Thursday, April 28, 2016

gratitude journal

15 things I Am Grateful For:

1. Family and the opportunity to talk every week.  Parents who are supportive.

2. Languages.  I love Russian and I am grateful I can learn it.

3. Sister Packer calling me just because she felt she should to tell me about my new companion.  She and the President felt a very strong impression I needed to give up being a Sister Training Leader (hard to let me go she said) because they needed to put a strong sister with the weakest.  They trust me and know that I can teach this girl to love the work!  That’s a lot of trust.

4. Red tulips from old Ivan Prishepchuk. Red tulips everywhere!!!

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5. Nachos with jalapenos.

6. Dima wrapped up in Sister Young’s blanket she gave him. (I’m broccoli, he’s chicken and she’s soup) :)

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7. Sun and nature – clean fresh air and new grass for spring. #Park Alexandrea

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8. Prishepchuks and Larissa and Roman came and they were all laughing together.  Grateful for good people who support each other. Larissa also chose a testimony as the most important thing over everything else. She is almost already a member.

Some of our AMAZING investigators!

DAYNARA WANTS TO GET BAPTIZED! she is going to have a baby girl. i love these humans. ALL OF THEM SO MUCH!

9. The love I feel for people even if they are sinning – I can still love and learn how to be more Christ like.

10. Teaching lessons. Helping children of God to remember Him!

11. The gift of the Holy Ghost. I feel it and really understand how I feel it and how to use it and refining the ability to recognize and act accordingly.

12. 5 Investigators drove all the way up to Kyiv with us, plus 2 more potentials. WOW- they all LOVED conference.

13. I can understand Ukrainian too.

14. My companion actually does care what I say and when I lift and cheer her on and focus on her she can get through her hard moments.  She is learning the power of hard work, diligence and fighting fatigue!

15. Really starting to get to know my companion.  We even laughed together.  Thank goodness for companion inventory.  I am going to learn a lot and we are going to be friends. I already genuinely love her because I choose to.  She didn’t even nap today or complain about it and we went running in  the morning to get her going.

Cectpa Karren

P.S. This is my hedgehog Ferny who Sister Young and I found in the dark.  We pet him and I love love love Ferny! He is a cutie pie!

This companion is my best friend in the whole world. I love her and miss her and am so grateful for all that she taught me. I am different because of her! GO SISTER YOUNG IN ODESSA! WAHOO! 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Angels to beckon me...NEARER MY GOD TO THEE

Dearest Family,

I am so happy to write! It feels like a very long time since the last time I wrote. This week has been so full! Full of happiness and greatness and change and it has also been one of the saddest weeks I have ever had in my life. But this week I came to understand the Savior in a whole new level. I have learned so much about Jesus. Angels are around us, and we can literally become angels for others. "Angels to beckon me... NEARER MY GOD TO THEE." We are the helping hands of the Savior to bring people nearer unto God. It is a large and daunting task and it is our pleasure to serve with our Savior Jesus Christ. This week I had real moments of pain for the world, for the bad and the hurt and the pain. This week I also felt the glorious reality of the atonement. This week I had moments were I was filled with power from on high to bring a message to the children of God whom I really love so much. There is so much bad in this world. And Christ suffered for it all. SO THERE IS ALSO SO MUCH LIGHT IN THIS WORLD. Let Christ in. Let Him take away your pain and your grief, your sickness and sins. He already TOOK it, so LET HIM! RELY ON THE SAVIOR AND IN HIS MERCY, in His goodness and His glory. I love my Savior more than anything. I want to know Him. I want to be like Him. I miss HIM! Someday I want to return to Him. 

Great things happened this week as well:
We had a rainy day with Stan and he taught us how to make homemade burgers and colorful popcorn balls. 
We had a family home evening with our branch President and his family and we laughed and testified and talked and really felt at home and that was a miracle because it has been hard to get close to them! 
Leisa hasn't smoked at all this week and she is so tough!
Larissa KNOWS she wants to get baptized and that she NEEDS to and to receive the gift of the holy ghost. The Book of Mormon is her strength through a trial of her husband being against that (please pray he can soften his heart and she can get baptized May 21)
Sasha has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, that Joseph Smith is a prophet, that the church is true and that he needs to get baptized. But he still wants to wait. For nothing. But we will give him his time. (MOM I WILL DO YOUR 21 DAY CHALLENGE WITH HIM... good idea thank you!)
We received transfers and Sister Young is going to Tairova Odessa as an STL! Amazing because we have served the same missions completely! Cherkassy, Odessa, Bila just in different orders. I am so excited for her to meet my people down there! And she will be my STL still! Fun fun! 
We got 6 new investigators and families this week! One family is a family of 6 that lives in a one bedroom room that shares a toilet and a kitchen with many others. They are humble and from Moldovia and most of them even as adults cant even read! So we will teach them how to read through the Book of Mormon and it will be amazing! 
So many new investigators and new things! I am a happy missionary. A little bit scared for transfers. I will be here with another sister I do not know well at all and I just love my Sister Young it will be hard but good. I hope. Thank you for all that you do. Please pray for my people. I love you all so much. 

