Monday, July 26, 2010

One week to go until the Temple Open House!!!!

Good Morning!!

Hey family! Man it was good to see pictures of Lake Powell and to hear how the week was! It sounds like you are all doing well, even my accident prone dad! I am sorry about your fingers! I hope that everything is okay!

Mom, I hope everything goes well with the doctors this week. What is the radiation treatment suppose to be like? What are the side effects and the process of the whole thing? I know what Chemo does but I am not really sure what Radiation does? I am glad that you are feeling better! Everyone here sends their love. I am excited for you to get to do some projects for yourself for once. I want to see pictures of skirts that you make for yourself. That is cool about the pillow idea, I am sure that they are deeply appreciated! I have made a goal for when I get home to go to the temple every week! I really don't think there is anything better! I feel like it has been so long since I have been there that I have forgotten everything! I am excited that in about a month we will be able to go!!

Dad, How are your fingers doing? I am guessing that you have taped them together and they will heal just fine right? I hope so! How is the swimming going in the mornings? Are you guys still going every day? It has been so hot here it has been painful to workout in the mornings! I have to really remind myself that I only have 5 more months to get back into shape! I think it will be a real challenge!

Brynn, I am so happy to hear that you are back to your funny self! It sounds like you guys all had a lot of fun down in Powell! I am glad you all got to spend some time together! I feel like the summer is pretty much over too! I swear each year fall comes a lot faster then the year before! I have told Sister Podvodova all about Powell, the Tube and everything that comes with it and she made me promise her that when she comes to visit that we will take her!

Chase and Ashley, I loved the pictures of your new city! It looks like a lot of fun and you have a lot of stuff really close by! I might have to come live with you guys next summer ;). That drive sounds really long but I am sure that you can make it fun! I bet you can find that aqua CD somewhere and listen to that the whole way there! I hope that the drive goes well and that get a few last fun things in before you go!

So this last week was a pretty normal week. We worked really hard and we had a lot of lessons! One of our craziest lessons was a woman that really wants to be baptized but she doesn't want to meet with us, read the Book of Mormon or the Bible for that matter, come to church, or make friends with any of the members... I still don't really understand why? She said that she just likes it here but she doesn't really care if it is true or not. The first time we met with her she seemed pretty normal and she wanted to get baptized so we gave her a date, later that week she didn't show up for our meeting and then she came to church on Sunday and said that she didn't want to come. Again she didn't come to our meeting and church so we just figured that was it with her. Well she called us and wondered how her baptism was going to work on Saturday if there was a service project in the morning. We were really surprised because we had only met with her twice. We decided to meet the next day in order to talk about it. She came and then she got mad at me when I told her that we would have to push her baptism back a few weeks! She asked why she couldn't just pay us and get baptized and then everyone would be happy! We tried to explain to her that it doesn't work that way. She didn't want to listen so she said that she would come to church by her self and find people that would baptize her for money! I was so confused by the end of the lesson! She came to church yesterday and was mad as a hornet! She wouldn't even say hi to us! I just smiled and told her to have a great day, I couldn't think of anything else to do!

This week was also full of a lot of really great meetings. We met a woman a few weeks ago named Jonna. She is awesome! Her husband found the church in prison and asked her to find it here in Kiev. The elders went and bought some t-shirts from her on P-day and she started asking them questions. We went back later that week and starting teaching her little parts of the lessons while she is working. She works 7 days a week with out any days off. Her daughter lives with her mother-in-law in another part of Ukraine and she only gets to talk to her on the phone. She has had a hard life but she has really been searching. We teach her and then she teaches her husband everything that we had taught her. He will get out of prison soon and when he gets out they are all planning on coming to church, and to the temple. She asked this last week about baptism but she wants to wait until they can all be baptized together as a family! It is really get meeting wit her because you can tell that she is really searching for truth and she really wants her family and daughter to have those blessings that await them!

