Monday, July 22, 2013

President's Visit, Dog Bite

Tell Ben he did a great job with the testimony! That probably doesn't mean much coming from a greenie, but I love it! I'm saving that one for someone special. I'm glad you had fun at camp, but it's so lame that there weren't any pranks! What's the point of camp if there's no pranks?? But that battle does sound pretty awesome. You know I would have been all over that! I'm working on a list for things in the next package, I'll let you know when I think of everything.
Alright this week was awesome!!!! First of all, last monday night we played volleyball with Nastia and her friends again. Stanislov, the 9 year old kid who played with us the first time came back, and this time brought like 5 of his friends haha so they totally crashed the game and took over but it was hilarious. The kids here don't really get volleyball, but they sure love to try. Also Ukrainian girls LOVE to take pictures so we took a bunch of group pictures with us and the kids. I don't have any on my camera but maybe I can get them somehow.

Tuesday President and Sister Lochhead came which was so awesome!!! We got interviews with President Lochhead which is the greatest. We just get to talk about anything that's on our mind and ask any questions we have. My problem is I never have any problems or questions to talk about, but it was still good. Then we spent some time talking about Chapter 10 of Preach My Gospel (teaching skills) and it was so cool because President was teaching us about teaching skills by the way he was teaching, so it was like teaching-ception which was the greatest. Then Sister Lochhead came on a lesson with us and went contacting with us! It was so awesome!!!! Sister Lochhead is the epitome of being bold and loving at the same time. I don't know how she does it. Our lesson was with Albina and her husband who speak perfect English so that was in English and she helped a lot. It was so funny, she just kept saying "you two are going to make such good mormons someday" haha. They were a little suprised by that but I think they knew it was a compliment. Then we went contacting and Sister Lochhead marches straight up to this lady and starts talking to her in English so Sister Erekson translated and it was so cool. Sister Lochhead got this lady, Ivanka, to start talking about her family and she really opened up. They also found out that Ivanka reads the bible every day and Sister Lochhead promised her, "if you love the bible, you'll also love the Book of Mormon" which is totally true! I've never thought to say it like that before. Anyways, we gave her a Book of Mormon and a Liahona and she said she's definitely going to read it every day, and we actually got her phone number so it was a really good contact! Sister Lochhead was so excited! It was only her 3rd time going out with the sisters and she was loving it! Tuesday night we had youth night and we had 7 non-members there which is crazy! It was so fun. Youth Night is definitely my favorite night of the week. We play ping-pong, uno, phase 10, skip-bo, and group games like musical chairs, signs, etc. It's so much fun, and I don't even have to speak Russian to become friends with people. I love it.
Wednesday night we had a Family Night with a member couple in our branch which went really well until the commitment haha. We were talking about missionary work and we found out that this couple does a ton of missionary work already. All of their neighbors know that they're members and they are always reaching out to less actives. It was really funny though when Sister Campbell tried to extend the committment because she didn't explain herself very well and they defintiely misunderstood what we were trying to say. She promised them that if they prayed that night, a name would come to their minds of someone they could share the gospel with. What they thought she said was that every night at a specific time we pray for one name and we wanted them to pray at that same time too so that we would all be praying together. haha so they asked Sister Campbell what time they should pray and she was so confused. Then the wife was like, so we're going to pray for Tanya? and the husbands was like, no we'll pray for whoever the spirit tells us to pray for hahaha. We just let it go rather than trying to correct them.
This week the funniest/weirdest thing I've ever seen happened. We were walking to the church building and a guy and his little puppy walk by and it was actually a cute, well groomed dog which is definitely not common, so it was running around us and we were petting it and then it nipped sister campbell's skirt, but we didn't think anything of it. it didn't leave a mark or anything. then we were in a lesson in a park (several hours later) and this random crazy guy comes up and says to sister campbell, "you need to wash your skirt. i know a dog bit it. you need to wash that right away" it was so weird!!! how did he know? it creeped us out so much. there's a lot of crazies here.
The most exciting thing that happened this week was Antonina came to church! I think i wrote to you about her a couple of weeks ago. She's less-active and hasn't been to church in 6 years. We visited her a couple of weeks ago and sister erekson said "God sent us here to tell you that He wants you back at church." Well it worked because she came! All of the Relief Society sisters were so excited to see her, it was so cute. We had a lesson with her before sacrament meeting and we talked about the temple. She wasn't really into it at first, but I showed her our family picture with Grandma Tishie and told her that I was bapitzed for her and I know she accepted that ordinance. I told her that going to the temple not only blesses us, but it blesses our family members who died without those ordinances. She realized that she needs to do the work for her parents and grandparents and committed to get a temple reccommend by the end of August! We are so excited for her. We printed out a picture of the Kiev temple and gave it to her to hang up on her wall. She loved it! I think working with less-actives is my favorite part of missionary work. It gives me a lot of hope.

