Monday, February 22, 2016

things we need to work on.


My update will be small. Monday we had two family home evenings so we needed to take a taxi inbetween. Today will be the same.

My new favorite scripture is Matthew 5:16

We had a zone meeting in Kyiv on Tuesday and Sister Young and I spoke about prayer! It was really great. Our focus for the mission right now is coming closer to christ and gaining a personal relationsihp with him to help others do the same. It was fun to discuss how prayer can help us do that with our missionaries. Sister Young and I also decided to have our sisters share about experiences they have had or seen where prayer has brought someone to christ. It was really cool!

It was Elder Clarks birthday so we stopped at dominoes in kyiv on the way home and it was almost american so that was really fun!

We had a lot of lessons and just bore testimony as much as we could! We have the best investigators in the whole world. I love them. We even did a puppet show to teach the word of wisdom with Alyona and Nazar (those animal finger puppets the ward sent me). They loved it!

We met with members and tried to lift and help people continue on!

We visited Stan and they always take such good care of us and we do some work and we visit with Babooshka Anya who is an invlaid and recent convert and it is the best. They have baby pigs and all sort of other animals on their farm. BY the way. You remember tht photo I took with me and that goat. His name was Hector. He was my Christmas love. He is no longer there. One time we did not go and they had a BBQ with our investigator and his family and the elders. THEY ATE HECTOR. oh my goodness. 

Baby pigs on Stan's farm.  he told me not to squeal or I would scare them.  He knows I get excited!

Sister Young

Love every living creature!

Work on Stan's Farm

We had an increbile lesson about God with our cute Anya (the blonde 21 year old in my birthday pictures) and it was incredible and she is really changing and commited to finally come to church FINALLY!

We can't know the meaning of all things but we know one thing for sure. God loves us! 1 Nephi 11:17

All things denote that God is real! Alma 30:44

We get to have a special relationship with God. He created all, but we get to have a special relationship with him and his children!!!

I got sick at church and Stan took care of me. I slept yesterday and that was sad but sometimes needed.

We met with our Branch President to update him on our progress and ask for what else we can do to help the branch. The most important thing he said is that we all understand and that the members understand that we need to LOVE ONE ANOTHER come what may. We are brothers and sisters. We need to be an example of Christ through our love for each other. We should always try to think good about those around us. Even if it is hard to see good in someone we should search long and hard even for just one thing! compliment them on it! Be kind. Be a child of God. Learn how to love through the examples of the scriptures.

Our Branch Mission Leaders Home and his family.

3 things we all need to work on strengthening.

PRAYER a 2 way communication between us and GOD who is our Heavenly FATHER.

SACRAMENT the symbolism. Preparing BEFORE church to take of the broken bread and water. REALLY thinking of Christ as we partake of his atonement every sunday. Recoginizing his atonement as the miracle it is!

PERSONAL STUDY. Do it. Search. Dont just read. Everday have a moment with the one who created you, gives you life and will and can help you through every single moment of this life if we gain knowledge from Him and ask of Him. We have all the tools to study effectively. So lets work on it and do it better! It is not a burden it is a gift from God. Drop the unimportant stuff and focus on God! He is the priority. There are no excuses. No matter what. You do your studies every single day with God.

I love you! We are all on a journey together. Everyone needs to remember the love of Christ for all of us ESPECIALLY the sinners. He even asked forgiveness from God for those around him who tortured him and in the end killed him. If he can forgive them and love them, then we can work on that too. We are all in this together. MORE LOVE AND LESS CONTENTION in this world will do beautiful things. I love you all.

Talk to you soon! have a good one!


Cectpa Karren


Ice skating with the Young Women in Bila

They are amazing and I was kind of scared (dad you know how I always break something?) So I was standing next to the wall and this cute recent convert I thought did not really like me came over to me and grabbed my hand, gave me a pep talk and then helped me go around the cirlce away from the wall. She told everyone that I was so brave! It was really cute. The one with the dark hair and blonde tips. her name is masha. then we had a great thought with them about prayer! I love them. 

