Wednesday, August 28, 2013

August 26, 2013


     So I am now in Lutsk. It is also a really old city like L'viv and there are lots of statues and memorials everywhere. My new companions name is Elder Cazanave and he is from California, despite his italian sounding last name. He is a pretty cool guy. I don't know him too well yet, but we have six weeks and probably longer than that. The day after I got here, there was a senior couple serving in Odessa (Ukraine, not Texas) who were here to do some registration stuff and had a day with nothing to do, so they asked if we could give them a tour in the morning. Well, I obviously just got here and didn't know anything, so I got a tour from my companion too, so now I know the city a little better. We went to the castle which is really cool. It was built in the 14th century I think. We actually do service there sometimes, so I'll see it pretty often. Yesterday I got to meet a lot of the active members here, which was good. There aren't as many as in L'viv, but they are all really cool. My trainer Elder Dorius served here for like seven transfers and they all loved him so they get so excited when I say that he trained me. There are also a lot more children in the branch here than there are in L'viv, which is good for the future of the branch.

     That is probably it for me this week. I haven't heard anything for a while, so how's the driving going? Oh, and before I forget again, could you send me Bishop's email address? I hope everyone is excited to start school. I'm really excited to not start school. Well, still working hard here and I hope that all is going well at home. Love you!

Elder Jolstead

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

August 19, 2013

     Well, making Brady Bunch boxes is one way to get everyone in the family picture. I'm glad everyone enjoyed the rest of your time with Krystal's family while they were there. I'm looking forward to this week. I like it when everyone goes to school and I don't have to. Missionary work is hard, but at least the only "homework" is the area book and all the "reading assignments" are in the scriptures, which I love to read anyway. Still no luck getting people registered to proselyte, which will be interesting this next transfer. I am finally getting transferred! It will be sad to leave L'viv, because I've been here for so long and I love the people so much, but I am ready to leave. The next city I will be serving in is called Lutsk (pronounced Lootsk). I'm excited because that is the other city that I really wanted to serve at while I was in the MTC. It is also an old city, but quite a bit smaller than L'viv. The coolest part is that there is a castle in the middle of the city. I will be sure to get lots of pictures.  My first two companions are going home on Wednesday, which will make Elder Naumann my only surviving companion. The Elder that I will be serving with in Lutsk only has two transfers left too, so I will be keeping my record of only serving with a companion for two transfers. No one can stand me for any longer. Ha ha. At least I won't be in a leadership position. I have a goal to be one of those missionaries that every says "wow, he was such a great Missionary. I don't know why he never served in a leadership position". Ha ha. The only leadership position I want is trainer and with the lack of Elders coming in, that doesn't seem likely. President said that at the end of the year, there will be 29 Elders and 26 Sisters. Crazy. My group was the last big group of Elders. We are calling what comes after us the lost generation. Ha ha. Not really anything else to say. I hope everyone is ready for school. Love you all!
Elder Jolstead

August 12, 2013

     It looks like everyone had a lot of fun together and the pictures were awesome. It's wierd to see all the changes in people. Nathan's face has matured alot, Jared looks like he's gained weight, Mark's neck looks like a freakin' tree trunk, and Braeden is almost as tall as Mikey. Have you gotten a picture of the whole family, yet? I'm glad Kayla and her family were able to come up. Oh, and Shantewa didn't write me or send me anything, so let her be very ashamed and sad. I loved the pictures of my little nieces and nephew! Kahlan totally terrorized that cake like a monster. I hope you got it on film so that we can put scary music to it. Makayla is so cute and she looks so girly. I hope that all the uncles and aunts were very tired after trying to keep up with Daniel. I like the sledgehammer to the wall idea. I have been looking for an excuse to buy and use a sledgehammer for years.
     So the investigator famine is continuing, which is pretty disheartening. We are the only companionship that can proselyte and we can't find anyone to teach. I hop this isn't one of those seven transfers of plenty followed by seven transfers of famine kind of things. I didn't even get seven transfers of plenty! So we have about a week and a half of the transfer left and we are going on permanent exchanges with the District Leader companionship until the end of the transfer, so that we have two proselyting companionships instead of one. Sister Lattin actually told us yesterday that it looks like the guy in the government who doesn't like us is about to get kicked out, so hopefully next transfer the district will be up and running. I will be very surprised if I am still in L'viv at that point, though.
     Church yesterday was really awesome, because there were a lot more people than usual there. I recent convert I taught also blessed the Sacrament for the first time which was really cool. He was called as the librarian a few weeks ago and he loves his calling, which is great. That's honestly about it this week. Next week I will know what's happening next transfer, so that's something to look forward to in my next email. I hope that you have lot's more fun while the family is still together and I love you all!
Elder Jolstead

August 5, 2013

     I'm glad the week was so eventful. I loved the Harry Potter Day pictures and the ones of Braeden's birthday, especially the one of Nathan in full wrapping paper samurai armor. It looks like everyone wore the traditional wrapping paper hats as well. That's too bad about the cake, but at least Braeden saw it first and the Hulk thing was a stroke of genius. I promised others in emails that I would send pictures of my visit to the Harry Potter restaurant here in L'viv so I hope you enjoy those. I don't know if you should post them, because we were told not to send pictures that would look wierd on a missionary blog. I don't know if they are wierd or not so you can be the judge. It's still wierd for me that Riley is leaving. I didn't even know Justin Anderson had left already, but that's less wierd because he's my age. I'm glad to have a cousin who will soon be serving a mission, because I think I am the only one in the family right now.
     Well, I am trying not to get frustrated at the lack of investigators right now, but it is getting difficult as the days keep passing with no success. I have a feeling that I will leave L'viv this transfer, but I think that it is a good thing. I am the only one who can proselyte right now and when I am gone, english and members will be the only sources of finding. I think that the members will step up and actually start helping us. I think that is Heavenly Father's plan for L'viv. If He wanted His missionaries to have proselyting rights right now, they would have them. This way the members will get more involved and the Branch will be blessed. Not much else to report. I hope everyone has a great week with almost all of the family home and that they aren't too anxious for summer to end. Love you!
Elder Jolstead

