Dear family and friends,
I'm teaching a family of gypsies. don't freak out. they are good gypsies. i think.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNA! i miss birthday season back home. what a great time. it sounds like you had a good time. that's good, i hope you liked my present. in honor of your birthday yesterday i made a pretty crazy meal, at least for my standards. it was this chicken with cheese in the middle, breaded and everything. i took a picture, don't worry.
so we could only meet with pavel once this week, as he went to visit his dad for like half the week. it was good, we finished teaching the gospel of christ. he is still reading and praying, he says, but he kind of told us some strange concerns that i don't really know how to fix. he says he understands the moral side of religion, but not the side of traditions, like symbols, or ordinances and stuff. so i tried to tell him about the meaning behind the symbols, but i don't know if it helped.
on tuesday we had a special 'training meeting' for our district, with president and sister fry. they talked about becoming more unified. we also had interviews, which are always fun. don't tell anyone, but i got a transfer secret: i am going to be transferred out at the end of this transfer.
YES i sometimes play the piano, at the church once in a while. and the other elders have a piano, but i don't go over there very often.
on wednesday morning we had a lesson with yaraslav, that lady who was really tired. it was really short, about thirty minutes, but i did a really quick first lesson, the restoration, gave her a book of mormon, invited her to pray and to come to church. and she CAME TO CHURCH! she is a way cool lady, very smart, fun, talkative.
so then after wednesday we just did a lot of contacting/ tracting. but somehow, the mission is out of book of mormons. yeah, how in the world did that happen? anyways we have only a few more, and we are rationing them out. i feel like a j dub, preaching out of pamphlets. but we got a really cool contact friday night. we were standing at a bus stop to go home, and this guy comes up to us. we say, hello. and he starts talking about how he really wants to meet with us, he sees us all the time, and his wife just had their first baby, and he wants to talk about faith, or whatever. we get his number, and the next day we call him and set up for that night. oh his name is vladik.
saturday was an awesome day. we start out with a baptism, the other elders in our area baptised a really cool lady. it was a great service, and just cool to see that those things really do happen sometimes. then we did some service around the church territory. which is always good. then we went right to a lesson with sister lidia, one of my favorite members ever, the cooking lady for the office. she fed us a good meal, and we had a good meeting. then we went to the lesson with vladik.
so we show up at his door, and opens up this woman. and i say hey, is vladik here. and she says no, we don't know a vladik. we call vladik and ask him if we are at the right door, and he says yes, but he is still at the hospital with his wife. the woman comes out again and says, hey, you said his name wrong. its vlAdik, not vlad I k. if that makes sense. so they invite us in, we talk for a while. oh yeah, its this whole family, three like thirty year old men, two little kids, and this woman. they are all brown, and quite obvioulsy gypsies. but they are really nice and really interested in the church. we ask if we could share our message, and they say of course. we teach it, give them a book, they say they will read it together. by the way, this was the first time on my mission that i have taught the gospel to a family, other than members. then they asked if they could come to church, and we say YES. they said they would if they could, but they didn't. they were so tight, way nice, fed us some sandwiches. and they didn't steal anything! the only thing i knew about gypsies before this was when i heard that brad got robbed by them in ukraine. so i guess they aren't all evil. they also kept talking about 'next time' so that means they want us back. i'm starting a gypsie revolution.
sunday was great. yaraslava came to church, i introduced her to a bunch of people, sat next to her, explained everything. she kept saying that she loved the atmosphere, the building, and especially the people. she was really surprised at how nice everyone was, and how many people were smiling. she leaned over to me and said 'its like we are in a different government'. she doesn't really like ukraine. but it was also a good testimony of that our church is a great place, and awesome, and true. did i mention that this is the first time on my mission i have had an investigator come to church?
so it was a pretty cool week, we saw lots of success. working hard. oh here is some more news, not so good though: no more playing sports on p-days. we have to stay in our areas all day. which is terrible. everyone is so angry.
anyways, i can't stop thinking about how i'm teaching a gypsie family in ukraine. oh, i have a new favorite russian word. it means 'female gypsie': tsiganka. fun to say.
thanks for all the emails, as usual, and advice and what not. i'll keep it in mind. send a thanks to judy and jamie. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNA! I LOVE YOU! i miss you guys.
i probably forget to respond to a lot of things you guys write, but i promise i read it all. and really appreciate it all. it is fun hearing about what goes on back there.
i love you all! the church is true.