Sunday, June 14, 2015

missionary work

June 1, 2015

Dear Family, 

I am realizing here in Cherkassy just how much missionary work is not numbers and is not baptismal dates. Of course that is so important, but something amazing I have been able to realize here what missionary work really means to me. Missionary work is service, it is smiling and trying to talk to everyone, to make someones day better by telling them there is someone who loves them and is there- always. Something I love about how Christ taught was how slow he went. He was never in a rush. He had basically 3 years to save the world yet, he took his time. He loved every person, he went to the ones most would have passed by. He is our ultimate example. Here in Cherkassy it has been different than I first expected missionary work to be. But I am learning to love it, and we are searching for investigators always. One really cool thing that happened was last week a man we met on the street and gave a Family Proclamation pamphlet came to church! We started to teach him and he is so receptive. He has so many questions about baptism that he has just brought up on his own. It has been such a blessing and privilege to meet him and teach him with the members we are involving. The hard part is agency! People all have it and they can all decide wether or not they want to learn more about God, but today he called saying he does not want to meet anymore, will still come to church but doesn't want lessons because he is not feeling peace. The hard part about this is it makes me sad! I of course respect his agency but I also know what an amazing thing the gospel is and how much peace and happiness it brings. I do not want to give up on him yet so I called him after personal study to give him Alma 36 to read. It is an amazing chapter that helps me immesensly. I hope he will want to continue to meet and progress, because I know that he really does want to he is just a little bit nervous and that is normal. He is religios and just loves our church so I am praying for him! His name is Andre just by the way :) 

Today two chapters in the Bible have really hit me. John 15 and 16. I have felt a lot of the feelings described in this chapter. Is it weird that since my mission I have felt greater sorrow (already) than I have before, but also greater happiness? Maybe that is part of the setting apart from the world but it is crazy to me! On a mission I think we learn a lot about what the Father must feel when men hate him, reject him, and his son and his blessings and his words, yet somehow he still is joyful. Immensely so! right now that is what I am trying to work on. Being joyful in all things, even when we are hated of men for the name of christ. Because it makes me sad. I know this is all for good, and we are planting many seeds, making an impact for the name of Christ. But imagining the pain he must feel after suffering for each individual when they just don't want Him, or even hate Him. He is such an amazing example! Many days I get on my knees and have to ask God how to find the peace and the joy when it seems no one wants to hear the message we have. It is not about me, but it hurts me to see people not wanting something that could change their entire life. I am praying for the Spirit and for the comfort, and for the Spirit for these people that we may be guided to the ones who need the message and are waiting. We will keep trying to find! I truly do feel like Alma 36:24 says. After realizing how much the Savior had done for him, Alma wanted nothing more than to work and to bring people to God. And he found immense joy through the atonement. It is pretty amazing!

OK. So I had a very NEW and interesting experience this week. Here they have big cities and then villages on the outskirts. SO. We went to visit a former investigator in an village this week. The experience was something I NEVER imagined. Kind of like a farm, but with a crazy Russian woman and CRAZY things happening. I know. I am so silly. But it was out of this world for me. I never thought I would maybe pass out, and I almost did!!!!!!!! 

We also visited the sweet grandma that had the spider in her hair last time we went. She is the sweetest and honestly breaks my heart. She is inactive only because she does not come to church. She has a desire to. But she is old and can not move around very well, and taxis are too expensive for her so she can not get herself to the church. Sunday we visited her and we gave her a message from Elder Nelson (because he came to the Russian missions and spoke-but no I did not get to see him). this sweet woman named Valentina cried and kissed my cheek. These people are amazing. There is a lot of opposition here but there is also so much good. I will keep working and keep praying for this beautiful place. I know that God is here. 

I wish you could all come here and experience this with me because the things I am able to see and the things I am feeling and learning are just out of this world. I never expected this and I know that it just continues to get better and better.

I love you guys so much. It makes me so happy to hear about what goes on at home. Know I miss you a lot, but I am also trying not to be so homesick. I can keep pushing through. I mean I AM a KARREN aren't I?! (with the ball blood too) ;P I love you guys so much.The shave ice shake looks amazing. I LOVE the poster and Carso's face is just the cutest! Have fun in Powell. I hope nobody dies, but since I am not there I know that everything will be fine. Ha! 

Have a wonderful week. I feel your prayers. Thank you! I need it. I hope you are doing well!!!! REMEMBER THAT I LOVE YOU!!!

LOVE! Cectpa Karren 

PS: This week we will have two days in Kyiv (on a split) and then Thursday will be another Zone conference! Craziness. It will be fun to work there though. I am excited. Keep working hard ok?! You guys are my examples! I LOVE YOU!

First time with borscht made by Sister Fedas herself!

Crazy Village "Village of Dengee" (The Village of Money). 

my initial culture shock...
May 27, 2016

The Village of Dengee (Money): My Initial Culture Shock

"Today was one giant adventure. We left the house at 9 am, got on a bus and drove out of Cherkassy to this place in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, I was so confused when the bus stopped in the middle of miles and miles of trees and nothing else in any direction. We started to walk and walk and walk and Sister Fedas randomly just turned down some tiny dirt path and suddenly I could see in the distance- little houses and large gardens.
We met with a woman named Tamara who seemed normal at first… We went to her home talking away and she showed us her “garden”/FARM and her small house. Her neighbors were all out in nothing or skimpy clothing gardening as well. She has 3 HUGE and I mean, ginormous gardens and chickens also.
We started helping her weed her green onion garden. Pretty soon she offered us lace shirts and “shorts” to wear and tan in to work. I wanted to die. NO! Then she kept putting all different kinds of hats on my head and I did not want them… Anyway we worked and I still felt a bit sick from the day before, so I when I would stand up I would see black dots in my eyes. It was so hot, but I loved helping and bonding with my companion.
Then came the weirdest part of the day… She feeds us strawberries in the shade during a small break. This woman is 60 something and she is wearing almost nothing. Suddenly there is another old woman talking with her and us. I am hot and not feeling so well, still sick from the day before and Tamara offers me dirty water (I would gladly drink it, except it is not allowed because it would make me so sick). I am trying to soak it all in and not be in this culture shock thing and I look to my left and right next to the table is a chicken-DEAD that just minutes ago Tamara was petting and letting us touch and talk to.  It is headless and there is so much blood pooling in this bucket and she is pouring boiling water on it and plucking feathers and gutting it and it has so many eggs coming out of it and she is offering me food and such with the same hands and knife that she is using to gut the bloody chicken and I started to see stars. I have never been squeamish, but they are all talking so fast in Russian. I almost passed out. My companion finally looks at me, seeing I am completely white and asks, “Are you ok?” I was completely overwhelmed but needed to be ok. We went back to weeding and before we left she made us stay and eat. She obviously loves green onions a lot because she made us eggs with lots of oil on top of a large bed of green onions all cooked together. Then we snacked on fresh green onions and other herbs and spices straight from her garden.

Turns out she did not want to hear more about the gospel and that is ok. We served and helped in some way, and I kind of freaked out but I made it through it. We left with a giant bag of potatoes, jam, pickles, something else in a jar, cucumbers, green onions, spices, etc. She was a very kind and generous woman but it was a crazy day."

Turtle Cake for Doodle

My place

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