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

Monday, January 13, 2014

Episode 29: Untitled

I'm Feeling::::::

My birthday really was a dream come true. A temple missionary invited us over to her house (she lives in the guest house that they have on the temple grounds for all the people who come on temple trips) She made us the most delicious Russian meal.Russian style borsh. Buckwheat and onions (sounds strange) probably my new favorite food. Poopyseed cake. Cabbage J and chicken. We got to know her and her husband. This is their second mission (the first in finland) They will return home soon. 

I had the privelage of spending my first birthday away from home on the other side of the world. In Ukraine--- where they celebrate orthodox Christmas. ON MY BIRTHDAY. A perfect opportunity for us to do our favorite finding activity. We have quite the nice little American-Russian-Hymn singing choir. We sing Russian with our real scrumptious American accents and the people (especially children) are drawn. They just come and listen. Then we have other elders and sisters who are not singing. Swooping in and talking to them. The people who have stopped and the people who are rushing by. Needless to say I always try to weasel my way out of doing contacting (I much prefer singing) but one sister leavitt had been out there the whole time… and no one else was volunteering. So I went. We were in a rush getting there and so we did not have enough pamphlets and proclaimations to the family that I could just pass those out and call it good. I had 3 of those and 1 Book of Mormon. So here I am standing in the middle of the Christmas bustle with just a Book of Mormon to strike a conversation. I was a little nervous. (somedays I feel I could talk all day in Russian and understand the whole world.)
 Within 20 minutes I had given away 5. In my little life and mission... THAT IS UNHEARD OF. I don't think I can do justice to the miracle of this event. The other missionaries just watched wide eyed as I returned several times to retrieve another book of mormon. then another. two more. another. another and until we were out of Book of Mormons! The people I spoke with wanted them. They are going to read them. They walked away knowing how special this book They weren't just given. They were placed. ONE AFTER ANOTHER. Heavenly Father is so aware. He knew my heart was here and offered me a chance to prove how much this means to me. I am the luckiest girl on this earth. 

It was one of the best days for so many reasons. everything went right. I felt the love and thoughts of everyone I love. My district threw me a party. My companion is the best and knows that birthdays are important. Seh said to me "I dont think there is a better birthday then the one you had" EVERYTHING went right. I recieved phone calls and gifts from people. Everyone remembered PACKAGES from home. I have the best friend, sister and mom in the world. It is all too good. TOO GOOD. I don't deserve it, but if you were wondering. I'm FEELING -------------22. 

I cannot believe I have been here for 5 months. I have been surving in the same ward. Same area the whole time. People are beginning to notice that I have been here for a long time. I suspect a change in the wind. (and the weather… it has been far to warm) I WANT TO GO TO ODESSA (that is near the black sea and I imagine is one of the greatest places on earth)    

 Little treasure:::::
Our Friday turned from 3 hours of study 3 hours of weekly planning. To wedding cake remont. Late thursday night we were given the assignment of recovering a disaster cake. for a wedding that would be the next day. We had just hours to make it happen.I wish I had pictures of how the whole affair began, but it was a disaster to say the least. this is a little of the progress and the end result. I am ready for the wedding business folks. I give all credit to my big sister who taught me what a crum coating was! dreams come true. the bride was so happy. White cake. not falling to pieces. missionary budget. limited supply. a mixing spoon for beaters. card board boxes and broken plastic knives for support. 5 store bought cakes stacked on top of each other. Frosting made in Ukraine with something they like to call powerdered sugar that isnt quite fit for the job! but it happens. 4 sister missionaries. lots of work and a lot of MIRACLES--

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Episode 28: My man: Sirgay.... the honey man!

His name is the honey man. Like I said last time. I am never eating sugar again so that means honey. We were in the market for a supplier

Found him. His name is Sirgay. I invited him to church. He will come. and one day he will teach me of his bee keeping ways (I have got to brush up on my Bee keeping terms because I did not understand a word of his honey discriptions)

HE MADE THIS HONEY HIMSELF. I-will-be-a-bee-keeper.

Tomorrow Is my birthday and it is also Christmas again :) big day. I bought myself a blender for my birthday.

New years was a dream. Candle light Salmon dinner and crafting with Sister Nielsen. I am covering everything I own in pictures of Jesus.

I want to talk about Bobooshka Nod-dez-da "hope" She is a gem, and also a hoarder. It is like all my Ukranian dreams come true. All too quickly.
Picture it::::::::One week ago:Sister Powell--- Sister Nielsen. Out on our Ukranian dim lit streets!

Preach my gospel says: "Go about doing good" We try. Offering help to the bobooka's (very old ladies who dominate the Ukranian population. They are the sweetest. and the MOST honest. (good and bad) blunt. bold. Everything a good missionary should be :) I am taking notes.  

