Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I Love My People



So basically this week has been incredible and super crazy and busy and stressful and successful.

Monday:  Woke up and bought groceries at 6:00 am. Wrote home at 8:00 am. Found out we were going to be having a mini-missionary with us for the next 4 days. Had a lesson at 11:00 am. Left for the 5-hour horribly-uncomfortable bumpiest longest bus ride of my life to Cherkassy at 2:00 pm. Went to McDonalds in Cherkassy (way tastier in Ukraine, btw). Slept on an uncomfortable couch with three people. In other words we did not sleep. BUT I SAW MY SISTER KOKOREVA AGAIN. I hugged her so tight and I was ready to never let go.

Tuesday:  Woke up at 5:00 am. Started the exchange with the Cherkassy sisters. Sister Young and Sister Kokoreva and Sister Novikova headed back to Bila and they  Went to Larisa's, the invalid that we're not allowed to wash anymore and gave her a spiritual thought. She's amazing. They went to a village to visit our little DIMA!! We had an awesome lesson with him and his awesome now-active mom. :) Went to our investigator's house, also Larisa, and set a BAPTISMAL DATE WITH HER for the 21st of may! Her goal is to read the entire Book of Mormon before she gets baptized. YAY. SHE MIGHT AS WEEL ALREADY BE A MEMBER SHE'S SO INCREDIBLE. But the lesson was hard for her to really decide to set a date but she is doing amazing. Fasted for her today and please pray for her. She is so incredible.
(did you know the almost 100% of the time the reason people go inactive from the church is because they stop reading the scriptures? they really are the iron rod--KEEP READING!)
I stayed in Cherkassy and something incredible happened! It felt so odd to go back to my first area and to be there again. I have changed so much. I am much stronger, but yet I just felt that that city was now sacred ground to me. It was incredible. I got to see people I had worked with and loved with all my heart there. Even the branch President and his wife just "happened" to stop by the church randomly EVEN though they live really far away. It was crazy and amazing to see them and talk to them. He is leaving for Poland for 3 months so it really was a miracle to see them. We all almost cried to see each other and I actually got to talk to them. When I was there before I always pushed myself to talk, but now I could really express what I wanted to say and I could understand them. The gift of tongues is real! I also saw my old branch missionary leader there and it was so amazing. We visited that 91 year old Tamara that changed my life and we taught english with some of the same students from when I was ther. God keeps his work going and I felt the spirit so strong as I served and talked and contacted every person I saw on the street! I love my chance to be a leader and to really try to do all I can to really uplift and help. It is a blessing for me!

Wednesday: We got on a bus and I said goodbye to my Cherkassy and rode for another 5 hours. Finally got back to Bila and honestly I love this city so much. I am so grateful to be here and to serve in this area right now. Today we had a miracle happen! Sister Young and Sister Kokoreva and I met with a muslim woman who's interested in the gospel--that was incredible. Turns out that she lives just right by us and has seen us walking out day after day and wanted to track us down but did not because she was always in her house and did not want to cry from the window! Finally on the way to Cherkassy and we were booking it with our luggage and stuff I stopped to look at this really big bee on the ground and looked up straight into the eyes of this woman. She told us that she wanted to meet with us for some time now and could we please come to her home and tell her about what we believe in and give her a book of mormon. Turns out that her husband and son are muslim and she believes, but has doubts. She told us she believes that Jesus is The SAVIOR. We testified that He is and we then had an amazing restoration lesson and she has started to read the book of mormon. incredible experience and dahsa i mean sister kokoreva testified about the bible and the book of mormon! It was amazing. Then we had a lesson with Sasha, the  investigator who's wife is a member and the relief society president, and also who's been an investigator for a year follows all the commandments, but just can't seem to even pray about baptism. *sigh* Good lesson though. I think he will pray. He really seemed to be different and to be growing and his prayer was actually like a real conversation with god. He told me he wants to follow the will of God and I told him that in order to do that he needs to ask him about it.

