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January 13, 2014
hahaha i can't believe they called it a polar vortex. that is the funniest thing i've ever heard! did they have a reason for it besides this is the end of the world? all of the babushki here love to talk about the end of the world. it's great.
as far as picking me up goes I need to ask someone. I know that if I was going home by myself I would fly out on Tuesday, October 14th. I'm not sure how it works with parents, but I think you would come in on Monday, because there's a farewell dinner that monday night with the Lochheads for all the missionaries going home. I'll ask someone this week and let you know for sure next week. But yes, you should definitely fly into Donetsk and OF COURSE i want you to come!
This week I was asked my favorite question that I've ever gotten on my whole mission. A lady I was talking to on the bus said, "how many years have you been studying russian?" MADE MY DAY. i told her 9 months and she was shocked. I told her that God is helping me and I don't know if she appreciated that, but it's true!
I have a conspiracy theory going that the members here are having a secret competition of who can feed us the NASTIEST food! this week we had this 'special christmas dessert' that may or may not have been dog food mixed with sugar. i almost died, but i finished my plate as always! i have yet to encounter a plate that i cannot finish, although there have been several close calls.
there is some good news on the food front, and that is that one of the senior couples came down to do apartment checks and they took us out to a nice restaurant and I had real pizza!!! i mean it wasn't american pizza, but it definitely wasn't ukrainian pizza, so it was fantastic. it did have grapes on it, but i took those off and ate them separately as a fruit salad haha. also you will be happy to note that we passed our cleaning check with flying colors.
this week we had an adventure on the bus, which is always a fun time. we were riding a bus just as a way to contact people and about 20 minutes into it these two crazy people with HUGE bags full of metal stuff (i don't know i think it was pots and pans or something) got on and tried to shove their bags behind the door. well at the next stop when the door opened it got jammed and totally BROKE! well, we don't have a polar vortex or anything, but it IS winter in ukraine, so the bus was pretty freezing the rest of the way. also the door was stuck open and the bus was packed, so the lady who takes your money stood in the open doorway so that no one would fall out when the driver went around corners crazy fast haha. it was great.
i FINALLY got my boot zipper fixed this week! it's been like a month and i am so glad to have it back. luckily our friend angelica is armenian and the shoe fixer guy (what is that called in english? i know there's a word) was armenian and just happened to know her uncle so he gave us a way good deal. in all reality it was probably a difference of 5 dollars, but angelica was way proud of herself for getting us a deal.
On saturday we had a branch activity of playing soccer in this awesome old soviet gym in the middle of nowhere. i think there were a grand total of 8 people there, and only 2 of them had any previous soccer experience. it was pretty hilarious. i kept repeating to myself "i will NOT break a bone today. don't break a bone. don't break a bone." because in this mission they just send people home rather than bother with ukrainian doctors. but no worries, i didn't even twist an ankle or anything. maybe in the shrek family there had to be one broken bone this week and because i selfishly prayed not to have a broken bone that is why sarah broke her pinky. whoops. sorry sarah i stole all the good bone karma this week!
this week we met an awesome lady on the street named luda. she told us that she knows she has sins and she wants to learn how to get rid of them, and also that all she wants is to find a way to bless her family. UM HELLO! unfortunately she hasn't answered her phone since we met, BUT we'll keep calling.
our two miracles of the week: first there is a member named Dasha, she is 23 and super sweet but she has a speech impediment and i think some sort of learning disability because she definietly doesn't comprehend everything that we teach her. anyways she was dating a guy who goes to a different church and she was distraught about what to do, whether to go to his church or hers. we had a lesson with her and told her that joseph smith also wanted to know what church is true and the way he got his answer was by reading the scriptures and praying. she commited to read the Book of Mormon and pray every day for a week. when we met with her again she told us that her boyfriend broke up with her and now she knows the church is true! definitely not the way i thought she would get the answer, but i guess that was the way that she could understand it best. now she wants to share the gospel with her parents too!
miracle number 2: our investigator on date Vadim. we taught him the plan of salvation and the word of wisdom. we were nervous because in our first lesson he left like 3 times to go smoke. but the good news is now he doesn't have a job so he can't afford cigarettes or alcohol. so we taught him the word of wisdom and he said, yeah I already started to quit drinking and smoking. i asked him if he would start right then to live the word of wisdom and he said yes! that was on thursday and he still hasn't had a drink or smoked since. (at church yesterday he smelled like smoke, but we're hoping that his clothes just smell like that permanently. some ukrainians don't know that you are allowed to wash clothing). also funny story, he asked if in our church we get baptized naked hahaha. luckily we had a member with us who could explain the bapstimal jumpers because that would have been fun to try and describe in russian haha.
Okay I have a few extra minutes of internet time today so I want to share my testimony because I don't do that enough.
First of all, I know that God lives. He lives and He loves. So many people don't understand or accept that fact. I know that God is my Heavenly Father and everything that He does is to help me return to Him. I am grateful for a loving Earthly Father who has helped me understand by example how my Heavenly Father feels about me. I know that He would never leave me or forsake me, and that His love for me never changes. I can feel His love everyday as I search for it.
Second, I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. It is this knowledge that keeps me going every day. I know that through the Atonement, I can overcome all challenges and obstacles that come my way, and also that I never have to be alone. I know that Christ chose to suffer for me, so that He would know how to comfort me. I know that through the Atonement of Jesus Christ I can literally change my nature and become more like Him. I know that become more like Jesus Christ is the way to find true happiness. I know that the Plan of Salvation is only possible because of Jesus Christ's infinite and eternal sacrifice.
Third, I know that the Book of Mormon is the Word of God. In this book I have found many answers to prayer. I feel comfort and peace when I read this book. I know that it is true, because studying it and living by its teaching has made me a better, happier person. I know that it is true because it testifies of my Savior, whom I know and love. I know that it is true, because I have prayed and asked God specifically if it is true, and I have received specific answers that yes, it is true.
Fourth, I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that through him, the true church has been restored on the earth again. I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is the only true church on the earth, and that it is the same church that Jesus Christ established when He lived on the earth. I know that the Priesthood has been restored and that it is only through sacred ordinances performed under proper authority that we can be saved, and live as families eternally.
Fifth, I know that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet. He speaks to us on behalf of our Heavenly Father and provides us with guidance and direction. I know that following his counsel will bless our lives and allow us to find peace and happiness in this life, no matter what trials or opposition we might face.
I know that these things are true with all my heart. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
new rule, EFY music is allowed!!!!! send me every efy cd ever in my next package please!!!!!!