May 18, 2015
My new area is all right. Honestly speaking, I didn’t really want to be transferred here. It is overall pretty similar to Borshogovsky, except smaller. Of the two areas, I would have preferred to serve in Borsch. Everything here looks like Voskresensky, but with more trees. The branch is very good at what they do and functions very well. This is a place where the missionaries could disappear all together and there would not be much of a difference. It contrasts greatly to my first areas from my mission where things would fall apart very quickly if the missionaries were to suddenly disappear.
Elder J is a very capable person with whom it is entertaining to serve. He is from Alpine, Utah. One thing that has really impressed me is the amount he cares about the members here in Ukraine. It was very obvious walking into church on Sunday that the branch values him, as each member seems to have a good relationship toward him. I will be able to learn a lot from the coming weeks.
One lesson which we taught is worth mentioning. Not so much that it was a good lesson, as much that it was interesting. It was a man named A, from Iran. He has been living in Ukraine for over eight years, and in that time has converted to Christianity. The challenge that came in teaching him was that he understands the Bible incredibly well. He was able to pull out scriptures from memory that support his arguments far better than I could, even if I had focused on studying only the Bible for the last year and a half. It turned into him teaching us about his Baptist beliefs instead of us teaching him. When we would get back onto our topic, he would find something that relates tangently at best, and then run with it. Overall, it was about eighty percent all him talking.
Another point of the week was a lesson, which we held with a man from Sierra Leone. He is a Muslim and still holds well to those beliefs. He is interested in why we are here and agreed to meet with us. When he was eight years old, some guerilla fighters attacked his family, ending with his father’s death. One of the fighters bashed his arm with the butt of his rifle, which damaged the growth plates. Because there was not medical care in a reachable distance, his mother just wrapped it in a cloth and they fled. The untreated wound has caused his hand and forearm to stop growing and he currently has the hand of an eight year old, being in his early thirties.
Despite all of this history, he still has good faith in God, and tells us that if it were not for his faith, he would not be alive to this point. Overall, I don’t know how interested he is in our message, but I was able to learn from his as an example of looking up in tough situations.
That is about as much as I can say with regard to this past week.
Attached is a rainbow