Monday, March 24, 2014

Fwd: Letter #51 - 3/24/14

Such a good letter!  Enjoy!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 7:20 AM
Subject: Letter #51 - 3/24/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Helllllllllllllo everyone!

Well, I'm currently sitting in yet another internet cafe, but don't worry -- this one is SO much less sketchy than two weeks ago, and it's in Vinograder. :) And funny story... I just watched two amazing Mormon Messages ["The Other Prodigal Son" and "Abide With Me"] and totally bawled my eyes out. I felt so awkward in a room full of teenage boys drinking soda and playing violent video games, but hey, they were good videos... :)

First off, I managed to get through all my goodbyes to Voskresensky this last week! I had an amazing last few days there, especially Wednesday... we had a great district meeting (we had a super tight district this last transfer, it was awesome) and then lessons with three members: Alisa (who, obviously, I'm very close to), Galya (another one of my favorites in the ward who I'm super close to), and Lena (yet another one of my favorites, and with whom I had my very first lesson in Ukraine!) It couldn't have been better, seriously. As I was driving away in the taxi Thursday morning, I was thinking about what would happen with the area and all the people I loved and taught, and the Spirit told me, "Leave it. It's in my hands." I responded, "Father, it was always in Your hands, and so was I." He agreed. :)

So, now I'm in Vinograder with Sister Parish! It is so interesting being in a different area. Even though it's just an hour away from my last area, and it's still Kiev, it has a totally different feel to it. It's super pretty, there's a lot more greenery, it's a bit cleaner, and the people (in general) are a bit nicer. The ward is about half the size of Voskresensky (about 70 active) and yet three times the size of Sister Parish's last branch near Odessa (we laugh about that; I say that it'll be nice to not have to worry about so many people, and Sister Parish is worried about keeping track of them all!)

Sister Parish is awesome! She was born in America but moved around a ton, lived in Germany for 10 years, then studied at BYU-I before coming on a mission. She's been out a transfer less than me, and she's super kind and funny. I've got a feeling we're gonna be good friends. :) We moved into a new apartment; there's a bathroom, kitchen, study room, and bedroom, and everything is beautiful and in good shape. And our landlady and her family are super nice. It's a little far from the ward building (which is the second and third floor of a building; I think a grocery store is on the first floor); about 15 minutes on transport and a 15 minute walk. But that's okay -- lots of opportunities to talk with people. :) Right now we're working hard to get to know ward members and find new investigators from talking with people and also calling former investigators, and we've already seen some good success. I have high hopes for this area!

Oh, here's a cute miracle story I emailed President:

On Saturday, my goal was to really strive and petition the Lord to accomplish our goals. We had planned to give a Book of Mormon out and get somebody's number, and I remembered that all through the day, including in most of my prayers. I also did my part and opened my mouth on the streets, transport, and in a member's home who had guests over. Nonetheless, by 8:30 p.m., no one had accepted the Book of Mormon or the invitation to know more. On the bus ride home, I sat in an empty seat and prayed that someone would sit next to me (it wasn't very crowded), but no one did. So there we were: 8:50 p.m. and a long empty sidewalk between us and home. And so we walked, and at 8:55 just before we reached our apartment, we stopped a young man who was wearing headphones and walking quickly. He stopped, we talked about family and the gospel for just a few minutes, and he accepted the Book of Mormon from us and gave us his number so that we could meet again. Just like that! I thanked Heavenly Father so much for answering our petitions, and it was a testimony to me of prayer and enduring to the end. The next day we had a similar experience; instead of "hanging out" at a member's house, we hit the streets for the last 45 minutes of our evening, talked to everyone on our path, and ended up having a great 30 minute gospel discussion with a man who also took a Book of Mormon and gave us his number. (Now if only women would stop to talk with us...) God is so good!

And... my internet time is almost up, so consider that my concluding spiritual thought. Never underestimate the power of prayer; I know that God answers prayers if we ask in faith and do our part!

Love you!
Sister Montgomery

PS -- Three days until my year mark! Where does the time go?!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fwd: Letter #50 - 3/17/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: 2014-03-17 5:19 GMT-06:00
Subject: Letter #50 - 3/17/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family and friends,

I literally have like two minutes to write, since we randomly got called to go do apartment registration stuff, so...

This past week we had a Mission Leadership Council and then a great mission conference that left me stoked to be a more consecrated and effective missionary. As for saying my goodbyes to my area, I'm just gonna save some time and copy what I just wrote President. Google Translate will not do the least bit justice to the poem I wrote, but you can use it anyway to get the gist of it.

