Monday, April 7, 2014

A little Ukrainian pride for your Monday

Here are some pictures of me and Ukrainian pride things, because everyone could use some Ukrainian pride these days. The graffiti says "glory to the heroes of Maidan" and has the Ukrainian flag as well as the revolution's flag. The piano is just a really fun Ukraine-colored piano I found on the street. rock on ukraine. 

Well, if you watched general conference and listened to the the slightly-boring sustaining and releasing part and were tuned in while two new first quorum of the seventies were called and happen to know that my mission president is one Jorg Klebingat, then you know by now that my mission president slipped away from Kyiv last week, went to Salt Lake, and casually got called to the seventy. If you didn't happen to notice that, then I have news: my mission president is now a general authority. So there are no actual concrete impacts of this (so far, rumors abound that he might be leaving us early, but no one really knows for sure), but hey it's a cool piece of information for everyone. I guess it means that some day I'll be showing off my mission pictures with him. Basically all the missionaries are giddy because nothing this exciting ever happen. Besides revolutions, of course. Okay so actually Kyiv Ukraine is a pretty exciting mission. 
Anyway, it was sort of an average week here in the mission. Sister Welling and I got sushi on Friday. That shouldn't be an extraordinary development in my life, but all I've had for 6 months is borscht and tacos, so it was definitely a highlight. Plus, ordering sushi in Ukrainian; there's something you don't do every day. We did a fun service painting project in this park thing near our house. Basically we painted benches and flower pots made out of old tires fun colors to brighten up this concrete jungle of ours. I happen to adore painting (not the artistic kind, but the industrial kind), so that was good fun. Besides that, I haven't many fun things to report. I'm sorry. I'm emailing later than usual and all I want to do is watch conference talks because I don't officially get to watch it until this weekend with our ward, but it's killing me to not just get to watch it now. I guess the word impetuous still applies to me. Heck, they'll probably write it on my gravestone.
This week I learned something about being happy. As a missionary, I hear a whole lot of "just do it." Just be obedient, meet these requirements, set and achieve higher goals, do this do that. My whole mission, the message I've received as I've been given instructions is "cowboy up, grit your teeth, and get through this." And this week, I realized that I've been misinterpreting and that isn't the message at all. In D&C 123, there's a verse that says, "let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, then we may stand still." I read it this week and it opened up everything to me. All I've heard for the past several months is "do all things" but I missed the cheerfully. Cheerfully is part of the program. We're supposed to be happy. The things we do in this church are designed to make us happy. Simply using all our might to get through it isn't the point. Even if we do so with a plastered on "look, I'm happy about this" smile. Actually living the gospel means deriving joy from it. So I've been happier this week, and it's been wonderful. Everything is better when I'm happier. Everything. 
All the love,

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