Monday, September 22, 2014

Fwd: Letter #77 - 9/22/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 4:44 AM
Subject: Letter #77 - 9/22/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Sep 22, 2014 at 1:43 PM
Subject: Letter #76 - 9/15/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Dear family and friends,

I'm getting more and more excited to go home. Not less and less focused, because I'm working as hard as ever, but still... I just have a lot of hope and excitement about my future, and I feel very at peace about what I've done here on my mission. Who knows how those feeling will change in the next couple weeks, but right now, I'm feeling really good about things.

Speaking of feeling good, I wrote in my journal one evening this week, "Nobody on the streets wanted to talk to us today, but that's okay because I wanted to talk to them, and I've realized that that's usually an indicator that the Atonement of Christ is working in my life." It's interesting how regardless of the agency of others, I can feel the love of God and the joy of the gospel in my own life. It's like what Mormon said in Mormon 2:19: "And wo is me because of their wickedness; for my heart has been filled with sorrow because of their wickedness, all my days; nevertheless, I know that I shall be lifted up at the last day." Yes, there is sorrow for the sins of the world, but there's also the sweet assurance of your own salvation thanks to the infinite Atonement of Jesus Christ. And that feels so good.

A little peak into Ukrainian culture from this last week -- a lot of people who live in homes (as opposed to apartments) grow a lot of their own food, especially grapes. This last week we went over to the Relief Society president Tanya's house with the other Sisters and helped her gather all her grapes (and there were a ton of them). We each had a knife to cut them off the vines, then we'd wash them in a little baby pool thing, then we'd pick them off the stems (all the while talking or listening to Russian General Conference from a couple years ago), and later Tanya will use some kind of juice-making machine to make enough grape juice to last them probably the whole winter. It was super fun to do service like that. :)

One more story from this last week. We stopped by Malina and her grandma Svetlana and had pretty much a tornado lesson -- Malina is a typical talkative, curious 17-year-old girl who asked us questions about five times faster than we could answer them and was distracted by basically everything. Oh boy, it was all over the place... one of those things you just have to laugh about afterward because the other option is to be frustrated about it. :P But teaching her will be very good practice to learn how to teach for understanding (simply, in language that she'd understand).

She told us about some of the things she wants in life, and I told her that our message will help her achieve all her righteous desires (especially a happy, strong family for eternity). I told her that the Book of Mormon will bless her family life, and she looked at me like I was crazy. Later I thought, "Yeah, that does sound kind of crazy the way I explained it." I realized that it's not actually the book that helps you, and not attendance at church, and not even saying prayers. Those things are all instruments for our perfection and our becoming like God and partaking of His blessings and Christ's mercy. They're commandments, they're important, and we ought to do everything in our power to do those things which God commands us. But we should always remember that they are not "ends" in and of themselves -- they are the means to becoming like Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. As President Klebingat often told us, "The gospel is the best kept secret in the church." Keep going to church and doing the "churchy" things absolutely, but don't miss the gospel on your way. ;)

That's all for this week. God be with you till I write again!

Sister Montgomery

PS- Here's a pic from a couple months ago of me and my three trainees: Sister Zaretskaia, Sister Cromwell, and Sister Hunsaker. What a legacy! :P