Thursday, December 22, 2011

Week 44

Hey family! Merry Christmas!!!

Well, our wards are finally getting around to recognizing it is the holiday season-we walked into our building yesterday and it was more than satisfactorily decorated :) and we have our ward Christmas parties on Friday and sat night. Other than that no big plans for Christmas. Saturday we have plans to go to an active member's place and make gingerbread houses :) i couldn't have Christmas without that tradition :) we'll probably do them graham cracker style, but its the best we can do here.

This week we had fun? maybe. Transfer week. Lots of switching and sharing companions as everything was trying to get figured out. 14 missionaries left the mission on wed and we got 4 on Thurs. i can't imagine how much fun the office had figuring that one out. biggest consequence is that one of our wards is without elders. eh. that's okay. it just means they'll have to love us more. Thursday we had a big mission conference with elder/president Bennett of the area presidency? maybe. i can't keep all the general authorities straight here. It was inspiring. but im still trying to figure out all the revelation and events from the passed few weeks-zone conference on being discouraged, my 'emergency' interview with president and the counsel he gave me, and the help we are getting from our members. its almost like all the personal attention and counsel is shining brighter than the general missionary advice we were given at the conference. but that's okay. i'll take personal revelation over that any day. I'm just grateful heavenly father loves me. isn't that the best knowledge ever? i know god loves me because i can feel it. it is the reason i can have confidence each day. it is the reason i am not only waiting for the second coming of Christ but working toward it. its kinda the reason im still out here living the gospel.

Saturday night was another "celestial reunion" we went to a stake activity to pass an investigator to some other sisters and i got to see everyone from our old ward. i'll attach a pic of me with sis Biesinger with some of our favorite RS sisters. they were shocked her and i are serving together again.

the stake activity was a play about the birth of Christ...yeah Christmas.

if there is anything i could beg of all of you back home it is to not get caught up in the stress of Christmas. being on a mission we don't have a lot of resources to do much else besides spiritually celebrate the birth of Christ...and i am ever so grateful i don't have the worldly expectations of Christmas getting in the way. Share the spirit of Christmas through the spirit of Christ-the holy ghost-your testimonies. that kind of love -the love of God that i just talked about above is the most eternally giving gift you can give.

i love you!!!
sister little

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Week 43

Dear family and friends,
yes you probably noticed my last few emails have been quite depressing. it happens. but finally some relief of the burdens came this week. we had zone conference, life changing conversations with senior couples, were able to go to the temple, had exchanges, had testimony meeting, and interviews with ...all good, spiritually uplifting experiences. i can give a little more details about each of these things in the short time i have left...

zone conf
he spent the first hour of the conference talking about discouragement (exactly what i needed some counsel on). more helpful has been a few Holland talks he has sent us to read..i'll attach one so you can read it too....this one is def something i needed to hear. i think i wrote last week that the spirits of the devil are more visible than the light of the gospel...and that really had been so true right now and this talk addresses just that. way good timing
senior couples

we ran into a senior sister here helping with institute-so we see her pretty often since our building also is the institute building. we told her a little bit about how we've been struggling with discouragement and desire and how we feel this heaviness around us. she said she has felt the same way too the past couple weeks. she said it had gotten so bad she asked her husband for a blessing because the dark mist in front of her was so real, she felt she could cut a knife through it. as i heard this, i thought, "no! not you too!" and realized Satan is working HARD here to get anyone he can. i just wanted to give her a hug and tell her that she is making a difference her and that god is really supporting her in her work! and in that moment when i wanted to consol her, my worries flew out the window and i realized i need to be happy to help lift other people. we also talked about how we were sent here at this time on earth probably because of how violently we fought in the war in heaven. and how heavenly father expects us to fight just as hard and valiantly now like we did then...its going to be hard. that's why he sent us here at this time. (we did deliver flowers to this sister later in the week to help lift her and thank her)

the group from whatever country canceled their trip so the temple wasn't too busy, so we were allowed to go. i went wed morning. ehem. and wed night. ;) wed morning so my companion could have a chance to go (otherwise she wouldn't be able to b/c of exchanges the rest of the week), then we all switched companions on wed afternoon for sisters exchanges and wed night a couple was going through the temple for the first time who i helped teach. they were baptized a year ago and i became pretty close to them in my last area, so i got to be there for them to receive their endowment. they were sealed on sat but i couldn't go. that's okay. it was an amazing experience. as we arrived to the temple on wed morning a thick fog had settled in the city so much so that you couldn't see anything 10 feet in front of you. as we walked toward the temple, we had to walk through the temple grounds gate before we could see the temple. when we came out of that session, the fog had cleared up and the temple was as visible as ever....Symbolic? i say so. the temple helped clear my mind so much. i took pictures of the contrasting view but i forgot my cord, so i'll send them next week.

always good to break things up. what did i learn most? i can survive on my Russian but i need to pick back up the study. i was with a sister in her 2nd transfer and realized that i could get us around, if i am ever with a companion who knows less Russian than me...i really need to know Russian. so it was a good boost to motivate me to hit the books.

testimony meeting
i didn't really want to testify but realized that means i probably need to do it to make sure i still have the spirit. i testified on the power of prayer. recently our mission pres has asked us to pray with people we contact on the street to help them feel the spirit and accept the invitation to learn more. definitely uncomfortable...awkward, but we tried it. the first lady we did this with was names janna. she was super nice, receptive, and interested. we told her we are here as missionaries to serve people and to teach truth and help people feel gods love through prayer. and then we prayed. simple. while she expressed a desire to learn more, we haven't been able to meet with her. we keep weekly phone contact though. well this week we ran into on the street again. and you know what she said to us?...oh girls life is just so hard? can we say another prayer right now? so we said another prayer with her on the so cool she believed in the power of prayer enough to REQUEST it of us on the street as everyone is walking passed us, cars driving by, etc, so i called all the members to say prayers with their friends and your faith in prayer!

and interview with pres.
my comp and i requested interviews to get some direction. i wont go into too much detail....due to time...but he gave me a blessing. i cried even after he suggested that he wouldn't let me leave without receiving a blessing from him. Just the power of the priesthood, the protection and comfort we can receive from ever so grateful and couldn't do this mission with it. or the blessings of the temple.
thank you for all your prayers and concern for me. i hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!!!
sister kylie little

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Week 42

This passed week we did celebrate thanksgiving too-we gathered almost as a full district-6 of us. we each contributed some kind of food-in all we had rice, chicken, ham (more like bologna), rolls, salad, and mashed potatoes. then each companionship had to make a dessert they had never made before-we had apple pie, a banana cream pie, and brownies. and some one made root beer but forgot to tell me to add the extract back to the sparking it didn't really gain my favor. turkeys are really unheard of here, so we knew we wouldn't be so lucky to have one. then each person or companionship had to share a talent. my companion and i did a cute skit making fun of the elders in our district then i taught everyone how to make duct tape flowers-they don't really have duct tape here, i just found a huge roll of it in our apt a couple weeks ago so decided to use it.
yesterday we had two women come to church -one is a friend of a member and another just found the church online and came by herself. they were good blessings and maybe some potential is there to teach them.
tomorrow is zone conference-a long awaited one, and then this week we have sisters exchanges.

