Monday, January 18, 2010

A crazy week ahead!

Hello family,

How are you all doing? I hope that you have all had an amazing week! It sounds like you have all been very busy with the new little pup! I am glad to hear that she is keeping you on your toes. I have heard some frustration but I haven't heard anyone call her Kujo yet so things must not be too bad. [Editor's note: Oh, I have called her Kujo and worse--trust me! Teresa says: "Mike, Dakota needs a little friend. Let's get a puppy." Puppy arrives. Next day Teresa says: "Oh, by the way, I am leaving next week for Israel. I will be gone 8 days. Enjoy Kujo...I mean Ellie."]
Mom, you are probably off riding a horse in Jordan or standing in the tomb of Christ. I am so jealous of your amazing adventure!! I hope that you are all having an amazing time. Also tell Carol to try not to steal any earrings this trip! Tell everyone that I say hello and please take a lot of pictures for me!

Dad, How are you holding up? I am so excited that you are in the bishopric still but sad to see the old one go! You will have a blast and I think that those kids love you! They have really needed you and mom and you are the best man for the job. I am glad that Kota is starting to warm up to little Ellie and I don't even mind hearing about the piddle patch! I have told everyone about my little princess dog back home.

Brynn, congrats on your new calling. It sounds like you are the new big pinecone (that is how they say big cheese here) in the ward. A lot of the food here is great but you would have serious problems with the meat here. They don't know what lean meet is. I only had one big fall this week but I only came out with one bruise so it wasn't too bad.

Chase and Ashley, How are things going for you? Have you been able to find a new job in Provo? I hope that things are going well for you and that school is fun. How are you liking your personal finance class? You will have to tell Pro. Marsh I say hi!

So there have been some interesting turns that have come this week. We set a goal as a zone for 6 baptismal dates this week. As a mission we were able to get 4 the week before so we made a really high goal. Sister Mov and I were not expecting to contribute too much because we have had to pass all of our progressing investigators because they have either all moved out of our area or we found out that they didn't live in our area in the first place. We have started calling this our Bob transfer because all of our investigators are Bobooshky (grandmothers). Anyway we have this less active family that we have been working with since I got here and they haven't really come to church a lot. We called them to set up an appointment and the dad asked if we could come over and teach his neighbor this week. Of course we agreed and called him the next day. We went over and taught her the first lesson and she loved it. We gave her a Book of Mormon with a bunch of pamplets. We went back over to teach her again on Saturday thinking if the spirit was right we might give her a date. When we went back, she had read everything that we had given her and we had a great lesson. At the end of the lesson both of us had the feeling that we should wait until after church the next day, but then she said, "hey does your church baptize?." Sister Movchanyuk answered yes and asked if she wanted to be baptized. She said of course. The next day at church she went up to the Bishop and told him that she was going to be baptized and we set a date for the 6th of Feb. I was super excited and she is super awesome! I am excited to work with her! This area has really been prepared by the Lord and I think that the temple has brought an amazing spirit especially to the ward!

We had interviews with President this last week and he hinted that both Sister Movchanyuk and I will be staying in this area for a 4th transfer. She is going home in March and next transfer will be her last transfer. We will see what happens though, transfers aren't until the first week in February so we have some time.

We got a phone call from the Assistants this morning and I will be going down to Odessa this week with President and another sister from this area. We will leave Wednesday night and take a train and arrive Thursday morning. Sister Walker is down there so hopefully we will be able to work together for the weekend! I will at least get to see her so I am way excited. I also keep hearing all of these amazing stories about Odessa so I am really excited to get to go. We will be coming back Sunday morning so I will spend most of the week down there. When we received the call I felt really bad being happy because both of us really wanted to go! I am way excited though!!

The rest of the week has been the same. It is still freezing and the windows on all of the buses are so frozen that you can't tell where you are and your face freezes while you are waiting for the bus to come. It is a lot of fun haha!! Russian is coming, I am starting to really understand more which is really nice but right when I think I am getting it everything goes into Ukrainian and I feel fresh out of the MTC again, that is the real frustrating part. It has also been hard because our study keeps getting interrupted and I haven't felt like I have had a full study in about 2 weeks, it really slows down the language. I am starting to speak a little mixed languages because I say what I hear and it isn't always Russian. So I will say a Russian word with Ukrainian word endings and sometimes a Russian sentence with a random Ukrainian word. I will be surprised if anyone understands me soon.

