Tuesday, April 29, 2014


I know it is SO unfair that I have been sending such short/non detailed emails. I'll try to make up for it all with more pictures, I guess. 

This week has been SO COOL! I think I mentioned last week that we're working on opening a new city about 3 hours away from here - so we take a trip there every week. We travel there 3 hours in the morning, have an afternoon of finding, and then ride the bus 3 hours back. It is SUCH a cool experience - all of the people are kind of isolated from the outside world/cities and have never heard this message or anything about us. It's awesome :) Also, didn't think it was possible - but I think it might even be prettier there than in Cherkassy. There are SO MANY TREES BLOOMING (I was also pleasantly surprised when I realized that the blossoms would be fruit soon. I forgot what it's like in the early summer, but soon I'll be eating more cherries than I could have imagined in a past life :) 

Also, some of our good friends in Kirovograd have a tiny little farm (they keep animals in their yard) and their goat just had babies! So we got to hold this baby goat that had just been born the day before. BEST DAY :D

We also got to play Frisbee this week with some investigators and lots of people we didn't know caught word and showed up. One of them was from England! He came to Ukraine on a mission trip i guess 5 years ago and loved it and decided to stay. Or come back. or something. Anyway the point is that being in the west you meet a lot more European people I guess... 

The weather here is amazing, and I have been getting lots of sun. I already have a toms tan line!!

And we got transfer calls this week - I'll be serving with Sister Thomson starting this Thursday! She's one of the sisters we've been living with, and we already went on 2 exchanges in the last week and are already best buds. I'm SO excited to work with her!!

Other matters of business, this is my new address:

Ukraine Kyiv Mission
Vul. Yabluneva 1
S. Sofiivska Borshahivka
Kyevo-Svyatoshinsky Rayon
Kyiv Oblast 08131

In case anyone had anything they need to send along ;)
I love you all so much! Have an amazing week!
Sister Willerth

P.S. I'm not freaking out or anything... but I'm really old. Reeeeeeally really old. Eesh.

Happy Birthday Sister Willerth (She's 21 April 30)

Monday, April 21, 2014

только за

Happy Easter! We celebrated by eating a lot for every single meal. Living the American dream.

We got to go on an exchange with Sisters Shreck and Nash this week! That was quite the reunion! We had KFC AND Cinnabon. And have I mentioned yet that we found peanut butter? I will probably never want for anything ever again.

Other than that, a pretty uneventful week. Just still adjusting and enjoying the most beautiful city in Ukraine! It hasn't stopped raining since we've got here pretty much, so everything is green (and white, for the flowers that are already blooming). Simple joys...

I hope everything is having a great week. Congratulations to those graduating! and my love to everyone at home :)

Sister Willerth

We saw the temple again :)

Monday, April 14, 2014

No unhallowed hand

Where do I begin?
This week feels like an eternity.
I'm sure that most, if not all of you, have heard - on Wednesday we got a call that things had escalated rapidly within the last few days, and that as a precaution all of the missionaries in our mission were being emergency transferred to the Kiev, Ukraine mission. We would be leaving the next day.
We spent a lot of our last time making preparations and packing. It's a funny feeling seeing your entire life packed in 2 suitcases.
On Thursday we had a final meeting with half our mission, all those in the Donbass. The other half would be leaving directly from Kharkiv. I have never felt such a strong sense of love and unity to a group of people. President and Sister Lochhead told us what the situation was, gave us some advice, and shared their testimonies. There was not a dry eye in the room. All the other missionaries blew me away. We have the greatest group of young people here that ever existed - I'm convinced of it. One of the missionaries just relocated from their mission in Russia to ours because of new visa laws coined a great phrase that's been the resounding theme of our mission through all of this: It doesn't matter where you're serving. It matters who you're serving.
The train to Kiev was 14 hours overnight. It was actually a really cool experience - think of Anastasia, and you can pretty much picture it. It looked just like that! And getting the chance to hang out with the missionaries on the way there was really fun. It was a good way to say goodbye.

When we got here, we went straight to the mission home - which is on temple grounds!! I ran off the bus and gave the temple a big ol' hug. We didn't get to go in, but being on hallowed ground was enough for me for then :)
Another awesome moment - We got to see Elders Grochmal and Boyce from the MTC district!! There hasn't been a happier reunion since Alma met the sons of Mosiah on the path back to Zarahemla :) And we're serving together now! 
After a brief meeting with everyone, we headed to our new area - another 3 hours out of Kiev. Now I'm serving in Cherkassy, one of the most charming little cities I've ever seen. It's been warmer here apparently because all the trees are already in bloom and green and it's so pretty! Not to mention clean... It all looks so different than Donetsk!
Since then we've just been finding mostly. Which is interesting.... because people here speak Ukrainian. Yup. New language - again. ha ha I really feel like I'm starting completely over again... but I guess that's what happens when you get too comfortable/confident somewhere! The good news is though, that the people here are so nice! Anyone will talk to us, or listen to us, and no one even ever yells at us or anything! So that makes it pretty fun just to go out and talk to people.
And of course, we got to watch general conference!! Adjusting was hard of course, especially at first - but as I listened to conference, the prophets spoke peace to my soul. I watched every single session. All of them. And I loved every minute of it :) In a place where the church is so obscure and small, it's good to know that we really are great in numbers and that the work moves forward. I never appreciated conference enough in the past, but I vowed this weekend that every conference from now on, I will think of what conference means - how significant it is - to an uprooted missionary in Ukraine. If you can picture it, try to. And then watch conference again! :) haha. It's really powerful.
So the next few weeks will be interesting... We don't really have any idea of what's going to happen. It looks like, at least for the next 3 weeks, Sister Rohrbaugh and I will be sleeping on a couch and living out of a suitcase. But I really feel like we were prepared for this. Everything I have done, especially in the last month, has consecrated me for this.

