Monday, September 26, 2016

Place of Refuge...... 9-26-16

Great last week just not a lot of time to type about it. 

I feel like this week we really connected with the ward and especially the young men and it made a huge difference. We were able to go over to most of the youths homes and have little family home evenings, invite most of them to come on lessons with us, and then on Saturday we all played a little soccer. Good times. 

We also were able to find a number of less-actives that have fallen off the deep-end and it is always great to find them and help them out because more often than not they are just waiting for someone to come along and extend a helping hand. It is easy to be that hand.

We found an investigator, had the first lesson and then 2 days later met with him again. He came with 3 pages full of questions from the internet. Instead of taking a little time to actually read the Book of Mormon, he embarked on an internet quest to find out what he could to disprove the Book of Mormon. One thing I have learned is that discussions/debates about Joseph Smith are pointless without a testimony of the Book of Mormon. 

We went over to probably one of the most well-off families in the Church here in Ukraine and it was a blast. Family of 5 kids, and inside the home was truly a feeling of peace and love.
 A couple of their kids
 Sasha is the boy's name
Best soccer field I have seen yet, but it was their back yard!

We gave out a lot commitments this last week for families to make their house an extension of the temple/a place of refuge. This week do the same and decide 1 thing you can do to create an environment of love in the home. 

I have recently finished the New Testament and it has helped me a ton. I am now starting D&C and am excited to learn more about Joseph Smith. This last week, I really tried to make an effort during every lesson to sit back and say a little prayer in my head while we taught. I felt a huge difference in really trying to rely on the Lord more and more. 

My favorite scripture this week was D&C 3:10. We are called to the work, but we all make mistakes. All the Lord asks of us is to repent and try again. The mission is great. A year ago, the New Testament was a little confusing. This time when I read it, it seemed as if it was opened up to me to a deeper level, and I know that I have barely skimmed the surface. Hope you all have a great week. 

Elder Devashrayee

Here are some photos we took over the last week or so. Thought of our leaves changing there in our mountains, while looking at the aspens here.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Celebrating 25 Years Here...... 9-19-16

Great last week. Some highlights: 

-We learned how to make вареники  this last week from a grandma we are working with. Lots of time to prepare and about a minute to eat, like most good things! (it's called Vareniki)
These are my two companions and the Grandma and her daughter showing us how to make them.  It is a little ball of dough with meat or cheese or cherries or potatoes inside. YUM!

-We were at a less-actives house and she showed us pictures of the missionary who baptized her and her family. My companion's parents served a mission and she had a picture of them on their mission. In the picture was Elder Яшевский and his mom in Kazakhstan.. crazy! Small world. He was about 10 years old in the photo and it was hilarious to see. Amazing how the Lord works.

-We were able to see the finished painting from the reenactment that I participated in a few months back. It was cool to see the final framed version. So blessed to be a part of that incredible event in Ukraine. They had it on display at the celebration we had this week.

-Saturday morning we had a Mission Conference with every single missionary. It was great to see everyone. I was able to visit with several of my old companions.  All of us Elders were given either a blue or yellow tie (Ukrainian Flag colors) for the weekend celebration. It was cool to see!
This is our ENTIRE Mission - serving in the Kyiv Ukraine Mission
The three speakers were:  
Sister Packer: She really focused on the importance of Morning and Nightly prayer and what should be included in each of those. Morning prayers can be hard to concentrate, but that is one of my new goals. To make it meaningful, and not just sleepy. 

President Packer: He showed us a lot of pictures from his mission. He was able to go back there with Sister Packer for a meeting and he had a handful of stories of seeds that he had sown in the area, and then going back and seeing that other missionaries/members had harvested them. This hit home to me, hearing that in my last few areas there have been baptisms of people that I played a role in. It doesn't matter what phase of the work you are a part of, it only matters that you did your part. 

President Porter: He had a 2 hour discourse on Jesus Christ and then Joseph Smith. Here are some of the highlights. 

-"If it is to be, it is up to me.. to trust in the Lord" 
-Take a personal rating, how often is the Savior on your mind? 
-The Law: We can follow all of the commandments, live a very honorable life, and do everything necessary to receive eternal life while becoming as Christ-like as possible.. yet, by the law we would not be allowed to live with our Heavenly Father. Only by His mercy can we overcome the law. 
-Atonement of Jesus Christ did not only take place the last 2 or so days. He prepared his whole life for the Atonement. Every action. Every thought. He went through and felt everything possible, in order to qualify himself to take every thing away. "Nothing you or I have ever done wasn't atoned for on the cross by Jesus Christ." 
-Questions about the Church and doubts about the history: Pointless to argue about if the person doesn't have a testimony of Joseph Smith. 
-"Never ask for permission, ask him what is right." (In our prayers) 
-Do we ever catch ourselves saying, "I feel so sorry for...(so and so)" ? Let's change that to "I feel so bad for  (so and so)... that I am willing to do something." Act!

