Monday, August 26, 2013

Fwd: Letter #21 - 8/26/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM
Subject: Letter #21 - 8/26/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey hey hey! This week was pretty exciting -- transfer week, which always throws off the groove of the work for a day or two, but things are back to normal now in the great land of Voskresensky. By the way, after a few more days, I'll have been in Ukraine longer than I was in Romania last year. Woohoo!

Well, I went out and got myself a new companion: Sister Cromwell, 24 years old, from Rexburg, Idaho, graduated from BYU-I in horticulture, worked in Nauvoo for a bit, and now on a mission with me! She's pleasant, quiet, and still a bit jet-lagged. :) It's my first time with someone who doesn't know a lot of Russian yet (unless you count looking in the mirror three months ago...), so it's been super interesting. I'm grateful I had native companions to help with my language for so long, because now I can basically communicate anything I want and understand almost everything people say. It's been awhile since I've said it, but I LOVE Russian. It's candy to my brain, no joke. But anyway, Sister Cromwell is great, and we're gonna have a great transfer together!

This week has been interesting with investigators. We picked up a few investigators that I had a few months ago -- Tanya with the three disabled daughters and Lena from New Jersey (she's back in Kyiv for a month). Tanya seems a lot more interested than she was back when we first met her, and Lena is as wonderful as ever. The Elders have actually been teaching her brother Genadi, and I think he's gonna get baptized soon if they can find a way to get him to church (he's paralyzed and very heavy). I wouldn't be surprised if Lena wants to get baptized while she's here too -- she is so receptive to the Holy Ghost, it's amazing.

Dang, I'm almost out of time to write. As a short recap, we had quite a lot of rude rejection this week BUT we also had a lot of encounters with very kind people who were genuinely interested in our message. Very up and down, but that's mission life. By the way, prayer still works -- one night we sincerely prayed on our knees to be led to those who would accept our message, and that night we found three legitimate potential investigators who I am very excited to meet with.

Also, though rejection has been rampant, I'm grateful it has at least been met with equally good experiences. To me, it's been a fulfillment of Ether 12:26: "My grace is sufficient for the meek, that they shall take no advantage of your weakness." Unfortunately, that gives the un-meek plenty of rein to take advantage of our weakness, but at least I have the comfort of knowing that the grace of God, combined with our elementary Russian and whatever few skills we have, is enough to find, teach, and baptize the meek. The rejection is hard, but what else can I expect while wearing my name next to the name of Him who was rejected more than anyone? "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (1 Pet. 2:21).

