Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Be a cork

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 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 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

Back to work

family email:

first of all, buddy i'm so proud of you! it sounds like your farewell was awesome! wish i could have been there...but wait that's a lie...i wanted to be gone for it hahaha. but send me your talk! you will do great! can't wait to hear from you when you're in me-hee-coo.

anways. ukraine is great. it's cold...yet bearable. i'm so happy to have all my clothes, boots, and tights. oh my gosh. i went to church on sunday and one of the elders said..."so like did you go shopping in america or something?" because everyone here knows my outfits. i literally was like psshhhh DID i go shopping?! you just wait.
i actually feel somewhat cuter than how i felt before, so that's a plus. and everyone loves my hair. so give it a month and then you can send me a new wardrobe again, right? ;)

anyways. it feels just like i never left, yet not. it's a weird feeling, but i already felt it once, so i can feel it again. hahaha. i guess heavenly father just wants me to learn lots of lessons, and i'm learning them. everyone is like, "heavenly father is giving you all of this because he knows you're the only person strong enough to handle all of it." buuuuuut i'm really not. i'm not strong at all. but christ is, and He's my i guess i'm just being taught how to rely on that more than ever. 

i have lots of gems from my personal studies the last couple days. it just really was like screaming: this is for you! so maybe it will mean something to you, too?

i was studying about character, seeing as how this whole experience is surely building my character. and richard g. scott said something i'm in love with:
"righteous character is what you are enables you in times of trial and testing to make difficult, extremely important decisions correctly, even when they seem overpowering." 

and i think that is so true. i'm developing and becoming a person with righteous character. it's a process! but i'd say that the last few weeks have been incredibly trying and testing...and i had to make some decisions. and the decisions seemed overpowering, but i was enabled with power that was beyond my own. and that's really neat to me.

Elder Nelson said, "the scriptures promise 34 times that people will 'prosper in the land only if they keep the commandments of God'....Lehi and his faithful family members kept the commandments, but they still suffered many afflictions." i was like....hey, yeah! i'm keeping the commandments, but i'm over here suffering many afflictions! yeah! i can relate! and then i read what Joseph Smith had to say about it:
"The man who stays with the kingdom of God, the man who is true to his people, the man who keeps himself unspotted from the world, is the man that God will accept, the man that God will uphold, that He will sustain, and that will PROSPER IN THE LAND, whether he be in the enjoyment of his liberty, or be confined in prison cells, it makes no difference where he is ...he will come out all right."

so, yeah! yeah! yeah! i'll come out all right. 

as president monson once said, "decisions determine destiny."

i've realized that life is all about making decisions. every day. some are big, some are small...but they all determine our destiny. i'm glad i made the decision to come back, and that i was able to. i know that Heavenly Father will always uphold me, and you. 

i love you all. i'm so grateful i got to see you all, and go to the temple. i love you soooo much. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sept 9

well....i guess this can't be that's a bummer hahahahah. learn how to make it private!!!!  

i guess i told mom the run-down in the other email. you could say a lot is going on in this part of the world. and i'm here in the middle of it hahahaah. god  is mindful of all of us, no matter where we are. 

sooooo i would tell you that we had a million meetings, or something like that...but we actually just had a lot of valiant efforts trying to have conversations with people. this whole situation has taught me a lot about patience....something i clearly don't have enough of. it hit me this morning....this little i'll share it with you:

Heavenly father is literally a perfect parent. in every way. i thought of you, mom and dad....who taught me a lot of lessons. i thought about being in seventh grade and wanting a cell phone. everyone was getting the new RZR phones....and i wanted a  phone. so, come christmas, i got one! an ugly, brick, pay as you go phone. one that i had to pay for myself! so i worked, and bought minutes for it all the time. and when i didn't have money...i didn't have a phone. it was annoying. i begged and begged for you to pay for it, or put us on a cell-phone plan! i put together power-point presentations on "why i deserve a better phone." and i had a dumb pay-as-you-go phone that i payed for on my own for a LONG time.  and then that one christmas, i  got a pretty touch-screen phone....on a plan...with unlimited texting....that YOU were paying for. and i was so happy. i was so happy, i wasn't even THAT annoyed that bradley, sabrina, and peter got the same deal.......and didn't even have to suffer through spending all their own money  for a dumb pay as you go i had to. it was all behind me and in the past...and i had this new phone.  
i thought of being your daughter....and how many times (in this story and throughout my life) i've looked at you with pouty lips and tears in my eyes. maybe when i was little and wanted candy. or when i was in sixth grade and i wanted that hideous "happy bunny" shirt that is just stupid. and how i  was so sad when the answer was, "no." but, you just kept loving me, and you knew that i didn't need these things. you knew i didn't need that candy when there were cookies at home. you knew i didn't need a happy bunny shirt because people would judge me and call me names (or their parents would judge you ;)  ). you knew i didn't need a phone with unlimited texting on it in seventh grade. you could just see more  than me. 
well, heavenly father is the ultimate parent-er. he knows so much...he doesn't even ever make mistakes. you know? he just knows. and i think of how many times (especially on my mission), i've begged, and pleaded...through teary eyes....and asked, "WHYYYYYY?!" and he just loves me and says, "not now." he can see more than i can. i'm here on earth like a little child that doesn't know that much screaming, "but dad...i want that candy!"  "but heavenly father...i want to be able to proselyte! i want to have someone to teach! etc." Heavenly Father knows more than me.  He doesn't give me everything i want...because He's a good parent. He has me work....just as i had to work for my pay-phone that i didn't even like that much. He has me work for all these things...and do my part...and every once and a while he'll give me $25 for my "pay-phone." just as you gave me money sometimes when i was struggling...or just  because you wanted to. He showers blessings upon me...and one day He'll give me something better than i could even imagine now. he'll give me the REAL DEAL phone. and even if he doesn't......He will have given me other things that i learned from paying for my own phone. i.e. work ethic, independence, sacrifice, etc. 

