Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sister Villerf here...

Hello everyone! Sister Villerf here, pleased to report on an extremely busy week!!
On Monday I tried my first sketchy Ukrainian food - Shaurmas! (Okay, it's actually Arabian or something, but they have them here and they're great!) People always say to be careful, that they'll make you sick, but I ate it and loved it and felt fine. One of the less known blessings of missionary work is a strong stomach. :)
On Tuesday we had a zone conference, and then went on another greenie split! Except this time, it was 3 greenies - all 2 weeks old. We had a blast showing her around Makevka and trying to talk to people again. On days like that I'm glad I can't understand everything. There was one man who we saw who wanted to talk a lot, and he was from some sort of church in Bellaruse. (I apologize for spelling probably everything wrong. But I can say it, and I can understand it, and that just has to be enough for me right now haha) Anyway, his son was a pastor there and he was talking to us probably about all the stuff wrong with our church,. He got kind of frustrated that we couldn't understand him, but I was never hurt or offended because I didn't know what he was saying. Boom, silver lining. It was really sweet too, because I decided to finally wrap things up and say "Well if you're happy and don't have any questions or concerns, then we are happy for you." He said, "I am 55 years old, and I am happy. I don't need this. But good job! Get out there and tell people, because there are lots of other people who do need it here." That much I did understand and was grateful for. People aren't mean. Even if they don't accept our message, or don't agree with us, as long as we don't invite contention by being offended or trying to change peoples mind by fighting them, then they will admire us for what we are doing, and be grateful for the people we are.
Something cool - We had a lesson with a member on our Greenie split who speaks great English, and guess how he learned? After the fall of the soviet Union, he just went to every movie that played, as often as he could. They played the original sound, and someone sat in front of the theater and translated. In time, he became fluent in English! I swear, the people here are so cool. 
Well, there's a million things to say and no time to say it, but I'm so grateful for my support system out there! I hope life is good. As for me, I'm having the most incredible experiences here every day and loving every minute of it. But honestly, you can't not love it. As long as you're trying your hardest, the spirit won't let you.
Thanks for everything you're doing on your side of the world! Keep up the good work! I love you all!
Sister Willerth

Monday, June 10, 2013

Greenie Splits

Well, it's been another eventful week here in Ukraine. Don't really know where to start or what to talk about though. There are so many things that happen every day here that would NEVER happen in America, or that if this was last week, would shock me. Some things still do shock me, but I'm adjusting well and learning to love everything about this place.

So I believe I told you about my wonderful trainer, Sister Helsten. She is the sister training leader for our area, so she has meetings/splits/all kinds of responsibilities to do at least every week. Do you know what that means? Greenie splits!! Sister Reece and I hit the town all by our lonesome and talk to people and contact and just do our thing while trying not to get lost or kidnapped. I kind of want to film it so that one day when I have everything figured out, I can watch us and just laugh at how dumb we probably look. The language barrier is a blessing sometimes though - it doesn't really hurt your feelings when you can't understand that the person is saying "I HAVE MY OWN PROBLEMS LEAVE ME ALONE!" or "I DON'T WANT YOUR MESSAGE!" haha. Needless to say, we learn to laugh off just about everything. Sister Reece is such a great example of just getting out of your comfort zone and talking to people, and she's so sweet and funny that pretty much everything rolls off our backs. Anyway, 6 days in, the youngest, freshest greenist to ever take on the town alone and we got 3 contacts! God is definitely with us.

Oh, and we have bed bugs. There's really nothing we can do about it, and I'm handling it well. That's all I have to say about that.

Really there are crazy (and sketchy) things that happen here all the time. We had a lesson with a lady who is really sick with her problems and she just called up her friend right in the middle of it to get her some pain medication. So we we just chattin it up about the Book of Mormon while he taped a bottle of morphine to a mop, wiped the sweat off his face, and stuck a dirty needle in her arm. well, he tried. It didn't really work, so they started yelling at each other and he left while she let the IV full of blood drip all over the floor. Sometimes I feel like I'm living in Rent. It's actually pretty awesome haha.

Oh and remember how I said the people here love pictures? We were running late to a lesson but our taxi driver wanted to see my pictures SO badly that he offered to give us a free ride to our lesson. (He drives us often, so we actually know him - haha it's not a creepy thing.) We didn't accept of course, but hopefully I'll get the chance to show him again soon. We don't understand each other very well, so when we try to talk we just compare the words he knows in English to the ones we know in Russian and laugh a lot at each other's accents. Also he gave us chocolate. These people, I'm telling you - SO amazingly selfless.

Amazing experience of the week:

I met myself, 10-20 years down the road, without the gospel. His name is Alex, and he's my kindred spirit. I honestly think that he might be the entire reason I'm here, and I can't even communicate with him yet!! Though I understand him better than the other sisters by some miracle. He is so ready to hear the word in so many ways, but then not in others. He's a huge seeker of truth, but his quest for God is a quest for knowledge. He is unsatisfied because he thinks he can know God by knowing more about who God is - he doesn't realize that it is through what he did and what he says that we find peace. And I know exactly how he feels, and what he's thinking, but I just don't know how to help him. I hope he will listen to us. He's my prayer request for this week. 

I'm also grateful to be working with really amazing members here. They are the best. So kind and a huge help with missionary work. I love them all.

Only other thing I can think of is that someone told me this week that I look Russian. HA! Take that! To all the people who doubted, let it be known: The chamelion face comes through yet again!

Other than that it's just the normal stuff. Hitting my head on the way out of Marchutkas, tripping and wiping out on the street, trying to fight off the bug infestation in our apartment, being yelled at by people I don't understand, trying to learn Russian, having amazing spiritual experiences every day, seeing miracles, learning more than I ever thought there was to know, and loving every minute of it. :)

I love you all! Hope God's blessing everyone (well, I know he is, so I hope you're all seeing it!) Thank you for the mail and the love and for everything!

