zipped up part of the way, so i just had to wear a halfway zipped boot to english but whatever, let's be real it's ukraine, no one even noticed.
friday was friday the 13th, so of course we were in for a treat. actually nothing to bad happened except our salt shaker has one half that a little bit comes out of and one half that tons come out of, so i grabbed it to put salt on my vareneke (don't know how to explain that one, you can look it up) and accidentally COVERED it in salt. i scraped off as much as i could but it was still the saltiest thing of my life. i was coughing and my tongue burned and i shouldn't have eaten it, but i was so hungry and tired. anyways, that night i burned my tongue on tea that a member made for us and i don't thing my tongue will ever be the same.

saturday and sunday nothing too bad happened, so i hope the curse is broken. i don't know what i was supposed to learn from this unlucky week, but like President Monson said, my future is as bright as my faith. so next week is going to be A LOT better!
also we did have some highlights of the week:

first i finally got nametags that say sister shrek!!! i am officially sister shrek and there's no going back. goodbye schrecengost!
second i have finally been here long enough to get nicknames. angelika calls me shrekula, and some other members call me solnishka which means sunshine and umnitsa which basically means smarty pants.
third, our less active anna came to church for the third week in a row! she's awesome. she asked me this week, "what chapter or verses did you read this week that you really liked?" and "what blessings have you noticed in your life this week?" i honestly had to stop for a minute and think about it. she invited us to come over this week to decorate her house for christmas and watch the first presidency christmas devotional. i'm so excited!!!!
last, we got 2 new investigators! they are a super cute young couple with 2 little kids. right now they are just interested in english practice, but they understand that our purpose is to talk about the gospel. hopefully eventually they will realize how much this message can bless their family.

okay sorry that's all i got this week. i think it was pretty dramatic and mostly me complaining....sorry. i just had a lot of bad luck this week. at the time it wasn't very funny but now that i think about it, it was pretty ridiculous. anyways, i hope your week went better than mine! i love you and miss you all tons! i can't wait to SEE you next week!!!!

From Katie's mom:
A cute 14 year old girl, who got baptized along with her family in our ward on Sunday, wrote to Katie a few weeks ago as part of a YW activity. She told Katie all about meeting the missionaries and discovering the gospel with her family. Here is Katie's wonderful reply to her:

Dear Christiana,
Thank you so much for your letter! Missionaries love to get mail! I loved reading your story about how you found the gospel. One of the greatest blessings of serving a misison is being able to see and experience miracles every day. I know that miracles are real, and that they are all around us, but we have to look for them. Your family finding the church and deciding to be baptized was definitely a miracle. But the greatest miracle will be when you have the opportunity to be sealed together as a family in the temple. As missionaries, our purpose is not just to help individuals be baptized, it is to help families be sealed for time and all eternity, because that is God's purpose. That is why we are all here. I know that the blessings of the temple are real, and that you do not have to wait a year to receive them.

If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be to do your family history work as a family, and then go to the temple together and be baptized for your ancestors. The temple is such a sacred place, and you will feel the spirit so strongly there. Every time that I go to the temple, I just feel so peaceful and happy. Anything that I am worried about just seems to go away. Also, every time that you do baptisms for the dead you will be reminded of your own baptism and how clean and happy you felt in that moment. Most importantly, when you are baptized for your ancestors, you will feel their love and gratitude for this saving work that you are doing for them. It has been said that doing temple work is the best thing that we can to do become most like our Savior, because we are literally helping others reach salvation. Our ancestors who died without the gospel need our help.
I had the opportunity to be baptized for my great-grandmother when I was 12 years old. I had known her when I was little, so I could picture her face when I was baptized for her. It was a very sacred experience, and the spirit told me very strongly that she had been waiting for that ordinance. I knew that she was so grateful to me, and that I would see her again someday. I know that you can have sacred experiences in the temple as well. I know that temples bless our lives as well as the lives of those who have come before us.
I hope you know how much our Heavenly Father loves you. He is so proud of your decision to be baptized. One of my favorite quotes that I have heard on my mission was by a woman named Janice Kapp Perry. She said "Surely that happiest person in the Plan of Happiness is Heavenly Father." I am sure that He is the happiest when His children decided to come closer to Him by making sacred covenants. I know that God is so pleased with you and your family. I know that your family will grow closwer together and receive more blessings than ever before as a result of your decision to be baptized.
I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, and that is only through Him that we can be saved.Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year for a lot of reasons, but mainly it is because of the peace, hope, and joy that fill my soul every time that I think of my Savior. I know that I never have to feel alone, or discouraged, or afraid because Jesus Christ knows everything that I ever have felt and that I ever will feel, and He is always there to help me if I just ask. Sometimes life is hard, and it is hard to tell if God really is there. But to me that is faith: to choose to believe that He is there, even when it doesn't feel like He is. I know that He is there because I see and feel His love every day.
I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God because I read it every day and it helps me every day. I have found many answers to prayer in the Book of Mormon. I also know that it is true because I can feel myself growing closer to God as I live by its teachings. Because I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God, I also know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. He truly did see God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, on that spring morning in 1820. God's Priesthood Authority is restored to the earth today, and as a result, we can be sealed as families in the temple for time and all eternity. This is the greatest blessing of all. This is why I am here as a missionary, thousands of miles away from home, speaking a scary language, talking to sometimes scary people. Because my family has already receieved the blessings of the gospel. We know where to turn to find peace and happiness. But so many people do not know what I know. So that's why I'm here: to help people learn how to be happy. Truly happy, the kind that lasts forever.
So I want you to remember how happy you felt on your baptism day. Cherish that memory and keep it forever. But don't keep it to yourself. Share that happiness with those around you. As you allow the gospel to change you and make you better, I know that others will see a difference in you. Share the knowledge that has made you so happy with those you care about. Heavenly Father restored His gospel so that all of His children could be blessed, not just a few of us. And we can help Him in that work.
I want to share my favorite scripture with you. It is Alma 37: 6-7. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass." You and I are small and simple, but the Lord has great things planned for us. I have learned on my mission that there's not a whole lot that I can do on my own. But with the Lord's help I can do anything. I know that this is true for you as well.
I know that Heavenly Father loves you so much, and that He will help you as you continue to follow Him. If there is one thing that Heavenly Father wants each of His daughters to know, I think it is this: You are important, and you are loved. Never forget that!
Although I have never met you, I already love you. I can't wait to meet you and your family when I come home next fall. Please feel free to write me any time, I would love to hear how you and your family are doing!

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