July 29, 2013

      Well, I hope you fixed the problem with the hacking. I didn't get anything wierd from you, but that could have been awkward to something weird in my missionary email account. That's really awesome that the band got back together to play for at least one more time. Was Merrill there too? That's really awesome that we have grown so much that we need a new building. Which neighbor lady was this again? The crazy one with all the dogs? "Goliath!" Ha, ha. That's cool that you are all getting missionary opportunities. Looking back, we really get a lot more than we think. We just need to look for them more. I also have something for Kelleene to help gain weight. My companion has this recipe for something he called Fatty-Fat-Fat that we made. It's a bunch of sliced up potatoes with a layer of chicken breasts on top and then a whole bunch of cheese and Mayonaise on top of that in a pan. Then you cook it until the mayonaise has melted into the rest of it. That should put the pounds on. I would also say to eat Kontik's which are a really awesome type of cookie, but I think those only exist in Ukraine.
      So, a few exciting things happened this week. We started a new program for teaching english this week which is a lot better and more fun than the old one. I think we will be able to attract a lot of potential investigators. Elder Naumann and I teach th beginning group, which is really fun, because they know practially no English. You say something and they are like "write that down!" I am also learning a lot of basic Ukrainian words from them that I didn't know before.

     On Wednesday we took a trip to the city of Ivano Frankivsk, because my companion had to do some registration stuff, so that was pretty cool. Before this week, the only city that I had seen in the new mission was L'viv. I don't get out of L'viv very often. Funny story. When we were heading back on a train, the train had stopped twice for some reason so we thought that we were going to get to L'viv a little late. Now, just so you know, the trains in Ukraine are very accurate when it comes to arrival time. Within like two minutes of the time they say they will be there. So when the train stopped again twenty minutes before the estimated arrival time, we were like, "what the heck. Why did it stop again?" Well we sat and talked for about ten minutes in our compartment, but the train still hadn't moved, and we were very confused. Then my companion lookds out the window and says, "We're in L'viv!" So we had to hurry super fast to get all of our stuff together to get off before the train started moving again. So we get off and I'm like carrying all of my stuff and my tie is just hanging on my neck untied running out before it started moving. It was really funny. If we hadn't gotten off, we would have ended up in Kiev.
     We also had a really fun branch picnic on Saturday. It was very hot and I got pretty fried, cause I was in shorts and my legs haven't seen the light of day since before I got out here. We played a lot of soccer, talked about the pioneers and ate really really good sausages. Everyone had a lot of fun, I think. The members are all getting really excited about helping us since they found out that most of us can't proselyte right now. Oh, I don't remember if I told you but, the government here didn't like that we made a new mission here and are making it very hard to get missionaries proselyting rights here in L'viv. My companion and I and the APs are the only ones who can wear name tags right now. Even President and Sister Lattin can't. It's very sad. So pray for a miracle there. Well that's about it this week. Love you!
Elder Jolstead

July 22, 2013

     Kelleene is looking pretty thin in that photo. What exactly is she allowed to eat? I hope that she got the email I sent. I realized that the only address of hers that I had was her college one and I didn't know if she still had access to that. Maybe you could send me a different one if not. I can't believe that Makayla is one! I didn't even realize it. I need to send a birthday card. I'm glad you are starting to drive again. You and Nathan can practice together! That's awesome that Jackson is home. Kind of wierd being out here for long enough for that to happen. I loved the pictures of Kahlan. My nieces change so fast that I have to look close to see if it is Kahlan or Makayla whenever I get a picture. Kahlan being blond helps a lot.
     First week of the new transfer and we are really trying to turn things around as far as finding new investigators. We had a lot of trouble and very little success last transfer and we are hoping that the investigator drought has ended. We went to see a family that my companions bishop actually knows, which is weird but kind of cool. They were really nice and also very, very Catholic. That's okay, you know what they say about catholics making the best mormons. One thing that Satan has done really well here in Ukraine is to get people comfortable with there religion and settle for just good. Other religions really do teach good things. If people lived there religions as best they could, they really would be good people. But we should never settle for good when we can have best. Only with what we have been given can we return to live with Heavenly Father and our Savior as an Eternal Family. We were meant for more than just having something good. I feel like we should keep visiting this particular family and let the Spirit work there.
     Yesterday was a really awesome day! A less active family that I have been working with from the beginning finally all came to church and it was amazing! It's crazy how much you can care about people when you are serving them 24/7. I also spent the second and third our standing in front the Branch Presidents office keeping people from going in while President Lattin did interviews. You know how back home people knock and wait to be invited into the Bishop's office. Yeah, that doesn't happen here. They just walk right in, so you have to have someone guard the door. Not much else too exciting happened. I hope that all is going well. The best way to start doing missionary work is to set goals. You can also ask Bishop Cox what you can do to help the missionaries. Oh, and you are a great missionary, whether you think so or not. Anyway, love you and hope you have a great week!
Elder Jolstead

July 15, 2013

I hope everything is doing well with Kelleene. Is her back bugging her again, too? I think that I will keep this email short and write her after this. I usually only write those who have written me, but she probably isn't able a lot of the time, so I will make an exception. Nathan wrote me a little about the trek, but I didn't get anything from Derek, so he'll have to fill me in next week. I don't know this Morgan Martin person that Derek was flirting with, so I'll have to see a picture before I decide whether I should scold him or give him a high-five from across the planet. The only really exciting thing that happened this week was that we split up the city of L'viv into areas! I think that President is going to do this in every city in the mission so that the work can be more concentrated. I think that the members are getting excited about the new mission and hopefully we will be able to work with them better now. It really is crazy that a new mission was created here. We have only seven cities with small branches. No wards or stakes and we were the only new mission created in Europe. This is a testimony to me that Heavenly Father is telling us that L'viv is ready to grow and that the work is about to get a lot faster here. I am so grateful to be here at this awesome time. I hope everyone is still enjoying their summer. Love you!
Elder Jolstead 

Friday, July 12, 2013

1. My MTC group with President and Sister Lattin

1.) My companion Elder Naumann at the activity
2.) Activity
3.) My trainer Elder Dorius with his 4 trainees

Here some pictures of me! The Klebingats and the Lattins are also in here as well as my MTC group. 

Elder Jolstead

1. Old Babyshka by wierd art in Chervonograd
2. Me with the Klebingats
3. Branch "Meet the Missionaries" Activity (that's Elder Call, not me)

July 8, 2013


     Love the picture! Makayla is having a blast and Kahlan is just like "what are you doing with that camera?" I can't believe that she is already walking! Did she crawl at all or just skip straight to the running? It sounds like this week was a lot of fun and that the 4th of July was really busy. 