Love you!
Cectpa Karren 

PS: I am coming home in August. Already decided and talked to President and we agreed that it what I should do! Thank you for praying and loving and letting me choose. I love you all a lot. Be good and have a wonderful week! 

A Rainy Day with Stan

Pictures with members in Bila. LAST BACON photos for Sister young ;P

Cute members 
Ukrainian Dress

More Bila members

The missionaries on the left are staying in Bila and the ones on the right are moving on.

This one member really wanted  us to pose by the piano.  Last Sunday together.

Her last Sunday in Bila. A posed picture by Olga. The usual. ;) And she made us sing along to "Hallelujah" for the thousandth time. sO mUcH fUn

Sister young was here for 10 months. I love her guts and am going to miss her.

                                                    Branch President's Family
Natasha, Sister Young, Ivana, Genadi and me

Sunday night

They forced us to eat so much cake.

Cuteness with Ivana

My creepy comp Sister young ;)

Cool hair one of the young women did on me!

Thursday, April 14, 2016



Dearest Family:

I do not have a ton of time but I had an incredible week:

Monday:  We went to the doctors got another ultrasound to check out my stomach! I am so healthy! Wahoo!! We went to the biggest mall in Kyiv and we got some summer stuff and contacted there! We ate at a fun resturant, and we got to see Miadan! IT was incredibly beautiful and humbling to know that there was a war there and everything was destroyed just two years ago.

We then had the opportunity to go together as a companionship and visit with a sweet active mother and her less active daughter. They were special people and they immediately latched onto us and hugged and kissed and loved and we felt the spirit so strong as we read from the Book of Mormon with them. WE just read Christs' words and we testified. They were overwhelmed with the spirit and at the end kept thanking us just thanking us for that spiritual lesson begging us not to leave. The Spirit taught through the Book of Mormon and it was absolutely incredible. All we had to do was testify and they did as well. I know that God loves all his children and he is patiently waiting for us. He understands our trials and our sadness and our doubts. He is so patient and He never unrighteously judges. He is so full of mercy that he only judges us according to our knowledge and desires. We just need to keep trying and he WILL help us. I love that.

-Then we head back to the church to wait for the sisters and to get our bags for the exchange we would have the next day and they did not show up forever. We were locked out and we had no idea where these sisters lived but luckily there was one tiny little room open in the church like the little tiny room and we sat in there and waited while I nursed my bruised knee I got from falling up the stairs at Miadan. IT was funny.

Tuesday: I was in Kyiv with Sister Arnell on our exchange and Sister Young was here in Bila. I was in the office for the day because I was with the office sister. I do not sit well. I was trying so hard to be calm. to just do the work that needed to be done there. I got everything done in 5 minutes and I Was ready to run on the street and get to work. But we had to stay until 5:30........... I tried not to let my discomfort show. So I begged people to give me a job let me do anything. I thought Sister Arnell would not notice my discomfort.. She did. OOOOPS. I just dont think I am made to serve in the office.

Funnies though: President and Sister Packer were out working on this puppet show about the word of wisdom so like brains and stuff and cigrattes and everything and it was everywhere on the ground and they were setting up some easter signs when these 4 people walk up coming from Switzerland to do a temple review and we just had our stuff all over the place. IT was funny and we all laughed but I think it stressed President out!

That night we had a conversation with Sister Arnell and she really opened up. Life is not easy,

 but if we have desires to move forward and to improve ourselves with Christ's help anything is possible. We had an amazing little testimony meeting together and I had thoughts and things come to mind to really help my sister out. It was amazing. God works through us!

Wednesday: FINALLY in the late afternoon got back to my area and so happy to be here! Missed it so badly!

Thursday: Service for Lida with STAN and the elders! We just are helping this sweet neighbor family of sTans. They really want to help this family convert to the gospel. They are very religious 7th day aventists. At the end stan handed us this 10 page talk he wanted us to give to this woman on the spot. My Russian is constantly tested. IT was difficult! But we succeeded. Though they have a few different beliefs and it was a hard lesson she felt the spirit and love and she cried when we said the closing prayer. Wonderful people I know.