More than anything they are hardworking. Stalkwart. Kind hearted. DETERMINED. We come in contact on the street multiple times a day as they carry loads far too heavy for their broken bodies. It never works out in our favor as we ask if we can help!----- "I can do it my self girls! thank you"====== "please, we really want to help"----and it goes a little something like this

----- "NOPE, thank you." ------------------

Service (of the physical kind) doesn't happen often here.

Well Miracles.

Sister Nielsen is quick to spot a Bob who needs help. (After 100 % shut down. I am almost afraid to offer sometimes) Not Sister Neilsen. MIRACLES.

Next thing I know we are on a Ukranian journey (in the Ukranian language that niether of us speak) helping Nedezda. Between the 3 of us, we can barrely carry the load this little grandma just had on her back. We have a little journey ahead of us and she tells everyone on the path "God sent me this girls" --- OH IF YOU ONLY KNEW ;) OH YES HE DID. We just smiled and looked at each other. :) if she only knew.

She would have never made it. She had been collecting alcohol bottles. had a load of them on her back and two other bags filled with them. (Many Ukranians: Bobooshky--- collect bottles of all sorts from trashes. for money) THEY ARE HEAVY!!!!!

Three blocks down the road. Our journey took us across the very SPOT on the train tracks that one month ago I saw a mans not living body after he had been hit by the tram (it was a bit scarring and one reason I never meantion.) Now I find myself crossing with a load , hardly seeing the steps before me. following our dear new friend. for goodness sake.  How silly is this.I think to myself as I see the bouquet of flowers that have been left in his memory. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Submitting myself to death. and trying not to trip on the tracks. adventure.

Our journey continues. 
We find ourselves welcomed as guests into her home. It is my first time in the home of a Bobooshka. I am telling you, it is everything that I dreamed and more. Every space is filled. Filled with things. Things wrapped and tied in grocery sacks. wrapped and tied and stacked one on top of the other. mountains of things.I have never been to the home of a hoarder but I am telling you my joy was full as I took in this site. She welcomed us in. I took a seat amongst the stacks of things. just things. hills and mountains of thiiiiiings. 

I very quickly spotted a pamphlet that I know all too well.  we hand out on the street. (she has met missionaries before) as we talked with her we discovered that it was 2 sisters who did not speak enough Russian to speak words with her. :) haha. so they gave her a pamphlet. We stayed a while. We prayed together. laughed and talked. She gave us gifts. (makeup pallots from her collection) We gave her a book of mormon .She has such a sweet spirit. She welcomed us back to talk more about the Book of Mormon. It was time for us to go. She gave us mystery juice in a dirty cup that we all shared. and some questionable manderine oranges for the road.

Dreams do come true.

I am happy here. I feel the lord is at my side. I have a a deep and almost overwhelming testimony of my savior. I want to be like him more than any other thing.
It is my birthday tomorrow. :) I am not home sick. and there is no where I would rather be. What a privelage to clip the saviors name to my big puffy coat, put on my mittens, and give what I have, to try my very very best (in Russian) to share the best gift my little 22 years of life have known.

Love Sister Powell

Friday, January 3, 2014

Episode 27: This one is for you sugar.

The Christmas party was a dream come true. We all played white elephant and I am pretty certain these Ukranians (as they unwrap a bag of beans straight from our cupboard, or a broken flashlight, and my favorite a bag of milk and the best cookies) thought we were the weirdest weirds that ever lived. but I just soaked up the American moment and all my dreams coming true on the other side of the world.

What comes next you might ask yourself???


 I am very certain your ordinary run of the mill BYU hipster gathering and some hot chocolate will never do for me again..................................... after this little number, I will be of a different kind.

My Christmas was perfect. Here is a little snippet from our mission Presidents wife this week. I like it.
During Christmas season, I believe every missionary feels more acutely the reason why he or she is choosing to spend the holidays walking the cold streets, knocking on often unfriendly doors, teaching, serving, giving instead of receiving gifts, and allowing "the people that walked in darkness [to see] a great light" (Isaiah 9:2). Though your thoughts may be drawn to the love and warmth of your homes and to the customs and traditions of your families, you also realize that it is because of Christmas that you are here; because the Savior chose to come into this world "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). I testify to you that the best gift you could have given the Savior this year in celebration of His birth is the one that you have given: choosing to faithfully serve and represent Him far away from home, choosing to spend this holiday season testifying of His love and goodness and of the blessings of His Atonement.
In those moments, when you are acutely reminded of the sacrifices you are making, you should also remember that the Lord's covenant people have always been called upon to "[bear] all things" and "[endure] all things" (Moroni 7:45). " "The mission field is a perfect training ground to learn to sacrifice by submitting your will to the will of your Heavenly Father, by learning to lose yourselves in the missionary service, by forgetting yourselves and putting others' needs first. And as with all things in the gospel, you are called upon to endure in that ability to the end. Learn well now what it truly means to be a servant and a representative of Jesus Christ, and endure in that capacity not only to the end of your missions but to the end of your lives. "Blessed is he that endureth to the end" (Alma 38:2), and "he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved" (2 Nephi 31:15)."