     This week was pretty busy for us too. We went to that city again, but had to come back early because of some registration stuff so didn't get much done. We also found out the next day that President Lattin wants us to stop going out there for a while because he wants to look at it more closely and see if it is worth trying to open right now. Kind of sad, but it will also let us work more in L'viv, which is good because our area isn't doing very well with investigators right now. 

     So our 4th of July started off very interesting. I woke up and looked over at my companions bed, which was empty. That was pretty wierd, but I figured he had just had to go to the bathroom really bad or something. Then I walk out and he is sitting in our study room with his hand wrapped in gauze. Apparently he had woken up at 5:00 because he was hungry and decided to try and cut an apple in the dark. He slashed his hand accross the thumb and web pretty bad, but stopped the bleeding and decided to sit in the study room for an hour waiting for me to wake up. I don't know why he didn't just wake me up, but there it is. So we went to a slightly ify Ukrainian hospital referred to us by a member and he got his hand sowed up. Then we had to prepare for the branch activity, which went pretty well. We made a Jeopardy game with facts about American culture. The game got a little heated because almost every Ukrainian thinks they know everything and are always right (something that makes proselyting very difficult) but I think that everyone had a good time. We also made rootbeer from some extract that my companion has. There is now rootbeer here. I miss it. 

     On Saturday we had our first mission conference with President and Sister Lattin. They actually came here from Utah, but they lived in Spokane for almost 30 years and he was the president of the North Stake. I haven't talked to them too much yet to see who we know in common, but his wife did say that they know Brother Lee, which is cool. Could I get his email address. by the way? I don't have it yet. So anyway, they are really cool. Very different from the Klebingats, but they are young and european and the Lattins are old and American, so of course they are different. We talked a lot about the vision of where we want to see western Ukraine in the future and how we can get there.

     That's it from me this week. Love you all and enjoy the really hot weather!

Elder Jolstead

P.S. They just sent us an email saying that the last address I gave you wasn't completely correct, so here is the actual one. Sorry!

(First Name, Last Name)
P.O.Box #2182
L’viv 79026

July 1, 2013

     Well, today I am officially writing you from the Ukraine, L'viv Mission! I haven't met President Lattin and his wife yet, but they are coming in today, so I will probably meet them tomorrow.
   That's cool that there are sisters in the ward now. I have a feeling that that will be pretty regular all over. We just heard that after next transfer when more new missionaries come in, it will be a group of 11 Sisters and no Elders. Every sister will be training again and some will be training two. Fun times. Kind of sad, because it means I won't be training, but that's okay. Kaylee Nowels is going somewhere in Brazil, right? I remember almost no one's calls that you told me. I got to see the broadcast with the branch yesterday, but it was in Russian, so I didn't understand most of it. I am actually surprised at how much Russian I understand considering I've never studied it, I just hear it pretty often. Hopefully I will see the broadcast in English sometime this week. It was kind of funny how you said "the pamphlet with Jesus holding a lamb", because I was just like that before the mission and now I'm like, yeah, that's the Restoration pamphlet. I give tons of those away on the street and use them on lessons all the time. It's cool how familiar all the missionary materials are now.
     This week was really good. We went to that other city we are working in again and played football with some little kids. We can't proselyte openly or wear tags there, so we just carry around an american football, which they don't make here in Ukraine, and kids are so fascinated by it. We hope that by playing with kids, we can attract the interest of their parents. We don't have any investigators there yet, and that is the key to opening the city. We also had a branch activity this week called, "Meet the Missionaries", where we all showed slide shows of us before the mission. The goal is to get the members to be more comfortable with us so that we can work better together and be friends.
     I have one last funny story that I forgot to tell you from last week. I was on exchanges with Elder Gmeiner and we were walking down the street contacting people when I walked up to this one man who was plastered. I had never seen a drunk man before the mission, but now, after seeing a lot of them every day, I can tell almost immediately if they are hammered. This guy was completely gone and started yelling something in Russian about how I couldn't hurt Ukraine because they have a spirit here and that kind of thing. I tried to go around him, but he grabbed my arm and Elder Gmeiner started freaking out. I just told the guy to calm down and slowly took his hand off my arm. Then I gave him one of our English cards and walked around him. And do you know what that dirtbag did? He ran up behind me and kicked me! There wasn't much power behind it, since it was the kick of a short drunk man, who wasn't flexible enough to get his foot all the way up to my 6 ft 3 butt. I could have turned around, but I decided that I would rather stay on my mission than thrash a drunk who was going to wake up tomorrow with a huge headache anyway, so I turned the other cheek. Elder Kelley has been kicked by a drunk too, so now we can start our own club. It was actually really funny in retrospect.
     Well, that's all for me this week. Enjoy the 4th of July and watch out for drunks! Love you!
Elder Jolstead

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24, 2013

No I didn't get to see the training thing yesterday, but I think the Branch will watch it next week and we will probably watch it in english at the same time, so I'm pretty excited. From what I heard, it sounds like the Church is going to be incorporating technology more into missionary work, which is pretty funny, because the area presidency just ban us from using ipods and tablets that can connect to the internet. Sounds like that will be a short lived rule.

This week went by quicker than usual, probably because I was sick for a lot of it and I am still recovering. On Wednesday we went to that city that I told about before that we are trying to open up and decided to stay the night there and work again the next day before heading back to L'viv. The only problem was that I woke up really sick. By some miracle, we were able to get back to L'viv without anything happening. I probably haven't been taking it as easy as I should be, because I haven't 100% recovered yet. I have lost about 5 of those precious pounds that I have been slowly gaining.Oh, well. They'll come back. On Saturday we had a farewell meeting with the Klebingats which was really awesome but also really sad. President Klebingat is one of the most amazing men I've ever met and his wife is a genius. I have learned so much from them and I'm really sad to see them go, but I know that the Latins will be awesome too and that there is a reason why I was called to Ukraine when this split was happening. Really weird that this is my last week in the Kiev, Ukraine mission. The split seemed so far away and then I blinked. Time is going by way too quickly.
This Sunday was really awesome, because our recent convert passed the sacrament for the first time! He was pretty nervous but he did really awesome. We had a lesson with him and President Klebingat on Friday about the Temple and Family history work which was really awesome. Hopefully he will be able to go to Kiev and do baptisms for the dead soon. He is really the only bright spot in our area right now, because we are finding it incredibly difficult to find and keep new investigators for some reason. Hopefully the work will pick up this next week. That's it for me. Love and hope you all have a great week!
Elder Jolstead

