Monday, February 21, 2011

"Bila I come!" 2/21/2011

Apartment kitchen in Vinnitsya

Elder Munzer and Zach's "Last Supper"
Brown pasta, cheese, beans, corn, and sashlik sauce--pretty much what Zach has eaten for the last three months.

Man, it has been a crazy and chaotic week. So, remember how I said we were certain that Elder Munzer was being transferred and I was staying in Vinnitsya. Well... Surprise! I got transferred! It was crazy. None of us were expecting it because Elder Ewart knew the transfer info before any of us and he was hinting that Elder Munzer was leaving, but I guess he was tricking us. When we got the call from the zone leaders I yelled into the phone "What do you mean I'm being transferred?!  I just got here!"  Well, yeah. Elder Fudge and I got transferred out of Vinnitsya. He is now in center Odessa and I am in a city called Bila Tserkva.

So here is how my week went....
We got transfer info Tuesday night and transfer meeting is on Thursday. Which only gave me a day to pack and say goodbye to the members. We spent all Wednesday doing that. We got on a train for Kyiv at 3 in the morning, Thursday morning. We had to hurry cause we scheduled a temple session for 8 that morning, but we were a little late, so we missed it and instead got breakfast. Trains always wreck, especially early morning ones. I wore my glasses that day and I felt a little gross cause I didn't shower at all that day or shave. So we find out at transfer meeting where we are going. I found out I was going to Bila Tserkva, which was a total surprise cause I didn't think President would send me there. We then spent the rest of the day in Kyiv doing this "scavenger hunt" that the Assistants had planned for us. We had a list of things we had to do like ask people for their clothes or if we can buy their clothes, ask people for old Ukrainian folk songs, try to get a phone number without using any words, try to get a recipe from an old lady, talk to someone in a vehicle, and so forth. Oh, President did tell us about the new president. He is from Germany and his wife is from Russia. They both know Russian perfectly. When President said that, a lot of us were yelling "What about Ukrainian?!" I guess not... but he will probably pick it up. My new companion, Elder Carnes, and I left for Bila Tserkva that night around 7.

So about this new city, Bila Tserkva. In Ukrainian it means" The White Church". Oh, by the way, Vinnistya means" The Vineyards" in Ukrainian. Cool huh? Anyways Bila Tserkva is right outside of Kyiv. It is about an hour bus ride out of Kyiv, so not too far. It is in the Kyiv Oblast(Providence). It is a smaller city, not too big. It is in the Kyiv west zone. Vinnistya was in the Padilska zone. So I switched zones. Since it is a smaller city, there is not a lot of public transit to take. We basically walk everywhere, which saves money on transportation. There is the occasional Marshrutka that comes through the city, but that's it. No buses or anything like that, as opposed to Vinnitsya where we took public transit all the time. My companion, Elder Carnes, is from South Carolina. He is way funny and cool. My district consists of the following: Ukrainian Elders (Elder Carnes and I) Russian Elders (Elder Polivka and Hurt) and Sisters (Sister Elelyan and Movsisyan). Elder Polivka is from Colorado and Elder Hurt is from Alaska. The Sisters are both from Armenia. Sister Elelyan knows English pretty well. She basically taught herself English while she has been on a mission and Sister Movsisyan knows a little English, but not a lot. They like to practice their English with us. There is a senior couple that comes down to church here every Sunday, but they don't live in Bila Tserkva, so technically they're not in our district. They are the Mayberrys.  Elder Mayberry is the Mission doctor here. There are two branches here. We are over the smaller branch, the Roas (pronounced kinda like roast without the "t". I don't know how to spell it in English) The branch is cool, I got a really warm welcome. It is a bit smaller than the Vinnitsya Branch. There are about 25 to 30 people who come as opposed to the 40 to 50 people who come to the Vinnitsya Branch. In this branch it consists mostly of younger couples with little kids. The Branch President is only like 30, and he is Ukrainian, not a senior missionary. So there are little kids, but as far as youth go, there is only one, Sasha. He is 17 and got baptized a year ago. Oh, so Bila Tserkva is what missionaries call a "dead area". A "dead area" is an area where there hasn't been a baptism in over a year and there is little to no missionary activity. That's Bila Tserkva. I got here and found out that there was like no investigators to teach and that Sahsa was the last baptism. I've definitely got my work cut out for me. I guess President wants to see if I can reactivate a dead area. We got the ball rolling in Vinnitsya. I was sad to go, definitely. Just cause Elder Munzer and I worked really hard there and got so close to getting baptisms, but we didn't get the results we wanted. We had like three or four instances where we gave a baptismal date, they accepted, but then something happened and it got dropped. We did get some less actives and inactive people to come back to church. So I guess we did get some success there. Well, I guess let's see if my companion and I can bring Bila Tserkva back from the dead!
Love you all!
Elder Zach McEntire

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