Best part was sacrament meeting for me. I feel like it would have been just another usual meeting for most of the people there and then God gave me a whole new perspective to how I viewed it. When I looked at who was blessing the sacrament for the first time (a less-active that we had practiced with saying the prayer a few days prior) and a man whose daughters we taught the lessons before their baptism, all of the speakers (the 2 missionaries Artur and Masha getting ready to leave and giving their farewell talks), and the Bishopric with whom I have grown a very personal relationship with each of them. I was overly grateful.
We found out that the man we wanted to go through the temple next Saturday with ended up going on the 8th without letting us know and I thought immediately to Elder Uchtdorf's talk about not being invited but it helped me realize that this work really isn't about us at all and was happy that he made that step.
We have watched almost all of the conference talks and I see myself applying what was said in them without really thinking much about it. This time, instead of taking notes I knew I wouldn't look at again, I made check boxes for a "To do list". One of those involved acting on one of my first impressions that I had received about 2 weeks ago but failed to carry out into action. That resulted into bringing a little gift and card to a middle aged single lady that works day in and day out to support her parents that are getting very old and can't care for themselves. She teaches the Gospel Principles class here in our ward. It wasn't much, but I'm positive it was straight from the Lord as it was the 3rd time it popped into my mind and was stirred up again in one of the talks. I still have a lot of empty check boxes, but now I have direction into what I need to do. Words can be written, but we really improve and make a difference when we DO.
We had a lesson with a couple that is not married about the Law of Chastity. They are amazing people and are doing really well. They have a kid and have not been married for about 15 years. We talked about the Commandment and it seemed to really hit them. I saw the face of the mother turn from a cheerful countenance to one of guilt and shame. She then said, "We have been living in our sins all this time..." and was really distraught. This is what we call Godly sorrow. Her view was opened to the reality of life with God after this life and the importance of living a clean life to return to Him. The member there with us on the lesson helped her realize that God only judges us according to our knowledge and what we know is true and false. The lesson took a different turn and continued and I couldn't help but keep looking at the mother's face. It was one of complete sorrow. I had to say something. I held up the picture of Jesus Christ and testified to her of His love and God's love for her. We are all far from perfect. Only thanks to the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ we can be saved and return to God's presence. God did not send Jesus to judge, but to save. The fear we have when we realize what we have done is wrong can be cast out with perfect love. The only one who can do that is Jesus seeing that he lived a perfect and sinless life.
Beginning of the mission I was not worried about numbers but hated seeing "zeros", I then to counteract against this did all that I could to have high numbers and feel good about myself when I looked back at the week/day/transfer and over-packed days full of lessons and always rushing to and from them, I then went into the phase where I was against numbers and stopped setting as many goals because I felt like a robot and without the Spirit at times just mindlessly doing the work.. now we are completely focused on individual people. Numbers don't matter, but we are setting high goals. The more I have seen my love for people grow the more success I have seen as a missionary because individual people are making steps to God.
I hope that everyone has a great week and enjoys EASTER! Great time of year to be a missionary here in Ukraine.
Love Elder Devashrayee
Great View from the top of the "tower"
Babii Yar (Park there)