i can definitely see how we really learn and grow on missions. many instances lately my patience has been tried beyond a level i can cope with. and i can feel my heart stretching in my chest as i endure these moments-like the grinch when his heart grows in charity. its kinda painful. but i guess a physical sign that i am stretching my limits and growing. i try to pray to have my heavenly father close, but most of the times the angels of the devil are more visible than the light of the gospel. but i know there is a light somewhere. just need to keep serving.

i love you all, i hope you have a great week!! on into December!!!
sister little

heres pics from my bday district meeting-when i got, yes, a bag of mashed potatoes and watermelon gum. there are a few extra elders in there who aren't in our district but still way awesome. the short one is our favorite georgian. and the other dark elder is from peru-called russian speaking but now speaking ukrainian and serving as a branch president here in western ukraine. they all are awesome. the other pic is from thanksgiving-us and our duct tape roses.

Week 41

Hey, i don't have much time this week, but i wanted to make sure i write to tell you all thank you for the cards, warm wishes, and beautiful thoughts!!! Having a birthday on a mission is really tough, but you helped make it so much better :) i hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving with friends and family...and really count your blessings. here and im sure there, a lot of lessons have been on "preparing for the second coming" "the second coming" "preparing for the millennium" and the "millennium" and talk about how repetition really makes you think about all of this, the whole purpose of life and the gospel. i am so grateful i have the knowledge that i have about my heavenly father, about my role and purpose on this earth and the importance of families and service. I know Heavenly Father lives. I know He loves us. And i know He will always be there for me.

i love you all ! miss you like crazy!!!
sister little

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dear family and friends...

yep, its the time of year where it is just plain cold and dark, haven't seen the sun for awhile. but, the Lord's work still moves forward!!

last Monday night i got a phone call from the elders in the next district over-"hey, sister little! do you remember a 'valery' you met at the temple awhile ago, you and sister zanger sat him down and had a lesson with him and gave him a book of Mormon right there in the waiting room at the temple?" yes. "well, he is getting baptized! tomorrow! and he still remembers that meeting and what it meant for him and he want you to be at the baptism and say the closing prayer!" Okay! no problem. wow. that's so cool to see the result of such a small coincidence. I think i wrote a little bit about it, but about three months ago when i was with sister zanger we were having weekly planning on a Friday and realized the temple would be closed for two weeks, so we called president to get permission to go the next day, Saturday morning (missionaries aren't really allowed in the temple on Saturdays because its a big day for people of other countries to come in)...anyway, he said, "sure, go. if you think it will help you get more baptisms" ha. i could sense a slight bit of sarcasm in his voice when he said that, but we went anyway...and look. Ha! a baptism!! We met valery as we were about to leave the temple, had a lesson with him right there with a temple worker with us, all in white. it was way cool. normally i wouldn't give a copy of the book of Mormon to someone right when i first meet a person, but in that moment i felt inspired to give him one, but with my small doubt i told him, "im not going to give you this book if you're not going to read it. Are you going to read it? Promise?"...and we passed his name and phone number to the elders in his area and went on our way. Surprise! baptism! very cool.

And the wedding...
so its really cool ive been noticing how the work and needs of the wards change just slightly with transfers, different missionaries etc. The work has been slow in these wards, but we were blessed to have a girl move into the ward boundaries who i really saw as someone who needed our attention. The story starts with paul who got baptized in Odessa almost a year ago. he met yulia on line, moved to donetsk to help her find the church, she also got baptized, and the next day moved here to Kiev. When i heard this a couple weeks ago and met here, i really had a feeling of duty to make sure she gets situated in the ward, has the lessons again, and most importantly has friends at church. Agree? how precious she is not to get lost at this moment. Well we finally had a meeting with her on last Sunday to just answer any questions in general she had about the church. Her biggest question: When and where can i get a temple recommend? Yes!!! she gets it too!! her boyfriend, Paul, has done a great job in helping her understand the gospel. She also slightly mentioned that they are officially getting married. on Thursday. this Thursday? yes. its not going to be a big deal she said, because they don't have any money and no family or friends really here. UUUMMM. that's no excuse. Can someone say cultural event? time to use my party girl talents and help our little yulia have the best day ever. So here in Ukraine, in order to be officially married you have to sign "zaks" which everyone has to do even if they are having a marriage ceremony. So we called yulia the night before, got ourselves invited to zaks, rounded up some elders from district who knew paul from Odessa and went to zaks on Thursday. we decoupage a picture frame for her, made her brownies, and bought her flowers. And i am so grateful we did. besides missionaries, only her brother and his wife came to support her on this beautiful day, oh and one of pauls friends from Odessa. She was so happy, so beautiful, so grateful that we were there to help her celebrate. I promise we didn't take up too much proselyting time by doing this. but i think it was definitely a good use of time-to support this recent convert and show her that missionaries and members of the church can be a big support. Its was a neat experience, funny though. there is the huge hall, they walk down the aisle, and sign the paper, kiss and then they are married. interesting. Yulia already knows the exact date next year when they can be sealed, so we are going to work with her to keep her strong and motivated and enveloped in the ward and in the gospel. We can be a blessing to her and she is a blessing to us-someone to serve and pray for. this yesterday me and my companion fasted to help the sisters in our ward be more open with us so that we can know how we can serve them better.

another miracle in these cold times is that a young girl-late twenties found her way back to church after being inactive for about 5 years. i never would have known if i didn't open my mouth and talk with her. its neat because we have been working a lot to follow up with a list of less actives to try to meet with them to no avail...but look. a blessing. She is also someone we can work with and pray for while we are serving in this area. She said she just felt like it was time to come back to church. probably marry someone in the church. good idea. We have talked with our priesthood leaders a little more lately about our work, especially information we have found on the less actives, and while they are ever appreciative of our contribution, one bishop told us nothing big will change until the members of these wards shows this much interest and do this work themselves. fair enough. so he asked that we also helped the members get excited about visiting their less actives and doing visiting teaching.

