Wednesday, July 10, 2013

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 :)

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