Friday, May 27, 2016

we are all learning how to walk

May 23, 2016

When I was younger and learning how to walk my parents gave me one of those baby walkers I could hold onto to keep me up. I loved it and would confidently walk all the way across the room and suddenly reach the other side by smashing my little walker into the wall. And that is where it would all go down hill. I could not figure how to turn myself around and keep walking, so that was the end. I would cry and continually bash my walker into the wall- wanting to keep walking but with an obstacle I just could not overcome in my path. My parents would lovingly come over and put me back in the center of the room. I would start walking again only to AGAIN reach another wall and smash into it. There was a wall in my way no matter what. Pretty soon when I had done this several times and each time being placed back into the center of the room by loving parents- I figured out that no matter where I would walk I would run into a wall. So standing in the middle of the room; I STOPPED WALKING.
I would not move in any direction because I knew I was going to eventually run into a wall. I think that is a very interesting concept. I was ready to give up because even though I was already standing in the center of the room AND knew how to walk with my walker, I knew I was going to run into an obstacle at some point.
Do we as children of God sometimes do this? Do we distance ourselves from our true destination and potential because we know that along our path of learning how to walk to God, we will hit walls and obstacles? Are we too stubborn that when we do hit those obstacles we give up instead of looking to God to help us turn around and keep going? Or are we all together too stubborn and even refuse to start to move from the center of the room- to progress because we know it will just be hard later?
We should not give up. We should not be too stubborn to learn. sooner or later we need to learn how to walk even with obstacles facing us in the future. We have to walk it is just a part of life!
I eventually did learn how to walk. With the patience and love of good parents who never gave up- I could still learn and progress.
But how much simpler, faster, and happier it would have been to have been less stubborn and just continue to walking! We all have a loving Heavenly Father and Savior watching over us and teaching and coaching us so that we can learn to walk. Yes, there will be obstacles and He sees them just like my parents saw the upcoming walls. He can not just move the walls (obstacles) out of our way because they are essential for our learning. However God is always ready to help us through those obstacles- to turn us around, help us back up, dry our tears, so that we do not get completely stuck and so that we CAN KEEP ON GOING. But only if and when we choose to walk forward.
So I want to be more flexible and teachable so that the Lord can help me and teach me without my sometimes overbearing stubbornness. He is a good heavenly Father. We need to let Him teach us how to walk to Him! He really does know the way!

I just wanted to tell you a little bit more about Daynara our pregnant adorable investigator! Daynara is fruit. She is everything any missionary could DREAM to be a part of. And I get the privilege of helping her forward on a path she has been on with God for a very long time. I just get to witness this miracle! She is the person I have prayed my whole mission to meet! At first we did not even know how much she has really changed through the atonement of Christ. She is opening up more and more and it is ever more clear how the gospel really does change us wholly and completely IF WE LET IT! I dreamed of being a witness of that. I know I asked a lot form God on my mission but I just dreamed to see an adult with set traditions and habits who really fully comes unto Christ and lets Him better them through His infinite atonement. Someone from scratch. I found that person! It is Daynara for me. She is changing and coming closer to the Savior everyday. We are doing it together enriched in the Spirit! I can not help but wonder how well I knew her in the pre mortal life. All I know is I am THEE LUCKIEST PERSON to know her now. i love her with all my heart. It is an amazing feeling to get to feel Gods love for her sometimes come through me as well. She is incredible. She is a gift from God! She is my Sister! And the Atonement really is the greatest miracle there ever was.

I love you all! have a great week! Sorry I do not have more time I have much more I would  like to say!!!!! HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK. Don't forget to talk to God, He really is the best.

Love you!
Love Cectpa Karren

This is Valerii we are trying to help him reactivate!

An amazing family from Moldovia.  They gave us their entire kitchen of food. I know God will bless them!
Daynara is in the black dress and her best friend Dasha is in the green.  She introduced her to the gospel


Thursday, May 19, 2016

ukraine is my home.

May 16, 2016

THIS WEEK WAS MY 1 YEAR in UKRAINE! I spent the day back in Tairova Odessa with my best friend and sister, Sister Young. Seeing her was like a breath of fresh air and we laughed and smiled more that day then I have in weeks. It was like a giant gift from God on my year mark in Ukraine! I felt like I came home! I love my Taiorva. It honestly was really amazing to see that I really indeed made a difference there, because when I was there sometimes I really doubted it. I SHOULD HAVE doubted less!! and just loved more. We met with so many wonderful people and members and less actives and re-actives and investigators. But the best part of all was that my family of investigators I taught down there ALL got baptized this Saturday. That is truly the biggest blessing. They followed their Savior and now get to endure to the end and be together! ALSO I got to see Danya. Remember the little boy that got baptized 3 days after I left Odessa? We got to see him and he hugged me so much and would not let go. We gave them a spiritual thought and he was testifying about Christ saving us and he said, "Christ wants to save all of us, but especially Karren." It was so cute.My heart absolutely melted. I told him sorry I could not be at his baptism and he told me that I was there in spirit and he felt my love. I love that little boy and his brother. His brother has gone inactive but committed to go to church. He wants to feel the Love of Christ again in his life. SO MUCH JOY!

My Sister Young!


We got caught in the rain!

MY SISTER YOUNG! We are so wet!

MY SWEETEST DANYA In THE WHOLE WORLD. he kills me. just look at him!!!!! 

One of my favorite families that is so so strong!

