Monday, October 31, 2016

Out All Day..... 10-31-16

This last week was a great one. October came and went very fast and I hope that everyone has a great Halloween!

We had a very busy week and were always on the go. Best feeling when you are out all day. Lots of things happened this last week that weren't planned but worked out for the best. Every time a lesson is cancelled it is because the Lord wants us somewhere else and it turned
out that way a number of occasions this last week. We have found a handful of people in the area that have gone less-active and haven't had any contact with the church for a number of years. That has to be my favorite part about missionary work.

We saw a fruit from our fasting and book table last week in the other area in our district. One of them happened to live in our area, has been reading the Book of Mormon since then, came to church, and set up a return lesson with us. You are blessed if you do what you are supposed to do.

Went and raked leaves and did service at a place that I was at last year at this same time... crazy how time flies.

Back row, second in on the left... and YES! I LOVE my hat :)

Sunday we spent our day going around with a Priest from our ward, planning on going on a mission, and blessed the sacrament for a lot of grandmas :). We ended up at one house with an active grand-daughter and her Mom but the husband had refused to be present for the "spiritual thoughts" that have been held in his house in the past. They have been members for 15 or so years and last night the daughter invited him in and he accepted. I quickly asked the wife and daughter what we should talk about because I didn't know this man at all. They said, "this is a very special opportunity because he never agrees, so just go by the Spirit." I felt like I held the eternal happiness of a family in my hands when he walked in and we started. I knew that I couldn't do or say the right thing alone and I really just tried to follow the spirit. Ended up getting a return appointment and it never would have happened if our other lessons didn't happen, if this Priest wasn't with us, and if the Lord hadn't 
prepared the way.

What would you have said?       What would have been the theme of the lesson?

At the end of the lesson I had the feeling to give the Grandmother a blessing for health. Grateful for the opportunity to be a missionary.

Hope you all have a great week.


Elder Devashrayee

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Smiles Go A Long Way...... 10-24-16

Great last week. Let's just say that I didn't email yesterday because I found a D.I. here in Ukraine and that's all that you need to know :) 

From last week, I didn't have enough time to explain my talk so I will now:
I choose the topic of Repentance and retold the story of how our neighbors garage window in our backyard was shattered 3 times by us little boys playing soccer in the space of 3 summers. I talked about how the first time we didn't want to tell but my older brother was a good example and told the neighbors and we split the bill on the window. The second time how it was all my fault and I didn't want to tell anyone. Finally, I mustered up the strength to tell my mom and she was understanding and loving but made a list of chores for me to do throughout the summer to make up for the broken window. The third time it broke I, myself, knocked on the door of the neighbors and already knew what to do. This is a very little and simple version but see where you can input these verses into the story and in what order: Alma 42:4 , D&C 18:10-13 , Alma 7:14-15 , Romans 3:23 , 1 John 8-10 and 7 , Alma 34:33 , Mosiah 4:12 , Moroni 6:8 .  

Last Monday at the ward there was a birthday party for a lady turning 70 and we were asked to help set up/take down/and most importantly eat there too. It was my first Relief Society activity ever and I am not going to lie, I enjoyed myself. Lots of emotions running around everywhere and I thought I might even shed a tear ;).  But, the part that I took away from the activity was first, it brought a large amount of sisters together in a bonding environment and I am positive everyone left uplifted. Secondly, the lady who turned 70 talked about her conversion story and she kept mentioning all of the smiles that she first saw in the ward. All of the warm smiles that made her think, "Why are these people so happy?" Smiles can go a long way and especially to strangers and newcomers. Keep smiling! 

I was also able to talk on the phone with some people in some of my first areas this last week and saw how easy it is to move on in life and forget the people that really had an influence on you. Take a second and think about someone and talk to them this week! 

I realized that I haven't quite made fasting a part of my missionary work other than on Fast Sunday and decided to try something out. As a District (4 of us) we got together and prayed about a spot to hand out Book of Mormons and planned for Wednesday. It was amazing the see the difference in our preparation and we gave out nearly 30 copies of the Book of Mormon in the space of an hour and a half. The work sped up x10 and we didn't do a single thing different other than fasting. To end the fast we went to a members house and they ended up making pancakes. It was a win-win. 

I forgot my planner at a less-actives house this week for a couple of days and I was completely lost without it. We went back and the husband of his granddaughter was there. He had just become a father that very morning and his wife was still in the hospital with his brand new baby. We entered the home just to retrieve my planner and ended up spending an hour on the request of this person. Turns out I forgot my planner on purpose. God works in mysterious ways, thank Him. 

