Day 4 -- Just barely put real food in our fridge. I have eaten onions and fried potatoes for almost every lunch and dinner since getting here. I woke up this morning with the most pungent smell of onions filtering through my nostrils. It was me. I am sweating onions. Strangely, I always anticipated this day would come.
I'm in Ivano Frankivsk! It's a beautiful city with lots of old buildings, very green, and oh, a 2 story apartment for missionaries with two bathrooms and a full sized kitchen. WAPABAM! The only problem was the lack of things to eat in the fridge... don't worry, I bought real food, and I won't die.
I walked into the craziest schedule of my life, though. My new companion, Elder Stout, is 100% consecrated. I haven't ever once heard him say anything that wasn't a quote from preach my gospel, I'm pretty sure. He's on the phone with investigators, potential investigators, and members almost non-stop.... which means I'm contacting people left and right while he's got the airways. I've never worked harder. It's only been 4 days, but I come home so exhausted each night... I feel like I've already been here for a month. We're working with 7 investigators, which is basically unheard of in our mission. I have no idea how that happened, but I'm glad to say that they're there. Unfortunately, no one will commit to being baptized... ever. Most of our investigators like to learn the doctorine, and like to try and make us argue with them about religion, but none of them seem to be sincerely looking for an answer about if the Book of Mormon is true. It's been very hard to get the lesson to go in a direction in which the Holy Ghost can really teach any of them... We get the facts down, but we can't get the real teaching done. It's impossible to get the Holy Spirit to stay anywhere when the spirit of contention is reekin' up the room!
But we'll keep working, and praying, and hoping, and reading, and trying to invite the spirit teach.
I just want to testify of the gift of tounges for a moment; My whole mission so far, I thought that I spoke Ukrainian pretty averagely. I got along, and that was enough to not get down on myself. I've prayed every day that Heavenly Father would help me to become a good speaker, and be able to help people understand our message when I talk with them. It just didn't seem to be coming to me though...
Something happened when I got to Ivano though. I've had almost no issue speaking to people since I got here. My language skills have seemed to improve a lot, and out of nowhere! I've really enjoyed teaching on our lessons, and have been able to teach all of the principles and my thoughts about them without much difficulty. It's seriously a miracle. I know that God gives us gifts for a reason... so I figure this just means that he wants me to be talking to even more people!
Now... there is a rumor about there being a lot of crazy people in my area. I still don't believe it, but, I have had several strange encounters since getting here. One of them occured during a lesson with an investigator... who spent about 10 minutes explaining to me about how God is actually not a man, but a Giant Pink Chicken. Another happened when a man ran up to us and started explaining Satanist symbols to us... and there are many, many, many more stories like these.
Did I mention that I've only been here for 4 days?
It's been a little weird here.
But hey, what are ya gonna do?
Serve a mission, I suppose!
I love you all very, very much.
I'm excited to hear from so many of you, and I hope that things go well for everyone.
I'll be praying for your success!
Work hard, Play Hard,