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Sister Montgomery

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Monday, August 19, 2013

Fwd: Letter #20 - 8/19/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery
Date: Monday, August 19, 2013
Subject: Letter #20 - 8/19/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Woooooo! What a week! I'm pretty sure it's been the best week of my mission, not even kidding you. SO good!
First off, another six-week transfer has come and gone, and we got word about what's going down next transfer. I am staying once again in Voskresensky AND training again! Her name is Sister Cromwell and... that's all I know so far. Sister Zaretskaia is also going to be training elsewhere in Kyiv, making me a grandma by my third transfer! Didn't I tell you I was gonna have a lot of posterity by the end of this thing? :) I'm super excited to train again -- there's just something really neat about having the privilege to introduce someone to how amazing being a missionary is. However, I'm really gonna miss Sister Zaretskaia (just like I said I was gonna miss Sister Filipovska after last transfer...). :( This week especially we'd had a ridiculous amount of fun (and spiritual experiences) together, and we work so well together. And then right when we're in the groove of everything, we get split up! Oh well -- I'll just have to restart the groove with Sister Cromwell.
So why was this week so awesome? Well, for one, we doubled our investigator pool, from five to ten! Holy cow! Actually, I should say "Holy Ghost," because that's exactly how we did it. Ever since last Sunday, we've been obeying SO exactly and praying SO diligently, and we have been guided by the Spirit like never before. My testimony of prayer has grown so much, and we've really experienced what the Bible Dictionary says about it: "The object of prayer is... to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings."
Those blessings were poured out upon us day after day as we went about seeking to do God's will -- we found receptive people, we taught with the power of the Spirit, and we knew where to go, who to focus on, and what to say. It was SO amazing. Our investigators are slowly but very surely progressing, and I'm nearly positive that we'll see at least one baptism this next transfer -- this area is just surging right now. Oh, and I get to rub it in Sister Z's face that I'll be able to stick around to see it while she's over in Svatoshinsky. :)
Well, I'll leave you with just one of the miracle stories from this week. I shall call it, "The Village Elect." I just wrote this to President, so here's the copied and pasted format...
Thursday night, Sister Zaretskaia and I planned to contact in the village area just west of our apartment. When we first got into the village, I felt the Spirit EXTREMELY strong. I was looking around for people to talk to or houses to knock at, but we didn't find anyone. We only had a little bit of time there before a lesson coming up, but as we were leaving, the Spirit just flat out told me, "There's an elect here." Pretty blunt, right? A little while later, I told Sister Zaretskaia about it, and we planned to go back the next day.That night, I was talking to Heavenly Father about it in my prayer, and I wanted to confirm it with Him. I asked, "So... is there really an elect in the selo [Russian for village...]?" He replied, "Yeah." I said, "Great... where?" And He replied (totally nonchalantly), "I'll show you." The conversation was in Russian, and I can still remember those nonchalant words... "Я покажу тебе." Hey, if God wants to lead us right to an elect, I'm not gonna complain. :) In my planner, in my list of investigators, I wrote: __________ (celo), having the faith that I'd be able to fill the name out soon.
The next evening we headed out to the village, but first read a passage of scripture together and said a VERY heartfelt prayer to find who God had in mind for us. I could tell God was as excited as we were, and I also got the feeling from Him, "You deserve this," because of our recent diligence in being exactly obedient. We headed to the village, talking to everyone along our path, and then in the exact spot where I felt the Spirit the strongest the day before, we found an older woman (Svetlana) and her young granddaughter (Vlada) sitting on an old tire in the field there. We went over to them, had pretty much half of the first lesson, gave them and taught them about the Book of Mormon, prayed with them (the little 8-year-old girl said such a precious prayer, AND in the name of Jesus Christ), and set an appointment for the next day. It was incredible. As soon as Sister Zaretskaia and I got far enough away, we got back down on our knees and thanked the Lord for that miraculous turn of events. (Oh, and later that night, I can't even tell you how good it felt to be able to fill out that blank line in my planner with the names "Svetlana" and "Vlada." :) )
We went back the next day for our appointment, but they weren't able to make it. Instead, we met the mother in the family (Svetlana's daughter and Vlada's mother), who is SUPER nice. The day after that, we had a first lesson at their house with the grandma and granddaughter, and they had already read the intro to the Book of Mormon. They're not ready to act right this instance, but I really feel like the more we meet with them, the more they'll feel the Holy Ghost testify to them of the truthfulness of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They live by so many true and wonderful principles already, and I can't wait to give them even more!
Case in point: miracles happen, God lives, the church is true. :)
Alright, family and friends, have a wonderful week! Don't forget about the miraculous power of prayer! Love you all!
Sister Montgomery

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Monday, August 12, 2013

Fwd: Letter #19 - 8/12/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 7:34 AM
Subject: Letter #19 - 8/12/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear fam,

First off, all you Montgomery's, I hope you have a grand ol' time at the reunion next week! I'm super bummed I won't be there (but Ukraine's a pretty cool place to be too), but I really hope everyone has a blast. Brings back memories of the past reunions -- I'm so grateful to be part of such an incredible family. :)

Fun story for the week: I've gotten better at coming up with smart-alecky responses to people. Probably not the best skill as a missionary, but if it's in good humor, why not? For example:

Me: "Good evening!"
Woman (clearly disinterested): "Girls, no, no, no..."
Me: "What? It's not a good evening? I thought it was a pretty good evening..."

Man: "So what are you doing here anyway?"
Me: "We're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ."
Man: "Oh God..."
Me: "Yep! He's the one we're working for!"

And I really liked this one:

*Walk up to a lady on a park bench*
Me: "Hi, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ..."
Woman: "No, I'm not interested."
Me: "Actually, I just wanted to play guitar for you. Can we sit with you and play you a couple songs?"
*Proceed to play some hymns on guitar, then have a wonderfully friendly conversation with her in which we found out one of her friends is in our ward, and now she knows Mormons are cool people!*

So yeah, what else is new? You remember Elena and her daughter Alona? Well, Elena has a baptismal date! We haven't officially reported it yet though because it's October 5 (still really far away) because she's going on vacation for a month beforehand. But still pretty cool! She's definitely making progress and has the faith to move forward.

In other news, we dropped an investigator and gained a different one. Tamara wasn't progressing toward baptism, and though it nearly broke my heart, we had an ultimatum lesson and said goodbye. God had prepared me for it that morning by teaching me about agency, but it was still hard. I'm just grateful that the blessings of the Atonement of Christ will be there for Tamara whenever she's ready to grab hold of them, even if she has to sacrifice some things to do it. The investigator we gained is named Anna, and we met her at English class. We had a private English lesson with her, talked about families, transitioned into religion, had a great discussion about our beliefs, and then she agreed to meet again. We assigned her the intro to the BOM, and a few days later she called and said, "I read, I've got questions, and I want to meet!" So, I'm excited for that! It's the circle of missionary life I suppose.