T-shirt of the week goes to Albina's mom, who has a shirt that says "Put on Make-Up, Radiance needs to Expression" hahaha
Okay that's it for this week. This Saturday the elders have a baptism so we're super excited for that! It's gonna be in river because we don't have a font, so we both get to see a baptism in a river this month! The lady is the sweetest lady every named Galina. She loves us. She asked sister erekson to write down my and sister campbell's name so that she could learn them. She has been practicing them all week and came up to us at church yesterday and said our names was the cutest thing ever! Her husband is also going to be baptized in a few weeks, he just isn't quite as prepared as Galina was. She's read the Book of Mormon 4 times. She is amazing. Okay well that's it for now. I love you and miss you! Have fun with Adam and Stevie! Don't melt in Nauvoo. Have fun without me!!!!

Wet Troika

Monday, July 15, 2013

We Got a Greenie!

July 15, 2013

Sister Rohrbaugh is doing great, thanks for asking haha I told her that you always ask about her and she loved it! I hope we get to serve together again sometime!
Okay the big news this week is we got our new companion!!!! Her name is Sister Campbell and she's from Pittsburgh. She is 19 and super awesome. I'm so glad that she has a great sense of humor because our lives are about to become one big joke in 6 weeks when i'm in charge! The members here already love her because she's totally herself and tries to talk to everyone even though she can't say or understand anything! It's so funny, i'm going to try and be more like her. The otjher big news this week is I got your package!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! it seriously was the greatest package i've ever seen. Yes, it came in perfect condition with everything in tact! By far my favorite part was the Book of Mormon! I saw it at the bottom and was like, don't they know I have a hundred of these? And then I opened it up and saw the picture and testimony and I was so happy!! Did you get Spencer or Ben to translate it? Elder Wither says it's really good Russian, not that I would know! I spent part of my language study translating it which was really cool. I only had to look up a couple words, okay? Also the socks and Toms are great!!! Out of the food the peanut butter is my favorite of course, but the mac 'n cheese cheese made me really happy too. And the pictures are great! Yes, anytime you send me a package i would love to have pictures in there, but yes the attachments work here too so you can email me pictures any time. Oh i got dear elders from Sister Eyre of course, tell her i loved the drops of awesome thing but i'm not sure if i'm to the point where i could share that in russian yet...maybe in a year or so haha and I also got one from brother maddy. It took me a little bit to remember who that was, but it was so nice of him to write me! tell him thanks.

So anyways, thursday we got to get on a rented out marshutka (public transportation bus) at 6am to make it to Donetsk in time for transfer meeting. We have traveled so much this transfer! Sister Erekson says it won't always be like this, but we've left our city 4 times in one transfer! Anyways, they did transfers differently this time, so President did a personal interview with everyone who was being transferred and told them personally where they were being assigned and what was expected of them. Since I wasn't getting transferred, just getting a new companion, I didn't get an interview so I didn't know who we were getting until the very end when they read off the assignments real fast. I was dying to know who we had! So the whole time people were getting interviews we had little workshops where we practiced contacting using the Book of Mormon, family history, and the Family Proclamation. It was really good practice and it was in english so I knew what I was saying! After we all got our assignments we were back on the bus to lugansk! Our bus stopped and dropped of elders in Gorlovka which is the sketchiest part of the mission (they promised to never send sisters there...and yet, there we were haha) so now I've been to 4 cities in our mission in one transfer, that's pretty good!
Friday poor Sister Campbell woke up sick (throwing up), which happens to almost every missionary who first comes to ukraine (i got really lucky and was fine) so we just stayed inside and studied in the morning. then friday night we had english group and only one girl came, so we just basically hung out and talked (luckily she has really good english) and she gave us some good ideas of things to do for our cultural activity this transfer.