I am trying to realized each day the blessings and little miracles in our work-that a bus came right away while we were waiting, or that we were at the right place at the right time in order to talk to someone who needed help. I need to stop seeing everything as a coincidence and realize and recognize the lords hand in everything.

yes! my birthday is in two days!! the office sister was in our ward yesterday and said, "sister little, you have a birthday coming up!" how do you know? i asked, "because your mailbox is overflowing with mail!!" she said she is going to try to see if she can get my mail to me by Wednesday, but if not, ill just get it a little late. we'll see..Thank you in advance for the love and support....its a necessary pick me up as I work through these middle months of my mission and just the beginning to get to know the definition of cold :)
love you,
sister little yeah so we show up to the baptism..and who is going to baptize him? oh president klebingat. hah. so cool, he's been working with him a lot-has been on a lot of lessons with him, so cool.
next-the 'wedding'-more like the big whooped di doo about signing the official paper.
next-we did the armor of god lesson with a less active family and dressed up their little boy-so cute!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Week 40

wow, a lot to report this week. We had our two ward activities, and it was stake conference-the broadcasted kind, so i guess 'regional conference' for all of eastern Europe. i'll talk about our activities first:

first, our cultural night for shevchenkivsky ward. a pretty good show-15 people-actually pretty bad, but like ive said, we're working on reminding the members that coming to church for three hours on Sunday and forgetting about everything else is not living the gospel....anyway. it was great-utah, vegas, latvia and georgia. So cool. i talked about Vegas and still, everyone even this far away from America thinks "casino' when they hear Vegas and most people have seen or heard of the movie oceans eleven. so i figured a lot of people had a good idea of what Vegas is about. so as i talked about Vegas i casually talked about some of the temptations there-like"advertisements for girls and every kind of gambling game to steal your money" but that members still live and thrive there because we focus our sights on the temple- i showed a picture of the temple all lit up in the foreground with the strip in the background. my spiritual thought attached to it was about how living in Vegas is a very real type of Lehi's dream. i showed the picture from the liahona and compared it to the picture of Vegas i showed. Really good thought i thought....but as i was talking i saw on everyone's faces how casually i talked about "advertisements for girls and gambling away money"...they were shocked. all the sudden it wasn't cool to be from Vegas. i sat and thought about it afterwards...maybe i over exaggerated. maybe Vegas isn't that bad, let me think about it....No, yep, its definitely that bad. maybe even worse. wow, i thought. Vegas is a disgusting place. what a reality check of what the world is coming to. but anyway, the rest of the activity was great...sister pliha showed off Latvia and the Georgian missionary did some knife dancing for us-if i learned anything its that everyone in Georgia does everything with a knife. (Georgia the country)

okay, Thursday night, our fireside with the president. we were all a little nervous, but excited. we announced it big time on Sunday, made flyers, was supposed to start at o'clock and at 10 minutes before 7 there were...ehem. 3 people there. and then president walks in. yep three people from our entire ward to listen to the mission president. I was listening to him greet the people there. one Ukrainian women said, "oh, we're just Ukrainian! no big deal! more people will come know its just our culture! when we say we start at 7 it means we really start at 7:30" president didn't think that was very funny and replied, "well, that may be Ukrainian culture, but im from Germany and when we say we start at 7, we start at 7"....oh my. not looking good. sister pliha and i ran upstairs to grab some people from institute to ditch class and come to our fireside so it wouldn't look as bad-we got another 4 people (there were only 5 up there)...but oh well, time to start. 10 people in the audience. (ill just quickly say by the end there were a total of about 20 that came.) each of us missionaries gave a short talk and testimony about different aspects of missionary work-i closed with my miracle story of irina when we thought she wouldn't call up back after her trip to Greece, but did AND wanted to get baptized-we later found out because she had been in Greece with a member of the church...blah blah blah, you remember, so that members are the best missionaries, best influence on people. then us four missionaries had to the musical number because our girl who we wanted to do it fell through. we had practiced a few times-we'll bring the world his truth-acapella in ukrainian. not to bad. We get up to sing it and at the start of the second line one as we're singing of the elders just loses it and cannot stop laughing. we sounded that bad. then the other elder loses it. then i lose it. and luckily my companion, who actually has some singing talent, keeps the song going and at most of the times in the song is the only one singing because the three of us can't keep it together....we can't stop laughing. so embarrassing. I look back once to see what president klibingat is doing...He has his iphone out and video recording us, laughing too. Oh my gosh. awful. then president was the concluding speaking after that. luckily he had a sense of humor about it all...said he was going to send this out in a video to everyone after the meeting and that it is written in the scriptures that where there is two or three people that is enough for the spirit to be there, so we have enough people in our meeting to feel the spirit. He talked about the joy we should have in the gospel and the success we are having in the mission. the stake president was even there the last little bit (i count that as success if you can get the stk pres there...) anyway. good meeting. after the meeting the stk president asked our mission president for special permission to have us at the adult session of stk conference to meet some of his 'friends'-referrals. he said we could. Awesome! i didn't realize what this would really mean for me....
Saturday night was the adult session for the whole stake. since the Sunday session was going to be a broadcast, all the wards were meeting at their own buildings so i wouldn't be able (like i thought) to see everyone from my old wards....but the Saturday night session....yep that was for all the adults in the stake. in one place. OH MY GOSH! it was like being in the receiving line of a wedding reception watching all these people from my old wards come in! i even had to resist a few hugs from people. BUT the best....IN walks in my Aliona!!! who got baptized a few weeks ago and i didn't go to the baptism because i didn't know...."Leeetel!!!!! my sunshine!!!!" oh my gosh!! i couldn't believe i got to see her again!!! i asked her how things were going.."SO wonderful!! i went to the temple for the first time today to do baptism for vladim's grandparents" (vladim is the dentist/boyfriend)....she said she's working on her own family history to get it their work done...OH my Gosh! She gets it!! she gets it! she went to the temple!! oh may gosh, it was an amazing experience...amazing feelings of reunion. Wow. i just sat in that meeting overwhelmed with happiness and love for these people. its come. love for the Ukrainian people. and a glimpse of what the kingdom of heaven is supposed to feel like. so much more of the eternal perspective is being opened to me. This is the kind of joy we are to have with our families. i can't wait.

Sunday's broadcast was great. in Ukrainian, but it was okay for me. heard from elder Clayton (area 70 for this area), elder Oaks, sister Barbara Thompson, and Pres Uchtdorf. all mentioned tithing. a lot about getting the youth out on missions. getting married. living the gospel. activating and still loving the less actives. its was great.