Stan is so wondeful and today just told us how grateful he is for the missioanries and all we do for them. We also tuaght his sweet sick mother in law. He told us that if we EVER need anything we come to him. We call and he will help no matter what it is and what we need. His home is ours. I am just so blessed!!!!!

We had a wonderful lesson with sweet Larissa and it was the first time we had met since we set her baptism date of May 21. She is a miracle for me! We taught about honoring the sabbath and it was amazing to see how God taught her in that very moment. Her brain was turning wondering how she is going to be able to do this commandment now in the spring and summer with a mother who lives in the village with a huge garden and the only days she can go help is saturday and sunday. But she wants to obey! It was incredible and I am so excited for her baptism. We bore powerful testimony about life in general in the gospel and she asked us "HOW ARE YOU SO SMART?" She also makes the best food!

Friday: we met witha couple of members. One getting ready for her mission and is still a fairly new convert so we are trying to pump her with spiritual goodness and happiness.

Then another who was having a birthday and just found out her daughter has cancer and is going to die. We went and she made us dinner and we talked and shared a spiritual thought, but mostly she just wanted to give us so much food. She is so sweet. The Ukrainians here have started to tell us they never want us to leave and that their home is our home. It is so sweet. So meaningful!


Saturday: We went to Helping Hands with the members and we picked up sticks and shoveled and dumped sand into grass and burned leaves. WHAT?! It was not very understandable but we did it. So that was good! We had such humble members of the church there and after we walked through the park and finally spring at last. I have never noticed so many details in my life from spring. IT was so beautiful. Every single bud is amazing and the sun is out after so long a winter! YAY! I am a happy missionary.

We have been trying to prepare for this huge lesson we had today and every time we had free time. But it was so hard. It is a "Lesson about how to quit smoking in 15 steps" and it is 30 pages long and in Russian. We prayed so hard before this lesson because it is very strict and serious and this woman really trusted in us and needed our help. Her name is Leisa. The one that we met with last week in a park and was nervous she was sinning because she was going against her church to meet with us? every time I think of her I get this huge feeling from God that she is SO IMPORTANT. I love her to death and want the best for her and we taught this lesson with the Prishepchuk family and it was so incredible. WE DID IT! WE SUCCEEDED and LEISA is going to succeed! It was the best most humbling lesson I have had on  my mission. She said her first prayer in her own words! She got a blessing. She felt so much love from us and this family she was overwhelmed and began to cry. She felt the spirit so strong. She is amazing. And she is going to make it! PLEASE PRAY extra for her this week that she can give up smoking. She never knew God loved her. She was so religious but believed in a God who was angry and wanted to kick her out of her church because she was a sinner and smoked but she now realizes that she is a daughter of God and he loves her and wants to help her change. She realized our religion is one of change. IT is happy and loving and positive and we can change through JESUS CHRIST. I am seeing miracles. I am seeing people change through Christ! I love this!

We then visited this other humble memeber who fed us and told us that if we had not come over she would not have eaten dinner and would just have been alone. it was so sweet and i am so glad that we went to eat and talk to her.

Sunday: We watched General Conference and planned our  next week! Good times :) GLAD TO BE HERE!!!!!

Love you all so much. Praying for you. REVIEW your conference notes please. It was the word of God FOR US. So review it! READ THE BOOK OF MORMON. It is true.

I love you all.

Cectpa Karren

there is one photo included here that sums up ukraine so well i could cry. look carefully through all the details and realize the kind of life i glad i captured this moment. i will explain. there is a man just standing in the background doing his thing. then you come upon the random babooshka with her goats and the little children picking flowers to feed the goat. then you see sister young and this other woman just hugging. and now you understand my life.

|FUN DAY! big fires! lots of service!

Service Day.  We were even on the news in Ukraine.

Sister Young and the little ones

Don't be afraid to get a little dirty!

Great look for our Elders

Dima and his Mom

Helping Hands Service Project

Love my Dima

My Dima and service

Enjoying the sunshine!

Yay for Spring and Sun!


Can I have a baby goat please?!?!

They are so nice and cute!

They put us in this tiny room at the temple to wait and I tried to take a little nap on Sister Young's lap.

Exchanges in Kyiv with Sister Arnell

Running up some stairs and I fell.  Always Special "K". no biggie it is better now! a nice man wanted to come pick me up and carry me up the rest of the stairs when he saw how hard i fell but i said no and i walked

My Kyiv temple

Eating at the Milky Bar. It was so much fun!


More Midan

It was beautiful in Midan

Sister Young and I

I love this country!