Friday, April 18, 2014

Episode 41: Datcha dreams and mission collision.

Dobre Ootra! 

This week has been a delight. 

Full of unexpected treasures and changes. We are suppose to find out transfer information Saturday but seeing as our world as taken an unexpected twist ................
OUR MISSION HAS DOUBLED. I am not sure if many are aware but all the missionaries in Eastern Ukraine bordering Russia have been moved out. BIG DEAL. They have been reassigned to our mission. Near every apartment in our entire mission has been doubled or tripled in occupancy! (except mine :) haha our district up in our Chernigov world consist of 8 Elders and 2 Sisters. We have 35 active members. Some areas (my last area now has TWENTY MISSIONARIES) that is just madness!! 

THE BEST PART:::: MY entire MTC district has been reuninited. I am telling you I do not think I have loved a mass group more in my life then those elders and sisters that suffered with me the pain, fun, awkward, strange, adventurous MTC world together. I love them. AHHHHHHHH . I love them so much it has taken me 2 days to get over the emotions of excitement from seeing them and being back in my Borshakievski world again (my 1st area at the temple with sister neilseeeeeeeen!!!!!!) 

We all gathered at the mission office/temple site (both missions ... now one) for a conference after president returned from the America's and his time with the apostles! To bring us back, to try to make sense of the madness (missionaries just sent places by the inspiration of the assistance trying to handle a real situation on their own) We have so many missionaries our apartments are going to explode! haha. Too good! 

The conference was life changing for me. 

There is no way in words to express the reality of the call of our President to be in the 70. To explain the power of the testimony that he shared with us of the reality of Christ and his gospel. The fruits of this church and the sure evidence that this is the Lord's kingdom on the earth. I know it is true. I do. 

I am going to make some potentially pitiful attempt at sharing a smidge of the testimony I have grown since being here. 

I KNOW that this church is true. True and living now makes more sense to me than it ever has before. Living because it is run by Christ. and I need for everyone to understand that in a way that means so much more than the rote recitations of a testimony. I know that we have something special. That this church is literally led by Jesus Christ himself. That if they could say it... (the apostles) they would. That they have all seen Christ. That he is all in the business of the church. That he comes to these temples. That he knows.  That the stories are true. and that Heavenly Father is gathering his Isreal. He is keeping his word and he has reached out to us. That for some very purposeful reason we have all ended up here and now. Jesus is real. So are all the promises. President Monson is a Prophet of God. and if we follow. We will not go astray.  

For now I guess we are all going to have to trust President Klebingat who has very recently been in their presence. Saw the workings of this kingdom on earth. IT IS REAL. It is true. It is just true. 

It is such a big deal that the servants of the lord have been moved out from Eastern Ukraine. I think we all stand a little more grateful to be here. THIS IS REAL. That is all I can say about it.  

That the the lord is now fulfilling his purposes. and we get a little part. 

I am not sure it is coming our right and it just sounds more like a kindergartener attempt at sharing feelings. 

Sister Jessica

Life Highlight. I GOT TO WORK ON A DATCHA (A tiny Ukrainian home with a giant garden. These gardens suppliment food supply for the rest of the year. Almost everyone in Ukraine has a Datcha that was likely the home that they grew up in. They live in the city to work and go to the Datcha in the summer every weekend to make food for life.

Sister Tamara is the sweetest human being and we spent the day helping her and her husband plant potatoes. This just in... I am never coming home because I am moving to their datcha. Living in their little cement home and living off potatoes. because that is all I need to be happy. 

I will have a garden. one day. Where I will relive this best day of my life. everyday.  Planting potatoes. and onions. In the rain. In the sun. Eating borsh from filthy bowls with hands that touched manure all day! 

UKRAINIAN DREEEEEEEEEAMS!!!!!!!! I am the happiest! 

Chernigov is incredible. Our branch just grows and grows because these members know what a gift the gospel is in their life and they share it. We have many investigators and I just love it here. I love my family in Chernigov. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Episode 40: Nuga BEST

My first full week in Chernigov. I am pretty sure this city is every missionaries dreeeeeam. Peaceful streets, friendly people. The best branch in the world. Lots of english treasures. The branch president and his wife speak dreamy english. They are young and are very likely the most dillegent and perfect human beings I have ever met. I love them so much already.... I have been here a week. That is steep!

Beautiful Chernigov

I am pretty sure I have just had the best 48 hours of my mission. Last night I got to meet Sister Tamara. She made us tiny pancakes and cracked open a jar of mystery juince and told us her life story. The woman already has my heart. We asked her if we could serve her in anyway and as she has requested (as she has of all the missionaries in the past 4 months) That we join her at  Nuga Best.

What is Nuga Best ?? Let me tell ya. A Korean health company, run by Ukranians. Belly shockers. feet mesagers. healthy asian medicine business. With mesage beds. 40 of them in a room. For the 60 humans 60+ years of age and the two little smiley American missionary girls.
FREE MESAGE :::: They give prizes to those who bring new friends. (that is how we are serving Tamara. being her guest) and getting mesages with her and all her friends. There is no better new friends that consistantly changing missionaries :)

So my morning was spent literally with 25 other 60+ (age) human beings. In the best service experience of my life :) haha.

Tradition. They line up every morning from 8-9 am to get a free 40 minute message in these special "helath" message beds. I seriously struggle for words to describe the joy in my heart amongst these aged people curing all sickness with free message beds.
Without fail Sister Tamara is there everyday! and I believe it works. because she is the happiest. bubbliest. most beautiful human being I have ever met. Love at first sight.
It is seriously the most beautiful thing to be in the homes of these people. To hear their life stories. To see their pictures and to be a witness to the pure, real, tangable joy that the gospel can bring.
Remember Sister Tamara. I am sure I am going to have a lot more to say about her. She has won me over in an instant. 