So. joy is service. im sure more to come. i love you all and miss you so much!!!
sister little

here are pictures-my Halloween costume and then us four missionaries who put together the fireside and can't sing for the life of us. we made this collage to put with referral cards to put in our church foyer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Week 39

Dear family and friends,

this week was full of just plain work and then some good times at the end of it. We helped out with a ward party on Saturday night, about 30 people came (sad, but its a good start...they want to have another one in two weeks because the ones that were there had so much fun)...we helped organized a couple games. the best was where you have a partner and one person is the arms for the other person. our theme was kinda 'unity' in a companionship, so you had to the morning tasks of a missionary-eat breakfast, brush teeth, hair/tie/put on a nametag, and then go around the room and contact (the arms just flip open the book of Mormon to a random page and the person has to make up a spiritual thought about something there) it was really fun. then Sunday we made a good mark in the wards-just getting the members to notice and appreciate us. we did a lesson in relief society in one ward and the next ward us four missionaries talked in sacrament meeting. i had no idea what to say, let alone in Russian, but i just let the spirit guide and even i was blown away but what i said...i'll just share a few things that i said that really are true and dear to me.

so i was talking with a recent convert, and she asked me what i thought "salvation" was...well, living with god again, he's perfect, we're not, so there is no way we can live with him, so somehow the atonement can make up the difference so that we can. okay, she said, but for me, she asked, what is the first step to salvation. hmm. For me it is and it was really realizing who God is, who i am, and where i fit in this plan. I am His daughter. he loves me. That's the first thing to realize. I can tell you that when you really feel that love, you know. and everything else just follows. The desire to study more comes. the desire to actually keep the commandments comes. the energy to endure to the 'end' comes....but there really is no end. we find the eternal happiness here and now and enjoy it for eternity. That's what happened to me, and i am so grateful for my knowledge and testimony of that.

secondly, this passed week my companion and i were contacting people on the street to find some new people. One woman i approached, asked her if she ever heard of the book of Mormon...she responded, in English. Usually when this happens, i get pretty frustrated, especially because after i approach someone in Russian and they respond "no, thank you" in English and walk away, kinda insulting. but this time when this woman responded in English, i didn't feel frustrated, i saw it as a great opportunity to testify in English. wow testify in English!! i can say whatever i want!!! finally! but as i talked with her about the gospel, i found myself taking the words i would have said in Russian and translating them back into English. so my testimony was very simple, i even struggled a little bit to find the words. interesting. I told the members i share this experience with them so they know that as missionaries here, we our testimonies and opportunities to feel the spirit are happening in their language-Russian and Ukrainian. so my growing testimony here is in Russian. We are here growing with them. its very interesting. but so neat. i told them i am so grateful that i do understand some of their language so that their testimonies can help build mine. really neat.

side note...i can barely pray now in English. i almost laugh with embarrassment during the prayer because i have no idea how to pray in English. its easier at this point to talk spiritual in Russian. but, i guess that's a good sign :)

i love you all, continue with faith, patience, love and joy!
Sister little

pics from our activity....

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Week 38

Wow, i just opened the newsletter from president this week and each week he includes the pictures of the baptisms that occurred this week....just one this week. i scroll down to see the picture and wait...I KNOW HER!!! another one of my lovelies from my old area was baptized wonderful!!! Alyona, who was invited to church maybe two months ago by her dentist, she came to church, we had no idea who she was so i mustered up the courage to talk to her (she had her Ukrainian/Russian shell on for sure that day--Ukrainians and Russians are super stern and closed on the outside, but if you can get and get their trust they are the sweetest people ever...well i can say that for Ukrainians. i don't know about Russians...) anyway. i started to talk to her and immediately she opened up to me. we talked about how she already had a book of Mormon, i challenged her to read it, pray about it and she WOULD feel the happiness and love of God through the holy ghost. She lives in an area pretty far away, so there was no real opportunity to meet with her, but i grabbed her phone number anyway and then she left. About a week or two later she hadn't come to church so i decided i should call her. There was probably a space of thirty minutes between the time i decided i should call her and check in with her and when i actually mustered up the courage to do it....speaking in Russian, on the phone, just to check in, talk casual, not try to set up an apt. just scared me. but i could feel i needed to do it. She seemed like the type of person who needs a phone call or some kind of support and love. So i mustered up the courage, dialed the numbered and prayed while it rang....she answered, 'hello' 'hi, this is sister little, the blonde missionary' (i promise it sounds more professional translated into Russian...) "sister little!!! my sunshine!!!" and she started giggling because she was so happy to hear from me. the phone call was maybe 45 seconds, but her mood jumped from a 2 to a 10 instantly, you could tell. I just told her i wanted to see how she was doing, how reading was going, etc. nothing big, invited her to church....then when i moved areas i called her again one night because i was thinking about her....she said it was perfect timing, she needed to hear from me, her 'sunshine', she had just finished praying about the book of Mormon, and was feeling a little lost. i gave her some more support and a few loving words, and that was it. hm.. and i guess she decided to get baptized!!! wonderful!!! i haven't called her in a couple weeks but i guess that's what beautiful and awesome. actually, if you remember from when i was at irina's baptism she's the one that held my hand as irina was more guest at the party in the celestial kingdom that i know :) She is about 40, has a son, and if you ask me, her and this dentist could have something :) i'll have to call and congratulate her tonight. yay.

Don't get the wrong idea, this area is great too, and i love it...the members here and so awesome too. If you do any research, you'll see that Kiev is one of the busiest temples and something i found out a while ago is that members here love doing' indexing' on line. and a member showed me once what she does, then i realized, wow, you think reading old English cursive is hard in order to type the names, try reading Russian cursive. agh. but the members are so enthusiastic about it. one of my first nights in this area we were at a member's apt- parents and two daughters, we got there and they fed us, but they just left us alone in the kitchen with the two daughters, so we were just kinda chatting with them. i was starting to think, "wow, how rude, the parents don't even care that we are here, we're just here chatting it up" but after we finished eating we finally went to the living room to have the lesson, and i realized what the mom and dad had been doing this whole time....they were both very engaged looking at the computer screen helping each other read the Russian and Ukrainian cursive on the church indexing web site. how cute. sorry i judged them. they were busy doing family indexing together. we had a lesson, and learned very quickly that this family is so awesome, so good at sharing and talking about the gospel.
life is pretty good. sister pliha and i are just keeping our heads down and plowing through the rough and tough of missionary work-trying to talk with everyone on the streets, tracting, etc....
Michael Mc lean is coming to Kiev this week for a fireside, we probably won't go, but that's pretty cool.

it is getting colder, but i remembered back when it started warming up i as glad, and the only reason i wanted winter to come was because i figured by that time i would actually understand this crazy language. i guess its kinda true. im doing pretty good, a good indicator is that i feel like i could talk myself out any situation i might find myself in, which is a good, safe feeling :)

have a wonderful week!!!
sister little, the blonde missionary

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Week 37

So, as light hearted as it was, i hope you read last week's email so you can appreciate what i am going to tell you today....

to fill in some minor details about our experience with vera nickolaevna, after we helped her find her way home to dome shyseva10a, and after her son came home and i had the most awkward moment of my mission looking up at him while cleaning his bathroom floor when he came home from work, he said he would show us where dome shyseva 8A was, the dome we had been looking for from the beginning. Seriously, this dome is impossible to find by oneself, hidden way far back and sideways, so anyway, we were glad for the help, stopped by the less active who was not to excited to hear from us, and went home.