And finally... yesterday I bid farewell to my beloved Voskresensky ward. I've been thinking a lot about accountability, both to the Lord and to you, and I want you (and Him) to know that I gave this area everything I have. I know more now, so I can do even more in Vinnogradar, but with what I had and who I was in Voskresensky, I gave it my all. Heavenly Father has been very generous with His Spirit the last few days in rewarding me the peace that comes from diligence, and I've been in a constant state of gratitute for the opportunity to labor in this part of His vineyard. And as a final goodbye to Voskresensky, I wrote a poem for them and read it in sacrament meeting yesterday (with a few tears, and not just from me...) You can read it below if you'd like.

Oh, and by the way... thanks for keeping me in Voskresenksy for so long. :)

Друзья, Друзья
От Сестры Монтгомери, для Воскресенского Прихода

Друзья, друзья, вы помните, когда
Десять месяцев назад приехала сюда?
Русского не знала я, кроме "Я не поняла,"
Но с вашей помощью и Бога, научилась я.

Друзья, друзья, я думаю о том, когда
Не были мы знакомы, только новые лица.
Ну вот где находимся, через что прошли.
Потихоньку вы становились как мои

Друзья, друзья, вы даже моя семья.
Словами передать мою любовь к вам нельзя.
Мне вы дали уважение, надежду и свидетелство,
И наоборот, с радостью я вам дала себя.

Друзья, друзья, мне уйти от вас пора.
Бог может дать и может взять и выбрал взять меня
Не далеко, но всё ещё, я следовать должна,
Но я хочу, до этого, оставить вам слова.

Друзья, друзья, настанет день, когда
Предстанем перед Богом и ответим за себя,
И если мы послушны здесь, награда будет там:
Голос Искупителя, говорящий нам,

"Друзья, друзья, очиститесь -- вот кровь моя.
Ваша вера вас спасла, покаялись вы от греха,
Крестились вы и получили Утешителя,
Заветы соблюдали, да, до самого конца."

Друзья, друзья, я буду здесь верна.
За железные перила держаться буду я,
И когда пробьёт мой час и отправлюсь я туда,
Желаю только этого, чтоб вы встретили меня!

Друзья, друзья, я буду помнить вас всегда
И благодарна Богу за пример ваш для меня.
Прощаюсь с вами я, пока не свидимся.
Спасибо вам, о дорогие, верные друзья!

Alright, gotta go! Thank you all for your support and prayers and examples. I'm excited for what the Lord and Vinnogradar have in store for me!

Sister Montgomery

Monday, March 10, 2014

Fwd: Letter #49 - 3/10/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Mar 10, 2014 at 5:38 AM
Subject: Letter #49 - 3/10/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family and friends,

I'm currently in Chernigov sitting in a sketchy internet cafe surrounded by teenage boys playing video games instead of being in school like they probably should (but hey, I don't judge...). I've had a crazy last few days... President called Sister Batalova and I on Friday telling us that a Ukrainian Sister (Fedas) was being transferred to our mission from one of the Russian missions (due to a new Russian law) and that we would be serving in a threesome starting the next day until the end of the transfer (next Thursday). So we picked her up at the mission office on Saturday, only to have President ask me to go up to Chernigov with Sister Farnsworth because her companion had to go home early due to the new Ukrainian missionaries coming in. So we decided that I'd be in Chernigov the first week and Sister Fedas the second week so that I could say my goodbyes to Voskresensky, because I found out that I will be serving next transfer in Vinnogradar with Sister Parish. And to make things even more crazy and busy, we have Mission Leadership Council tomorrow morning (in Kiev, 2.5 hours from here), an exchange, then mission conference on Wednesday. And then I'll head back to Voskresensky on Thursday with Sister Batalova to finish up my last week like normal.

So yeah... things are pretty exciting around here. I don't know much about Vinnogradar at all except for it's in the northwest corner of Kiev (as opposed to Voskresensky in the northeast corner) and it's a ward in the Kiev Stake. Sisters were there for a few transfers but President pulled them out last transfer, so Sister Parish and I will be white-washing there (opening it for Sisters, new apartment, no investigators... yet). Sister Parish has been on a mission one less transfer than I have, and she's currently serving with Sister Hunsaker in Odessa, but besides that I don't know much about her either. Oh yeah, and I'm no longer Sister Training Leader. :( That's gonna be pretty strange to adjust to, but it's good that other Sisters will have the opportunity to serve in that calling.

If you're wondering about my emotions about all this, join the club. I haven't even had time to process everything in my brain. I knew I'd be leaving Voskresensky, but the emotions of it didn't really hit me until Saturday -- not only am I going to miss a LOT of people (ward members, investigators, Alisa, and definitely Sister Batalova), but I've been thinking a lot about the work that I've done there, the effort I've put in, how I've changed the area and how the area has changed me. I'm almost to my year mark (March 27), and the only places I've been are the MTC and Voskresensky... that just baffles me. I feel like this experience is preparing me for leaving Ukraine for good in October; I can't even imagine the thoughts that go though missionaries' minds the last few weeks before they head home. But all in all, I'm excited for the change and for what lies ahead in my future area(s). I know that it's the will of the Lord that I'll be serving in Vinnogradar, and I know He'll do great work though us there.

