okay so about the thing that's happening here that i'm not allowed to talk about....i'm just going to say that i feel like i'm living in a kind of weird combination of Les Mis and Dark Knight Rises. i'll let you use your imagination on that one. and mom, i know you haven't seen dark knight rises, and i certainly wouldn't recommend you seeing it now. but don't worry literally nothing is happening in mariupol.
the big news of the week is that i'm leaving mariupol! well i am supposed to, but there was a crazy blizzard (more on that later) and the roads between donestk have been closed for over a week and probably still will be on thursday when we're supposed to leave, so i guess Mariupol really doesn't want me to leave or something. anyways, the bad news is that mariupol is the warmest and safest part of the mission, so no matter where I go things are about to get a lot more interesting!
okay real winter hit this week. i first just want to take my hat off to all the other eastern european missionaries. donestk is the warmest mission in eastern europe and i nearly died this week. let's just say i was never cut out to be a pioneer. now i know that we technically are modern day pioneers, starting the church in this country blah blah blah but i'm talking handcarts and wagons, buffalos and frostbite pioneers. no way jose, no thank you.
things that i thought i knew before this week:
-what it means to be cold. NOPE.
-once it gets below zero, cold is just cold. there's not a difference between -1 and -20. HA! wrong.
-surely there's no such thing as a snow day in ukraine. WRONG.
-falling in the snow cannot give you a bruise. FALSE.
-ukrainians never fall when walking on the ice. thankfully incorrect. maybe i'm a terrible person but whenever a ukrainian man falls over my heart warms up a little knowing i'm not the only one.
-ice is just ice, it is all equally slippery. OH SO WRONG.
there was a day this week when i literally lost feeling in every part of me. you know when you come back from the dentist and part of your face is numb for a few hours and you feel and look weird for a while? imagine that but it's your whole body. awkward.
there was one point when we were walking to a lesson and it was literally just a sheet of ice, the super slick kind and we were walking straight into the wind. i bent over and was literally mustering all my strength to walk forward, but the wind was pushing me backwards and i was going nowhere. i call it nature's treadmill of death.
also whenever we go outside now my eyes and nose just instantly start leaking. sometimes i can't even feel it because my face is numb but we get inside and it's so gross. i don't really know what to do about it.
probably the funniest part of the week was when the elders called us frantically and said that a door to the church building was left open and the alarm was going off, so we had to run to the church to turn off the alarm. we were at a member's house and had to run through this park through knee-high snow and i nearly died. we got to the church and i knew which door it was but there were huge snow drifts in front of it, and i tried to climb over the drifts without sinking down, but it didn't work and i fell down and couldn't get up, so i literally rolled to the door. i wish i could say it was like a james bond style roll, but it was probably closer to a beached whale type situation. anyways as i was trying to lock that door, the alarm tripped again so i had to RUN around to the other side of the building because if you don't disable the alarm in a certain amount of time the cops will show up and that's not a thing that anyone wants to happen. so i think i ran faster than probably any schrecengost has ever run and i turned it off and felt like a superhero. miracles do happen. sometimes schrecengosts can run if the Lord really needs them to i guess.
the best part of this week was when we went to go visit Anna. we had planned to talk to her about the Atonement and as soon as we started talking she was like "thank you so much for picking this topic. i have never really understood how the Atonement can help me." My heart almost broke right then and there. I am SO grateful that we were able to teach her about the Atonement and how it can help us in every aspect of our lives. I used myself as an example and said that sometimes I don't feel like a good enough missionary, but I know that as long as I am doing my very best, Christ can make up the difference. She stopped me and said, "if you think you aren't a good enough missionary, you're wrong. You always say exactly what I need to hear and I think that's a gift. Missionaries in the past have tried to teach me, but they haven't said what I needed to hear." that made me feel SO good! one of the hardest things in my opinion about being a missionary is that you don't get told very often that you are doing a good job. of course you should go to the Lord for approval, but sometimes you just need to hear it in words from someone you really care about. That experience didn't just make me feel good about myself, but it gave me motivation to push myself even harder and become even better.
funny russian mistake of the week, i accidentally told someone that we drink in sacrament meeting instead of sing. whoops. that sing verb has been getting me in trouble since the mtc. remember that incident? (anatoli, we want to sleep with you...)haha
alrighty that's it from me in mariupol! next week i'll be writing you from somewhere colder, unless the roads are blocked and i have to stay in mariupol forever...i wouldn't complain! oh ps a while ago i got a christmas card from the shim's and i don't know if i remembered to say thank you. please tell them thanks for me! i haven't gotten mail in over a month, but hopefully next week i'll have some more thank yous to send out! anyways, love you and miss you and have a great week!!!