We had another "heavy" week as a companionship as Russians would say...just more and more weight of finding out more and more drama and situations between less actives as we try to coordinate efforts to visit these less actives, and more issues with a couple recent converts in the ward, trying to get them to stay active, BUT i am going to choose to learn from these interesting interactions with these people. My companion and I are re motivated to just do the basics of missionary work and finding those who are ready to change their lives. i think in my last email i accused the wards of not being ready to accept new people into the ward and be able to take care of them because they are all so focused on their own lives and problems. but maybe, just maybe, investigators and new converts are what they need to help pull them out of whatever swamp they are sitting in. So I'm back to the mentality of the ward needing us instead of us needing the ward.
My companion and i decided to couple our new motivation of finding the new elect with a trip to the temple. And unfortunately we realized this on Friday, then realized the temple was going to be closed for the next two weeks....dang it! we really wanted and NEEDED the strength that comes from the temple just with a lot of things that have been going on in our ward/district/mission...just life. We were bummed because while we still had Saturday to go before the temple closed, missionaries arent allowed to go on Saturdays because the temple gets so busy with groups coming in from other parts of eastern Europe for the weekend to go through the temple. Well, we decided we could maybe call president klebingat and get some special permission. He answered and we just briefly explained our little desperate need to go to the temple without too many details, and his answer was more inspiring and still inspiring to me, "Well, if you feel like you need to go the temple, then go. I know you are going to have many baptisms. and you are going to help people come unto Christ so if going to the temple is going to help you with that, then go." Okay, yes, we got permission to go, but more i was shocked by his blunt encouragement (?) and belief in us. in me. wow, he knows i am going to have baptisms on my mission.
The past few weeks i have been focusing on learning to love and serve the members and building them up and i was kinda thinkin, "wow, okay i can survive a mission if this is all i have to do" just because we've tried to help lots of people get baptized and make those covenants with God to receive those blessings, but so many have fallen through. So ive been discouraged and been kinda thinkin that i am not here to really help people get baptized, just build up these struggling wards. But, look, president has confidence in me that i will see more baptisms. its like that positive reinforcement of Morgan's vball coach. so its had a good effect on me, and like i said earlier, maybe that's what the wards need to help themselves. And from these experiences with less actives and recent converts with offended hearts and weak testimonies, you had better believe i am not letting anyone get baptized until they understand and live these commandments and really know that this gospel and these commitments are eternal. so yes, i haven't had tons of success numbers wise this first few transfers, but i am going to choose to believe that heavenly father is giving me these interesting situations and people to work with so that i know how i can be a more effective missionary, a better teacher and representative of him, and bring in strong members into the wards here. Well, i said we went to the temple to get strength to start up our new life and motivation to do missionary work and talk with as many people as we can about the gospel, and we didn't even get out the temple doors after our session before we had our first opportunity to share the gospel. A young man, obviously not a member, had walked into the temple and we saw him sitting in the lobby reading a plan of salvation pamphlet on our way out. So we went over to talk with him and we had another temple worker with us who was from one of wards as we explained to him about the restoration and the book of Mormon. we gave him a book of Mormon, invited him to church the next day and got his number to pass to the elders in his area. Who knows what will happen, but it was a neat experience of God definitely being aware of our new intentions and putting someone in our path.
in other news, the temple is closed for cleaning, etc, which equals out to it being open for a year now. Wow. so cool. Lots of groups from eastern Europe travel through, on Saturday we were with a lot of members from the donetsk mission. Member from all over Russia cycle through a lot, and the Armenia members come pretty frequently too. So cool.
Last night we went to a fireside with Larissa, our awesome recent convert from back in April, she's so awesome, and we've already set up that i'm going to come back and be here roommate after my mission, but anyway, we made the effort to go this fireside with her not only for the spirit but also because one of our favorite members from one of our wards was speaking...he happens to be the stake patriarch. His wife is so awesome too. We won't get into how famous or what a big deal that he is a member of the church, but just know he's awesome. He speaks very clean Ukrainian (you asked how may Ukrainian is coming, so here's an example)...i say clean because a lot of people speak 'sergic' where they just kinda mix up Ukrainian words with Russian grammar or vice versa, or just a complete mosiac of the two languages, you don't really know what they are speaking, but he is very Ukrainian and his talk was in Ukrainian, of course, but I understood mostly all of it (probably that gift of the spirit of interpretation of tongues, because there is no way i can speak it yet), but it also helped that he spoke a lot with his hands. So ive decided that i can generally understand Ukrainian if the person speaks with their hands (cheating, i know). he talked about patriarchal blessings, of course, so it was good for Larissa to be there, and about the twelve tribes of Israel (you can try to imagine what a topic that is when everyone in the room is not the tribe of Ephriam like we are all used to), and just expressed his love and appreciation for the gospel.
i haven't focused really on learning Ukrainian yet, but it is screwing up my Russian anyway because we read lots of things in Ukrainian, so i am used to pronouncing all the letters the Ukrainian way and not the Russian way, so its takes a lot of effort to pronounce words the right way, and sometimes the effort in my mind doesn't make it to my mouth in time, but its okay, i just fit in with all the people speaking sergic. I don't have a grammar book or anything for Ukrainian, so when i do start to study it it will just be with the missionary phrase book. but i plan on trying to get it down.
I am glad to be serving, i do recognize that my time is short here, really, to live this life for the lord and i do try 100% of the time to be accountable to my Heavenly Father.
i love you all,
i hope you have a wonderful week :)
sister kylie little