Well I have zero time. I have been informed that it is time to go. but atleast I got to share some joy in my life.

I love you all. I am safe. Don't worry for seconds. The worst thing happening in this girls worlds is my self induces pain from fear conquering. haha.

and parting words to my Sister Nielsen <3 BORSH SISTERS FOREVER> 

Episode 39: I am speechless

I AM NOT WEARING A COAT. OR TIGHTS and only one Bobooshka yelled at me. That is a sure sign that spring has come. THE SUN IS SHINING and my soul is happy. It seems like this sad winter world just comes alive when the sun comes out. I have moved to a new town. The sun came out and everyone in the world wants to talk to us. So different than my winter Kiev world.
Chernigov is one peaceful heavenly place. Close to the Russian borders. Our area is HUGE with lots of villages and one tiny branch. (A completely different world from the largest Eastern Europe branch, the temple, and the capital of the country!!!) I have already met near everyone and they so warmly welcomed me. Lots of pure Russian speaking and singing. Perhaps one day I can speak as well as my perfect companion.
Let me introduce you to Sister Farnsworth. Practically perfect in every way. She speaks to every human that crosses her path in perfect russian. Baptized all the people and soon all their friends.
So different than my other world but I am happy to be here and ready to learn. 

I will never forget my last days in Borshakievsky (Kiev) THEY WERE THE DREAMS. We had dinner with my Ukranian family the Polyakov's and got to skype with Oksana one last time before they shipped me off in a van/bus with my WAY TOO MANY belongings (I have taken to thrift shopping on Pdays and have certainly been collecting)
My last night in Kiev we got a chance to go out to a village outside of Kiev and see our miracle less active family (the night we found them in the blizzard) They welcomed us in and fed us and loved our poor miserable cold souls (living the missionary dreams :)
Anyway what a perfect way to end my time here. I have never so quickly developed so much love! As we parted and they made me promise I would return I knew I have found my 2nd home. I will  go back. As we left Karina gave me the biggest kiss and told me that she LOVES me! A "moment" for sure. an end to a perfect evening.and my first life in Kiev Ukraine. I miss everyone there so much. I miss my Sister Nielsen. All our tasty treats and love filled visits to my Ukranian pioneers. My first Ukrainian kisses. My heart is in Borshakievski. 
** I have returned from a horrid encounter with my first squatting toilet in a pizzeria** I now have a greater empathy for those (my mother) who suffer from bathroom phobia. I SURVIVED. and washed down my fears with 2 baby pizzas!
Now back to the gamer section at your resident internet cafe. 30 old men and 11 year old boys playing internet games at 4 grivens an hour. So beautiful
Well Chernigov is beautiful. The branch is strong. My apartment is super nice. The sun is out. And the Russian is raw.
Sister Jessica 

Episode 38: Dasvindanya Hram

 I am not feeling very talkative.... I think I am a little grumpy cause I ate too much. I must overfeed my growing body of course :) hahaha. Sickening I tell you.

 but I bought some new shoes today. So that is good.
I got to go to the temple this week. I think I have a new favorite place on this earth. The Kiev Ukraine temple. It is perfect. I got to wear head phones so I could understand the words being spoken to me. My word bank is dry. So I will just let you imagine how spectacular the experience was. and the english treasures (those who speak english... meaning every Ukranian (WHO WILL NEVER DIVULGE OF THEIR KNOWLEDGE (They all know english) you would never know it) Those english treasures spoke to us in English. Mmmm luxury. I love the temple. (we get to go 3 times a year)
I am in denail. 
I leave On Thursday. Our life has just been jam packed with all the people that I love so much. I would have never really thought that I could make a difference (it is the daily battle in my little missionary world) but I have. People have cried because my little cripple-loving-non-russian-speaking self is leaving. Why is it that missionaries want to make people cry. It beats me. but I cannot tell you how satisfying.

I feel so blessed to be here. I am so grateful that those around me are able to see past all this missionary business and know how much I REALLY care. I could spend the rest of my mission just loving people. No baptism. No missionary splendor. none of the funny business we all get so wrapped up in.  I am doing what I came here to do, and though unorthodox I can tell you it is satisfying. Great is my joy. haha :) 

 I am sure I will have a lot to say next week. As my little world takes a 180. I am going to miss Sister Nielsen. She is my california dream. As the Ukrainains would say. My-ya Blondin-ki-ya!

Good bye temple. goodbye president. Good bye office couple. Good bye easy access to all my letters. Unlimited access to all the supplies. Good bye mission politics (same district as assistance and office elders)
This all sounds like it will be pretty refreshing. Chernigov is apparently the place to be. All the champion missionaries are there right now. and the history. OH it is astonishing. (all possessing great charm and charisma) So sometimes I wonder just what president is thinking :) hahaha. I am being serious. I will let you know how things work out for me. I am buckling down for the biggest adventure of my world.

Sister Jessica 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Episode 37: Greetings

CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE~ For this little lady. 

Sister Powell is being TRANSFERED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

MY FIRST TRANSFER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My world is changing and I just don't even know how to soak it all in! 

That is pretty neat. a lot of scary (in the best way:adventure like) WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF??

I think I just may have to learn how to be a missionary all over again. This is the only Ukrainian world I have know. Here in Borsha-kiev-ski. Where my heart is. Where the temple is. Where all my Ukrainian treasures lie. All the memories. All the people I love! AHHHH 





As I told all the people that I have grown to love so much that I am leaving I really got to see that I have made a little difference. It is so funny how it all works. Your just the missionary inviting yourself over to their house one day..... They avoid you like the plague .... until you are leaving. 