Had a meeting for District Leaders and President Packer had a great thought on the theme of keeping our minds clean and focused. We all know that when a person repeatedly walks along a certain path on the grass it gradually becomes a dirt path and then eventually gets dried up and is there for a long long time until people stop walking along it and give it a chance to grow back. The first pioneers had a lot harder of a time chopping down trees and moving rocks to make the first path and as time went on it became a better and better path for others to take. It became more accessible. Every time we let a bad thought go down "the path" in our minds it slowly will come back more and more often and can even become a freeway if we don't stop it. Thoughts are the hardest thing on a mission. Our actions and words can be stopped, but our thoughts are our own and we need to let the grass grow back over the paths that we have made. It takes time, but if we do it the paths that were once easily accessible will become rough terrain that we won't even contemplate to travel down. 

Hope you all have a great week!  Had a great time up at the temple for training...

Elder Devashrayee

Monday, October 17, 2016

Stranger to Good Friend..... 10-17-16

Great last week. I have some thoughts to share this week. 

1. Last Monday, we had to do registration on P-day and it took up about 3 hours. Our President really wants us to protect our P-day time and if things like that happen, he allows us to use the time that we lost. Everything went fine and honestly we were able to finish everything we needed to in the time that was allotted. We scheduled with a less-active to meet us in the church at 6:30. We just kept emailing past 6 (The time P-day is supposed to end) and waited for him to show up in the church. We waited and I kept getting the feeling that we should go see if he was nearby but didn't until 6:40 rolled around. We called him and he said he was just outside the church so we hurried and turned off the computers and ran outside. He thought we agreed on 5:30 and had been standing outside on the corner for an hour in the cold. I felt horrible. We have been working hard with him and he is really turning a new leaf. He shook it off, and we headed to the bishop's house together for FHE. I couldn't forgive myself while we were walking and truly felt remorse for my decision and the consequence it had on Alexander. On the way, in the park, a grandma slipped in the mud and took a hard fall. We only were able to notice by the yell that came out when she hit the ground. It was dark and was only going to get darker and colder. We ran over and helped her up and in a minute or so, she was on her way and very grateful. There was no one else in the area and who knows what would've happened to that grandma if we wouldn't have been there..

I was grateful that God knew I didn't do the right thing, but then showed me his trust and led us to help that grandma. 

2. We were planning a lesson and both felt like we should teach the Restoration to a lady that can't come to church because of her health. Her friend happened to be there and she will now be in touch with missionaries in Lviv. We were prepared and the missionaries are getting a present over there now. We all love those types of gifts on our mission :)

3. A lady in the ward really was touched by D. Todd Christofferson's talk, and she had us watch it again with her this week. She related it to dealing with weaknesses. We all have them and instead of pushing them aside and acting as if we don't have them, we need to admit them and pray to God for strength. Great Advice.   All of the talks are great and every talk can teach you something new if you let it! 

4. We called this week from the area book and invited a complete stranger to have a discussion with us.  He then invited us to join him by the lake to fish. We couldn't turn that down. That is an amazing area, you can feel so close to our Father.  His name is Sasha. He was a total stranger before this morning, but now we are good friends. We ended up giving him a Book of Mormon and a Rice Crispie treat, they go great together :)
He even let me try his fishing pole, that is a sign of trust and friendship... ask any real fisherman :)

4. I had a talk this Sunday that I had been preparing since last Tuesday when the call came. I was given the choice on what to talk about and this is the story I shared.... It came to my mind and I hope it was accurate enough.. It was a long time ago.   BUT.....  I am honoring my P-day time today so I have too little time... That story that will have to wait until next week. We have to go and set up for an activity right now... Have a great one! 

I love Grandma Johnson!!! I am sad that I didn't have a chance to say goodbye in person, but know I love you and I am so glad you are able to play your piano now!  But it makes sense, she came to my mind recently. I pray she knows I love her and Frank! Never forget them! M&Ms, mowing the lawn, planting flowers, and sneaking over there to hangout and my mom had no idea where we were.... good times and fun memories.

