Monday, October 26, 2015

God Gives, But On His Own Time.... 10-27-15

This week was easily my favorite in илыичёвск. It was an example of exactly what I teach and try to tell people nearly every time. God will give according to the desires of your heart, but on His own time and will. I found out that I would have an exchange this last Friday and was getting pumped for it all week. Finally a day just devoted to missionary work and nothing else. 

Elder Gamett and his trainer came from an area and both of our trainers went off doing their stuff while we just contacted. We prayed for a miracle, set the goals and plans out for the day, knew exactly where we wanted to go and what to hand out, basically in our actions told the Lord what we wanted to achieve. The main goal was to get an investigator. That is the one main thing I have been praying for here, to find and teach an investigator. Again, on His time, I must be patient. We tried to talk to nearly 50 or so people and only about 6 or 7 stopped. Out of those we had (tried our hardest) conversations with about 4 or them. Out of the 4, we found 2 new investigators in one day. One of them didn't have a lot of time but he asked where the church was and what time and said he would come Sunday. 

I know I'm new, but the other seemed like "Golden Investigator" she had millions of questions that were sincere and led right into what we wanted to say and the message we had to share. Every single question was honestly perfect. We talked with her on the street for 40 minutes and then got her contact and the next day Elder Gorba and I went to her house and taught her. My first Lesson! It didn't go all "magically" but it was good and we are going back to teach her today. She didn't come to Church this Sunday because she wanted to read more first but Sunday night she called and asked questions from the Book Of Mormon from 1st Nephi chapter 4! 

The other investigator we found came to Church an hour early on accident because we had a time change here and he didn't realize it. So, before Church started we were able to give him a little tour of the building and tell him what would happen in Church. We are also meet with him Monday evening. I prayed to find an investigator and we found two. Saturday night and Sunday morning I prayed to have them at church and a lot of members also and we had the most since I have been here. I guess I just need to start praying for baptism and not just the smaller things :). 

We also taught a record, for our transfer, number of lessons to less actives and actives this week. I ended up giving "my" farewell talk on Sunday. I approached it in a different way that I have never thought of before. I tried to prep it for "if out in the congregation we had an investigator" or really tried to think of "what the members needed" instead of just thinking of something cool to say. I also found myself thinking about the other people giving talks this last week and hoping they would prepare. We just need to always act like an investigator is watching you in church and plan talks as if an investigator is there to here you and you alone speak! Never thought of sacrament meeting like that before.
My Illichivs'k District
Top: E. Christofferson    E. Evalde    E. Gorba      me   
Bottom: Sister Karren    Sister Ivancovich   (not sure about spelling)

Right as we finally get investigators, I am being transferred though and it is a bit frustrating but I guess that is missionary work. I will be serving in  Kyevo-Svyatoshinskiy rayon with Elder Young! That area is up closer to Kyiv. So excited. He went to Alta and I was able to talk to him a few times before the MTC and then we were in different districts in the MTC but the same zone. His trainer just left for home and they just had a few baptisms, so he will have a lot of experience which is great! We are both going to be a few short weeks out, so it will be a little rough, but it is going to be a great experience and I cannot wait to serve there and with him. #801takeoverUkraine 
I was able to make another dish for us - Pizza!

 - If we expect miracles, and then do everything in our power to qualify for them, they can happen. 

- We need to "cheerfully submit to the will of the Lord and have patience"  He will lighten the burden upon our back. We don't know when He will deliver us, but just wait for the day that He says, "on the morrow, I will deliver you"....or something like that. Story when He causes a great sleep to come over the Lamanites and the people of Alma escape. Mosiah 24. 

That is all. 
Elder Devashrayee
Cool sunsets and sunrises. I will miss Illichivs'k!  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Time To Focus...... 10-19-15

This week we had Zone Conference on Wednesday.  Zone conference was great and President Packer set some goals for us that I am excited to try and achieve. They will really push all of us to do more missionary work and take away the time we have been wasting trying to decide what to do and not just aimlessly contact. Be more Focused.

