On Christmas Eve we had zone conference and it was great to see everyone and then after we were treated with amazing chili and desserts from Elder and Sister Mikkelsen (Senior Missionaries).
We then spent most of the day trying to set up lessons and contact. It was a great day. We woke up with a surprise for one of the AP's because his birthday is on Christmas. We had a surprise party and cake at about 6:45 in the morning and then I made sure to keep the tradition alive and made Christmas omelets!
Tons of cheese and meat.
We then went without studies for the day and hit the streets. We contacted for practically the whole day and we were dead tired near the end when we had a lesson and then we were able to skype to end the day.
A good lesson was learned this Christmas though. Not for the sake of praise of any kind but just so I can share what I learned. To start the day off, Elder Western and I bought a good 12 or so loaves of bread and pastries and a lot of smaller juice boxes and hit the streets looking to distribute all of it before we returned that night. We had always seen homeless people before and were sure if we worked all day we could give these "presents" out. Didn't quite work out that way, and even a lot of people that were obviously in need rejected our offer. We handed out maybe a 1/5th of what we bought and I ended up just carrying that heavy bag around all day. On the way back I thought about it more and more and it seemed when we were searching to do good it was no where to be found and in earlier times it seemed like we had millions of chances to do good but we were never prepared. Take it for what you want, but what I learned is that Christmas isn't the only day we can look for opportunities to do extraordinary (or even small and simple) things for people. It made me think of a scripture I read a little while ago where it talks about how we shouldn't treat the day different than if it were an ordinary day or if Christ was coming that very day and then applied it to our proselyting. It was a great Christmas and then Skype was awesome to see everyone!
Probably the Hardest part of the mission so far was after Skype. I call the next 24 hours the "what next...?" stage and Elder Western and I found a little pink french pastry shop and bought some pastries to mend our hearts with sugar!
We then had a ward christmas party and the members did a little play that was representing good and evil. That is all I can tell you what happened because I had no idea what was going on for good hour because everything was in Ukranian and I thought it was going to scare away our investigators but apparently it is a play that would compare to Scrooge in America. These last two days I have had a lot of funny moments too and they were definitely there to help me out.
One investigator said he could look at me and tell me about my family and my life. He then said, "you eat too much peppers/spicy food" and then said, "your mom suffers from serious nose bleeds." Not even close and then tried to do Elder Western's family too. Not quite an investigator anymore.
A man from Mexico City, Mexico came by on Sunday. He's about 50 years of age looking for a wife. He sat through sacrament meeting and hit on 20 year old girls and it was hilarious. He then noticed that I never sat next to my companion during the first two hours of sacrament meeting and called each of us aside and said that he could tell we were having problems and to fix them ASAP. We tried to explain to him the whole "meeting members" concept and that we were advised not to sit together. He wasn't having it and told us to be work things out. Apparently we hate each other, which we don't.
Then on Sunday while making pasta we opened a package that looked like it contained sausage and was bought in a hurry on Saturday night and realized it wasn't quite sausage... through our Ukrainian dictionary we found out it was boiled pig head grounded up.... anyways, we ate it and then failed to mention what it was to the other missionaries what it was until after. It was a good laugh!
Good times. Have a great New Years!