Monday, August 11, 2014

3 Watermelons, 2 Exchanges, and 1 Very Heavy Piano

Hello Everybody!
I'm going to explain now why this email is so very late...

Once upon a time, Elder LeBaron and Elder Stout both have a problem with things happening on time, when we plan them... no matter how hard we try.  
Yesterday, as we had begun our internet time, we were interrupted with the most terrifying and exciting noise that we as missionaries experience.  It was our phone ringing.  In Ivano-Frankivsk, when you get a call on P-day, it either means that a miracles is happening -- someone called the number on the back of the 123,334,112th pamphlet that you've handed out and explained -- or Brother Fooshtay is calling to tell you to do something.  Brother Fooshtay is our Missionary Coordination Leader here, and he is also incharge of all the registration and deregistration paperwork whenever missionaries move cities.  Every missionary in our mission knows him... he's notorious for throwing a monkey wrench in your P-day plans.  

I think that explaination helps you know which of those two gave us a call.

But this was a new sort of adventure.  No, we were not off to the government office where we do registration paperwork!  We were going to go move.... a piano?  What?  Well, when Brother Fooshtay has got something planned, you've just gotta go with it.  It's impossible to argue with him, considering that most of his hair-brained schemes actually turn into fun activities with productive missionary work involved.  

But that kind of shot my email time in the face.  Essentially, I've only got time to type up this bad boy, and then we're off to go splatter this city with English Practice advertisements.

Back to the piano.  So, we head off to meet the Zone leaders (they're the only other Elders in the Oblast [district... aka  each district is one "state" of Ukraine, situated in it's capital city) with us), and we met them by Pizza Plus (there's awesome pizza here in Ivano).  Met with the Zone Leaders, Elder Peterson (yup, my trainer), and Elder Clairidge (yup, cool guy), and took a taxi all the way to the other side of the city.

UKRAINIAN APARTMENTS AND NOT CONSTRUCTED TO HOUSE A PIANO.  Fact.  We literally fliped the piano, bottom over the top, twice.  It was the most ridiculous and unorthodox moving job of my entire life.  I was covered in dust and dirt.  Good thing I wore my oldest pair of slacks...

Then, we get that monster onto a moving van, and the Zone leaders ride in the back to makes sure that it doesn't tip over during the ride.  There is nothing strapping this down... just two american boys with a dream; Survive to the end of the mission-- don't get crushed.
Sometimes, I realized after the fact that businesses are run differently here in Ukraine.... like moving companies.

Elder Stout and I rode in a taxi.... to the OTHER other side of the city.  You know, to where the Fooshtay's actually live.  

Turns out, this scheme entailed giving us a chance to provide service, have family night with the Fooshtay's, and have our MCL, because he also invited the sister's over for family night.  He bought 2 watermelons (By the way, watermelons to Ukrainians are something you eat AFTER you have a meal.  I have come to appreciate this commodity as NOT a fruit, but as dessert.  Weird.)

Okay... also, I went on an exchange with my trainer!  WOO!!! We tore it up here in Ivano, and hit the streets so hard. Starting of the morning with a 3-4 mile run... 4 hours of contacting, english practice advertisement, Jehovah's witness discussions, a member present lesson with the Zone Leaders investigator, Serhy.  I was exhuasted by the end of the day.  It was awesome.

Yesterday, Elder Jolstead and I also spent some time together on Exchanges (Assistant to the President from L'viv).  It was incredible to be on a lesson with an investigator from our area, and finally have the language down enough to really get in deep to his concerns.  The only problem is, he told us that he had no desire to change his life and live the law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom in their entirety.  Promised blessings.... explained the commandments... used parables, and every method we know as missionaries.  It all came down to bearing testimony of Jesus Christ, and his power to cleanse us through the atonement.  He left by only saying "I will try to live them.  I'll read if I have time".   


But yeah.  I'm also getting better at ping-pong, as a happier side note.  Members love to play here when waiting for appointments, and I'm TOTALLY down for that.  

We also had a massive picnic in Calomia with 3 districts!  All the members from Kmelnitsky, Chernevtsi, and Ivano-Frankivsk all met together, shared spiritual thoughts, ate a TON of great food (I had my first Shashlyk [ukrainian BBQ]).  It was awesome, and investigators were there, including one of ours from a little city on the edge of the oblast.  It was a miracle that he was able to come, because he lives so far away!  President Duchak really helped out, by letting him sleep over at his place.  WAY TO SUPPORT THE MISSION!!!


I just blabbed for a good long time... But it's because I love you all and I want you to know what's goin on here.  Good things people!!

Love you all very much.
I know the Gospel is true, and that this is God's work.

Thank you family.
Thank you friends.
Keep up the good work.

Elder LeBaron

Pictures:  I'm eating well... we're having lots of fun.... good times on adventures.

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