Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving

December 2, 2013

hahaha okay first off, i typed the email 'from angelica' so i'm glad that you think my english is very good haha. she asked me to type it because she is a pretty slow typer in english, which is quite understandable. i tried to type my name in russian and it took a good 10 minutes. angelica is 22 and has done some college here in ukraine but didn't like it, so she's been studying english for awhile so that she can go study at byu. it is so weird to think that she and sarah are doing the same application....sarah is not old enough to go to college!!!!

okay so my two miracles from last week. first of all i wish i had written them last week because over the past week they have sort of become less miraculous, but that's okay. so first off the elders passed us this GOLDEN girl named Nadia. She is 24 and speaks english and has been to 3 churches in the past 3 years because she is looking for a church that is run by God not by people. um hello perfect. anyways the only catch is that she is literally the flakiest person on the planet. she is not actually avoiding us, she really loves us and i think she is really sincere, she just is kind of spacey and not exactly the most prompt person i've met (good thing i have 2 wonderful siblings that have taught me how to love this type of person). anyways, i strongly believe she is ready to hear the gospel, she just has to actually meet with us at some point! miracle #2 was that a less active woman named Vera came back to church! she was offended by someone in the branch and stopped coming for several months, but she called up her friend and said "I'm ready to come back" wow. well actually turns out that she just came because her grandson (who has been active the whole time) didn't want to come to church that week and the only way she could make sure he went is if she went with him. She did not come to church this week. so i mean it was a step, just not as big as we originally thought.

okay so that was last week. this week was Thanksgiving!!!!! We had a dinner that originally was supposed to be just missionaries, but several members invited themselves in typical ukrainian style, so it grew to be a whole bunch of random people but it was fun. the food was great (the elders couldn't find a turkey anywhere, so we had 2 roast chickens which were amazing), our apple pie turned out great by some thanksgiving miracle, and i spent all morning mashing a billion potatoes by hand. my right hand may or may not be bruised right now, but it was worth it. this week all of the lessons and spiritual thoughts we shared were about gratitude and i challenged everyone to write down their top 5 biggest blessings and thank Heavenly Father for them in their personal prayers that night. I decided I should probably keep my own commitment, so here are mine:

1. The Atonement of Jesus Christ and the opportunity to change and become better every day.
2. My Family
3. Personal Revelation (through scriptures and the Holy Ghost)
4. My Mission
5. Covenants

So that's my top 5. What's yours? you should do it for family night or something.


this week i had one of those moments when you realize, woah i have actually learned stuff. i'm not a greenie anymore. it is so hard to gauge or even notice your progress on a mission because it happens a tiny bit every single day. anyways on tuesday we were at a Family Night at one of the members' houses and it was Sister Kopta's first time. I looked over at her sitting on the couch sitting straight up, hands folded in her lap, looking around nervously trying to understand anything at all. then i realized that i was just sitting all relaxed eating some weird ukrainian food without thinking twice about it, chatting with a member, feeling totally at home. i realized that in this moment, in this randon ukrainian apartment, i felt 100% at home. it probably would feel more normal to me to be there than to be at home right now honestly. that's weird. i don't know when that happened.

this week one of our less actives Anna came back to church!!! she just randomly decided to come to our halloween party and since then we have gone and visited her house at least once a week. she admitted that when she came to the party she knew we would try and talk to her and get her to come back to church, but she decided to come anyways. she has a 2 year old daughter and they want to have another kid soon. anyways, her husband is less active and the elders are trying to work with him but he is being a poop. but Anna is great! we just go over and talk (she speaks perfect english thank goodness) and she knows that she needs to come back, she just knows that being active is a big time commitment. anyways we called her this week to invite her to game night and sister kopta told me that i should invite her to church ( i always listen to her because i believe in greenie intuition AKA the Spirit) and when i did she said "you know what, i've been thinking about it and i want to come to church this week." it was definitely a miracle!!! sacrament meeting was pretty crazy like it always is on fast sunday, but she said she was really glad they came so hopefully they will come again next week! even though we don't really have any investigators right now, working with less actives has been so great. it is so exciting to see real progress!

oh this week we had the craziest referral i've ever gotten. so this woman calls me one random morning and starts taking so fast in Russian and i had no idea what she was saying. all i caught was that her name was Aliona, she wanted me to talk to her parents, and something about a post office. i asked her if she knew the elders' phone number and she said yes, so I told her to call them because they speak russian a lot better haha. turns out she is a member who lives in Kiev and she wanted us to deliver a package to her parents as a sneaky way to get them to meet the missionaries. well they saw right through that plan and the dad freaked out and was yelling at us. anyways, turns out the dad (he's way old) was just crazy and he is mean to everyone, but the mom and sister were super sweet. they had us stay for tea and cookies and looked at our family pictures and showed us theirs. haha all old people have really bad eyesight here, but the mom Ulia must have really bad eyesight because she said that Dad looks like Jesus. haha she also said that dad is so young, she thought dad was my brother and justin was the dad. Hahaha she also said that she can tell our whole family is very smart, so that's good. whenever people see our family picture they are always shocked that i am the one in the middle. every single time they say "woah that's you?!?! you are beautiful!......what happened?" hahahaha every single time!!! there's a phenomenon in this mission where i guess ukraine kinda just takes the life out of you, i don't know why, but everyone comes home looking like 5 years older and slightly dead. but then as soon as you get home you go back to normal so no worries, i probably won't look like this forever. i just love everyone's reaction when they see our family picture.

okay so winter fashion is officially in full swing and it just the greatest. first of all, all the little kids have to wear these thick bunchy tights under their jeans, even the boys and it is hilarious because they HATE it. they get all bunchy and twisted and the kids are always complaining and i really feel for them. also it's true, everyone told me that they dress the kids up like the little brother in a christmas story and it is 100% true. even now when it's still in the upper 30's these kids are like little snowmen waddling around, it's the cutest thing ever. my second favorite item of winter clothing is the men's leather baseball hats. i don't understand them because i'm pretty sure the point of a hat is to cover your ears, but these are literally just super thick baseball hats that all the guys wear. i will try and get a picture of one because i'm not describing it very well. all of the babushki are paranoid about us poor baby americans freezing to death. they are always yelling at us to put on more layers. i swear multiple times every day people ask me if i'm cold and why i'm not wearing a hat. sister kopta didn't have boots for her first 2 days and everyone freaked out and told me i was a bad trainer!!! seriously my success as a missionary is judged by how well my companion is dressed.

oh also i don't think i've told you much about mariupol. since it is right on the sea it is a huge fishing town. there are little old ladies sitting on every street corner selling fish. sometimes they are dried and on a string and the lady shakes the string and yells at you to buy her fish. sometimes they are just wet and slimy in a huge bucket straight out of the sea. no matter what they definietly smell fresh and look nasty! good thing we are not allowed to eat the fish here on account of heavy metal poisoning. also mariupol is known for it's pollution. there are tons of factories here, but the good news is that one of them is a chocolate factory. and if you stand in just the right spot it smells like you are living in a bucket of hot fudge. it's my favorite spot in mariupol as you could probably imagine.

okay okay that's all i have time for this week! i hope that you have a great week! listen to Delilah (93.9 WLIT!!!!) for me! i miss that woman!

p.s. two things i forgot last week that are different about me. there is approximately 10 pounds less of me, i have no way of actually measuring but that is a wild guess. and also i eat cereal with big spoons now. that's a big change for me! i used to HATE big spoons, but now i'm on dad's side. big spoon=fast spoon!

Biggest Loser: Ukraine

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