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