April 6, 2015
The days leading up to transfers were interesting. For the three days before the big day, two native elders, R and K, whose companions finished their missions, leaving Monday, stayed in our apartment. There are only two beds, and with all the luggage, the amount of free space was limited. This left me to volunteer my bed to one of the two and sleep on the floor in our enclosed balcony. I had three blankets with me which made it actually more than enough to keep warm throughout the night.
On Tuesday before leaving we were able to meet the circus acrobat V one last time. As a symbol of friendship we purchased an apple sapling to plant on the area where we dug out wheel barrows of dirt. When he saw the tree the biggest smile swept across his face. We then spent an hour digging out a hole and hauling black dirt over from another part of his property. The rest of the day went by quickly and led into Wednesday with my last glance back onto the concrete jungle that is Voskresensky.
I have enjoyed serving with Elder R this past couple of days because we both have our minds focused on working. Upon entering his apartment at 10 A.M. with my bags, I put them down and asked him simply, “Elder R, do you just want to work?” He said yes, so we started right then. Without taking any time to unpack, we sat to plan for twenty minutes, ran to the store for groceries and then spent the rest of the day walking around the streets trying to talk with people.
We have been focused on not trying to waste time on unnecessary things and instead maximizing the amount of finding that we are doing. As a result, over the next three days we were able to get fifteen numbers from people, which is a record for me. There have been a total of three separate days on my mission in which we have received five or more numbers; usually it is between 0 and 2. By staying focused though, and approaching every single person who comes past our path, we were able to find a lot of success.
Within the days of walking though, there was one moment in which I almost died of laughing. While standing at a crossing on a one way street, we were stopping people to talk with them. A large group of birds found a stale piece of bread situated in the middle of the road. About twenty of them would be fighting with one another for a piece, at which point a car would come by and start honking. This repeated many times until one car seemed to miss seeing them entirely or was just indifferent altogether. He did not slow down and all but one of the little pigeons was able to make it out of harm’s way. What followed was a loud thud and a burst of feathers which covered the street. The poor bird had just enough energy to fly past my head and crash onto the ground just thirty feet from where I stood. At the time, Elder R was not staring in the right direction and was only able to see what looked like a pillow having been ripped open. The whole thing was very slapstick in nature and I could not stop laughing for ten minutes. The fact that Elder R missed the whole spectacle made it even funnier.
Borshogovsky has proved so far to be not the best area in Kiev, but ever so slightly better than Voskresensky, which makes up for a lot. The ward here is the largest in all of Eastern Europe, with about two hundred and fifty member regularly coming to sacrament. Our building is on the exact same grounds as the temple, so it is literally a stone’s throw away. There are two large parks here for which I am excited. One challenge though is that the area is very stretched out, which makes travel by bus from one end to the other around forty-five minutes. It is going to be a very good area in which to work.
Moving also brought one other very unexpected surprise. Back when I was in Chernigov moving to a different apartment, Elder B threw away the charger to my camera, thinking it was not needed. For the past four months I have been trying to find other missionaries who have a similar camera, which are few. Needless to say, it has been dead since January. The gates of heaven opened up and shined down upon me though. While searching my new apartment, I saw a charger which fit exactly to mine. I asked Elder R if he knew to whom it belonged, to which he replied no. I took that as the invitation to give it a new owner and I can again take my own photos. It’s amazing.