A few days later we received a referral that had been passed through a few people to finally get to us- to go see a lubov and maria who live in no other dome than shyseva 8A. Wow. that sounds familiar and we now exactly where it, of all the domes in center Kiev they live in that one. If you don't have time to read the rest of this email, long story short....we finally met with these two woman have become our new investigators and where a referral from their sister who lives in a city outside of Kiev and was baptized a year ago and just went through the temple for the first time (she gave the name and address of her family living her to someone at the temple and it finally got to us) to pull it all back around, we had to have that crazy experience with vera in her bathroom so we could be shown where this dome shyseva 8A is so that we could easily find it to contact this referral. yay.

this week was the third week of the transfer which means sisters exchanges...i was supposed to go to another area but my companion needed a break from the area so i let her go and i stayed in center. i was with a sister who just got here three weeks ago from Russia. She was originally called to the Chezk Republic but couldn't get a visa there nor to America to go to the mtc so she was reassigned to our mission and just showed up and started working. She is really awesome. But while i was with her i realized i am the most boring companion, but that's okay, we got a lot of work done. and one thing we did was stop by sheseva 8a, and they were miraculously home and miraculously let us in...just to give you an idea of 'how' we did that, ill tell you. Each dome has anywhere from 60-500 apts in it, so you stand outside the building, and can call up to the apt you want and they talk to you through the intercom and then they can buzz you in. So we just rang her apt, "Hi! is this lubov? Hi, we are missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ, your friend, larissa, (we didn't know it was her sister at the time) wanted us to stop by and share with you what we believe. can we come up and meet with you?" She said, 'uh, okay' buzzzzz....i just looked at my companion and said, wow. that never happens. (for example on another occasion on our exchange we walked around this neighborhood to find the dome of a less active to stop by and when we found it the man yelled through the intercom..."don't bother us! go home!"...) so we went us, met this wonderful family, the mother and bobyshka sat in our lesson, and we gave a first lesson. it was awesome because she actually had questions for us about what her sister had told her. We kinda just said the greatest blessing of this gospel is the knowledge and peace you can find. and your sister wants to share with you that what she has found. She said it was a miracle that she was even home that night and was so grateful she was.

General conference-yes, awesome. watched everything on sat and sun in Russian. here they had one room showing it in Ukrainian, another in Russian. on Saturday we had the option to go watch it in English, but we had a potential lesson set up and i flat out told my companion (who prefers watching it in English) that if i watched it in English i would probably cry the whole time because it would make me homesick. I still cried listening in Russian when the choir would sing because they don't translate over the hymns.

So, i have to think about this...its october...10ish. wow. everyone, have a wonderful week...i hope you all know that prayers are answered and heavenly father does bless us for that which we have done in His name.
i love you all!
sister little

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Week 36

Another week in the big city. time moves fast here. we have exchanges this upcoming week and i told my companion that they cant do exchanges the first week of the transfer....and she said sister little, we are going into week three. oh. wow.

So I'm not ashamed to say that humor has helped me survive a lot of difficult times so far on the mission and there's a lot to laugh at here in center Kiev to, so i though i'd share with you one of my experiences this week that helped put a smile on my face.

on Thursday evening....we had a list of less actives we were going to stop by that kinda live in the same area. it was a new area to me around a metro stop. my companion hasn't been to very often so we were having a hard time finding the right 'dome' (this is like a super tall apt building that this area is full of). we could find all its neighboring domes but not the right address - dome 8A. as we are wondering around the neighborhood we come across an old babushka who asks us to help her find dome 12A. we kinda look around and point her in the right direction and continue our journey to find our own dome. After wondering around in a few more circles we run into this babushka again, still looking for this dome 12a. this babushka was pretty well dressed, pretty classy and she was wearing a name tag, so after the first time we briefly met her we thought that maybe she was a 'missionary' too trying to find an inactive from her congregation too or something. the second time we see her she is asking a different woman to help her find this dome 12a. the women calls to us and says, 'hey, if you are missionaries you should be serving god. we all know when you serve other people you serve god' and she left us to help this babushka as she ran on her merry way. So we decided to give up our hunt for a little bit to help this babushka.

She tells us that she doesn't need dome 12a but 10. okay. why? we ask her. after a little more thorough investigation and after reading her name badge more clearly, her name tag is actually has her name and her address written on it-dome 10, apt 15. OOOHHHhhhh. it clicked. this woman has Alzheimer or something and she can't find her own dome. alright. got it. so we helped her find her dome and we took her up to her apt to make sure she got there okay. She was kinda giggly and embarrassed but didn't really understand that we were helping her, but it was fine. As she opened the door (her key worked that she was surprised to find in her jacket pocket) she invited us in for tea. We wanted to get back to our own hunt, but as you could probably guess, she wouldn't let us turn her down, so we went into her little apartment. nothing scary, pretty normal with lots of old pictures, small, it was fine. She offered her toilet to us, which to anyone who has served a mission knows is a blessing. i didn't have to go, but my companion went. So this babushka, Vera Nickolivena, is in the kitchen making a whole lot of noise, I'm in the other room looking at all the pictures when my companion comes out of the bathroom saying "i think there is something wrong with your toilet" i go to look....its is flooding this little bathroom like crazy and within 30 seconds there is 4 inches of water in the bathroom.

now, remember i told you about the old sewers her in Kiev, this is just another experience with it. So Vera Nickoliven comes to see what is going on, laughs a little and says, 'don't worry about it, ill take care of it.' i don't think she realizes how much water is the bathroom and just trots right into the bathroom with a towel and bends down and starts wiping the floor. my companion and i just watch her for a minute to see how she handles the situation. Fully dressed, high heels and all, she is soaking the towel with the water that is on the floor then wringing it out over the bathtub then bends down to do it again. She is standing in 5 inches of water and has no idea that water just keeps coming out of the toilet.
Well, we couldn't convince her that what she was doing was ineffective and really....i couldn't stop laughing at this situation we were in. in a strange bobyshky's apt with a flooded bathroom, she's sloshing around in there with all this water there and none of have any idea how to make it stop.

i finally find the water valve behind the toilet by laying on the ground outside the bathroom (so i don't get wet), i miraculously reach it to turn off the water. we end up spending half an hour using a bowl and a dust pan to get all the still water off the bathroom floor. this whole time our bobyshky thinks she is helping by wiping the towel on the floor and ringing it out over the bathtub. We just about clean up all the water when we hear a key in the door turn. Oh my gosh. someone's here. this bobyshky talked about a son, so i knew it was probably him. but...what on earth do i say when he opens the door and sees his mother with these two young girls in the bathroom (\we had cleaned up all the water by this time, so no evidence that we had helped her in this mini disaster....) So he swings the door open and i am the only one visible. 'hi'. "we found this lovely woman on the street and helped her find her way home." "and then something happened. and we helped her" His face of blank shock and 'who the heck are you"...just priceless. He half believed our story but was overall really nice. He said he had just made that name tag for his mom the day before in case she gets the idea to go out again. He said if we hadn't helped her he would have spent the night running around the streets looking for her. which had happened before. we left him a Liahona and our contact information and said we'd stop by sometimes to make sure she's okay. He was pretty nice given the situation.

