Monday, May 12, 2014

The Exodus

Well, it was kinda the most traumatic week of my mission. 

RECAP. Like a month ago all of the missionaries in Donesk Ukraine got evacuated to our mission. So things were really tight with 10-20 missionaries per ward and 4-6 missionaries per apartment and it was rough, but also good. The two missions mixed really quickly and we all loved each other. We transfers were done such that one Kyiv missionary was companions with a Donesk missionary and it was awesome. Then, Tuesday morning we go to zone conference and President stands up an announces, "The area presidency has come to the conclusion that this is too many missionaries in one mission, and we need to decrease our numbers. So there will be early releases extended to every missionary with 3 months or less left." He then read a list of 15 or so missionaries who just found out their missions were ending. Then he continued, "also, all former Donesk missionaries will be leaving Ukraine and will be serving in their native country." The next day, Wednesday, we got a text saying they were all leaving Friday morning, but needed to be ready to go by Thursday, the next day. So we packed all day, and had a final evening as a missionary in Ukraine. Then Thursday afternoon we dropped them off and by Friday they were on their way to America. So it was a pretty fast exodus.

And it was just a little traumatic to realize how very fleeting a mission is. I don't think I understood just how quickly things can change; you can get a call on Tuesday and be on a plane to 'Murica by Friday. It's a little bit terrifying. I was somewhat surprised to realize that in no way did I feel "finally, we get our mission back," but rather a kind of bewilderment that I was the one who was allowed to stay. I don't feel any more entitled to serve here than the 75 missionaries who left, and I know better Russian speakers and better missionaries than I got on a plane last Friday. That is pretty humbling. It's funny the things that become a privilege when you're faced with losing them. Speaking Russian is a huge one. I complain about it, and whine about it, and hate it, but the thought of not getting to speak Russian every day literally breaks my heart. There are others: grumpy people, people laughing at my name tag ("Pugh? What a funny name!) but then always remembering me and my name, carrying around a book that says Книга Мормона on the front, having a temple across from my mission office, laughing at all the things that just don't work quite right because it's just a little bit ghetto here, blue and yellow ribbons on the purses of all the patriotic women, riding little buses everywhere, griven, borscht, babushkas, and of course putting on a tag that says Сестра Пью every morning. 

I really do love this place and these people with all my heart. I know that someday I'm going to have to get on a plane and fly away, and whether that's 1 month from now or 9, it's going to kill me just a little. But for now, I am ever-increasingly grateful to be here. For now, I am a Kyiv Ukraine missionary and it is the best. For now, I pray for Ukraine and trust that things will be well here.

All the love,

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