Monday, August 1, 2016

learning to love the hard things

How do I start this email?

I think Satan has it out to get me and my companion. I think maybe it is because I am trying to pass the torch on? Because soon I leave this wonderful place and these wonderful people and pass them all on to this brand new sister of mine. I think Satan thinks he is going to win. But he cant. Because we have Jesus on our side.

Let me give you the quick version of my "you know what week".

We had an incredible meeting with President Packer and Dima and Daynara. She is all in the clear to have her baby any time. She wanted to hang on and be patient and wait for her baby for a couple weeks because she wanted to get baptized first. President Packer is a master teacher. He just spoke with the spirit and answered all of Dimas questions and concerns based on all the lessons intertwined together and all from the Book of Mormon. Even ADD Dima sat still and just listened as president spoke. We all were in awe. Daynara cried the whole time and is so ready to get baptized. Dima is getting there and has now energetically and enthusiastically committed to read the book of mormon everyday. President Packer made is so personal and so fun. It was the best lesson I have ever seen. My new life goal is to become a master teacher of the gospel like my mission President. Daynara and Dima wanted to get baptized in 2 weeks from now. Dima needs to quit smoking but we believe that he can. They want Stan Barton to baptize them.

So after the amazing lesson with our amazing progressing investigators Satan thought he could get us. The night before everything blew up in our face though, we were inspired to sleep in our sweats. Weird right? We just thought oh we have an exchange and we will need to run out in the dark and pick up our sisters from the train so lets just sleep in sweats so we will be ready to go outside. We got our sisters, and then went to bed. The next morning my companion woke up at about 4 am. It was the 6th day she had not been able to go to the bathroom and her body was having spasms and she was in so much pain and her body was attempted to reject everything. At about 5:30 I realized we needed to get her to the hospital. Ukrainian hospitals are a bit, well, different than American ones. We got a taxi and we headed there as fast as we could. Sister Baker is a trooper. She barely made it there and she could not even stand just dropped to her knees and was reeling into a plastic bad. It was hard for me to see. She is so tiny and her whole body just shakes.
We got her to the hospital and they began to take care of her. it was a long process and a lot of Russian. I cant explain to you all that happened that day or all I saw and all I had to. We bought every last thing down to the IV tube to pump her stomach and the toilet paper so she could go to the bathroom and the spoon and bowl for the "free" soup (water with carrots). I ran all over that hospital. I had to be strong. There was no soap in the bathroom and just small squatty potties and the rooms they put patients in are filthy. But I think we may have gotten the cleanest room in all of the hospital. Blessing. There were other struggling people staying in our room and you know what? We got really close to Babooshka Olya and sweet Zhenya. There is no privacy there though. It was an interesting experience. And after a day of running around and trying to help my cute sister (it was a blessing that it was her first transfer and I could be with her to translate everything so that they never took her away from me). My stay with your companion rules were a bit different that day as I ran all over all by myself. Also we have the best elders in the whole world. They took care of us even down to using their last money for the month to buy me food. I found out when they were walking literally everywhere because they did not have money for a bus. They saved us. We have good people here and everyone was calling to make sure everything was ok. I was praying we could leave that night but fate did not want that.
So we stayed the night in that hot scary hospital. They gave my comp some shots and she began to sleep. The ladies in our room had to fight for a bed for me because there was one empty and they did not want me to sleep in the chair but I was not going to leave Sister Bakers side. I cried as a lady came in and yelled at me to sleep in the chair. Finally the sweet woman convinced her I needed to sleep on the bed. We are two little girls in a far away place and we just wanted our moms and I just wanted a bed. I got one in the end and laid there wide awake all night with the light from the hallway streaming into my face and the nurses chatting and yelling and listening to music all through the night right outside our door. The woman in the room moaned and hurt all night long and I was so cold with nothing but my t-shirt and sweat pants to sleep in and no blanket. Needless to say I did not sleep. But I did not cry again. Elder England prayed so that I would not be scared. It helped. The next day I was so excited because she felt so much better and we were going to get to leave! I thought. but I think they just wanted more money or something. They came in at 5 am and jabbed shots into sister baker and then smashed her stomach around and came to the conclusion that maybe the NEXT day we could leave that dark place. I almost lost my mind. we were not prepared to do this! We had no food, we had no clean clothes and I was losing my mind of boredom. So what happened next was, President Packer came down with sister Packer. They brought a native for backup and they had to literally BREAK US out of the looney bin. It took several hours. But we finally made it home safe.

