Wow, I can't believe my first week has come and gone already. It was definitely not what either of us expected/would wish on anybody. Beginning of the week was fine, we did get pizza with James and Shelly (they invited us again tonight for the final time, they're leaving tomorrow and everything's in order with their adoption). And then Tuesday is where things got bad.. for breakfast I had a banana that we bought at the store but it turned out to be unripe, still green. I didn't think it was that green but I shouldnt've eaten it. I felt progressively worse throughout the whole day but was still going fine though. We had a lesson with an investigator named Denis, then a recent convert lesson with Ruslan and family night with President Gushin's family. By famiy night though I was in a bad way, like chills and headache and stomach pain. At the end of the FHE branch president's dad asked me if I was alright and I said I had a headache and then everyone just started going crazy and worrying and all of a sudden he got out a blood pressure thing and was taking my reading!! He said that I had a really bad reading because my heart was beating super fast and then asked me what I had been eating. They found out about the banana and said I shouldn't ever eat the bananas here in Mariupol because they're death! So it was probably the most interesting FHE I've ever been to haha. But we came home, I felt like crap, then slept. In the middle of the night I felt awful and couldn't sleep and threw up, but that felt good though. So now it was Wednesday and I woke up feeling like a train ran over me. Basically Wednesday I slept on and off and when I wasn't sleeping I was in the bathroom, it was bad! And I wanted to study but had a bad headache all day so it was miserable. And then Thursday Elder Sanger started having the same symptoms as me and we were both going in and out of the bathroom. Even worse! Thursday I felt better though because my headache went away. And Friday we planned on getting back to normal but Sanger started throwing up Friday morning so Friday was out as well. We called the doctor in Kiev and he had us drink a concoction of water, salt, sugar, and baking soda. It was nasty but helped us stay hydrated. And then Saturday we basically got back to normal for the most part, had district meeting and talked to people again on the streets. Through this all though Elder Sanger and I did some great bonding though, maybe the best bonding at the start of any of my companionships haha. But please don't worry about us, we're back to normal now except for Sanger still being on crutches. He still has 4 more weeks of that. The branch has been SUPER HELPFUL especially President Gushin and his family, they bought things for us and made sure we were fine. But yeah, not anything I would wish on anyone. I think the banana started it but I really had the flu though because I passed it to Sanger. Fun times.
Not regarding this though, we had progress with investigators and building the relationship with the branch.
Nina - She is beyond ready for baptism BUT she doesn't want to get baptized until her family understands her decision. This means Saturday isn't going to happen. She said it will be soon and wants some time. She'll make it :)
Denis - He is an invalid that the sisters found through contacting his mom on the street. He is 35 and did some hardcore drug usage in his life and is now a vegetable. He can't move on his own and sits at home all day. It's so sad. We weren't sure about his level of understanding because he wants to get baptized but one of the requirements of this of course is repentance so we prayed and studied about this topic and his situation and met with him again last night. We both felt that he has good enough understanding to repent sincerely and follow Jesus Christ. We set a baptismal date for him for March 16! We will need to get him to church somehow, probably carry him into a car and then get a wheelchair, but we're faithful this can work out. He's super humble and enjoys our meetings. I hope he can get baptized!
Now for some comments/tidbits. The Mariupol branch is gung ho about missionary work, it's amazing. The members absolutely love missionaries and are willing and ready to help. We are getting to know a recent convert named Ruslan very well. He got baptized 2 months ago, is now a branch missionary as of yesterday and came on 2 lessons with us after church. He's 22 and wants to go on a mission. Awesome! We're very grateful for the members of this branch, I hope we can do a ton of work and help several people come to the waters of baptism. Mom, tomorrow I'm starting my D&C Countdown. Start at the official letter #2 and read a section everyday backwards. It's scary I've only got the D&C left for time. I'm doing my best everyday to use time wisely and learn the things of importance. That's crazy about the meteor in Russia! I did not hear about this, first time.
I love you all so very much! Thank you for your love, prayers, and support. Have an excellent week and I'll talk to you later!
Украинская Донецкая Миссия
(from Mariupol) with love,
Ukraine Donetsk Mission