30 April 2012
This week has been a wonderful experience for me. I was very concerned about going back and forth between Kyiv and Lviv, maybe missing mission conference, and overall adjusting. But I learned quite a bit in that single week. When I was in Lviv the first time, I was terrified to speak and would not contact at all. I felt hopeless as the language overwhelmed me and I felt useless as a missionary. In short, Satan was taking advantage of my fear by feeding it metaphorical steroids. It was really hard to focus or to even feel like trying.
By the time I got to Kharkivsky, I was hot, tired, disheveled, and frustrated. But over the course of the next week, Sister D. (my "grandmother" in the mission - she trained my trainer) helped me to know what to say, how to react, and to work on the short things I could say while contacting. I even got to go to stake conference in Kyiv! The theme of it was Members: HELP THE MISSIONARIES and Husbands: let your wives know that you love them! There was more emphasis on the first one, if you couldn't tell by my caps lock.
Eventually, with my return to Lviv, I had much more confidence. The spirit was back in my life, and others had helped me to fight off the fear that clouded my vision before. Now, I'm excited to contact and communicate in Ukrainian with a horrible accent, and struggle to understand what others are saying to me. It's not easy, and people chuckle at my Ukrainian... (I met a young girl in Kyiv who tried asking me some questions in Ukrainian, and when I obviously couldn't understand, she repeated the question in perfect english...I felt slightly dumb. Then I asked her how bad my accent was and she just laughed...haha I'll get there, but I'm definitely not fluent yet). Most people are kind and want to help me though :)
I love Lviv so so so much. It turned lush and green almost overnight after my arrival. The weather is fantastic! No humidity (well, it seems like that to me. However, the Utah missionaries seem to disagree...most people are saying how hot it is...but it feels like Texas to me. Thank you, parents, for raising me in Dallas, so that I am conditioned to be a missionary :)
Oh random connections of the week! My companion, Sister W., told me that her mom also grew up in Farmington, New Mexico!
Zone conference was cancelled on Friday because the 6 missionaries out of our zone due to visa trips to bulgaria weren't back. Sister V, my MTC companion, ended up in kyiv because her companion was one of those in Bulgaria. We found out later that they all missed their flights back from Bulgaria...dun dun dun....But we still had 'zone meeting' - the rest of the zone met up in Lviv and President and the APs weren't there. The meeting was good though. The two senior couples were there, the E's and the M's. The E's serve in Lviv. He's the Branch president here and they take good care of the 8 missionaries in Lviv. They're going home soon, which makes me really sad. I already love them so much. I don't know the M's very well yet, because they serve in Chernivsy. I don't even know if I'm spelling all of these city names right in the Latin Alphabet, by the way...the cyrillic alphabet is awesome. Hopefully I can become extremely proficient with both Ukrainian and Russian alphabets (slight difference - Ukrainian has 4 i's and 2 h's, Russian uses the 'g' sound a lot more.
I'm really looking forward to my Mother's Day phone call home. Details need to be worked out with families. I'll send more info separately.
Cool spiritual experience of the week. It was Saturday, and we had scheduled to do weekly planning (normally it's Friday, but it changed because of zone meeting). The other sisters got a call from a member with a referral of a co- worker that wanted to hear about our church from the missionaries. They already had a lesson planned, so it was up to us to go visit her. However, it was a 40 minute walk, we were tired and hot, and we didn't even know if this referral would work out . We prayed about it and didn't get any lightning-bolt answers. However, we decided to go ahead and go, and reschedule weekly planning. So we went, got there, and the woman was extremely interested. She's coming to church next Sunday for sure! Also, another worker there sat down and attentively listened to us. She gave us her name and number as well, and she's going to try and come as well. It was definitely worth the long walk and change of plans.
That's about all I have to say right now, but I love you all and hope that everything is going well wherever you are. I pray for all of you daily!