Then they like  you a lot :) THEY LIKE ME! :)

Seriously I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have had to serve in this so special ward. To serve with these pioneers of Ukraine. To see the temple everyday!!!!!!!! Borshakievski has my heart. 

Serving with Sister Neilsen has been such a dream. She is a California blondey babe! and I will never forget our time together. Christmas, my brithday, a REVOLUTION, a very exciting valentines day, new years, ANOTHER REVOLUTION. Everyday an adventure just the way it should be. Pretty much everything good in my life while we were together. I love her.

We have never had such a full week! Old Investagators want to meet with us :) all the members that I love so much. It is funny how that works! We are gonna be so busy! 

It is so refreshing that I can leave here feeling so good and start somewhere new.. There no one will know me. My difference may not be known until I leave. Perhaps it takes 7 months to develop this kind of relationship... but none the less I am grateful. I have been changed by these people. Their strength and gratitude for the things that really matter. We have been through a revolution together. Thats bonding. 

There are so many people here I will not forget. Never. 

I already have my last moment planned. With the Palyokov family!   I love them so much. They are my Ukrainian family with a little portion waiting for me in America (Okcana). My life would not be the same without them. I have a family in Ukraine. I LOVE THEM MORE THAN I CAN MUSTER WORDS FOR. I am gonna cry tears. 

Watch this video. This is my temple. These are my people. Since my words can't do the justice. Let theirs. 

I love

Sister Powell 


You may have noticed a decrease is the funny things that happen in my life. Rest assured they still happen. I am a menace to society as much as ever (sitting on strangers laps as the metro pulls away, dropping Book of Mormon's on their feet, almost wiping people out as we jump out of the still moving bus doors ) 

Pss. I am going to be a Sister Training leader. 

Psss. I will be going to Chernigov. by CHERNOBLE.

Pssss. My companion is Sister Farnsworth. She is gonna show me how to be a missionary... we came here together. She is the most champion lady. Here I am come. 

Pssss. Expect me to be bald (blessing of Chernoble) and probably fat (since you are all thinking it. I am saying it. My face is fatter. I know I know. I know. --- that is how you know I am a real missionary and I eat pig fat double portions when people give it to me!) 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Episode 36: Don't worry. Be happy.

What is happiness? How can people be happy when there is a revolution outside their door!

I'll tell you how. You build  a blanket fort.
Our lives have been a little different since the whole revolution outbreak. We have spent a few days in the house on lockdown taking all the precautions necessary to stay safe and living missionaries. So don't worry. Be happy :)

I have been thinking a lot about "happiness" actually for a really long time...

 I was asked to give the thought in district meeting about how through small and simple means I have found happiness in my life.  

  find... or enjoy... reap happiness ..... ???????????????/

 first and lasting impression that I had was.. ATTITUDE.

I think of the happiest people I have ever known and they are the most grateful. It is completely irrelevant the status of their surrounding lives. It is honing in on what really matters.

It matters not what income they maintain.
How many children they have.
How much education.
How good of a cook their mom was.
If they have never been to a concentration camp,
 Whether they have a sweet scoot scoot.
If they can afford to have a big bowl of Greek yogart every morning.
 OR if they live off BEANS

for a truly grateful person is inevitably a happy one. A life filled with gratitude is a life filled with contentment and satisfaction.  

"gratitude enables appreciation"
"A grateful person is rich in contentment; an ungrateful person suffers in poverty and endless discontentment"

I am so grateful to have come from a family where I could be grateful for the little things. That I learned to treasure the little moments life has to offer. That is why I am happy! Eating cotton candy to indulge the little child in me (MOM you have got it all figured out!)  laughing over the dumbest things. Soaking in the sunset. Letting every moment be "a moment"

I want my family to know how much I love them. I don't even know who actually reads this... but I have seriously grown such a great appreciation for the so imperfect (sometimes hostile) family I come from. We're not your dream come true 'little house on the prairie' number but I have always known that I am loved. That I have a family that no matter how ignorant and contemptious we are towards one another that SOMEONE has ALWAYS got my back. I have got the sweetest sister that ever lived. I have brothers that I know would do anything for me. Would die for me.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends"
John 15:13

Obviously this scripture is about Christ. This is not even where I intended this letter to go... but here it is. I am grateful for brothers who can hold a candle to Jesus Christ. I know that they would die for me... like he did. I am so grateful for my savior. I have been reading Jesus the Christ and it just makes everything so real. That all of this Gospel business just seems to come together for me as I seek and study! I am grateful for my brain and the ability to learn

I am grateful to be here. To have a chance to go into the homes of families and really see what makes all the difference. That those little primary answers (reading your scriptures, saying your prayers) surely  have a lot more significance than I ever realized. I have never loved reading the scriptures more in my life. It is incredible to me the capacities that are opened when you really try to do these things for the right reason!

No super miracles this week. Nothing real fancy to talk about EXCEPT we built a fort in our living room. A big one. It then became our sanctuary from the revolution outside and for the best scripture studies I have ever had! I cannot describe to you HOW HAPPY THIS FORT MADE ME.

This is happiness I am telling you.

"Happy people don't have the best of everything; they make the best of everything they have."

"gratitude fosters happiness making it easier to cope with stress and trauma."
I truly believe with a positive perspective all that is just unfair, ridiculous, painful, GROSS. These things can all be made right with a positive perspective. There is almost always someone who has it worse than you do, and very likely that they have found ways to be happier.

Isn't it strange that those who have often suffered greatly are the ones that come out noticeably strong and happy?

Denny Hancock is my new idol. Mormon Messages are our guilty pleasure.