Monday, June 17, 2013

Thanks for the pictures and the update on my bank account. I didn't get an email from Krystine this week, so I assume that means that she is really enjoying her vacation. Shoot the weasel/ raccoon. I gave Nathan my brilliant plan for killing it, so he should know what to do. Come to think of it, is Nathan a good shot? I've never seen him shoot anything but an airsoft gun. Will we be getting more chickens then? I read about the talent show really fast and thought that it was just an orchestra concert at first. 35 elemantary/ middle school orchestra acts?! I think that would have defined outer darkness for us.
So this week was very busy, but unfortunately not with investigators. The Patriarch who travels around eastern Europe came to give blessings and we had to help him and all of the other people who came in from other cities to get their blessings. We actually went to dinner with him on Saturday and it was very cool to talk to him about his calling. Not much else exciting happened but we are having a kind of meeting this week for all those who will be in the L'viv mission. Kind of a saying goodbye from President Klebingat thing I think. It should be really cool. Only two more weeks as the complete Kiev Ukraine Mission. Really weird. Well that's about all I have time for. I need to stop being so long winded to the other people I write to. Love you all and enjoy your vacation!
Elder Jolstead
PS. Could you send me the recipes for chocolate boiled cake and strawberry shortcake? I miss cake.
. Yay for the Sternods! That's so cool! All the pictures from the graduation were cool. Kahlan is so cute! It's really awesome that Krystine is there for her birthday too. Will she still be there when Krystal comes? Oh, and I think you forgot to send me pictures for that activity I told you about and also I still need to know how much money is on my card.
This week was a little bit frustrating, because we couldn't meet with a single one of our investigators. It seems like they knew that it was new transfer and decided to hit the reset button. We also went to that other city that we have been going to but couldn't meet with any of the members there, so it was kind of a wasted trip. At the end of the week we had a visit from Elder Senkins of the third quorum of the seventy, which was pretty cool. I have no idea what he talked on because he is from Latvia and spoke in russian. My russian is very bad, but I understood a few things he said. I can't think of really anything else that happened this week. It is an adjustment getting used to a new companion again, like it always is, but it hasn't been that hard. I think that's it. Love you and be healthy!
Elder Jolstead
 My niece is so cute! Nathan said that she is already trying to walk. I know that I haven't been gone nearly long enough for that to happen. It's when she starts talking that I'll get really scared. I'm glad that the surprise party for Shantewa went well, even though it rained a little. Soggy cake tastes the same as dry cake anyway. It just has a different texture.:) I'm also glad that the funeral was really good. That depressed me for a while last week. 
This week we had transfers and it went by really fast. I worked with three different companions in the same area, but thankfully was able to get a lot of meetings. My new companion is Elder Naumann and he is really cool. A lot different than my first two companions but still really cool. It was really hard to get members to work with us this week because they all went to Kiev to go to the Temple, which is awesome. One of the members who I helped prepare to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood went through the Temple for the first time, so that was really awesome. Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday was really cool and the Spirit was really strong and several members went up to bear their testimony about the blessings of the temple. I also found out this week that when Elder Holland came to dedicate the church building in L'viv, he said that the Temple in L'viv would one day stand in that very spot. That is really awesome. It won't happen my time on a mission, but the day the Temple is announced will be an amazing day. I love this city.
I don't have too much more to write, but I do have two requests. I would like to know how much money is on my debit card now because I will need to withdraw some money from it soon and I was curious. Also, in a couple of weeks we are going to have a "meet the missionaries" activity in the branch and the district leader wanted us to ask for pictures from home of us to doing things for a slideshow. He said pictures of some kind of talents, but I don't know what those would be.:) Anyway, love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Jolstead 
 Well, this is transfer week and I will be staying in L'viv, but Elder Gmeiner is being made Zone Leader and is going somewhere else. My new companion will be Elder Nauman, who served here in L'viv for 4 transfers just before I came into the mission. I have only met him once very briefly, but I have seen his name on a lot of teaching records. Oh, and I don't know if you remember Elder Kelley or not (he is the one from my MTC group who sent you that letter), but he has been in my district here in L'viv since the beginning and now he is being made district leader in another city. He is really nervous, but he's awesome, so no one else is.
The best part of this week was the baptism on Saturday. It was amazing and one of our other investigators who has a baptismal date for June came to see it, which was awesome. Elder Gmeiner performed the baptism and then I confirmed him and gave him the gift of the Holy Ghost on Sunday. I was pretty nervous, because I have never given a blessing in Ukrainian so far. I guess all that really matters is that you get the first part said correctly, which I had already memorized in the MTC, so I think I did okay. To my knowledge there were no grammatical errors. It was really cool to see that new member glow that he has now. I have seen 3 baptisms so far on my mission and you can always tell the difference after someone is baptized and confirmed. That's pretty much all this week. I hope that everyone is enjoying their last few weeks of school. I love you all a lot!
Elder Jolstead

Monday, May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013

Sounds like you guys had an awesome week. I'm glad Grandma will still be living close when I get back and that she is happy. Dallin's game sounds cool. No, size doesn't matter in flag football, but when they move on to tackle, it will be a different story, so tell Dallin he needs to start finishing his dinners and eating seconds and thirds. He should just watch how much Mark eats and eat like that. I miss father son campouts and soggy hotdogs. Even before the mission, I felt like I hadn't gone camping in forever. The party sounded awesome as well and I hope that that stays a tradition.
So this week was really really fast and I don't know what to write about. Plus my companion is talking to the Zone leaders behind me about transfers and I am having a hard time paying attention. This week we get transfer information and since the mission splits in the middle of next transfer, this transfer is giong to be pretty big. We also have the baptism this week which will be awesome. Sorry I am a little distracted right now, but I'll write a letter today because I will have time. I also got two of your letters this week which was really cool. It's weird to hear details of things that happened before that you already wrote about in emails. Anyway, love you and I will definitely write more next week!
Elder Jolstead