Skating in skirts :)

A recent convert Ira

She is a recent convert who was not at all ready for baptism. She is so poor and has a really hard life but we started teaching her like an investigator because she didn't know anything and she has opened up a lot and her prayers are so sweet.  She is like a little child seeking for truth and I love it.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

thoughts on the Atonement for Alpine 12th Ward Young Women

The hardest time on my mission happened to me this transfer. It was heart breaking, devastating, confusing and down right hard. I am by no means perfect, but as I decided to give Christ all of me, to give him my broken heart, to be obedient, faithful, diligent and hardworking as much as I could be, God did something incredible! The heart ache I had that I was sure would eat me up, was gone in just 2 weeks. It was so quick and I whole heartedy believe that it was because I tried so hard to do all that I could for Him, to obey Him, trust Him, love him, and then my realtionship with Christ increased and I was more ready to hear Him, and willing to respond to the prompting form the Spirit and I just felt myself being lifted. My circumstances did not change. God did not take my trial away, but he guided me through it by the hand and through it all I found true joy. We need to remember patience in all that we do and all that we go through. Alma 26:27. We bear our trials with patience and we find joy. We need to talk to Jesus Christ. We need to dedicate ourselves to Him and he will take us by the hand and guide us through. He loves you sisters so much! You can do anything with him! He is waiting for you to act and every time you do he can help you through anything. He lets us go through trials so we can grow but he never leaves us alone. He is with us. All we need to do is turn to him, and recognize him. I miss you all! You are amazing! Missions are amazing and I am so grateful to be a missionary.
"Love your life." -Elder Hinckley

Сестра Кэррен

Run to Him

This week was QUITE the week. I don't think I've had a week quite like it so far.

How do I start? Well. Satan saw the success, the changes in us and in our area. He knew we were being so diligent, a goal of 20 lessons each week and that we were talking to everyone and seriuosly we were just seeing so many miracles. He did not like that very much. So he came in trying to slam us down.

When God works hard, so does Satan. He does not want success here. But we are with God, so we are stronger. And we just keep going strong. I am not exactly sure how much detail to go into so I will just try to keep it light. There were good things too! We had 2 really cool potential investigators, but one ended up just trying to sell us insurance and the other just wanted to read into Sister Young's dark future that will happen. So they didn't become new investigators BUT we did have 4 other incredible investigators come to Sacrament and we taught 15 lessons and we heard the first prayer of one of our investigators really sweetly praying out loud for the first time. We put together a huge event for the members and our investigators for valentines day and it turned out amazing. It was 5 o clock and no one was there and after all the work we had done we all four (district) almost sat down and cried BUT then over 60 people came! It was amazing and we had such a wonderful spiritual thought and fun games and brownies and banana bread!


Valentine's Party thrown by us missionaries

Sister Young <3

Party Time

Love Day with Tanya
My heart is here

Veronika Prishepchuk

Ivana Prishepchuk

Valentines Party
Gotta have balloons

This is how Ukrainians Party ;)

We pulled it off!

  We felt the Spirit testify through us. We met with two literal angels (our invalids) and we had some pretty serious and sometimes really hard conversations with people that were led from the Spirit. We cried. We laughed. I came to understand the atonement on a new level.

So all in all, the adversary is very real. We need to rememeber that. But also rememer that we are children of God and that He has all power. He will win. We will keep fighting on his team. It is so worth it. I love Him!

A thing I wrote one study after I read about the atonement:

"My hero is Jesus Christ

because He has done everything for us.

He is all love, infinite.

He is all goodness, He forsook sin.

He is all powerful, He fulfilled the demands of justice through mercy.

He is all knowing, He went below all.

He is all kindess, He saved us.

He is all trusting, He is always there for us.

He is all perfection, He was resurrected from the dead.

