August 24, 2008

LESSONS LEARNED IN UKRAINE

A few weeks ago we passed the half way mark for our mission. On September 5th it will have been 10 months since we arrived at the Missionary Training Center in Provo. The last few days I have been thinking alot about the things I have learned while serving my Heavenly Father.
I would have to say the most significant thing I have come to know for sure is, he knows what we need. He knows exactly what we need and when we need it. We are on his timetable not ours.
We have this joke in our family from the movie "Willy Wonka". There is a spoiled little girl who is always demanding things. There is a line she says, " but I want it now, daddy." We will say that to each other when we want to tease the other person about not being patient.

I often feel like that little girl when I am excited about something. My family knows I don't like to wait. I don't know why. Bruce on the other hand likes to savor things. He always waits to open the good mail last. He patiently reads all the insignificant "junk" first while the really good mail just sits there. He will patiently strip a whole crab clean of every last piece of meat and make a nice little pile of crab before he will even take one bite. He saves his packages on Christmas morning slowly opening one at a time and folding the paper as he goes while the rest of us

dig in........ I mean rip and tear the paper,and the boxes if necessary,

toss the wrapping,
with bows still attached aside

until.........we get to the buried treasure. We come up for air and see Bruce sitting next to a pile of unopened packages and neatly folded paper stacked next to him with the opened boxes dismantled and stacked in a pile.

I simply can't relate to this. Why wait for the good stuff?
My sweet husband has learned not to tell me we May do something because I get so excited by the anticipation of the whole thing that I am so disappointed if it doesn't happen.

So it must have been challenging dealing with me as we prepared to go to the MTC.

By the time we finally arrived in Ukraine to begin our mission I was filled with excitement and anticipation. I could hardly wait to "be a Humanitarain Missionary". I mean listen, we went to the Missionary Training Center (MTC) where we had a crash course on the Russian Language, Humanitarian Work, Church Welfare Services, Leadership Training, Computers, and Preach My Gospel.

OK, so we were ready. We had our little check list.

1) Meet the Mission President, he would take us to our apartment.
2) find an interpretor
3) get home office set up, including SKYPE so I could call the kids, and internet so we could use our computer and fax at home.
4) meet with NGO's (non-governemental agencies)

Well, we did meet the Mission President but he didn't take us to our apartment, the plan was to go to their home for a few days so that we could become aclimated.

whoa, whoa, whoa, ................... this is where I started to get a little anxious...........
("but I want it now, daddy") remember, I was ready to be a missionary now. I didn't want to wait a few days to get aclimated, I had been waiting my whole life for this. I was prepared. I was ready to be turned loose.
Are you beginning to see a theme here? I know, it was so kind and thoughtful of President and Sister Andersen and well, it was a long plane ride and I should just try to sleep. So for the first night I go along with this plan. But...... The next morning I'm ready to be a missionary. Get out the check list let's start checking things off.

1) see my apartment. Now Sister Andersen is much smarter than me and has done this many times when new missionaries arrive so she tells me she will have another couple take us shopping because we need groceries and I need to buy a warm coat and boots.

This is where I see the difference between Bruce and myself. He is perfectly alright with this. While I am biting at the bit to see what my home for the next 18 months will look like. I don't care if I have a warm coat, or food to eat, "but I want it now daddy". Is going off in my head. So we go shopping and then we go back to the Andersen's
home for another "good nights sleep".

"What"? I say to myself.
"I am not going to sleep in my new apartment?"

I think you are beginning to see the picture here. "but I want it now daddy."

Number two on the list; Find an Interpretor did not happen on my timetable either. In fact, it took a few months. I usually say 3 or 4 but Bruce says it was only two. Getting the home office set up didn't go so quickly either. We needed to first locate the old computer and fax machine that the previous couple had been using and then have it delivered from the other mission. Once it arrived we determined it was a little outdated and all the previous records had been deleted from it so we had to order a new one, which took forever, and when it finally arrived nobody knew the password. Needless to say, we didn't have our office set up on my timetable either. We won't even talk about SKype. Let's just say, I finally had to go to the Andersen's one day to use their Skype because I couldn't go one more day without speaking to my children.
We eventually did meet with NGO's but it wasn't until after we found our interpretor.

