Good Morning and Happy Women's day!
It was good to hear from all of you this morning. It sounds like everyone has had a pretty eventful week except for the dogs... I am glad to hear that all is well in the big city and down in P-town. I got some of your letters because the Zone leaders went to Kiev this last week but there weren't any packages at the office for me so I don't know. The ones for Christmas took exactly a month but that was when I was up there. Transfers are next week and the district leaders will be bringing back mail for us if we don't get transfered.
Dad, it sounds like you were pretty creative on finding ways to get out of the house and keeping the hounds from doing too much damage. I am surprised that they still got in the kennels at the end of the day yesterday. I wish I had had my drivers license when we got kota. I thought that those pictures were at Grant's house. You will have to tell him hi from me. Oh by the way dad, a lady here has a huge crush on you! I will tell the story in the main part of the letter but it was really, really funny.
Mom, I am glad you and Brynn had fun and I am glad that you really only had one mishap instead of 4 or 5. From your's and Brynn's letters it kinda reminds me of our trip to NY when we had all of those black bags. I think you guys may have hit a new jackpot. It sounds like gma and gpa had fun having you down there. They were really excited when you told them that you were going to go down in an email that I got from them.
Brynn, again I am glad that you had fun. I had this funny image of you standing at the border and how much worse it would be with both of us. haha It made me laugh. Good news this week is no chicken hearts or really strange food :D. But we are having a ward party today so I might be singing a different tune around 3:00. By the way the Black sea was pretty dark when we were there but it was also really cloudy.
Chase and Ashley, You sound like you had a pretty fun week/end. I still can't believe that you are getting ready to move to Boston. Each week it is hitting me more and more how far away that is... But it is okay, I keep hearing about this whole skype thing, sounds pretty cool!
So this week has been just as eventful as every other week. Today we are starting week five down here and this Saturday we find out about transfers again. I think this has been one of the fastest 6 weeks of my life. We have had more happen in these 5 weeks then I could imagine. I think that everyday when our leaders call to check up on us we have some crazy story to share with them and I think we might have to sit down with my journal when I get home because there are just too many to remember right now. Odessa is great and it always keeps us on our toes.
So we are working with 3 branches down here, some more than others. The 2 that we mainly work in meet here close to where we live. We meet in the front of an apartment building that has been turned into one building, or maybe it was just built attached... I can't really tell. But it is a nice building and it really stands out so people ask what it is. The 2 branches are really great but small. There are about 100 members in all of the branches but on sundays about 20 or so come. In RS we usually have 4 other sisters besides us, but there are enough for the branches to function as long as everyone has 4 or 5 callings. The members are really willing to take their share and 5 other shares of the work. It is great. All of the Branch Presidents are really great. One is really young and they are expecting their first baby. He served in New York City on his mission. The other one is awesome as well. He is a little older and actually reminds me a lot of dad. His son-in-law is in the stake presidency and agreed to act as the branch president in the branch outside our city. All are great men and are really willing to help.
We went with the branch president that served in NY to deliver flowers to the women in the branch today because it is womens day and everyone gets flowers. It is a really big holiday and most of the women get work off. It reminds me of Mother's day but on a bigger scale. There have been flower shops all down the streets all week.
This week we met with one of our members who hasn't been to church in a really really long time. We got to her apartment a little early so we glued up some advertisements for English practice. Some really, really drunk old man snuck up behind me and jumped out and scared me. Sister Ethington was watching him the whole time but she didn't understand what he was doing until he jumped out and yelled boo. We talked with him for a little and he reached out to give us both a big hug and we quickly stepped out of reach. Then as I was looking down to get my planner I felt his fingers run into my forehead. He was trying to move my bangs but his depth perception was a little off and he ended up smacking me in the head. We started to walk away and he grabbed my arm and he and Sister Ethington played tug-o-war over me for a little. We finally got away and laughed the whole way to our meeting.
We finally got to our meeting with our member and she forgot who I was. She thought I was lying to her when I said that I was there the last time she met with the sisters. Finally she believed me when I showed her my pictures and when she turned to one of the pictures of dad she said, "Oh Michael, I remember Michael." I started laughing so hard. She kept turning back to that picture and just saying "Oh Michael." So Dad you better look out when we come back. We wanted to talk with her about the temple and encourage her to prepare to go to the temple this coming year and to prepare to be able to go to the dedication. . . . . We had a great lesson from there on out and she agreed to start preparing to go to the temple in Kiev. It is crazy how fast you can forget truth when you are continually strengthening your testimony.
We also had a great lesson with Tanya. She is 15 and wants to get baptized this summer. We were questioning her desire to get baptized and we had a very straight-forward lesson with her. We told her that we are here to help her to prepare for baptism but she needed to show the Lord that she really wanted it. She said that she wanted it and she has been making a lot more of an effort. We met with her again and she started our lesson by asking us what is happiness for us, remember she is 15. I told her that for me it is being with my family and making my Heavenly Father happy, because I know that when he is happy with me it means I am doing the things that I need to so that I can live with him and my family forever. She told us that she feels like there really aren't people that are good in her classes at school and she really wants to meet more people like us. She said told us a story about a boy at her school that she wants to help because no one talks to him and everyone beats him up. We told her that the Lord would help her find a way to help him. We are meeting with her again tonight and I can't wait. She is really great. I feel like I was sent here for her, just for her. We have such a great relationship and I feel if nothing else happens here, if I can help her, that will be enough.
This is a really sad story please don't post it. . . . . [omitted]
Last good news that we got this week, Julia will be moving back this week :D. We are going to try and help her find a job so that she can stay here. She will be living with those same people until we can find a new place for her to live, which I hope is soon. The economy is so bad here that people aren't really willing to let her stay with them without receiving rent for the room. I hope that something can work out. She is great.
Well we should probably get going. I love you so much. Sorry if I didn't get all of your questions answered. I will try and take more pictures this week. I am really bad and I always forget but I will try and send some soon. I love you! Have a great week and tell everyone hi for me!