So here we begin another transfer here in the world of a mission..same area down here in odessa...(did i ever tell you the names of our branches? try just try to say these..it took me a couple week... Toirova and Cheriomushkey). so, same area, new companion! sister oneil! im so excited! shes american, has been out in the field 7/8 months and ive been on exchanges with her a while ago and she way motivated and way excited to be here, so it should be a good transfer. it would be naive to say it will be perfect with no bumps in the road, but...we've got a pretty good head start at getting along.
i went up to kiev wed night and came back on thurs. i guess im getting pretty bad/lazy with all this travel, but i probably looked more like a college kid backpacking europe who hasnt showered in days than a missionary, but...what to do? sleeping on trains, no time or place to shower/brush teeth. its a hassle to pack extra clothes becuase we already went up with suitcases of my leaving companio and came down with suitcases of my new companion plus all the mail/packages for our zone. so...im pretty sure i looked like some sort of zombie when i saw president on thursday, but thats okay, he didn't say anything about that. we just had a quick comp interview with my new companion. he kinda just gave us a personaly invitation to go down and get some work done here in odessa. he reminded us of our work as the only 'sister' official representation of the church in this city-make sure we live up to that charge and calling. right now we kinda focus on 2 of the 5 branches down here, but after talking with sister oneil we decicded to branch out into the other branches and focus on getting referrals from the other members of odessa. like i said, im excited.
yesterday we got a call from an awesome member from a different branch (suvorivsky) to tell us that our miracle elena who showed up to general conference a couple weeks ago and then went mia came to church yesterday! and loved it! yeah! elena doesn't have a phone, so we cant quite keep in contact with her way down here in our area (an hour and half away, well, if you go by public transp-half hour witha a taxi)..so we decided we will go up to their branch next sudnay. we have 2 elders up in that area but they have kinda asked up to try to teach her. whatever, okay.
so here in ukraine, the cool/cheap/delicious food you can get out on the streets is called "sharma"..its like a middle eastern burito. once and i while i like them. we have a sharma stand by our house and a couple weeks ago we stopped and talked to the workers there. this one lady was SUPER nice. we talked with her and found out she is an armenian who grew up in georgia (quite an oxymoron/paradox, but whatever) who moved to ukraine 10 years ago and has her family her. she really like us and we would wave to her once and awhile when we walked by. well, saturday night we were out contacting and we rean into her and her teenage daughter as they were out walking. once again...SUPER nice, and invited us over sometime on sunday to talk with her. she said whe always has sundays off (when a missionary hears that you can imagine the lightbulb that goes off in our heads). we invited her to church but she didn't come, but i think we can get her daughter out to activities. we have two fifteen year old girls in one of our branches...so it could be good. we ended up stopping by her last night...back up. we wanted to 'stop by' instead of call her ahead of time so she wouldn't have time to cook us food. when we talked to her on saturday she invited us over so we could try her homemade armenian coffee and some georgian food. so, we stopped by hopping we could dogde a 'dinner date' with them and give them a book of mormon (we even found 'selections from the book of mormon' in our appartment in armenian which we thought she would like). we were wrong (about the food).... from the time we rang their intercom to the time it took us to take the elevator up nine floors, they had the table cleared off and started to pull out ALL kinds of crazy food. it was actually way cool to see and taste a lot of things. i packed some herbal tea packets in my purse just in case she wanted to serve us coffee. and i was glad i had them. she wasn't TOO offended that we refused her coffee. the most unique thing we had was this 'walnut rope' or something. its called "choochhack" or something in georgian. they strung a string through a line of walnuts, then they did the rope of walnuts in a fresh grape juice/four/vanilla mix then hang them up to dry. it kinda tastes like rubber, but still interesting. the rest of the food was pretty ukriainian-lots of canned/preserved fruits/peppers. we talked about god a little bit, some religious traditions in georgia. even though she looks SO armenian, and she is armenian, she love the country georgia and the people and the traditions better there (again, i say that is quite the paradox given how much war is betw those two countries, but still..interesting). they actually have a whole family living there-her husband, a son and daughter, and the sixteen year old daughter is so sweet and awesome. i think our next step is to get the daught to our english/game night at the church so she can meet our other young women in the ward. she took the book of mormon and was way excited to start reading it. i'd say they aren't right away 'elect' ...we might have to 'love' them into the gospel...but, i don't think that is altogher a bad thing.
so, its finally pretty warm. well, it gets warm for a couple hours a day then the wind picks up and we've got to put our jackets on, so we're not quite to summer yet...but oh so close.
we got our first shipment of the new translation of the russian book of mormon last week. i guess its way better, but i haven't started reading it yet. i think im like a lot of the members..i already have my old translation that ive been reading and it has all my notes in it. its kinda hard to pick up a clean book of mormon. but my last companion (who is a native russian speaker in ukraine) was excited and said some verses shes come across are way more clearer in the new translation, but likes some verses in the old translation better. its kinda an interesting conversation to have that doesn't hold much ground here, "the book of mormon is the most true book because its only be translated once. well, once into english. about two or three times into russian..." but people are kinda used to that here since a lot of the movies they watch and books they read are just dubbed or translations. isn't it just interesting to imagine that?
well, im so glad im still "doing it" im still preaching, teaching, and working like missionaries do ...i think that a primary song?...
i lvoe you all, miss you like crazy! i hope finals are/did/will go well for everyone!!!