Dear family and friends,
another week down here in Odessa!! its been pretty dreary and rainy, but as i mentioned previously, everyone all just planted their gardens...so the rain is probably a good thing at this point for all the crops. ive realized that even though all the rain is inconvenient for me, it what the earth needs and how the crops grow and therefor the people have food here...so i try not to complain.
this week we had the baptism of an 8 year old girl that we have been teaching in one of our branches. she's from a member family, so it was more of a lot of fun family home evenings in preparing her for baptism than a convert baptism, but still it was fun. but there is an awesome story connected to it. ....so each week we set 'goals' for the week-how many lessons we want to teach, how many referrals we want to try to get, how many investigators at church..etc, in order to just track our progress and so on and so forth about the principle of goal setting...well one of the categories we need to set a goal for is how many baptisms there will be this week between me and my companion. and at this point, in most companionships, is where eyes start rolling or you set hyperbolic goals on this. for example... i don't know, sister karpenko? how many baptisms should we have this week? 75? okay, sounds good! ive been told though, that instead of writing a big zero in this spot in our planner when we really don't have anyone close to baptism you should write an "m" for 'miracle baptism'...just to show heavenly father we're open for anything. so....whatever different missionaries do different things with it. long story short, we didn't have a miracle baptism this week, but our elders did. it was way cool to actually witness one of these 'miracle' baptisms....our 8 year olds' baptism kept being postponed because she was a little sick but for some reason last Wednesday they decided to do the baptism on Thursday because this weekend our branch president was leaving for work...so we get a call on Wednesday that the baptism will be tomorrow...okay fine, we invite our investigators, as usual. when the elders call one of their investigators (who actually has been an investing for a really long time, his family isn't too interested but he really does have a testimony)...when they called him to invite him he says to them, 'there is going to be a baptism tomorrow? can i get baptized tomorrow?" what!!??!! okay?? maybe...they call president, get him a phone interview with him and within 20 minutes there was not going to be one person being baptized on Thursday, but 2. it was a way neat to see an 'm' goal fulfilled...a 'miracle baptism' happen.
next event of the week i want to mention just because its funny. do we all remember the prophet abinidi from the book of Mormon... and his not so smart moment when after he leaves the first time from the people who weren't listening, he decides to come back in in 'disguise' in a secret way so they won't recognize him, but then once he starts talking, he gives himself away by saying, 'i am abinidi! i was here before preaching and now im back!" way to blow his cover right? well, this week i had an 'abinidi moment'. we went to got visit a recent convert who has been talking about really wanting to help her sons into the church. well, she actually invited us and two other elders over, but instead of a warm meal and short lesson with her like we planned, she didn't let us come in but led us out the door, down the street to her sons appt where he lives with him friends (all in their twenties). she said she wanted us to meet them and become friends with them. ...okay, fine, whatever, as we're standing outside their door waiting for them to answer, she turns and tells us to take off our nametags so that they don't know we're missionaries...so it will be easier to become their friends, she said they wont even open the door if they see we're missionaries. (im doing an awful job of painting this picture, so just know that it was ssssssupsppper awkward and behind that door was a bunch of partying twenty something and this women expected us to just walk in and become friends and then he'll want to join the church...all wrong). so here we are in front of this door, and im sorry to say she convinced us to take off our nametags, the son opens the door and i walk in first....and what do i do? i realize how awkward this is in a 'party' situation. ,....i do the natural think and stick out my arm to shake hands and say ," hi! my name is sister little and im a missionary!".....boom. cover blown. i realized how dumb it was taking off my tag because there was going to be no way getting around having to introduce myself. and for the past 15 months i have never introduced myself with any other words besides, "hi! im sister little! and im a missionary!"....we weaseled our way out of that whole situation as soon as we could, but its just one of the many awkward situations ive gotten into by being a missionary. ...gotta love it.
on Saturday we had a special meeting with president who came down to interview us all (i know, another interview :) what can i say...i really need them) it was awesome. i can really see his sincere love for each of us and his care for the work here. im so grateful for him and all he has done for me to support me here. i was sitting thinking during the meeting, "what am i going to do when i go home?? i won't have a mission president anymore!! how will i know how to act? think? what about my spiritual progression that he has helped me with?" i guess when i go home i'll have my family, bishops, stake presidents...so there are thinks to make up for it. but...life outside the mission is going to be sooooooooooo different.
i love you all!!! thank you for all the prayers and support!!
sister kylie little
here is something president included today...
Good morning Elders and Sisters. Included in the newsletter this week is a short message from President. Have a great week! President’s message: “Dear Elders and Sisters, Attached please find today’s message which I hope you will read and ponder and apply not only throughout this week, but for the rest of your mission and throughout your lives. Also, you may tell your family and friends that they can view new pictures of you during the specialized training on ukrainekievmission.com - video/pictures - zone conferences – specialized training March 2012 If you want to take a quick peek at the pictures you may do so. best wishes,President Klebingat”
can you even pick me out? yea, that's our 'Odessa' zone there together. small, but gotta love it. each of those group shots are of the different zones in the mission. there are 4- 2 in Kiev (the river splits them), 1 out west including lviv and the other cities around there, and then us down south in Odessa.