Well I should get going I love you all dearly and hope that all is well!! Have a great week, good luck with the dogs, and I will talk to you when I get back from Odessa :D.

Sister Larsen:D

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Liver and Sala

Good morning everyone!

It sounds like you have had a very eventful week!! The puppy is so cute and I can't wait to see how she grows up. Will someone please give Daktoa a big fat kiss for me and sniff behind her ears? I feel bad that she is so upset! I hope that she adjusts okay soon. I can't believe that the Prophet came to your church again?! That is crazy! I know that a lot of the people here would be astonished if that were to happen.

Dad, I am actually really sad that you are getting released. I am not going to lie, I didn't really like that calling at first because I felt like I was always getting replaced by the YSAers but I am so thankful for that calling and for all of the people that we have met because of it. They have been a great support to our family and I know that you have been a huge support to a lot of them. I know that they will be forever greatful for both you and mom in their lives.

Mom, I hope the puppy drama will calm down soon, although I do remember it getting worse before it got better. I remember a Kujo puppy coming out at some point. I am sure that little Ellie will be better with Kota there to show her the ropes. Also I hope that you have a lot of fun on your trip!! Did I say that I was jealous? Cuz I am! You will have to tell me everything that you do and send me some pictures!

Brynn, Thanks for your letter and support. I am glad that the tides have changed and you get to have a little puppy fun for a change. That was one of the longest summers of my life. Everyone would just leave me at the house all day everyday and I couldn't do anything because I had to puppy sit. Good luck with everything this week.

Chase and Ashley, How is the new semester treating you? Are you super busy or is it not too bad? Ash when do you start student teaching? Chase are you collecting all of your teeth for dental school? Did you hear from UNLV?

So this week has been a very eventful week. On Monday we met with our Ward Mission Leaders neighbors and it wasn't everything that we thought it would be but we are still going to try and work with them. On Tuesday we met with a girl who wanted to learn English. It was a really cool lesson and she is really ready for the gospel. At the end we were really excited and then we found out that she doesn't live in our area. That was a bummer. Wednesday we had Zone Conference. The Area Authority came from Latvia and talked to us. It was really cool. He talked about truth and what truth really is. He said something that I really liked, "Truth cannot be hid" It is true. Truth always makes itself known. It was an interesting conference.

Thursday we met with Lena and helped her do some service. She has been in Moscow and said it was hard with her parents. They kept making remarks about her now being Mormon. She is doing really good though and we are still seeing changes in her. She is awesome and I have really loved working with her!

Friday was one of the Assistant's birthdays and we wanted to make a big snow man by the metro to advertise for English. To make a long story really short, the birthday boy ended up splitting his pants within the first five minutes, getting dog pee all over him, laying in the snow to get the dog pee off and then he spent the rest of the night sick from the food he had eaten for dinner. It was really, really funny but I feel really bad for him. We had put an English sign out while we were making the snow man and a pack of wild dogs peed on the sign and ran away. He didn't realize that it had been peed on until he had picked it up and put it on the snowman. We all died laughing.

Yesterday we had a lot of dogs (Editor's note: Dog or dogged = missed appointments). Our entire day opened up so we changed our plans a few times. We went to meet with our Bob (grandma) and she was busy and couldn't meet so some how we ended up at the same apartment last week that fed us sardines. I didn't eat them last week because I was sick so I was dreading what was coming this week. We walked in a sat down. The next thing she said to us was "Do you want Salla?" Salla is straight fat!!! Seriously just cooked fat! And I ate it because I had no other choice. She also gave us a plate full of noodles and some kind of meat. I ate the meat first, knowing that I just wanted to get it out of the way. After we left, Sister Movchanyuk asked me if I wanted to know what I had just eaten. It was liver!!! I don't know what kind of animal it was from but it was liver!!!! I wanted to throw up! I went home and ate a big bar of chocolate after!

Well it is still cold and there is still a lot of snow! But the last few days everything has been melting so I hope that it doesn't freeze soon! It is very, very icy but I haven't fallen this week so that is good. The work is starting to pick back up after all of the holidays and actually our ward brought a bunch of their friends yesterday! There were a ton of non-members at church yesterday that we didn't know. We were trying to get all of their information and meet with them so that they could understand what they had just experienced-- it was really cool! Well I should probably go! Sorry it is a little scattered today. But I love you all dearly and I hope that all is well!!!