Vlad and Danya

Daynara is rapidly progressing and I love her with my whole heart! Her husband is now on lessons with us and is learning and praying with her. This is a real miracle because he was NOT religious and NOT interested earlier but is really changing a whole lot! They have a little disagreement about baptizing their baby that is going to be born in August. Daynara understands that she does not want to baptize the baby because it does not count, but it is tradition and Dima wants to. They will work it out. Something I am loving is how much the spirit is able to speak through me. I love teaching so much and I really feel that God has given me a gift to be able to do that. I LOVE TEACHING SO SO MUCH. I love it when I can see that they felt something and are going to change and going to take on commitments and come closer to Christ. It is the best feeling in the world!

English/cookies after English class because we had a FIELD TRIP!

Larissa can not get baptized this Saturday like planned. She is ready but we cant have it because her husband is so against it that he told her he will start drinking alcohol again if she gets baptized. It broke my heart for her. It is not right. But even with a trial of her faith she believes in miracles and in the fact that eventually he will let her get baptized. She is fasted and I did too and she will do all the things members do until she can get baptized. She is an amazing example!

President received revelation for all of the missionaries. We should read the Book of Mormon cover to cover before the apostle Elder Ballard gets here! I love President and his revelations and I think this is spot on and awesome and will really spiritually strengthen us and ready us and bring us closer together and to the lord! So I am in 2 Nephi and we have had just 2 days of this challenge so far! Elder Ballard and the whole Eastern European Presidency is coming on June 10-12. AMAZING RIGHT?

Great week and we will continue forward. I love you and miss you all! LOVE
Cectpa Karren

Family Home Evening Veriniki making!

I broke my fast. JK - we just really needed to take out the trash.

Saying Goodbye to the wonderful Callisters (office couple) whom I love soooooo much!

My family of investigators from Odessa got baptized. The little girl in purple was baptized a couple weeks ago. Such a huge blessing. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

book of mormon

THIS WEEK I FINISHED THE BOOK OF MORMON IN RUSSIAN. What a blessing to have had the opportunity to read the truest book on the earth in another language. And the most amazing part?! I understood it all. It even sometimes meant MORE. I learned so much from reading it aloud in Russian. It is absolutely beautiful and I know that she is true. It really is my absolute favorite book and it is our guide home to our kind Heavenly Father. I love Him too! He is wonderful to give us so much guidance and love everyday in our lives! Every single page in the book of Mormon is filled with power and wisdom from on high. I learn so much from her each day. The Book of Mormon is TRUE and I know that every time I open her. How lucky are we to have her? She is another testament of our Lord and Savior our older brother, our advocate and our redeemer and best friend. I want to read and read and read her and just really know her. In English and Russian and maybe even in Ukrainian. I would like to read the Book of Mormon again in Russian by the end of my mission. I think I could read it faster now that I have done it once. ;)

This week was a good tough one! The best part was getting to talk to my sweet family on Mothers Day! MOMS out in the world? I AM SOOOOO GRATEFUL FOR YOU. Thank you for giving us life and support and happiness every single day. You are so important and I am so grateful for you. Someday my goal is to be as good as a mom as my mom is. Even since I was little that was my dream: to be a mom! It is the best calling and job and responsibility from on HIGH. All of the moms that I know have been examples and love for me! Thank you for your light and love and just for everything that you do! I love you! Especially you mom. You are my favorite in the whole wide world!!!

Sister Bairett with her violin


Dima and his plan of salvation


Have a wonderful week!
Cectpa Karren
I love tulips

A cool church in Ukraine
I want to wear this badge forever!
Ukraine in Spring
Some baptisms in the cold cold river this week. Amazing!

Members baptizing their children

 such a special day.
This branch is the very best!  In all of Ukraine ;)

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

mission pics bila tserkva

Stan calls us the BLONDE BOMBSHELLS

This is Dan the Dog

This was a really cute dog until he ate me. All up and down my arms and legs. But still cute. 


English class where we talked about the garden of eden and the creation of people. they all drew this wonderful picture. it was so fun and they are the cutest! I am so thankful for them

 At Stans' our job was to find trees and turn them into marshmallow sticks so we could roast marshmallows.

Big Fire Grandma

WE take our marshmallow roasting seriously. "BIG FIRE GRANDMA." sorry sister young you missed out on the fire. Stan felt bad that the PYRO could not be there with us  ;)

I LOVE Stan!  He told me I am like a daughter to him!

we got these baby sticks and he was like ohhhhh no that will not do. you are going to die from the heat. so i had a small tree. 10 feet long and it was killer!!!!! still so hot! Stan told me at church I am like a daughter to him. I could have cried. It was something I needed to hear. 

Just a little firewood for our "SMALL" Fire!

Valentina had to go home a little early but Larissa was an amazing missionary. We visited her last week and as we walked out I had a thought come into my head: TAKE THEM TO PREACH THE GOSPEL and I thought how?! Then another thought. Do a book table near there house. We lugged heavy boxes and a table from the church all the way to her house and then the elders went and got Larissa and Valentina and brought them to the table and we contacted everyone and gave away 10 books of mormon and they testified! It was really so amazing. Larissa is such a good sport and is always happy. She loves being in the sunlight like I do. They never get to leave their houses. It was incredible and GUESS WHAT? 
Larissa told me after she has been praying for a long time that God would inspire us to take them preaching with us. And the Holy Ghost told me! I love the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It was an amazing day. 

My Larissa

Member Proselyting

My new companion Sister Bairett