Saturday we were in companionship study planning a lesson and we called the relief society president to ask if she could help us out when she told us that there was a relief society activity starting in 5 minutes and asked if we could come! it was an indexing activity which combines the two things we're supposed to be focusing on: working with the members and using family history in missionary work so of course we went! I'm not going to lie, I actually like indexing, however, watching someone else explain how to index is not that exciting, and having someone explain it to you in a language you do not understand is less exciting, but it was good that we were there. Then we had to run and get lunch before district meeting, and then right after district meeting we went and played volleyball! Now I know that sounds like a P-day activity and not missionary work, but our investigator Nadia was there, and a girl in the branch Nastia who just put in her papers, she invited 3 of her friends from school! So we had 1 investigator and 3 potential investigators all playing volleyball and laughing and having fun with us. It was awesome. I'm starting to think that the fact that i'm hilariously bad at volleyball is one of my greatest blessings. Everyone loves to laugh at me, which is good i guess. Also this 9 year old kid, Stanislov came over and played with us, he was super funny. He loves to talk to Sister Campbell because she never understands him haha. The elders brought out Kool-aid to us (the court is right by their apartment) and everyone here loves kool-aid because it's super american i guess. Anyways, we had such a fun time that we're going to play again tonight and this time we have a spiritual thought planned so it should be great. We invited them all to come to youth night tomorrow and they were super excited and all said yes! So i'll definitely let you know how that goes!
Yesterday at church was...interesting. This totally crazy guy named Sasha showed up and of course we didn't know who he was and we're supposed to be friendly to everyone so maybe I was too nice but he sat by me in sacrament meeting and sunday school and seemed to want to be my best friend. He showed me this picture in the liahona of two girls fishing, and pointed to the blonde one and said "that's you" and then pointed to this black girl and said "that's me" and I was like oh really? that's nice hahaha. When he took the sacrament he crossed himeslf with the bread and said some crazy prayer and then ate it so that probably wasn't good. Then in sunday school he argued the entire time saying some crazy stuff that nobody understood. Poor Nikolai was teaching and he just recently got baptized and the only other people in the room were 3 investigators, 1 recent convert and 3 sister missionaries. It was a very interesting class haha. People here love to argue in church and it's so funny, but i wish i could know what they were saying! Last week relief society was about visiting teaching and someone asked what you should do if your person is less active and doesn't want to be taught and the room just EXPLODED haha everyone talks over each other and thinks their opinion is most important and it's so funny to watch even though i can't follow it at all. Sister Erekson says this is the tamest relief society she's ever seen, so I'm excited to see what some other areas are like! Although I don't really want to leave Lugansk ever, it's so awesome! Oh so Sunday night we had a bunch of people cancel on us so we just went contacting which was good because we got to show Sister Campbell around Lugansk some more, but this crazy drunk old lady came up to us and wanted us to forgive her of her sins. I kid you not, her eyes look in completely different directions and I could not understand a word she was saying, and she literally kneeled down in the middle of the street put her hands at sister ereksons feet and then started crossing herself and sister erekson and kept saying "forigve me, forgive me" it was almost sad, but then her neighbor came out and said, "alright that's, enough. go home" so we figured this was a common occurence and she's just crazy. it was definitely an experience. So sunday was a day full of crazies which is always fun.
I have some extra time this week, so I figured I'd include what I learned this past transfer. Today starts my 2nd transfer! crazy town, I only have 8 or 9 left!!! Anyways, today during personal study I wrote down everything that I learned this transfer, or what I could remember at least and it was really cool. One thing I learned this transfer is why I was called to this mission. I realized that I came to Ukraine to learn what it's like to be inadequate. That sounds weird, but it's true. My entire life I've been able to do everything that's been asked of me, usually without even very much effort. But living in Ukraine, speaking Russian, there is literally no  way that I can do this on my own. I now know what it's like to be terrible at something and it's HARD but it's teaching me so much. I am learning to rely on my Savior because that's all I can do. I have also studied faith vs. fear a lot this transfer and came to realize that courage comes from knowing the Savior and trusting Him. There is literally nothing that I have to be afraid of. If I am scared of something it's because I am trying to do it alone. I have also learned that being a good missionary has way more to do with who you are than what you do or what you say. I am trying to become the type of person that is a misisonary simply by who I am, especially because right now I can't teach people any other way. One thing we talked about in Zone Conference that I loved was Jesus feeding the multitude with the fishes and loaves. I had never thought about this in terms of misisonary work before. Christ asked the disciples what they had, and they gave it all to the Savior. He blessed it and multiplied it and then gave it back to the disciples who then feed the multitudes. This is exactly how missionary work works. We give literally all that we have to the Savior, all of our heart, might, mind, and strength and then he multiplies it and we are able to use that to bless others. I have never understood the phrase "magnifying your efforts" but I think that's what it's talking about. My efforts alone are pretty lame, but if I give all that I have to the Lord, he makes it enough. And then I can use that to help others, which is the whole reason I am here. We also talked about not just giving all of your strength, but playing to your strengths. I really want to figure out what my strengths are so I can play to them! If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them. I know before my mission one of my strengths was words, using words to be funny or persuasive or whatever, but here I hardly even know any words! I can't wait for the day when I can use words well in will come some day! Alright that's just some of what I've learned this transfer! I am so grateful to be here and so grateful for your love and support! You are the greatest!