I am grateful for all of your prayers. I know that I am safe, You should know it too!
Sister Powell 

Ps. I am in the market for 22 things happy people do differently if anyone has access to that! It is good stuff. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Episode 35: Just Living.

So. I am living. Not a scratch. Nor fear. Many of you may know more than I do. hahaha [We have a situation.] but doubt not fear not the lord is at our side. 

Violence broke and we double quick got tucked away in our cutest Ukranian apartments. Safe and the soundest. How valiant :)

 When it came time to storm the streets after 3 days inside.

 here's your honesty: I was scared but here we are living our lives. 

I am grateful for all of your prayers. I know that I am safe. I know that the lord keeps his missionaries safe.

I don't have a lot to say. I am grateful for this opportunity to learn. ({I spent 3 days in my apartment studying and things}) It is so interesting to me learning, knowledge, the human mind and the mysteries of god and how it just makes sense. That as we seek we will find. As we learn, our capacities to learn more are opened up. I will come home different in that I thirst for knowledge in a different kind of way. I just want to learn and learn and learn and learn. It is scientific (the capacities of my physical brain will open as I fill it) and my little spirit soul will grow. Will become more resilient more intelligent. Our bodies and minds are so miraculous. I am grateful for my mind. For my ability to learn and for all of the opportunities my life has offered me (including trials) to grow, learn and to become better. My spiritual capacities have been deepened by the trials of my life.... and so I am grateful for them . How cliche. haha. Perhaps because it is real life. 

Here is a recap of my life:

"Today is an inside day" ---- 3 days straight. and..... I loved it. 

 Sister Nielsen is my dreams come true. We get along very well. and there is no one else in the Ukraine that I would rather be locked inside an apartment for 80+ hours with. 

I had my 8months on a mission and 6 months in country while we were on lock down. Sister Neilsen is the sweetest soul and She brewed me a bubble bath. slaving over stoves of boiling water  and steamy bathroom. MMMmmmm. 

My new favorite book is Jesus the Christ:: I read 3 whole paragraphs in the span of 2 hours because I had to cross reference every other word! It is my new favorite book. Who knew I would come on my mission to learn english. Many thanks James. (talmage)

Our Apartment is very clean. It is refreshing. 

My journal is all caught up and I am now writing into the future. 

We practiced being poineers (mixed together flour and water and cooked it on forks over our propane stove) (we did have any sticks or campfires on hand) 

Made emergency packs filled with roman noodles and 20 cans that weigh enough to seal our fate if running for safety were required. 


I am safe. Back to real life. Taking all precautions to remain safe. Fret not. 

Love Sister Powell 

Important Notice: 

I am preparing myself for an apocalypse. If you would like to be considered for my survival team. Let me know. 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Episode 34: Dreams.

Today I just want to share with you a little taste of my behind the scene work. 

Yesterday was near the best day of my life. Dinner with my favorite family here in Ukraine and I got to Skype Oxana who just moved from here and is now living in california!!!!! I was so shocked to see her face on skype I could not even speak words!!!!

Valentines day we soften hearts with cookies we made during breakfast and lunch. They were beautiful. we heart attacked people we felt might feel a little lonely this day and just loved everyone on our path. Look at the pictures! 

I even got some love. 

and I turned down 2 proposals. . . or so I thought.

It goes a little something like this...sometimes when marriage to me... is not even what they are suggesting.... (a man aasked me if I needed my husband to translate for me because I did not understand his Ukranian words he was speaking!! I thought he was asking me if I needed a husband and I very quickly set him straight telling him I am a missionary and I am just focused on my missionary work right now. I don't need a husband" 

it went a little something like this. 

*Ukranian... ukranian words. I dont understand... ukranians. ukrainin. more ukrainian *

"do you need your mom... or your husband... to translate for you girls"

"no... actually, we don't need a husband! we are actually just missionaries here for our church and we are focused on our work here right now" 

hahah. oh goodness. my life. 

Now I would like to share with you one of my few talents. 

Collaging. The creator in me was feeling stiffled because I am not allowed to do art work. but I got my grubby little hands on some magazines and now everything I own is covered.... mostly in pictures of Jesus. 

this little number in the center is the focus of my letter this day. I want to tell you about my dream board. This is my life in magazine form. The life I want to have. Things I want to do. The things I hope for. The things I want to become. My life. 

I guess I will just share a few. 

I want my home to be one like the one on the right. Lights on. Exuding warmth. filled with the light and warmth of the love that the people inside have for each other. The porch light is on, because everyone is welcome in my home. and they know it. 

I want a life filled with music and the development of talents. Seeking earnestly the best gifts. Utilizing the ones that I have. I love music. It is powerful. I want it to be a part of me. 

The tree of life represents health. Health of heart and health of my family. Healthy eating. A healthy home. I want to take care of my body. I want to enjoy this beautiful world that we have been blessed with. There is lots of nature because for me nature and gratitude are intertwined. I have reason to be grateful everytime I am out in this beautiful world. I want to enjoy it. Something special happens when we have some sort of connection with nature. Granolas are happy for a reason. I want to be one.  

I don't have a lot of time.... Ask questions if you have any. Everything on there has purpose. more than meets the eye. It would really make my day if someone would like to know more about this. hahah I put a lot of thought into it. It is my life on a paper. THATS STEEP

I made this because I have been thinking about desires. and I wanted mine to be more tangable both to the eye and to myself. I love my friends and my family. I pray for you. You and your happiness are included in my desires. hahaha doesn't that sound nice. 