Back to our house that the sisters had been staying in that came for the exchange that did not happen. They came and went without us really seeing them. It is ok. The Lord did it all for a reason.

Anyway, when we went home our apartment was infested with bugs. INFESTED. So that was the second part of this week that was interesting. We are packing up the ENTIRE house that people have lived in for years and years and left all their junk behind. We have to clean it all and seal everything up so that not even one bug gets in our we will continue to be infested with these creepy little flying bug things that when you kill turn black or just have black ash inside of their bodies. Our apartment is COVERED in them. We will be getting sprayed so we are busy packing ALL THE TIME instead of doing all the stuff I wanted to do in my last 3 weeks! It is ok. God has a different plan I guess.

ANYWAY I have to include a miracle of the week. DAYNARA went into labor at 1 am Sunday night. Sweet Sasha texted me So I could pray. I could not sleep for 2 hours and honestly it was a great time to just talk to my Father in Heaven. After being in the hospital for almost 2 days this week I was better prepared to understand what Daynara meant every time she would go to the hospital and she was just so scared. I prayed fervently for her. For Dima and for the doctor to be kind and take good care of her. I prayed that although she would not have clean crisp sheets to lay in that she would feel peace that she would not suffer much and that she would feel the spirit during this moment of hard work on earth to get another child of God down here. I could not sleep after that for a long time. I cried thinking maybe she will not get baptized before I leave. I repented a lot. I worked on getting closer to Christ and being humble and remembering that I am not perfect, I am nothing.

Sunday morning I just felt discouraged. Even though last night I had a come what may moment with God. There is just so much going on outside of my control and I leave in 3 weeks and I am so scared and we cant do all that I want to right now because everything around me is falling apart. Not the Daynara having a baby thing but everything else. I prayed and then I started to study. God really opened up the scriptures to me today and then I began to read Jesus the Christ. I realized that I needed to follow more closely the example of those special 12 witnesses that preached the gospel in Christs' time on the earth. They left EVERYTHING behind. They did not worry. They did not fear. They did not worry about themselves or anything. They just WENT and were honored to suffer shame for Christs' name. I love them an their example! I want to be that in my last 3 weeks. COME WHAT MAY AND LOVE IT. I am trying to do what the lord wants me to do. and then no matter the result I will know that I did enough.

ALREADY at church we got the news that Daynara gave birth to a baby girl. Right at 11 am when church started her precious angel came from our Father in heavens presence and was born to sweet loving parents Dima and Daynara. I am so happy I could cry. a miracle just happened. I am still in Ukraine for it. I got to be a part of it all. I got to help people change and I got to help prepare them- I got to share my testimony and invite them to act and change and now this baby is coming to a family that will be in the gospel. Daynara can not wait to get baptized. She will receive the blessings of the gospel. They are so ready. I know that Dima and Daynara will get baptized. A year later they will be sealed together as husband and wife and daughter for all time and all eternity. I feel chills to know that I did something to help them. I did something to see my Saviors atonement work in their lives. They are my brother and sister. I am the luckiest. What a privilege I have had. GOD IS SO GOOD! I am so happy.

I love you all. I want you to know I know the gospel is true, and come what may, we can do all things with Christ.
I will keep taking the challenges on. I am learning  to love the hard things, and to rely more on my Savior. He does EVERYTHING. I love him so much. I love you all too.

Cectpa Karren

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Our helpers Sister Packer and President

Sister Baker

Our Elders are the best!

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