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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

FHE

Yesterday we went out sight-seeing with the sister missionaries. It was really fun! Then we went to FHE at a family's house in the Mariupol branch. This was the first home that I had been inside of since being here in Ukraine. I was humbled by the conditions of the house itself. The family consists of a mom (divorced) and her youngest daughter, Galia, (oldest daughter is married and living in Moscow, Russia and second oldest is at BYU). "Mama Degoon" loves the missionaries and welcomes everyone to her home. When I entered I noticed that there was only one chair in the entire house. No kitchen table, no couches - everyone sat on the floor. It was quite a walk to the house and I consequently ripped a hole in one of my socks. So after removing my shoes in the entry way (customary here) I also took off my socks. Not one minute later, Mama Degoon had a pair of slippers for my feet. I was touched by her kindness.

Then we began with singing a hymn: "Because I have been given much", which is a hymn thanking God for all of our blessings. As I sat in the living room and listened to these poor Ukrainian saints singing this hymn, I was overcome with emotions as I noted how little they have in possessions - but how much they have with the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a sweet moment that I know I will never forget. We had about 4 spiritual thoughts, including one by Tyler - which was translated for everyone by one of the missionaries. They asked me to sing and I sang (in English) "I know that my Redeemer lives". After FHE we had refreshments and chatted. I was reminded of the scripture in Matthew:

35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me:


Mama Degoon follows these scriptures: she fed me, she took me in - a stranger, & gave me slippers to warm my feet. In one evening, I already have learned so much from this strong woman. We have videos/pictures that I will post soon. I am so blessed to have such strong examples around me.

7 comments:

Diana said...

Those wonderful Ukrainian saints are the best, aren't they? I have a pair of pajamas that the Branch President gave to our son. They were originally donated by another organization but it was all he had to give. My son wore them until they didn't fit anymore - and I'll keep them forever as a precious reminder of these wonderful people and how richly blessed (monetarily and spiritually) we really are.

nicole said...

Wonderful Jill! I"m so glad you're having such a faith building experience. I too am so grateful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Developing a testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon was the best thing that has EVER happened to me and my family. :)

sturpin said...

I thought of y'all all last night as we had our FHE. I was hoping that yours was wonderful. It sounds like it was beyond wonderful. Thank you for sharing!
Shelly (RR)

Sarah C said...

That sounds like a really special experience. I am glad you are having a good time. Good luck on Friday!

Suzanne said...

Just a thought, maybe you should see if "Mama Degoon" would let you stay with her for the 10 days. It seems that even $20 a day would be a huge blessing to her, and you wouldn't be alone when Tyler leaves!

We miss you! It's so very nice to read your blog.
love, Dad and Suz

shannon said...

How awesome Jill! What a great way to relate her actions to you. It's always amazing to see how happy, humble, and generous people can be when they have so little.

jennifer said...

Jill, it's so wonderful to read about all the amazing experiences you are having there. I'm so glad you have access to internet so you can share it with us all!

We are praying for you that your court date will go well.

Enjoy the memories you are making!