Alright so that's all for this week, sorry this one was a little bit shorter, but it's only been 5 days! Give me a break! Have so much fun at girls camp!!! I can't believe it's sarah's last year! I'm still convinced that they got rid of 7th years because of me. I had way too much fun and did way too many awesome pranks. Don't forget that girls camp is exactly what you put into it, if you want it to be amazing it will be!

p.s.I don't have a t-shirt of the week because I haven't really seen any good ones this week, only a lady with shakira's face on it.
p.p.s "hit me baby one more time" was just playing in here so that was fun.
p.p.p.s our landlord's wife wants to come over this week and give us a presentation on shampoos she sells so that should be really interesting...we'll see how that goes. We'll do a trade and say we'll listen to your message if you listen to ours haha. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Mystery Meat, Cooking Fail

Sister Erekson's art with a little help from friendly kids

On the Train

July 10, 2013

So here's the thing about eating dog: don't do it. That's all I have to say about that.

Haha just kidding of course I'm going to tell you the whole story! So let me back up. Last monday after I emailed you, our district had shoshlik (means shish kabob in russian) which basically consists of going into the woods and making shish kabobs. I'm pretty sure it's a ukrainian tradition and not just a misisonary tradition but it's hard to be sure. Anyways it was awesome, the elders got way into it and the meat had been marinating for 2 whole days so it was super good. except we were a bit impatient and i don't think the meat was cooked completely when we ate it. also, I probably ate more than I should and was feeling pretty full when we went to a lesson with Albina. So we were walking with Albina and her baby when it started to rain and we ran (I mean full-on sprinted) to her apartment. Now I am not a good runner in any condition, but when my stomach is full of partially cooked ukrainian meat, it's not an ideal situation. Anyways, so we get to Albina's house, teach her the first lesson and when I thought it was the perfect time for us to go home, Albina says "now my mom will cook for you." Okay, that's not really a sentence any missionary wants to hear. So we get to the table and there's these little patty things that look like baby hamburgers, but let me tell you, they were definitely not hamburgers. I started to eat it and kept a very straight face and Albina says "oh good you like it! it's from the liver." i almost asked what animal's liver i was eating, and then i decided i'd rather not know. then she asks me if i'd ever tried sala and I say no, and sister erekson tried to warn me, but i knew it was inevitable and eating nasty food is something every missionary should have to deal with so i just went for it. I told her I would love to try it. Guess what sala is....literally Lard. Straight up fat. She cut a huge chunk of it for me, put it on a piece of bread and handed it to me. I took a bite, tried to smile and she asked me what i thought. the nicest thing i could think of to say was "well, the closest american thing i can compare this to is bacon" (raw nasty bacon is what i was thinking, but i didn't say it) and Albina says "oh yes, but this is much better than bacon." Hahahaha okay biggest lie i've ever heard! anyways i choked it down and we survived but this isn't even to the good part.
so tuesday i kind of recovered, didn't really have an appetite, but by wednesday i was feeling pretty good. we went to a lesson wednesday night to a family that for some unknown reason (it became known pretty quickly) the elders had passed to us. this family is a dad and mom who are probably 40, and apparently 5 kids but we only saw three. the parents were slightly drunk and asked us super weird questions and demanded to feed us before we could have a lesson. the worst part is we brought a member with us, Nastia, who is this super awesome girl who just put in her mission papers so now after this experience she's probably regretting her deicison to go on a mission! so they brought out this food to us that