November 10, 2014
I have reached a point in my mission where I am generally out of things about which to write. In my first year, when an uneventful week would occur, I would fill in the holes of my email with commentary about the culture or country. Unfortunately, most of the topics about which I can write have been already discussed so this letter may turn out somewhat dry.
Fortunately, there are three events from my week which are somewhat worth writing.
Next to the church in Chernigov sits the main police station for the city. There are always police sitting outside, and experience has told me that contacting in front of the building is generally not a good idea. One person who I contacted some time ago demanded to see all of my documents, saying that it is illegal to talk with people on the street and that I was going to be arrested. Unfortunately, at the time I did not have my documents with me so I had to talk him out of going through with his plans. Anyway, one day this week we were walking past the building from the church and this younger guy who was almost certainly a police officer was walking toward us. I decided to talk with him and much to my surprise, he answered with a smile instead of a badge.
Without us asking first, he offered to go to the nearby park and sit on a bench to talk. I tried to go forward with talking about the first lesson, but as soon as I finished talking about the first main point, the entire lesson left my mind and I could not remember what came next to save my life. I have taught this a lot of times in actual lessons and role plays and should be able to do it easily in my sleep, but in this moment there was nothing. My companion immediately took over and started talking about the nature of God, which seemed like the right thing. He was engaged in what we talked about and in the end agreed to meet again. Out of nowhere, this person was more than willing to talk with us, in a place in which I had sworn against contacting.
We had a pleasant visit with a person with whom we have been working for the last six months. On Friday we called to set up meeting with her, but because of scheduling problems, we could not meet until Sunday. We planned to go over to her house after church on Sunday for a lunch, language study, and a lesson. The meeting had been planned to take only a half hour, which did not become the case. We spent an hour alone for making food and eating, then moved into some language study with her, which took an hour in itself because we lost track of time. Fortunately, the lesson went well and made the whole visit worth our time, as she really enjoyed about what we talked. I have no plans to do this again in the future, but for the one time it seemed to be okay.
Elder Y will be reassigned to serve in his native country of Russia next week, as he was not able to receive a new visa for Ukraine. It is a difficult situation because he is currently the first counselor in the branch presidency here, with the entire leadership being recent converts of three years at most; the majority of them are just over a year. I know that the branch is going to suffer a lot with his absence because he knows the most about the practices of the church and how to run the more small things. On Wednesday we held a going away party for him, in which many members of the branch with whom he developed relationships, came. He enjoyed the celebrations, as did the members attending.
Like I said in the beginning, this week did not bring many new exciting adventures, but I hope the ones which I have had will be entertaining to at least some of the readers. Pray for me that this next week will be much more interesting.