Monday, September 30, 2013


Hi Fam!!

Big news first:
After 4 months in this area (and our 6 month anniversary on the mission - what?!) Sister Reece and I both received  a transfer call! We will be whitewashing out of Makeevka. At this time next week I will have a new area and companion!! I'm excited of course, but super bummed to leave Makeevka! Confession: for the first 2 months of my mission, I hated this area. (ha ha blogs private now so all the truth comes out!) But after time and learning independence and finding my own groove as a missionary, I absolutely fell in love with this area and the people here this transfer. I really thought I was going to stay here forever. So this week mostly consisted of saying some of the hardest goodbyes of my life... But, I guess the bright side is, that now I get to go meet even more people, that it'll be just as hard to say goodbye to. And such is the life of a missionary.
Turns out big news is only news because we're out of time already. But just a few highlights so you know that it wasn't a boring week:
We went to the doctor to get sister Reece's mole removed! Just she, I, and our trusty Russian-English dictionary! talk about an adventure - lets just say she's a lot braver than I am.
Got kissed by one of the guys from English club when we told him we weren't coming back. (Wow, I think that story is almost better without an explanation ha ha)
Well I love you all! Have a great week and I'll let you know about all the changed next week!
Sister Willerth
P.S. I'd say you're making progress in a language when you can talk with someone in Whispers. Woo! Take that Russian!

I Have It All !!

The word "possess" in Russian is kind of funny - they use it in lots of ways. One of the most common ones is about talents and abilities. If you can't draw, you'd say "I don't possess it" or "I don't have it". If you want to ask someone if they can sing, or play the piano, you say - "Do you have it?"
This is how we were talking with our recent convert (and very favorite person) on the subject of our (still broken) refrigerator. She says "You are children! You don't possess to live without a fridge!"
"But YOU live without a fridge."
"I'm almost 100 years old - I have it all."
Of course, in this context, she was actually saying that she possess the ability to do anything, but I kind of like the second message - I'm almost 100 years old. I have it all! I think the same applies as I get more experienced on my mission.
After being in Makeevka for so long (and honestly, starting to feel like I would die in this area) this week I realized - I really wouldn't mind being here forever. I LOVE it here. I love the branch, I love the people, I love living in the Suburbs close to a big city - it reminds me of home. And as I finally get to a point where I can understand and communicate with people I realize - we have the coolest members in the ward! I've lived here for 4 months now, and they're my family! On Sunday we said hi to one of the members who always helps us and he just pulled us into a group hug before we could do anything about it. (And I thought I wouldn't hug a man for another year still.. psh.) Point is - I LOVE these people.
And on the subject of understanding people more now, I had a really cool experience the other day - we had a lesson with a less active in our branch and we didn't have a super solid plan what we wanted to teach yet. But talking to her about what was going on in her life, my mind kept going back to the exact thing I read during personal study. So that's what we shared with her. And because I understood what she was saying, I could relate it to her life and her situation. And it meant so much to her! I mean, the work will go on no matter what - we will never be perfect instruments and God will do with us what he needs to do. But finally feeling like you have some ability to personally contribute to the work - it's a good feeling! Never mind that it's only happening almost 6 months into my mission...
Woahhh 6 months?? Who said that! That can't be right?! Can anyone else believe how fast it's already gone?? That's it's almost October?? Conference is already next week. Whoa.
The weathers been getting cold here real fast and I'm already busting out the fleece tights and leggings!! Woo! I know I know, I'm probably babying myself and I'm in for a rude awakening when winter ACTUALLY comes, but I just hate the cold so much! Plus, it makes it really hard to do missionary work. People here are a tad bit superstitious so if it's cold or rainy they just don't even leave their house at all. If you get wet, you're wet all day! This happened with a member - we saw her and she explained how she couldn't come help us because she was wet.
"How'd you get wet?"
"I forgot my umbrella on the way back from work this morning."
"That was 5 hours ago - and you changed your clothes."
"Yes, but my spine is still wet."
ha ha ha okay okay whatever you say.

I love their ideas on these types of things. Everyone I talk to is SUCH a character, like they come right out of movies. And don't even get me started on all their ideas for sickness! I've had a cold for over a week now, and every one's got an idea on how to cure it.
Stay at home and don't get out of bed for 10 days!
Drink onion and sugar juice!
Smell garlic!
And then all other sorts of recipes and tea and remedies from tons of people. I'll keep you posted on what works best ;)
Well I hope every thing's going well and that the weather's warm there and that no one is sick or left handed! (bad omens, both.) I love you all, and don't forget your umbrellas!!
Sister Willerth

Monday, September 23, 2013

We're going private

Just wanted to let everyone know that this blog is going private so contact me via email ( if you are still interested in viewing Diana's posts.  Thanks

Beggar's Pizza (Sept. 9)

We had a baptism!! Decided to take the occasion to send home some pictures. Unfortunately that means it'll have to be a quick update.
This week was MUCH better. We've been able to work with more members and we're kind of starting over in this area, but there's lots of potential here. Stay tuned!
Also it's been cold and rainy every day. I love the summer and the sun and everything, but sometimes you just need a change. Sister Reece and I are totally taking advantage of fall, making soup and tea every day and wearing scarves and sweaters and doing yoga inside in the mornings. It might be vain to get excited about new wardrobe options or dumb to be so happy about tea and yoga but it's those little things that remind you that you're still a real person.

