Monday, March 17, 2014

Frieeeeends NEVER say goodbye!!

Well, it finally happened. I got the transfer call this Thursday. I'm leaving Kharkov! I'm SO excited to go back down to the Donetsk area but still - it's going to be hard to leave that Sister Walker. And all my other friends here. I can't believe I've been serving in this area for almost 6 months now! I've learned so much, and grown even more, and I cant wait to see what my new area/companion have in store for me :)

This week, as always, has been great! (I really need to find some synonyms for the words I always use now.) We took some time off our P day on Monday so that we could go to the Renoks on Tuesday with the other sisters! It was really fun to see all the art at the art renok,the medals and old coins at the junk renok, and I even got a couple books. It was a good opportunity since I'm going to be leaving soon... Sigh. After that though, we went to a restaurant that sells traditional Ukrainian food and the entire inside was decorated like an old-fashioned Ukrainian kitchen! I know these things shouldn't be that exciting to me anymore, but the sad thing about Ukraine is that they have this really rich culture - but you almost never see it. Still there are certain places that preserve it, so whenever we get to experience the culture here its always so fun :)

Wednesday we went to game night at the Senior couple's house with a couple of our investigators. We met these two miniature humans that reminded me of anime characters, one from Persia and one from Azer Baijan. One of them, Sadik, didn't speak English so I got to translate for him there! That was cool. Who knew I'd be meeting all these different people from all these different places? Then on the way home, we were walking back to the metro and trying to get Davis to show us some dance moves. Wale was so appalled by how "daft" we looked, that he FINALLY agreed to dance for us. He turned some music on his phone, and not paying attention to the police and other military forces everywhere, started dancing down the road. While we were all doing these Nigerian dances, some missionaries caught up to us an joined in. It ended up a couple of Africans and a bunch of missionaries just dancing down the street, despite lines and lines of forces lining the path. That's the feeling of freedom. One of the greatest memories of my mission for sure :)

On Saturday we got to attend the baptism of the newest member of our branch, Ilia! He is SO cool, just a 22 year old kid who decided one day to change his life. His conversion went like this: He met with the elders, felt really good afterward, then got in a fight with his mom and felt angry again. So he met with the missionaries again, and started noticing this pattern. One day he asked why the missionaries are always happy, and why he always felt so happy after their meetings. They explained that it was the Spirit that he felt every time he learned truth, and that whenever he sinned he lost that spirit and the peace it carried. So he decided to start following all the commandments and be baptized - just to be happy. Boom. That simple. ha ha I wish we could help everyone understand these things. Its something I've been thinking a lot lately - just how much joy we actually gain by putting ourselves aside and following God. It sounds so cliche, and I even thought it was before I experienced it for myself. You just can't know until you do it. I had an interview with President Lochhead this week, and he asked me what I want for the last 7 months of my mission. I told him that I wanted them to be like the first 7 months. I've learned SO much
throughout my time here. I've experienced things Ive always heard about and never understood. I've become a person I never thought I would be, and in a good way. I just hope that in this last time I have left I can solidify those things, so that I'll ALWAYS be this person - and not lose it when I get back to the real world.

Speaking of President Lochhead, his daughter was visiting and they attended our branch yesterday. Guess who got to translate for their family. Yup. And guess who wasn't even scared! ha ha its been a long time coming, but I know that a divine hand has been preparing me for everything I need to do here. I'm a little nervous about next transfers - anything could happen! But I'm not scared. I know I'll be okay no matter what. (Still prayers are always appreciated ;) )

Well I will close this by wishing everyone a Happy St. Patty's day! It's been really warm here lately and we thought spring had come for sure, and we woke up to snow this morning - typical. So in that sense, I will be celebrating a traditional St. Patrick's day. Also, I will be introducing Sister Walker to scones today so that will be fun :) I hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their holiday and just their lived in general. If you're not happy... be more righteous. That's our motto ;)

I love you all!
Sister Willerth

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