Monday, March 12, 2012

Greetings from Saltovka!

Privet family!

This has been a crazy week to say the least. Lots of changes, lots of goodbyes, lots of hellos. To start off though, I have been transferred BACK to Saltovka, which is still in Kharkov. (I say back because after Elder Schoen went home this is where I served while I waited for the end of that transfer right before I served with Elder Robison. I served there with Elder Hardy if you remember. It was mid-December and I was there for like two weeks) And in fact, I have been transferred to the exact same area that I was in for that short period of time so it's pretty crazy! I kind of remember the area already and some members from this branch that I met. So basically the Lord has more plans for me in Saltovka! This area is a lot smaller than Cold Mountain by a longshot. There were places in Cold Mountain that I never went to it was so huge. But so far I'm loving Saltovka. I suppose you're wondering who my new comp is. I will be serving with Elder Lambert. He's an awesome kid from Tooele. He just got finished being trained so I am to him what Elder Robison was to me. He's doing great so far, I'm excited to work with him. He's a hard worker and is a funny kid. Him and his trainer white-washed into one of the other Saltovka areas which means that they didn't know what they were coming into, just like what Elder Schoen and I did. So they did lots and lots of finding for like three weeks and got lots of contacts and investigators from it. So we've already had a few lessons in our short time together. I'm excited for these next several transfers here, they're going to be great. I'm already learning tons from Elder Lambert. It's a little crazy going from junior companion to senior companion. All of my companions so far have been older than me but now I'm the oldest. But I can already tell you that the Lord truly helps both companions to work together, but especially the senior comp. I've already noticed that I am able to understand people better and speak better when I need to. Of course I must be worthy of these blessings but it's awesome that the Lord always helps us to help others. I have also been called to be the District Leader for the Saltovka Branch! So my DL responsibilities are doing call-ins every night with my district, calling in to the zone leaders every night, and holding district meetings every week. Also, if anyone in my district is having a baptism then I interview their baptismal candidate. My district is amazing- Myself, Elder Lambert, Elder Moss (yes, my comp from the MTC Elder Moss!), Elder Efoshkin, Sister Ward, and Sister Turnbull. I am really excited and humbled by this calling. I am already learning tons from everyone in my district its awesome. You already know the first three elders so I'll talk a little about Elder Efoshkin. He was born in Kharkov, moved to the Crimea which is the island under Ukraine, then he moved to Moscow because his parents got divorced. I'm not exactly sure how he found the missionaries yet or how they found him but he got baptized not too long ago and is the only member in his family. And now he's on his mission here. I can't even imagine being a member for like less than two years and coming on my mission. It's so crazy. But it's amazing though. I'm sure he will teach us all a ton throughout these next transfers. Sister Ward is in her last transfer. She is from California. She is always very happy and enthusiastic about everything haha. And Sister Turnbull is getting trained by her. She just got here last week. I think she's from Ogden, not exactly sure though. She is great as well. She went to prom with one of the older elders here haha so that's crazy. But anyway, sister missionaries are the best missionaries. They just work harder than everyone and have tons of success so it will be cool to have them in the district. This is my first district with sisters as well so it will be fun. Right now Elder Lambert and I are living where he was trained but the apartment didn't pass apartment checks due to the fact that there is mold on the walls and a cockroach problem. It's pretty nasty we killed like six cockroaches my first night here. So we just got the OK to move today so after I send this to you we're moving to the apartment where I was back in December. It's seriously like an American apartment, it's so nice. We are excited to move but no one is more excited than Elder Lambert haha.

Now if all of this news isn't crazy enough for you- new area, new comp, new responsibilities, moving- than maybe this will be. Everyone's visas have been having problems with them and it's getting harder and harder to renew them. So because of this, my whole MTC group and I are going to ARMENIA for half of next week for a visa trip! It's gonna be sweet! This Saturday I'm taking a night train down to Donetsk and then our plane will leave from Donetsk Monday morning. We'll be in Armenia for the rest of Monday, all of Tuesday, and half of Wednesday. And then we get back to Donetsk late Wednesday night. So basically how it's going to work is we will be proselyting in Armenia with the Armenian missionaries while our visas are getting renewed. They only know Armenian of course but most people in Armenia also speak Russian, so we will be in threesomes I hear and therefore can speak in Russian with Armenian people and the elders we're with won't know what's going on with us, and we won't know what's going on with them! It's going to be a sweet experience, I'm excited. It will probably be the only time I ever go to Armenia so I'm gonna make the most out of it. The Burr's have been there a few times and they showed us some pics back when I was with them. It looks like a way cool place. There's lots of castles and green fields and stuff. So yeah, I don't know what else to say about this other than I'm excited and have no idea what to expect haha. So there's a chance I might not send you an email until like middle of next week but don't worry you'll get an email somehow.

And now if all of this news isn't crazy enough for you, I have a crazy story for you from yesterday. So after Church we came back to the apartment and decided to eat a quick lunch and then go back to the branch because we had a lesson (It's like 20 min to go back and forth) So we ate really quick then went to our lesson. It was a very good first lesson with a contact that Elder Lambert and his trainer got named Vitali. His mom is a Jehovah's Witness but he seemed like a very sincere guy and already wants to meet us again on Wednesday. The Spirit was with us and we were able to teach to his needs. It was a great lesson. So after this we came back to the apartment. Elder Lambert walked in and was like "Elder, it smells way bad in here. It's hard to breathe." So we started to open some windows to get some air in there. And then he's like "Elder, I left the gas on the stove!" So then not too long after this there was a beeping sound and a voice coming out of it saying "Warning..Warning..Carbon Monoxide" So we ran out of the apartment and called President Campero. He said to just open all the windows that we could and then go sleep over at the other elders' apartment for the night. He told Elder Lambert to have the floor and to give me the couch because it was his fault haha. President is just funny like that. So basically we just ran back in after this, opened all the windows we could, and then stayed the night with Elder Moss and Efoshkin. It's been an insane first weekend together. After we get moved today things should be better for us haha.

So this has been my week in a nutshell. It sounds like yours was not as hectic. It's weird to finally be out of my greenie area now. I learned a lot from Cold Mountain though and I'm excited to just apply things I've learned and continue to grow. It was sad to leave because it's the only area I know but that's just part of the mission. I will always hold those members near to my heart. I have sent some pics this week of my favorite members I met with before I left. The picture with me and Elder Frandsen on the couch is the Morgoon family. They are awesome missionaries and share the gospel with their neighbors. They have a less-active son but in time he'll come around again. The picture with us standing is President Miroshnichenko and his wife. (aka Valera from the MTC who was our investigator) They are amazing members. And the picture with me and the lady with black hair is Vika. She is less-active but has become active again. Elder Schoen and I met with her as well as Elder Frandsen and I. And the other picture is our district with the Burr's. I'm going to miss them too! And the pictures last week, the red-headed boy is Akim. We met with them a few times but didn't get pictures with them. He is almost 6 years old and is hilarious. The younger kid is named Pasha. He is currently the 2nd counselor in center branch, is going on a mission soon, and his brother is serving in Kiev right now. He's a stud. And the old lady with the hat is named Irina. She is a very forgetful old lady in center but she loves meeting with missionaries and helping us with our Russian. I will remember these people forever! And to answer your other questions, yes we've been doing internet later in the day now and doing all of studies in the morning. I'm not sure when Daylight savings is but it's probably soon. And I'm glad that all is going well with you at home.

I love you all so much. Have a great week and keep on keepin' on!

с любовью,
старейшина каун
украинская донецкая миссия

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