It doesn't look as cool or big as it is in real life. now I am almost regretting writing about it because it is just not as cool as I had hoped. but I think all of you should make dream boards. I really believe that when we solidify the things that we want out of life they become that more much real. dream boards are real things. If you are reading this. WRITE ME. tell me what you would put on your dream board. MAKE ONE. SHOW ME. things you dream about. things you want to do, places you want to go. jobs you want to have. anything everything. Tell me. :) I want to know. 

seriously. even if you feel like it would be weird if you wrote me because I do not know you are reading this. WRITE ME! I need to expand my horizons. 

That is all for now. 

I love you all. 

Sister Jessica Pashence Powell 

"Journals and everything I own."

Episode 33: Just saving some lives to pass the time

The week started off exciting soon after I left the church. We had a real life sister mission adventure.

So perhaps in the past I have talked a bit about the Crooznoy. (in a word:freeway) It is the road that we walk along everyday. (the road to the temple) Broken sidewalk. lots of trash. It is so loud: loud loud loud SO there we often sing REALLY loud, (no one can hear us) or practice tongue twisters, or scream "THIS IS OUR STOP" ( a very important phrase for my well being; so that when the time comes for the bus to stop we don't look like the silly American girls that we are) hahaha literally my first 3 months here. Every time I tried to ask the bus driver to stop at my stop. The whole bus would turn and stare. oh the life I live :). 

Well...  we are walking a long that long and broken road that leads to the temple. There is a path made from the people walking but to each side is piles of snow. That have now become ice and are slippery (hence my wipe out last week as root of embarrassment for my little world.) So we are walking along the path in a hurry to make it to an appointment on time (pday ends at 6 and it is a normal night after that) So we are booking it along our little snow blazed trail. As we get to the best stop at the end of the trail.

Well I am going to skip on the personal details and get to the point. 

Someone we know... under the influence of alcohol was unable to walk straight enough to take on this path. 
hobble tobble drunks are not generally a big deal. They flood the streets everyday. The issue here is that there was ice everywhere. A 3 foot gaurd rail in some parts and none in others. That separate the people on the side walks FROM THE FREE WAY! Your everyday drunk could probably make the journey. but not this one. The weave, wobble was the worst I have ever seen. From one side of the sidewalk to the other! He is going to die. and I know it. 

Story short. We saved his life.... shortly after he STARTED TO TUMBLE OVER THE GUARD RAIL and sprawl onto the FREEWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I may be suffering from heart furber after that one because literally our friend almost died. Somehow ALL the momentum in the world that he had heading in one direction magically changed to the other and he ended up sprawled over the ice. (with people stepping over him) 

We peeled him up off the ground. and walked arm in arm with him down the ice road (pretty sure that is the most human male contact I have had in like a year) hahaahah. too good. We walked the ice trail past the long stretch of path that DID NOT HAVE A RAIL WAY and no redemption from the cars flying past. No forgiveness for a drunk trying to walk the straight.

The moral of the story: alcohol is bad. It destroys lives. Relationships. motivations. potential. WILL KILL YOU/

It is a REAL problem here. Good people. intelligent motivated. become immobilized by the debilitating trap called alcohol. It breaks my heart. 

Good news moment: 
I can do real man push ups! Probably like 10 tops but that is better than one! 


I got to roleplay with the President. That was a little scary and a lot of awesome! 

Friday: Dreams come true:

Double bubble 
Thanks to my so thoughtful Eli, Sadie, Tric, and dad. Who provided my soul with double bubble I had probably my favorite lesson EVER. A creamy combination of my life long talents, object lessons. and some solid doctrine of Christ. We had a lesson with our cutest Marina. She is an 11 year old recent convert (our most recent baptism) 4 of 4 that I have seen. She is the brightest, giggliest, most put together 11 year old girl I have ever met. 

We began the lesson with huge wads of bubble gum and proceeded to offer a lesson on enduring to the end. I will spare you the details but it was a success. and now I offer photographic evidence. We all have a firmer understanding on enduring to the end. 

Chewing your gum even when it tastes gross. 

Cleaning up your face when is bursts into your eyebrows. 

Practice practice practice so one day you can blow bubbles bigger than your wildest dreams! 

Saturday: adventure
galupsy. We got to make Galupsy with my favorite woman in the entire world! Okcana's mom! First things first. Nothing in that home is the same without Okcana! But she is in America living the American dreams! I am now a Galupsy master. It is meat wrapped in cabbage! DELICOUS

sister nielsens 9 month. We celebrated with apple and peanut butter. 

So. Many of you have heard about what is going on here: (revolution business) Likely you know more than I do. but I would like to offer you this. 

The likelihood of my death as a result of a revolution is much less likely in as death in one of these 70 year old lifts that havn't had a maintenance check in their exsistence. So fret not. I will choose the stairs. choose life. and everything is fine here in Kiev Ukraine. 

So here is a little something spiritual. Perhaps I am becoming a weirdy missionary. but perhaps just a little more insightful as to the things that really matter.  

I have just been thinking a lot about the bigger picture. About the church about the "gospel". 

I have come to realize: this is so much bigger than church attendance, being active, having callings, doing visiting teaching blah blah.  This is about eternal life. This is about allowing, training the souls in us to be the spiritual giants they yearn to be. Spiritual work is the hardest work that I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. 

I have just spent a lot of time thinking about people getting offended. All of the silly reasons we stop the nourishment of our souls. and all of it seems so insignificant in the light and simplicity of the gospel. 

and just plugging along enduring to the end. 

That there is a perspective so much bigger, brighter and more encompassing than the human problems we get swallowed up in. 

How much of this life's worries, trials, hardships become irrelevant in the light of such a perspective. 
"Put all frustrations, hurt feelings, and grumblings into the perspective of your eternal hope. Light will flow through your soul"

I love this. 