Lots of great things have happened this week spiritually -- I've been working on developing spiritual gifts (knowledge, discernment, and boldness), I've seen tender mercies from the Lord left and right, and there's just been great progress personally and with the work. Things are really good right now. I'm so blessed to be a part of this great work of salvation, and I hope each one of us takes part in it by sharing the gospel with all those around you, serving others, and strengthening one another. Love God and love His children, and everything will work out!

That's all I have time for now. I love you all!

-Sister Montgomery

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Monday, August 5, 2013

Fwd: Letter #18 - 8/5/13

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Aug 5, 2013 at 9:07 AM
Subject: Letter #18 - 8/5/13
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Alright, speed writing.  P-Day ends in approximately 20 minutes, then back to work I go.

First off, cute picture of three generations of missionaries at Zone Conference: Sister Filipovska (my "mom," AKA trainer), me, and Sister Zaretskaia (my "daughter," AKA trainee). Something tells me I'm gonna have a lot of posterity by the end of my mission... there are a TON of missionaries coming in to our mission by the end of the year, so much so that President Klebingat doesn't really know what to do with all of them. Baptize Ukraine, I guess... good thing the Black Sea is right nearby.

So yeah, we had Zone Conference this Friday! It was awesome. President gave us a doctrinal presentation on the Second Coming, we learned tactics to memorize scriptures, we got some more instruction as a zone, and probably the coolest part -- President told us the story of his conversion and how he met his wife, which is basically one big story of tender mercies and legit miracles that I won't even attempt to relay to you in this short of time. But wow. Don't be surprised if you find President Klebingat in the Ensign someday as a general authority... that man is incredible. And even more than that, he just helps me understand how incredible God and His gospel are. I am so blessed to have him as a mission president, seriously.

After Zone Conference when we were waiting for taxis, I kind of separated myself from the other missionaries and just looked at the temple, pondered, and basked in the Spirit that I was feeling. I wrote later in my journal:

"I imagined thousands of spirits standing around, almost thronging me, pleading for me to find their descendants and bring them to the temple. I also imagined the Lord Himself walking the halls of His home. As I pondered more, I just asked, 'Lord, what would you have me do to bring souls unto Thee? I'll do anything -- just say the word.' He didn't answer me then, but that was a very humble and important moment when I saw things clearly, as they really are. I completely forgot myself and was willing to give up anything and everything in the cause of bringing souls to Christ. And now that God knows that, He's going to take me up on that offer and push me -- I can feel it. I say let Him. God, do whatever You need TO me and WITH me so that Thy children can be brought unto the glorious truth of the gospel. What would Thou have me do? What would Thou have me be? Tell me and help me, and I'll do it. I'll do anything for this cause... I want to do EVERYTHING for this cause."

I can't even tell you how on fire with the gospel I am right now. I don't have time today to give details about all my investigators and all that amazing experiences I'm having here, but just know this about me right now: I'm in love with my mission. I'm in love with being an official representative of Jesus Christ, feeling so close to Him so often, and spreading the love of God to every one of His children I come into contact with, EVERY SINGLE DAY. It's incredible, and words can't describe how grateful I am for this experience. It is hard, just like everyone has always said missions are, but seriously... it's amazing.

More on my investigators next week... good things are happening though. :)

To end, I shall give you the testimony which I gave my ward yesterday (translated to English of course). "Sister Zaretskaia and I had an interesting experience a few weeks ago. We stopped a woman while contacting and told her, 'Hi, we're missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ. Can we share a message with you about...' but before we could continue, she stopped and said rudely, 'Girls, girls, I know," and walked away. We hear that every day, so it was no surprise, but this time I just thought to myself, 'You know? Do you really know? Do you know that God is your loving Heavenly Father? Do you know that you can be with your family for eternity? Do you know that there are prophets on the earth who speak with God and then speak with us, so that we can know the will of God? Do you know that Jesus Christ atoned for your sins, that He felt everything that you have ever felt so He could comfort you perfectly? Do you know that the Book of Mormon is an incredible and true book that testifies powerfully about Jesus Christ? Do you really know?' Brothers and sisters, never forget the blessings that you have because of the gospel of Jesus Christ; share them with everyone. I know it's scary -- every day I have fear. But my testimony is stronger than my fear, and my desire is stronger than my doubts, and I know it can be just the same with you. I leave this with you in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen."

Have a great week! I love you!
Sister Montgomery

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