Last Monday we had a lesson with a man who asked - was the mission of Joseph Smith more successful than that of Jesus Christ, since He apparently failed to organize His church the first time. Of course we had to explain that Joseph Smith himself didn't come up with any mission - he was actually on Christ's mission. It's all one mission. That's something that I've been thinking of, being here. I miss the people we're teaching. I worry about the work - about the branches and people and everything. But we've been promised that no unhallowed hand can stop this work from moving forward. This isn't a mission that started when I came, or when they opened up Ukraine to missionaries, or even when Joseph Smith restored the gospel. it all began before the world was even created, when God created a plan of happiness for each of His children, and then because of the fall and the veil, they forgot. That's the message we're bringing to people - and now I'm just doing it in a new place. It's all going to be alright.

“The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.” - Joseph Smith

Thank you everyone for your support and love. Please keep praying for Ukraine.
I love you!!!!
Sister Willerth

Monday, April 7, 2014

Of a pitchfork.

There's something about this place....

The feel of the Donbass is work, diligence, and obedience. I'm really grateful to be back. It's amazing how these things that sound scary and hard turn into huge blessings, and help you love the work even more.

On Monday Sister Rohrbaugh left for an exchange in Lugangsk, leaving Sister Finlinson and I together for a few days again! I feel like she's my second companion! We had some really good chats and she's got some great stories/advice. She's young on the mission, but one of the oldest sisters here (23 years) so there's a really interesting feel to serving with her... I love it!

Monday night we had a lesson with a less active woman who has 3 ADORABLE sons! Seriously, I haven't felt so loved by a child in a very long time. We played rock paper scissors and read from the children's bible together, and the littlest one gave us both the biggest hugs when we left. He has some sort of mental disorder, so he couldn't talk at all, but it was fine, because honestly neither could we :)

Tuesday we had a lesson with a less active. She had moved soon after baptism, and had just kind of gotten lost, which is why she had stopped going to church. When we found her, she has pretty much forgotten everything. Teaching her is so interesting, because it's like teaching someone who's never heard it before (she really hears it all as if for the first time) and then understands it and accepts it just like that! She reminds me of Tinkerbell, too. So that's a plus. After we went to her house, we went home over these really awesome train tracks in the middle of nowhere. I like being out of the city and more in the countryside again - it's so beautiful!
Above the tracks

Wednesday we went out to start out food storage! The church most be making it a policy now for even the missionaries, because they gave us a ton of money and told us to spend it ALL on storage. We went to this store kind of nearby that's basically Costco - it sells everything in bulk (which you NEVER find here) and then we went wild! We had to call a taxi to take us home and he thought we were stocking up for the apocalypse, given all that's been happening. It was so funny.
So Much Chocolate!

Thursday we had an awesome zone meeting. I am convinced that we have the best missionaries in the world serving here.

Friday we had a really fun game night, where I found out that once again, no one can say or remember my name. I'm thinking of cutting it in half - that's what lots of missionaries do. The only thing is that "вил" ("vil") translates into Russian literally as "of a pitchfork". Which, you know, could be kind of funny I guess... But I'm still trying to decide if it's just too weird ha ha. We'll see....

Sunday was a day of miracles!! (I love fast Sundays.....) A few weeks ago, we had invited a member to help us on a lesson (President is really emphasizing ALWAYS teaching with members) and the investigator never showed up... we felt really bad, but on the member's way home, she met someone who she had known on HER mission, who wanted to meet with the missionaries again! Pretty cool :) So we went over there together, tracked into the middle of nowhere, and met this tiny little Baba with no teeth and a million wrinkles. She was SO sweet, and the day was so beautiful (we sat outside, and I got sunburned! Spring is here!!)  Because she's old, its hard for her so understand, but as soon as we started talking about Christ she immediately said "That's right! I want to come worship there." That's what the spirit can do.

I love you all and hope you all enjoyed conference!! I CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH IT THIS WEEK! I hope everyone has a wonderful week and don't forget to pray for your missionaries!! You are in my prayers always.

сестра вил