Hey hey hey! I'm not even sure where to start writing... let's break it down. (By the way, email rules are that anyone can email me and I can email anyone, and on Monday there's no limit to how long I can read email, but I have a 1.5 hour limit to write. Not too shabby!)
THE TRIP -- Traveling last week was exhausting. Also, we totally missed our connection from Vienna to Kyiv so we were stuck in the Vienna airport for an extra like eight hours. But everything worked out, I caught up on sleep (so jet lag didn't hit me too bad), and eventually we made it to Kyiv. We met President Klebingat and the assistants at the airport, and then later the office couple greeted us at the mission home, so we were very well taken care of. The next day we had a training conference and then a sisters conference the day after that -- very inspiring. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I'm in like the best mission in the world. :) Seriously, the mission culture is outstanding, the missionaries are stellar, and the mission president is amazing. I definitely feel blessed to be here. Oh yeah, and the Kyiv Temple is GORGEOUS! I get to go three times a year, so that's pretty exciting.
THE AREA -- After the sisters conference, Sister Filipovska and I headed out to our new area: Voskresinsky (I never know how to translate Cyrillic into the Latin alphabet... it's something like that). It's basically the northeast part of Kyiv. Sisters haven't been here since last September or October, so we're reopening the area. We've got a massive apartment that's pretty nice. There's two Elders that are here in Voskresinsky too -- Elders Anderson and Romney. Not sure what else to say about that...
COMPANION -- Sister Filipovska is originally from Kazakhstan, then moved to Ukraine when she was young, then lived in Italy for a long time (joined the church there), and now she's back in Ukraine serving a mission. She speaks Russian fluently but knows a lot of English too, so our thing is that we speak English at home and Russian outside. I'm grateful to be with a native to help with my language, and I'm also grateful for Sister Filipovska in general -- she's an awesome person and missionary, and we get along super well.
Let's see, what else...
THE CULTURE -- I love it! I totally feel like I'm back in Romania (except everything is in Russian instead of Romanian. Actually, I take that back -- everything is in Ukrainian...) So yeah, I don't know what else to say about that. If anyone has specific questions, have at it. :) Oh yeah, and people have DOGS here (and cats)! I pet one yesterday... so great. :D
HOW I'M FEELING -- Well, that's a loaded question... Tired, a wee bit overwhelmed, and sometimes it feels like my brain is slowly leaking out of my ears with every new 100-miles-per-hour Russian sentence that's said. BUT I know that I'll get the hang of things in time. We've got a lot of great goals this week, and I'm excited to really start getting into the work. The other day I read Moroni 7:33-34 which says, "And Christ hath said: If ye will have faith in me ye shall have power to do whatsoever is expedient in me. And he hath said: Repent all ye ends of the earth, and come unto me, and be baptized in my name, and have faith in me, that ye may be saved." I love that those verses are right next to each other, because it's basically saying that if I have faith (and work accordingly), I will be able to accomplish the work that the Lord needs accomplished in this area. It's a good thing it's His work, because there's no way on earth that I would be able to do this on my own. But He knows His children, He knows what they need, and He knows how to get us in touch with them if we do our best. I'll be excited to write next week and let you know how things go. :)
That's all I've got time for. Have an amazing week!