In his book called Press On by Joseph B Wirthlin he says,

"Sometimes the hardest thing we can do is wait. (Psalms 37:7)
The Lord has HIS own timetable, and although it may frustrate us, HIS timing is always perfect. When we rest in the Lord we allow him to work HIS will for us in his own time and in HIS own way."
I love that..... "rest in the Lord".
I have never been good at napping either, I am always afraid I will miss something.

That is a long way of saying, I have learned to ...

"rest in the lord"

For me that means to trust that he knows what I need. I have learned that sometimes I just have to be patient. My daughter uses the term "simmer down".
That is what I have to do, "Be still" and simmer down. I can look back and see that so many times I missed something so incredibly wonderful because I was "waiting for the good stuff". I was impatiently waiting or plowing through what was placed before me so that I could get to something better.


Well folks.....this is


IT!!!!!


This is

the good stuff!!!

The good stuff is this wonderful man who the Lord has given me to be my companion to share my life with. This man who sees past all my flaws and imperfections and patiently waits for me to get on board. The good stuff is those sweet little grandchildren who melt my heart. The good stuff is this incredible woman, Olga who the lord sent to be our interpretor. The good stuff is sharing the gospel with Olga. The good stuff is the sweet missionaries who fill my heart with love. The good stuff is a walk in the park. The good stuff is the lady at the Reenik who saved my 200 griven bill for me for 2 weeks or the lady on the bus today who asked someone to give up their seat so that I could sit because my arms were full. The good stuff is all of our friends and family at home who love us and support us while we are away.

It's there everyday, there is joy and beauty all around but I was missing it because I was waiting for the good stuff.

This incredible lesson I have learned helps bring peace to my soul. There will always be things that I hope and pray for. Especially where my children are concerned but the Lord has shown me to trust in him. To be believing. Psalms 37:4 states, the Lord, "shall give thee the desires of (your) heart."

I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to come to Ukraine. I am grateful to have been taught this wonderful lesson. Once again, I am learning to just

"BE STILL AND KNOW".

I know that he will give me the desires of my heart, I just have to learn to be more like my husband and slow down and enjoy the ride. Savor the little things and trust that his timetable will always be right.

Blessings and love to you all.

3 messages from friends and family:

Lisa C said...

Thank you for your wonderful pictures and for sharing your "moments" with us all. Thank you for your charming reminder that the "I want it now, Daddy," is not the Lord's timetable. I will remember to slow down a little and be more thankful for the here and now blessings. A Missionary Mom

dixiewhitehead said...

Wow! You've been busy! I love the pictures of the beautiful parks, posters, and your favorite artist's pictures. That's a lot of day lilies you have there.

Thank you again for your words of wisdom and sharing your life and thoughts with us.

Mary Ann said...

All so true and beautifully stated.

Saints in Ukraine (put music on pause)

My music


click on the photo to see the captions

Armenia Trip

Our last Zone Conference

Some of the faces we will miss

Our trip to Mariupol

March Zone Conference in Donetsk(click on photo to view a larger version)

Missionaries helping the International Relief Development unload a container from America

Health Fair click on the photo to see what is coming up

To listen to this talk you will need to put the music on pause first

Sometimes we forget what divine gifts we have been given. President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, 2nd Counselor in the First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Thanksgiving

Look at the fun equipment we got to deliver to this internat for Special Needs children

Europe East Area District Meeting

I LOVE THESE MISSIONARIES

OUR APARTMENT (this is not an average missionary apartment)

THIS IS WHAT MISSIONARY APARTMENTS LOOK LIKE ON INSPECTION DAY

CLICK ON THE PICTURE TO SEE A MORE COMPLETE VIEW

LEADERSHIP TRAINING IN THE KALINSKY BUILDING

Click on photo to see more photos of the Open House at the Kalininsky blg