Well, we changed our water filter this week. All missionary apartments have filters for drinking water because water in this country is somewhat less than safe. Our filter came out brown/black. Usually they come out slightly tan. Ours was the worst that every missionary we showed has ever seen. But it's cool, Chernobyl is proably far enough away that it's not radioactive things in our drinking water.
Speaking of water, our investegator Жанна got baptized on Saturday. To be completely honest, I was somewhat reluctant to put that in an email. I really don't like the missionary emails that are like "Woooo someone got baptized and now I'm an awesome missionary!" I don't know, it just makes me feel a little bit like a 17th century missionary to Native Americans. Missions are so much more than the quantity of folks that get baptized.
But Жанна did get baptized and it was awesome because of how much she's changed. She comes from literally the most dysfunctional family I've encountered - she grew up in an orphanage because her father was in prision for killing her mother and her brother was in prison for killing her grandmother. When we first started teaching Жанна, she seemed totally disinterested - didn't talk to us much, didn't look at us when we talked, etc. In another area, we probably would have dropped her. But because she was our only investegator, we kept working with her. As we did that, she started to changed. As the gospel really came into her life, Жанна just got happier and more animate. She smiles now, talks to us, calls us like 6 times a day (that's actually sort of annoying, but it helps her so we do it anyway) and always wants us to sit by her at church. I felt like we were watching light come into a life that had been pretty sad and dark. To me, that's what makes this baptism a success. I came on a mission to share something that's changed my little heart with others. I got to do that wih Жанна and I'm very grateful for that opportunity.
So I spent most of my week doing lessons with Жанна and helping her getting ready for baptism. A few other things happened. We spent lots of time with our investegator, Masha, too. She studies English at the university, is reading Maugham right now, and told me yesterday that she's read Romeo and Juliet in English, so she's a boss and I absolutely adore her. She's my favorite to meet with. I'm probably not supposed to have favorites, but oh well. Sister Clark and I had a splurge meal the other day and got pizza! We also made 4 loaves of banana bread for various folks. It was awesome and such. I don't know, this is sort of a short email. It's been a good week. I'm so grateful to be here, among these people, with my companion. People say "missions are hard" all the time. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, maybe I'm naive, but mine's not. It's challenging every day, but it feels so much more like a privilege than a burden. I end every day feeling grateful.
All the love,