Saturday was the Jubilee we have been getting ready for all year for the 25th anniversary of the Church in Ukraine. As missionaries we were able to perform in the concert and sing "The morning Breaks" and "Called to Served" in Ukrainian. It was held in downtown Kiev in the Opera House and it was filled with members from all over. I was able to see a lot of old friends. At the end the missionaries joined the choir in singing "How firm a Foundation". When the curtain came up, I realized that there were missionaries on the stage and we were in the crowd... that didn't seem right.  So we hurried and ran to the back stage and were on the stage by the time of the second verse, good times. Photos below.

Unforgettable last week in Ukraine. Love ya all. 

-Elder Devashrayee

 The Opera House in Kyiv
 One of my Primary Buddies
 Elder Young and a wonderful family
 My View from the back of the Stage

Monday, September 12, 2016

Be Content & Grateful..... 9-12-16

Good week. Not a whole lot to comment on, the good times just keep on rollin'. 

I had an exchange with a younger missionary this week from North Carolina. His Russian was awesome and he is half a year behind me. The difference in Elder's that I have seen is mostly whether or not they set goals, and whether or not they have the motivation/determination to finish them. This Elder was a great example to me. He had set a goal to try to start a conversation with 1000 people over this next week. A goal like that had never even crossed my mind. 

We have had to travel through the "forest" in our area quite a bit lately. It is pretty cool!

Had an interesting visit this last week. When asking the parents of a family for people they know who could be interested in the gospel, the lesson took a nose dive quick. He had tried to share the gospel with about 3 co-workers over the last 20 years and hadn't seen anything come from it. He had lost the faith that what we are sharing is "worth it". He has seen people join the Church, and then seen their life turn for the worst. The world can be unfair and hard at times, but the Church "works" as well as you let it. The moment we start expecting the Lord to raise our salaries, not give us hardships, and providing us a reason to be happy is the moment that the feeling of entitlement runs our lives. He said a sentence that really stuck out to me.. "I have reached the point in life (40+) where I now have everything that I ever asked for. A family. A house. Good income. Everything. Now the hardest part is just being content and grateful."  I left the lesson a little frustrated and didn't know what and how to help this man and his family. The next morning I read James 1 in the Bible. I took the whole hour to read it over and over and many great things stood out to me. Take some time and discuss this chapter with somebody/study it your self! 

Being in a three-some, at one point I found myself being a Laman/Lemuel with another companion while one was obviously resembling Nephi. The moment it hit me, I quickly changed my attitude and was grateful for the correction from the Lord.  We all matter and we each have strengths.

One person stopped us on the street and demanded to see my documents... I told him that I didn't need to show him anything and didn't want to argue or have any trouble. Next thing I knew he was trying to push me around and even called the cops to come and take us away. I was very bugged and had a lot of anger built up inside to this man. I hadn't done anything wrong. I was minding my own business. I am only here to help and serve people and this man had it out for me... Jesus Christ went through all of this without end and somehow remained sinless. He is the only one that could do so. I know that I didn't last 2 minutes.

Grateful for the mission and the lessons we are taught. Grateful for the Savior and the peace he brings to those when the world is at it's worst. Love you all at home. Have a great week. 

Go Utes :)

Elder Devashrayee 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Primary is Awesome!..... 9-5-16

Not a whole lot to report this week. But meet my new companions: Elder Young (closer to me) and Elder Яшевский (further away) 
 And check out the view from our Balcony. 

Met some people, had some amazing dinners at members houses (nice to eat something good that I don't have to make), and had a great fast Sunday. 

This week the biggest thing for me was reading over the section "Revelation" in the book "True to the Faith". We shared that section with a few investigators that are really struggling to receive an answer/know how they can tell when the answer comes. If you haven't read it, you should.

I also stumbled across some anti-Mormon literature and really felt the power that Satan can have when people are curious and want to know more but don't go about it right way. I can see where a lot of our investigators have disappeared to. Sad but true. We can easily be swayed by Satan if we aren't on our toes all of the time.  I contacted a man who was "slack-lining" in the park with his family. It was great and I made sure to get his number before trying to slack line myself (ya, funny time, haha). Didn't want him to ignore what I had to say after he saw me try to slack line.

One of the highlights of the week was receiving cut out hearts from the Primary. We had the opportunity to talk to them about blessings and how we decided to each serve our mission. Most of what I had to say was what I saw/felt when Travis was out on his mission, and the blessings I saw/and keep seeing.  

I really tried to mentally prepare this whole last week for fast Sunday and I saw the benefits of truly searching for personal revelation. I didn't receive any huge answers, or a see a sign, but I had a great sense of peace with me the whole day, especially when I told the Lord my intentions. 

My new goal in every new ward is to find that "one" person and become friends with him. This time it happened with giving a member a blessing. The mission is a cleaning process, and I have been working hard to do my best to use the Atonement of Jesus Christ daily.(1 Tim 1: 12-15) I couldn't even tell you much of what I said in the blessing, because I can't remember most of it. I truly felt led and am grateful for the Priesthood. I hope you all have a great week. 
Help some one this week! Warn them, but love them. (2 Thess 3:15) 

Elder Devashrayee

Here is a photo of a church entrance in a near by area....