Monday, November 28, 2016

Act Immediately..... 11-28-16

Great last week. I am getting stronger ;)

Big events of the week - Thanksgiving and an Ukrainian wedding! 

We had an amazing Thanksgiving here in Ukraine. The Senior Couples put together an amazing dinner. I was able to see Elder VanDerhooft (went to my high school) and it was great to be able to see my mission best friends all together in one room. We had a big talk about being a light for all to see. We (Church) have a new Christmas initiative going on. Check out and make sure to look at all that is going on there, and what we have been asked to do during the month of December before Christmas! 

We were able to sit in on a wedding reception that was held in the Church after the ceremony in the temple. It was a great cultural opportunity. Here is what it looked like, pretty cool!

Not a whole lot to say or time to type.  Biggest thing I read this week was Job. "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" The most important thing is to always be grateful. 

We had a lesson with a less-active and we all agreed to make sure that with every trial or challenge during the week we were going to be grateful to God for it immediately. Leaving the lesson, we got caught in the elevator. My first thought was definitely not gratefulness ;)  But it was when we got out. We (I) need to live what we teach and we can all be lights to those around us. Try it!

Hope you all have a great week! 
Elder Devashrayee

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grateful..... 11-21-16

This last week was great. I had to say goodbye to Elder Breinholt and picked up Elder Reese. Elder Reese went to Westlake High and lives in Lehi. He was over the MUN and debate at that school. He was originally assigned to Rostov, Russia but served in LA for a transfer while he waited a visa for Ukraine.
 Derek & Elder Reese

 Down by the Dnepr (The Big River that runs through Kyiv)

This last week was great. On Monday, we set up a FHE with a grandma and we got there on time and more and more members kept showing up. I turned my back to look at some pictures on the wall and turned around and the next thing I knew there were a bunch of Ukrainians singing happy birthday in English with a cheesecake in front of me. It was great night and I truly felt grateful and the love from the ward. The Cheesecake was wonderful! If you know me you know I love that stuff!

I met my new companion at the temple sight early Wednesday morning and we had a big testimony meeting with all of the new missionaries and their trainers. One part that I said that I hadn't thought before, "I have never regretted giving something over to the Lord... whether it was my time, helping someone else, or even sin, etc." First time I had born my testimony in English for the longest time, but it was a great experience. 

We took the initiative to find more people in the ward. We knocked on apartment doors of a lot of less-actives on Saturday and only one was home. We got inside, but the member wasn't there. The mother invited us to come back the next night but wasn't sure if it would work out. The next morning we were getting ready to go to Church and out of the blue I grabbed a chocolate bar and put it into my bag. Wasn't sure why I did it and thought about it. We had talked about bringing something to the house as a gift the night before and instantly I knew for a fact that 1. We wouldn't be home the rest of the day (we would be busy) 2. The lesson would work out. That is exactly what happened. 

I have tried to become a better example of not just doing missionary things, but receiving revelation to do the work as the Lord would. Grateful to be a missionary. 
Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving! Happy Birthday to my Dad (Craig) and Travis! 

Be Grateful,
Elder Devashrayee

Monday, November 14, 2016

Overpriced Tomatoes...... 11-14-16

Good last week. Some events of the week: 

On Tuesday it was raining/snowing pretty hard. We saw the trolleybus and started to run for it. We made it on, and sat down. A men entered the bus and said, "I think this is your phone." It was in three separate pieces. The battery, back case, and the rest of the phone. I thanked him and sat back down only to realize that it didn't have a sim-card. All of our contacts and everything. Without the sim-card the phone would also not work and we would have to get a different number. We got off at the next stop and ran back. It was already dark and the sim-card is the size of a penny and red. Said a little prayer in my head and was confident that we would find this card. 10 minutes went bye and we were now going to be late for our lesson. I didn't know why God didn't want me to find the card. I started to doubt that maybe we weren't going to find it. Prayed again and in about 10 minutes my companion found it. Another trolleybus instantly rolled up and we traveled to our appointment. The last miracle was that the person was still waiting for us by the church. This whole miracle started with the act of a person that had no reason to help us. Nothing in return. He saw what happened and acted. Help someone this week, see a miracle! After the lesson, walking outside about to get on another trolleybus, I realized that a light was still on. One that we hadn't turned on, but was visible from the street. Going back, we realized that we had somehow forgotten to lock the church... and that could have been horrible. God is good. Went home that night really thankful. 

Had interviews with our President this last week. It was great to talk with him. Elder Breinholt will be leaving and it looks like I will be training again and staying in the area. I will have more details next week. 

We have been praying for a mother of a member in our ward for 2 transfers now and for the daughter to have a chance to share the Gospel with her. We showed up and she was there at dinner! We didn't expect it and just happened to schedule right before she came into town. It was great to see. 

