Recently Called Sisters
Thanks to Jeanne Milligan for submitting this info for new missionaries and some things for sisters in particular. We encourage those who have recently returned from Ukraine to also submit their advice on things to take and not to take, and general conditions there by email.
Hi there! First of all, I just want to tell [Chris and Jim] that I think the mission page looks great. Thanks for all of your hard work. It's definitely fun to check out all the sites and think about the good old days in Ukraine. You asked for some input from sisters, what they need to take with them, etc. I've been home for just over 6 months. Honestly, you can find about everything there now. I know a few years ago deodorant and good shampoo, nylons, and everything like that was hard to come by, but there are the big, rich, "mafia" stores these days, and you can buy lots of German and American products there. I took way too much stuff with me, but I should have just waited and got it all there since it's so much cheaper anyway. I would recommend buying a blow dryer, iron, curling iron, or whatever else over there, too, (if there isn't one lying around in your apartment or your companion doesn't already have one that you can use.) They are only about $3 and then you don't have to worry about a power adapter and all that fun stuff.
I bought a lot of clothes over there, too. Boots, coat, and all that. I bought it really cheap on the rynok [open market], so of course it wasn't the best quality, but it was good enough to last my whole mission, which is really all that I needed. Plus, it was nice to help me blend in a little more with the Ukrainian people. You don't want to look like a rich American! I did, however, take a light weight jacket/rain jacket that I was glad to have because I couldn't really find anything like that over there. Sisters might just want to buy a pair of Doc Martens or some comfortable, flat heeled shoes here in the States because Russian women wear shoes with gigantic high heels, which aren't real comfortable for tracting all day! You definitely want knee-high nylons for the summer. You can buy nylons there, but the quality isn't as good and they all seem to have really weird colors and funky prints on them. Depending on your favorite foods, you might want to take some spices and stuff. Taco seasonings or whatever. If you love root beer, you could take a bottle of root-beer extract. Maple extract is a must if you want to make chocolate chip cookies. You can just use white sugar and put a teaspoon of maple extract and it's just like brown sugar. If you get there and find things that you ABSOLUTELY MUST HAVE you can always get your family to send them.
Some other random things that I'm really glad I took: the cheap little green CTR rings to give the little kids, lots of pictures of Jesus and Joseph Smith, etc. (We wrote on the back of them and used them as birthday or baptism cards.) You can't really get that kind of stuff over there, so members totally loved it. Honestly, if I could go again I would forget about half the stuff I took and just fill a suitcase with pictures and stuff for the members.
Anyway, that's my advice. If any sisters have questions of anything, they are welcome to contact me and I can try to help them out.