Monday, January 10, 2011

Don't Worry.....It's still the Holiday season here 1/10/2011

The frozen river we walk on everyday.  It makes travel cheap.

District Meeting right before Elder Hackett left for Moldova

Pragoslavian Church

So this past week has kinda been a slow one. Not a lot of progress. This week was transfer week and Pragoslavian Christmas was this week as well. So pretty much no one could meet. 
Transfer meeting was on Thursday. Elder Munzer and Hackett went to Kyiv while Elder Fudge and I stayed in Vinnitsya. Elder Hackett got transferred to Moldova.  Moldova is a pretty interesting place because it is part of two missions, ours and the Romanian Mission. The only missionaries who serve there are Moldovian speaking missionaries(Moldovian is pretty much the same thing as Romanian from what I hear) and Russian speaking missionaries. Russian speaking missionaries bounce back between Moldova and Ukraine. Since I am speaking Ukrainian, I won't get the chance to go to Moldova. That's alright though. Elder Munzer had to go to the hospital in Kyiv, the American Medical Center, because he has this rare case of Diabetes. It's called Diabetes Insipatese, I think. It's not serious. It's where your kidney receptors don't really pick up water.. so water just goes straight through you. He'll just have to take a pill every day and he should be fine. That's what Sister Steinagel told him. He is in Kyiv right now because he has another appointment. I pretty much spent the whole week with Elder Fudge, because Elder Munzer and Hackett went in early for Elder Munzer's appointment and then stayed a couple days late because Elder Munzer had District Leader training. The new elder here is from Moldova, and the Romanian Mission. His name is Elder James. He has been out for a year and a couple months now. So it's him and me in Vinnitsya right now. Elders Muzner and Fudge will return back to Vinnitsya tomorrow. Since Elder Hackett was the Second Counselor in the Branch, Elder Ewart called Elder James to replace him. So, Elder James pretty much got thrown into it all his first day here.
So, I'm now starting my second transfer... crazy. Now that I kinda know what I'm doing, I definitely want to do better this transfer. I'm starting to teach a lot more, make more phone calls, I kinda know my way around the city. I just want to keep continuing to teach, listen to people, and pay attention to where I'm going. I feel pretty good about how this next transfer will turn out since we already have a solid baptismal date for Feb. 11. We are planning on giving another baptismal date this week. The zone leaders want every district to get 2 baptismal dates this week. I feel like we can do it.
So, yeah this week was slow.. everyone just couldn't meet since it was another Christmas. The Old New Year is this Thursday so we might be getting the same responses this week. 
President Steinagel is making some changes to the Standards of Excellence, which are the standards that he expects each missionary to hit. President Steinagel loves numbers. He firmly believes that the more you focus on numbers, the more you can focus on individuals. We as missionaries are not really sure what that means but that goes with a lot of things President says. We just shake our heads go "Okay President....sure" whenever he says something super profound. As for the standards, he wants to focus a lot more on referrals we are receiving. As of right now, he wants us to get six referrals for each companionship. Which is... a lot. The baptismal goal for 2011 is 200. We got like 145... somewhere around that for 2010.  Being on a mission actually makes me realize the importance of missionary work. I kinda wish I would have given more referrals to the missionaries when they would ask me. It's kinda a long tedious process of obtaining referrals. You just need to ask people over and over, but we noticed that the strongest members in our branch are the ones who were referrals. 
Alright, so I do kinda have a funny story for the week. Men in Ukraine can sometimes be really stubborn and just don't want to turn to anyone for help and don't want to admit that they are wrong. I have two examples of people like this that I have met with this week. One is named Anatoli. We found him through Gospel English class. His initial desire was that he wanted to learn English, but we told him if we were going to speak English then we would talk about the Gospel. He agreed. But through our meetings with him he tried to twist the conversation to talk about things that he wanted to talk about, like America or England. Occasionally it did work. He thought he was pretty clever for doing so. Last meeting we had with him was on Wednesday. It was just me and Elder Fudge. Also a member was there, Lena Chernova who knows English way well. Before we started, Anatoli made the remark, "I think it's going to be hard for me today because Munzer isn't here and I can't understand McEntire's English".  I was like "Good!  Let's speak in Ukrainian then." The meeting was mostly in Ukrainian because whenever he asked me to speak English I spoke really fast so it was impossible for him to understand. So he just gave up on speaking English. We watched the restoration movie in Russian.  He asked me if it was in English and I quickly responded "no".  We tried to get him to commit to pray about it, but he insisted on saying the Lord's prayer and only the Lord's prayer. So we dropped him.  If he doesn't pray... then there's no sense in meeting with him. The next meeting was with one of Elder Fudge's investigators, Olga,  and a former investigator of Elder Fudge's who comes on the lesson, Sasha. Elder Fudge tried giving him a baptismal date before but Sasha said he wouldn't do anything until he got to America.  I guess he thought that we were going to take him to America. On  the lesson Sasha said weird things like Australia  was spying on America, or trying to become like America and we said that that wasn't true.  He said "I have Australian friends so... I'm right." I also think that Sasha was trying to prove that he knew English better than me. He was asking me about English words and then giving  synonyms for those words. Then he was acting all proud and saying "Sorry, I just know vocabulary."  He would show all the words he knew in English and be like "I know vocabulary. Sorry, but it is true." We find a lot of strange people through Gospel English. 
So yeah that was my week. It was a little quiet, but hopefully we are going to shake things up this week.
Love you all!
Elder Zach McEntire   

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