honestly i cannot tell you what it was. there was some form of meat, on top of what i hope was potatoes with some sauce on top. anyways, i ate that food so fast because i knew if i dragged it out i would never be able to finish. so i just went for it. it was maybe the hardest thing i've ever done. anyways, as soon as we finish eating, the dad lets their dogs in and they smell LITERALLY exactly like the meat we just finished eating. so that was extremely disturbing. we tried to teach a lesson and they wouldn't even talk to us, they only wanted to talk to nastia because she speaks real russian, so that was great. we got out of there eventually (like 2 hours later) and as soon as we were going to walk away, they run out with this huge bag of clothes (barbara style) and told us that we could keep them or give them to the poor. haha we got home and looked at them and sister erekson said, "give them to the poor? the poor wouldn't wear them!" they were seriously just cleaning out their closet haha anyways we put the bag next to the dumpster, so maybe somebody took them.
so our stomachs were not doing so great when we left wednesday night and all morning thursday we were just lying in our beds wishing death would come sooner (happy 4th of july to us!!!). we didn't actually throw up, but i considered punching myself in the stomach to make myself throw up at one point. seriously, it was the worst. so if you ever have the choice to eat dog: DON'T DO IT. that's my life lesson for the week.
in other news, wednesday before the dog incident we got a call saying we need to be in Kharkov friday morning for registration. we were super confused because i just registered in lugansk, but it turns out it was for sister erekson so that she can stay longer and train me, so we figured it was worth the 11 HOUR TRAIN RIDE. wow. that is longer than my trans-atlantic flight! it's okay it was a sleeper train so it didn't seem too long. luckily our stomachs were feeling better by the time we got on the train because that would have been terrible. as you may or may not know, the toilets on trains here are literally holes so that you just go straight on to the tracks. well that didn't seem like a great option to me, so i managed to hold it and not go to the bathroom for 13 hours. if you know my bladder, that is a huge accomplishment. i told sister rohrbaugh and she almost cried, she was so proud of me hahaha.
so we make it to Kharkov and literally spend 5 minutes at the registration place. that's right 11 hours on a train for 2 signatures, but it's all good. I got to see Kharkov which is a way awesome city. Then we went to our first restuarant! I forget what it's called, but it was authentic Ukrainian food and i had my first borsch! It was like a million degrees in the restaurant so hot soup wasn't really what i was looking for, but it was still pretty good. Then we got on a train to donetsk (with sister rohrbaugh and her companion and two elders) it was so much fun. sister rohrbaugh and i sat together and talked and tried not to watch the tv which was playing the russian version of The Nanny which was so funny. We probably could only pick up 5 or 10 words each episode, but we could tell it was an exact copy of the american version haha. So we got to donetsk friday night and made pizza at sister rohrbaugh's apartment and then went right to bed. we had zone conference first thing in the morning where we got to meet President and Sister Lochhead which was so awesome!!! Also we heard from President Malm who is in the Eastern Europe Area Presidency. It was such a good conference. The coolest thing is that the Lochheads were there for the big missionary broadcast and also a special mission president meeting with the first presidency. President Lochhead told us that L. Tom Perry said that "the Class of 2013 Mission Presidents are the first to experience this new era of missionary work which is comparable to the coming forth of the Book of Mormon" whoa. that is a big deal!!!! this is the coolest time to be a missionary. 
