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


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