" if you expect to find perfect people here, you will be appointed. but if you seek the pure doctrine of Christ, the word of god "which health the wounded soul" and the sanctifying influence of the holy ghost then here you will find them. " "here you will find a people who yearn to know and raw closer to their savior. "here you will find what is precious beyond price"" words of eternal life, blessings of redemption, 

This is a path filled with peace and happiness. That is why I am here. 

I feel like those people who are truly content. Who have found lasting peace are those who have grips with this eternal perspective.
I wish that it made as much sense to everyone as it does to me now. That this is the path to a better world. To happier humans. That it is resisted because it is hard. but the reward for perseverance is greater than any price paid. 

My mom is so smart: 
"We all choose our path in life and when you come to that realization, that life did not happen, but that you are choosing your path. It is not a serious of accidents, but a deliberate path, your life will become more directed. First, it is important for you to realize that you are in charge of your destiny, by the choices you make. Then you can make those choices promised by God to improve your circumstances and you intensity of peace and joy."

Here I am so imperfect just trying to resist my lazy selfish tendencies. it is hard. Every day. Salvation is steep but in the light of perspective that the gospel has to offer. well worth any price paid. 

I hope this makes even a little bit of sense. because it is making a lot to me. I am understanding how critical my perspective is. It will nurture my choices that determine my world.

I love you all so much. Make good choices. Dont drink alcohol. Stay inside the gaurd rail! 

Sister Powell  

Episode 32: Eating ICE and HOLLADYETS!

Jan 26
Today I rode on the worlds longest escalator in the world. What a dream. I have included a photo for your enjoyment. The metro system here is all my dreams come true.

"On the longest escalator in the world!!"
Feb 2.
Today my aspirations of standing tall came to an end as I ate the ice quicker than I could regret my foolish step onto a mini ice mountain. WOOOOOOP. Flat on my back. flip to my stomach and curled over in laughter. Nothing hurt,. Just a little bit of pride damage. (this is eating ice)
(I hear 5 times is a heardy success. So I have for more opportunities left to prove I am not a total clutz)
Silly little humans on the streets of Ukraine.

I have become a real life Ukranian missionary. Tried my first hollodyets. Infamous Ukranian speciality. Do yourself a favor and look this stuff up. It is MEAT JELLO made from fat. like the stuff you scrap straight from grandmas turkey pan. Jiggly. slimy. meaty. chunks of meat and meat fat.
I have earned my keep in Ukraine:::::::
As I reached for second helpings like any good missionary would do.
Slithered straight down my throat with a meat chunk to trail.
I am so brave.
Sister Neilson, Orlieb, and Leavitt

So I am not sure I have said about Sister Leavitt (the most champion missionary I have ever laid eyes on) and Ortlieb (my German gem-- she is from Germany and I love her so much I could die). They are the other set of sisters in this area with me and Sister Nielsen. We often spend go to lessons together or do creative finding. Before they came me and Sister Lamoreaux were the only sisters in this area. Now their is two sets of us taking on this world! :) haha. Well this is beside the point--- So the two of them come up to us on Sunday and want to recount the story of their encounter with a less active (who was from our list (our responsivility) and they met with)(thank goodness hahaha) because this is what happened.
The woman was thrilled to meet them. (that is unusual) and sent them very detailed instnructions on how to get to this obscure location (that is unusual) when they get there she has a cake made for them (SO unusual) and is the happiest person in the world (this is not normal for less actives--- not being hung up on is a pleasant surpose---assistance in finding their home... any sort of enthusiasm to meet is a dream come true!!!! This woman was every missionaries dream!)
As the story goes.
They find themselves at a hospital and this woman thinks that they are from red cross and are going to perform surgery for their uncle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SHE THINKS THEY ARE SURGEONS!!!!!!!!!!!!. His last hope. (what the heck.) HER DREAMS CRUSHED She all too quickly finds out that they are but two humble little sister missionaries who barely speak Russian. Have little college education and are the fartherst thing from surgens! ahhhhhhh.
What is this?!?!??!
The woman was crushed --- hands them the cake that she had made them.. and tells them to get on the bus and leave. ---- these two sisters walk away just floored out how terribly this hopeful meeting with a less active turned for the worst. OH MY WORLD. Their story and day just gets better and better.
As they piece themselves together from the horrific experience they had just had they are approaching the temple grounds -----------------------
an english treasure (someone who speaks english) approaches them. A member of the church.
"Sister!!!" - the woman says to Sister Leavitt. (all hasty and business frightening like)
"Do you want to go home???" - she asks..(accusitive)
caught of gaurd...... uhhhhh. .............. scared for what is coming next. baffled why this is happening to her.
................. (what?). This is a deep cut to any humans efforst.. what in the world is this day???????
The moral of the story. Apparently the sisters were not properly dressed for the winter (without hats) hahaha. and they were going to probably die. (thus being sent home) because they were not wearing hats. (sure evidence of a sister who needs to be sent home)
Well enough said.
SO I bought myself a scarf today
So don't expect me home early. I won't die this winter.
I had to brace myself on the wall when they recounted this story to me. tooooo good.
Simple missionary treasure moments!
This week I just had one of those moments of overwhelming joy from one of the most routine less active visits. We have a less active mother and daughter (vika and maria) I have been here so many times, I cannot even count. in this time spent there I have seen Maria come back into activity. She is now going to the temple. Miracles.
Vika on the other hand has always been hard to understand. I never really knew why she didn't come to church and quite honestly I don't really think she does either. We have tried many different approaches. Many different powerful talks. Left commitments, called them on the phone. Invited them to activities, invited her to pray. committed them to pray together. read together as a family. Really all of the things that I can think of and she has always been unresponsive. As of late Sister Nielsen and I took a different approach. So simple. Perhaps incredible 'no duh' but something is beginning to change about our meetings with her.
We have begun to read the Book of Mormon with her. From the beginning and really breaking down the story for her. It is such a slow process and a different approach than I have ever taken before but the results are beautiful. She is engaged in our conversations. The story of this family (Lehi) is coming alive for her. She has questions and I just feel like this is all making more sense.
My little moment of joy came during reading one of the very ordinary chapters in 1 Nephi as Vika asked us a question. I could feel her curioiusity: that this family, their lives, choices, were really coming alive for her. I could see light enter her as she expressed interest in this book that I know to be so powerful. A power I have barely yet to comprehend but I am learning. I am listening.
I love the Book of Mormon. I love it more and more every time I read it. I am likely the farthest thing from a well versed missionary in the scriptures but I want that to change. This is the start of a different life for me. I want my children to have an opportunity to be enganged in the scriptures like I never was. I am so grateful to be here. To help others to see the goodness that this gospel has to offer. To assist in opening the eyes of the clueless (like me) to the pure goodness, wisdom, opportunity that the Book of Mormon has to offer simple humans like me.
I just felt this unreal joy. Things pieced together for me and I saw a clearer picture of the opportunities, opened to us by the Book of Mormon. That there are stories here that can be so confusifng but if we just take a little minute to really try and understand there is so much to be taken from them. The stories there have come alive for me as all together we broke apart each verse. As I asked myself why the effort was made to carve these words into the plates. What can I learn from these stories.
It was one of the more simpler missionary experiences that I have had. Nothing extravagant or miraculous but just the light and joy that I could read from Vika's face as these people and the stories came alive for her.
I am so grateful.
I am yet safe despite what you hear. :)
Love you all so much