Then we went to Kiev on Friday and got back early Sunday for a Branch President's meeting for my companion.  I was able to go through the temple for the first time here and it was awesome.  Kiev temple is hands down my favorite temple. It is a beautiful temple. I was glad I was able to go through it.

Unfortunately, not a whole lot of exciting things to report for this last week so this will be short. Between Zone Conf, traveling to Kiev and branch work there hasn't been a lot of time to contact.  We did help a lady in our branch try to winter-ize her shack. It is crazy how people make it through the winter here with so little. We are very blessed back in Utah.

The work is going great in my area.  It is not at all how I envisioned missionary work, but I feel like we are truly doing the Lord's will here.  We just need to make time for missionary work along with branch items. We will get there!

Fun fact:  Nearly almost everyone here smokes all of the time and still we have better air quality than Salt Lake with that smog layer.  Another fun fact: I literally saw a man hold a lighter under his finger time and time again on the metro and eventually he lit his finger on fire. Crazy!

My mind is constantly mush from the language and when I go to bed at night my mind is just CHAOS. To prove that, I had a dream last night that I was running from a T-rex and eventually we had a duel where we were throwing and dodging meteors at each other. That is how I would describe the language is coming along for me-  it just makes no sense! That's about all I have to report for this week and sorry no additional pictures, I forgot my camera back in the apartment. 

All the best.
-Elder Devashrayee

Monday, October 12, 2015

Learn Then Tested..... 10/12/15

Not a whole lot went down this week regarding missionary work, but we were very busy with Elder Gorba being the Branch President. Good news! I got yelled at for the first time when a fellow said "eeeeegooooooo eeehomeee yaaaaaaaannnnkeee!!"  hahaha it made me really happy I am not going to lie. He was drunk and it sounded really funny. 

This week we spent a lot of time traveling up to Odessa to go to the hospital for different needs in the branch.

Our path to Odessa

I was able to give a spiritual thought that wasn't my own at all. I had read Mosiah 10 the day before and then read it again in the morning because I couldn't even remember reading it, and I got a totally different message from it.  When we feel like we are wronged we have 2 choices: 1. Seek for revenge, be wroth, harden our hearts, turn from the Lord, and have hatred  2. Seek for understanding, soften our hearts, and forgive. 

While at the hospital we were talking to a member of our branch who has 2 or 3 different types of cancer right now... I had no idea what Elder Gorba had previously said or where the conversation was and wasn't expecting to speak much. Then E Gorba turned to me and said something about what I have read recently and instantly the thought of giving the message that God gave me earlier in the day to the lady came to my mind. I would have never thought to have given this message to this lady who was going through so much, but it was made plain to me that that was exactly was I was supposed to say to her. It was a great experience. 

After the Lord knew that I had understood and learned this lesson he made sure to test me on it this week. It really is so hard.  Later in the week I made the little triangle of Faith, Diligence, and Patience after reading the latter part of Alma 32. I know that through these 3 steps repeated over a long time (long suffering) we can all find and partake of the fruit (hopefully Russian for me). 

The highlight of the week had to of been when we pealed and cut up a lot of potatoes and my comp was getting ready to add onions (whenever we "add" onions it becomes the main course) and I stopped him in his tracks and said, "no Elder, today we add cheese." It was a proud American "DEREK" moment when I covered the pan with cheese and we ate cheese fries. It's the small things out here :)

We were able to watch conference finally and it was awesome. First time I have watched all 8 hours and actually stayed awake! Each one seemed a lot shorter than two hours so that was a good sign. I am not going to say which was my favorite but I learned a little something from each of them. It gave me a lot of new insight on how I can perfect myself and become a better servant of the Lord. There seemed to be a lot of personal stories and it really brought the spirit, I know I need to have some summaries prepared to give when I teach. The new apostles are great and when Elder Nelson spoke I could truly feel the love he had for them. I am going to come back as emotional as my mother I already know it... speaking of mothers, they were a huge focus of the meeting also and deserve all the recognition. Overall, great conference. 

