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