"Being Ukrainian"

Sister Powell

Monday, January 27, 2014

Episode 31: Sello dreams. and living.

Well I am the worst. hahaha I am actually doing something fun today for my Pday so there is not much time to write. 

I am alive. Don't any of you worry a wiff about my safety. I havn't seen a riot, a fire, or any guns. Just a bunch of missionary miracles here in my world. I will include a story I sent to my mom because that is all I had time for. Cause I love my mom the very most. 
Dear Mother, 

Right now I drink banana milk and cereal breakfast with my girl sister Nielsen! WE ARE TOGETHER AGAIN :) Dreams. I am once again in Borshakievski area just off of Center Kiev (we like to call it the Kievian ghetto. People are poor here. Our members (all active 200 of them (with 300 less active) are champions. 

THIS WEEK WAS INCREDIBLE. We took an adventure to something known as a cello . It was an hour and half bus ride to a place that we do  not know. It started to get dark as we journeyed out there with instructions from one of the few members we know who knows english it was a little mystery to solve. 

Off too find a less active family: 

We arrive to this desolate little town with no one to ask directions (it is Ukraine and there surely are no street signs) we go into a little store and ask for the right street. It is my Ukranian dreams come true as we walk down the snow cloaked streets. Snow is falling. It is freezing and the cutest little lamps light our way down this barren brightly snow covered street. The houses have no numbers.. how are we ever going to pull this off. 

Sister Nielsen prayed that we would find some humans for help: 

Here the humans come. The cutest mom and her son pulling a sled! Am I dreaming?? 

Well we had already been to one unlabled house. There we stood and I was almost certain it was the home that we needed to be too. So after 2 minutes of just standing there... I pushed the gate. CLANG. The hissing noise that we heard behind immediately stopped. Now my mind begins to reel. They know we are here. We just trespassed. We have not knocked or done anything to make our presence known. 2 little babies just trying to give some cookies to a family. We are going to die. They are going to shoot us. It is over. We just stand there for several minutes whispering and waiting for someone to come out and give us a piece of their mind... or their bullets! (no one has guns here I was just losing my mind) We don't know if we are at the right place.. ahhhh

That is when Sister Nielsen prayed. 

So the lady is soooo nice (as most Ukranians who we ask for help are.) and she led us right back to the gate that I had just infiltrated. Oh glory. Sooooo here she stands with us, and now we must knock. We knock and she leaves us to stand here at a gate (15 feet from the house that seperates the home from the street) Right as we knock a dog begins to bark. Ferocious. (I just say a little prayer that when I BROKE INTO THEIR GATE --- that this dog did not bark... MIRACLES) 

so we stand there. and stand there. Not knowing what to expect. All my past expereience with dropping by less actives.... They slam the door in your face. "nope nope nope" " I don't wanna see you, don't wanna here you" "Your church is a cult, and I left a long time ago" "nope nope nope" Here I am just buckling down for the worst. (for some scary man - Even tho the list does not even meantion a man) To come out here and show us whats up! ahhhhhhhh. No one comes for a long time. The  dog just keeps  barking. I  am so ready to turn in  and go home. hahahha. but we wait. Then we  here someone  yell "Who is there?(we cannot see the house or the door  we are outside of a tin gate)  oh doom. "It is the sister missionaries" "WHO" "The sister Missionaries" SLAM. silence......... The jangling of keys....  SOMEONE IS COMiNG.

open the  gate. a woman. 
 about 40. I can tell. This is the right place. uhh oh. 

"The mormons??" 

oh no. 


"OH GIRLS!!! COME IN! It is so good to see you, we are so happy to see you, are you cold?? Come in  come in !    
Did you come just to see us? 

"YES :) " 

and then the rest of my dreams come true as she  feeds us. Gives us warm tea. slippers to wear. Shares pictures with us. ate cake with her and her 20 year old daughter who is SO CUTE. They are bright and warm people. 

