I'm in Mariupol!!!!!!!! Mariupol is great for a numbers of reasons, but mostly because it is ON THE SEA!!!! We are going to see the sea today and I cannot wait. It is literally a 10 minute walk from the church building. I'm so excited! It's no pacific ocean, but it will have to do. So now I have officially been to every city in the mission except for Sumy which is way way up in the north far away from everybody. Maybe I'll go there next. Anyways everybody says that the best two areas in the mission are Lugansk and Mariupol, so my whole mission is just gonna be downhill from here hahaha. No i'm hoping to stay in Mariupol for 3 transfers and then go back to Lugansk for 4 more haha. That's right I only have 7 more transfers! crazy town!!! Mariupol is known for it's awesome members which I am so excited for. Also Mariupol is known throughout Ukraine for having a 'special sense of humor' AKA everyone is literally insane. which is great. insane people love to talk to missionaries!
Anyways this week was crazy saying goodbye to everyone in Lugansk and then trying to meet everyone here in Mariupol. By far the funniest thing was when I went to say goodbye to Candy. She had organized this goodbye party for me with all of her African friends and they all wanted to sing songs for me. It was so hilarious. I have a bunch of videos but the files are too big to send. Candy cannot sing or dance to save her life, but she loves to anyways so she sang me this song "seasons in the sun." Look it up, it is hilarous. i'm pretty sure it's a guy who is about to die singing to the love of his life or something like that. anyways it was pretty special. then her friends made up a rap about me which is just the coolest. I haven't seen any Africans here in Mariupol and I already miss Candy and her friends like crazy. I will try and send a picture but I don't know how to do it on these computers here in Mariupol.
Oh so you know how I said on September 1st it magically became Fall? Well on October 1st it became winter. On transfer day it snowed!!! Like even by Schrecengost standards (an inch on the grass) it legit snowed! Everyone was freaking out haha. We got texts from 3 different leaders in the mission saying we need to drop whatever plans we have and go shopping to get winter stuff haha. So we go permission to go shopping this week and I got a hat and mittens and fuzzy Ukrainian boots. I still need to find a big fur shopka (hat) but other than that I'm set for the winter, which is good because it is predicted to be the coldest winter in Mariupol in 50 YEARS! That's right, that means this is the coldest winter that missionaries have ever seen in Mariupol, and it is the coldest winter since Ukraine has been Ukraine. Nbd. That's why out of our district of 6 missionaries 3 of us are from the Midwest. That's right me, Elder Wilson from Wisconsin, and wait for it......Elder Tyler Saunders!!!!!! Would you believe it? Oh I guess I should tell you about my new companion. Her name is Sister Welch, she's from Las Vegas (shout out to the Cardalls) she is 21 and she is awesome. She loves food and sleep as much as I do which is a big deal. She is one transfer younger than me and is absolutely fearless. She talks to and is friendly to everyone which is such a good example to me! I still don't love talking to strangers, but I'm working on it.
Side note: it was my half birthday this past week and nobody remembered. I'm trying really hard not to be upset about it. 21.5 is a huge deal in Ukraine. I can't believe no one remembered.
Also something I can't believe I haven't told you about yet. My stomach is insane here. That sounds weird, let me explain. You know how Sarah and I would play that game where we would listen to each other's stomachs and mimic the weird noises that they make? Well that game is definitely unneccessary here. My stomach is SO LOUD all the time!!!! I think it's the worms talking to each other. Yeah all of the missionaries have worms here, it's fine. You just take this pill called 'the bomb' when you get home and they all get flushed out. Nbd. Anyways, until then my stomach is constantly gurlging and growling and occasionally squeaking and it's pretty funny except in sacrament meeting when it's just plain irreverent. My worms need a lesson on reverence or something. Anyways if Sarah were here I know she would die laughing hearing my stomach. maybe you'll be able to hear it on skype in, oh i don't know, 80 days!!!!!!!!!!!
Alright here comes your favorite part: What I Learned in My Third Transfer:
-The Lord gives miracles to those who need them the most
-Happiness is a choice. Just make it.
-Happiness comes from becoming like Christ, Joy is being in the presence of God.
-In a district meeting Elder Butterworth asked us if we could be praying for something grander. He encouraged us to raise our expectations and expect success. I realized that I had been praying to just "get by" rather than to succeed and see miracles. As a missionary asking for blessings isn't selfish because our work is selfless by nature.
-Being exactly obedient doesn't mean being perfect because that's impossible, it means quick course correction AKA repentance.
-Satan wants me to feel bad about myself and question my abilities as a missionary. Heavenly Father has full confidence in me. I need to trust Him AKA have faith in Him and myself.
-I studied confidence and realize that there are two kinds of confidence talked about in the scriptures. There is confidence in the Lord and confidence in front of the Lord. Faith and Hope help us have cofidence in the Lord and Virtue and Charity help us have confidence in front of the Lord.
-Pride is always the cause of apostasy. To avoid personal apostasy we need to stay humble, always repent, and stick with the church!
-How to conquer pride: love God more than man.
-The Lord qualifies those whom He calls.
-The Lord blesses me because it is not for me, it is so that I can bless others.
-Blessings/miracles come when you least expect them, if you are not looking you won't even notice them.
-I realized that the Spirit isn't constantly speaking to me because if I am on the right path doing what I am supposed to be doing, I don't need a prompting. The Spirit warns me when I am about to make a mistake or helps me when I'm really stuck, but most of the time Heavenly Father trusts me enough to make the right choices.
-Relying on the Lord doesn't mean sitting back and letting Him do all the work. It means doing absolutely everything that I can, and then having a firm belief that He will take care of the rest.
-I realized that one main reason our family is so close is because we kept the Sabbath Day holy. Think about it, every sunday we spent time together eating and playing games and I am so grateful for that. I went through Preach My Gospel chapter 3 lesson 4 and tried to write down every blessing in my life that i can remember that has resulted from me keeping those commandments. you should try it for family night or something. for almost every single one i wrote that our family is closer and i am temple worthy which are the two greatest blessings to me.
Alright, that's all I had written down but I know that there's so much more I learned in this past transfer! It was really hard at the time, but looking back I am so grateful because it taught me so much. I am excited to find out what the Lord has in store for me here in Mariupol. Okay that's all I've got for this week! No we haven't been able to watch conference yet, we will watch it this weekend in Russian but I'm not sure when we get to watch it in English because we're going to Donetsk this week for Zone Conference. I'm super excited though! love you! have a great week!!!