Friday, June 6, 2014

Village Adventure and Chances to Learn!

It is so hot.

I can't believe that when I got here, there was snow everywhere, and I was cold even with my heavy winter coat on.  Now I'm sweating bullets and our apartment is like a little easy-bake oven.   We cook in seconds!  
Seriously though... it's so hot out here.  I would tell you exactly, but I don't understand Celsius. and there's no thermometer around here.

We had an awesome experience this last week, in which we got the chance to visit a less-active family who lives in a little village about an hour outside of Lutsk (By bus).  We're their new home teachers! :D We got up first thing in the morning, worked out, ate breakfast, got into our work clothes, and hopped onto a bus.  
When we finally got there, I had forgotten what the other Elder's had told me as far as directions are concerned... but I confidently took my companion along the dirt path right behind the stop and started walking.  I was pretty sure they said something about a dirt path.  Makes sense, right?
Long story short, we ended up lost in the middle of nowheresville, by a heard of cows, and some random rancher man.  I called Brother Polyshook, and gave the phone to the Ukrainian farmer so that, between these two Ukrainian guys, we could figure out where we even wanted to go.
Longer story short, I chose the wrong dirt path.  Back track = 1 hour total of walking back to there house... which was in the opposite direction of where we were heading.  Maaaaaaan.

But it's okay, because we finally made it to their place!  What was first on our agenda, you may ask?  Sawing logs!  Ha!  It was actually pretty fun, even though I never got to play with the Chainsaw myself.  Bohdan Polyshook handled that, and I just stacked logs onto the little makeshift log holder thingy.   (I'm really eloquently versed in farm vocabulary now, you see). 

After hours of work, we got to wheelbarrow all those logs to the back of the house, and stack up a bunch of them.  Brother Polyshook said that he would do them himself... mostly because I'm pretty sure I wasn't stacking them the way he wanted.  He's got a thing about orderliness and niceness that I just don't have.  
Then, we fooded.
We fooded so hard.
There was borshch, and there was home-made "pizza" (it's not just pizza here, it's something more magnificent), and there was home-made apple cake with chocolate on top.  Ah man. I can't even describe the joys of that meal sufficiently.  I have not yet eaten anything super horrendous, but I have eaten the GREATEST THINGS IN THE WORLD here in Ukraine.  

And then, we had a spiritual thought about gaining spiritual light through scripture study, prayer, and church attendance.  They were great!  We had a family discussion, and everyone was so involved (except bohdan, but he was suffering from food coma, kind of like me).
We then looked at some of their family photos, most of which were pictures of their two returned missionary sons.  Afterwards, we left them with smiles, hugs, and handshakes.  All we had to do was walk back to the bus stop, and ride on home.  
This took up our whole saturday.  It was the most wonderful of days.

Sunday, I was privileged to speak in sacrament meeting.  My main topic was on eternal gifts, and how Heavenly Father gives us gifts that really matter. My Ukrainian is bad, but my heart was so full of love when I was speaking.  I really do love this branch so much.  I got to my testimony, and just told them how I know the Lord has sent me here to work in Lutsk because he loves me and he loves them, and he wants us all to learn from eachother.  I got patted on the back when I sat down, and Brother Sheratyuk and Lavernanko told me that they're glad that I'm here too.  I love this place!
Then I was also assigned to teach Elder's Quorum.  The lesson was cool, because it was about gaining knowledge.  The members here are such good examples of that, and so our discussion was very active!  I almost didn't speak the whole time.  It was just awesome!

I'm learning a lot as a person out here on my mission.  
1) Never cast off your confidence.  True, we need to be humble and search to improve ourselves always.  That does not mean that we should be less than we know we can be.  
2) The Lord ALWAYS has a plan.  You just have to put the spirit on like a harness, and stick around to enjoy the ride.
3) Hard work never goes unrewarded, as long as you work with a sincere heart and a noble purpose in mind.  You may not execute everything perfectly, but if the Lord wants it done, it gets done.

And of course, much much more.

I'm glad to hear that all of my friends who are serving are having a safe, fun, and effective time!

I love you all back home!
Take care of yourselves, okay?

Aaaaand... yeah.
I can't wait to hear from all of you again soon!

Elder LeBaron​

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