this is just one of the moments on my mission that i can't wait to re watch with you all in funny. My companion said that that morning she prayed that something fun would happen.....i am keeping a close eye on her and what she prays for now.

fun times. look....well you can't see it, but i'm smiling. i am finding joy in the work. i'm excited for general conference next week. still don't know if ill watch it in english or Russian.

i love you all,
sister little

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 35

Dear Family and friends,
this week was just packed full of new ideas and events, but i'll try to condense them all down into one email...

new area, new companion, still not adjusted...and we had combined zone conference on Thursday, so all the missionaries in greater Kiev (about half the mission) all gathered in the chapel by the temple to hear from our mission president and the temple president (a Russian professor who also served as a mission president in novosibirsk Russia and was instrumental in our mission president getting into studying Russian in the first place if you remember that story)....its funny, as i have become a missionary i have realized that wow, missionary work is the most important work we can do in this life. then after hearing the temple president talk to us i thought, wow, making and keeping temple covenants is the most important work we can do in this life....probably every person can say that about their calling/work even down to nursery leaders, but i think maybe temple covenants takes the jackpot. was way beyond inspiring and definitely a needed spiritual lift. President has raised the standards and is calling us to pick up the pace. shouldn't expect anything else.

well, Irena's baptism was yesterday and i know i said i didn't mind that i was in a different area and was going to miss it....but i did care, enough to create a way and means to get myself to that baptism. and after seeing it, i can't believe i thought once about not wanting to be there....

so from my previous experiences here and different people i have met, i have gained a pretty heavy understanding of what needs to happen in order to help someone come into the church. i didn t want to let anyone get baptized that was just going to go inactive after a month. and i wanted to make sure that if i ever helped anyone get baptized, the ward and members were going to be ready and willing to help and support them on their journey afterwards. i wanted to make sure anyone that is baptized knows at their baptism what an amazing event it is to the point that they can share their own testimony of the restoration at their baptism.............and all of those happened for Irena. it was honestly a little piece of heaven sitting at her baptism. just a little taste of what the kingdom of God will really be like. For starters, about 60 were there. it probably helped that her baptism was after church yesterday, but still, 60 ward members were there to support her. i got to see two of our investigators who we were meeting with before i left were there. so it was great to see them again. one even held my hand during the baptism and had that look in her eye that that is what she wants. two members who helped us on lessons with her gave the talks, and one of them said so dearly that she loved Irena, was so proud of her and looks forward to seeing the blessings that follow in her life. the amazing thing to me was that i was there when that member came up to us at church a couple months ago and asked how she could help us...i said, "well, you could say hi to our investigator right here, Irena" and she said 'hi' super awkwardly...but hey look at them now. what else?...she got up after the baptism and interrupted everyone packing up to leave to say thank you to everyone, that she had never come across so many nice, genuine people who knew the truth, and she was grateful for this step in her spiritual journey. it was amazing. there were some people there i didn't recognize so i started talking with them and it turns out they are Irena's friends from a long time ago that Irena called this passed week to invite them to the baptism. the friend said, "you're getting baptized into OUR church? are you sure, OUR church?" she didn't think she even remembered that she was Mormon. but she did and they were able to come and really marvel at the work of the Lord. we all did. it was so beautiful. I've been to a few baptisms since ive been here, but none like this. this, i count as a real 'Ukrainian' baptism where everyone from the ward is there and played a part in helping their friend come into the church. And it was such a great opportunity for me to go back and see all of my friends again (i just left a week and a half ago, i know, but i miss them...) anyway, awesome.

so this new area. it isn't like my last one, and its like starting over again. but seeing what relationships i built after four transfers in that area and the solid investigators we began teaching, i have faith we can do it in this area too. i just need time, some faith, and a whole lot of love and patience.
i love you all! do your missionary work! and keep learning about what covenants you made in the temple and if you are really living them...

Sister Kylie Little

me and Irena, then her with some of the friends that did all the missionary work for us and who will be there to support her when we are all gone, and then one of the Kiev temple at night. don't ask why we were there that late and two hours away from our area at that time :) that im in center im just one hour from the temple (on public Trans...about 25 minutes otherwise)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Week 34

New area!!!! Center Kiev!!!!

i was so excited to hear that my next area would be center Kiev! more than wanting to serve in Odessa (the California of the mission), i wanted to serve here. it is where i stayed my first exchange here and i don't know if you remember me talking about it at all, but it is definitely full of distractions for me, but i know that with greater distraction we have to develop a stronger will and concentration on the work (why there are so many awesome members of the church in sin city ;)

Since there was no transfer meeting i just woke up and packed Thursday morning, we took a twenty minute taxi ride across the river to my new apt, we switched companions and from that moment on i was sister Pliha's companion. sister Zanger and sister Plihas old companion took the taxi to the mission office to pick up sister Zange'sr greenie. it was really weird to just switch off and on into a new area like that. Something about a big transfer meeting or a train ride to a new area helps to mentally prepare to serve in a new area, so its been kind of hard to adjust. Sister Pliha is from Latvia (again-another Latvian companion! maybe somewhere down the road we'll find out why), she is just one transfer younger than me, and she speaks Russian, Latvian, German, and English...and she is a missionary called to the Kiev mission to learn and speak Ukrainian. her Ukrainian is not coming along very well because its hard to learn it when her Russian serves her fine. But she's going to help me a lot with the language. I'm excited. but i feel like i did my first transfer again when she runs her mouth in her fluent Russian with the members and i don't get much of it...i thought i was doing pretty good but being with her has already opened my eyes to the fact i still have a long ways to'll be good.

So, center Kiev....what to say about it...i am so excited but i have quickly learned that this move has been an upgrade in some ways and a downgrade in others. examples: I don't know how hyped America is getting about this,but the Euro cup 2012 for soccer will be here in Ukraine and Poland. i live maybe 3 blocks from where they are building the new stadium for it....awesome...but with that the country is preparing itself for all the limelight/tourism and tearing all the sidewalks and streets and re paving there is tons of obstructive construction walking up and down the street. upgrade example. our church building in my old area was four flours we rented out of a warehouse building right next to a reanok (were the bobushky sell their veggies and meat on the streets), here in center, our church building (the stake center) is RIGHT NEXT DOOR to a Ferrari showroom. downgrade companion informed me that because of all the construction in the neighborhood and the fact that all the buildings are old, not only have they not had hot water ALL summer in their apartment, the sewers are really bad so we can't flush toilet paper down the toilet. I cant flush toilet paper down the toilet. ehem. we can't flush toilet paper down the toilet. yea. it gets complicated, especially when i forget... when she told me this i was already thinking how i could possibly plan my meals so that i would only have to go to the bathroom when we are at the church. but then we went to the church and same thing there can't flush anything down the toilet. hm. its interesting....

walking the streets of Kiev is like walking the miracle mile shops or the forum shops. today we passed a store showcasing Versage china. and then above all the stores are the European style apartment buildings-very Boston/San Fran like. i said though, i am going to need to be strong, stronger than usual to stop window shopping and start talking to people on the street.

yesterday was my first Sunday in the new wards... very interesting to have to move wards and see the similarities but also differences between the wards that are in the same stake. i have been praying to know how we can help the people in these wards and this morning i was prompted to start to read the book of alma in the book of Mormon...maybe because that's where alma gets his second wind and picks up the missionary work, but i came across a few verses that i think are definitely going to mold how i and my companion approach this area ---alma 4:3-4,19...we are going to bring these people to a remembrance of their duty and how? by bearing pure testimony. and loving them of course. we had some good times in my old wards but i see some good times ahead too.

