It was just an awesome week.
We went on a picnic last Monday night for Ivanna's birthday. We were close to the riverbank in this lovely little spot. It was out of the city and quiet. I don't think I'd realized just how loud Kyiv is until I was not in it. Anyway, it was a great picnic. We built a fire and cooked hot dogs (sort of, they're more like sausages). We played ultimate frisbee, which I surprisingly greatly enjoyed. It was great.
Unrelated. Remember the drunk guy from last week? He came to church yesterday. Way awesome. The elders are working with him.
We did language study this week with a woman in our ward named Natasha who is incredible. She lived in Provo for 6 years and got a Master's at BYU and worked at the MTC. So she literally speaks English perfectly, but also knows how to teach Russian/Ukrainian to American missionaries. Anyway, we spent an hour with her and it was seriously so incredibly helpful. Probably the best language study I've had in months. It's funny how much better I learn when I'm taught. Like I can figure things out on my own, but when someone teaches me I just learn things better. I guess I just miss school a lot lately.
We went on exchanges this week. The sister I was on exchanges with was sick, so I stayed inside all day with her. We had a good time talking for a few hours. Then while she slept I read about 50 pages of the Book of Mormon in Russian. It was awesome. I love reading in Russian. Sister Welling went out to work and had the worst day ever, but she was smiling at the end so it was funny. She had to get up early so we could get to the sisters on time (she hates getting up early). Took a shower but there was no hot water (still isn't by the way). It was raining, but she had a suitcase for exchanges so she didn't have a hand for an umbrella and got soaking wet. When the bus came, I got on, but it didn't wait for her so she got left (we met up a few minutes later). Went out on the exchange and somehow got her foot cut by the bus's door. The exchange wasn't really planned at all, so they kinda just wandered around all day trying to talk to people in the rain. The one lady that did talk to them asked them to carry a giant bag of cherries for her across this muddy rain river that had formed in the middle of the street. And getting on the bus to come home, some guy put her hand in her purse to steal her money (but she caught him, so all is well). It was the worst day ever. I made her cookie dough, which we ate as we laughed about how it couldn't have been much worse.
We made literally ridiculous amounts of brownies this week. We had to provide food for 3 parties, so 3 days in a row we brought our giant pan full of brownies. The recipe for one batch includes a KG of sugar, 9 eggs, and 2.5 cups of butter if that's any indicator of how absurd it was.
We had a talent show on Friday! It was so awesome because tons of people came and participated. I wasn't necessarily expecting that, since I feel like in America people don't really like talent shows unless they're incredibly talented. This one was great though. A woman in our ward who's an actress did a scene and it definitely made me miss my best friend. One of the elders is weirdly flexible and he did a limbo contest with all the kids that he won and people ate it up. A darling woman in our ward sang hymns while one of the elders played the ukulele and it was SO COOL. All of our brownies disappeared quickly, and the brownies were our "talent" so I think that means we were a hit, too.
We had a baptism this week! Her name in Angela and we've been working with her for about 2 months. She's 18 (has the same birthday as me) and loves literature (1984 is her favorite), so she's obviously one of my favorites. She started dating a boy in our ward (who's going to a mission in L'viv in 2.5 months) and he invited her to church. She kept coming and started meeting with us and reading the Book of Mormon. It was a beautiful, super smooth teaching process. She was just ready for all of it. And she got baptized on Saturday. Anyway, the baptismal service was small and just lovely. The best part for me was when she was in the bathroom getting ready after and I asked through the stall door, "well, how do you feel?" She answered, "peace. I feel peace. It's like peace of my soul." It was so honest and simple and sweet. I really do love that girl.
One thing I love about this area is that we have youth. The teenagers are seriously my favorite people. Maybe because it's summer and they have nothing better to do than hang out with and help the missionaries. Anyway, we spend lots of time with them. Probably the highlight of my week (maybe even more-so than the baptism?) was when the mom of one of the girls came up to me and said, "Vika already wants to serve a mission when she's older thanks to you." It was one of the most rewarding moments of my mission.
All the love,