Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Spring time in Ukraine!~

Good morning fam!

Thanks for the emails again! It sounds like you have an exciting week ahead! I am glad that everything is going well and that spring is finally on its way there. It is so nice here. Everyday it is getting greener and greener! It finally feels like spring and I am already dreading the winter again. I think that soon I will forget how cold it was and I will be wishing for some snow. I hear it gets unbearably hot here... I guess I will find out soon enough. So today we went to a huge, I mean huge market. It reminded me slightly of my trip to NY with mom but I think we would do a lot more damage here! The elders bought a million really pretty ties. We had a lot of fun. We ended the day playing football on the beach again. It was a beautiful day!

Dad, Thanks for the pictures! I am glad you got a quick Powell trip in this week. I am sorry to tell you but even if I was graduating this year Chase and I are in different departments so you would have had to gone to 2 anyway... might as well spread them out a little right? Good luck in Vegas, I hope everything goes well over there.

Mom, Congrats on your diet! I am proud of you! Maybe I need to start something like that. I eat so much candy because it is so dang good here. I am glad you got to be on the other side of the marathon this week. It sounds like fun. I am thinking of MAYBE, MAYBE running when I get home. We have been bad because my comp has been a little sick but it looks like it is warm enough again to go. Good luck this weekend!

Brynn, Hey how was your week? Did you have fun at the marathon? Good luck to you too! I hope everything goes well. ..... I thought of you all day today because we went to this huge market, it is 7 km long!!! It was amazing and packed with stuff! You will love it!

Chase and Ashley, The big college grads this week! Good luck with everything. I am sure that you are dominating finals! I hope that everything is going well. I am so excited for you both but sad that I can't be there. You will have to send me pictures!

So this week has been a little slow but it has been really good. We had a lot of really great meetings and the weather has been so beautiful! Sister Ethington and I got proposed to at the same time. He had heard about our church a little but he asked us to give him our hands and here that is normal to shake someone's hand when leaving and he lend down to kiss my hand and I just yelled "forbidden!!!!! forbidden!!!! forbidden!!!!!" in Russian and we ran away. It was really funny.

In my last interview with President I told him that I felt that every transfer I have been where I needed to be and that I always felt like Heavenly Father has placed my there for a reason, while last night I felt like that again. We were in a lesson with Nina and Vlad. Nina is an older woman and Vlad is renting a room from her. We were teaching Nina and she said that Vlad was really interested in talking to us as well. For the last few week we have been teaching him and we have known from the first visit that they are both so ready. I have felt over the last few weeks that we probably wouldn't have gotten through to Nina if Vlad hadn't moved in. Nina still doesn't feel ready but she knows that she needs to get baptized and she wants to have her daughter start talking with us too. But last night as we were talking with them, both Sister Ethington and I started to feel really urgent in the work. We have been talking a lot about baptism and we have been trying to set a date. He asked why we needed to set a date and I felt like it was my responsibility to see that they got baptized. I got one of those feelings like I told these people that I would come here and I would give them the Gospel. I felt as if I had promised them before, especially him. I felt as if he was my real brother and she was my aunt. I have never felt such and urgency to do the work. I think I realized last night how many people we promised before we came here that we would bring them the Gospel. I realized how short my time is and how much work we have to do. I loved having that realization because it makes me want to work so much harder. I love this work so much!

I also had another realization as we were on our way home. We were on a bus and we had had an interesting conversation about how the devil tries to influence us and pull us away from the truth. I looked up and there were 2 empty seats in front of us and in my mind I filled those seats with some of my grandparents. I had a feeling that my ancestors were all around us. I have been studying a lot about love and how strong it is and how the love of God can overcome all. It is the power behind every action of our Heavenly Father and of Christ, and it should be behind our actions. Love is such a strong power and I love that we have that on our side! I am so blessed to have so many people around me that are so easy to love!

Speaking about love we got some info on phone calls. I can do it again at 4 like we did last time (7:00 am your time) or later in the evening at around 8 or 9 here which is 10 or 11 your time. I don't know when your church is. I can do it anytime after 4 my time. But just to warn you it might changed because I really think that I will be leaving next week. We find out transfers this Saturday and I will let you know on Monday if I am leaving or staying. If I am leaving I will have to talk to my new comp next week and we will let you know what times work. Let me know what works for you and your church schedule. Dad you might have to miss out on a few early morning meetings or come home a little early.... I home that doesn't make you too upset ;). Well let me know what you think.
011-38-Area code- Phone#

Well I should get going but I hope all is well and that everything goes well this week! I love you all!

Sister Larsen

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Hey all,

Crazy to think that this week will be 9 months!! It blows my mind. It feels like I just got here, but that I haven't seen all of you in forever! Thanks for all of the emails--I laughed a few times while reading! I wasn't really homesick, more just wondering how much of an effect I was making out here. Sometimes it is just frustrating when you can't really see the results of your work. This last week the Lord really blessed me to see that I am making a difference even if I don't think it is working.

Mom, I am sorry that you had all of that to deal with. [Editor's note: Ellie went nuts on Sunday while we were at church: got into the dog food bins and then got into a sack of dog food. Looked like a snake that had eaten a pig. Tore up a carpet pad, puked in the house, and otherwise caused all manner of destruction. Anyone want a puppy?]. I told the missionaries that are here with us and we were all laughing, but feeling bad for you at the same time! Thanks for putting my name in the temple, this week was a lot better. I am excited for your clothing line! I hope that all goes well. I know that the sisters will be forever grateful!

Dad, I am glad that you have been able to take a breather with work. I am jealous that you got to go to the temple so much! Man I miss the temple. Thanks for the pictures! How are the Jazz doing? I hope you got all of your yard work done. If you want to wait a min I will be there in a sec....Ha Ha! I am sorry I was such a bum growing up. I hope the dogs help more than I did.