i'm grateful for the lessons you taught me, mom and dad. thank you for not always giving me everything i've ever wanted. if you had, i wouldn't be the person i am today. and i'm thankful for heavenly father...for not giving me everything i want. for testing me, and having me go through hard times. 

i must be willing to bear with patience all t hese things "and [yield] to the the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and [put] off the natural man and [become] a saint through the Atonement of Christ the Lord, and [become] as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit TO ALL THINGS WHICH THE LORD SEETH FIT  TO INFLICT UPON [ME], even as a child doth submit to his father" (mosiah 3:19).

i'm learning to become as a child.....and not like the little brat i was when i was little....but a really calm child hahahahaah. because i know that God knows more than me....for He is my Heavenly Father.

anyways....i'm just here in the streets of ukraine SPREADING JOY all day. i wish i could just hug and kiss you all through the computer screen. 

also....if you could all SERIOUSLY send me any of my strengths or talents....i would love you even more. even if it's "you make really good sandwiches..." (not even like that dumb phrase people say as a joke....). because i need to find all my talents that i don't even recognize and use them to bless the people here. this week we focused on using our talents in our order to find people. so since she likes art....we ran with that. because my talent is talking...i talk to people while she does art in the park hahah. anyways. i'm serious about that. 

i love you all. xoxoox jas

Friday, September 6, 2013

Taking down the blog?

To friends, family and faithful followers of Jasmine's blog:

The missionaries in Jasmine's mission and surrounding areas have been asked to discontinue blogs, mass emails, Facebook entries and such, or at least to  make them private and strictly controlled.   At this time I have put all of her posts of her time out of the country into draft status.  As blogmaster I am looking at any and all options to stay within the letter and spirit of the law and still get information to her friends and family.  If anyone knows how to make blogs private, please let me know.

Below are excerpt of this request from her mission president.

Dear Parents and friends of our missionaries and our returned missionaries, 

We are grateful for each of you who have served here, or support those who now serve in this part of the world.  We are grateful for each of our wonderful missionaries and we appreciate those who willingly share them with us at this very sacred time in their lives.  Every missionary in the Ukraine L’viv Mission is doing well.  They are a remarkable group.   All of them are working hard and all of them are safe and comfortably situated.

Living and serving here brings great blessings and also provides us each with an opportunity to learn sacrifice and consecration in order to help move the work of the Lord forward.  We are deeply committed to building the Church as well as protecting the safety and well-being of each missionary and church member.  In order to do so, we have some special requests of each of you

The Area Presidency has carefully evaluated the unique social and legal sensitivities here in this part of the world.  Digital technologies such as email, blogs, and other social media are all wonderful,   but these communication technologies can also be used to harm missionaries, members and the Church.

After careful and prayerful consideration we ask that you do not post your missionary’s weekly emails or any photograph of missionaries, members or nonmembers on public social media sites.  Please do not post any information about church activities here.  Please make any public site that contains photographs of missionaries, members or nonmembers private.   Please remove all photographs of missionaries, members and nonmembers and other personal data covered above from your social media sites if you wish to keep them public.

Thank you for your sacrifices in this regard during this sacred time of service and consecration.  We are grateful to you and ask your continued prayers for your missionaries, the members, and the great people of Western Ukraine.

Best Wishes,

President and Sister Lattin

Ukraine L’viv Mission

Matt Wallace

Monday, May 27, 2013

Leaving town

maybe you'll get this tonight, maybe you won't. buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut i guess you'll get it eventually. i'm off to ukraine TOMORROWWWWWWWW if you didn't know. like....aren't you excited for me?! i'm not even having panic attacks or anything hahahah. i'm only moving to's fine, i guess. like...yeah. soooooooooooooooo i'm soooooooooooooooooooooo excited to talk to you. just thought i'd send off some pictures from this last week. not sure when i'll get to email you again.....or when i'll be able to send pictures. i've never been on a mission to ukraine i don't really have it all down yet ;) i love you lots. see you soon....and talk to you sooner :)
the map picture is the map of ukraine. the yellow stickers are the areas that are open......and the pink ones are areas that have missionaries....but aren't open or something like that.
the awkward pictures with that guy are hilarious. he's my teacher. and it's awkward taking pictures with we decided to embrace the awkward. i'd say we achieved that.