Last week the crystals were hung on the chandelier and the furniture is all going in at the temple! They are cleaning the grounds and the inside of the temple this week and then we have our first open house on Saturday. Sister Podvodova and I have been asked to be there and learn how to do everything and then we will train some of the other sisters and they will train the next sisters, until we all know what we are doing. Next week we have an open house for the neighbors of the temple and then the media open house. The first few open houses will be sort of practices for everyone and then the actual open house for the public starts on the 7th. We know that the weeks of the open house all of the sisters will be staying in Kiev and we will be on exchanges most of those 2 weeks so that everyone will get a chance volunteering there and our areas won't suffer too much. It should be a really packed few weeks! I am really nervous for this weekend because we will be at the end of the tour ready to answer any questions that will come. I am nervous that my Russian is not going to hold up! I am really praying that the gift of tongues will really take over and I can rely on the Lord a lot.

Well I should probably get going but I love you all and hope that you have an amazing week! You are all in my prayers every day!
Sister Larsen

Monday, July 19, 2010

Two More Weeks Until the Temple Open House!

Hey family!

I am so happy that you had a great time in Sun Valley! I loved the pictures and I am happy that you got to see and do some new things! I CAN'T believe that Arnold really was having a party!!! That is crazy haha! I thought you were joking for most of the emails but now I am pretty convinced that he was having a party! Nothing could have been better! I also have a hard time believing that so much has changed there! I swear that place has been the same since the time it was all built, I didn't think that they would ever change it! I guess everyone has to keep up with the times! Everyone looks amazing in the pictures that you sent! (I think almost every one of those sentences had an !!, well what can I saw it is me:D.)

Mom, I am so happy that you are feeling better and that you got to run a few miles in Sun Valley! I am also so happy to hear that there is no need for chemo! I have been talking with some people, sharing my experience here learning about your cancer and it has helped people to see that life isn't always filled with sadness and heartache even when things might be a little tough. So many people have taken faith in the Lord after hearing how much faith you have! And I know that Chase and Ashley will be leaving soon but please don't get a bird!!! Remember that we can go out there when I get home and see them!

Dad, how is your case going with the oil company? I don't think I even know which side you are on? I guess the real important question is Are you having fun? It looks like Sun Valley was a lot of fun and that you had a few good rounds of golf. I am sure you dominated as always! I loved the pictures! Everyone looks really good, and really happy.

Brynn, I loved your story about the bedroom! I wish I could have been there to enjoy the moment with you! I have pictured the whole scenario and thought about how I would have reacted. I love the dress you got in SV. You look really good!

Chase and Ashley, Thanks for the email! That is crazy that you only have 3 more weeks! I am so excited for you guys. I think I say that every time but it will be such a great adventure! It sounds like you have had a good summer bonding with the fam. It is good to hear that even though you are married "you still want to do things with the fam!" I am sure that Cory and Haley will have a blast with you guys this week! By the way Chase, I think I finally understand a portion of how you felt on your mission. It is hot as ever here and I am dying! We also don't have any air-conditioning or fans so I feel like I am lying on the boat at lake Powell in the beginning of August!

So this week has been super interesting and we have really been able to feel that the open house is coming so soon. We have had a ton of journalist and reporters calling the church and some of them have been able to come to the church to take pictures and do interviews. On Thursday we met with one of the journalists for one of the biggest media companies in Ukraine and we interviewed with her. She was a young girl but she has been writing for the paper for about 7 years. The article should come out on Friday and it should be interesting to see what she writes about. She asked us a lot of questions about who we are as people and the effect that the church has had on our lives, friends, and families. It was interesting to just sit and have someone ask questions that they are really curious about and not just about the church. I realized that people don't really know who we are as people. A lot of people know we don't drink or smoke, we wait until marriage and we try to be good people but they don't know that we ARE Christians, and we are still real people. We study, hold jobs and work hard, we mingle with people around us but we try to stay strong to the covenants that we made with God. I think a lot of people think that all Mormons wear a badge, black pants white shirts and ties all the time, some do but that is because we are missionaries or maybe they work at a museum or something. Anyway, it was interesting to talk to her.