Love you all,
Elder Devashrayee

Had a great time by the lake.... it is really an amazing place. Here are a couple of more photos from our adventure there. There are several other in the photo link...
 Those are paddle boats that they use during the summer. Not sure I would trust them though :)

Yep, that is frost on those weeds... it is getting cold here!
Made homemade Ukrainian Juice today... 
A cup of Sugar, plums, grapes, and apples all cut up and boiled. Good stuff. Cheap too. 
 A member from my old ward brought me his book of poetry he published. Brother Ковальов

Monday, October 10, 2016

Meek & Humble..... 10-10-16

This last week was great. I don't have a lot of time today to type. We did get a home made apple pie brought to us today while we are typing our emails home. This cool older lady is the one who brought us lunch last week and then the pie today. I love my "hook-ups" here :)

We have a lot of good things rolling from this last transfer and I was given a lot to work with. Elder Breinholt is awesome. He was born in Russia and put in an orphanage, he was then adopted at age 7 into a great Mormon family. He has brought a new spirit to the apartment and the area.

Having Elder Breinholt is a change going from a native speaker as a companion to a missionary that is still fairly new. He works hard and is great to be around. The Lord calls meek and humble servants and he is just that.  Can't believe I was such a newbie when I arrived. Elder Gorba was so patient with me.

We talked with our Ward Mission Leader at the beginning of the week and he suggested taking a whole lot of different members on lessons throughout the week. We followed his advice and a lot of good came from it. Really reached out to some people that needed help this week and they were extremely grateful and I have seen the progression in them since I have been here.  We need to listen to those who hold the keys for those we are trying to reach. 

I haven't had to cook everyday like I have in other areas. There are awesome members who invite us to dinner a few nights a week. One of them had the table set like this when we arrived. It was delicious! It was a stew/soup type thing in the crock pots. The bread was amazing as well.

We met with one man that seems to be in depression most of the time. We have tried helping him and we continue teaching him. Guess what, he showed up this last Sunday in a white shirt and a tie! It was great to see. He watched Conference and even smiled a bit here and there. The gospel is full of Joy, hard to deny that.

Heard that my grandparents, Steve and Susan Pohlman, are going to serve in the Scottland, Ireland Mission! They are a great example to me and I am excited for them! It will be hard not to see them at the airport when I get home, but they are doing what is best and I am excited to hear their experiences as well.

Fun Fact of the week:
Met a man that has dedicated his life to bread. He works in the field of Bread technology and has been studying bread for the past 15 years. Glory to Ukraine. 

Elder Devashrayee 

The weather is changing here. We have had a lot of rain lately. Some of the streets have been slightly flooded. Also have had some awesome sunsets. Here are a couple of photos of those as well.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Clean Filters...... 10-3-16

Solid last week in the three-some. Unfortunately, both of my companions will be leaving the area and I will miss them. It has been a great last 6 weeks full of good memories. Three people makes it a lot easier to joke and mess with each other and that is just what we did, but while doing what needed to be done in this area.
One last photo with our District

I will be with Elder Breinholt. He will be in his 3rd transfer and I got to know him a little bit in my last area. It will be a big transition for the ward and for me, but I am excited to get things rolling again. The native that was here, Elder яшевский, served for a long time in this area and when the bishop starts to tear up when he gives him a hug you know that you have big shoes to fill. 

This happens to us all of us in life. I was starting to get the sense that every member was really bummed that I was staying and it was going to look like a long time before I could work well with the members. Just at that moment, a family came up to me and scheduled for us to come over later in the week so they could meet my new companion. It was just what I needed and I was grateful for them. 

Whether you are in a ward with a new bishop, new young men's leader, or home teacher...... or at work with a new boss, with a new employee, or even in a family with a new parent... in school with a new teacher, students/friends, or coach.... show them your love and support instantaneously. They are in enough stress/concern about doing the right thing and not undoing the good that was done by the people ahead of them. 

We all have our different strengths and weaknesses. I gained a new appreciation and saw it from the other perspective this last week and will try to always be observant to this in life. 

A wonderful Sister, Tatiana, made us borscht and lots of good food and brought it to the branch for us while we email today. I really do love the people here.

Conference was great. I have only seen a portion, but will not go on and give you my "analysis". Go watch it yourself! The Holy Ghost will help you know what you need to learn. Have a great week. 

Elder Devashrayee

One thought about conference though....  We had to change our water filters, and it made me think of Conference and how that can be our "clean" filter. We can listen, learn, and clean up ourselves and start new.  The old filters were pretty bad! Glad/appreciative for a new one to install ;) Physically and Spiritually!

our filters... = before and after watching Conference