Thursday:  Woke up and headed straight to Kyiv for our leadership council. it was amaaziing!!! I love our President. Also, we now know for a fact that Sister Young and I won't be serving together next transfer. President 'let that slip' meaning 'told us what we needed to know' and said that he needs to split us up so he can have our influence on more missionaries. I wonder where I'll be headed on April 20th. hmm. Then we headed back home from Kyiv and went straight over to the Mother-Daughter activity that, yes, Sister Young and I set everything up by ourselves because who needs to ask for help? It turned out to be the AWESOMEST thing ever, everyone loved it, and now they know that yes, you should always wear your garments, and yes, your skirts should be to your knees, and yes, your Heavenly Father loves you and yes, you should be tight-knit and love one another and never judge each other. They loved it all. it was awesome. I am so grateful for moments like these on my mission. Then we went home and our mini-missionary kept us up until midnight while she was trying to make fries and, once again, a mayonnaise salad. (where did that horrible idea even come from?)

Friday:  Woke up at 5:00. WE 'pranked' repeatedly Sister Young, by me and mostly by Sister Kokoreva. (back story-my famliy is a hard-core April-Fools go-all-out-on-jokes family.) So my idea was to open our front door and then hide in this genius hiding spot so that when sister young wokie up, she just thought someone had taken them, BUT it didn't work because our mini-missionary is only 17 and decided to put toothpast all over sister young, her towel, squirt mayonnaise all over the floor in front of the bedroom door, hang a slipper from the ceiling, and scatter water everywhere. most of her pranks werne't even pranks. but that's ok--it was an adventure-some morning:). Then we took her to teh bus stop at 7:00 am to go back to Cherkassy. Then we went home and prepared our pranks for the elders (we made them cry actually) and, yes, for Stan. Because on Firday April 1st, we went out to do some service with Stan. How could fate have treated us better. SO. We prepare SO much stuff and wait at the bus stop for the bus to pull up (the elders are already on the bus). so we get on, and we've been staring at the sun for some time and fake crying, so when we get on the bus we actually look like absolute death, we really got into character. the elders are a little worried. we have to stand because no seats are open, so sister young climbs her way over to the elders, half crying but 'trying to pull myself together' and says, 'elder's, I need your help. Today is Sister Karrens last day in Ukraine and we need to be really happy so that today is an awesome day for her. We went to the doctors' while we were in Kyiv yesterday, and she's been having trouble with her stomach and needs to go home where the doctors can take care of her." That was our rouse...and the elders bit SO HARD it was SO SAD. that was the longest 45-minute bus ride of my life and we SO wanted tjo tell them we're sorry, it's just a joke, because they were tearing up but trying so hard to keep it toether, and FINALLY we get off the bus and we're behind the elders so we just run up behind them  and just DUMP our water bottles over their heads and shout, "APRIL FOOLS!!!" IT WAS EPIC and they were just a little angry. hehe. good times. really though, they took it so good--they ended up laughing:) Then we do service for an awesome lady in Stan's village, then on the way to Stans we're telling the elders our plan of pranking Stan in Russian because he doesn't understand Russian, and so we were all ready when he stopped the car, we jumped out and just started toilet parpering Stan and it was hiolarious because he just stood there and took it like a man SO FUNNY and then the goats started eating the toilet paper--it was just a good time. :) Then we ate with Stan and his family and gave Baba Anna (Recent convert) our spiritual thought. Then after Stan drove us back to the bus stop to go back to Bila and we got out our socks filled with flour and covered them with tons of flour--it was awesome. The bus ride home was a lot funner than the bus ride out. :) Then when we got home all of our lessons canceled, which was sad, but we got to study 'yay'.

Stan took it like a man!