He is all example, He is the way.

He is all. He atoned.

He is waiting for us.

He is everything, yet all that He wants is a personal relationship with us imperfect beings.

He suffered all, out of pure love for us and the Father.

He promises salvation, exaltation, and purty to all those who come unto Him and believe on His name.

The atonement was performed.

Jesus is the Christ.

We do not comprehend all that He has done.

If we understood we would bow down before Him all the days of our lives in humility, love and infinite gratitude and do all that the Lord, our Savior has asked of us. so that we-sinners- could partake of His infinite, continuous, all powerful, all merciful atonement and be made clean to forever be with Him and to learn of Him, and to love Him.

"If ye love me, keep my commandments."

If you do not feel like you know the Savior- today is the day!


Talk to Him.

Let Him become your very best friend.

He knows how to help you.

He cares about our small and seemingly unimportant personal trials, heart aches and desires.

He KNOWS how to succor His people.

Do not doubt in Him. Do not doubt in His power to heal. To save. To love. To renew. To make whole. To fix. To redeem. To change.

Only through Him can we change our hearts.

Only through Him can we progress.

Only through Him can we return.

A relationship with the very being who makes your life and salvation possible is the most precious thing we can have.

Do you want it?

Take it!

He is waiting.

It is time to come unto Him and know.

I love my Savior. I know that He loves me, you and the entire world, the universe and every single thing that is involved in this glorious plan of happiness.

He knows us.

He has payed the price.


I love you! We work together in the work. We are moving stones.

I love it!

All my love to you! HAPPY LOVE DAY.

💜Cectpa Karren

Welcoming a new elder into our wonderful district. :D
 new Elder in our District he's as green as they come we only speak russian to him. he has never heard any english from us <3
One day we came home, we opened up our apartment  door and in ran this cat. We named her tiger. But in Russian. It was awesome. so we took a picture. contemplated keeping her forever. gave her a bit of some turkey and then let her head on her way out the door. almost broke our hearts. but we survived.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Come unto Christ

Dear Family,

Some fun facts:

February 1st:
I AM 20 YEARS OLD. Babushka. Woke up to a phone call from Elder Kudibergen singing happy birthday in Russian and so on all day long. It was the best! I felt lots of love and got to talk to lots of people that I love!
I got my favorite flowers delivered from my mom and it was the best surprise!
We found an amazing restaurant where we ate the best meal I have had in a year. Almost cried it was so good. #homecafereallylikehome
We later met with two of our investigators to go bowling but bowling was full so we went to another cafe where there are just cool places to sit and drink hot cocoa and we played a fun game about the commandments. They are so sweet they even bought me a pretty ring for my birthday! I love them.
After that we had a family home evening with a really sweet family. It was kind of chaotic and this woman has a lot on her plate but really wanted to make us something to eat for my birthday. We ended up cooking as she tried to run around and do everything to get her kids ready for a spiritual thought. She did not want us to leave but it was also kind of a burden to have us there but we finally prayed with her and gave her a thought to help her know god loves her and he is there for her. Meanwhile all the little kids drew me all sorts of pictures and made me clay things and bracelets and necklaces for my birthday. One little girl painted me a picture and told me she would be very happy if I was her mama. It was cute.

February 2:
Sometimes people give us so much tea I think I will die or that our bladders will explode house from house.
We know have 2 personal taxi drivers who we always call in really crunching situations and we are teaching like crazy and even preaching to the two taxi drivers we have. Vladimir and Alex felt the spirit as they drove us all over the place these last two weeks! Super cool.
We met with some amazing families today and helped them to feel of God's love for them. I just love my calling so much. I WANT IT FOR LIFE.

