Monday, October 5, 2009

First letter from Kiev!

Hello my family!

It was so good to talk to you all this last week. It sounds like you are all doing amazing! I hope that everyone enjoyed their conference weekend and I hope that the race went well!

Mom that is funny that you talked about a first for me this last weekend because yesterday I went through and listed all of my firsts that I had just yesterday. We left the MTC on Tuesday and we arrived in Kiev on Wednesday! The entire flight to Vienna I spent talking to a woman named Elizabeth. She is from Vienna and she had been living in the states. I started out talking to her about the church and why I was going to Kiev. I asked her about her own religion and after awhile she told me that she was Buddist. I went silent and that was the longest minute ever as I sat thinking "oh, man they did not tell me what to do in this situation." We talked for a little about religion and then we just talked about life in general. I just decided to get her with kindness. As we started to get off the plane I offered her a Book of Mormon and just asked her to read it and see how she felt. This was the first time I got rejected. But she was really nice about it. We exchanged emails and she hugged me goodbye. I had to say goodbye to Sister Burke in Vienna which was really hard but also exciting knowing that there were a lot of new things to come. Our flight was delayed in Vienna and we were all so tired that we could barely hold our eyes open. But we did get to talk to some people and somehow everyone we talked to didn't believe in God and that made it really hard. Let's just say we got rejected a lot :D.

When we got off the plane in Kiev it was really cold. The wind here is amazingly cold. We got our luggage and mine had been broken, the handle at the top was broken off. But an elder from Armaina found his bag sliced open and torn apart. They had put all of his sand covered clothing in a plastic bag. I felt really bad for him.

President Steinagel and the APs picked us up and took us around the city. They took us to place in Kiev where Ukraine was decicated and opened to the church, and he read the dedication prayer. The APs then walked with us around the city center and we took the metro back to where the van would pick us up. We went to President Steinagel's home (which looks a lot like the homes in Salt Lake) and they made us dinner. We talked for a little and all of us were going cross-eyed trying to keep our eyes open.

Thursday we walked to the new temple being built, and it is so amazing to see it in person. We met our companions at the chapel right next to the temple. Sister мовчанюк is my companion. I don't know how to spell it in English letters. She is originally from Ukraine but has been living in Italy for the last several years. We work in the temple area so we get to walk to the temple every day. She is amazing; she is a hard worker and she is an amazing cook! That first night we taught English class and our first lesson. I didn't understand one word once English class was over. But I did get to testify about the Book of Mormon, I hope she understood anything that I said. Friday and Saturday we spent teaching English classes and a few lessons. The APs took us to two lessons that they are giving to us because they are mostly girls. We are teaching four girls English and we are going to teach them the first lesson this week. They have also been working with юля and her family. She is really hesitant because she had been meeting with the JWs and she didn't like some of the things that they were teaching and she thinks that there are a lot of similarities between the two churches. We are teaching her this week as well and I hope that we can pray with her so that she can feel the difference.

Yesterday we meet a lot of the members and they are amazing. They are almost all converts except for a lot of the little kids. There are not a ton of full families and most of the families are part member or only member families. We had fast Sunday because we watch general conference next weekend. I am really excited to watch it and to see валентина's reaction to it. We are really trying to work with the members and their families to bring the rest of their family and their friends to church.

Well I should probably get going. I love you all and I hope that all is well with you! Oh, by the way, President Steinagel said that the best way to send mail is to get a US postal service box and to send it through regular mail. When you write the description on it be honest but really vague and general in your descriptions, like "personal items" or "used clothes" something like that and that takes about a week to 2 weeks. Well I love you and miss you a lot! I hope you all have an amazing week!

сестра ларсен
Sister Brooke Larsen
я люблю теба

p.s. I ate Borche for the first time yesterday and man it was amazing! I don't think I will do too badly here after all :D. Also, Chase, you might be a little jealous but there are Mercedes and Bentlys everywhere... I don't know where they get the money but maybe they are all mobsters. I will try and get a picture with one soon and send it with to you:D

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