Monday, July 21, 2014

Fwd: Letter #68 - 7/21/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Jul 21, 2014 at 7:21 AM
Subject: Letter #68 - 7/21/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family,

I've got some SUPER exciting news! I'm going to ODESSA! On Thursday! What a shock, seriously! I was not expecting to ever serve in Odessa considering how long I've been in Kiev, but looks like I'll be spending my last two transfers there -- for sure this next transfer, and I'm almost positive I'll end my mission there too. And I'm going to be with Sister Cromwell, who I trained! I am stoked, seriously. Apparently the area (Suvorovsky) is awesome (and there's part of the Black Sea in my area), and I'm excited to serve with Sister Cromwell again. Odessa is apparently a whole different place than Kiev (culture, missionary work, everything), and I'm excited to fill you in on the details in the coming weeks. I'm going to miss Vinogradar SO much (we're having a goodbye party on Wednesday night... that might just be a little hard), but it's definitely an exciting change. Crazy, huh?

I don't have a whole lot of time because I have to go stock up on Kiev souvenirs, but for what it's worth, this week was really good. No work with investigators, but lots of member lessons. We had a super spiritual lesson with one of the elderly woman in the ward who I've come to really love. She even cried a little when she heard I was leaving, and it made me cry too. There's a lot of babushki (elderly women) in the Church here in Ukraine (well, maybe everywhere... I just never noticed them before my mission) who live alone, and at the beginning of my mission I'm ashamed to admit that it wasn't my favorite thing to visit them. But as time has gone by, I've made it a habit to try to visit them often (every week if we can) to just lift their spirits, and that simple service has done so much the bring the Holy Ghost into my missionary work and into their lives. I've learned that there is literally no unimportant person in the eyes of God, and that He loves all His children regardless of their circumstances or abilities or appearance or anything else. Test it yourself -- this week, go find a lonely person and give them your time, love, and attention, and you'll discover the love of God in a way you've never known it before. :)

Well, I'll end with a spiritual thought: Back in Letter #60, I wrote about how I was thinking about how I've changed on my mission. This morning I found an entry in my journal about it and wanted to share it with you. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

In President's letter today, he posed and then discussed two questions: What has the Lord accomplished through me during my mission? Who have I become in the process? Thanks to my horrible memory, I can't answer either one off the top of my head. But no worries because there's journals and prayer and the Holy Ghost, and I hope that with those sources I'll find some cool answers. :) Right now I'm wracking my brain to find out how I changed in the last year, and I honestly have no idea. Who was I on March 27, 2013, or even May 29? So long ago! And it's not like I had a crazy pre-mission life and thus I'm afraid of returning to my old ways -- I honestly feel like before my mission, I lived up to my potential by doing the best I knew how with what I knew then. And it's the same on the mission, just that my potential has seemingly sky-rocketed and put my spirituality on steroids, and ironically one of the traits that has been most sharpened in me is humility and the knowledge that I'm nothing without Heavenly Father (this transfer especially has shown me that).

Gospel scholarship has definitely become a greater interest and strength in me -- I feel like I understand the gospel SO much better than before the mission. Patience and charity and leadership have been enhanced, especially in all my training roles and my million companions. I have a rock hard testimony of obedience. I feel incredibly close to my Heavenly Father pretty much always. I know Russian. I have developed an extremely deep love for service and teaching. My testimony is on fire and now I have the tools to share it. I'm in love with Ukraine. I've learned how to humble myself and learn. I've learned how many weaknesses I have and yet how willing God is to help with each and every one of them. I've learned that God answers prayers again and again. And lastly (for now), I continue to experience a very profound gratitude to my Father in Heaven for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to serve His beloved children here in Ukraine as an official representative of His Son, Jesus Christ. :) Words will never do justice to that fact!

Have a great week!

Sister Montgomery