Be bold! Be brave! Be great!

Sister Willerth

 For anyone wondering, my adress is just the mission home address, and I think we get to check mail there about once a month. Hope that answers some questions

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

First Week in Ukraine!

So Sister Willerth seems to be doing just fine....

Who're you calling a greenie??
WHAT A WEEK!! Honestly, I don't have enough time on the internet to say everything that's happened. I'm serving in Makevka which is just outside Donetsk and it's SO BEAUTIFUL. Also those prayers for my trainer payed off! Sister Helson, my lovely trainer, is a PRO and she's so fun and sweet. Also I'm in another threesome (Troika power!! Also you'd think that in a Ukrainian internet cafe I'd be able to figure out how to change the carachters... haha)  with the amazing Sister Reece! We were in the MTC together and had so much in common and I was really hoping I'd get to be her companion eventually. Happened sooner than I thought! So if things weren't great enough already, we also had a baptism our first weekend. We got to teach her one lesson on friday before baptizing her on saturday. Even though we haven't known her very long, she is so sweet to us. It's true, once you make your way into peoples hearts here, they treat you like family.
Language report: The gift of toungues is real!! Of course, I understand close to nothing but it's nice to have Sister Reece here who is equally new suffering through everything with me. Also, something I've noticed about these people is that they're not too hard to understand because if they want you to understand them, they will make sure you do (if you know what I mean) and if not, they will just ramble on and on and all they need is an ear. Sweet little бабушкы :) (NAILED IT!) Really though, there is something so genuine about these people. On Saturday we put on an activity for children's day and afterward, some lady who we had talked to for a while (Sister Reece and I smiled and nodded while she talked about her daughter who went to a Christian University and her little boy German, and who knows what else...) came outside and brought us all chocolates and roses and thanked us for putting it together. It wasn't the first time I'd recieved a flower either (when we got there, there were roses for all the sisters. The roses here are the prettiest in the world! Mom, I'd even say they're better than Jewel's ;) ), or the last time I'd gotten chocolate (a man named виктор gave Sister Reece and I some at the ATM after we invited him to stand under a ledge with us, out of the rain. See what I mean?! So sweet.) Okay I'm becoming the parentheses queen. I'll try and stop with the side stories.
Our apartment is SO AWESOME!! I'll try to send pictures, but If I can't imagine a million different mismatched wallpapers, doors held closed by magnets, and rugs EVERYWHERE (including the walls). You have to be kind of low maintanance to live there, but if you don't mind scaring away abuot a million tiny cockroaches every time you need to grab a fork, you're set ;) Really though, I love it - so beautiful, and somehow even though I don't live in the comfort I'm used to, I don't feel like I'm missing anything.
Our branch is so great! We have so many strong families and they are all so nice to the sisters. I don't reall know how to talk to them, but it really doesn't matter as long as you have a few family photos on hand. By the way, can someone send me more of those? It really doesn't matter what they're of, or how old they are, but man people will KILL you for your pictures here! It's actually hilarious how much they love them.
A few stories for your entertainement:
I met a man, валентинь, who is a psychic. He looked at me and said, "You're a singer! And I can tell everything about you from looking at you. You will come over later and I will make you a salad that will keep you awake for 4 days and then I will tell you all about your boyfriend." Wish I had more time to talk about him, he is such an interesting man haha.
Also, I'm never using an elevator again. We got into one, (rookie mistake, that thing already looked so sketchy) and as soon as the doors closed everything shut down. There was no intercom, no panic button, nothing. We couldn't call any sort of 911, so we just called валентинь and he pried us out. hahaha - what a guy.
What Else? Tried compo this week. Not sure how it's spelled or anthing, but I think it's just fruits boiled in water to make a juice/tea beverage. My favorite so far is cherry mint. Mmmmmm :) We've already been to a member's Dacha (honestly it takes less time to explain why I'm using english letters than to change the keyboard haha) where they had basically every fruit vegetable and flower imaginable. It was SO COOL. We looked at their old family photos and ate fresh sweet cherries until I thought I'd throw up. Really this has all been even more of an adventure than I could have imagined.
Oh now for the boring stuff you probably want to know. Jet lag really wasn't too bad. I took one nap the next day and have been fine ever since. I'm exhausted all the time but I think that's more because of all the hard work. And allergies. Oh, the allergies. There is literally cotton floating in the air here. It's just a thing, don't worry about it.
Don't think I have any more time but know that I am so happy here!!! I am loving the work, loving the people, loving the language, loveing the food, eating well, sleeping well, and everything could not be better. So grateful to be here on this incedible adventure!! I love the Lord, and God answers prayers! I'm praying for you and I love you and think of you often! Keep the faith!
Love always,
сестра виллерф

Sunday, June 2, 2013

On To Ukraine

So, Sister Willerth flew through DC where her older sister lives and they got together before she got on the plane to Munich, then on to Ukraine.  It was so exciting to talk to her and I know she was more than ready to get on with it!  She will be awesome.

Sister Willerth and Deana (another Sister Willerth)

Getting on the Plane
The following is a short email we got when Sister Willerth reached Ukraine..........

 Just a quick note to let you know I made it, alive, awake, and happy!

Everything is green and the air it humid and I could not be more happy :) (Also, the land looks eerily like Illinois....)

Anyhow I hope everything is well! I'm so grateful I got to talk to you all and I miss you, but I'm SO EXCITED TO BE HERE!!

Also, just so you know my first P day is monday so you should hear from me then. I love you!! Take care!!

Love Sister Willerth