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.