Monday, July 1, 2013

First Letter from the L'viv Ukraine Mission

What a week, I can't believe that I am here writing again! This week was such a great week I don't even know where to begin with all of it! Monday after emailing home I got to go to the church and cut all the Elders hair (including Elder Tribetts again), that was an adventure. I can't say that cutting hair in the church will ever get normal. It was a funny experience though, we had a line up going. I would cut the hair, they loved the straight razor, p.s., then they would take turns vaccuuming each other to get all the hair off, it was quite funny.
We also committed another girl to baptism. She is one of Pavlo's friends. She is 17 and a cute girl. Renatya is her name, and she is really sweet! She is the same age as Olya, so Olya will be a great friend for her.
I have to preface my next story with this, just so you all know, Ukrainians have this 6th sense with weather that is just ridiculous. We planned a picnic for family night on Wednesday, and Lydia kept saying that it would only happen if the weather would cooperate, it had been so hot here that we thought she was just being crazy! We wake up on Wednesday morning to rain. It has been raining all week in fact. Go figure! Never doubt a Ukrainian when it comes to weather. Every time we see a Baba on the street with an umberella we make sure that we have ours on us because it will for sure be raining.
Our picnic on Wednesday was not canceled, it was just moved to inside the church. Elder Millard and Tribett said that they were going to bring all sorts of cool things to this said picnic to make it still like a picnic, so Sister Shaughnessy decided that we were going to bring the outside in. We had to make a salad for the picnic, and just so you know a salad in Ukraine means tomatoes, cucumbers and olives in oil and vinegar. So while at the store to get those said items (p.s. I love tomatoes now, because I have no choice but tolike them), we picked up paper to make a tree and some flowers. We set up our pretty sad looking tree in the foyer in front of our meeting room. It was quite great! We put flowers all along the wall and everything as well. We hoped that everyone would know what we were trying to do and they would even know that it was a tree.
Natya and Yeva were the first ones at the church and they loved it, so it worked out. It was kind of fun! The picnic went really well. We had about 20 people there and ate some Ukrainian sandwiches, which consist of sausage, cheese and butter on some bread, some salad and deviled eggs.
Also, I had my first encounter with Holodets. Thank you Elder Ward for telling Lydia that we all love Holodets. If you don't know what that is, think of meat and fat jello, you get the picture...She made us 2 bowls of it! Luckily we got to take it home. The Elders gave there bowl of it to the dogs on the street and took our bowl with them, I don't know whatever happened to it, nor do I really care. I was not going to try that if I didn't have to. The Elders wanted me to try it, but not if I can get away with not eating it.
On Thursday we had a meeting with one of Olya's friends, Maria. It went really well, and she commited to read the Book of Mormon. She is a devout Catholic though, we will see how it goes. We sang hymns with her and she loved it! The Spririt was really strong as we taught her the Restoration. She is friends with Olya to, and Olya is such a good example she will help her out.
This week as well we also met Olya's dad! He gave us a ride home from the church, it was amazing! He was SO nice, so nice! We thanked him for the ride and later in the week we called him and invited him to church. We told him that we wanted to give him banana bread for the ride home. He is such a nice guy it is hard to see him being so proti about Olya's desire to get baptized.
We also went to Sasha's house on Saturday after cleaning the church. Sasha is the greatest, while we were cleaning he was playing music on our little keyboard that we have at the church. He played christmas music, so we taught him how to sing jingle bells in english. It was so great. All the way to his house we were singing Jingle Bells with him. It was so great! 
Meeting his mom was a great experience, she was such a nice lady. She was kind of tipsy, but really nice and friendly. She sent Sasha to the store to buy us some juice. We talked with her for over an hour and invited her to church, we told her we would come get her the next day to walk with her, she didn't protest. Right before we left cute Sasha totally dumped the last of the juice down the front of Sister Ekolz, it was so funny! And so Sasha! You just have to love him!
Now, Sunday.... Let us just talk about how amazing Sunday was! We went and picked up Sasha's mom for church, and she came! It was so great, we were so excited and you could tell that Sasha was too. He can now bless the sacrement and stuff, so of course he wanted to do that yesterday to show his mom. She stayed for the whole meeting to, and Lydia was such a good little friendshipper for her.
Also, as we sit down with Sasha's mom, Renatya comes to church with Pavlo, so great! Then, Olya walks in with her dad! AH! We were so excited, he came to church!!! How great is that? She has wanted him to come for so long and he came! It was so great! We were so happy, then Olya leaves for a second and comes back with her friend Maria!
Our jaws like dropped! It was so great! We were so excited to have all of them there! Renatya had to leave little early for work, but everyone else stayed the whole time! How cool is that? We were all so grateful to Heavenly Father for that, it was so amazing! Maria was really feeling the Spirit to, she cried all through sacrement. 
After sacrement Sasha's mom invited all 6 of us missionaries over to their house for juice, is what she said. However, we walked with her and she had to go to the store to get the juice, so we waited outside as the Elders went home with Sasha. She came out with two HUGE bags of food. We got to their house and she like through together this entire meal for us! I had to be incharge of making the salad, and I as not cutting those tomatoes fast enough for her.
It was quite the experience to have all 6 of us over, there home is not very big, nor do they have much, but she insisted on all of eating, and eating a lot. We had a lot of good laughs, before we started eating she stood up and thanked us for church and all this stuff, then she said that she is going to pray in Romanian, because that is her native tongue. We all bow our heads, and nothing happens. For like 30 seconds it is just quiet and we are all trying not to laugh. Elder Ward started laughing and then I lost it, then Elder Millard and Sasha went, and we were all gone. When she said that she was praying in Romanian she ment for herself, because the rest of us wouldn't understand her. It was so funny, Sasha was giving her a hard time about it, saying that we all thought she was going to pray for all of us. 
It was one of those, you have to be there moments, but it was so funny! The rest of the meal was great with them as well. We shared a spiritual thought and got a return appointment for us Sisters with her this week. 
It was such a great Sunday, and it was just such a great week! Ah, Heavenly Father is amazing and truely preparing these people to hear the Gospel. Uzzhorod is growing, and it just so amazing!

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