Good luck this week!

Sister Larsen

Monday, January 4, 2010


Hey Family,

Good morning! Yes, in Ukraine I get to celebrate 2 Christmases and 2 New Years! Twice the holidays but they are definitely different from home. It sounds like you all had an eventful Christmas and New Years.

Mom, I can't believe you encouraged Dad to get a new dog and you are still going a million miles an hour. You have no idea how jealous I am that you are going to Jerusalem!!! I have set that as one of my 5-10 year goals!! I want so badly to see the places where Christ worked, especially after teaching people about His life and His gospel! I want to see pictures and hear about everything!

Dad, I read the first part of your letter and was really sad that I only got the first 2 lines but then I found the rest! I am impressed with all our your goals! ..... I also can't believe that you are ready to go back to doggie kindergarten!! I am glad that a lot of this will be happening before I come back. After hearing both you and mom talking about potty training, waking up in the middle of the night... it doesn't sound like a lot of fun! I am sure that this little one will be a little calmer with Dakota around.

Brynn, Sounds like you have had an amazing and slightly stressful few weeks. Your blessing sounds absolutely amazing and I am so happy for you! I remember after I got mine I just wanted to sleep and I think I came home ate and slept for a long time. Hearing about you doing baptisms has made me really think a lot about the temple this last week. I can't wait until the temple opens here and I can go again. I miss that strength that you receive from the temple and I want to go so bad.

Chase and Ashley, I can't believe that you are moving into your last semester! It feels like when I come home that everything should be exactly the same but I know things will be very different. I really hope that you hear from UNLV this week!! I hate just waiting and feeling out of control. Your Christmas and New Years sounded pretty eventful!! But it sounded like a lot of fun!

Okay so this week has been very snowy! Here it snows and it is really hard to walk through snow up to your calves (I know because my skirt barely touches the top of the snow). Then it freezes and you are walking on snow that has been walked on so much that it is really really thick ice. Then it snows again and then process is repeated again and again. Let's just say in short that it is really hard and scary to walk. Last night I had my first serious biff and I am feeling the side effects today. I am a little sore but no serious damage. I am sure that it was hilarious to watch though! haha

So for New Years we have to be in at 4:00 on New Year's eve until 11:00 on the 2nd for safty reasons. We got together with all of the sisters in Kiev and made pizzas and watched "It's a wonderful Life". We sang songs on the guitar and just talked and ate a lot of American candy from everyone's packages. It was a lot of fun. We stayed up until 12 which was so hard!! I was ready for bed at 9. We heard fireworks like crazy outside but we couldn't see anything because the center sisters' apartment is on the first floor. In the morning we made pancakes and watched Ben-Hur. It is a really old movie and I was a little surprised that President gave it to us to watch. We also watched the last quarter of the Holiday Bowl BYU against Michigan. After that Sister Movchanyuk and I hurried home and planned our next week and then just relaxed the rest of the night. It was a very quiet New Years, and I am still not really sure how Ukrainians celebrate it. On the 2nd, our ward had a big Christmas party for the primary kids. All of the kids dressed up in costumes (which I didn't really understand). There were Batmans, supermans, wizards and princesses, it was cool though, and they played a bunch of games and Santa Came. They call him ден марось (Den Marose).

After we went and visited a Bobbushka (grandma) who sent us a letter asking for a Book of Mormon. We took one to her a few weeks ago and she has been reading. We went and taught her and she wants us to come back. She said that she felt really good about what she was reading and she is a very attentive reading. She understands a lot about Joseph Smith and she likes what she has read. She is really cool.

Tonight we will meet with our Ward Mission Leader and his neighbors. They came to a baptism and then to church 2 weeks ago and really liked what they saw and heard. I am excited to meet with them tonight; they seem like a way cool family.

So I was thinking about names for the new puppy this week and there is a girl here and her name is Agata. I think it is a really cool name. We have only taught her a few times but I love her name. I don't know -- think it over. Well I want to send some pictures so I should go! I am excited to get my pouch mail!!!!! Thank you so much for sending it!! I love you all so much! Thank you for everything! Good luck with the dog this week!
Sister Larsen