Monday, May 13, 2013

May 13, 2013

It was really cool to see you guys yesterday. Kind of wierd how few people there are at home right now. I really like the pictures you sent too. It looks like Dallin's Party was fun. I can't tell what Dallin and his friends are holding, though. They kind of look like giant tubes of lipstick, but I'm hoping that's not what they are. The picture of Nathan and Mark reminds me of the part in one of our movies where Kayla and Krystal have bag hats on there heads and are throwing grass at eachother. Also, Dallins cake looks really good, if a little disturbing. They don't really have cake in Ukraine. It looks like cake, but it's really just bread. It tastes good, but it isn't cake. I did get the easter package by the way. I got it about a month ago but forgot to tell you. I still have a few peeps that I haven't blown up yet. They don't have graham crackers here, but I have been making improvised s'mores with this type of cracker that is pretty close. They don't have marshmellows here either, so the peeps were actually really useful. I am glad that Grandma will still be living close. Did Uncle Austin and his family already move to Spokane? This was a really great week, but a little bit crazy because of Zone Conference. I kind of don't know what else to say, since I talked to you yesterday. I am working hard and still trying to reach my potential as a missionary. I love you all and hope you have a great week!
Elder Jolstead

Monday, May 6, 2013

May 6, 2013

 That's cool about the baptisms. We are looking for convert baptisms so much that sometimes we forget how amazing the baptism of 8 year olds is too. Yeah, sometimes it takes a few tries to get the baptism done right. The last baptism here, a man was baptizing his wife and she was afraid of going backwards into the water, so that one took a few tries and some coaching. I'm glad the saturn still lives. The neon is more fun to drive, but the saturn looks cooler and you can actually hook up your mp3 player to it. Plus the neon is basically Mikey's now. So we can skype at 9:30 in the morning your time. That's the time that works out best for my companion and me. Really excited to see everyone, even though it seems like I just skyped you guys for Christmas last week. Time flies by on a mission and I'm having trouble shooting it in the wing so that it flies slower.
This week was awesome! It felt like the windows of heaven opened and we had blessings poured down on us. We found three really cool new investigators, one of which has a baptismal date for the 25th! We met with him three times this week and he came to church on Sunday, so he is really solid. He has a real desire to repent and I can't wait to see that repentence process change him. We also were able to get a lot of members on lessons with us, which I hope is a sign that the Branch is starting to get more excited about missionary work! We pretty much had non stop teaching appointments this week and we have lots of investigators. I'm really grateful for that (and so are my legs). We have zone conference this week and President Bennett of the Area Presidency is coming, so it will be really awesome. This will also probably be my last Zone Conference with President Klebingat, which is kind of sad. He is a really amazing man. Well, I'm about out of time, but I hope you all have an awesome week and I'll see you on Mother's Day! Love you!
Elder Jolstead

Sunday, May 5, 2013

April 30, 2013

Those Spring String Fling pictures are all blurry. Ha ha, it looks like a sasquatch sighting. Thank goodness for very  few seniors at the  SSF. My butt hurts just remembering going to those things. I'm also not sure what Dallin is doing in that other picture. I'm glad Grandma is home safe. Does she have any idea where she want's to live? Not in that other place. The people there were stupid. Sounds like the work is happening in Spokane pretty well. That is a great idea to have a family night with the Dachs. They are one of the families that I visited when a ward missionary that I still think about every once in a while. Who are the missionaries in our ward now? I probably won't know them. Weird that I've been gone for so long already. Elder Jepson and Miller are probably almost going home.
So this week I got to go to my first Relief Society activity. We were only there because the Sister missionaries wanted us to sing a song with them, but the RS President and the other sisters wouldn't let us leave. We pretty much lost our agency and had to eat dinner with them, which was really good, except for the liver paste. Don't ask. Another really hard week as far as meeting with people goes. I don't have much to share and not really very much time either unfortunately. Oh, since we will be skyping on the twelfth, I need to try and set up a time to talk. I don't know what time you have church,  but if it is at  9  than we will probably have to do it at around six your time. If it is at 11 or one then we can do it at  8 your time or maybe a little later. I have to  be in by  11 your time, so it will have to be well before that. Anyway, let me know. I love you all and hope that you have an awesome week!
Elder Jolstead    

April 22, 2013


     That's good that Mark has a job already.  Talking on the phone is one of the things a mission teaches really well, so he should feel right at home. It sounds like ward conference went well. The home ward is really awesome. So I heard that there were like two big explosions in Boston and Texas and that one of them was a terrorist attack. What was that all about? I'm glad that in Ukraine I don't have to worry about terrorists, because a terrorist attack here probably wouldn't be very big news or have an impact on anybody else, which is actually kind of sad.

     The weather here changed drastically this week and now it is really sunny and warm. Walking around in white shirts and ties without coats really adds a whole new demention to missionary work. A lot more staring, which is good, because then they are curious and we have there attention. In this part of the world, a majority of the people still don't recognize mormon missionaries, so it gives us a good opportunity to explain who we are and why we are here. We weren't able to have very many meetings this week, so we went through the branch list and started visiting all of the names that I didn't recognize. If I don't recognize them, it means they are less actives, because I know all of the actives by now. We got through the whole list. It was a lot of walking. Not very many of them answered when we got there, but I'm hoping it was because we just picked a bad time and most of them weren't home and we can catch them later. Not very much visible success this week and I don't have too much more to write. The Kiev Temple President will be coming next month to talk to the branch, so that will be cool. Hopefully we will be able to get more members excited about Temple work and how cool it is that they have a temple in there country so close. Well that's about it this week. Hope everything is going great at home! Love you!

Elder Jolstead

April 15,2013


     It was really awesome to see all of those pictures and no I didn't start crying. Mark looks really good. The fact that he may have trouble adjusting just shows what an amazing and dedicated missionary he was, and is. As Elder Holland said, "Your mission is forever!" I hope that I have trouble expressing myself in English when I get home. Right now I have trouble in Ukrainian, but I'd like to reverse that before the end of my mission. The only problem is that unlike Brazil, there aren't many native Ukrainians serving in my mission and a lot of Ukrainians speak english, so the temptation is really strong to revert to english. I keep having to resist. It's cool that Mark already has a job interview. What are his plans now? I'm sure that's the last question he wants to be asked right now, but I'm very curious, because he had no idea when he left two years ago.