I think it is such a great blessing to be serving in this area, i am soooo excited. i may be spending some of my pdays looking for a new apartment to move into though....good news is that the warm water was turned back on my second day here, so that was a huge blessing. actually in Ukraine, its kinda normal to have the hot water shut off for a few weeks at a time through out the year. earlier this summer even in my nice apt in my old area, the hot water was shut off for two weeks. we survived but it was hard. my companion said that when the hot water gets shut off in winter is when its bad.

i am a little sick with a head cold, i think its my body just reacting to the changes.

I love you all, have a wonderful week :)
sister little

Monday, September 19, 2011

Week 33

This is the last week of the transfer, and with a new mission president he is switching up the procedure a bit. i found out on Saturday night that i was being transferred and to where and he's gotten away from transfer meeting. just some time this next week I've got to find myself over to my new area. i knew it was coming, its funny how you can feel it. i won't tell you where im being transferred to yet (not like you'd have the slightest idea where it is) because my mind is still in this area as i have a few final meetings and get Irena ready for her baptism. Its interesting, before hand we found out transfer info the Tues before-then you had to leave your area on Thurs. and i think the old president changed it to this so that there wasn't a huge farewell and whooped dee-do about leaving the area with the members on Sunday. but even though i found out i'd be leaving before Sunday's meetings, i just knew it still was the best thing to not tell anyone or make a big deal of taking last pictures or anything...its just better that way. but there are still the members who can read the signs and just figure it out. Its an awesome feeling to know i will be missed in this area. I've really made a huge effort (okay, maybe it didn't take too much effort because it was a natural desire) to meet and get to know the members and serve them. And that has really happened the past two transfers. its the blonde hair.

If i won't be remembered for my good works, at least they'll remember me as the blonde missionary :) its an interesting feeling to leave. i know i will see these members again. and its not because i have faith that i will come back to visit, but that we will meet again in the next life and continue the work of the lord together there too. Just a cool feeling.
This week was just too big an adventure to handle. It was fun. We met with members who said to make sure we tell our parents thank you for letting us come out here to serve them. we met with less actives and helped them wipe the dust off their book of Mormons and read with them. We went to the 'lavra' for our cultural experience which is the big provaslavnian monastery here and maybe went at just the wrong time so we found ourselves stuck in their temple during one of their services. talk about cultural experience, we just wanted a quick tour of the grounds and peak inside. We also helped set up for a wedding reception (we counted it as our service hours for the week). We set irina's baptismal date for this Sunday after church, and if we can't pull everything together before then, it will be the next week. I don't think i'll be able to go since i'll be in my new area, but we'll see. I'm not too worried about it. I know the work just keeps going forward and forward and it is the lords plan that new missionaries come in to switch things up a bit and get things done that others couldn't.

I know my emails are usually probably show how depressed i am, so i am sorry if this one disappoints :) its hard. time heals things. then there are bigger mountains. i know a lot of you are struggling at home with your own trials and tribulations, but let me remind you that the best thing to do is apply the principles of the three missionary lessons-the miracle and gifts of the restoration, the plan of salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
i love you,
sister kylie little

ps...funny story. so everyone remembers the dialogue from the sandlot about 's'mores' right? " can i have so more if i haven't had anything to eat yet..." or something like that. well me and my companion had a moment like that, but in Russian, recently. We were in a candy shop and the lady behind the counter was waiting for us to choose what kind of cookies we wanted to buy (they are all behind the counter) and she has her bag open ready to grab whatever kind we say. as we're deciding we hear her say "pobolshe?" we're like "shto?" (what) she said again "pobolshe" we were so confused..."pobolshe" means 'a little more' so in Russian we were like " pobolshe chevo?" (a little more of what?) because we still hadn't said what kind of cookies we wanted...and she says, "net, vie polshe?" OOHHHH.....(no, are you polish?) no. we're not. Me and my companion get mistaken for polish people all the time. for the blonde hair, not the accent. i still sound like an American. oh well.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Week 32

Dearest family,

I missed you all a lot this week but definitely don't miss the atmosphere of starting up a new kudos for surviving that.

This week was really hard and discouraging but in my frustration i took some time to clean a little bit and i found a letter mom sent me to open when i first got to the country. i remember reading it on the plane over and (sorry for my honesty...) i remember just glazing over it thinking "oh okay, here goes mom with trying to be all philosophical and give me all this spiritual advice about a mission" i kinda glazed over it and put it away. Well, i reread it a couple days ago when i found it and every point of advice she gave to me pierced my heart and was exactly what i needed to hear. I talked with my companion a little bit about it and she agreed that while mothers may suffer or miss us the most they are the ones who keep us out on missions. Satan has been working on me hard this week and, unfortunately, the option was very clear in my mind that if i am wasting my time here or feeling like im not really benefiting anyone, i can just go home. i dealt with a lot of humiliation and awkward situations in preparing to serve a mission, that i could go home and just deal with them all again and just tell people it wasn't what i wanted to do anymore or i wasn't being as effective as i could be back in Boston studying and working or something. wow. i know bad. So i went through my call packet and and my letter to the prophet about how i have been called to serve for 18 (what i thought were short) months. but its hard. but, what a blessing i found that letter. every sentence which when i first read it five months ago seemed dishoveled and all over the place, was the advice i really needed for this time. Especially this, " God honors your commitment may not be readily apparent and it may be years before you fully appreciate and see His hand in all that you are doing now." So thank you mom, really, that letter has helped me so much this week and will be close to my heart the rest of my mission. Thank you all for your support and prayers while i am on this adventure. and i am still on it. yes giving up is an option, Satan has made me very aware of that, but im choosing to not listen to him. i have to think the harder he works to not have me out here, the more he and heavenly father knows the great blessings that will come to me and those i serve while i am here. and it may be years before i can see any of it. but as long as i keep the faith that they will come, i am going to continue serving.

