Monday, May 5, 2014

Easter, Plam Sunday, and Sunshine!

Hey Family and Friends!

Okay, so, I just want to start by saying how AWESOME the weather here is!  It's so pretty outside right now in Lutsk, especially today! I love the trees out here, because most of them have some sort of flowers blossoming on them, and It's just super pretty.  Not to mention, the sun is shining, and we're actually just wearing white shirts now!  WHAT??  That's crazy to me.  I just got here, and I've gone from a not thick enough coat all the way down to no suit jacket!
Time moves fast people!
My companion is a little less fond of the spring... allergies.  Poor guy.

So... Let's start with Palm Sunday.  This is way interesting, because I don't understand this tradition at all.  People have branches... and they carry them around with them, everywhere they go.  I thought it was supremely bizarre... watching all these people carrying branches for no reason...and then BAM-- It got weirder.  
Apparently, carrying sticks has some implications.  When one wishes to grant to another blessings on this day, one needs only to take these branches, and whack another with them.  this is how you cast out evil spirits......

I can affirmatively say that my companion no longer has any evil spirits in him.
He got whacked.

Other Elders in our District were walking down the street when suddenly, a parade of priests from the local church came marching down the street.  In moving to get out of the way, these Elders were caught unawares by a bearded, robed, Ukrainian priest-- who, in two swift motions, splashed them with holy water.  SURPRISE!
These priests continued to bless everyone and everything on the street, and also went into households and shops in order to bless them. 
Way interesting.

Easter is an AWESOME holiday in Ukraine! Why? Because EVERYONE goes walking around, using a specific greeting, which translated means, "Christ was Resurrected!" and then you respond by saying, "Truly, He was Resurrected!".   It only took me about 5 times of trying before I could remember how to say it.

We didn't really get to eat with anyone or see a whole lot of the food that people make for this holiday, but we did get to see this special bread that they make here, just for Easter.  It's big and fluffy, and shaped like a cup-cake!  It's covered with sprinkles and some sort of frosting on top.  
The tradition is for everyone to get one of these muffins, and in the evening, go to the big local church and have your bread blessed before eating it.  
I was sitting in sacrament meeting, when the little boy next to me excitedly got my attention and pointed out the bread which had been used for the sacrament...

Haha, it was unique, and ironic too.  I loved it!

I love serving here in Lutsk.  This place is incredible.  
Soon, we're going to have a MASSIVE mission conference, which will end with transfers, and I'm hoping that I get to stay here.  More than likely, that will be the case (I'm thinking).
Our investigator who disappeared off of the face of the earth returned to us!  He found work, and he's diligently searching for his answer in prayer!  We can't wait to meet with him again soon!

My training finishes after this transfer... time really flies.

Any who-- Much love!
Thank you for all of your prayers and your support!

I just barely received the ward newsletter for March :)
Thanks ward!  I love you!

I'm so glad to see you all had a great Easter!


Elder LeBaron

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