It was tougher than I thought to say goodbye to my district "dad" and Elder Norton!
The plane rides over were a little rough but I had the opportunity to share the gospel with a number of people in the airport and on the plane. I have a long ways to go when it comes to even teaching in English, but hopefully they felt the Spirit. I had some guy read the whole Doctrine of Christ because we had time and he was interested, and in the MTC he would have asked when we hold the baptismal services! It was kinda funny when he just handed the Book Of Mormon back to me and said, "huh" and then I asked if he had any questions and he just said "nope" and went about his business. Hahah it was kinda funny not gonna lie.
The first 3 days we spent in Kiev, going to the meeting house 60 ft away from the temple every day! We just learned the basics and more about the culture and stuff like that. The temple here is amazing! Looks like a castle to me and strong, because it needs to be here in Eastern Europe.
The Temple - or Castle as I think of it as...
My companion is Elder Gorba and he is 6' 7" or so and a friendly giant! He is from Dnipropetrovsk (A large city North and East of us, quite a ways away) and is 24. Great Elder!
Elder Gorba - my Trainer. I am feeling rather SMALL....
I have learned a lot of life lesson from him already. He is the Branch President down here in Illichivs'k and has lots of responsibilities! He is really patient with me and is a native, but is MY personal walking dictionary because he knows English very well. We have gone contacting some... but the one that sticks out to me is we met this lady and her kid on the street and she had just overcome some disease and she knew God was the one who helped her so she was trying to find God. So.. we gave her a Book Of Mormon and the contact info for the missionaries in her area and then had to go on our way. I wonder where she is now, but I guess I will probably never know! I have had tons of stories here so far where I share the gospel with people, and then I just wish I knew what they were saying back! It is frustrating, but I know I need patience.
The weather here is probably 10 degrees less than in SLC right now
The first thing I noticed once I was on European soil was the smell
Illichivs'k is in Odessa and is near the black sea. It is in the Southern part of Ukraine, down by Moldova.
We have not taught a full-on lesson yet, but will!
I bore my testimony is sacrament meeting with about 20 people in the congregation (we have a branch)
The scenery is crazy! (I sent photos - go to Illichivs'k link on the blog) My comp likes to take photos MORE than me, which I didn't know was possible, but it is! I will keep sending more.
The food is different, but really good! I have been trying really hard to eat everything here and the only thing I didn't finish all the way was when Elder Gorba made plain oatmeal with onions and mushrooms for breakfast.. but, I know I need to eat it all to get used to it and like it! We literally eat anything we have. It doesn't matter what time of day haha we just eat all that we can get.
I can promise you, other than the bread and juice, I wouldn't have eaten ANY of this at home!
My comp loves to eat.. and he eats really fast. I eat slow.. so that is something I can do better at, and WILL!
MY mission president and his wife are amazing! Great to meet them. Great people.
President Packer: "As the world gets darker, we shine brighter." Opposition means we are doing the right thing.
Public transportation... I don't know how to use it yet. Didn't ever use it at home. But I will understand it after the mission! It is essential here. They are all really hot and smelly.
We visited the black sea on our morning run (10 minutes away) and decided we might as well jump in! BUT we didn't jump in! Cool sights on our run though.
The City & the Black Sea behind me
It is bummer to see how much time we have to give up in the proselyting area to just live! We don't just get to go out and proselyte all day and come home to meals made and everything done/clean and take a car everywhere we want to go. Like, there is a whole side of "living" that I never thought of before. It takes too much time every day!
The food is okay, people don't smile much, but are great. My mind has a million things going on inside right now! I will be able to give a better email next week once I wrap my head around what just occurred this last week!
I am trying really hard to get over the language barrier, but it will take time.