February 3:
I do not know if I told you a miracle from all the back to Christmas day. We sang on the streets and during this time there was a man we contacted. His name is Valerie and he is probably 60 or something. He recorded one of our songs and he really loves music. We got his number and called him to come to church. He came and half way through a lesson after 3rd hour we realized this man was a member and not too long ago. almost 2 years. He was not prepared for his baptism and so therefore fell away and we could not find him anywhere. God sent him to us on the streets! We started to meet him with members every week and really started to work hard on teaching him the lessons he never knew about. Sad am I right? And every time he has more light in his eyes. He is an interesting man and pretty lonely. But now he has a good friend in the ward and he even brought one of his friends who miracle of all miracles, saw elders 2 years ago and wanted to know what they were about but they did not talk to her, thought to herself i wish there were girl versions of them, the next day met sister missionaries- two years ago and received a book of mormon that she gave to Valerie and he read it and got baptized and then just by accident came to a lesson we had with him wanted to know about the restoration and just felt so good and became a new investigator! INCREDIBLE THINGS!
We just contact like crazy and talk to everyone everywhere we go and we were able to meet people today who just wanted to read and know more it was amazing!
We met with another miracle woman whose name is Larissa. Her son and his wife a year or so ago were investigating the church and fell out of it because they weren't too interested and were having a lot of problems in their life. Well this sons mom found the family proclamation in his room and read it recently and came to church all by herself and told us she needs to know more. She has come to 3 Sundays already and we had an incredible lesson with her about the plan of salvation. She cried as she realized what we were telling her was truth and would help her through all of her life. Jesus makes salvation possible. He is our everything.
Today I wanted to pray. to use the scriptures in lessons. I wanted to testify and talk about experiences and LOVE everyone. I did and it was absolutely an incredible day.

February 4:
Amazing lessons with angels who are here on earth to teach us. We met with an old woman who lives in a village and is a new convert and her sweet family is Stan from America and her daughter from Ukraine. She is a light to me!
We had another lesson with a less active and we came down to the conclusion that we need to remember why we chose to follow Christ and get baptized and the covenants that me made there and how we can keep on living that. It is the key to enduring to the end.
We had a good english practice with a sweet member who really wants to study in America and is getting ready to take a really hard test to get there and at the end I really wanted to pray for her. When we were praying I just felt the spirit so strong and this sweet girl just cried and hugged us. It is moments like that we will never forget and I will leave my heart here with these wonderful people I call my Ukrainian family.

February 5:
We headed to Kyiv and on the way there I was looking out at the sky and just realized this is in no way a SACRIFICE that I am here. God gave me the opportunity and the blessing to come and join him on his work and his glory. "We live for the glory of God." It is our purpose and our happiness and our joy and our blessing. I have received the best gift in the world I really know it! This mission is my gift from God.
In leadership conference President asked us to really think about what we can do in our mission to strengthen our very new and young missionaries. I prayed because I really wanted to know what is needed. I had the thought that we needed to all work on our personal relationships with Jesus Christ. We then talked about COMING UNTO CHRIST and how we can do that.
As soon as we got home I changed! My prayers and studying are SO much more meaningful then they already were. I pray out loud every night now. I give the Lord time. I pause and I write down impressions in a little revelation book and it is a REAL conversation with my Father in Heaven. If you haven't done that I challenge you to try to do that! It is amazing.
-Sometimes all that we can do when we do not understand everything and the way it is. "BE OBEDIENT AND WEEP." sometimes being a missionary and being under the priesthood authority and knowing we cannot and should not do anything contrary to our leaders impressions even when we think it will hurt other people we be obedient and we weep. I cried this week at some things our branch President has asked us to do and not to do that I can not understand but I am learning what I will and will not do for the Lord. It is like the story of Abraham needing to sacrifice his son. He OBEYED the lord. Of course he was terribly sad. I imagined he cried the entire way through that journey and in the end it all worked out. But WHAT WILL WE DO FOR THE LORD?! To be with him?!