I feel like I could probably sacrifice a lot more after reading this. :) I will work on that.
I JUST GOT WAY TO MANY PRESENTS and had way too much fun at our english Christmas party.
Mostly I am grateful it was no great sacrifice for me, I have seen how hard it can be for some missionaries. That is one great trial I will never know, for that, I am grateful.



I don't know if I have explained well :: how truly unique the ward in which I serve is. It is HUGE. Busy. madness. beautiful. solid 200 hundred active memebers every Sunday. I have never been anywhere else .... but from what I hear a typical branch has 30 (including the 8 missionaries)

So what we have going here, you might say is a little different.
A little taste if Borshakievski culture.

a lot of Ukranian haste. Missionaries inviting themselves over to members houses, all the children playing tag through all 3 hours. People eating whatever food they can find in the kitchen (whether it be theirs or someone elses... ain't a thing)

Here is a tasty little taste of Ukranian culture. Absolutely one of my favorite experiences I have ever had here.

I like to call it a little bit of crazy. and some lunch.

AKA  Linger longer in the Borsh-a-kiev-ski ward. (that is how you say it)

This Sunday we had one. and this is how it goes.

There is a table full of all the kinds of foods you can imagine. better than my moms favorite chinese food buffet. Homestyle Ukranian dishes, deserts, fruits, juices, and tons of bread! 

plov: Rice like, sometimes with mystery chicken.

vereniki: duplings with cabbage in them.

napolean: the best cake I have ever had

golopsi- meat and rice wrapped in cabbage leaves.

Dreams come true ect...

There is none of this line business or organization. The tables are arranged in such a way that the second "Amen" is said all the peoples swarm the table. All you are left to do is try and squeeze your little body right into the madness because no one is going anywhere. The seats that were once filled are vacated and will remain vacated until there is nothing left but potatoe crumbs on the table.

It goes a little something like this::

Shovel some Plov (my favorite dish) onto your plate and stand by it. Eat some. If it is good add somemore to your plate. LOTS add everything to your plate that you see. but you better do it quick because as you do so, so is everyone else. Eat and scoop. Table to Plate--- Plate to mouth. Every man, woman, and child shovels food almost straight from the table into their mouths. No one sits. no one talks. just EAT! Eat all you can. Eat til your sick. Eat things you don't, eat more of what you DO like.  

I gathered in a little circle with all the Elders and ate. and watched. shoveled and scooped. and mostly watched. because this is my favorite event. Once every 3 months. This family of a ward comes together for a feast. One that is spectical to a foreighner but something I am surely going to impliment into every linger longer I come in contact with.

Who needs lines. who needs plates. WE ARE FAMILY>.

I spoke on Sunday. A little scary for my soul, but I survived. It went well. Oxana's mom called me clever :) that is enough to make me feel great about the experience. I also had the pleasure of bonding with my favorite member Nadia as we both sat on the stand terrified in a dignified sort of manner (she taught Sister Lamoreaux and I how to make Verenkiki--- look that up. One day if your nice to me, I will make you some :)

She spoke on Charity.... how fitting because she just so happens to be the most charitable person I know! I want to be just like her.

This week Oxana leaves (my favorite member slash person that ever exsisted). My soul is a lot of sad. It will not be the same without her here. She my very best friend in Ukraine. After sister Lamoreaux left Oxana  comforted my weary soul, I will miss her. She will be going to school in California. She is a rock star. I am going to have a band. We will meet again. She will be the drummer.

We have a new investigator. Her name is Natalya. I love her. Me and sister Lamoreaux found her one night on a bridge while doing english contacting. She came to english once, I gave her a Book of Mormon and was left to explain to her in the saddest Russian that it was old writing, that we read it with the Bible, that it is scripture {I was in my first transfer} ---- me and Natalya have been on a journey together :) hahaha.

She was excited to have the book, and then I never saw her again. I was thinking about this expereince that I had 3 months ago and 2 days later I SEE HER AT CHURCH. She had never been to church before and she just showed up. She did not expect us to be her guides or anything she just came to see. We have had two lessons with her now and another on Saturday. Dreams come true.

Lots of work to do. I love it here. We have been blessed with so many souls to love! :)

I love you !!!!

Sister Powell

Oh by the way. I am never eating sugar again.