First off, credit needs to be given to our wonderful Senior Missionary couple - the Mikkelsen's! I made and brought some brownies to an activity a week or so ago. This last week we had a number of members call us over and asked us to show them how to cook Sister Mikkelsen's brownies. We were able to have them invite less-actives over also and had an amazing time with some great members. Who knew one recipe could do so much good for the country of Ukraine. Thanks to Sister Mikkelsen and her incredible brownies!
This was at one of the members houses this past week.
Last Monday evening at the home of the bishop his wife was talking about Gratitude. What I really enjoyed and stuck with me was when she said, "When we fast, we: ask for things we need, we have a list of blessings that we would like, we ask for miracles and etc.. All of that is amazing and the Lord expects that from us. But, every so often we can have a fast of gratefulness. If life is going amazing, if we randomly received something out of nowhere, or even if life is not going so well at the moment." I had never thought of that. Ever. That is a higher level of thinking that I am grateful to my mission for. I challenge you all to think about what you are grateful for and before this next General Conference set aside some time for prayer and fasting.
This last week was great. I have never seen so many little miracles packed into one week. We have been working extremely hard and handing out a lot of material and even at times contacting whole trolleybuses. That can make the work seem "robotic" but I have been focusing to try to make the work "Love inspired" and it turns to the idea of contacting into a whole different objective. The work is going great. Our motto for this transfer is "Don't sink!" In reading the story of Peter walking out on the water to Jesus, that is how we envision us walking out the door everyday in contacting and keeping our faith high. We have studies in the morning and head out in hope to find someone that is ready. If we lose our faith, then we might as well not be outside.
We set a goal last week that we have prayed for and are working forward to in having a baptism on March 18th. We also have a goal to give away at least one Book of Mormon everyday. Somehow, everyday we found someone ready to receive one. Not just allow us to give them a Book of Mormon, but they want to take it. We have found tons of new investigators and potential investigators this last week. Some days we gave away just one and others we were able to give away 3!
We were on the way home this last week and it was a little past 9 (when we should be in) because of transport, but we hadn't yet given away a Book of Mormon. In my head I said, "we can stay out another 5 minutes" and just at that moment Elder Durtschi pulled out the Book of Mormon from his bag and we were on the same track. We then saw a grandpa standing near the bus stop and headed towards him. He was more than willing to take a Book of Mormon and gladly gave us his information. He had work, but said that he would be able to come on Sunday. He came and stayed all 3 hours and we had a great lesson with him about the Plan of Salvation. We extended the baptismal commitment and he agreed to March 18th! All signs denote that he is "Golden" as they say, and it got even better when he talked about how his son was also interested and wanted to share the message with him too.
To rewind a bit to sacrament meeting, I was sitting between 2 investigators. Life doesn't get any better than that as a missionary. I can promise you that! Then life took a turn for the worst as the talks in Sacrament meeting were by temple workers and the word "Endowment" was said at least 50 times and temple terms were only used. At least that's how I thought about it at first. We aren't only here to baptize people, but to get them to the temple. It was a great opportunity for them to know that there is something more to strive forward for. After sacrament meeting, one of the investigators left and the other stayed and that is where a the role of the temple was introduced in the Plan of Salvation and the Sealing of Families. We had a member on the lesson who would only speak in Ukrainian, but did an amazing just about testifying of the family.
This week for Valentine's Day we had a Buckwheat Night for English! We made a huge pot of buckwheat and spiced it up with some onions, salami, eggs, and of course chili ketchup and it was a great time. We made poems out of the prompt "Roses are red, violets are blue...." about buckwheat "гречка" and then told everyone tons of cheesy pick-up lines that are used in america.
After Church on Sunday, the Bishop asked us to go with a man to buy him some food from the grocery store. At first, I thought about taking off my badge before walking into the food market. I couldn't be doing this on a Sunday in front of people that we are trying to convince that we are of Jesus Christ. But, at it is said, "The ox is in the mire" and that includes helping a member in need. That was exactly what Jesus Christ went through when he was on the Earth. People were Pharisaical and he established and left the higher law. He changed the "norm" and was judged and criticized at every chance. I felt a little more judged than usual in that store on Sunday, but I felt the strength of doing the right and turned from being ashamed of having His name on my chest, to knowing that is why we were there. This man had no food. We visited him earlier in the week and decided to bring a huge bag of crackers not knowing he was without food. He had been living off of those crackers for 3 days.
A quote I heard from this week: "If we live day to day with no end goal, then we wake up and let the day's events rule us. If we have a precise and end goal in mind, then we constantly strive to that point and the day's events become less and less influential in knocking us off our course."
We, as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, have a very precise and amazing end goal. We know that by using the Atonement of Jesus Christ every day in our lives, we can one day become like our Father in Heaven. Never lose sight of this goal and the things that pop up to knock us off our path will all of a sudden not seem so important.
D&C 30:1-2 These verses stuck out to me this week. This can be applied to any calling. A check-list to see how we stand before the Lord in what has been entrusted to us.
I hope that everyone has a great week!
Love Elder Devashrayee