Also this week my companion was sick so we spent a few days inside so that she could sleep and get better. We couldn't figure out what it was so we finally went to the doctor and he gave her some medicine. She is feeling better today so we are looking forward to a good solid week this week. We still haven't been able to meet with Lylya the grandma that "kinda" got baptized but she comes back next week from working the last 3 weeks so hopefully she still has the desire to move forward.

Saturday the elders had 2 baptisms and it was really great. One was an 8-year-old boy and his mom was glowing. He was really happy himself because he was worried that his father wouldn't let him get baptized. The other man was a 40 year old man who has known about the church for years and he finally felt the need to be baptized. Yesterday at church he asked for a huge stack of invitations to the temple open house to give out to his neighbors. He lives in an area that no one knows about the open house and he asked if he could go door to door and personally invite everyone that lives around him! I love the spirit of recent converts!

Well I should probably get going but I love you all and I am so happy that you are all happy and healthy! Thank you for your emails, love and support! I couldn't ask for a better family! Have a good, safe week and know that I am praying for you!

Sister Larsen

Monday, July 12, 2010

One year in the rearview mirror!

Good morning!

I love opening my mail and getting great news! I am so happy that everything went okay with mom's results and that everything is looking good now. Everyone that knows asked about how you all are doing and if there is anything that they can do to help. There isn't much here but just know that you have a lot of prayers from the other side of the world.

Mom, I am sorry that you weren't feeling the best this last week. I am glad that the pain has gotten a little less and that you were able to get around the last few days! Sun Valley should be really good for all of you! I can't believe it is already that time of year! I am excited for you guys to have a little bit of a break and kinda relax in every sense of the word.

Dad, That is a pretty cool gig that you got! You would be hired to take such a huge case, even people over here are talking about that oil spill! I am proud of you! I hope that everything goes well down there and that you get to go up to Sun Valley with everyone! Just know that I am proud of my papa, keep up the good work!

Brynn, I am really excited for you to get to Sun Valley! Go get some ice cream on you free day, read a good book and go for a run! There isn't anything better then a week in Sun Valley! I love the quote from President Hinckley that has helped me through every hard day in since I was in high school. "Everything will be okay in the end, if it is not okay then it is not the end!" We get stronger from every experience and we learn what we need to learn the key is being patient and doing what we can to be positive and look for the good!

Chase and Ashley,
Sounds like your time is getting short in Utah! I think I say this every time but I am really excited for you guys! I think you will have so much fun! It should be way fun to have Haley and Cory there for a few days and to get to go to Sun Valley and Powell! You will have so much fun! How was the Stadium of Fire and you Anniversary?

So the last few days as I have written in my journal I have been thinking about how fast 1 year flies by. It is not only on a mission but everyday has the same amount of hours and time goes and we can't ever get the time back that we lose. I can't believe it has already been a year! Crazy!

This week has been a crazy one! The Patriarch from the Eastern Europe area came and we had a fireside with him. He served as mission president in St. Petersburg, where my comps family is now serving. He told us about his mission experiences and how the work has changed in Eastern Europe and generally all over the world. It was interesting as he talked about the other missions in Europe and how they once were and how they are now. He served his first mission in Germany a long time ago and he has been able to go back several times to all of his missions.

Also this week we had a really emotionally trying experience. One of our investigators took a turn for the worse and I think it was so hard for all of us that know her. She was the happiest most optimistic person, let alone homeless person I have ever met. I really felt like every meeting she was teaching me how to be a better person. Well this last week she didn't show up to our meeting which isn't like her, she is usually early and reading! We prayed and went out to look for her because we didn't know where she slept or hung out during the day. We didn't find her but the elders found her the next morning. We had a zone meeting but after the meeting we went to go and talk to her. When we met with her she was drunk, I guess she is an alcoholic. At first she told us that it wasn't her choice so we tried to help her with what we could but then at the end of the day she went back to the same place and had drunk even more. Everyone that lives there said that she is usually good for a week and then the next few weeks she is in her own little world. It was really hard for all of us to understand how she was so prepared but so not!

