Can't believe it's been another week! They go by fast but slow at the same time. Friday was my one month mark in Ukraine. It seems like I just got here. Crazy stuff. Well, this past week we all went to the mall here called Caravan. It was pretty weird to be in a mall. We went bowling there, so that was fun. It was in English/Russian so I kind of understood what was going on haha. But it was exactly like US bowling though so it was cool. Also last week I played Russian Monopoly! It was crazy! The branch has a branch night every week and they want the missionaries to come and get to know members and stuff so they played Monopoly haha. It was fun but very frustrating because I hardly understood anything going on and most of the members playing had never played before so it was their first time. They're supposed to bring non-member friends though so that the evening will be beneficial for us so it was kind of a waste of time seeing as how there weren't any non-members there. We'll see how this week goes for branch night. We did service for the partially deaf man again as well. We'll probably keep helping him as long as we can. His name is Dymaev and he's a pretty cool guy. He is building his own house and he hopes to be done in one year. We started digging a hole for his electricity pole. It's supposed to be 2 meters but we only got .8 so we'll probably finish next time. There was also a baptism this week that we all got to attend! It was pretty cool. The man baptized is from Nigeria. There are a lot of those people here for school and I guess some of them are interested in the gospel.
So get this! All of the missionaries that are in the MTC right now who were supposed to leave November 1st didn't get their visas, including senior couples! They have to stay there for one more month unless they just get assigned to go stateside or something. So this next transfer no new missionaries are coming in, which is crazy. Which means the transfer after that in December I have a good chance of training a new missionary because my training will be done. I'm pretty freaked out about this haha. I can't even imagine training a new missionary at this stage. Maybe like in a year but I guess we'll see. Elder Schoen is going home December 6th so I'll be changing companions around that time. Crazy stuff. So here's a story for you. Yesterday at church this American guy walked in, he was probably late 50's, early 60's and he started talking to us after Sacrament. He said he wasn't a member of the Church but that he believed it was true. So we asked him if he wanted to meet with us and he's like, Well I was excommunicated so.... awkward haha. He said a served a mission in Italy and all this stuff but apparently he protested directly against the First Presidency or something because he doesn't agree with Mormon culture and how it "differs from the scriptures" haha so he was excommunicated. We asked him why he was here, and (this is scary) he said he left his family to come here and find a new wife and then he wants to move to Chile...... Creepy dude. Apparently that's the only reason why American guys come here is to find a wife. That 's what all the missionaries told me. So yesterday made for an interesting day at church!
I'm glad that you enjoyed conference, this session was awesome I thought. I have been reading a chapter from the Book of Mormon everyday and I just for this past week I have seen how much it has blessed me. Pres. Eyring's words are true about missionaries reading everyday. Before I left on my mission I started reading and underlining all the references to Christ. I have started doing that again and it's awesome. I also think about missionary work as I read and just about life after the mission and how I can improve. I have been learning a lot from the Book of Mormon as I read. I am in Mosiah 5 right now. King Benjamin's speech is amazing! I really enjoyed Mosiah 4:11-12. It is an amazing promise if we do it. If we always remember the goodness of Heavenly Father and pray everyday, are humble, and stand steadfast in the faith then we can ALWAYS be happy and retain a remission of our sins. King Benjamin's speech is awesome, I am going to study it more.
The weather here is starting to get cold! Below freezing at night. I'm staying pretty warm though, my coat is really warm, my beanie keeps my head warm and my scarf I bought here is the secret to staying warm! And I have thermals too and those warm socks so I'm good. I hear that this winter is going to be really cold because the last one wasn't that bad. Winter starts in December-ish so right now isn't as bad. It's like fall/winter I guess. Sorry you didn't get my e-mail last week. A little bit after I sent it came back and said that your account didn't get it because it's full. I didn't have time to re-send it so I figured that that's what happened. I will start sending to your g-mail account. Something else you can do if your not tired haha is just get on your g-mail and then I'll get on this and we can chat back and forth. Some missionaries do that with their family. Granted it would be midnight for you haha but I bet your still up :D I sent you guys your birthday package last Monday so you should be getting it next week sometime. I forgot to put a little note in the package explaining the gifts so I sent it in the mail so that you could get a letter too. By the end of the month you should get that.
As far as investigators go, we really haven't had a progressing investigator at all. It's frustrating because I've been here 5 weeks and I don't feel like I've made that much progress. But Elder Schoen and I have been talking and we agree that we have been growing more every week even if the numbers don't show it. There just isn't a lot to work with in our area. Aleksei was our closest investigator but now he doesn't pick up his phone since he dogged us last week. We are meeting with an old investigator this week who seems pretty interested again so hopefully something comes of him. We are trying to meet with less-actives and members during the week as well but none of them can hardly meet because they have to work. And the members in the area can only meet Sundays or just don't want to meet in the first place. It's frustrating but we're doing our best. We're going to do some tracting tonight and just keep contacting and keep asking the few people we teach for referrals. Contacting isn't very effective because nobody wants to talk and no one really has interest in the church because they are already members of the church here. So we'll see what happens this week. Elder Schoen says that this area is the slowest of all the areas he's served in. We're trying to work our best and help the few members that we can to help us.
I love you all very much! I hope you're doing well. Happy Birthday Dad on Wednesday! Eat some shrimp for me at Market Street! Have a good week!
украинская донецкая миссия
ps- the pictures this week are a huge temple I found with Elder Harvey (he's in my district) on my split, me in front of a statue we found haha, and a picture of the Monopoly night. Valera is the older guy on my right (your left) and there's just a bunch of old ladies playing haha. And the other missionaries are right under the camera you just can't see them. Enjoy!