ALSO, landmark: today marks a full week - and officially the longest period of time - I've lived without a refrigerator. Stopped working last Sunday night, and landlady says that the new one won't come until next Sunday. We've been getting really creative with meals here. Once we fried onions and cabbage and put soy sauce and sugar in it, and called it stir fry. Another time, we ate these pre-made pizza crusts with butter and garlic on top for sauce, and then onions and tomatoes. We're starting to keep a record of these, what we call our "beggar meals." It's opening a whole new level of creativity I never even knew I possessed.
I love you all and hope school and everything is going great! Jump in some puddles for me! And don't forget to notice the little things :)
Sister Willerth

A Members Cute Chinchillas

Garden "Neverland"

Cinnamon rolls and Companionship Dresses

Thursday, September 5, 2013

The Perfect Storm

Here's the thing about God's sense of Humor.
He gives you a situation, and you think, "Oh, this is great! Woo, I hope things stay like this forever!"
 Then something happens. And you think "Woah, this is tough. But, it's fine! I can get through it. Things will be the way they were." And then something Ironic happens while things are hard, that makes them harder. And you think "Well, I just HAD to say how good things were. God sure has a sense of humor. But at least this must be the worst of it" Which is kind of like the moment in the movie, where the hero says "Well, at least things can't get much worse..." And then it starts to rain. For the hero, this can seem terribly frustrating. But what he doesn't realize is - he's in a comedy! It might not be that funny to him, but to those of us watching, we are just laughing at the irony - because we knew the rain was going to come the second he said things couldn't get any worse. And that's how God's sense of humor works. He watches and laughs, because He knows exactly whats going to happen. But it wouldn't be funny if things didn't work out in the end. So as heroes of our own stories, we can take confidence in the fact that we're living in a comedy, and when things get bad, someone is laughing - so we might as well laugh with Him.
Here was the theme of this week:
Plan at night the next day. A day packed full of teaching and awesome plans. Next day, EVERYTHING falls through. Stay in spending hours calling people on lists of former investigators. (We found a few huge piles here and we're trying to work through them.) Maybe, MAYBE get something set up. With a man. Can't go without a Woman. Call EVERY woman in our branch. ALL busy. Call back and cancel, or give the lesson to the Elders. Spend the rest of the night contacting and finding less active members. Repeat.
That was the theme of this week. It was pretty stressful being responsible for calls and setting up all our own stuff and constantly worrying when the phone rang, haha. Not to mention frustrating spending so much time inside. But in between the lines of this less-than-encouraging schedule, there were some pretty great gems:
We had a lesson with Ludmila, a less active we've been working with forever and we spend the whole night laughing. And we became her friends. That sounds so simple, but I guess you have to know her - she doesn't really warm up to people, and I'd be understating it if I said she didn't like us at first. But this week, she became a dear friend to us.
Anatoli. An old man we found on a list. One of 2 lessons we had this week, haha. Mostly he just wanted to talk to a couple Americans. He knew so much about American Sports and History, and then he started talking about Jazz. Do you know Duke Ellington and Luis Armstrong? Psh, Do I know Duke Ellington and Luis Armstrong?? hahaha Oh Anatoli. And right there, he starts scatting this old Jazz ballad for us. His smile/laugh afterward left a picture in my mind that I don't think I will ever forget. If I didn't know it before, I'm realizing now - it's all about the moments.
And Makeevka day!! We walked out of our district meeting into a giant carnival/parade. It was so cool! Sister Reece and I got to watch the parade, which started out with a huge line of motorcycles (shout out Dad- you would have loved it) And then tons of little girls in awesome costumes and I've never seen so many children in one place all dancing and playing! But the best part was, though it had the same energy as a regular American parade - the music was SO different! The marching band was playing classic Ukrainian music, minor and kind of haunting. Also, no one clapped or cheered as the parage passed. SO interesting seeing a celebration like this in a different place. But it was so fun. And then when we were in for the night there was a firework show right outside our window, and a concert going on with all sorts of Beatles and Michael Jackson covers. Just when you start to miss music too much... :) Tender Mercies. Also, Rasputin (the classic JD2 song) played several times. That was a weird, full-circle moment for me, haha. Some things just follow you wherever you go.

SO lesson of the week - be patient. Hope is hard, because it's something you can't control. But if you are patient, knowing that things will work out if you just try your best and wait - is that not hope?
I love you all.
Sister Willerth

Our district at a service project we did

 Our Dear Lidia and Victor (yes, the one with the coins). They are our second grandparents here!