Also President came with us on a lesson and that was really stressful for both of us. We feel like he knows everything and we wanted him to feel like we were capable missionaries. I don't know what he thinks now after the lesson. It was a good lesson but still you never know. Well I should get going my time is almost out! I love you all so much! I am glad that everyone is doing better this week and I hope that everything is even better this next week! I love you all and thank you for you support!

sister Larsen

Friday, July 9, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Hey everyone!

(Editor's note: Brooke's return date is Dec. 30, 2010! YEAH!!! Brooke's sweet friends Kilee and Liz stopped by the house to wish Teresa well)

I am so happy to hear the good news. Actually the day that I found out my going home date Sister Park in the Office called me right back and read the letter to me that you sent to the office. I was very grateful and I cried the rest of study! haha

Mom, I am so glad that the surgery went well and that you are feeling better now. I want you to know that all of the missionaries in my district have you in their prayers! They also wanted me to thank you for the pumpkin chocolate cookies that you sent! They loved them! I am excited to read your talk that you gave last week! I can't tell you how relived I was to hear about your surgery. I was able to watch part of the lecture that the doctor gives and it brought me a lot of peace of mind. Oh and by the way I got the package with the oreos! Thank you so much! I bowl everyday before we leave the apartment!

Dad, Thank you for all of the pictures and emails. I especially liked the scripture in Proverbs haha! It made me laugh pretty hard! I hope that you kill the uncles in Golf today, but more importantly I hope that you enjoy the game! I laughed and almost cried a little when you told me that you hugged the doctor! I bet that isn't the first time that something like that has happened to him but I bet he wasn't expecting it from you haha!

Brynn, I love you! I am so sorry! I know how it goes. It is rough but know that the Lord is with you every step of the way! Something that President told me when I talked to him this last week is that most of the time it is the hardest to find out what the Lord's will is for us, but once we find out we have to follow it! I know that we have been blessed so much and I know that the Lord is always happy to give us the knowledge that we seek. When we want to do His will He will reveal it to us. You said it right when you wrote that we are really really lucky girls! We have two great parents and the best brother and sister in-law in the world! Keep your head up.

Chase and Ash, Happy anniversary! How was the concert? What else have you done this week? Chase PLEASE be careful! I am so sorry I bet it hurts like the dickens! (Editor's note: "hurts like the dickens" yup she has been gone a year and sounds like a missionary) How was Logan? How is work and everything? What things do you have planned for the rest of the summer?

So this week was kinda all over the place. The Lord has kept us really busy which has been really good! We had exchanges this week with Sister Larsen and Sister Clark and we went to the ballet "Swan Lake" to start it off. Sister Clark stayed here in center with me and Sister P went with Sister Larsen. It was interesting because Sister Clark already served in this area when we first got here so it was fun for her to meet with some of her recent converts and "such as." We worked really hard and we were really tired by the end of the day on Thursday.

The rest of the week we were doing everything that we could to get ready for the baptism. We called around and got jumpsuits and we called the members because they didn't really know that it was going to be this weekend. Well Saturday came and the members that had parts in the program came except for the member that was suppose to baptise her... He didn't even call us. Well we were a little stressed out so we went and talked to her son and he just jumped up and said that he would baptise her...... (Editor deletions at the request of the writer...but very, very funny!!!) .... Let's just say in short the baptism didn't actually happen. She got really scared and decided that she will get baptized in a few weeks. We finished the rest of the meeting and had refreshments. She came out and kissed us smiled and left. We were left confused and in awe! I guess she will try again in 2 weeks when Galina gets baptized. We talked to her on Saturday night and she said that all was good and she even invited us to come live with her.

All in all it was an interesting week. We met a lot of really cool new people and the members have been awesome. Every member invites us into their home with gladness and it is amazing feeling. I feel like a have a little family here too! They aren't you guys but they really try and take care of us and love us like we are part of their family!

I love you guys so much and I miss you everyday! I am glad that things are looking up there and know that I pray for you every day! I am thankful for your love and support! You are all so amazing and I look up to your examples! Have an amazing week, be safe!

Sister Larsen