Here's what I learned about President and Sister Lochhead. President Lochhead is from St. Louis, so he definitely is awesome because he's from the Midwest. Sister Lochhead is from a small town in Idaho, and they met at BYU of course. Sister Lochhead was at her very first ward activity in college when this newly returned missionary who had served in Germany came up to her and said "They won't let me through the food line anymore because they said i've gone through too many times, could you maybe get me some more food?" hahaha and the rest was history. i love it because if a guy had said that to me i would have been like, no what is wrong with you? go away! haha i guess that's why i'm not married yet. Anyways, they got married and have 6 kids and 18 grandkids. They have lived in Moscow for the last 3 years because President was the Church's lawyer for Europe East area. everyone tells us he is full of love, but it is tough love. So far I haven't seen the tough part yet, he is just so nice to us! I had an interview with him and it was so nice. He said that he is so glad I am just starting because we get to spend so much time together. I am so excited to get to know him and sister lochhead more! He said that they will be coming down to lugansk soon and he wants me to teach sister lochhead how to contact hahaha i guess i need to learn how to contact first! he also told me that i will be in a leadership position (aka training) sooner than I will want to be, but it will be good. I already knew that, but it felt more real when he told me! I can't believe I will be training so soon! it's insane! i don't know anything yet! tomorrow we get to go to donetsk to get our new companion!!! we're so excited! we went and bought her a fork this morning hahaha we only had 2. we considered telling her that she had to eat with her hands until she got a baptism but then i realized that would mean i couldn't use a fork either hahaha. 
it was so good to come back to lugansk saturday night. seriously i didn't realize how much i love lugansk until i left it for a few days. It actually feels like home. I loved going to church on sunday and realizing that i know everyone's names and consider them to be my friends. I was sitting down waiting for sacrament meeting to start and realized that i was sitting between two recent converts, both about my age and both who are my friends. it made me so happy! i love working with the members here! please be friends with the missionaries at home, it will make a big difference to them. at church we had a new investigator come which was way exciting! her name is Natalia, and she approached us in the grocery store and asked if she could come to church on sunday. of course we said yes! and she actually came! she had to leave after sacrament meeting, but she wants to meet with us later in the week. 
t-shirt of the week was this little kid, probably 5 years old, i think it was supposed to look like a football jersey and the front said "Cream 369 Sugary" and the back said "Don't Expression Made By You 158" hahaha what!?!? runner up is this lady whose shirt said "I <3 hanger" it was actually a picture of a hanger and it's ironic because we don't have hangers in our apartment and i've never realized how much i love hangers until i don't have any haha. 
on monday we were walking and within 5 minutes I saw graffiti that said "happy birthday Kait" and "i love you katya" and i took it as a sign that lugansk loves me as much as i love it. this week our elders got 2 of their investigators (a husband and wife) on date to be baptized July 27th!!!! we're so excited! there's no font here so we get to go to a river or lake, i'm so excited. This week was elder mckenney's birthday and i tried to make him a cake and it was the biggest fail of my life. i actually don't want to talk about it. sister erekson says everyone has cooking fails here though because things just don't work the same in ukraine. so then i tried to make apple cobbler as plan B and it looked pretty nasty coming out of the oven so we decided not to give it to him, but we ate it and it actually tasted pretty good haha. whoops sorry elder mckenney. sister erekson drew him a cartoon of our district though and he loved it so it's all good.
p.s. have you seen a dog in a dress and a cat in a straight jacket this week? i have!

