Monday, September 28, 2015

We all need constant care..... 9-28-15

It seems like just yesterday I was writing last week so that is a good sign! We headed back up to Kiev for 3 days for some training. We traveled by night train (really cool - better than flying). President Packer had some great stories to tell not only about his Grandpa, Apostle Packer, but about Apostle Scott with his recent passing... but the thing that stuck with we was when he "dispelled the myths" surrounding this mission. I loved it. 

With my companion being Branch President, I really don't have a whole lot to report and all of the days get jumbled together here anyways! The members here are very loving, but they need a lot of direction and constant care so that is why we don't have all of the time in the world to contact, because we are usually doing stuff for the branch! But we all need to be watched over. We did have the opportunity to bring food and medicine to a family wayyyy out there, and it was shocking when I ducked into their house! Most modest living conditions I have ever seen for sure. 
Heading to deliver the food and medicine

We traveled to downtown Odessa today for some passport stuff and it is a great place! It is a big city compared to where we were delivering the stuff to the family. I like the contrast of the different areas I have been able to travel to.

I feel like I am constantly going through a cycle of feeling bad/frustrated for myself and then realizing it and stopping and working as hard as I can and then it just seems to repeat! Turns out not everyone walking down the street talks about Heavenly Father and revelation and Joseph's First vision. I need to learn some normal words so I can have a conversation with people! 

The best word I learned this week was precious. драгоценный  Go look up the definition! The work is precious here in Ukraine and everywhere else and we need to help people see and understand. Oh, Elder Gorba forgot to assign talks so I talked for 10 minutes in sacrament meeting and it went better than expected! 
This is our branch "Chapel". This was taken prior to our meeting starting. There are usually about 15 people that attend. But I spoke from that pulpit.

That's about it for this week...  We are hoping to get out and teach this week. Language is still coming along. Enjoy your fall colors!  Just saw some photos from my mom of the mountains and fall leaves. Miss those mountains but love this area!
-Elder Devashrayee

Monday, September 21, 2015

Feeling Small - New Comp & New Country..... 9-21-15

UKRAINE! Love it here! Leaving the MTC and my companion was a little rough, but I was glad to finally move on! I can honestly say that I enjoyed the MTC and I feel like I learned a lot, but wish I would have been able to learn more the moment I stepped foot in Ukraine. 
It was tougher than I thought to say goodbye to my district "dad" and Elder Norton!

The plane rides over were a little rough but I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a number of people in the airport and on the plane. I have a long ways to go when it comes to even teaching in English, but hopefully they felt the Spirit. I had some guy read the whole Doctrine of Christ because we had time and he was interested, and in the MTC he would have asked when we hold the baptismal services! It was kinda funny when he just handed the Book Of Mormon back to me and said, "huh" and then I asked if he had any questions and he just said "nope" and went about his business. Hahah it was kinda funny not gonna lie. 

The first 3 days we spent in Kiev, going to the meeting house 60 ft away from the temple every day! We just learned the basics and more about the culture and stuff like that. The temple here is amazing! Looks like a castle to me and strong, because it needs to be here in Eastern Europe. 
The Temple - or Castle as I think of it as...

My companion is Elder Gorba and he is 6' 7" or so and a friendly giant! He is from Dnipropetrovsk (A large city North and East of us, quite a ways away) and is 24. Great Elder! 
Elder Gorba - my Trainer. I am feeling rather SMALL....

I have learned a lot of life lesson from him already. He is the Branch President down here in Illichivs'k and has lots of responsibilities! He is really patient with me and is a native, but is MY personal walking dictionary because he knows English very well. We have gone contacting some... but the one that sticks out to me is we met this lady and her kid on the street and she had just overcome some disease and she knew God was the one who helped her so she was trying to find God. So.. we gave her a Book Of Mormon and the contact info for the missionaries in her area and then had to go on our way. I wonder where she is now, but I guess I will probably never know! I have had tons of stories here so far where I share the gospel with people, and then I just wish I knew what they were saying back! It is frustrating, but I know I need patience. 

The weather here is probably 10 degrees less than in SLC right now

The first thing I noticed once I was on European soil was the smell

Illichivs'k is in Odessa and is near the black sea.  It is in the Southern part of Ukraine, down by Moldova.