April Fools

Saturday:  Woke up. went to District Meeting. Went to a meeting with a less active that said that the reason she went less active was because everyone at church was spreading rumors that she was talking bad about the church which she says is not true she loves church. So she stopped coming. Don't talk about people. Don't gossip. We talked a bit about gossip in our leadership counsel and honestly, guys, it's just a sin. it's not nice. it's not fun. it's a rude habit that seems harmless, but it's just not from God. Get rid of it. I cried because I felt so awful for this sweet woman. Then we went to English practice, which was SUPER fun because lately we've had two groups because more people are coming so we teach the beginners, and it's SO FUN I could see myself teaching foreign people english at some point in my life--it's just fun, and people try really hard. it's cool. Then we went to the Tovmash's, and Lena Tovmash, the one with 5 kids, made sister young and I into Indian princesses randomly and fed us green borsch which was good but at the end she told us there was just a little bit of stinging neddle in it. She needed some help in knowing that God's taking care of her--she felt a lot better after our meeting. She is lovely. Then we met with Nazar and Alyona, our 11-year-old and 8-year-ols investigators who's dad is a member and has a wooden leg and a new girlfriend now (yay!) almost set a baptismal date, but Nazar needs time to think. He's a smart boy--he's taking it seriously. I'm proud of him. :) Today we fasted for them too!

Sunday:  Went to church because we had a lot to plan and figured it's be better to be at church first and plan there. Turns out no one cleaned this week, so insted of planning important things we cleaned the church. :) BUT church was amazing and we had 6 investigators there. God's just good--and he's helping these people so much. Then we went out to the village to visit our Dima again, and he's just got an unbelieveable amount of faith. I'm not kidding--he's been chosen before this life to be in the place that he is right now, because he is so incredibly strong, he will be a future leader of the church here in Ukraine. I just love him so much!

There was a woman we had a lesson with on Monday who is Russian Orthodox. When we met with her, she said she didn't know if she was sinning by investigating our church and having questions. We had an amazing first lesson, but she said that after words she still had doubts. But then throughout the rest of the day, she just felt so much warmth, love, and happiness--she said it was the happiest best day she's had in a long time. and she said she knew it was from God--it was a sign that she's doing the right thing. she even wanted to testify about it at testimony meeting today! she was at church today and she's jsut awesome. :) We are going to help her quit smoking if we can just learn the whole 1 and a half hour program in Russian.... I love these people so much. Even the random people on the buses that i don't even get to talk to--they're just so amazing and kind and loving and amazing and I can't get over how much i love Ukraine. :)

Anyway, I'm on tonight because tomorrow at like 5:00 we're going to Kyiv so I can go see the doctor for real this time and just get a check up, and then we're going to spend the day in Kyiv getting some summer things. Then we're gonna start our exchange with the Kyiv sisters, and start another week without taking a break WHY DOES STRESS AND RUNNING NEVER END we literally haven't had an actual normal P day in about 4 weeks. What's that scripture again about not running faster than you have strength..?? we will learn that eventually.

I love you all so much! I am learning and loving and having so much fun at the same time. Pray for my people and know that I am praying for all of you! I love you all so much! have a wonderful week and remember to pray everyday and thank god for all your blessings!
I hope you guys have a great week, and I'm praying for you all a lot! have a great week and remember to read your scriptures and pray! GOD LOVES YOU. I KNOW BECAUSE I FEEL IT.

All my love to you,
Cectpa Karren


Sleepover with my mini missionary Dasha


We have been able to do so many things this week! I got to go back to my first AREA!!! Cherkassky!



Bila with Dasha

Fun with Sister Kokareva

Fun with mini!

I love your face Dasha!

Kyiv visit with Dasha

I love these sister of mine lots and lots

I love my sister!


So fun, bonding, and spiritual

Love these Sisters

APRIL FOOLS day began at 5am with a wonderful prank from me and Sister Tokareva

After Pranks we did service - it was a good day. 

We said goodbye to Sister Tokareva who I love so much.
 So one of the members we visited really wanted to do our hair...
This woman is amazing and this is what happened to us when we visited her. LOL...DYING!!!

Im a Princess

Is this a good look for me?

It was such a funny moment.  We were like what in the world should we do but she really wanted to dress us up and do our hair so we sat there and took it. ;)

Too funny!


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