For my birthday we took our lunch and dinner hour and combined them and ordered pizza and played ping-pong at the branch with some of the youth and some people from English. 

Other than that, we had no lessons at all so the rest of the day we did a "traveling book table" and went to a lot of different locations. At one location a Priest from some other church came up to us and took a Book of Mormon, told us to repent, scolded me for not knowing Ukrainian, and said that he will show his congregation and tell them that this book is a lie. It all happened in about 45 seconds and after it was just something you had to laugh off. Maybe someone in his congregation will feel "disobedient" and read it haha who knows. 

We had a Priest from the ward that was with us for a "mini-mission" for a couple of days and it was great to have his with us. He is the one in the middle smiling :)

We had the first big snow of the year! 

A couple of Mondays ago we bought groceries and they put the wrong price tag on the tomatoes we bought. We didn't notice and they were bought for about 10x the price. We saw the total at cashier and had no idea how it added up so quickly and even argued a bit about who bought too much of what. At home we noticed the receipt and saw that we bought a huge fish? We went back and after a couple of trips to and from realized that the tomatoes were marked as fish and finally got our money back in the end. We talked to a security guard there and he helped us out and felt bad about what happened. These last few weeks he has continued to apologize and I told him not to worry about it. He was impressed that we didn't storm in the store and start yelling and now we are great friends. My first thoughts about the tomatoes were, "The lady at the cash register was out to get us" and "I am never going back to this place again" and "They knew we are Americans and think they could pull a fast one." I am so glad I didn't go back into the store with these thoughts. It was our fault for not checking the price tag and the receipt in the first place. Don't let yourself get caught up over overpriced tomatoes... never worth it. Take a second and figure out what really happened. Now we have a great friend named Cergei. 

Thanks all for the Birthday wishes! I did have a great surprise from a friend I have here. He stopped by and brought me a wonderful Birthday Gift....  my good friend Zhenya.

Have a great week everyone. 
Elder Devashrayee - the 20 yr old!!!

We were able to go ice skating today as a district.  Some good times!

Obolon - went on an exchange there and found this sweet church.

Monday, November 7, 2016

When...Not If 11-17-16

This last week was great.
Monday we were able to go with a few members to their assigned "Home teaching Assignments" and really found some people that had been off the map for a long time. It is great to see what we can achieve when
we just take initiative like these two members did in just stopping bye.

Tuesday we held a Halloween Party for the English class and we had a good number of members there too! It was blast, but I will let the pictures do the talking. Good time. We entirely switched our mindsets to "For the people" and it went 10x better and was fun to see the Ukrainians have Halloween haha. It is going to hard to ever top that Halloween. (Gonna have to wait another week for most of the pics though, other Elder didn't email me the photos yet, sorry!). But my comp and I had a great Halloween back at our place... Chocolate :)

We have an older lady in the ward that lost both her husband and her only son unexpectedly in the span of 2 weeks. This happened about 3 months ago and we have met with her a number of times since then. She
has refused to pray and it was our goal to help her do so. We went over the atonement with her and at the end she said an amazing prayer. To someone else, it would have sounded like an average prayer, but to me it was the answer to a lot of prayers and I know that it helped her too.

We also have a less-active  who is reading the Bible, and only the Bible at the moment. So we picked a story of Jesus from the Bible. He talked about it and then I remembered something that he had said the last meeting that was true. He asked, "How do we feel the love of God?" I said, "when we read the scriptures, pray, and etc." He then said, "Nope. We feel the love of God when we do something more, and when we serve people." I remembered that and compared it to a magnet that has been on our fridge at home for the longest time that I never really understood. The magnet said, "Hands that help are holier than hands that pray." We can pray and ask for guidance, but when we act is when we receive more. 

The story we read from the Bible was building your house upon the sand, or upon a rock. (Matthew 7:24-27) I remembered a bit from Elder Renlund's talk from last April. It went over that fact that in the scriptures it doesn't say, "If" a storm comes.. it talks about "when". I am convinced that it happens to everyone in life. I cannot honestly say it has happened to me yet... but it is how we act when this storm will come that defines us. He really opened up and we had a great discussion.

There is a Mormon Message that focuses on some families in our ward. Take a look at it. I thought it was pretty cool. Miracle of Personal Progress is the title of it. (I was able to find the link to this message he is talking about. Here is the message Click Here  - Lisa)

Had an investigator finish the Book of Mormon and we were able to fast with him. Excited to see where that goes.  Hope you all have a great week. Be happy. I am going to try to go a whole week without an angry, impatient, or ungrateful thought. 

Feel free to join me :)

Elder Devashrayee

Last week when we were able to go and rake leaves in that large park, the three of us got together to take another photo... we had one a year ago. We have all changed more on the inside than on the outside, but it was a good time.   Elder Houston & Elder Young.

Halloween Party - updated with photos