October 27, 2014
The past several weeks as we have held district meetings there have been various distractions. The majority are drunk or homeless people who come in swearing and asking for money. This week when the doorbell rang, it was enough for me, and I just said that we should not even answer it. One of the elders walked out of the room to see who was there, and then came back saying that the person wanted to speak with me. I was in shock and walked out of the room to see the investigator who had dropped off the face of the earth staring at me with his hand out stretched.
We talked for a minute and he said the he had quit his illegitimate work in Kiev and was sitting around the outskirts of the city for the past weeks, chopping wood for people. He said that he wanted to keep meeting as he could see that the church is making a positive change in his life, and we planned from there. It was even cooler when he showed up that Sunday for Sacrament Meeting without us having to invite him. Walking away from the visit, I felt like kicking myself as I was so adamant about ignoring the door in the first place. Everything worked out in the end, though.
On Wednesday and Tuesday, I was graced by our zone leaders by an exchange, in which my old crony from the days in Odessa, Elder B , took me back to his city, Brovery. As soon as we arrived, we travelled by train into a village where a family of members is living, for whom we did service. The husband of this family is from America and found his wife through a dating website. Together, they have had six kids together, of which the oldest is thirteen and youngest is one. Their house was incredibly dysfunctional with all the children running around, but between the English and chaos, I had this minor feeling of home back in the U.S.
We tried as hard as we could to get their crops harvested, as they had missed the ideal time, due to them trying to obtain documents to move to the United States. It was apparent that the mom of the family is overwhelmed, but no matter how difficult any moment seemed, she would maintain a smile on her face as she looked at her kids in love. I was amazed by her demeanor, as I myself would have caved in frustration amid all the noise. We left the house, and I could not stop thinking about the mom who has so much to be in depression over, but looks for the best in every situation. It was a very uplifting experience.
Currently, I am situated in Riga, Latvia and will be here for the coming week to obtain a new visa to Ukraine. Why they had to send us here to get new visas is beyond my comprehension, which was the exact same thing I said to every single borders agent who asked us the question. Being in the airport was surreal, as the last time I was there was when we were coming into Ukraine. When we came into the country, we encountered trouble at customs, because they needed an address of where we are going to stay during our visit. The phone which we had would not connect to any numbers, until we tried one of some random companionship of missionaries in Kiev, who said that they would have our visa clerk call and tell us what to say.
He then gave us a ring and happily told us the address which allowed the frustrated border agents to open the doors. The next problem came with our taxi situation, in which we gave the person the wrong address. He dropped us off, then when we called the local senior couple for directions, they said to get a new taxi. This time, we came up to one on the side of the street and knocked on the window. Without any words, the driver got up from the front seat and put our stuff in the back. He took our address and we were off.
About half way, he received a phone call saying that the actual person for whom he was waiting at the stop had shown up for him. We had no idea that he was waiting for someone, and just went with the flow. Apparently, he thought that we did not understand Russian, as he was calling us little devils to the other person on the phone. We pulled over to the side of the road and walked the rest of the way.
Riga is a very pretty city that looks more or less like Ukraine, but everything is very clean and well maintained. People have a very strange accent here, and are almost impossible to understand at times. I think that the next four days are going to be very fun.