December 25, 2013
Language here is just tough. I have no idea if I just don’t know the Russian word they are saying, or if it’s Ukrainian. It is completely ridiculous how little the people know the difference between the two languages. They will say Ukrainian words with Russian grammar and vice versa.
Things are good here. We actually committed our investigator to be baptized this last week which was great. I think he might have a Word of Wisdom issue, but we will cross that road when we get to that point.
My companion and I are good. He has been sick lately, which means spending a lot of time indoors. Fortunately though, the other elders in our district come over to do splits, allowing me to go and do missionary work. Christmas here today is mellow. The Ukrainians don’t celebrate it on the 25th, rather Jan 7th because their calendar is thirteen days behind ours.
December 30, 2013
Christmas in Ukraine is not much of a Christmas at all. The big reason why leads back to the days of the Soviet Union when practicing religion was banned. To further this separation, the government started to emphasize New Year’s Day as the big holiday for family and presents. There are some people who still celebrate Christmas, but it is more of a nod to the old days. This caused our Christmas to feel like any other day of the week. People are out on the streets going about their business and all of the stores are open.
At one point I asked the other elders how they felt, to which their response agreed with my thoughts. The big difference being that we all had the opportunity to call home.
On Christmas night the branch held a production, in which they had musical numbers and speakers. The missionaries were asked to sing a song, so we spent part of our day preparing for that.
After the party was over, we stayed back to talk to members as they were leaving. My investigator, D, stayed in the chapel to look around. After about twenty minutes, most of the members had left and we began to hear music coming from the other room. When we walked in, we saw D playing the piano incredibly well and singing along. He is an older guy, quiet and seems a little slow at times. So we were all very surprised when he began to play. The impressive thing was that he played some pretty complex and fast songs, and all from memory. We sat down for the next hour talking with some other members while he continued to play. If it was an option, I think he would have never stopped.
Unfortunately, this is all I have time to write this week. I have to go to some medical visits for my companion, which is cutting our time at the computer down. I promise that I will write more next week.