Brynn, . . . . I love you! I was using the soap you sent me and it made me super happy today.

Chase and Ashley, Good luck with finals this week! I can't believe that you are graduating. Thanks for your email. It gave me a good boost today. It is wierd how your emotions here change so fast, how a bunch of small things can bring you down, but one small really good thing and bring you up higher then you were before. I am excited for you two! Ash it sounds like you had a fun weekend in DC. If you have any pics I would love you see them. Tell Kylee hi and congrats. Kels got engaged this past week apparently!!!!!

Well this week has been great. Last week I was able to hang out in Kiev for a good part of the week and see some of my old friends. We went to Lena's and she is doing a lot better then I thought She was doing. She said she was having a little bit of a hard time but after talking to her I feel so much better! She is awesome! President gave me the okay to call her sometimes just to check up on her. That made me happy.

So we don't really have a ton of time but I want to give you a quick run down on the week.... The time I spent with Sister Howell and Sister Walker was really fun and we did a lot of great things. It was awesome to see some of my investigators and some of the members! I really love that ward so much! They have a really special place in my heart, but I really missed being in my area. It is strange how you feel like you can only do your best work in Your area. When we got back we caught up with some of our investigators and had some good meetings. We were able to watch Conference with all of the missionaries in English which was amazing! It was nice to understand all of it the first time! I love that the focus was on families and Christ! It made me think of you all a lot!

Yesterday we had a great lesson with Nina and Vadem and we committed them to pray about being baptized the weekend of mother's day. The one bad thing is I will probably be gone but I am really excited for them! We will find out this week if they really want to be baptized or not! Keep your fingers crossed! And your hearts full of prayers for them.

Sorry this is a short email, but know that I am doing well, the work is True and Christ is risen!!! I love this work and I love this country! I am glad to hear that all is well at home! I love you all so much!


Monday, April 5, 2010

Happy Easter and Hello from the Bronx (Kiev)

Hey Family!

I am writ ting you from my old area! I am up in Kiev this week while my companion is in Bulgaria renewing her visa! Thanks for the Emails and the package! I just got the Easter package today and I loved it! Sister Walker was just telling me how her mom sent her a bunch of oatmeal and I had a serious craving for some Quakers!

I am sorry your trip got cut short! Those wild storms are always a love hate relationship! It is cool to sit and watch but only for a few hours, unless something goes wrong and you have to run up and down the beach trying to fix something! I am glad that you had a few days of R and R. I am jealous that you get to go to New York! I love that place.

I never thought about the military really being the first missionaries to get into countries. That is interesting to think about! I still think it is so cool that you have a real picture in your mind of where Christ walked! I have been thinking about that a lot this week and I actually used the story of the widows mite with one of our less actives! It helped me remember what a small sacrifice the Lord asks of us in comparison to the sacrifice that He willingly gave for us. I am excited for you to go to the temple again now that Ellie is under control at home! I just saw the Kiev temple for the first time in a long time and it looks pretty much done on the outside. They are just doing the grounds! I almost cried when I saw it!

...... If it makes you feel any better I didn't dye any eggs either. It was a busy year. Next year we can make a bunch! Looks like you guys did have fun on the egg hunt! Tell Ben that I say hi!

Chase and Ashley,
Good-jobbers! It sounds from everyone's emails that Ashley dominated in the Easter egg hunt! I am proud of you Ash! I am sure that you guys are getting ready for finals soon! Good luck with tests! I don't know if it is this week or if you still have a few weeks to go... Let me know how your lives are going!

On Saturday night we got home and we looked out the window and there was a good line of people walking to the churches outside our window. There were a ton of people on Sunday morning walking with their baskets full of eggs to be blessed by the priest and the Church. Like you said Dad, I have never seen that many people at Church since I got here! They have really really strong traditions here for Easter.

OH, so great news! We had a really really great week with almost very few awkward weird moments (we have a lot of those as sister missionaries). So this week Julia came back!!! She is that girl that was golden that lived with really awful people! She is back and she found a job here. Since she left she has read the Book of Mormon almost everyday! She is reading it with the Bible and really trying to learn as much as she can! She is so cute and I really am so happy that she is back! I can't explain to you how happy we were when she called us and told us that she was back in Taierova! We had a really great meeting with her about how the Book of Mormon and the Gospel can really help us to change our lives! She is awesome.

Also we have been working with Nina and one of her tenants Vlad. Nina is an older lady, who when we first starting meeting with her was impossible to get her to commit to meet with us. Finally when we caught up with her she said that a man that was renting out one of her rooms really wanted to talk with us. We started teaching both of them the first lesson and it turned out great (this was a week or two ago). He has read that Bible and has a really great knowledge already but the great part is, is that he got it all himself and wasn't influenced by others! This last meeting on Saturday we asked them to prepare to be baptized by the end of the month. They said that they felt pretty good about it but that they needed to pray about it! Vlad came to the last part of church yesterday and he thought it was pretty interesting. He also prayed for the first time in one of our lessons and during the prayer the spirit was really strong! They are really great people and you can really tell that he has really been searching for a really long time, and that she just needed someone to help her along the way. It has been really great teaching them.

So I am up with Sister Walker and Sister Howl this week and I will be here until Thursday! I am so excited to be back in my old area. Today while we were shopping for some stuff we saw 2 of the members and I was so happy and excited to see them! Pasha almost gave me a huge hug and I had to stop him by grabbing his arms ha ha. It made me so happy though! Tonight we are going to Lena's and I am so so so excited! She is one of my really good friends here and I can't wait to see her! She is great!

Well we really have to go but I love you and I hope that all is well! I hope you have a really great week!

Sister Larsen :D

PS. congrats to both Whitney's