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. anyway...it 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 :)...now that im in center im just one hour from the temple (on public Trans...about 25 minutes otherwise)