Monday, June 2, 2014

Birthday Month

Reason number 315 I love Ukrainian Mormons: they never give up. The Kyiv stake has had a second fast Sunday each month and a never-ending fast (at least one person fasting in the stake at any given time) going since February, all fasting for peace and safety in Ukraine. At the start of each month they say, "we feel it's helping and we feel it's still needed so we ask you to join us until the end of the month." And I love them for that. The group of people from Russia coming to the temple last week was small, because people were nervous about politics and stuff, so the Kyiv stake stepped up and invited everyone to fill the temple. The temple being underused was not an option, because they're so grateful for it and they show their gratitude by using it. Sometimes these people just get it.

Ukraine has a new President! (As far as I know, because my knowledge of politics is severely limited these days). He's the owner of Roshen chocolate, which is the best chocolate in Ukraine. So I'm hoping that this means free chocolate for all. Politics are sounding crazy over in Eastern Ukraine. Apparently the wards haven't met in 3 weeks because they got shut down by troops who came in tearing things apart and asking "where are your Americans? Give us the Americans." So we'll say it was a good call that all missionaries were pulled out of there. Also, let's remember that my news sources are ward members here, and this is unverified information, so no one freak out. It's just interesting is all. 

It is raining as every here in Kyiv. We got caught MAJORLY Friday night. We were at a recent convert's house a it was raining so hard. She was horrified that we'd go home in it, but we were like "rules are rules gotta get home" and peaced out into the rain. It was crazy but so much fun. I don't think I've ever seen such heavy rain, not even when there was a Hurricane at Swat. This rain was so heavy but it was also warm, so it was just perfect. There were lots of thunder and lightning too, and it was all and all just a great storm to walk home in. I love the rain. And I'm so grateful it hasn't gotten terribly hot yet. Because I know it will, but a few weeks of rain before then is just fine with me. 

Speaking of recent converts, there's this darling Iranian family in our ward that got baptized a few weeks ago whom I adore. Their native language is Farsi, the dad also speaks English, the daughter speaks Russian, the mom not at all, and the little boy speaks a mix of all 3. They fled Iran for political reasons (it's obviously not good to be a Christian there) and have been in Ukraine for 3 years, struggling through it. The dad has a disabled back and can't work, and the mom doesn't speak a language to get a job. Before they met the missionaries, they were living in the train station, but the church has helped them out a lot. The little boy has long curls and runs around the chapel all sacrament meeting. He's adorable. His spend almost all of yesterday hanging out on the stand with the bishop, so we're working on making them a bag of things to keep your kid quiet and entertained at church, no small task for recent converts. Their daughter is 13 and I adore her. She's probably one of the most down to earth people I've met. She's chatty and loves hanging out with the missionaries. And she's just my favorite. You would never now she's had such a hard life. Her projects this summer are to learn Ukrainian and to play the guitar. Isn't that just perfect?

Have I told you about game night? We play a game that's basically taboo, but in Russian. So we explain Russian words in Russian and have to guess them. It is SO HARD but SO FUN. Some days I'm just like "yeah, I don't speak a lick of Russian" but other days I'm amazed that I can actually participate. I don't think I'll ever truly master Russian, but she and I limp along together and I think we're making better friends all the time. Maybe in a few more months...

I keep getting mosquito bites on my face and it is the worst because they look like freaky giant zits and I have pretty clear skin and do not appreciate mosquito zits. 

June is here which means it's my birthday month! Sister Welling says I can have a whole month of being a princess. And this means I'm almost 20 so basically I'm a babushka. Hahaha is it weird that 20 sounds too old to me? Is this how I'm going to feel every birthday from now on? I'm pretty sure that I'm actually still 18. Or, maybe, that I'm as mature and with it and have figured things out as much as I feel like an 18-year-old should, but I'm definitely not where a 20-year-old should be. Maybe I'll just keep telling everyone that I'm "almost 20," as I said for my first few months in Ukraine because I kept getting the numbers 12 and 19 mixed up in Russian (they're really close, okay?!). 

Keep praying for Ukraine.

All the love,
Hannah

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