February 6:
I see a new light in less activities eyes that we are working with! I see love and understanding and a desire to change! Ira is going to read the book of mormon cover to cover!!!!!
Today we had another lesson with Sasha (investigator) and his family and he testified how he can not live without God! We decided not to push baptism so hard and just let him come to that himself and just help him increase his conversion to the Lord! It was incredible to hear his testimony!
We are all just caterpillars trying to turn into butterflies and it is a journey and someday we will be butterflies and fly!!!  God is proud of us wherever we are just for trying and growing and we can become butterflies!
Sometimes Russian is still really hard and I feel like I am behind but I remind myself that the gift of tongues is real and in reality I speak in only Russian every single day and President told me that I am the first in a year to decide to speak in only Russian and to really use the language. IT is tough and I am working hard but I also know that we can not get so down on ourselves we need to enjoy the journey even through the hard things!
I had a feeling I needed to call my sweet mini missionary who was with me in Odessa from Cherkassy. It was a good thing. She started to go inactive. Because of friends and we talked and just reminded each other about good things and I felt God working with her. I am glad.

February 7:
We know God by obedience.
Today in sacrament meeting it was fast and testimony meeting.
We found out that sometimes we perform miracles we didn't even know about.
Sergei testified that one time when we had a family home evening lesson at the church that he felt the presence of Christ and knew that he was proud of us and felt the profound power and authority of the missionaries.
A family we visited last week the wife got up and bore her testimony and said that saturday she knew we would be coming but she had a bad attitude and really didn't want to have us over because she felt like she needed to cook and just didn't feel up to it all. But when we called that evening to make sure again that we could she hoped we would say that is didn't work out but we said "we are coming! see you soon." her stove had not worked all day and she did not think she could cook for us (in this culture it is so important that they give you something, if they don't they feel really awful) we walked in and we started to chat with her kids smiling and talking and then they told us their amazing conversion story. She said the atmosphere in her home changed while we sat in that kitchen and talked to her. She then said that she just decided to try the stove one more time and all day it had not worked and she tried to turn it on and boom FLAME. She knew it was because we were there. Then as we talked and had a good spiritual thought and ate her delicious borsch I felt I needed to tell her how special her family was and that if Jesus was here he would come visit her. I said it and I just thought it was a nice thought and we left. Well I guess to her it was a huge lesson because she sat there thinking of the big difference we had made in the night and how she had at first not wanted us to come. She related us to being representatives of him and realized that if Christ had been there would she have wanted him to come? Or would he have been a burden? It changed her. It taught her and she was grateful for the spirit and power we brought into her home helping her boys want to become missionaries and helping her to feel the spirit of love and joy that day. It was sweet.
Members are bringing their friends to church and we are teaching like crazy. We taught an investigator during church, then we taught the young womens and it was really incredible to be with those valiant daughters.
Today we reunite long lost friends through the gospel and that is a miracle in an of itself and I do not have time to write that one it is too long. Needless to say there was a member who brought her friend with her to church 2 years ago. She became a  very active investigator and then fell away from the friendship and form the church and never got baptized. Her life took a pretty hard turn and she went through a lot of trials. We found her and called her and met last night at the members house. We had a lesson about the atonement of Jesus Christ. We shared real experiences and this amazing girl testified of the difference of being with God and trying to be without him. She saw she needs to change and instantly committed to do it and try and hope that god will help her and answer the many questions she has. It was incredible.

 I love being a missionary. We are representatives of the Savior. He loves his people. We are called to gather. God is good. His people need him. And so that is what we get to do every single day. I am so grateful.

I love you all. Have a wonderful week. Keep being amazing.

Cectpa Karren

My girl!

Birthday Fun at the best Cafe ever. The food was soon good!

Yummiest Cafe

Happy Birthday to me. I am 20!

The food was so good I almost cried!

More Birthday Fun

More birthday celebration

Add caption

Investigators met us for my birthday

Alyona and Nazar

Our apartment in Bila

English class



Random Moments I love!

I love this girl!

Selfies :)

Our Sunday walk from church