dearest lovers of mine-
helllloooooo!!!!!! another week here in ukraine! happy november! happy p-day! i loved hearing from everyone! thanks for forwarding me bradley's emails! that little lovebird...i was half gagging, half smiling and laughing my head off as you told me everything he's doing for his little girlfriend. she's lucky, huh?
anyways. this week was really good. sadly, they don't celebrate halloween here. i forgot it was halloween until night-time when i saw this one guy with a painted face and a freaking torch or something. i thought he was about to murder me. and then i remembered it was halloween...so i loved him for bringing my culture here. but i was still a little scared.
i guess i'll just tell you some events from the week. at the beginning, my companion and i were pretty much on lockdown at the church bahahahahah. we taught a lesson to a recent convert, and during the lesson i started feeling sick. i was anxious to get back home because i just felt sicky. well, during the lesson the elders called us like five times...and they knew we were teaching a lesson so i was like, "why do they keep calling us?!" finally i excused the lesson for a second and picked up the phone. the elders were freaking out.."DON'T LEAVE THE CHURCH....LOCK THE...DON'T LEAVE...THE DOOR....LOCK THE DOOR.....STAY THERE....DON'T...RIOT....FIRE.....DRUNK...STAY...DON'T.....HURRYYYYYYY." I was seriously like, okay seriously what is going on. there were some big riots going on in the streets, and people were going pretty crazy. there were people with like torches and fire, drunk, and just lots of fights. it was kind of a big deal...but all was fine because we stayed in the church for about FOUR hours. and i was just curled up in this ball in the fetal position listening to sirens and screams, because i was having stomach pains hahahaha. it was literally the most random, hilarious, sad night hahaha. but, something exciting to write about, i guess? hahahha.
the next day we went out to the selo, which is a town that's way outside of a main city...and people live in little huts and stuff. it takes a long time to get there on a marshrutka, but i felt like we should go to these inactive people on the branch list, because i had no idea who they were. so we go. and we went about an hour too far hahaha and ended up in this random city at a lake. it was hilarious, because i literally had no idea where we were. i had to ask someone what city we were in, and where that was on the map. we were in poland, pretty much. i'll send a picture of that. anyways, we eventually made it to this city that the family lives in. the mom picked us up from the marshrutka stop, and i wasn't expecting that. i thought she was asking us for money, or following us, or something for a few minutes. until finally i realized she was WHO WE WERE GOING TO VISIT. it was hilarious. so she takes us through this forest that i'm convinced was actually from a fairy-tale. it was the most beautiful thing i've ever seen. and then we crossed over this land filled with cows, to their cute little house. there were three little kids, a mom, and a grandma. and it was strange, because we had this lesson prepared, but once we got there i really just felt like we shouldn't even teach them ANYTHING. like, don't teach. which i thought was weird, but i went with it. so we just laughed, talked, and looked at pictures of their family. the kids were OBSESSED with us, and it was really a fun time. we all connected so well. i told them about halloween in america, and told them that i forgot it was halloween, but i promised them that if they came to church, i'd give them all a piece of candy if they said, "trick or treat." and then i taught them how to say it in english. now, this family hasn't been to church in YEARS. the kids haven't been baptized (they're eleven, nine, and six). anyways, they said they'd come! so we left, and it took us forever to get home, but it was the greatest adventure/time ever. i felt really happy with how it went.
the next day my companion and i taught two english classes back-to-back. it was really fun, and also really tiring. normally we have six missionaries there, so we split into three classes..but we were the only ones in town, so we taught EVERYONE together. and then some people came at the end of the class, they were confused about times, so we stayed and taught another huge group right after. everyone was so grateful that we stayed to teach them. i love teaching english. it's something i've always wanted to do anyways (aside from a mission), so how lucky am i to do it all in one?!
and then on saturday we spent the morning/afternoon serving in the community. we were with a group called "helping hands," and we raked/bagged leaves. it was so fun. i think it's so interesting that kids are the same, no matter what country you go to. i love them in america, and i love them here. kids seem to love me in america, and they love me here. i think kids can really sense love....and they just love you when you love them. older people just have reservations and think that everyone has alternative motives, but not kids. so kids are always around me here. i made raking leaves into a game, and then one of the girls took my camera and took millions of pictures of us. which i was happy about, because now i have pictures of this day! so i'll send those home. we got to talk to people about who we were, and what we were doing. some of them even wanted to help, too! it was really fun. and did i mention i got to wear PANTS?!?!?! best day of my life. i love pants. i felt like jasmine. not sister wallace. i felt like jasmine. and i loved it.
on saturday night we went to dinner with sister olds and sister sneider, her companion. we went to a french restaurant...that was soooooooo expensive. our drinks were 100 hrievna..which is pricy. but none of the prices were on the menu...so that was awkward. we just laughed and laughed and ran through the streets of l'viv after. life is good.
sunday. best day. we walked in to the chapel early...and no one was there...except sitting on the very front row...was the family we had visisted early in the week. the family that hadn't been to church in years...even after lots of missionaries had visited them many times. they were ALL there. and they said they came because no one had ever visited them just to be their friends. just to talk. just to laugh. everyone always had this message about something. about why they needed to come back. but no one was ever just their friends. except us. and that's why they came. they felt loved! which made me want to cry.....i am positive that heavenly father knows all of His children. he knows what we all need. and He knew that family needed friends. so He sent us. the kids sat by me for the whole meeting, and kept hugging and kissing my cheeks. it was the best. everyone asked us how we got them to church?!?! all i could say is, "we didn't. we just loved them."
so. if you can't tell from my letter...the theme of my week was love and service. we loved the people, and served them. and as a result...we saw blessings. i know that my life is supposed to be a life of serving others...and i hope to serve wherever i am, always. Howard W. Hunter said, "our focus should be on righteousness, not recognition; on service, not status."
I love that quote. i try to live by that, and i think it's really true. when our motives and intentions are to please Heavenly Father, not others, and to serve others for Him, not for our own status....that's when we're happiest. that's when i'm happiest.
also, i read this WONDERFUL little thing this week, that i really loved an awful lot:
"Some people are like rocks thrown around into a sea of problems. They are drowned by them. BE A CORK. when submerged in a problem, fight to be free to bob up TO SERVE again with happiness....the Lord is intent on your personal growth and development. That progress is accelerated when you willingly allow Him to lead you through every growth experience you encounter; whether initially it be to your individual liking or not. When you trust in the Lord, when you are willing to let your heart and your mind be centered on His will, when you ask to be led by the Spirit to do His will, you are assured of the greatest happiness along the way and the most fulfilling attainment from this mortal experience. if you question everything you are asked to do, or dig in your heels at every unpleasant challenge, you make it harder for the Lord to bless you." -Elder Richard G. Scott
isn't that incredible?! i want to put it on my wall. it's really just the best way to live. be a cork, people! be a cork!
i'm going to be a cork in l'viv this week. i'll find out transfer info this week on saturday!!!! and it's kind of bitter-sweet because i'm almost positive i'm leaving l'viv. so, i'm going to enjoy this beautiful city even more this week!!!
be a cork. smile. know i'm loving you every second of every day.
xoxo jas/sister wallace