     I love conference! So many amazing talks! Sunday was full of powerhouse talks. I loved Elder Perry's talk about how God and His commandments never change. I hope that I have half the fire that that man has when I am his age, or at any time in my life for that matter. We all know how I feel about Elder Holland, so I don't think I can even express how I feel about his talk. I get goosebumps whenever that amazing servant of the Lord speaks. I hope that every member was listening during Elder Nelson's talk about "riding the wave". I've said it a million times, but the Lord is hastening his work and he needs EVERYONE to step it up and work with all they have to bring others to Christ. Sister Dalton's last talk was really, really cool as well. President Monson's talk on obedience single handedly answered almost all of the questions that I had written down in preparation for conference. Besides the spiritual aspect, I just can't believe he burned down a field! That man's life is full of so many rich experiences that it is clear that Heavenly Father was preparing him his whole life. Conference went by so quickly and I can't wait to get the Liahona so that I can study the talks more.

     I had some pretty cool experiences this week, even if I really haven't see any fruits from my labors yet. I have done a lot of walking and contacting this transfer, which has kind of slowed down the whole weight gaining thing. On Saturday, after conference we couldn't really set up any meetings with anyone, so we went out to contact our way to some less active members apartments. I had two Book of Mormons with me and I had said a silent prayer, asking to be able to place both of them before I returned to the apartment that night. It is way more difficult then it should be to place a Book of Mormon. We worked and talked with probably literally hundreds of people, but I wasn't able to give away a single one. Then, a couple of blocks away from home, seven minutes before nine, I started to talk to this old guy who was actually kind of interested. Then, while I was talking to him, some random young guy walks up to me and asks me in English if he could have one of those books. I gave it to him and Elder Gmeiner explained it to him while I talked to the other guy. Neither one of them gave us there numbers and they haven't contacted us, but it was just a testimony to me that Heavenly Father answers prayers if we ask in faith, acting on what we want to happen.

     Well, I'm glad that you guys are having a lot of fun and enjoying having Mark back. I loved what Elder Eyring said about when you serve, the Lord not only draws you closer to him, but also your family. I know that even though I am on the opposite side of the world, we are becoming a closer and happier family as I serve with everything I have, which is what I am trying to do. I love you all!

Elder Jolstead

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013


Loved the pictures! Nathan looks like Jared in that picture with him on the couch. It never seems to  be windy when we go to fly kites, so I'm glad you guys were able to actually get them in the air. I actually haven't seen any of conference yet. We won't get to until this  Saturday, but I'm really excited! I heard that you guys just now boxed up all of my stuff, which is pretty funny. I kind of  figured that it would stay where it was until Mark came home. His mission seemed a lot shorter than Jared's for some reason. You need to take lots of  pictures, especially when Jared gets there. We are going to be having some interesting changes here. Next week is transfers and it is going to be a pretty big one,  because they are going to be slowly moving russian speakers east in preparation for the mission split. We also just heard that they are going to be making leadership postions for sisters to accomidate the influx of new sisters that will be flooding us soon. We did a lot of walking this week, because of lack of investigators, but we actually found our first new investigator as a companionship this week, which is really exciting. Anyway, I am out of time, but I love you and expect lots of pictures next week!

Elder Jolstead the Younger 

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1, 2013


Love the pictures! Kahlan is so cute! And she crawls! I haven't been gone that long yet, have I? It looks like you guys had fun on easter and that Derek has just about reached my height. I thought it was funny how Fonzy's nose was randomly in a picture too. Jared emailed me this week, so I already knew about that. That's really sad. It sounds like Sacrament meeting on Easter was really good. Is Brother Robison the young men's president now? Our Sacrament meeting was pretty funny. The first speaker talked for way too long, so it was about time to close after the first two speakers, so the person who was supposed to give the closing prayer got up after the intermediate hymn and prayed, because he didn't realize that there was still one more speaker. So we just closed the meeting there. It was pretty funny. It's weird to see it all sunny over there. There is still snow on the ground over here, although it is melting, just very slowly. It's probably a good idea to give Fonzy a bath soon so that he doesn't look like he was completely neglected while Mark was gone. Weird that this is his second to last P day. We had a really great week in the mission for baptisms. There were 17 yesterday, which is really amazing! I hope you haven't been desensitized by the amount of baptisms Mark has, cause I know that that is his mission every day, but here it is really cool. I also have some news about my ear. I went to the doctor about two weeks ago and found out that there is some kind of fluid blocking my middle ear, because of a diverted septom in my nose. I am taking a whole bunch of pills that are supposed to clear it out and eventually I will need surgery on my nose. Whether that is before or after the mission I have no idea. I'll keep you posted. Well, I hope everyone enjoys their spring break! All that extra time and a new computer gives lots of opportunities to write people, hint, hint. I love you!

Elder Jolstead the Younger

Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013


Yay for the lifting of the gypsy curse! That's really awesome that Dallin won! He looks a lot older. He's kind of turning into a Braeden/ Derek hybrid I think. That is so awesome about the Sternods! Getting to the Temple is a huge step and it will be awesome when they get sealed.  That is really, really cool! It sounds like the work is hastening in the Newman Lake Ward as well. I don't know the Lampheres, but that is really cool, too! I loved being a ward missionary. I kind of hope I end up there again when I get home. I now reallize a lot more the importance of working with less-actives.

This week was very hectic. I went to Kyiv for transfers and was able to go to the Temple! It was a really amazing experience and it made me reallize how amazing it is to have a temple so close, where those people that I help come to Christ can go eventually without a long trip. I also have a new companion and he is a lot different than Elder Dorius, so this transfer will be a great opportunity to grow. It is only four weeks, so I will probably be with him the next transfer as well. I was also able to see my first baptism in Ukraine yesterday! It was an investigator that Elder Kelley was teaching with his companion and yesterday was Elder Kelley's birthday, which was really cool. I can't really think of a better birthday. Well that is all for this week I think. I hope everyone enjoys there spring break and Easter! Love you!

Elder Jolstead the Younger

PS. I got your valentines! They were really cool and I thought the Batman was funny.

Monday, March 18, 2013

March 18, 2013


Okay, first of all, who is this girl that Jared is dating and why am I not hearing about it from him? I was wondering why hadn't emailed me in a month and now it all makes since. I better be getting an email from him soon or else and you can pass that along. Just kidding. Seeing as how I didn't write him as much as I should have at the start of his mission, I can't really demand letters from him either, so he can send emails whenever he wants. Speaking of which, we were told this morning that we now have an hour and a half to write our emails and we are allowed to write anyone we want, not just immediate family, so you can pass it along that anyone who wants to can now write me an email and expect an answer. Which reminds me that this email may be a little shorter than usual because I want to email Grandma.