We have not taught a full-on lesson yet, but will!

I bore my testimony is sacrament meeting with about 20 people in the congregation (we have a branch) 

The scenery is crazy! (I sent photos - go to Illichivs'k link on the blog) My comp likes to take photos MORE than me, which I didn't know was possible, but it is! I will keep sending more.

The food is different, but really good!  I have been trying really hard to eat everything here and the only thing I didn't finish all the way was when Elder Gorba made plain oatmeal with onions and mushrooms for breakfast.. but, I know I need to eat it all to get used to it and like it! We literally eat anything we have. It doesn't matter what time of day haha we just eat all that we can get. 
I can promise you, other than the bread and juice, I wouldn't have eaten ANY of this at home!

My comp loves to eat.. and he eats really fast. I eat slow.. so that is something I can do better at, and WILL!

MY mission president and his wife are amazing! Great to meet them. Great people. 
President Packer: "As the world gets darker, we shine brighter." Opposition means we are doing the right thing. 

Public transportation... I don't know how to use it yet. Didn't ever use it at home. But I will understand it after the mission! It is essential here. They are all really hot and smelly.

We visited the black sea on our morning run (10 minutes away) and decided we might as well jump in!  BUT we didn't jump in! Cool sights on our run though.
The City & the Black Sea behind me

It is bummer to see how much time we have to give up in the proselyting area to just live!  We don't just get to go out and proselyte all day and come home to meals made and everything done/clean and take a car everywhere we want to go. Like, there is a whole side of "living" that I never thought of before.  It takes too much time every day!

The food is okay, people don't smile much, but are great.  My mind has a million things going on inside right now! I will be able to give a better email next week once I wrap my head around what just occurred this last week! 

I am trying really hard to get over the language barrier, but it will take time. 

-Elder Devashrayee

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Arrived in Kyiv.... 9-15-15

We received a short email and a few photos from the mission office very early this morning. They are 9 hours ahead of us there.  He doesn't know what area he will be assigned to yet, nor who his trainer will be. A lot of change has occurred there - they just sent home 12 missionaries the day before this group arrived. So the Mission President is sorting through everything!

Group arrived at the airport

Once we hear from him again, on his P-Day we will post his emails here.  He will not have any internet access to Facebook, Instagram, or this blog but we will post stuff for him. He always loves emails and letters. Please notice the mission office address posted here on the blog. You can send pouch mail locally, but make sure you follow those rules precisely.

Thanks all for your love and support!


Notice who the only one NOT smiling is....

Beautiful Kyiv Temple

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Last Week at the MTC..... 9-9-15

Hopefully next week I can tell some cool stories of my travels and what Ukraine is like, but as for now it is just another week in the MTC! BUT it is my last week here....

I just saw Elder (Jack) Johansen come in and have caught up with a lot of the elders that I was friends with before! It is fun having them all here! I received my flight plans on Friday so that was exciting! It means that I am getting close - YAY!  Flying into Chicago and then into Germany and then into Ukraine! I leave the MTC Monday morning at like 3:30am and arrive in Ukraine late Tuesday night. 

Other than that it is just making sure you are having fun and enjoying the little things or else it can be a long day at times! We had fast Sunday here (as everyone did) and we also had a mission conference in the morning to add on to the rest of the day's meetings. Elder Norton and I taught a lesson on Faith in our district Sunday School class and it went really well. It is nice to speak a little English here and there. We do skype on Monday mornings to teach lessons and this week we skyped a grandma from Russia, it was funny because she had missionaries with her when she was doing it so the whole time they could just see how bad we were at Russian. Made me wanna be on the other side of the call but my time will come. 

Other than pointless, kinda harmless, teenage bets and stuff like that.. not much to report on! Gerald Causse came and spoke last night, which was good, and the rest will just be things I learned throughout the week! Today was the last day I will have to go to the temple in a while also. So we made the best of it. I will miss going there once a week. Oh, Sunday Elder Norton and I blessed the Sacrament for the zone and we both bore our testimonies! It went great.  

Random Thoughts:
*Tithing is a test of faith, and timing is a test of faith. 
*When I share my testimony it is returned with increase. 

Alan C. Ashton- Provo temple President
*When you come across a scripture you like, say it over and over until it is a part of you. 