 Constantly tells us how glad she is to see us. We met her children they were perfect. They are wonderful. She still wears her CTR ring. They are not even all girls (all the names on the ward list are wrong) .... something weird  is going on here, and we still have a mystery to solve. but mom I literally found my Ukranian mother this night. I felt an instant connection to them. I feel like if I ever came back to kiev this is the home I would want to go to. We stayed at their house for an hour and  a half and just talked and talked! As she walked us back to the bus stop she told us  how glad she was to see us. I told her this was seriously one of the best nights of my mission) She just ran over and tackle hugged me and then the 3 of us walked arm in arm all the way to the bus stop. Crunching through the snow.  She gave us the biggest kiss and told us to come back soon! DREAMS mom. dreams. We are going to help this family. It is my new life purpose

I am so happy to be here. It is cold like popsicles. Grateful for my coat. wearing all my sweaters. Living the dreams with sister nielsen. We are mastering Ukranian Mexican and we ARE the Borshakievski sisterssssssss. 

I am going to see the LAVRA!!!!!!!! 

I love you 

Sister Powell 

Episode 30: Just Business.

One year left! On my birthday......... I will return 2015.
I have a tunnel year. This is unique for amongst sisters servers! I get to be here the entire year of 2014. It made setting new years goals really interesting and enriching in a different kind of way. Very spiritual goals - unlike any other time in my little life.
It has been a really special week for me. This week I got to go on a little baby miracle exchange with my trainer Sister Lamoreaux- She served in the area that I have been in for the past 5 months for 7 months! We were able to have a lesson together. Reunited :) it feels so good!! haha. I learned how to make my two favorite Ukranian dishes with my two favorite members! DREAMS come true!

Being with Sister Lamoreaux warmed my soul. As Sister Leavitt (in my district) would say. "We are kindred." Everything seems to come alive in the most magical way when we are on the Ukranian streets together.
I have realized the importance for me to find someone in my life who is going to treasure all the little things with me. How the clouds look like cotton candy today. The *glop*Slush*smoosh* sounds that Banana bread makes as you mix it. (Carissa :) ) Free standing on a sardine canned bus ride no need for something to hold onto cause you are suspended by those around you, How if I go jogging in my caprees I instantly become a menace to society because I going to freeze to death. The list goes on and onnnnnn. maybe next week I will compile a list of the things that make me SOOOOO happy! Yep that is it.
. There is something about every little moment that we share together. I am so happy when there is someone by my side to just love EVERYTHING as much as I do.
That when things get ugly ---- there is always some little treasure joy of life that we can preocupie ourselves with. I want my life to be like this. (hahaha or I can just spend my life on a puppy farm with Whitney hahaha )
We had a confrence with a genereal authority. WOW. Words do not describe. President and Sister Lawrence of the area presidency are on a mission tour here. Things frighten me when they get all church business--- I was afraid they were here to knock some sense right into us.
Our conference yesterday was so enriching.
I have been thinking about how much I have learned and changed ... in my soul, in my personality, in my ways... I am very much the same person but things have changed a lot as for my general understanding and attitudes. Maybe most prominent ------ my desires. I want different things out of this life than I ever have before. Or maybe it is just that the things that I wanted out of life just seem all that more obtainable.
I have decided that I want to share just one of the simplest and greatest lessons I have learned thus far. It is plain. but something i am most grateful to have finally figured out.(to the best of any human childs abilities I suppose)
It is....... the simplicity. The pure goodness. The light. of the restored gospel. What "the gospel" really means. 
I came on a mission overwhelmed with the ideas I had internallized growing up in Utah. Overcomplicated and confused doctorines. Reasons, excuses, justifications, rules, beliefs. Some that I struggled to understand
What I have come to realize is the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The root of all that we belief is 4 incredibly simple things
Faith in Jesus Christ
Baptism (covenants)
Enduring to the end.
And this should be the reason for everything that we do! To strengthen ourselves and those around us in these four things.Just four, nothing more.
This is why we do visiting teaching - to teach the doctorine!
This is why we come to church on Sunday- To nourish our faith in Christ and to help others to do the same.
This is why we read the scriptures, pray, all those primary things that get confused along are rickety little human paths of survival.I delight in plainess.
I looked up the meaning of
Gospel: A message of good news!
I am forever greatful for this message of hope. That the light and hope of this gospel has the power to change lives. I have seen it. It is plain. It is precious. and so much less complicated then our human minds like to make of it. As my testimony of the doctorine increases so does every other aspect. 

If you don't really know what I am talking about ... perhaps study it a little. Just the gospel and what that actually means.
I want to be that member that missionaries can count on for referrells because I am not going to be afraid to tell anyone who will listen about how happy I am because I have something to hope for! I have a reason to try more each day. That each time I do something stupid or rude I can just get up and try again. I can be the person that lifts the spirits of all those around me. Create the home that warms the soul of all those who enter. That when something goes terribly wrong when everything feels as though it has fallen to pieces. I can be grateful that I know one day it will get easier. That there is rest and peace that this mortal world can never provide.
My kindergarten testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the best things that has ever happened to my life.
People at church are imperfect. They always will be. Doctorines will always be confused. Cultures will have an effect but NOW I know for myself the reasoning that I should have for all that I do, for all that I want to become. I am grateful for the example of my savior. A reason to try and be a little nicer. To serve another person. To forget myself a little more. Every tiny little step to becoming better. So simple. SO DIFFICULT, but so worth the effort.  

--------------------- Everything is safe here. Still serving by the temple. I expect changes soon. I am not sure how I feel about that. -------------------------------------------------------------------

I GOT TACOS LAST NIGHT. it was the best day of my life. I miss Mexican food almost as much as I miss my mom.

I will have some nice culture slices for you next time.

Sister Powell