New MP, Open Doors, The Bun is Back!

July 1, 2013
Lugansk District

I can't believe you guys are in Cambodia! What the heck? I thought Ukraine was cool. Man I was going to complain about how hot is was this week, but I'm sure it's way worse in Cambodia and Thailand! the biggest news of this week is we got a new mission president! President Lochhead and his wife arrived on Saturday and the Camperos left on Sunday. It was definitely sad to see the camperos go, but we're so excited to meet the Lochheads. We are having a Zone Conference on Saturday in Donetsk so we get to meet them! We're going to Donetsk on Friday, having interviews with president and then we get to have a sleepover with sister rohrbaugh and her companion friday night before conference on saturday! I'm so excited to see sister rohrbaugh again!!!!! it's gonna be the best. we've heard super good things about the Lochheads already. The Assistants texted everyone and said that they went out contacting with the Lochheads and got 4 solid contacts which is pretty amazing here and then they went and visited some less actives and got them all to commit to getting to the temple within 30 days! that's insane! They said that Lochheads want to be out working with the missionaries as much as possible and that President will go on splits with the elders and Sister Lochhead will go on splits with us!!!! I'm so excited! They sound awesome. They speak pretty simple basic Russian (just like me!) because they lived in Moscow for some time. I can't wait to meet them!
Other big news, the bun is back! I put my hair up to exercise and didn't even think about it but then i looked in a mirror and realized that my hair was in a bun on top of my head! it was magical. It took 4 months, but the bun is back!!!! 

We watched the missionary broadcast this was so good! we actually watched it twice because we watched it in english as a district and then in Russian in church for the 2nd and 3rd hours. that was good language practice for me because i had already heard it in english so i could guess what was going on. I hate that they say iPads "sometime next year" because i come home "sometime next year!!!!" i bet our mission will get iPads the transfer after i leave. haha oh well. The funniest thing was when we watched it in church we paused it and took a break and this super old babushka, Nina was sitting next to sister erekson and asked her if she knew what was going on, and sister erekson said yes but Nina was like, "i'll explain it to you anyways. they're saying you need to work more with the members because we're the best missionaries!" hahaha it's true! i'm glad at least one person in our branch was listening! 

On Monday night I saw a bassett hound and i almost died of happiness. It was the cute kind too. Oh haha funny story Sister Erekson's siblings who are in the MTC wrote to her and told her that everyone in the MTC got food poisoning last week (except for the missionaries in the choir) and it was so bad! People were puking everywhere!!!! haha i wish i was there so bad! That's what you get for not going to choir!!!!

This week we met with Antonina who is a less active, but only because she's super old and can't come to church. We visited with her and found out that she can't read her scriptures anymore because her eyesight is so bad. She has an audio version of the Book of Mormon but she can't study by topic or look up a specific verse. Can you imagine how annoying that would be? You're stuck in the Isaiah chapters and just have to wait it out?!?! Haha anyways, we offered to come over every other week and study the scriptures with her. That way we get to practice our Russian and she can study what she wants to. I'm really excited. She is super sweet and loves us already.