This week we actually had a fun/interesting/very kylie opportunity. One of the less actives that the elders are working with works at a facility for alcoholics to come and stay and try to get clean. He invited the missionaries to come and give a presentation about our general beliefs in god and the atonement in our lives. The missionaries im serving with now have heard a little bit about my enthusiasm to serve and work with vulnerable populations and homeless people so they were excited to invite me to come with them and tour the facility and give our spiel. This facility reminds me exactly like the respite facility i worked at in Boston which gives the disadvantage a place to stay to clean up and get some medical attention. We gave an hour and a half 'presentation'/testimony about what we believe. It was pretty much an hour and a half of good old fashion "soap-boxing" just telling them like it is. Above everything, it was great language practice for each of us to just talk for half our straight about what we believe. And our audience was, unfortunately, a lot of "perma-fried" people who don't have a whole lot of potential to become investigators, but it was a really neat experience. (perma-fried meaning that after so many years of alcohol and drug abuse, there isn't a whole lot going on up there). it was a neat blessing/opportunity for me because during this hard week, heavenly father let me have a little taste of what i want to pursue after the mission. But i decided that my best service to these people is still my future medical service, but it was fun to be a pastor for a day.

Another great blessing of the week was that one of investigators, Irena, who we haven't had much contact with came to church. we didn't meet with her for about a month because she was going on a trip to Greece. She is in her thirties and still pretty good looking, so we weren't quite sure if she'd try to live the standards while she was there or even have interest in meeting with us again when she got back. but she did come back and came to church. and we found out that she did not go on this trip alone but with a friend....who just so happens to be a member of the church. She said on their 36 hour bus ride there they read the book of Mormon together and watched a movie about Moses and the children of Israel...(i was thinking prince of Egypt or something so i asked her if it was a kids movie, "no, no it was super spiritual. you should watch it.") SO Irena was in good hands and the lord was definitely aware of her during this time when we couldn't watch out for her. earlier in the summer we talked with her about baptism and she said SHE'D tell us US when she was ready, which is right but a little discouraging as a missionary, and yesterday she leaned over to me during relief society and said, "i think i'll be ready to be baptized in about a week, i'll let you know" ....WOW. thank you heavenly father for just doing your work while we dangled in wavering faith about her. This is the Lords work and we merely get to be a part of it. barely (another piece of advice from moms letter)

So i knoow, i really did have a good week but the battle inside is the hardest to fight. i guess that's why im supposed to forget myself. My presidents advice to me about that is that the time i spend thinking about myself is the time Satan spends filling me with doubts. so i shouldn't focus on myself so Satan doesn't have the time/opportunity to do that. ugh. life lessons. but i know that at the end of this mission the greatest evidence that i will have that i served a mission will not be the journals or the pictures or souvenirs, but it will be how my character changed. Same principle of life too. When we die the only evidence we will have to present our heavenly father that we lived on this earth and made the most of it is how our character and personality changed and moved in the right direction. its just another way to explain that the purpose of life is not to "do" but to 'become"
I love you all, thanks again for your love and support <3
sister kylie little

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Week 31

Dear Family and Friends,

This week was yet another holiday, on August 24 Ukraine celebrated its independence day-20 years. and it was a big 'personal holiday' for me to...i may have tried sushi for the first time in my life...more on the effects of that later....

August 24 we had another picnic for one of our wards and it was held at our new building (the one we were supposed to move in in may, then July, now October...still waiting on documents to be approved) but the building was beautiful and twice as many people came to this picnic than the one we had at the beginning of the summer which is such a big improvement for that ward because they struggle with...unity? you could say. but sister zenger and i were determined to show this members our love and excitement for them, so we went all out for the picnic-we bought blue and yellow shirts to represent Ukraine, blue bows for our hair, prepared a few games to play and even decided to share with the wonderful people of Ukraine the wonder of the American treat of s'mores. Its was so much fun EXCEPT that we were the only ones in all of Ukraine i am convinced that day, their independence day, that were wearing anything of Ukrainian proud....what the heck?!!! imagine fourth of July and no one wearing red/white/blue. just interesting. We talked with some people about it who said that Ukraine is still to young to have national pride. i don't believe that because they are so proud of their culture and deep rooted traditions, but i guess when it comes to modern ways of showing it...there is nothing. but whatever, we won some major brownie points for rocking the blue and yellow.

then later that day we were invited to a family's dacha for homemade sushi. i love this family sooooo much, i couldn't admit to them my disgust or complete rejection of it my whole you could say that is what it took for me to try sushi....not family, not friends or boyfriends, but the love that develops for those i am serving on a mission (come to think of it, that's exactly why so many of us eat what we do for these amazing Ukrainian people). She said that i could just try the ones without fish, but then i told her, no., if i am going to try sushi, i am not going to only go half way, that i'd try it all. BIG MISTAKE. when i said that i may have forgotten the, oh yeah, mission wide rule (and even my own personal integrity) of NEVER EAT RAW FISH. it was disgusting. i think it was sushi with salted salmon (i can't figure out what that means-they says its not raw but not cooked, just salted. okay, even translated into English, i don't know what that means). and i tried one with caviar (I KNOW, DISGUSTING!) the little red egg things with little nemos inside. Oh my gosh. ive been sick since Wednesday. i think there is a porcupine living in my stomach now. The family definitely knew that that night was a big deal for me and supported me through it. but i'll never ever do that again. The food is still just sitting in my stomach because my little enzymes have no idea how to digest it. blah. i don't blame my sickness all on the sushi though-my fever actually started the night before i tried it. it was just a bad week for food-we were fed a lot of sketch things by members last week. But we do it because we love them.

yesterday was Sunday, and Sundays this transfer have turned from the worst day of the week to the best. 6 hours of church with hard-shelled Ukrainian members with judgmental eyes can be really hard. but i think sister zenger and i have won their hearts (i think it was the colors and pigtails at the picnic...) and they just love it. Ukrainians are very hard on the outside, but once you gain their trust they are so soft and loving on the inside. And finally the members can see that the we are here to serve and love them. We love talking with all the members on Sunday and hearing about their lives and just being the little social directors of the wards (i know-----so not me. but these wards need some example of how to care and ask how everyone is doing, to give hugs and support, so again, i do this because i have learned to love these people). yesterday half an hour before church i was asked to give a 10 minute testimony about missionary work in sacrament meeting. scary, but fair enough. it was my turn all the other missionaries have given talks recently. as part of my testimony, i talked about Doc and Cov 4 and how this section is the instructions for missionary work, how to begin. and then i recited it. yes be proud. I always struggled in our little mission prep class each week with reciting it in English, but now i know it in Russian. we recite it each morning as a companionship (i actually refused to memorize it my first transfer out of spite or something, not important, but when i decided to actually try, i got it down in a week-kinda like the first vision, when i stopped fighting it, it came so quickly.) anyway. I recited Doc and Cov 4 in Russian from the pulpit to these members, and wish you all could have been there to feel the power and testimony that was burning through my heart as i said it and the choir of angels i could feel reciting it with me behind me. There is such power in that section and the members could feel it too. So cool.

Good luck with school everyone!!! school here starts on Thursday and we're looking forward to all of our members getting into a new routine and setting some new goals. keep up the great work!!
sister little