Well, like I told Nathan, we might as well open up our own Portuguese branch in the stake now. I can see it now: family reunions where everyone but Mike and I are speaking Portuguese. Just make Dallin and Braeden promise now while they are still young, to not go to Brazil. Speaking of Dallin, I hope that he is feeling better. School makes me sick too. Tell Shantewa not to worry about not getting hired at McDonalds. The McDonalds in the US aren't nearly as cool as the ones in other countries. There are like five here in L'viv and they are all big fancy restaurants where you can eat "American" food. No wonder other countries think that everyone in America is fat. Oh, and I saw something really awesome a couple of weeks ago that I forgot to tell you about. You know those floating lanterns from Tangled? They exist! I saw a couple of them flying on March 8th which is National Women's Day here in Ukraine. I guess sometimes they will also let off a whole bunch of them at a time, which would be cool to see. So yeah, I can check that off of the list of dreams I have. I actually say a big huge banner for that Oz movie when I was in Keiv which was cool. I'm glad you guys had a good time. I totally forgot about pie day until nighttime so we ate kontiks instead, which are like the best desserts ever, so it was a good substitute.

Well, we got our transfer information on Saturday and I will be staying in L'viv but will have a new companion! His name is Elder Gmeiner and from what I hear, he is a really hard worker. He actually trained someone from my MTC district and I have met him like twice, very briefly. So I get to go to Keiv again this week for transfers and this time I get to go to the Temple! I am really excited, because I haven't been there yet and this means that I will be able to before the mission splits in July. We also got some new Ukrainian speaking missionaries in from the MTC, so I am officially no longer in the youngest group here. That's actually really weird. I feel like I just got here and it's almost April.

We got a lot of snow here this week. It snowed really heavily for like two days straight and we got another meter of snow, which is now melting because it is sunny. Weird. The snow actually prevented our investigators from coming to a branch activity, so I didn't enjoy the snow as much as usual. Still no baptismal date but the investigator who we are working with said that he knows he needs to be baptized again, he just doesn't think he's ready yet which is a little frustrating. Anyway, I think that that is all for this week. I love you!

Monday, March 11, 2013

March 11, 2013


Sorry I made you type all those songs. I didn't realize how many there were. Thank you! Now I can hear them in order. How is Kelleene, by the way? I haven't really heard much as far as when or if there will be a surgery or radiation or if they are just seeing what the chemo does. There is a member in Chervonograd who we found out went to Keiv because he had stomach cancer, which is really sad, because that's pretty much a death sentence, especially in Ukraine. I am really grateful that things aren't as bad for Kelleene as they could be. The hospitals in the U.S. are much better than here. Speaking of which, I have an appointment with a dentist tomorrow, because one of the sides of the wire on my teeth came out, so they need to glue it back on, so that should be exciting. I also talked to the mission doctor about my ear, and he said to try sudafed for a while and it that doesn't help, he will get an appointment with an ear nose and throat specialist. I hope it isn't just permanent hearing loss, cause that would be depressing.The Zags are a number one?! either they are having a really good year, or this is a bad year for basketball. I hope that it's the first. I totally forgot about March Madness, which is probably a good thing. And Riley's papers are already in?! What the heck! That kid's not supposed to leave for like a year! This new age thing is making things really weird. How are all of the other guys' papers doing? You said that Braydon Berezay was pretty close and that Chappy was a little delayed by his foot, but what about Dallin or Cody Edwards or Morgan? And has anybody heard anything about whether or not Chris Lines is working on his papers? Well I'm glad that you had THE lesson this week. Ha ha. You didn't draw diagrams like with Shantewa, did you? Just joking. I liked the picture of the play that you sent. Nathan looks taller and a lot older. Sorry, Shantewa, you look the same. You'll probably have to dye your hair blue or something if you want to look any different in the next 2 years.

So this week was cool. We found two new investigators, one of which is really, really elect and awesome. We were really guided to him on the street and we prayed with him and were able to meet with him the next day. He was really interested in modern prophets and wants to see the movie about President Monson that they have here translated into russian. (Almost nothing is ever translated into Ukrainian unfortunately) The only problem is that he didn't come to church this week like he said he would and he doesn't have a phone, which is pretty common in Ukraine, so we don't know how to reach him again. We just have to pray and hope that either he will be at church next week or that we will be led to him on the street again. I also read a really awesome talk this week called "The Fourth Missionary" by Elder Corrbidge, given when he was a mission president, I think. It is really awesome and even though it is directed to missionaries, I would encourage anybody to read it. Oh and we made chili this week, but we made a little mistake. It didn't look like there was enough water, so we added more and we figured that in order to compensate for the more water we had to add more chili powder. Big mistake. It tasted really good, but it was like putting a fireball in your mouth. Mark would have loved it. I think that that is about it this week. I will send you some pictures of Keiv too. I love you!

Elder Jolstead the Younger

Monday, March 4, 2013

March 4, 2013


This week was really fast. It's weird to think that I am in the middle of my second transfer in Ukraine. I feel like the language hasn't been progressing really fast, but all the Ukrainians and Elder Dorius think that it is, so maybe I just can't tell. I did hear a little bit about the meteor in Russia, but I forgot to ask about it. It was pretty huge, wasn't it? I also heard this week that the pope resigned and that lightning struck the Vatican like three times or something. I don't know if that's true or not. Oh, and I did get your letters up to the first week of February I think. I don't know how long it took to get here, because we only get mail when someone goes to Keiv, so it could have been sitting there for a while. I also got a letter from Haley and someone can tell her that I will write her back eventually. I haven't even had time to finish a letter to you guys or send Birthday cards yet. P days go by really fast as does the rest of the week. Thanks for all the recipes; we have really been enjoying the waffles and we got the stuff for chili this week, which is exciting. I found out that I won't be able to make applesauce pancakes because they don't have applesauce here, which was a little depressing. I may try to experiment and make it myself if I have time, which I probably won't. Could I get the recipes for cinnamon rolls and regular rolls in future letters? Between me and my companion we can only make so many things and I want to add as much variety as possible. Oh, and could someone send me the order to some of those cds that Kelleene put on my mp3 player like the Garden and the Lamb of God? I'd like to try to listen to them from the beginning sometime and right now they are alphabetical.

