|A ram at the local zoo|
|Gena feeding a camel at the zoo|
I'm alive and doing fine. Things started to pick up a little this week.
The holidays in Ukraine are now over and people are going back to school and work and the normal routine. It was the Old New Year this past Thursday, but we still got some meetings this week. We had a plan of giving two baptismal dates this week, but it didn't happen. We tried to give a baptismal date to one investigator, Zhennya. He met with the missionaries back in 2005 and he's been meeting with missionaries ever since. We came across him in the area book. The last elders got frustrated with him and dropped him because he wasn't really going anywhere. We decided to give him a call though, because the last time he was taught by other missionaries was like a year and a half ago. His biggest problem is that he has an alcohol addiction. He has been making progress, but he doesn't want to accept a date until he has conquered the addiction. He hasn't been drinking for a while and he came to church yesterday for the first time in years, so he's making progress. We wanted to give another date to another investigator who lives in the celo, Olya. She was a referral from one of our members, Sister Prakobovich. She's doing really well. She reads the scriptures with Sister Prakobovich and she introduced her family to us. But she doesn't really come to church unless Sister Prakobovich comes and she works a lot now which makes it hard to meet. She told us she was going to come to church yesterday, but she didn't show. So, we couldn't meet. And there's Karina. She was a former investigator. The missionaries just lost contact with her. I found her teaching record and called her up a couple of weeks ago and she said she wanted to meet. She is from Ecuador and is here in Ukraine studying medicine. She has been taught the restoration a million times and she accepts it really well. She has also read a lot in the Book of Mormon, but she hasn't been taught much else. She knows Spanish, Russian, and a little bit of English. She can kinda understand Ukrainian, but she keeps asking me to speak in Russian. I basically just speak Ukrainian and replace it with what little Russian words I know. The first time we met, she actually though I was Ukrainian because I wouldn't speak with her in Russian. Anyways, she can be a little flaky. We were going to give her a baptismal date yesterday, but she didn't show up for the lesson... bummer. It seems to be the trend here. Whenever we get to the point where we want to give baptismal dates to investigators, we lose contact with them or the investigator just drops of the face of the earth.
As for our one investigator with a baptismal date, Nastya... she hasn't been coming to church. Mostly because church starts at ten and she can't wake up that early... mostly cause she is ten years old. Her Grandmother is one of the strongest members in our branch and always comes every Sunday. We found Nastya through her, since they live together. But she just won't wake up Nastya! Really annoying. I called Sister Chalikh, grandma of Nastya, Sunday morning to make sure that they were both awake and coming. Sister Chalikh replied "Nastya is sleeping, but I will wake her up and we will both be there. We will." But only Sister Chalikh showed. We asked her what the deal was and where Nastya was and she replied "Oh, she was really tired and sleepy, so I just let her rest." And in my mind I thought to myself "That is the WORST excuse I have ever heard in my life!" So we are thinking that there is a bigger concern behind this. It might have to do with Nastya's mom. But we are going to figure it out this week. If we don't then we will either have to move Nastya's baptismal date back or just drop her as a investigator. So either there is some bigger reason that is keeping Nastya from coming to church or just an extremely kind Grandma. If this really is the reason why Nastya isn't coming to church,( by the way this is like the fourth time this has happened) then I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or be really pissed. Especially if we have to drop Nastya simply because Sister Chalikh won't wake her up and bring her to church. We might go over to their place next Sunday and wake Nastya up ourselves.
So, this week we are going to Khmelninski for our Zone meeting tomorrow. We are getting on a train at 1 am and arriving there at 4 am. We are pretty excited about it though. Khmelninski has a really nice tie shop that is super cheap-- like a dollar a tie(10 hriven). So we are probably going to get some ties while we are there. This week seems to be looking pretty good. I have a good feeling about this week for some reason.
Elder Zach McEntire