It got cold here and fast. I found a coat in the apartment that says Tiger Force, so judging by the name alone, I think I will be just fine this coming winter hahah. Elder Gorba says that it will be a good coat - but I am finding out that he not only loves to take more photos of himself then me but he is also just about as cheap as me. I will soon find out if the coat is good or not. The wind is really the factor here. It is so cold. 

Good times
-Elder Devashrayee

This is the beach in our area. I hear it is crazy busy in the summer. It is pretty cool!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Every Interaction Must Count...... 10-5-15

So... to start off, the investigator that Elder Gorba had been visiting for some time and said he wanted to be baptized had been battling health issues from smoking for 50+ years and the only thing he needed was to go to Church but was always too sick. He passed away last Monday night and it was really an eye opener because we went over there the week prior (the really humble house) and that was most likely the last message about the gospel he heard. Crazy stuff to think about. Gotta make every interaction one that lifts the other person, because you never know. 

On the light side, this week went by just as fast as the last! We visited a lot of the members and less actives this week and it was fun to meet all of them and to share a quick spiritual message and then sit there like a fly on the wall as they all talk ;). It is frustrating, but I know it will come. 

My favorite lesson this week was when after the dad (not a member) of the part member family asked me if I lifted. I knew that was a pick-me-up from the big man upstairs, I needed it ;)  He let me know that I matter to him and that I just need to keep doing what I am doing and He will bless me.

Someone in the ward travels to Germany and France and is a renowned barber so we went there today and it was the best haircut I have ever received while in Europe! She did a great job and I just walked in a said "I trust you" and closed my eyes, good times.

 Sporting the new haircut - "exceptional style" was his title

We made Borsh and it was actually really pretty good! Doesn't look too good and putting in the ingredients myself doesn't help, but in the end it tastes great! Other than the fact that then it takes 4 days in a row of eating it for dinner to finish it,  it drops down a bit on the "good" scale. 

We visited a less active and in his house he had a great picture of the Kiev temple! It was a bummer when I saw that he had packs of cigarettes in front of it.. but, he showed up to Church and bore his testimony and that was the first time he has done that in a good 6 months, so that was awesome to hear. Elder Gorba said that was the best visit during the week he has ever had with him... we gave him a hair cut to start off with so maybe he was a little more open after that :). 

We visited my favorite little grandma Lidia (in Ukraine) and she fed us some pears, that were a little questionable, but she was too nice to say no to! She told me to stop putting my hands in my pockets. She had me tell her about God with my hands in my pockets, and then had me try again with my hands out of my pockets. Ya, it was funny and from then on I have been trying to keep my hands out! Elder Gorba could understand her better so she gave him a lot of advice in finding a wife. One time I was very grateful for my lack of the language.
Babooshka Lidia

 My favorite verses I read this week were Matt 23:11, and another one in Mosiah 7:12 the latter half of that scripture. That is how I should try to approach my opportunity as a missionary every week.  I am going to work on it.

This last Sunday was my favorite by far. I bore my testimony again (3 weeks in a row, they are sick of me) and then after the first hour I went out of my way to talk with the members as much as possible. It was the happiest I have felt since the MTC and that is really the key to everything.  Just love the people. I have accepted that I will not just magically be able to speak the language but am looking forward to the 6 month mark with lots of goals to have accomplished by then. I know it will take the full 2 years to master the language, but I just want to be able to talk to people!  I do all I can just to entertain myself at times and I do a pretty good job, but it gets a little lonely ;) 

I heard the new apostles names. Great Men.  Elder Renlund was my favorite speaker from last Springs conference. I quoted him in my farewell talk, who would have thought.  We will able to watch all of General Conf. this week, so I am looking forward to that! 

 That is all.
-Elder Devashrayee

The View out of our window this morning
P.S. - Some follow-ups:
* My Comp is a convert at age 12 with his mom.
* I am trying to cook more, that way I can control what goes in the oatmeal, but mainly because I am tired of always doing the dishes.
* Thanks Nicole for the mini Bball Hoop! I love it!
* Enjoying my Ukrainian fashion Style - the hat and all... from the photo above.