Man, I love this place. Can I just tell you a little bit about this wonderful city that I'm living in now, and have lived in for the past 3 months?
I love a captive audience :)
This is the most wonderful place in the whole world, "Zee best in all zee Galactica!" as one of our good friends here put it. Lutsk is a sleepy city of about 400,000 people on the north-west portion of Ukraine placed right in the bend of a river. There's a lot of old, beautiful buildings here, the crowning jewel of which is a big ol' castle on the far south side of town. The weather lately has been a bit rainy and windy, but every so often, there's a burst of sunshine. Our days are warm as of late. It's beautiful here.
Everyone here is very kind and willing to say a good word about you. People like to talk, not always about the Gospel, but they love to talk! I've never been so kindly rejected in all of my life :) And, I've never been so warmly accepted. I've even been hugged here! It's inviting.
I'd like to tell you a bit more about the people here who are Members of our church. They work HARD. Every minute of every day is spent working for a living, working for their families, working to learn, working to grow, and working to become better people. And, yet, they have the brightest senses of humor. When they know english, they love to use it on the missionaries. I can't count the number of times I have heard "Good morning!" Or "Sank you very much!". Above all, we work together, and we have a big vision for this place becoming a ward someday. People are coming back to us, new people are entering the doors of the church, and hearts are being soften towards us. I just can't explain how happy it makes me to be here.
We have been working a lot with members as of late, in order to reach a mission goal that was set by President Lattin. It's been awesome be getting them involved in the work of Salvation even more, and growing closer together in frienship.
We spent some time at an old grandma's house this last week. Sister Katerina is a hoot. Elder Hadfield ended up using this freaky back massage thing, and she made him rub her back. HA!! Then she insisted that we take a picture with her and a bunch of flowers, and we were joking around about how they smelled good, even though they're fake. She's a funny lady, but I honestly only understand about 45% of what she's saying. She likes to sing folk songs and throw in a bit of russian too. That adds to the confusion. She's great though!
We went over to visit Brother Zhuk again this week, and he showed us this awesome "Title of Liberty" that he made with some past missionaries. He insisted that we pose for a picture with him while holding it.
He came back to church for his first time in 7 years, and he was so happy! He even volunteered to bless the sacrament next week with my companion. I got volunteered by Brother Sadovie to teach the Elder's Quorum lesson... he thinks he's funny. All-in-All, good things are happening again in the Lutsk Branch, and I'm loving every second of it.
Our investigators are still working with us, and we're confident that one of the two will have a baptismal date by the end of this week. We will see. One of them is often gone for work in the eastern part of Ukraine, and that can make it difficult to meet with him.
We just had a lesson today with Volodimir, and he expressed his faith that God answers our prayers. He is going to prayer about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and about it Joseph Smith was a propet, and above all, he wants to recieve a confirmation that the Book of Mormon is true. What a sincere and kind man. He was at Church on sunday, and he really enjoyed it. We see him progressing every time we meet with him.
Well, as you can probably tell, I love where I'm at, and I love the work. I have a long way to progress, but I'm excited to be a part of this, and I hope to improve everyday. The Lord qualifies his workers. We just need to work!
I love you all very much!
I pray for you oft'!