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Soup and Sandwiches– and Harry Potter

July 21, 2014


On Wednesday I was able to travel for the first interview between myself and my new mission president. In the mission conference held just before President Klebingat left, he gave us a bit of counsel that we should never be interviewed when we are in an interview. Rather, the method he developed throughout life was to go in with many questions prepared and to walk in knowing more about the company than the interviewers themselves. He said that through doing this he received a job offer for every interview he to part in. I was kind of intrigued about this idea and decided to give it a go. As soon as we walked in, I said that we had very little time and I had many questions, which meant that we should get started right away. It seemed to take President Packer by surprise a bit and he was more than happy to oblige me.


One of my questions concerned some of the problems which he thought would be an issue coming into his missionary service. His answer kind of surprised me because I did not think it was much of a challenge, but he mentioned that the leadership here both among the branches and missionaries needs to make improvements. It was an interesting conversation and I was able to learn a lot from his thoughtful insights. We closed the interview with the only question which he asked to me, and that was what I thought needed to be improved in our mission. We shook hands with a brief hug and then I was on my way.


Our ten minutes together gave me a lot of confidence in the person who will be directing my work for the next year. President and Sister Klebingat are about as close to perfect people as you can become, so inviting in someone new was a bit of a challenge for me. I am sure, though, that President Packer will be able to conduct our service here thoughtfully and effectively, and am very excited to see how our mission culture will grow in the time I have left. I am fortunate to be serving under his direction. This week came with a huge halt to our area. Right now we have many investigators, but none of them are progressing. Each of them seems to be very busy all of the time and does not have a spare moment to meet. One person is a member of a large Ukrainian sovereignty radical group, “Right Sector”, and as such has been spending all of his time on Maidon. It is disappointing because he — of everyone with whom we meet — is the most interested in our church. Many people said that they would be able to come to church yesterday, but as the time came for Sacrament Meeting to begin, none had showed. Right now, I am just trying to figure out why this lack of progress has manifested itself. Personally, I feel like there should be some solution that I can implement to see a turnaround of things. I just cannot seem to figure out what it is.  My current district leader, Elder Hu, will be leaving Chernigov this week for Kiev, and decided to do exchanges with each of us. I was with Elder Ha the first day, which brought forth an experience with which I am all too familiar.


We cooked a nice lunch after studies and ate more than our portions. We then went to meet a member in order to help him with his home teaching assignment. As we walked together, the sister with whom we met was waiting for us outside her apartment building. She welcomed us with a warm greeting and while opening the door made a quiet comment that she prepared lunch. Elder Ha and I both looked at each other wide eyes, noting the inconvenient timing with lunch being finished only a half hour earlier. We talked some time in her kitchen while she made a large mountain of sandwiches on a plate. It was more than enough food to feed the three of us men and herself. I determined that I would be able to get it all down.


She led us into a different room where a table and chairs were set up and placed the plate on the table. She then went back to the kitchen for three more trips and brought each of us a bowl of soup, large pot of stuffed peppers, and salad. It could have easily fed six people. We started and it became apparent from the get go that she would not be eating with us. I said to Elder Ha and the member whom we were helping that it was just too much food. Their looks agreed with my words.


The soup was interesting because along with typical ingredients such as potatoes and carrots, she had also added oatmeal, which gave a very odd texture. It was not easy to eat. I managed to get my plate clean and the woman immediately added more food without even asking, along with filling my glass with homemade juice. I am not sure how it was possible, but the three of us managed to eat most of what she gave us and on my way out I almost threw up. Overall, I really enjoyed the visit though.


To fight some of the more dull parts of the day, I discovered a great talent that Elder A has– his memory of books; particularly, “Harry Potter”. So as we walk the streets to contact people, Elder A has been giving me an in depth review of the series. This week we were able to get through the third book because I remember the least about that one, and now are working on the second. Considering that it has been a year since I saw a movie other than “The Testaments”, this has been a great activity. I can almost imagine all of the scenes in my head as he gives his play by play. I think that in three weeks’ time, we will be all the way through the seventh book. It’s some good stuff.


Overall, I have enjoyed the past seven days. Life is good, even though the weather has been either raining all day or one hundred degrees. It’s decent.




Elder Hancock


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