Derek opens his mission call

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Crazy man at church

Dear all,

have i told you what the name of my area means? it means UNITED. pretty legit.

i'm doing awesome. the weather is warming up, although there has been this blasted wind and clouds ruining the warm suns' rays of glory and happiness. but it is warm enough to play SPORTS today, which is what i'll be doing in a couple hours. so basically there is this field right in front of my house, and i convinced everyone that it is the best place to do sports on pdays. so everyone is coming to ME. which is desirable.

i'm sorry you can't perfectly read my emotions by reading my emails. don't you worry, i'm DOING GREAT. i'm sad to see rollison go, he is such a good kid. but me and my new comp are doing some really good work here, and things are just going to keep snowballin'. i'll show you. you'll see.

that reminds me: transfer day was awesome. they switched things up, put the transfers in eggs and let us crack them open and read them ourselves. and it was april fools, which means they had a lot of fun messing with us. actually they only did a couple fake transfers, but it was funny. elder rollison is going to elder johnson in LUGANSK. man! i just pray i follow him. and yes, elder noren i got. he is two transfers younger than me, a hard worker, friendly. he is a good kid. from texas, served in the army, he is twenty one years old. lets just say, he gave a spiritual thought before our planning session. thats all we'll say.

the rest of the week was OK! with the exception of a few very awesome parts. so above average, i would say. monday night is one of those awesome ones. so we set up with the tikamerovs, who live outside of donetsk, so they have to drive us there and back. they said the only time that worked to drive was around five thirty. so basically we just hung out at their house for like four hours. which probably makes me sound like a bad missionary, but it was the only way, it was rollison's last time, and it is the district president of donetsk. and it was awesome.

pavel is doing great. we met with him twice this week. the first time was tuesday at his apartment, and we had another good lesson about the book of mormon, we answered some questions, had a really good discussion about prayer, god, basically just a general religious discussion, but it was good. at the end his mom came in, who is an identical twin of her sister looba, who we first got in contact with. his mom was super friendly, even got after him for not feeding us. we said, next time for sure. walking away from that lesson, we met looba randomly, and she was like, hey, you should come over for tea and cookies sometime and we can chat! and we were like, ok! so basically the dream is to be teaching their whole awesome extended family. that will be the day.

our next lesson with him was one of the best. we met on a park bench on saturday (so this was with noren). i told him we wanted to talk about gods plan for us, and he said cool. so i taught a really detailed, but simple, but thorough, but complete second lesson. it is so much easier to teach in english, by the way. he really liked it, said that most of it he agreed with, but admitted some doubts about that last part, what with the kingdoms and all. so i again explained about how to recieve knowledge from god, and about reading and praying about the book of mormon, coming to church. he seemed to really get it this time, and he said that it is very important to him to find out if the plan of salvation is true. those were beautiful words to hear. he also mentioned a girlfriend that was against our church, so that might become a problem, but for now, he is doing great. he promised to read and pray about the book of mormon every day. we even invited him to play sports with us today, and he is coming! should be fun.

oh saturday was a good day. it is a day of service all over ukraine, so obviously the church had a big old service day. lots of people were on the roads and stuff sweeping or raking. so now there are like hundreds of piles of dirt all over the streets, and no one knows what to do with them, so they are just slowly blowing away in the wind. good job, ukraine. nice try. for our service, we raked up some leaves and beer bottles/needles from a couple little areas of grass. from the mouth of elder mccallison: 'it is now debateable that it looks different'. so i think we really did a lot of good. if not good, at least we made it look slightly different, for a couple of days.

saturday we had a couple hours to contact as well, and for some reason we had a whole bunch of success. we got several really good contacts who said they would be interested in meeting. it was bizzare. because on sunday we had like double the amount of time to work, but we got one contact. though that contact was cool. she was walking up some stairs, and she was like, hey guys. i'm really tired right now, so i can't talk, but i really would love to meet with you. i've always wanted to, but i work a lot. my husband isn't really into religion, but i would love to know more. here is my number, call me sometime and we will meet.' so that was cool. that doesn't often happen.

church that day was a good time though. i walk in, and our mission leader comes up and he points to this guy, and he is like, there is your new investigator. so i go up and say hello, and he says, hey i want your autograph, i have some autographs from americans, i want your autograph. i say, ok, i guess. and he is like, i'll get that later. i'm an immigrant. an immigrant. and i say, where were you born? and he was like, ukraine. so i asked, where do you live? and he says, in donetsk. he pulls out of his pocket one of those stress balls that looks like the earth, and he was like, i stole this from a bank. it is a symbol of a bank. the earth sphere. the earth ball. do you like chess? i say yes. he pulls out of his other pocket a horse chess piece and says i love chess. he opens up the piece and in there i see some pills, and he is like, thats my medicine. i was like, ok all makes sense now. but i sat next to him during sacrament, and he was pretty funny. he kept on doing a bunch of little hand tricks, and laughing really loud. doing the hard rock sign and saying, in english, heavy metal rock. heavy metal rock. he pulled out a one grivin bill at one point, stared at it for like a minute very intently, then put it on the ground. "30 31 30 31 30 31 30 31" he kept saying that. he also turned to me and whispered 'i like your church because of it being true'. so he was crazy.

answers: the places i want to serve are the places everyone wants to serve in. they are just clean, fun, lots of people, younger people, better buildings, just better. jobs here, pretty much miners for the most part. thats what the majority do, at least.

so yeah, it was a good week. and next week should be awesome! we get to watch general conference! so pumped. well, i still know the church is true and that this is God's work. there are miracles that happen every day. i just don't always notice them, i assume.

have a great week. sorry about the april fools joke, if it was a bit harsh. love you all!

love derek

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