One exciting thing from this past week: we had FHE with the Klebingats on Saturday night with Elina and Viktor (and their youngest kids, Max and Emmik were there too). It was SO good. They got along super well with the Klebingats (who doesn't love the Klebingats?), and we had a very spiritual lesson about the Book of Mormon and then a delicious dinner prepared by Sister Klebingat. It was just amazing for everyone, and then on our way back we stopped by the temple and they walked around it together as a family, and they came to church the next day. Man, add them to the long list of people that I'm gonna miss...

I've still got to go write President, so I'll head out soon. Spiritual thought... today I read Alma 25 and found a theme about the words of the Lord being verified. Not only was Abinadi's prophecy fulfilled from decades before regarding the Amulonites, but Mormon (the one abridging this all) also makes note that, regarding the missionary efforts of the sons of Mosiah, "the Lord had granted unto them according to their prayers, and that he had also verified his word unto them in every particular" (v.17). I thought about how true that has been for me in my mission (especially in seeing my setting apart blessing fulfilled every whit), and how I need to continue to trust in the promises of the Lord given through the scriptures, modern prophets, Preach My Gospel, Priesthood blessings, and personal revelation. When the Lord promises something, we can trust Him, and we should live in such a way to expect those promised blessings. "For the eternal purposes of the Lord shall roll on, until all his promises shall be fulfilled" (Mormon 8:22).

Alright, have a wonderful week! Pray for me to get through all my hard goodbyes!

Sister Montgomery

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fwd: Ukraine Kyiv Mission

Another update from President Klebingat.  I'm trying to exercise faith and trust, and Crimea is 504 miles from Kiev, but I still worry a bit.  Thank you for keeping them all in your prayers!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ukraine Kyiv Mission <>
Date: Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 6:49 AM
Subject: Ukraine Kyiv Mission

Dear parents, family and friends of the Ukraine Kiev missionaries,


Yesterday you should all have received a letter from your missionary and I trust that aside from some understandable anxiety over the political situation, you received some assurances that all is being done to keep them safe. It has been my experience that local members and others your missionary interact with on the streets seem to have a more grim outlook of both the present and the future than most of us foreigners or even than the western media in general holds. Rumors about what just happened or what will soon happen abound and a few missionaries have wondered if their mission president is telling them the whole story. Let me again reassure you that the Church’s local and international resources to stay abreast of current developments is impressive and that only a few minutes pass from a significant development happening before my phone rings. Currently the crisis seems to be localized to the Crimea leaving all proselyting cities within the Ukraine Kiev Mission unaffected. Indeed, in many ways life has almost returned to normal while people continue to be concerned and pre-occupied about how and when these developments will come to an end. Missionaries have been instructed to stay vigilant and to inform me immediately of any noteworthy occurrences that might be connected to the current situation. We have not become aware of any anti-western or –American sentiments nor of any other developments that would give us concern. Your missionary is following the regular missionary schedule this week until otherwise instructed by me.


Again I express my appreciation to all of you for preparing and sending us such wonderful missionaries. Looking at them gives me an idea of the caliber of parents you must be or, as is the case with my own offspring, some of you just got lucky!


Best wishes from Ukraine,


President Klebingat



Sister Talley

Ukraine Kyiv Mission

Mission Secretary

vul. Yabluneva 1

s. Sofiivska Borshahivka

Kyevo-Svyatoshinskiy rayon

Kyivska oblast 08131

(044) 371-4080



NOTICE: This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply email and destroy all copies of the original message.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Fwd: Letter #48 - 3/3/14

Boy, was I glad to get this letter!!!  Have a wonderful week.  I know I will!!!


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Mar 3, 2014 at 7:25 AM
Subject: Letter #48 - 3/3/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey everyone! First off, know that I'm still safe. Here are President's (slightly humorous) instructions about writing home today:

In today’s Emails home will you PLEASE avoid any embellishments or “war stories” aimed to impress the folks at home, i.e, “on the way to Church we had to pass barricades” when in reality it was a couple of old ladies standing behind some firewood waving a Ukrainian flag. You get the point. Let your families know that everything is indeed being done to keep you safe and that you are being watched over.

If it wasn't for the commentary that we hear from others, we wouldn't even know that there was a problem -- Kiev in general, and especially our area of Kiev, is very calm right now. There was a couple days this week that we had to stay home (evidence that the church is taking precautions), but other than that, our work has been unaffected. I don't know what will be in the future, but I trust God that everything will work out in the end.

