I can't believe that it is P-day again, I don't know where the time goes! I have been loving every second and have felt my testimony grow greater every day! Our time here is getting closer to being over! Next Monday 2 districts leave, and after that my district will become the oldest in the branch!!! Scary, huh? And we get our travel plans as well!!!! I am so excited, but so sad! I can't imagine my mission without those in my District, I love them all so much! I seriously consider them my brothers and sisters. Just an FYI, I won't be calling from the MTC on Mother's day, however we can call from the airport. And I had my last fast sunday in America for the next 17 months.
I am trying to think of everything that has happened this week, the days are so long, but they fly by faster than I know how to deal with. We are now down to only 2 days a week speaking in english. It is almost weird when I can speak in english! It isn't as hard as I thought speaking Ukrainian all the time, I feel like we can communicate rather effectively with our broken words and round about sayings. I have gotten really proficient at speaking with my hands and gestering with actions to get my point across.
The time with our investigators has been so good this week! Aptem is baptized, so we are no longer teaching him. I miss him, but it is all good. Vasil, our inactive member is probably my favorite to teach. This week we had two lessons with him and one that completely changed me. It helped me really understand the power of a testimony and that I am sent to Ukraine for a specific reason. I know that he is just our teacher, technically but they are acting out real people and their experiences.
Our first lesson we made these notes for him from the boys that we asked him to teach basketball to on wednesday nights. Then, we told him that the boys just loved him and they want him to teach them and all this stuff. Well one of the notes didn't have a name on it, so he asked who the note was from and Cectpa Wallace said it was from Brat Juke's son. So, he is like wait, who is that? So we descrive this lanky, uncoordinated child and ask him if he remembered the Juke family, he said yes. Well, Brat Juke died. Is what we told him, we needed Vasil to now teach the boys Sunday school class because this man had died. It was SO funny! Our teacher broke character because he was laughing at us!! All of this is just role playing, so he has to go with what we are telling him. Anyway, so we had printed off the lesson for the week and the talk that went along with it by Jefferey R. Holland. He said he wan't prepared to return to church, and we said well, we weren't prepared to plan a funeral, but here we are doing it anyway. It was so funny! He ended up not coming to church, which is fine. He will keep teaching the boys, and we are going to have the Elders play "futbol" with him on Saturday. He did agree to read the talk that went with the lesson though.
We gave him the talk by Jefferey R. Holland, given in conference in April, "Lord, I Believe, " read it if you get the chance. It was just amazing! Anyway, there is a part in there where he says that he doesn't want us to claim faith that we don't have, but to hold true to the faith that we do have! It was something really powerful that hit me, after I pointed that part of the talk out to him I shared my testimony with Vasil about a time when going to church wasn't my priority and I didn't really have a testimony, that all I had was a belief in Joseph Smith and that was all. Then I explained that it didn't matter because that was enough. I explained that now I am on a mission. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that I know that the Book of Mormon is true, that this church is true. It all started with a desire, and we read Alma 32 with him, talking about just a desire is enough. Cectpa Wallace shared her testimony as well about not being prepared to serve a mission. It was really powerful, then he confided with us that he doesn't feel worthy to attend church, so we asked him if he would let us help him become worthy. He said yes, it was really great!!!
On Sunday we had a devotional given by Chad Lewis. He is a NFL player and it was a really great devotional. He said the same things that we have been hearing for weeks here, but he was just so chill. He acted like a normal person. The thing I took away the most was when he talked about his mission and he said all he did was smile the first month. He just smiled because he couldn't speak chinese, but it worked. So just smile and cry yourself to sleep for a month, then get up and just do it. It was great advice, I thought. Before the devotional we had a great time as a District making up these stories. You just have to know the people to understand how great this really was, but Sister Lewis is UPSESSED with telling stories that she just makes up off the top of her head. All of us love them, even the Elders get into listening so her stories, so we took it one step further. While waiting in line for the devotional, which we actually wait in this computer lab right next to the line that some older Russians, that are now gone told our Elders about. So, we are all waiting in there and Sister Lewis starts this story then hands off the story to Sister Kelley, who then handed off the Elder Peterson, then Elder Vandermark, then Sister Wallace, then me. It was hysterical how each of our personalities went into the element of the story. Us girls would try to turn it into a romance and then Elder Peterson would bring in military tactics..... anyway, it probably sounds so lame, but this is how we entertain ourselved now and we LOVE it!
This week has seriously been the greatest and we have all just grown so much! It is awesome to see how each of us have more fully developed our talents and overcome challenges here. The Spirit here is just he greatest! I can't wait to get into the field though, see how well my Ukrainian actually is, it could be scary! I am starting to think certain things in the language though, which is kind of cool, and weird. Our teachers used to speak in Ukrainian about things they didn't want us to hear, they can't do that anymore, which is kind of cool!
Thank you for the letters and my scissors! I am so happy that they are here, although, I can't cut hair in the MTC. It truely is so sad, cuz the Elders went and got hair cuts the other day.... let me tell you. I don't even want to talk about it, they all know how I feel. I will just have to fix them in the field, cuz they are pretty bad. Elder Petersons....ugh! I just can't even talk about it.
I hope that all is going well, keep up the DearElders and letters! OH! And to clarify, letters and DearElder are the best here at the MTC, in the field, email is the way to go. Letters and DearElders are checked twice a day, but our emails can only be checked once a week. And, if my dear, cute little cousins want to write and draw pictures for us missionaries they would love it! They Elders and Sisters in my District have said they wish that little kids would send some pictures to them, and it just so happens that I know a lot of little kids that can draw great pictures. Their names are Elder Peterson, Elder Vandermark, Sister Kelley, Sister Wallace, Sister Lewis, and they have the same MTC mailbox as me, just put their names on it! Thank you so much!! I love you all!