Hey family that I love!
I hope you all have had an amazing week! Thank you for the emails everyone, it is so good to hear from you, and to hear how everyone is doing!
To answer some of your questions: for transportation we either walk or we take these little buses called marshutekas. They are either small public buses or they are white creeper vans that they have put bus seats in. Everyone piles into these. I am just getting the hang of being able to stay standing in these things. The first few days I could barely keep my balance. We eat lunch at home or we take it with us to the church, it is usually rice, noodles, buckwheat, or eggs and vegis and Bread, there is always bread. It is actually not too bad.
My companion is actually a really good cook and she was wondering if you could send a few recipes? Maybe swedish pancakes, and some easy soups?
Mom congrats on the marathon! Everytime I tell someone that you run marathons they are amazed! It really is an amazing accomplishment to do just one let alone many! Wow! .......
Dad, ....... Hunting should be a lot of fun and I sure that both Kota and beverage boy are looking forward to it. .......Tell everyone that I say Hey!
Chase and Ashley, .............
So this has been my first full week. I have learned a lot. One of the most important lessons that I learned is that if there is standing water on the ground it is probably not rain water or water from a broken sprinkler. Don't Step In It.. bad idea. haha. Thank goodness I didn't learn this through my own mistakes. I have been avoiding all of the puddles for obvious reasons-- I don't want my shoes to be soaked all day-- but last night I saw a man just peeing on the side of the road. ha lesson learned.
I have had a lot of ups and downs this week. Conference was an amazing up that I am still hanging on to. We have listened to Elder Holland's talk twice already. I love how powerfully he speaks. I want to testify like he does. I can say that I know that Christ lives and that the Book of Mormon is true but the way that he testifies just pierced my soul. There were a lot of amazing talks, but I haven't heard all of them yet. On Saturday we listened to the first hour on a cd that we have of conference in English but then we went to the church and the whole first session was in Russian, I could understand a few words here and there but really I didn't get anything. We then taught a mother and her daughter and they stayed for part of the second session. One of the Elders in our ward had printed off the talks already so he let me read them as they were given. Sunday I was a little smarter and I brought Sister Movchanyoks Dvd player and listened to them in English as everyone else watched it in Ukranian.
We also taught Vika this week. She is someone we found through English classes and we taught her the second lesson on the plan of salvation. We taught her at an amazing member's house. They all sat and participated in both the English lesson and the gospel lesson. I taught my part and by the end I was really frustrated that I couldn't understand anything at all. I thought that the lesson had gone terribly wrong and that we probably wouldn't teach her again. When we left Sister Movchanyok said that it was an amazing lesson! I started crying out of frustration but now I just have to laugh because I had gotten myself all worked up for nothing. That is how a lot of my day goes. I will introduce myself on a bus and they will start talking so I will motion for Sister Movchanyok to come over. She will talk to them for a minute and get their number and I will be so excited and then when we get off the bus she will say that they weren't interested at all. It is really funny, sometimes I feel like a silly dog that gets all excited to go in the car when in reality she is going to the vet. ha.
We spend a lot of our day tracking or teaching. For tracking during the day we will hand out private English fliers and try to talk to people in the park. We get shut down a lot more then we teach when we are tracking. In the evenings, before or after appointments we will knock on the doors in the apartment buildings. This is the most terrifying thing because the hallways in the apartment buildings are not very well lit and they are old with spray paint and then you are waiting for someone to answer the door. They are usually these little nice baboshkas (grandmothers). Most of the new investigators that we have found have been through English classes and through the Area book.
This area has just been opened for the sisters so we have taken a lot of the contacts from the elders' area book and we have been working on finding them. Last night we went to an address and it was a lot of fun. It was the older couple and they are amazing! They welcomed us in and gave us slippers. They had a lot of questions since they were last taught by the missionaries and we talked a lot about families and the temple. I am excited to teach them again this week.
We have a lot of investigators right now but none of them are progressing really fast. Valentina is a woman that has a baptismal date for next weekend but she in so busy that she hasn't been able to meet with us. She is also really hard to teach. She is very much stuck in her ways from the Provaslavian church (Everyone here belongs to the Provaslavian Church, it is really frustrating). We are really hoping to help her progress this week. She came to all of conference yesterday and loved it.
So there is a tradition here that I have had to just tell myself to suck it up. You all know how much I love feet! Well the tradition is that when you enter a home you remove your shoes promptly and normally they will give you a pair of slippers to wear while you are in their home. It really is a sweet gesture but oh man the first few days I struggled to keep my mind on the conversations and not on my feet, which is really hard since I don't understand anything that is being said anyway. ha
Well I love you all and hope that you are having an amazing week! Good luck with everything this week!