Holland (Replayed talk from a MTC address)
*OPEN YOUR MOUTH again haha - guess I need to understand that :)
*In Ephesians 6 we learn about what we have to protect ourselves, the sword is the only offensive weapon that we possess... go figure out what the sword is! 
*All satan has to do to win, is for us to be quiet.. he can't kill us, so the next best thing is to bind our tongues. If we do that ourselves, he has won. OPEN YOUR MOUTHS

Elder Carr- Christ was the perfect teacher and did miracles and even people rejected Him.. remember that. 

Elder Norton- Helping me see how we should really desire to follow the will of God whatever it may be. 

Brother Steinagel (teacher)- Never pretend to understand. Russians appreciate honesty. 

Brother Gerald Causse - 
*We can receive more joy in being instruments in God's hands than in thinking we did it all by ourselves. 
*Bold but humble. 
*The difference of being unworthy and worthy is small compared to the difference of being worthy and perfect.. 
*"Everyone is worthy to be invited to be baptized" 

Hope everyone is doing great! No idea when my next P-day will be but will write to you then! Last Goodbye from the MTC in Provo Utah! 
- Elder Devashrayee
One last MTC Selfie....

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Everyday Should Prepare Us For The Next..... 9-2-15

We had to evacuate the dorm this morning because the fire alarm went off and I convinced a good majority of the Elders that it was me and it was because I put a frozen bagel in the microwave and put it in there for 9 minutes and then forgot about it. So as of later today, people keep giving me dirty looks or I can tell they are talking about me, hahaha... you gotta find your own fun here. I wonder who really did it, he should thank me! 

What I learned about tiredness is fake it till you make it! That's gonna be one of MY challenges in the field, I have no doubt! There never is time to make up for sleep, so if you lose it, it is as good as gone here! Can't sleep in class like in High School. Miss my Bengal buddy in Ms Griffiths class!

One of our teachers (investigators) had a fake baptism and four of us elders sang in a quartet. It was horrible. We have a lot to learn here - Unlike the language, musical talents haven't matured yet.

Elder Dayton's birthday was last P-day so that was a lot of fun and we played pin the tail on the donkey and that is for sure the most excited I've been since I arrived here ;) The many things we have to come up with to fill our few minutes available with fun and laughter.

The Elders in my district have found a new hobby of taking old ties and making new ones out of them by making them skinnier and such. I am horrible at sewing but oh well. Not a whole lot goes on down here, but it is nice to be able to talk to my bros from high school every night! Love them all!

Don't have many great stories, sorry. But I have had to 2 Apostles come and 2 great devotionals every week so that makes up for it. Below are some of what I gathered from them.

Weekly thoughts:
Elder Dallin H Oaks came and talked to us last night and this is what I got out of it:
*Our missions can transform us if we ALLOW them to
*Love your companion, we are all different but together we can be effective
*Do not give a lesson, teach your investigator
*Importance of Sacrament- to be taken regularly and appropriately
"All members of the Church should know the Sacrament Prayers by heart"
*Prepare to be led, and be WILLING to be led by the Spirit- 
*Gospel/Life Lesson: IF you assume, you will fail
*Spotless- an accumulation of right choices and continual repentance 

Everyone go read ALMA 34! We went over that chapter as a small group one of these past nights and I loved it. 

I have learned a lot and I don't just wanna throw down all that I have learned but here are a few things: 

*"Because of pride..." Nothing good ever comes from this sentence in the scriptures
*I need to 2x my efforts and work my hardest. Work hard on earth, rest in heaven. 
*Our rewards/blessings will come in the season that God sees fit. 
*Nothing spiritual in life is ever a coincidence- Brother Allen
*I need to be able to go and ASTONISH the people of where I teach
*Once I can truly make My way = God's way and have His Gospel = My Gospel, only then can I try to draw an equivalence to Him and be a true disciple 

Charles W Dahlquist II - 
*If I remember I am a Child of God, it should affect every decision I make 
*Everyday should prepare us for the next
*We must be solidly anchored if we are to help those that flail around 

By the way, I got a new NAME TAG.... check it out - my name in Russian - way cool!

Out of here for a week,
-Elder Devashrayee