Not too much to report on in this week. I had an awesome exchange here in Voskresensky with Sister Anderson. She's from New Zealand and is an incredible Sister. I don't know if I've said it before, but I just LOVE being a Sister Training Leader. I get to interact with so many amazing people, and I feel like I really make a difference in the lives of other missionaries. It's so great. Also on that exchange, we set a baptismal date with our investigator Nelya for March 29 (if she feels like she's ready on that date). It's been really neat seeing how the Lord is changing her and increasing her understanding. He really does have the power to transform people, especially when we put forward our faith and plead for it in prayer. Elina and her family are still doing well too. And like always, we're spending plenty of time with ward members. Our ward is so big that I STILL haven't met with everyone, and I've been here 9 months! I wonder if Sister Batalova will accomplish the feat of getting to know all our ward members... maybe she'll also stay seven transfers. :P

Alright, really important spiritual thought today that probably everyone can benefit from: how to respond to correction, either from the Spirit or from others. From my personal experience, these are the conclusions that I've reached about it. When we find out that we have done something wrong, or that we have acted in an un-Christlike manner, the natural man typically bouncing between two extremes, neither of which are conducive to change. The first is pride (refusing to admit you're wrong, shifting blame to others, making excuses, etc.), which in essence says, "I don't need to change." The other one is shame ("How could I do that? I should've known better? Why am I so stupid? I'll never be able to get this right."), which in essence says, "I'm not worth changing" or "I'm not capable of changing."

And so we bounce, back and forth, with discomfort in our souls, until we land upon the healing power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, until we experience true repentance and forgiveness. Repentance kills pride: as you humble yourself and seek the Lord's will, you realize that you've acted wrongly and desire to change. And forgiveness kills shame: as you experience the joy and peace that comes from the Holy Ghost as you repent and feel the Lord's forgiveness, you understand that you are a beloved child of God who is capable and worthy of improving. No more discomfort, no more running to and fro looking for the water that will quench your soul's thirst, because you have found the Living Water, and you can go back and back and back again to partake of it.

And to relate this to missionary work, just know that in the world there are a lot of very proud people who are afraid to break down those walls because they don't know the joy that awaits them when they repent, and also there are a lot of very shamed people that want to give up in life because they also don't know the joy that awaits them when they receive divine forgiveness. So, go on and drink that Living Water, think often on it, and then "run forth from house to house, making it known unto the people" (Alma 19:17).

Have a wonderful, safe week, and I'll try my best to do the same! I love you all so much!

-Sister Montgomery

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Fwd: Ukraine Kyiv Mission: Update

Lizzy's mission president is awesome!!!!!  I guess this means she won't be setting up shop in the park with her guitar and Plan of Salvation literature.    


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Ukraine Kyiv Mission <>
Date: Sat, Mar 1, 2014 at 7:10 AM
Subject: Ukraine Kyiv Mission: Update

Dear parents, family and friends of the Ukraine Kiev Missionaries,


Going into the weekend I once again take this opportunity to reassure you that your missionary is safe. We continue monitoring the developments in Ukraine carefully, and I am in constant contact with Church Security, the Area Presidency and local leaders. Everything is being done to err on the side of caution to keep your missionary safe. Just a couple of days ago, in an abundance of caution, we asked the missionaries to stay inside the entire day allowing them to experience “cabin fever” in a very personal way. On a personal note, we will have our first missionary going on a mission (our oldest son) this summer, and Sister Klebingat and I can well imagine the anxiety that comes with the privilege of turning someone we love so much over to the Lord and a mission president and his wife. Believe me when I say that we are looking at your missionary as our own son or daughter and are doing everything we can to keep him/her safe.


As of today the missionaries are out working again normally but have been reminded to avoid all crowds or any larger gatherings of people, to stay away from government buildings or areas, to not attract any undue attention to themselves (no street displays, no sign boarding, etc.), to avoid congregating with other missionaries and to simply use good judgment and to keep their eyes and ears open. Without having to seek prior permission, they are authorized to return to their apartments whenever they feel uneasy or threatened (no one has had to do this thus far). Local priesthood leaders and members are also keeping an eye out for your missionary, are offering to provide food or rides when needed. Each companionship has sufficient food at home to be able to stay inside for several days. Above all, we trust that Heavenly Father will watch over His missionaries while we do all we can to be wise and to be worthy of His protective care.


Let me just say here that your sons and daughters are out of this world wonderful and that Sister Klebingat and I count our blessings to be associated with them now and forever. You can truly be proud of your missionary! With all the precautions we are taking, we also hope to avoid a spirit of fear creeping into our mission, including from outside our mission boundaries. Please trust that we know what is going on in our mission and that not everybody reporting in for the international news channels would pass the 9th temple recommend question for complete honesty.


When sending future inquiries to the mission office, please also include my personal Email:


Thank you for your trust and prayers,


President & Sister Klebingat

Ukraine Kiev Mission



Elder Harrington

Ukraine Kiev Mission



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