So this week I went on an exchange with the district leader on a trip to leadership conference in Kyiv! It was really awesome, because we went contacting to different really cool places in the city. I have pictures, but I forgot my camera, so I will send them next week. I went to the spot where President Packer dedicated the country for missionary work and it was really cool. The Spirit is really strong there. I also went to a soviet war museum with tons of tanks, airplanes and helicopters. I didn't get to go to the Temple though, because it was kind of a last minute trip. Oh, and I saw another dead body too, and this one wasn't at a funeral. It was kind of weird, because the police here are terrible. There was this dead body up against a corner and there were just a couple of cops, one of which was taking pictures with what looked like his own camera. Most of the police here are all young guys who don't know what they are doing anyway, which makes me glad that I don't have to just rely on them for safety. I'm not quite sure how the guy died, but I didn't see any blood, so it may have been natural causes.

The Psych marathon sounded really fun. I don't think you should let Braeden and Dallin stay up, though. If everyone is able to stay up at night when I get back it'll be weird, so they should just go to bed early until I am gone for good. I'm glad that Kelleene is doing well. Do you have any idea how long she is going to be getting treatments?

I wish I had more to report with the work, but right now we aren't having too much success. A lot of contacting and work with members. We have a couple of investigators who are progressing but neither one wants to set a baptismal date yet. We had a really cool experience with one of them this week though. We asked him to say the closing prayer, during which he asked if the church was true. Afterwards he said he felt like a wave of warmth rushed over him. We are trying to help him realize that this was his answer, but something is keeping him from really commiting to baptism. I'm not sure what, because he is really awesome and accepts everything we teach him, which is not as common here as it is in some other places (Brazil). Anyway, hopefully the Spirit will be able to get him to do what is right and be baptized soon. 

Well I love all of you and hope that spring comes soon. Oh, and I am sending you a picture of some borsh that I ate at an old babycia's house. I just want to clarify that this not what all borsh looks like and it was actually pretty good. I ate it all. I just had to be carefull to not swallow any small bones.

Elder Jolstead the Younger

Monday, February 25, 2013

February 25, 2013


     Yay for the first email in three weeks! This was an amazing week! Yes the new mission is going to effect us here. President Klebingat told us on Tuesday before it was officially announced that on July 1st they are splitting the Kyiv mission in two and making the L'viv, Ukraine mission! We got a few more details this weekend at Zone Conference, but I think that President will get more specific instructions as to which missionaries will be serving where this weekend. He did tell us that it looks like the L'viv mission is going to be all Ukrainian speaking and the Kyiv mission is going to be all russian speaking, which makes sense because the farther east you go, the less Ukrainian you hear and the more Serjic and Russian there is. President Klebingat said that he may keep some of his Ukrainian speakers though, so I guess we'll have to see. It looks like I will be serving most of my mission in a different mission than I was originally called to. It's really exciting and there are only two downsides. The first is that I will no longer be serving in a mission with a Temple in it, so I will try to go at least once before we split, since I haven't been to the Kyiv Temple at all yet. The other downside is that President Klebingat will no longer be my mission President, which is really sad because after Zone Conference I got to see how awesome he really is. More on that later. My new mission President is named President Lattin. He actually served senior couples mission with his wife in Ukraine, but it was in Donetsk I think, so he doesn't speak Ukrainian, only a little Russian. They live in Utah right now, but I think when President Klebingat was reading off their biography he said that Sister Lattin had served most of her callings in Spokane, so I don't know if you know the name, but maybe Brother Lee will. I think he knows just about every member in Spokane.

     So zone conference was really really awesome! It was here in L'viv so I didn't have to go anywhere, but I got to see all of my district from the MTC again, which was really cool. President Klebingat talked to us about the Gathering of Israel. He really impressed upon us that that is literally what we as Ukrainian missionaries are doing. Eastern Europe is full of the lost tribes of Israel. According to the Patriarchs who travel around and give blessings here, Ephraim and Mennasah are in the minority when lineage is declared in the Patriarchal Blessing. Yep, I'm in the north country. It's really amazing to think about how much of the scriptures is devoted to talking about the gathering of Isreal in the last days and then to think that that's what my job is here. It's also really motivating. Sister Klebingat also gave a really awesome talk about the ministering of angels and she is just as amazing as here husband. She is really smart too. Elder Dorius said that she just got a masters degree in something in german, which isn't her native language, so there you go. I have no doubt that one day I will be hearing Presidents name at General Conference when he is called as a seventy or something.

     Shantewa's idea for Nathan's birthday is actually pretty clever, I have to give her some credit for thinking it up, although I don't know how much Nathan will like it. Ha ha. Eating garlic. Hmmm... I only like a couple of miles away from the Carpathians and I don't even eat garlic. I hope you had an awesome birthday, Ma! I'm not even sure what a Kindle Fire is so moladets (good job), you're definitely up with the times. Nathan sent me some pictures of Kahlan and Daniel and they are so cute! Kahlan looks a lot like Rebecca and she has changed so much! It was good to finally see her smile. Well this letter was really long so I should probably end it here so that I can write Krystine and Mark. I love you all and I hope that you enjoy the rest of your February!

Elder Jolstead the Younger

PS. Ma, if you want to, you can send the emails that didn't get to me again. I still want to read whatever you wrote and I have unlimited time to read emails and an hour to answer them, so it won't effect me time wise. Love you!

Monday, February 11, 2013

February 11, 2013

Oi Familia,

Ha ha. You thought it was Mark didn't you? My letter is going to have to be short this week, because I don't have much time left. Sorry. I got both of your letters. Thanks for the recipes. I will put them to good use this week. We taught more lessons this week than we have before and we got a few new investigators which is really good. We also went to Chervonograd again this week and found out that one of the members we have been looking for married an Egyption and lives mostly in Egypt now. A little sad since there are so few members there as it is. Does the Church have a mission in Egypt? I didn't think so but I wasn't sure. Eventually. Oh, and just out of curiosity, which city are the Selby girls from and do they speak Russian or Ukrainian? Well that's all I have time for right now. I love you and hope you have an awesome week!

Elder Jolstead the Younger