We also met with a less active named Nina who hasn't been to church in 6 years. She says she knows the Book of Mormon is true, and that this is the true church, she just has no desire to come to church on sundays. Sister Erekson was awesome she goes, "do you believe that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet" and nina says yes, so sister erekson says "we were called by president monson, and God sent us here to tell you that He wants you to come back to church." haha her eyes got huge! She says she wants to meet with us and make steps toward coming back to church. Sister Erekson defintiely followed the spirit in that lesson because we had just planned to leave a Liahona with her and bear our testimonies, but we felt like we needed to stay. So she just pulled a scripture out of nowhere and improvised a whole lesson! When we first came in she didn't even really want to talk to us, and just let us in out of politeness, but by the end she wanted to meet with us again and eventually come back to church! It was so cool. I'm so grateful for sister erekson because I definitely could not have done that.
On Wednesday we got to go on a mini field trip to get me registered to live in Lugansk! It was awesome. The misison has a lady who takes care of all of our documentation and everything, she's not a member but she LOVES the missionaries and totally looks out for us. So she came over to Lugansk from Donetsk and took us to this random government building where i stood there and she said a whole bunch of things and then i signed a paper and now i'm legal! it was kinda scary but i don't think i messed anything up, so we're good. 
This week we broke in our new oven by making texas sheet cake! it was so good! we brought it to district meeting and the elders definitely appreciated it. it reminded me of one time me and emma made two texas sheet cakes in one weekend in hawaii haha. 
This week some pipes in our bathroom started to leak so we called our landlord and of course as soon as he came over it stopped leaking. he thinks we're such dumb americans. haha he's going out of town this week so he took us over to his friend's shoe store and introduced us to her and said "these are the girls with terrible russian. if they have any problems they'll call you." haha he thinks we can't understand him when he talks. well to be fair, i can't, but sister erekson can! 
On Saturday we had a "day of open doors" which just means an open house at the church building. We invited so many people during morning contacting and literally not a single person showed up. we stood outside the church for 3 hours and invited everyone to come in (it was raining) and not a soul came so that was pretty exciting. but the best part was we were just coming in from morning contacting and we decided to invite our neighbors who were just sitting outside on a bench so sister erekson says "today is our day of open doors if you are interested" and the lady goes "your door isn't open, what are you talking about?!" haha we're like, no the door to our church, not our apartment! haha it was awesome.
So we didn't have anyone show up to the day of open doors, but sister zoya the crazy lady who shows up to youth night and takes over, she took us into a random class room in the church and gave us a lecture on how we need to have better posture and then she gave us massages! it was the weirdest/funniest thing of my life. They definitely massage differently over here. It did not feel good at all, and I think my spine is permanently bruised haha. The best part was at the very end she stuck her knee at the top of my spine and pushed really hard while she pulled my shoulders back. It crunched so loud I thought she was trying to break my back! I bet they don't teach you that in chiropractor school abby! haha maybe you should bring that to america, you could change chiropractory forever. (i'm pretty sure chiropractory is not a word. whatevs)
In other news, we got one new investigator this week! Her name is Albina, she's been coming to English conversation for a couple of weeks and she agreed to meet with us. Mostly she just wants english practice, even though her english is basically perfect, but she is also pretty interested in missions and why we'd give up normal life to live in ukraine for 18 months. so we went on a walk with her and her one year old son David who is the cutest thing ever. we explained to her that we'd be happy to help her with her english but our purpose is to teach about the gospel, so we will do both. she said she's open to talking about anything, but she's deeply orthodox. she and her family are moving to boston at the end of the summer, and we gave her the information of the ward there and the bishop's phone number. I told her that he will know where the best neighborhoods and schools are in the area. we talked a little bit about the church and what makes us different from orthodox, but we're going to actually do a full lesson with her tonight. she told us that her husband believes in God, but doesn't have a specific congregation, so we'll try to get him to come sometime too. she told us she walks her son 3 times a day and we're welcome to come with her anytime! it's so weird since no one has backyards to play in or cars to go on drives, everyone walks their babies. seriously strollers are a big deal. everyone has super nice strollers but their houses are totally falling apart. it's so weird. also there's tons of nice american cars here. it's so weird at a stoplight you can see a BMW, a Lexus, and then an old soviet van that there's no way that thing should still be on the road. i'll get a picture sometime.
This week we thought we got a miracle and we were so excited but then it got undone. So Gulia the muslim girl, we told her to ask her father if we could keep meeting with her. So we called to set up an appointment and her father answered. At first he was super angry and didn't understand why we couldn't just teach her english, they have their religion, they don't want ours etc etc but then all of the sudden he just changed his mind and was like, okay you can come. we were so excited!!!!! then he called back a couple of days later and was like, i need some time to think about it, i don't know if i want you to come over anymore. so we're praying for his heart to be softened a little bit to let us come over.
Fun fact, Ukrainian women don't shake hands, so the members of the church just assume that we don't shake hands either. So with the women it doesn't matter because we just hug them all anyways, but at church the men will go around and shake all of the elders hands and then completely ignore us. It was so funny the first couple of weeks I thought the branch president hated us, but then I realized that he's just treating us like ukrainian women and not shaking our hands! 
Alright that's it for this week! You are awesome, I love you and miss you! 

T-shirt of the week: a picture of minnie mouse and the words "I love my boys to football" hahaha
-oh p.s. p-day next week will be on wednesday because we have transfers!!!! we're 99% sure that we're getting a new greenie companion! i'm so excited!!!! 

p.p.s shout out to all the bevans! paul says you actually read my letters! you are awesome!!!! have fun in nauvoo without me :)