December 2, 2013
This week has been an interesting one. On Wednesday, Elder K and I did exchanges with the elders serving in Illiachoffsk. It is a city of about 70,000 people outside of Odessa. I went to ‘Illi’ with Elder R and Elder K stayed in Center with Elder P. It is fun to go there because we have the rare opportunity to take a taxi. They are notorious for swerving in and out of traffic, accelerating and breaking quickly, and taking sharp turns. It is closer to a roller coaster than a car ride. And of course, the seat belts did not work. The driver on the way there was playing some loud American music, so I decided to go apostate and started dancing in the back seat.
‘Illi’ was a nice change from Center. There are only two main streets, so the amount of traffic there was a fraction to what I am used. We were able to teach two lessons to members that had very different atmospheres. The first was with Baba G who lives with her son. Her little apartment was dirty to say the least, and had a mild smell to the air. We opened with a hymn and then she showed us her photos. On the way out, she stopped us and said that there was a present. She pointed to a stack of papers and urged me to dig through them. Inside, I found two pretty old apples, for myself and Elder R. We thanked her, and promptly threw away the apples as soon as we were out of the building.
The second lesson was with another babushka who was quite different from the first. She lives in a house, which is the first one I have been in since coming to Ukraine. She is currently remodeling her house so there were bags of cement everywhere. We had a nice visit in her kitchen, where we each shared a scripture and talked about the meaning of them. Afterward, the babushka showed us her bathroom, which was finished. She had installed a shower from the future. It has a remote control and sprayers on each of the walls and ceiling. You can control where the water comes from while in there. Most people here do not have much, so seeing something so over the top took me by surprise, to say the least. She was an incredibly nice lady though, and even showed us that she could do the splits.
While I was in ‘Illi’, Elder K received a phone call that he needed to go up to Kiev in order to pick up his passport. He and Elder P went to the Vagzal to buy tickets for the next day, but in paying for them, accidentally bought one for each of them, and not me. This meant that my one day exchange turned into a three day adventure. Elders P and K went to Kiev while I stayed down south. Elder R and I came back to Center for two nights to do some work here. We were able to teach two lessons to two investigators that I currently have. We ended the last day of our exchange doing some service work for some nonmembers.
Because of how unexpected the week was, it went by quickly. I look forward to having a more mellow time this coming seven days.
Thanksgiving was fun. Originally we had plans to celebrate last Thursday, but the assistants scrapped all our plans and said that we could have a dinner today (Monday) if we so desired. It was a cool experience because our entire zone, except for three companionships, were able to join us. Everyone brought some food and we had a nice time overall. I made potatoes and while peeling them, nicked off the tip of my finger. It has been a fun day so far.